Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Letter: Chumming for Votes with Red Herring

Editorial Note: Middletown Democrat for Township Committee Jim Grenafege has written a letter in response to one printed by Middletown Republican for Township Committee Anthony Fiore. Thanks for thinking of the Clamdigger for sending the letter in. Where it involves either Republican or Democratic perspectives, please feel free to send in letters anytime. -- The Management

To The Editor:

Anthony Fiore’s letter: “Police cuts put residents at risk”, June 8, is inaccurate and misleading. I never “urged” or “proposed” that the Middletown Township Committee reduce the size of our police force. I commented on costs and revenue generation; inquired if “layoffs” or “freezing positions” had been considered. I rigorously pursued how thoroughly head count had been analyzed and productivity studied.

Middletown Mayor Scharfenberger said he “looked to cut everywhere”, including “staff”; and he cited our police department as an example of productivity and efficiency. He commented on overall head count reduction of township staff through attrition that spanned several years. Township Attorney Reilly reiterated Scharfenberger’s comment regarding staff, which prompted me to ask if staff could be reduced further.

If one applies Fiore’s reasoning, then Mayor Scharfenberger’s consideration of everything, including staff, as a source of possible cost reduction infers proposing and urging reductions in the police force; therefore, the Mayor’s statements imply the safety of Middletown residents could be at risk. Most people would consider this an inane conclusion.

Critical inquiry and diligent examination of options, in the interest of promoting open and transparent government, is at the core of the democratic process. Encouraging participation in this process and supporting our police force are vital to the health of our community.

Fiore acknowledged he is in a contest with me for a seat on the Middletown Township Committee. It appears that he intentionally manufactured an issue in an attempt to gain that seat. This is disturbing. Even more disturbing is his use of our police force as a ploy to send a deceptive message. There are many real issues and challenges for Middletown that require open, honest and respectful discussion, and rigorous non-partisan debate and resolution. The public deserves not to be intentionally misled by a candidate, or any elected official.

Fiore chose misrepresentation as the means to self-serving ends. What is the cost of his chumming for votes with red herring; and who truly pays that cost?

James Grenafege

Locust/Middletown, NJ 07760

June 16, 2008

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