TAPintoWestfield: I Support Shelley Brindle for Mayor of Westfield

This article originally appeared in TAPintoWestfield on Oct. 7, 2017 

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I am a registered Republican. I am voting for Shelley Brindle. Let me tell you why.

First, I’d like to congratulate Andy on doing an excellent job as mayor these past 12 years. I have nothing but good things to say about him, but 12 years is a very long time. The status quo must be challenged, or we will lapse into complacency and fall behind the times.

After many conversations with Shelley Brindle, I am convinced she will improve the lives of residents and our business community. Shelley has the vision and leadership experience to return Westfield to its proper place as a premier town in our state, and our country. Yes, good things can get even better!

For me, the challenges we face downtown all stem from lack of adequate parking. Premium stores don’t want to open in town because there isn’t enough parking to support their business model. Consumers head for the mall, because they can’t park in town. Restaurants and other retail formats open and close quickly because shoppers and diners have no place to park. It’s been this way for decades. It’s time to do something — really do something — about parking.

These are solvable problems, but we have to be bold. Twenty years ago, Princeton turned a flat parking lot into condos, retail space, a parking garage, and a wonderful public plaza — all on favorable financial terms that continue to bring recurring revenue back to their town.

We need to be creative. In Summit, residents with commuter parking passes can receive Uber credits for rides into town, so they can leave their cars at home. In South Orange, grant money made possible a jitney service that makes trips to and from the train station. We need innovative ideas like these. We need smart development downtown that can solve our parking problem, while creating new sources of revenue (non-tax revenue!) for the town.

Our current strategy of raising revenue through strict parking enforcement, not only creates animosity, but is counter-productive, hurting residents and business owners. We need new leadership with a fresh perspective. Someone who is open to change and ready to work with residents to get things done. Shelley is a leader at the highest level of our society, in business, and soon in public life. Leaders who surround themselves with experts, (and listen to them), and push for growth and innovation while prioritizing transparency with their constituents, are the best leaders. That is Shelley Brindle.

In our meetings and calls, I challenged Shelley on her commitment to fiscal responsibility and I stand fully convinced that she wants to raise revenue, not taxes. Shelley has run a $4 billion business. She didn’t get to the top of the mountain at HBO by being a free spender. She’s the opposite of that. Shelley is fiscally responsible, with a track record of success, growth, and accountability. She will work for all of us. Please join me, fellow residents — Republicans, Democrats and independents — and support Shelley with your vote on November 7th.

Thank you,

Tony Cook

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