Last month, local officials from all over New Jersey got together to learn how to better serve their fellow citizens. Once again, I saw their commitment and their dedication. I heard their passion as they discussed their concerns. They do so much on their own. And we here at the League do the best we can to assist them. But, it seems there’s always so much more that needs to be done. So I figured that I’d write my wish list for all the people who live in all the cities, towns, townships, boroughs and villages all around our Garden State.
First, I wish for an interested, informed and involved electorate. This American experiment in representative democracy can only continue to flourish in an environment of civic virtue, where the vast majority of our fellow citizens jealously guard their rights and honorably discharge their responsibilities. And may the Press inspire both citizens and officials to remember how fragile and how important this experiment is.
Second, for the children of New Jersey, I wish nurturing homes in safe neighborhoods. Spare them from fear of random violence and protect them from abuse. Let them never taste the poison of bigotry. Give them good schools, good friends and good role models, so that they may grow straight and strong to take their rightful places in New Jersey’s future.
I wish for their parents good jobs and good sense, so that they may realize their dreams for themselves and their families. And may their grandparents be spared from any anxiety about meeting their expenses and providing for their needs.
May New Jersey resolve its revenue worries, so that the state can again fulfill its responsibility to provide inflation adjusted property tax relief funding to all its local governments. This will help us to meet our constituents’ needs for quality public service, without further burdening them with onerous property tax increases.
In spite of our current recession, may our cities and our depressed rural communities continue to provide their people with the same level of service and the same quality programs to which they should be entitled as citizens of this most prosperous state.
I hope we can better preserve our open spaces and protect our environment. And for local officials, I wish the tools that can make that a reality, such as “Clean Communities,” “Timed Growth” and “Impact Fee” legislation.
For all of us, but most especially for those denied the gift, I wish for peace in our hearts, peace in our homes, peace in our neighborhoods and peace in the world.
May we all have a joyous holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year.
Editorial from New Jersey
Municipalities, Volume 86, Number 9, December 2009