An Open Letter to the Residents of Atlantic Highlands
I find the allegations of my stepping down as the Democratic candidate to be the result of collusion quite an interesting concept, albeit absurd. Those who know me understand that I have devoted a very large portion of my life to our town. And I do not take lightly to be pressured by anyone. Least of all any established 'Political Party'. I chose to run because I felt the alternatives that were running on the Republican ticket were not in the best interests of the town of Atlantic Highlands. Had Lou and Jake received the backing of the Republican Party, I would not have run. In fact, I would have done as I have in the last many, many years -- I would have voted Republican.
However, they were not and so I decided to run and put in office someone who has worked hard for the town -- on BOTH sides of the aisle. Who puts party politics aside when it comes to our local community. Until I saw that Lou and Jake decided to do the same thing and run as independents.
As I wrote to the elections commission:
I believe that at this point in time, re-electing Lou Fligor and Jake Hoffman is in the best interests of the Democratic party. And the best for the town of Atlantic Highlands.
Therefore, I am withdrawing from the race effective immediately and will be pledging my support for Lou and Jake.
I sat in the meetings with the Democratic Leadership and I pushed for supporting Lou and Jake. At no time was I pressured, or threatened or made any back-room deals... Though at least one meeting was in the back dining room of the Diner if that has any significance. And I have not even spoken to former Mayor Rast other than to say hi as we passed on the street or during other Borough activities.
I find Mr. Leinsdorf's attributions to my motives grossly off-target, offensive, and as I have explained my feelings to him specifically face-to-face, quite incredulous.
I find that, while they are both good people, neither of the Republican candidates have shown a willingness to involve themselves in the workings of the town (how many times have they been to council meetings? Harbor meetings? Planning Board? Environmental Commission?)... Sometimes continuity is good, and people who understand the issues are more effective than hand-picked 'fresh faces' which will answer to the existing Republican Old Guard.
But continuity is not everything -- sometimes ineffectual and obstructionist partisans do need to be removed. And there is next year when the sitting Republican incumbents are up for re-election. I will be back, and I will make sure that we put in place folks who put Atlantic HIghlands above politics, who will move us forward, and will stop blocking all new ideas. Who will leave the finance committee and allow forward-thinkers to revisit their absurd financial thoughts.
Edward J Cetron