Too frequently hopeful politicians resort to using fear and negative tactics to bully votes their way. Unfortunately, the residents of the Borough of Carteret have this kind of candidate running for Mayor this November, Republican Ken Freeman.
Mr. Freeman was kind enough to write an editorial for the Home News Tribune on July 24, 2010. In the editorial Mr. Freeman finally makes his plan clear for Carteret. However, calling his editorial a real plan is an overstatement.
If you were not fortunate enough to read it, allow me to summarize. Mr. Freeman provided us with his intimidating assessment of our national economy; while using ominous and perturbing language, he calls for everyone in any form of government to take pay cuts. According to Mr. Freeman, Congress should take a 20 percent pay cut, Governor Christie should take a 10 percent pay cut, and Carteret Mayor, Dan Reiman should take a 50 percent pay cut!
Mr. Freeman paints a morbid picture for the future of the residents of Carteret and the United States. There is no substance to his editorial, only vague, banal talking-points taken from the mainstream media.
We can all agree that families everywhere are experiencing the worst recession in decades, but calling for the Mayor to cut his pay by 50 percent is outrageous. For a moment, let us put our emotions aside and be reasonable. Will the Mayor’s 50 percent pay cut miraculously bring the country out of a recession? No, cutting the Mayor’s salary will not bring the recession to an end. Will the Mayor’s 50 percent pay cut bring back the millions of jobs lost in the country? No, The Mayor’s pay cut is not a Stimulus Package. Moreover, demanding lower wages for public officials is counter to economic recovery, something Mr. Freeman has so impetuously advocated.
Before Mayor Reiman, Carteret was at the mercy of part-time Mayors who, because of the $10,000 salary, had to take other jobs and place little focus developing Carteret. For years Carteret suffered from unpleasant stagnation. Incidentally, during this time the Republicans controlled Carteret. The residents of Carteret want a Mayor who is focused on governing, focused on providing oversight, and is focused on making Carteret more attractive for businesses. If we cut the Mayor’s salary, he will be too focused on taking outside jobs, thus affecting the efficiency of the Borough government. Everyone knows how difficult it is to do your best when you are trying to do two things at once.
Why would Mr. Freeman advocate ineffective and improvident policies? It is simple, Mr. Freeman is attempting to distract voters from the miraculous rebirth and progress Carteret is experiencing under Dan Reiman.
As a former candidate for council, Mr. Freeman should know council members do a lot more than just sit around council meetings. They meet with state and surrounding officials, pour through Carteret’s proposals, and most importantly they work diligently for the people. Thus, their $5,000 annual salary is a great bargain and has been the same salary for close to 20 years.
Residents of Carteret should not allow someone to exploit their anger and vulnerability. What Mr. Freeman is attempting to do is ride the pervasive wave of national pessimism right into the Mayor’s office without presenting any solid, concrete measures of what he would implement. Fear should never be enough to win an election. Mr. Freeman mentioned Franklin D. Roosevelt in his editorial but seems to be forgetting the words he spoke in the midst of the Great Depression. Reassuringly, F.D.R. proclaimed, “You have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” We should not let Mr. Freeman strike fear into our hearts.
Carteret does not need a leader who holds a view of doom and gloom; indeed, no Borough needs a pessimistic leader. Anyone can find fault where fault is absent. Only a real leader can see beyond the frivolous faults and focus on what is important, which is focusing on moving Carteret forward. We need a leader who is hard working, steadfast, and who believes in the future, like Mayor Dan Reiman.
Hopefully, Mr. Freeman will provide a coherent campaign platform, leaving out the fear and distractions.
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