LETTER: Adams & Cripe Are ‘Deeply Committed’ to Building Inclusive Community With Focus on Environment

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Three candidates are running for two Maplewood Township Committee seats in 2024: incumbents Nancy Adams and Jamaine Cripe, and Malia Herman. The primary election is on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. The general election takes place on Tuesday, November 5, 2024. The deadline for submitting a Letter to the Editor for the Primary election is Tuesday, May 28, at 5 p.m. Read our Election Guidelines here. Read all of our Election Coverage here.

To the Editor:

I write to urge Maplewood Democrats to once again put their trust in Nancy Adams and Jamaine Cripe when they cast their two Township Committee votes in the June 4 primary.

I’m a new homeowner in Maplewood. My wife and I chose this community because it values inclusiveness for all and supports environmental sustainability. Perhaps I’m out of place as a newcomer offering opinions to others, but I believe that new residents have an obligation to become informed and to get involved. I want to encourage everyone—but particularly younger voters and newly-registered voters who may not have voted in past Democratic primaries—to study the candidates and issues and vote by June 4. I urge everyone to watch, as I did, the Hilton Neighborhood Association’s April 18
Candidates’ Forum (available on the Neighborhood Association Facebook page and on YouTube at tinyurl.com/3cfxap7b). And I ask everyone to visit the campaign website, AdamsCripeForMaplewood.com. After doing your research, I think you’ll find what I have—that Nancy Adams and Jamaine Cripe are deeply committed to building an inclusive community and focusing on the environment.

At the Candidates’ Forum, I found one of Jamaine’s answers particularly moving. When asked what Maplewood means to her, Jamaine said that she sees in it the possibility of realizing Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Beloved Community.” I wholeheartedly agree, and I believe that through sustained effort, and with the right leadership, we can move Maplewood closer to that ideal.

As an environmental attorney, I know all too well the issues challenging New Jersey’s communities as we face more frequent and more severe storms. Mayor Nancy Adams has played a leading role in pushing for a stormwater utility to provide steady, annual funding for the vital infrastructure work necessary to repair and improve Maplewood’s storm sewers to handle more intense storms.

And these two candidates have remained committed to the environment, even when it may not be the most popular thing to do. At the March Board of School Estimate meeting, they voted “no” to the Board of Education’s request to borrow $4.8 million to completely replace Ritzer Field at Columbia High School with artificial turf. As was made clear at that meeting, the School District did not understand the flood hazards that would result from installing impervious turf, the requirements of NJ DEP regulations, or the attendant health hazards of their proposal. With turf, runoff from PFAS—aptly called “forever
chemicals”—would have further polluted the Rahway River and flooded surrounding areas, likely including the High School itself. Rather than take this flawed approach, Nancy and Jamaine are committed to showing that with proper grass field design and maintenance, our Township can make our grass fields more fully playable—just other communities do—and they are working to show that in DeHart Park.

This important Democratic primary is on June 4. Please join me in voting for incumbents Nancy Adams and Jamaine Cripe so they can continue their important work.

All the best,

Paul Stephan



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