Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.
TO THE EDITOR:
Thank you, Mr. Caffrey, for sharing your letter of Feb. 17th with the public. Your own words speak volumes about how you view your constituents (as children wanting trophies???) and how you approach your work as an elected official (belittling those who disagree with you).
If anyone wonders whether this is a one-time rant from Mr. Caffrey, it’s not. As one of a handful of residents who attend the meetings of the Morris Township Committee on a regular basis, I’ve seen this kind of outburst many times.
The venom, the sarcasm, the inaccuracies, the hypocrisy, the condescension, the stereotyping – none of this is new. What IS new is Mr. Caffrey’s willingness to share such a full-blown display of it with a wider audience. And people are noticing — finally.
Many may wonder: Where is all this vitriol coming from?
To my view, this is just the latest skirmish in a battle I’ve been waging for years: The battle to break down the barriers of an entrenched, top-down power structure and expand citizen participation in our local government.
Mr. Caffrey and I are definitely on opposite sides of that battle. Our greatest flare-ups over the years have come when his autocratic “I know best what citizens want” style comes in direct conflict with my efforts to prove that there are plenty of citizens in our community who want something different than what HE says they want.
I admit: Mr. Caffrey’s “noise” comments at the Dec. 21 meeting pushed my buttons. The arrogance. The rudeness. The entitlement. NEVER have I editorialized when posting anything on my You Tube channel. But when the then-mayor of your town thinks it’s OK to publicly ridicule resident concerns as “NOISE,” it’s time for a little pushback from “his subjects.”
To anyone who’s offended by Mr. Caffrey’s views and does not feel well represented by his approach, my advice is to put your concern into ACTION:
Show up at the regular meetings of the Township Committee. Ask questions. Make suggestions. Express your concerns.
Press the Committee members to explain their views re: The widespread call from residents across the county — including Morris Township – for Congressman Frelinghuysen to participate in a Town Hall and answer residents’ concerns directly. Their encouragement could be helpful. Are they willing to help? How well do their views represent yours?
Take my advice (which Mr. Caffrey singled out for attack) and get educated about what’s going on with the Master Plan review.
Take heart: Only in Morris Township is a call for public participation in such an important community process condemned by officials like Mr. Caffrey as some type of conspiracy. Show up at the Planning Board meetings and declare yourself (by your presence alone) a proud “co-conspirator” in this process.
Subscribe to my You Tube channel: Friends of Televised Access in Morris Township. Watch whatever parts of the meetings you’re interested in. This is a great way to keep informed if you can’t attend the meetings in person.
If you find that Mr. Caffrey’s letter activates your “Age of Trump” concerns, you’re not alone.
Mr. Caffrey has done a fine job of highlighting the parallels between the local battle against autocracy that been going on for years and the national battle against autocracy the Age of Trump has unleashed.
One last reminder to Mr. Caffrey: Americans expect their elected officials to represent their concerns, not demean them. Your Feb. 17th letter is yet another glaring example of comments that are beneath the dignity of your office.
Not only do we expect better of our elected officials; we deserve better.
Chair, Morris Township Democratic Committee