Panos fights partisan politics, tax increases, corruption

Your Turn

Pete Trabucco

Guest Column

Like most residents in Old Bridge, I am pretty tired of seeing another strip mall and housing complex go up in the center of our town. I think we can all agree that under Mayor Jim Phillips and a Democratically held Township Council, there has been a major increase in the construction of such complexes in our area. And from the looks of it, there seems to be no end in sight.

Luckily for the residents of Old Bridge and Ward 6, there has been a shining star on our local council. A fighter who comes prepared and ready to battle partisan politics, pay-to-play, tax increases and township corruption issues wherever and whenever they arise. Lucille Panos (along with Rich Greene) has spent many years on the council making sure your hard-earned tax money gets used for the betterment of the township and is not put in the hands of some developer looking to make a quick buck.

All one has to do is come to the council meetings at town hall on Monday nights or watch Lucille at the meetings on cable television to see what she really stands for. She fights for the town and makes sure the residents get a voice at these meetings.

Last year, Lucille fought long and hard against the commercial-office-industrial (COI) project, which would have been a 1,529 acre commercial- industrial rezoning fiasco for the township. Thanks to her efforts, COI is now a dead project and the land is safe from greedy land developers.

Lucille also fought to keep the Crossroads project from taking place. This would add another 750-1,000 homes to our area.

The amazing thing here is that she made sure there was a resident open-house forum to fight this project while still being a minority player on a council.

With 90 percent of the community against the Crossroads project, the council overruled Lucille and the people’s wishes and passed the ordinance anyway. But thanks to her tireless efforts to give the public a chance to speak up, at least we all knew what the council was up to. If Mayor Phillips and the majority of the council had their way, this would have never happened and the ordinance would have zipped right through without any resident knowing of this occurrence.

Folks, this is a council majority that voted for this Crossroads ordinance anyway, against its constituents’ wishes, so it would love nothing more than to see Lucille replaced by another party-line patriot in Ward 6. This would, of course, make it impossible for a checks-and-balance system to be put in place on our council and make our local government mirror that of our county government (and of our local freeholders). In this system, our elected freeholders simply listen to their freeholder president and vote party line across the board, regardless of the consequences for the people. I don’t think I have to tell you we should avoid that scenario altogether in Old Bridge.

So, I will say that thanks to Lucille, I know my voice is being heard. I know she will fight for my community and will not let the special-interest groups take hold of Ward 6.

I strongly urge you to re-elect Lucille Panos next month. I also urge you to vote Republican down the line this November so that more people like Lucille can be given the opportunity to directly speak for the people of Old Bridge.

Pete Trabucco is a resident of Old Bridge