LETTER: Adams & Cripe’s Proactive Leadership Is Needed to Avoid Worst Impacts of Climate Disaster

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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:

Climate change is the defining issue of our time. There is no escaping it. The question is, will local government be proactive, or reactive, in responding to climate challenges?

I believe that right now, proactive leadership can save us from some of the worst impacts of climate disaster, and in so doing, can save us money and preserve our quality of life. I urge all Maplewood Democrats to vote in the June 4 Democratic Primary, casting your two Township Committee votes for incumbents Mayor Nancy Adams and Deputy Mayor Jamaine Cripe.

We have a lot to do and not much time to do it. Nancy Adams’ government and professional experience, her statewide reputation as an environmental leader, and her commitment and perseverance are key assets in this moment. Nancy is uniquely positioned to help Maplewood qualify for meaningful funds to manage stormwater, to mitigate extreme heat, and to accelerate the energy transition; she’s already moving ahead strongly on these, and she’s only been mayor for four months. As a long-time leader from the Lightning Brook community, Jamaine Cripe is an essential voice to make sure we will confront the climate crisis TOGETHER as a town. Jamaine’s neighborhood may in fact be “greener” than most (some residents are car-free), but because of its density is more vulnerable to stormwater runoff and heat island effects. Jamaine’s perspective allows her to identify both challenges as well as opportunities that no one else is seeing. She helps Maplewood make smarter decisions.

Our common green spaces are key aspects of our climate resilience. Nancy and Jamaine are supporting both youth athletics and environmental stewardship by investigating ways to make Maplewood’s grass fields more fully playable. They have interviewed successful managers of high-use, grass playing fields in nearby towns, identifying practices and expertise that can be brought here. They have applied for funding to address Dehart Field drainage problems deriving from extreme compaction of the subsoil during a faulty installation. They also support collaborating with other municipal leaders to identify, acquire and convert existing hardscape to an additional grass field.

A lot of this work is not glamorous. It takes vision to persist in taking the small steps (absorb the rain, improve the soil, plant the tree) that will increase our climate resilience. It takes courage to stand up against political pressure demanding false solutions (like artificial turf, that would burden us instead with PFAS, unrecyclable plastic, and unending debt). Nancy Adams and Jamaine Cripe are true servant-leaders of vision and courage, equal to the challenge of our times. Please reward them with your votes.

Jane Conrad
Former Seth Boyden parent and gardening teacher
Former Director of Programming, Battery Park City Parks Conservancy

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