This article originally appeared in TAPintoWestfield on Oct. 5, 2017
I’m running for Mayor because we pay too much in taxes and get too little in return. Since our current Mayor was appointed in 2005, property taxes to support municipal services have gone up 65 percent and non-tax revenue has stayed relatively flat. That means the Town has become increasingly reliant on property taxes to provide basic services.Read more
When I walk around downtown and speak with business owners and landlords who share their concerns about vacancies, parking and infrastructure, I ask myself — how did we get here? Why is our downtown fading when surrounding towns are thriving? There is so much to love, but we can do better, and should expect better.Read more
The letter to the editor originally ran in TAPinto Westfield.
As a 23-year resident, I’m running for mayor because we deserve better and can do better.
I retired from HBO as an executive vice president last year to pursue a new chapter in public service, motivated to honor my dad’s sacrifice as an Air Force pilot killed in Vietnam, and my mom’s resilience in raising three kids on her own.Read more
Since announcing my candidacy for Mayor of Westfield, I’ve met with Mayors Colleen Mahr of Fanwood and Nora Radest of Summit, as well as former mayors, officials and business owners from Cranford, South Orange, Morristown, and Princeton.
I’ve learned that many of our concerns in Westfield are shared by everyone: economic development, parking, taxes, town services, historic preservation, and practical housing options for all stages of life - to name a few. And while the solutions may vary, the underpinnings of success are all the same: transparency, collaboration, proactivity, and accountability.
Why wouldn’t we listen to our neighbors to learn how they’ve been successful (or not) in tackling our common challenges?
You’ve read about some of their success: Fanwood received $2M in state/county grants for parks, fields, and transit development; Cranford has a resurgent downtown driven by a politically diverse and proactive downtown management corporation; Summit is implementing a new, visionary master plan created with substantial input from the community over ten months.
After each conversation with them and you, I leave feeling energized about the opportunities for our community, and validated in my fight to realize Westfield's potential for all of us.
Being honest about Westfield’s challenges doesn’t make us weak, flawed, or less-than. It means we’re paying attention to opportunity, and eager to live a full-life in a vibrant town. We owe it to ourselves to go for it, and make our future bright.
The solutions to our challenges are all around us already. And we're lucky that many of Westfield’s residents are renowned leaders in sustainability, communications, architecture, entertainment, master planning, athletics, fiscal empowerment, the arts and more.
We need a leader who will invite these folks to the table, and put their talents to work for Westfield. It’s what I did as an Executive Vice President at HBO, and it’s how I will lead as your Mayor in Westfield.
Listening to residents, asking for feedback, and staying connected with leaders from neighboring towns takes time, proactivity, and patience. This is why I’ve committed to being your Mayor full-time, at no pay.
It’s time for full-time leadership in Westfield.
By BEN NANNA, BRINDLE FOR MAYOR
August 22, 2017 at 12:41 AM
How HBO’s quest to win the streaming wars became a binge-worthy drama as juicy as Game of Thrones.
This article from Fast Company features Shelley as well as her boss, Richard Plepler, and gives an inside look into Shelley's role at HBO, her accomplishments there, and the innovation she helped foster as a result of HBOGo and HBONow. This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Fast Company magazine and the original piece can be found here.Read more
Dear Friends, Neighbors and Fellow Westfield Residents:
As you may have heard, I am running for Mayor of Westfield. I look forward to getting to know many of you personally over the next six months, but until then, allow me to introduce myself beyond the formal bio.
I was raised the youngest of three girls and the daughter of an Air Force pilot and stay-at-home mom. When I was six, my life changed forever with a knock on the door at our Las Vegas home. An Air Force chaplain informed us that my dad's plane had been shot down over North Vietnam. He was killed in action one week before he was coming home. Though grief-stricken, my mom picked herself up, created a new life for us in Grafton, Virginia and eventually established a career for herself as a nutrition director for Meals-On-Wheels. The experience of losing my dad, and witnessing my mom’s resilient spirit, instilled in me a fierce independence, a strong moral compass and a fearlessness to challenge other people’s expectations of what is possible.
It was this same mentality that enabled me to win a full-tuition scholarship to University of Virginia, where I earned a varsity letter as manager for the football team. Yep, that’s right. I lettered in football at UVA. And more importantly, the football field is where I met my future husband, Kip, an offensive lineman on the Peach Bowl championship team. Kip works tirelessly as a volunteer to support Westfield kids. Offensive lineman that he is, he does it for the community, not the credit.
