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A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains - Fanwood Thursday, September 16, 1999 Page 5

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Campaign Forum ’99

Mr. Sullivan, Mrs. Weinstein Cite New WHS DropOff Zone SCHOOL SAFETY PARAMOUNT... Westfield Fourth Ward Councilwoman

Janis Fried Weinstein and Third Ward Councilman Neil F. Sullivan, Jr., members of the Town Council’s Public Safety Committee, discuss the need for a crossing guard at the intersection of Rahway Avenue and Dorian Road across from Westfield High School. Acting on a recommendation by Mrs. Weinstein, a guard was posted at this location this year.

WESTFIELD — Students beginning Westfield High School last week were greeted by a crossing guard to provide an extra dose of traffic safety as classes got underway.

Acting on a recommendation by Westfield Republican Fourth Ward Councilwoman Janis Fried Weinstein, town officials arranged to have a crossing guard direct traffic at the intersection of Dorian Road and Rahway Avenue.

Mrs. Weinstein made the request after being contacted by several concerned parents.

“This is an extremely busy, fourway intersection, and it can be dangerous for children to navigate their way across the street, particularly during the busy morning rush hour,” said Councilwoman Weinstein, who is seeking reelection to her council seat.

In addition to increasing enrollment, new traffic patterns around the high school created the need for additional enforcement and direction.

School officials recommended creation of a dropoff zone in front of the school on Dorian Road. The Traffic Safety Bureau and the Public Works Department installed new signs designating a portion of Dorian Road as a dropoff and pick up zone at the beginning and at the end of the school day.

In order to improve safety in the parking lot, school officials have prohibited dropoffs and pickups in the high school parking lot.

The evaluation of the need for a crossing guard was first publicly announced by Republican Third Ward Councilman Neil F. Sullivan, Jr., at a council conference session in July.

“Our town officials, including the police, public works, collaborated with school officials, especially Westfield High School Principal Robert G. Petix to take every practical

step to ensure the safety of the students and others,” Mr. Sullivan said, Chairman of the Town Council’s Public Safety Committee and a candidate for reelection.

The high school, located on Dorian Road, between Rahway Avenue and Trinity Place, and the surrounding neighborhoods are located in both the Third and Fourth Wards. Councilman Sullivan is in his fifth year as Third Ward councilman, and Weinstein is serving her third year as Fourth Ward council representative.

The two have worked together on a number of safety and other quality of life issues impacting south side residents.

Mrs. Weinstein said that during the first few days of school a Westfield police officer directed traffic, as drivers adjusted to the new patterns. The area is also the focus of the current traffic calming program, which will implement several demonstration projects along the Rahway Avenue corridor, which includes sidewalks, crosswalks and streets which are used by over 2,000 students attending the several schools in the area.

“I understand parents’ concerns about their children’s safety when crossing the streets,” said Councilwoman Weinstein, who is a member of the Public Safety Committee. “Working together with Public Safety Committee Chairman Neil Sullivan and the police department, I’m glad we were able to get this done at the start of the school year. Hopefully, it will eliminate some of the safety risks for students while giving parents more peace of mind.”

Philip Wiener Supports Elected Mayor System

SCOTCH PLAINS — Philip Wiener, Democratic candidate for the Scotch Plains Township Council, said this week he is in “total support of placing the public question on this Novembers ballot to give the voters of Scotch Plains the opportunity to decide if they want to directly elect the mayor.”

“The present system is akin to an ‘eeniemeeniemienie and moe’ method of selecting the mayor,” said Mr. Wiener.

“Sometimes it has not been a matter of which council member is best for the town, but rather, ‘whose turn is it? ’ As has been said in the past, it’s no wonder the same problems kept cropping up in Scotch Plains year after year. Not much ever got done with a government presided over by a series of mayors, each of whom served for a term of just 365 days,” Mr. Rossi said.

“Presently any member of the fivemember council who can line up two other council members for support becomes the mayor. The citizens are cut out of the process,” he said.

