LETTER: Hilton, Haskins & Brown Know How Government Works

by Lorraine Graves
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Dear Editor,

I am supporting the Hilton Haskins Brown team to serve as Trustees for South Orange for several reasons. The first is that they understand how government works and they know that the role and responsibilities of the position of Trustee don’t include the policy and operation of our schools.  Setting educational policy is reserved for members of the Board of Education.  Following that, they bring considerable individual strengths as candidates for Trustee.

Karen Hilton has served us well in her first term.  She has acted as Laison to the Senior Citizens Advisory Board, helping to encourage an important sector of our demographic to continue to live purposefully and to contribute to community programs and activities.  She was personally responsible for keeping the South Orange pool open and safely accessible to residents last summer, providing a very necessary respite from the heat as well as relief from the isolation of COVID.  She is the Chair of the Finance Committee and re-instituted the Citizens Budget Advisory Board during her term.  She deserves to have the chance to do more.

I have observed Bill Haskins in action through our work together on the Environmental Commission on which he serves as Chair.  In the time he has led this group, the number of projects undertaken has grown exponentially.  Some of these include a townwide public street and park tree survey, a project to stabilize the banks of the branch of the Rahway River, planting new trees in our town parks, participating in the Repair Café which occurs twice a year, resiliency planning, clean up of the Duck Pond, River Day, and improving the sustainability of Floods Hill.  He has worked with other departments such as DPW to increase community participation in recycling and to reduce contamination of materials collected.  He encouraged and coordinated comments from the Environmental Commission on every aspect of the draft town Master Plan and was an early supporter of the SO Reusable Bag ordinance.  He doesn’t just talk, he acts.  Look for Bill on any given Saturday morning with a group of volunteers from the Commission and beyond working around town on one of these projects.  His agenda is truly one of improving the quality of life in South Orange, and he will bring a consistent and much needed environmental voice to the Board.

Finally, although I do not know him well, I like what I see so far from Bobby Brown in his dedication to the South Orange Community Police Collaborative and his interest in promoting sports for the youth of this town.

Please come out and vote on May 11 for a team that is interested in and has demonstrated its ability to maintain and improve resiliency and quality of life for all residents of South Orange.

Lorraine Graves

South Orange, NJ

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