Kip and I eventually settled in Westfield and had three kids. Grace is a senior and Nora a sophomore at WHS; our son Nick is a sixth grader at Roosevelt. This is the only home they’ve ever known.
When I was 24, I landed a job at HBO, a place that provides boundless opportunities for someone like me who thrives in a culture that is fun, collaborative and constantly evolving.
Twenty years later, I became the first woman on the executive floor overseeing its $4.5 billion domestic subscription business. I had the chance to launch some of HBO’s most innovative products, but what I learned in the process was far more valuable: The best ideas come from the people you lead, not from the leaders themselves. This lesson is at the root of my leadership philosophy: (1) Be open about what’s going on; (2) Empower people to speak up and make decisions; and (3) Hold everyone accountable. Over time, I realized that this lesson is sorely needed beyond the world of media.
After 27 years at HBO, I left to pay forward the opportunities I have experienced. I am acutely aware that my good fortune was largely due to those who mentored me, took a chance on me or even just put up with me. I started a leadership consulting firm, got more involved in many non-profit organizations and became an active participant in our town.
Just as many of you have mentioned to me, I’ve noticed with concern the vacancies in town. It hit home when Thinka Dinka – the toy store where my daughter worked — closed in January. I started asking questions about the vision for a new downtown. In my quest, I realized that our town is at an inflection point where we need to pivot from our past success toward an innovative future; a moment that requires a new type of collaborative leadership, one that is transparent with citizens, empowers them to be heard and establishes mutual accountability. Sound familiar? It dawned on me that in pursuit of more meaningful work, the greatest opportunity to make a difference was in my own backyard.
The decision to run for mayor was not an easy one. I cherish my life in Westfield, where I can be a mom on the sidelines wearing yoga pants and a baseball cap without fear of judgment. Why give up the safety of that anonymity? Then my 18-year-old daughter reminded me of what I always say: Take the challenge; Defy other people’s expectation; Do what you can to help. Of course, she is right — kids often are. That’s why I am proud to participate in the resurgence of the town I love, ensuring that future residents can experience the same special community I did.
I am honored to be running with four equally committed Westfield residents — Linda Habgood, Michael Dardia, David Contract and Dawn Mackey. We intend to run the type of campaign that models for our kids what our community does best: Treating each other with kindness and respect. We are incredibly grateful for the dedication and service of all our elected officials, who are driven by the same desire to make a difference. As we get to know you in the coming months, we will work to earn your support for the opportunity to serve this community over the next four years.
I would love to meet you in person at my kick-off reception at Ferraro’s (14 Elm Street) on Thursday, May 4, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Also, please join me on this journey by following me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I look forward to seeing you around town or on your doorstep.
August 13, 2017 at 10:01 PM
By WESTFIELD TOGETHER
Westfield Together, the Democratic slate of candidates running for council and mayor in Westfield want to know — are you voting?
- November 7 - Election Day! Polls open 6 a.m.
- October 17 - Deadline to Register to Vote
- October 31 - Deadline to apply by mail for Mail-in Ballot Deadline
- November 6 - Deadline to apply in-person for Mail-in Ballot
- Vote by Mail-In Ballot (Absentee Ballot) - DOWNLOAD HERE
- Are you registered to vote? - CHECK HERE
- Register to vote - HERE
- Where do I vote? - FIND OUT HERE
- Military and Overseas Voter Information - HERE
- Voter Bill of Rights - HERE
FOR ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS:
Address: 2 Broad Street, Room 113, Elizabeth, NJ 07201-2299
Office Hours: 8:30am-4:30pm, 908-527-4996/4997 (FAX) 908-558-2589
Commissioner of Registration
Clara T. Harelik
Address: 271 North Broad Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07208
Office Hours: 8:00am-4:00pm, 908-527-4123 (FAX) 908-527-4127 Website: ucnj.org/board-of-elections/
Board of Elections
Address: 271 North Broad Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07208
Office Hours: 8:00am-4:00pm, 908-527-4123 (FAX) 908-527-4127
Special thank you to the 77 Campaign Volunteers, the 19 #brindlebrigade Campaign Interns, and all our friends, neighbors and supporters who showed up to cheer and participate in the video!