Mr. Wiener added that, “good long range planning would be better served with an elected mayor for Scotch Plains. A 365day mayor is no sooner in office than the term is over. Scotch Plains history shows that this system has cost our community dearly. It took over 20 years to get senior citizens housing.

“After nearly 15 years of onagainoffagain priorities, downtown vitalization is finally moving ahead in bigger steps. After 15 years of discussion we’re finally starting to move ahead on addressing the needs of recreation and playing fields. After nearly two decades of debate, we’re finally seeing something very affirmative done to preserve open space in Scotch Plains.”

Mr. Wiener noted that voters in Westfield, Summit, Fanwood, New Providence and Clark directly elect their mayors.

“There still will be a fivemember mayor and council,” noted Mr. Wiener. “Instead of five council members elected for fouryear terms and

Councilman McDermott Cites Popularity of New Sidewalk Repair Program

WESTFIELD — Westfield Republican First Ward Councilman Gregory S. McDermott has announced that the town’s sidewalk repair program he first proposed earlier this summer has generated widespread interest within the community, with more than 130 requests for repair placed thus far.

Mr. McDermott, who is seeking a second, twoyear term, said he is pleased that so many Westfield residents have sought to take advantage of a sidewalk repair program that essentially splits the cost of repair between the homeowner and the town. He said any resident with cement, slate or asphalt sidewalks are eligible to contact the town and receive an estimate for repair work, but that the goal of 100 repair jobs for the fall has already been reached.

“The town will be receiving bids on the sidewalk repair work by the end of this month. But we’ve already reached our goal of having 100 repair projects to be completed in October and November,” said Mr. McDermott, who serves as a member of the Public Works Committee. “We’ve quickly reached the maximum number of projects which our budget of $50,000 will allow, but given the popularity of the program, I would anticipate that we will look

to expand it in the future to give every resident who has expressed an interest in the program an opportunity to participate.”

Mr. McDermott added that the program benefits both the town and the homeowner.

“Sidewalk repair is a costly endeavor for homeowners,” he said. “But safe, level sidewalks are in the town’s interests and as well as the homeowner’s. It makes sense to have a program in place that splits the cost of sidewalk repair. This way, dangerous sidewalks get repaired faster, resulting in safer walkways for the homeowner, and a more beautiful Westfield.”

More Campaign News

On Page 7

CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

Congressman Franks Considers Senate Run

By PAUL J. PEYTON

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

Last week’s decision by Governor Christine Todd Whitman not to seek the Republican nomination for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Frank Lautenberg has created a windfall of potential candidates.

Her decision has impacted not only the 2000 U. S. Senate race but the 2001 race for the Governor’s office, both races of which are expected to involve local candidates.

Republican Congressman Bob Franks (R7th) announced last week that he has formed an exploratory committee to see whether he can garner the financial support, estimated at between $12 and $18 million, to wage a successful campaign for the U. S. Senate.

As of Tuesday, Mr. Franks had garnered the support of 19 of the 21

GOP municipal chairmen in Union County as well as Republican committee chairmen in four of the state’s 20 other counties, according to a press release issued by his campaign office.

One scenario could see him face off against Summit multimillionaire Jon Corzine of Summit, the retiring CoChairman of the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs.

“I deeply regret but respect Governor Whitman’s decision not to seek the Republican nomination for the U. S. Senate. I have no doubt that if she had remained in the race, she would have won,” Congressman Franks said in a statement released by his office.

Mr. Franks has represented the Seventh District, which includes

CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

SUPPORTER OF PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO ELECT MAYOR… Philip Wiener, Democratic candidate for the Scotch Plains Township Council, reviews a report of the citizens’ committee that recommended a special ballot question which, if passed in November, will give Scotch Plains voters their first opportunity to directly elect the mayor of their community. Presently, any three of the five members of the Township Council can pick the mayor from amongst themselves.

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Copyright 1999 - The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood