Vote shows Milltown officials in bad light

The voters in Milltown are being subjected to what that great comedian Norm Crosby would describe as “an aura of reek,” which aptly describes the aftermath of the rejection of Randy Farkas as the Borough Council replacement of recently resigned council member Sean Leary.

The very quick and obviously predetermined vote, with no pretense of discussion of the candidates, reflects poorly on the sensibilities of the sitting council members. The most recently elected councilman, who won his seat in the November general election by one vote after a second recount with the help of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization, lacked the decency and common courtesy to second Councilman Eric Steeber’s motion to nominate Mr. Farkas as the council replacement for Mr. Leary, even though he intended to vote in lockstep with the balance of the council members.

The grotesque perversion of local law that permits a Democratic council to choose from among Republican replacement candidates should be consigned to the nearest landfill.

Joseph Schmidt


Action serves personal, not boro, agendas

I was shocked to read that Republican Randy Farkas was overlooked by the Milltown Borough Council, which appointed Democrat John Collins to fill a vacant seat held by Republican Sean Leary (“Council’s Selection Met With Criticism,” Sentinel, March 16).

It’s disappointing to see “questionable politics” in such a small town.

Clearly the voices of the residents of Milltown were not heard. It seems only personal agendas, not the future of highly debatable issues such as the Ford Avenue redevelopment project, will benefit from this choice.

Kathleen Piscitelli


Price tag of land purchased too hefty for taxpayers

The recent court ruling awarding the Halper family nearly $18 million for their farm, seized by Piscataway Township, raises many red flags. While that amount is certainly justified by land values in New Jersey, it will be a significant drain on all taxpayers in Middlesex County.

The Middlesex County Freeholders’ decision to pay $7.5 million from the county’s open space trust is not a valid solution. It is unreasonable and unfair for county residents to shoulder the burden of this verdict. Taxpayers did not approve the open space trust to rescue a single, poorly planned and unnecessary condemnation of private property.

Furthermore, the Halper family’s fear that at some point this property will be turned over for development is likely. Without an open space management program, Piscataway continues to promote unchecked development.

Clearly, any reasonable assessment of the current situation leads to only one responsible solution – that the Halpers be given the opportunity to sell the farm’s development rights to ensure that the property will not be sold off for development in the future. Separating the easement from the fee simple is the only way to truly protect this 75-acre property, the last major open space in Piscataway. Any other type of arrangement would allow for politically connected developers to turn this massive taxpayer bailout into yet another boondoggle that benefits a privileged few at the expense of many.

One of the hallmarks of good leadership is the ability to reassess decisions and correct them when a better solution is available. If Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler and the county freeholders truly care about the taxpayers and voters of our county, they will show their leadership by stepping back – even at this late date – and reassessing the project.

I invite the town leaders and county freeholders to be honest with their intentions. If they really want the farm as open space, create an easement. Anything else will be business as usual.

Robert Spiegel

executive director

Edison Wetlands Associations