April 22, 2007

Freeholder Sulli is a Bird Brain

At the last meeting of the Board of Union County Democrat Committee Chosen Freeholders I made a public comment about the public not being made to feel welcome at county public meetings.
Freeholder Sullivan either ignored or didn't comprehend anything I said and during his closing comments (they never respond to you when your at the microphone and can defend yourself) the bully went on a rant about Elizabeth being a safe place for people to visit.
Safe for whom I wondered? For Freeholder Sullivan who drives from his house in Elmora, which is the safest neighborhood in Elizabeth due to the fact that all the Elizabeth politicians live there, and then parks his car underneath the County Administration building? His feet never touch the streets in Elizabeth where violence is reported daily.

Freeholder Sulli insulted every Elizabeth Police Officer that puts their lives on the line protecting citizens by disregarding the dangers that naturally go along with a big city where many people live in poverty. Sulli and his partners obviously don't see nor care about the poverty in Elizabeth either.

My comment went something like this:

I attended swearing in ceremonies in three separate municipalities this past January and read about several more. All had at least one elected official thanking citizens for coming out to the first public meeting of the year and asked them to please stay involved. They were very inviting and stressed that government is “of the people” and can only serve the people best when people had an interest in it.

I have never heard a Union County Freeholder encourage a resident to stay involved. They’ve never appeared to be happy to see me walk into a meeting or up to the podium to make a public comment, that’s for sure. Public comment is just for commenting. Freeholders have stated, time and time again, that they do not answer questions at meetings.

The county website, which has cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to date and is maintained by the million-dollar public information department staff, does not have directions to the County Administration building. Their directions will get you to the Courthouse but not the building where freeholder meetings are held in the evening at 7pm. There is no information on where to park your car either.

Elizabeth is a very intimidating place to many people across the county. (I interjected that I wasn’t afraid to walk the streets of Elizabeth.) I personally know some Elizabethans who don’t like to go out at night. There is no parking on the street outside of the administration building. There is parking a block away and around the corner, which you will have to find yourself, and then you will have to walk the dimly lighted streets with no security around. The extensive security staff is all inside the administration building, protecting the administration.

Couple this with the fact that citizens are routinely harassed by freeholders after making public comments and at best are ignored by them, and you get a government that isn’t anywhere near a welcoming neighborhood “of the people”.

If it were an open government that encouraged and welcomed citizen involvement there wouldn’t be a need for a Union County Watchdog Association. We’d simply have good county government. With one-party rule and a disenfranchised citizenry, I don’t see the county neighborhood, which controls approximately one quarter of our tax bills, changing anytime soon. The watchdogs will have to stay on duty.

Freeholder Sulli stayed true to form and during his closing comments he didn’t address the fact that the county website gives the wrong directions, or that the public has no where close by to park despite there being empty county employee parking in abundance all around the building. Instead he ignored all the issues I raised and harassed me for making these comments. He ranted “I am highly offended by Mrs. Renna’s comments about Elizabeth isn’t safe! You are all safe here in Elizabeth!”.

Poor Sulli, he obviously doesn’t have the intelligence to be highly insulted by what I really said. His million-dollar public information department can’t even give the public correct driving directions.