Rahway Can’t Afford More “Business As Usual”

I was disappointed earlier this month when I read Mayor Kennedy’s address to the city of Rahway.  In the middle of economic uncertainty, many Rahway residents are struggling to pay high taxes, sewer, and water bills.

Yet the mayor’s remarks reflected a career politician treating Rahway’s situation like “business as usual.”


Kennedy stated that the downtown economy would now be “based on the arts” and that he would be spending more tax dollars. That’s nothing new for the Kennedy machine; after 20 years in power he and his sock puppet council have made spending tax dollars an “art form.” Significant amounts of money are wasted on the repetitive digging up of streets and sidewalks downtown and parking meters being put in and taken out.

What the Mayor didn’t say is when his developer friends will finally finish these projects and start paying off their delinquent taxes. Year after year, promises are made but nothing is completed. Instead the mayor gave a vague outline of some of the same failed policies that have made the downtown an endless “money pit” for our tax dollars.

It is important to support the arts and cultural endeavors, but the mayor wants us to believe that a working class town like Rahway will suddenly become an arts hub? I think the responsible plan would be to finish the other projects that Kennedy and his 9-0 Democratic council have already spent millions of tax dollars on in the past decade.

The great recession is certainly not the Mayor’s fault, but his party has been in control of Rahway for 40 years and it is “his” economic plans that have failed to work in Rahway. Tour the downtown area and other parts of Rahway to see all of the unfinished buildings and blocks of empty store fronts. Just in the last two months, many businesses have failed or closed including the Mayor’s former restaurant, David Drakes.

Now the mayor wants to build an outdoor amphitheater with more tax dollars? Only to be used three months out of the year?  Don’t we already have the Union County Arts Center?

The County of Union paid $8 million in tax dollars to install air conditioning in UCAC on Irving Street and yet it is closed in the summer.

These are the types of government schemes people are tired of. Recent election upsets in NJ and Massachusetts show people want accountability from government, not more of the same.

I lived in Linden for many years and Mayor John T. Gergorio never avoided the tough questions from the public. He attended every Linden council meeting. Mayor Kennedy doesn’t take time to attend city council meetings during the year to take questions from the public. Considering the amount of money we have at stake in all of these projects, I find it disingenuous that Rahway’s mayor avoids the public’s questions.

Maybe he could answer this one.

The downtown in Rahway has a 16-story apartment complex not even one-third filled, can the mayor guarantee the public before he runs for re-election that these empty apartments won’t become Section 8 housing?

His development ideas have already caused a sizable strain on city services as well as our educational system.  The Mayor and his redevelopment team told Rahway taxpayers for years that building expensive apartments was the plan for our city, but empty lots and empty apartments are the norm instead.

Now he wants to spend more tax dollars?

The voters in Rahway should remind Mayor Kennedy   “It’s about the Taxpayers “. After 20 years, his actions show that he has forgotten us and should not be rewarded with another term as Mayor of Rahway.

Kevin Retcho

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