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Westfield Mayoral Race
Mrs. Jacobson (D)
WESTFIELD – Westfield Demo cratic Mayoral candidate Susan
Jacobson stated that if elected, she would bring the same non partisan approach to the Town Council that “worked so well while on the school board.”
“The Board of acted on what was in the best interest for all our children,” Mrs.Jacobson said.“TheTownCoun cil should work in the same biparti san way, in the best interest of all the people of Westfield.”
Mrs. Jacobson was a member of the Westfield Board of Education for 12 years and served as its President for three years and as Vice President for three years.
“The partisanship and differences that define the national parties have no place in local government,” said Mrs. Jacobson. “The members of Town Council do not face questions on gun control, Medicare and Social Security. We make decisions on ing roads, maintaining parks, viding police protection and snow
plowing.” “Partisanship and national party labels should be left at the door when entering the council chambers,” Mrs. Jacobson said. “We do not select
Court justices. We select business administrators and police chiefs.”
decisions must be based on the best interests of our citizens. All
us must first and foremost be of the ‘What is Good for Westfield Party, ’ doing what is best for our community,” she said.
Jacobson said that in her 12 years on the Board of Education,
often disagreed, having come fromdifferentbackgroundsand
different ideas and tives. “Good people often disagree,” she
said, “but as board president I made sure all members had the opportu nity to express their opinions. Then I would try to incorporate the differ ing opinions and work to build con sensus.We always were able to move forward,” the candidate stated.
Mrs. Jacobson said she would use the same consensusbuilding tech nique as mayor that she used on the Board of Education.
“Decisions will be based on the merits of a policy, not on politics,” she said. “Appointments and con tracts will be based on qualifica tions, not affiliations. Westfield is best served when we serve not our own personal interests, but the inter est of the community.”
Mr. McDermott (R)
WESTIELD — “Westfield’s ity to maintain its downtown as a premiere shoppers’ tion now and in the decade to come will depend on the plans we putintoplacethis year,”WestfieldFirst Ward Councilman and Republican mayoral candidate Gregory S. pavMcDermott
said this week. proCouncilman
McDermott, who serves as a board member of the Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC), noted that the downtown has changed dramatically over the past few years and has evolved into a mature and highly developed town.
The focus of future planning, cording to Councilman McDermott, shouldbeon waysinwhichWestfield can retain its merchant and business base and heighten awareness of the varied opportunities for ment, eating, shopping and services
that exist in town. “Westfield is fortunate to have an entity like the Downtown Westfield Corporation in place. The challenge for the organization, and for the town perspecitself,
is how to build on the town’s current high occupancy rates by de
veloping programs that promote re tention of existing businesses and expand regional audiences for down town activities,” he explained.
Councilman McDermott saluted the now former DWC Executive Di rector Michael La Place for strength ening the DWC during his tenure in Westfield and credited Mr. La Place for putting a muchneeded emphasis on downtown culture through the presentation of live musical perfor mances and sidewalk art sales.
CouncilmanMcDermottnotedthat wellpaved roads, pedestrian safety and the proposed comprehensive parking plan must also be considered integral components in future down town planning.
“Encouraging the complete Westfieldexperience isagreatmeans
abilby which to broaden our regional
presence and secure the future eco nomic vitality of the downtown,”
andvisitors’destinasaid Mr. McDermott.
“Smart planning and marketing must, however, go hand in hand with a continued commitment on the part of the town to use its resources to maintain and improve the downtown infrastructure,” he said.
Westfield First Ward
Mr. Echausse (R)
WESTFIELD — Last summer, Westfield Republican First Ward
downTown Council canSupreme
didate Peter acEchausse said he
witnessed a pedes“These trian who was struck by a car at the interof section of North Avmembers
entertainenue and Broad
Street. Although no one was seriously injured, the inciMrs. dent has led the candidate to bring the issue of traffic safety to the foremembers front of his campaign.
“EverywhereI goduringmyneighhaving borhood walks, I ask residents about their concerns about traffic safety in
their area. Most residents, particu larlythoseon busystreetshavevoiced concernthat trafficmovestooquickly through the town’s main arteries,” said Mr. Echausse.
“On Elm and Prospect Streets, in particular, there are a lot of young families with children who have re cently moved here and they are con cerned for their children’s safety,” Mr. Echausse indicated.
Mr. Echausse said he will recom mend that Town Council invest in another two speed readers, which tell drivers exactly how fast their traveling.
“We have a quality, professional police force here in Westfield, but they can’t be everywhere in town patrolling our streets and enforcing the speed limits,” said Echausse.
“One thing we could do is to pro vide them with more tools to control speeding, such as two additional speed readers. This would give the town a total of four readers so that one could be in each ward at all times. I think drivers respond well to them; they encourage drivers to slow down on their own,” he explained.
He added that he would keep the neighborhood involved in decisions made to target certain streets for traffic remedies, particularly as a new parking deck is constructed and creates additional traffic on main
roads such as Prospect and Elm as well as Ferris Place and Clark Street.
“Citizens can have an impact on traffic policy in Westfield just by keeping the council and the police informed about where there is speed ing and where there are other traffic problems. That said, I still believe safety on our roads is a two way street. Pedestrians also need to act responsibly to contribute to traffic safety.If pedestriansfollowthecross walks and drivers drive carefully and within the speed limits, our roads will be much safer,” he said.
Westfield Second Ward
Mr. Betancourt (R)
WESTFIELD — With 10 years experience as Westfield Municipal
P ro s e c u t o r, Westfield Second Ward Town Council candidate Rafael J. Betancourtthisweek said more mutual respect among driv ersandbetweendriv ers andthepolicede partment can go a long way toward improving safety and traffic flow on Westfield’s streets.
Mr. Betancourt said the develop ment of the downtown area has been a positive for the community, but has also added to congestion in certain areas, encouraging careless driving by some motorists intent on making up time by speeding.
“As a former Westfield Municipal Prosecutor, I can tell residents that it’s not worth it to speed,” he said. “Judges in our municipal court won’t tolerate it and usually impose the maximum fine on drivers. I believe such a hard line is appropriate given our reputation as a familyfriendly town with numerous schools and a busy downtown packed with shopEducation pers.
“I would encourage drivers, first, to slow down, and, second, to treat other drivers and the police with respect. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen drivers affected by road rage terrorize fellow drivers and hurl obscenities at our law enforce ment officials. Being a considerate, courteous driver will keep citizens on the right side of the law and may even affect the outcome of a court hearing should they be ticketed,” said Mr. Betancourt.
The candidate said the Westfield Police Department does a good job keeping speeding to a minimum, but
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Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)