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Has Honeywell Project Gotten Too Political?

One committee candidate (and member) makes a detailed rebuttal of suggestions he's been involved in politicizing the issue

As the Morris Township Planning Board continues , the conversation about the project has been heating up. Groups have formed to oppose the project, and haven't been shy about stating concerns it could hurt traffic, the environment or Morris Township's quality of life.

In a statement sent to Patch, former Morris Township Committeeman (and current committee candidate) Ron Goldberg says he's been accused of politicizing the issue—and that the accusation is dead wrong. So we want to know: Do you think Goldberg has politicized the issue? Have others? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Officials and candidates: We'd like to know what you think, too. Statements can be sent to Morris@Patch.com, or you can jump into the comments section below to share your throughts.

Goldberg's statement is as follows:

Ron Goldberg has been accused of politicizing the Honeywell “application”. In the following statement, he provides four reasons this is a false accusation. He also explains his part in the public conversation about the Master Plan Amendment now in its public comment period.

“First, there is NO application, and therefore Honeywell is supposed to have the same status as every other citizen. However, public comment sessions are now being held on amending the Master Plan of Morris Township, a document that belongs to and affects the life of every citizen. Authority to change the Master Plan rests by law solely with the Township’s independent Planning Board, and is not supposed to be controlled by a single land owner. However, many who approach the microphone at comment sessions are expressing their lack of confidence that the Planning Board is independent or that current trajectory will lead to an amendment which benefits the entire community in a balanced way. Also, officials who speak of this land-use issue like it’s already a done deal further alarm the residential public.

Second, Governor Christie politicized local master planning by inserting State tax incentives dollars into the conversation months before I, Ron Goldberg, left office at the end of 2010 and later entered the November 2012 Morris Township Committee race.

Third, I cannot control who wants to politicize an issue. My opponent attacked as soon as the June Primary ballot petitions were in, and I became a candidate. The attack by my opponent politicized the master planning process. Everything candidates say and do is political in the eyes of the public, and it cuts both ways.

After leaving office, during 2011 and 2012, I continued to help citizens and groups understand how to interact with their government and get their government to help when they have concerns or needs. I will continue doing so. That’s not politics. That’s service.

Fourth, I’ve attended most Planning Board meetings held during the last 6 years, and most public meetings relating to the Honeywell tract. I truly believe and have told all sides and individuals that a win-win can be achieved if the right flexibility is designed into the master plan amendment. That’s the stage we are at now and the best place to assure there are good bones. From there, a good zoning law can be written. For that to happen, all sides must want to achieve that win-win. Such is not now the case. The final proof that I have been objective and not simply political is that all participants and both County Republican and Democratic parties are annoyed with me for suggesting they are not totally right nor is their opposite side totally wrong.”

Ron Goldberg

Jeanne April 10, 2012 at 05:05 PM
I have not been following the Honeywell issue as closely as others. I am sure there are plenty of facts that I am missing. I also know there are people who feel quite passionately about the subject and that they want to preserve the quality of life they currently enjoy in the township; I am glad that they are organizing themselves and speaking up as concerned citizens. Having now spent 12 years living next door (literally) to the mid-town direct horn, I would gladly embrace a compromise (I agree, the original plan was way too much) if it means a quiet zone could be built into the master plan. For our family, that has been a SIGNIFICANT stressor on our quality of life, far more than extra traffic ever could be. The horns impact our sleep, our conversations, and I'm sure, our hearing. And no, we haven't gotten used to them. The horns not only affect us, but others in a "nice" neighborhood and the people that use the traction line as well. I don't know that I have an opinion if things have gotten too political. I very much appreciate it, however, if people could put their heads together to come up with a plan that benefits everyone, not just aim for the status quo.
Michelle Herman April 11, 2012 at 05:12 PM
If a compromise could be met, it would be beneficial for Morristown and Morristownship to be friendly to a large company such as Honeywell. In times when companies are moving out of NJ or to other municipalities such as Hanover Township, which does have a tract available that would be very beneficial to keeping their property taxes at a better rate, we should think of the good of everyone living here not the few people in the Historical District. We should put the politics aside, if that is the issue. Let's remember that Morristown was the "capital of the American Revolution" and if our founding fathers thought the way a small section of the population is thinking, we still might be subjects of the King of England. Let's enter the 21st century with a compromise: Preserve the past, Maintain and improve our town if discussion with Honeywell is the thing, and Provide for the future.

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