On this page find:
Grassroots Endorsements for the November 4 Election
A Report on our 2 County Candidate forums and how you can watch Issue-specific Forum Segments;
Plans for a BGR session on Municipal Transparency;
Do you have a Nomination for the Byron Baer Award on 12/11?
Bergen Grassroots, Inc. Endorses Roy Cho for Congress in 5th District,
incumbent Joan Voss and candidate Robert Avery for Bergen County Freeholder;
it reluctantly recommends a “no” vote on Public Question No. 2.
The Steering Committee of Bergen Grassroots, Inc. is recommending that Bergen County voters in the 5th Congressional District select Democratic candidate Roy Cho. BGR. Inc. is a non-partisan social welfare organization committed to transparent government led by officials chosen by well-informed voters. Cho has throughout this electoral season been willing to engage his constituents in dialogue about his views. Yet, no interactive public discourse has taken place among candidates in the 5th District because incumbent Scott Garrett accepted none of the invitations – including the one issued by BGR, Inc. – to participate in such events. Cho has articulated positions on a wide range of public policy issues such as are found in the Violence Against Women Act that are bedrock in a democratic society concerned with the welfare and civil liberties of its citizens. Garrett’s congressional voting record clearly indicates he does not support many such policies.
Two three-year terms will be won by the 2 top vote getters among the 4 candidates competing for seats on the county’s legislature, its Bergen County Freeholders Board. Bergen Grassroots endorses Democratic incumbent Joan Voss and Republican challenger Robert Avery. In BGR’s September 30 debate in which all 4 Freeholder candidates participated, these two candidates (Voss and Avery) more clearly than their competitors articulated positions on issues such as their own independence from government contractors and their willingness to be guided by views of immediately affected citizens on controversial issues.
BGR has very actively supported provisions and votes at all levels which provide support for public Open Space funding. Unfortunately, the convoluted constitutional amendment on Open Space presented to the voters on the November 4 ballot is much too rigid and takes money away from other important environmental programs. Reluctantly BGR recommends a “no” vote on Public Question No. 2 in hopes that a straight-forward and more generous mechanism can rapidly be found for funding this critically important work.
BGR is not endorsing either candidate for County Executive. BGR appreciates the willingness of the two able candidates competing for this key county role openly to debate their positions in this election season. But it finds the conduct and content of the two election campaigns to have unnecessarily obscured rather than illumined the data needed by an informed electorate.
Forums for Candidates for County Office:
On September 30 and October 2, Bergen Grassroots sponsored forums at the Teaneck Library Auditorium that involved all of the 2014 candidates for elected Bergen County office. They were the first County forums/debates of the year. Areas of both agreement and disagreement emerged in often feisty discussion. Both sessions have gotten extensive media and internet coverage.
The first session involved the 4 candidates (two Democratic incumbents & 2 Republican challengers) for the two open positions on the 7-member Bergen County Board of Freeholders (the county legislature). Then, an overflow audience attended a second spirited session featuring the two candidates for County Executive, incumbent Republican Kathleen Donovan and Democratic Freeholder James Tedesco. BGR, Inc is extraordinarily appreciative to the candidates for their participation and are grateful about the information about candidate views that emerged.
BGR, Inc. has built two new pages on our website where 3-6 minute video “issue” segments from each of these 2 forums can be watched. The goal is to allow you to see the candidates discuss/deba
te the issue(s) which are of greatest concern to you. The first page provides you with readily “clickable” issue segments from the Freeholders forum. Click here . The second one provides you with access to forum video segments that with a click allow you to watch and hear what the two County Executive candidates said about the County’s issues. Please click here. BGR has not yet made a decision as to whether to, and if so which, county candidate(s) it may, endorse in these two races.
Municipal Transparency in November: BGR plans the second in a series of efforts to explore how well – and through what kinds of innovations – some municipal governments in Bergen County are working to operate more transparently and on what issues transparency matters most to Bergen citizens. In August BGR began an exploration of how different governments (both county and municipal) are doing in making information available to their citizens. A major initial focus was the Monmouth College study which rated each municipal website in the state. But websites are only part of the story. The State itself now has a municipal “best practices” list and many of those practices focus on open process and governmental visibility. BGR will be seeking to bring to this meeting public officials and advocates who will describe their experiments and ideas for how best to make these openness processes work.
Byron Baer Award in December– This award is annually given to someone who has made a material difference in carrying out for today the commitments and legislative achievements (including the NJ open public meetings act that bears the name of Byron Baer) We are actively seeking input of BGR participants and readers of this website as to who should be the 2014 awardee. Click here on Monday October 20 to find out more about Byron Baer and how you can, before November 1 make nominations to the BGR Steering Committee that will ultimately select the 2014 Byron Baer awardee please click here. Award night will be Thursday, December 11 and will also provide us a chance to review this Bergen Grassroots year and anticipate the holiday season and a new year – and we will seek your input for what should be the 2015 BGR foci.