Month: November 2018

#FactsMatter: About Those Mailers…

The toxic political atmosphere in Washington DC is in danger of becoming a reality here in Berkeley Heights. Rather than campaign on the issues, the Woodruff-D’Aquila-Greco team has resorted to scorched-earth, disgusting character attacks on Angie Devanney. We have now confirmed that the Woodruff-D’Aquila-Greco team has received over $4,000 in contributions from the New Jersey Republican State Committee, donated in the form of the recent mailers that have used these DC-style tactics to try and win this election.

Berkeley Heights deserves better than this brand of win-at-any-costs politics. We need to bring our community together, not divide it, for that is the only way we can move forward together. The choice made by our opponents in embracing this toxic campaign strategy makes it abundantly clear that new leaders are needed in order to bring us together, and put a stop to the political tactics that try to tear others down in the pursuit of victory.

In case you want the real facts about what was said in these mailers, here they are:

  • Being a lobbyist: So what? Mr. Woodruff, as an attorney, knows full well that it is illegal for any governing body member to personally benefit from doing business with the Township. To be perfectly clear: Angie’s company does not, can never, and will never do business with the Township of Berkeley Heights. We have said this several times before. 
  • Full disclosure – She’s committed to it. Is the current TC?: Angie has committed to disclosing all of her clients to the Township Attorney, who determines when and if any conflicts arise. A promise the Mayor with regards to his law firm’s client list as well as all other members of the governing body have not made the same pledge.
  • Conflicts of interest: Angie will resign from any volunteer organizations which she serve on so that no one can ever question her integrity or intentions to serve and protect the taxpayers of Berkeley Heights. These practices would serve to give the public some comfort that our Governing body was acting in the best interests of taxpayers and not some outside organization. Had this been the current practice, residents might not be questioning Council votes regarding the downtown redevelopment and the new Municipal Complex, including the fact that the Council which he presides over was determined to have voted while having a clear and undeniable conflict of interest by the Courts. Similarly, the current Township Attorney, the son of the mayor of Warren Township, worked on a sewer agreement despite his apparent conflict of interest. Yet our own governing body did not stand up and insist that their own attorney recuse himself from any dealings with Warren Township.
  • That ‘outrageous’ contract: Angie provided public and government relations assistance to Union County College to obtain State and County funding to help relieve the cost on working families to put their children, or themselves, through college.
  • About “working side jobs running political campaigns”: All political campaign work was 100% volunteer, much like the work happening with our volunteers here in town for this campaign. There are no out-of-state political consultants, or outside consultants of any kind running our campaign. Per the raises, raises are typically given to people who are awesome at their jobs. Angie was awesome in that job, and will be awesome in this one.
  • Angie proudly served as the Union County Open Space Trust Fund Administrator, saving 100 acres of land, 7 years ahead of schedule including Snyder Avenue Park. Authored the Kids Recreation Trust Grant, Greening the Streets and Historic Preservation grant programs, which the current governing body did not apply for in 2010, 2011 or 2013.
  • Angie has been active in the Union County Women’s Democratic Club as a co-founder encouraging mentorship of your women and encouraging women to run for office.
  • That ‘boondoggle’ they keep bringing up: Angie worked on the professional team for the $60 million Recreation center and early childhood school in Roselle to create a Private Public partnership saving taxpayers. Currently, the Borough is paying out $1 million in lease payments for classroom space that is detrimental to children. The size and scope of the project was determined by the municipality and the Board of Education, not the developer or his team, similar to the municipal complex project in Berkeley Heights. More facts on this here.
  • Angie did not participate in any pay-to-play activities with Birdsall Engineering, a now defunct company that was illegally using false payees to reimburse their employees.




Solar on the New Municipal Building Would Save Berkeley Heights Taxpayers Money

Solar on the New Municipal Building Would Save Berkeley Heights Taxpayers Money

Thank you for doing such great research on the benefits and costs of solar panels on our municipal complex, Howard!!!

By Howard Lee

During the mayoral candidates’ debate, our mayor said there was no plan to install solar power on the new municipal building because it was “too expensive.” In reality it would save taxpayer money. Here’s how:

I reached out to several solar industry professionals, and they told me that the municipal building roof could host enough solar panels for a 141 kW system that would generate, here in NJ, on a southeast-facing roof, about 183,000 KWh/year. The town budgets about $335,000 in electricity spending (2017 budget), a significant portion of which would be offset by a solar power system. Exactly how much depends on the financing.

A lease with $0 down, which saves taxpayers the least money but removes the need to find funds to purchase the roughly $340,000 system, would save taxpayers around $6,400 in year one, around $7,000 in year 2, with rising savings over time as grid electricity becomes more expensive, amounting to approximately $400,000 over 20 years. A fully-owned system (eg through a loan paid back by savings on electricity bills) could save more than $20,000 in year one, rising to roughly $55,000 per year after 20 years, saving a total of about $750,000 in the system lifetime. These estimates apply even though municipalities can’t reap the same tax incentives afforded to residential and commercial solar customers.

It doesn’t have to stop there.

The electricity savings could be multiplied by adding solar car ports (you can see examples in the L’Oréal office near Lifetime Fitness) and/or by putting solar panels on other township roofs, like the wastewater treatment plant. There is even the possibility of “Community Solar” in which our community can collectively subscribe to solar electricity generated by the town. And… it’s clean energy that could save around 100 tons of CO2 emissions each year from the municipal building alone, a small but necessary contribution to the reductions needed to preserve the environment for our kids.

I support Angie for Mayor, and Stephen and Alvaro for Council, because I know they won’t leave a stone unturned to save taxpayer money and preserve a future for our children.

Originally published in Tapinto Berkeley Heights