Election eve is nigh. Candidate statements, biographical information, advertisements, endorsements and residents’ opinions fill these pages. Now it’s up to you, the voter, to decide.
We’re not endorsing candidates, platforms or messages — you get enough of that everywhere else. We firmly believe that our role is to inform and let you draw your own conclusions. Unlike our industry brethren on the cable news networks and other publications, we’re not disguising opinions as facts, and we have no agenda. We empower and implore you, the voters, to make the best decisions for state, district, county, municipal and board of education officials.
This year, Westfield and Scotch Plains also will vote on whether or not to spend millions on turf fields — in Westfield at Edison Intermediate School and in Scotch Plains at Brookside Park. Residents who were unhappy with the decision of the governing bodies gathered enough signatures to force approval of these expenditures onto the ballot. This is an unusual occurrence in local government and it is the work of a passionate and dedicated electorate, who raised concerns not only about government spending, but also about the safety and environmental impact of turf fields. We have printed countless letters from residents and organizations on both sides of this issue, including many young athletes who support the projects, which they say will increase field availability and playing time. All of these residents have been deeply engaged in the process and turned their passions into action — no matter the outcome of the vote, they deserve praise for their dedication.
Debates over the future of our towns, development, fields, school curriculum, taxes and much more have been put forward by sincere and hardworking people on both sides of the issues, and we welcome a robust debate even when it may get intense or emotional. But a modicum of respect is warranted no matter how strongly our opinions may be held. The candidates are our neighbors, who are putting themselves and their ideas forward with the best of intentions. Yes, their visions for the future differ, sometimes greatly — but anyone willing to put him or her self out there, knock on hundreds if not thousands of doors, and be willing to do the thankless work of elected officials is deserving of some praise. There is no need to denigrate to personal attacks before or after the election.
There are many ways to make your voice heard — mail-in ballots, early voting and on Election Day. It’s up to you — Vote! And good luck to all the candidates.