Dear Fellow Citizens of Lawrence:
Entering this race for trustee on The People’s Party ticket along with fellow trustee candidate Dr. Joel Preminger and led by mayoral candidate Danny Goldstein, I have learned a lot about politics despite having worked in and around politics for the last 20 years.
This awakening occurred after I received word from the rabbi at our family’s shul that Alex Edelman had called to inquire about me, and he was not incredibly happy. I chose to ignore this obvious invasion of privacy, as I had never done anything worthy of fear, like asking my rabbi to bear witness while I pledged to only serve one term in office.
Sadly, I have learned that what should have been a rather informative and innocent campaign has become very dirty and mean. Politics tends to bring out raw passions and emotions in people as they all too often get caught up in a certain senseless fury, and rarely it is fact or issue based. It has to do with personality, image and very often peer pressure.
I am not ashamed of being an advocate for my slate and fellow candidates and opposed to my opponents. If I felt that Lawrence was being well led by Alex Edelman I would not run, but as a middle class father of four young children who has been greatly affected by this pandemic and is concerned about the road ahead I have certain that our community needs new leadership going forward.
In the midst of the worst days of this pandemic, in a recorded tape available to anyone wishing to listen [The Password is yBpHTQB2 ]:, Edelman aggressively sought a tax increase, that would have made the Village of Lawrence possibly the only place in America to raise taxes increase in April, and this past spring was not any spring it was a time of horror and fear for so many within our community and the country. The village was not running a deficit, it was to pad an emergency contingency fund in the middle of the greatest national emergency since World War II.
Our mayor was dispassionate and detached in his defense of this tax increase, he kept on explaining it was nothing but just a few bucks and no one would really care. I think our mayor should talk to the residents, not just his friends, and business partners. He should come and speak to the people face to face because whether he knows it or not more and more of our families are struggling with tuition, the costs of healthcare, student debt, car loans, mortgage payments and even the cost of food. Ask the local clergy and community organization leaders who are inundated with calls and pleas for help. You can see by looking at the weekly mile-long lines of cars on Broadway to get food at the Lawrence Middle School that in far too many homes, there is a palpable fear of the future.
These are tough times and all our mayor has done is worked out secret deals to sell the home sites to people with whom he has personal relationships to build an adults-only poorly planned indoor swimming pool complex for the country club that we do not need and cannot afford.
It was Daniel Goldstein who pressed the agenda and issues in this campaign, it was our team which spoke of our kids attending school on Zoom needing state of the art and centrally located playgrounds to play, the dangers of raising taxes in uncertain and turbulent times, upgrading our local infrastructure and a wise response to rising local crime from the growing national social unrest.
At first our issues were mocked, then mimicked and then the rumors started, the signs started being stolen, bizarre secret “official” organizations emerged fearmongering about the risks of voting via absentee ballot in the midst of a global health crisis despite increasing numbers of our residents showing interest in voting at home, especially many older residents and finally several of those requesting absentee ballots were personally harangued by the mayor and his usual cadre of loyal bureaucrats.
The silliest rumor of them all is our party’s bogus link to the plans to develop the golf course. I am opposed to the 6th Town and so is our entire slate, Daniel Goldstein has always voted against the 6th town and has a better track record on the issue than anyone else in the race. In fact, it is Edelman’s proposal to develop the sewer plant which plays most conveniently into the Woodmere Club Developer’s hands with his proposal for building 8 homes on 3.5 acres versus the developer’s wishes to build 13 houses on 20 acres.
Edelman’s poor and detached judgment can also be seen like when he abruptly terminated RivLab’s, his defunct feces covered school bus business, which serviced thousands of local children. This act was mid-year, following complete pre-payment by local parents.
It was a travesty and left tons of families scrambling for transportation alternatives.
Adding insult to injury he stalled in re-paying the funds.
Responding to parent anger and fury about the mess, Edelman was quoted as saying, ‘all the checks went out, except a handful that have some discrepancies,’ adding with his usual dispassionate demeanor that, ‘I don’t need their money.’
Sadly, this management ethos permeates our village and has made life difficult for many of our local schools and institutions including HAFTR whose parent body and administration continues to suffer from Edelman’s obstinacy regarding streamlining pick-up and drop-off especially in the midst of the pandemic when staggering pickup and creative solutions are vital.
A mayor should work tirelessly with our local schools to assist in any way possible, not just those places where one is on the board, gives money or has personal relationships.
The village under Edelman is being mismanaged and is rife with corruption, consider the under the table all cash payments that were demanded by the tennis club in a bizarre and unprecedented email to its users. This email (attached below) was unethical and illegal, and it should have led to people being fired, especially the tennis pro Chris Morales who sent the email and likely pocketed money due to the village.
Or consider the village property that was given to a resident via the mayor free of charge, bordering his home at 375 Kenridge Road, despite the homeowner’s willingness to pay the village tens of thousands of dollars to purchase the property.
This campaign has focused too much on sideshows and not enough on the real issues at stake. On the surface Alex Edelman’s smile appears innocent, but behind this veneer is the record of a man who is unquestionably more interested in the prestige and power of being mayor than its actual role and daily responsibilities.
Bruce A. Backman
Candidate for Lawrence Trustee