Election South Orange

Letter: Mix the Lines in Voting for South Orange Trustees

To the Editor:

Any middle school biology student-or dog lover-can tell you mixed lines are stronger than single lines. Diversity brings the possibility of new strengths while exclusion allows minor recessive weaknesses to grow into chronic, congenital problems. No individual product of this process is responsible for it or even aware of it.  It is just how things work in the natural world. Our local governance is not immune.

Your coverage of the South Orange Board of Trustees race has been exceptional and allows anyone interested to find out where the candidates stand on the most talked-about issues of our community. Reading their positions and biographies it is clear South Orange can take pride in a slate of four top-notch candidates. It will be tough to pick only three, especially as they largely agree on the general direction for the community.

Three of them agree so much they are running on the same ballot line. This adds physical ease to the act of voting, but mentally, questions.

Principally, if the three candidates’ views are close enough for them to comfortably run on one ballot line, why does the town need all three? Will two voices, one third of the six seat board, be unable to represent their shared position where three would?

Is it wise to create a “Ballot Line” caucus of half the Board of Trustees? A situation in which such a caucus could join the Village President to pass or change any ordinance they wish, creating a village government of, in reality, just three; this ballot line, the President, and Other?

Those experienced in the current government have a proven set of skills, bringing South Orange to the tipping point of change. With the village now on the other side is that exact skill set the same needed to ensure this snowballing change continues in a direction which benefits all within the borders of South Orange?

And given four qualified candidates, all running for the right reasons, none with a disqualifying trait or remark, doesn’t it make sense, all things being nearly equal, to mix the lines? The pedigree of our village leadership is distinguished but narrow. A new voice may add new strengths to the already robust constitution of our community which will no doubt be represented ably by two of the remaining, more experienced candidates.

Don Wood
Academy Heights, South Orange

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