By Larry Gordon
It is unlikely that there will be a debate anytime soon between incumbent Mayor of the Village of Lawrence Alex Edelman and his challenger, Village Trustee Danny Goldstein.
These two men are both friends and well-meaning public servants looking out for the best interest of the residents of Lawrence. They just see some of the key issues differently.
Some of these issues were detailed in Aryeh Nisonson’s last piece on the matter and are enumerated in Mr. Goldstein’s ad that appears in these pages.
Two years ago, this newspaper endorsed Edelman for reelection against trustee Michael Fragin. We largely made our endorsement because in Lawrence, where trustees serve as volunteers and do commit significant time to the job, it has long been a tradition that people who choose to serve not be opposed for reelection as a courtesy and expression of gratitude for their service.
But sometimes there are just policy differences that people feel strongly about and that might be the case this time around. Everyone in a leadership capacity in government, regardless of the size, comes to that job with their own vision of what they would like to change and how they see the future.
One of the main disagreements between the mayor and Goldstein is regarding the now-vacant sewer plant property at the bottom of Rock Hall Road near Route 878.
Edelman supports the construction of eight single-family homes on the 3.8-acre site. This can result, the mayor said, in an income for the village of between $8 and $10 million. Goldstein supports considering other ideas, including selling the property to a developer who has offered $20 million and would build a complex similar to The Regency on Central Avenue.
Goldstein emphasizes that his focus is specifically on how to maximize village services and improve the infrastructure. Edelman has proposed and supports the building of a swimming pool complex at the country club that he says will be a great asset to families in the community. Goldstein believes there are more productive uses for the money that the mayor is not considering.
Goldstein says that there was a proposal the board heard about from a third party where the village would be able to purchase a beach club in Atlantic Beach that would serve the same purpose as constructing a pool and ancillary recreational facilities at the country club site. He claims that the board was not told about the idea or given the opportunity to vote on the beach club matter.
To gauge where the community stands on this issue, there will be a special public meeting of the board of trustees on Thursday, March 26, at 8 p.m. at the Lawrence Country Club. The residents of the village are asked to attend and to voice their opinions on how they see the matter as the board weighs the pros and cons of both proposals.
Lawrence officials have said that there will not be a public referendum on the matter and that this is just to ascertain whether there is a popular consensus one way or the other. Actually, it is a brilliant way to proceed, as very often elected officials lose sight of why thy have been elected to office — to pursue the will of the people.
The election for mayor of Lawrence will take place in mid-June, so quite a bit can happen between now and then on the local level. As enumerated in the past, there are other marked differences between the two candidates, with most of those issues centered on how best to expend the income that will be derived from the former sewer plant property.
Stay tuned for more in the weeks ahead.