RAHWAY — New Jersey Monthly Magazine dropped Rahway from #400 on its rating of ‘best places to live’ in the Garden State in 2010 to #500 last year, close to the bottom of the list, which included only 514 municipalities.
Democratic mayoral candidate James J. Devine said the city’s dramatic fall reflected a decline in the quality of life here since the end of former Mayor Jim Kennedy’s tenure as chief executive and current municipal leaders’ failure to adapt to new economic conditions created by the Great Recession.
“City Hall is plodding along through this treacherous reality wearing blinders to the altered dynamics of our global economy,” said Devine. “The dangerously insipid captains of municipal government blindly approve new construction in our downtown without accounting for the cost of stockpiling so many vacant housing units and without demanding a fair return to taxpayers in exchange for indiscriminate zoning approvals, PILOTs and abatements.”
“There is going to be a heavy price to pay, but the decline is living standards has already become apparent to the editors at New Jersey Monthly Magazine,” said Devine, who managed all of Kennedy’s re-election campaigns.
Devine is seeking to unseat the councilman appointed to fill the spot when Mayor Richard Proctor resigned in September, ending a tumultuous 32 months in office, in the June 3 Democratic primary election.
His opponent, interim mayoral appointee Samson Steinman, recently became employed as the Hillside township administrator after about ten years as a councilman.
Steinman notoriously proclaimed, “I am confident that we are moving in the right direction” during his report on the condition of Rahway in February but Devine said a 60 percent increase in taxes on the average homeowner, combined with a one-third reduction for Merck, high unemployment, a record number of foreclosures, declining property values and ineptitude in government signal a clarion call for drastic change.
“Rahway’s almost rock bottom rating in New Jersey Monthly Magazine’s ‘best places’ list is just one more piece of evidence that suggest whether voters can afford more of the same kind of stunted, uncaring leadership or if this is a time for change,” said Devine, who is running under the slogan “Democrats for Change.”
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