Like many of us, I watched Thursday’s forum in hopes of learning how the candidates differed on the major issues facing Westfield. As is often the case, some of the Republican candidates generated more light than heat. There were murky data regarding the usual tropes (We’re riddled with crime!) which they followed without any apparent irony or anchor to reality (PILOT programs mean Westfield is blighted!). They circumnavigated directed questions like “Do you support the Edison fields project?“ Dawn Nicols-Manning, “Yes.” Mike Domogala, “I support referendums.”
Amusingly, nothing the current administration did passed muster with this group. No credit could be given for some basic things that seem unassailable in their clear benefit. Since taking office, this administration has overseen the paving of over 70 miles of roads. For context, Westfield only has about 109 miles of roads, so clearly this represents 64 percent of our driving surface. Contrast the 20 miles/ year average rate of paving to the former average of 3 percent. You read that correctly. Three percent. This leap in infrastructure maintenance was the result of the current council’s advocacy and tenacity.
Instead of appreciation or, at a minimum, acknowledgement of this drastic improvement, Dr. Armento inexplicably found fault with this too. He argued speciously that we have paved before pipes were laid. This is arguably almost too laughable to acknowledge, but it was part of a pattern of other ridiculous and unfounded suggestions meant to undermine the obvious benefits we can all see for ourselves. Other towns, vendors, store owners and potential homeowners see the vibrancy and energy recently created here in town. They can coast downtown without the need to replace their struts. I don’t think it costs anything to give credit where due, and to present facts with honesty.
That’s why I support Erika Vargas Garrison. She seems to have a clear view of facts and the integrity to present them without guile. She is clear and decisive where she stands on issues and can defend her position without equivocation. I respect a candidate who can stand her ground and doesn’t dissemble. I encourage everyone who remains uncertain about which candidate clearly articulated her position and which candidate evaded basic answers to watch for themselves. The choice is clear, vote Erika Vargas Garrison for Ward 2.
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