Why Are We Running?
At the local level everyone wants the same things: public safety, well kept roads, trash picked up on time etc, but what sets us apart is that we've prepared legislation requiring significantly greater transparency in government, and we have the experience to avoid some of the costly mistakes made by others. We intend to be a part of the community - not just help govern it.
An End of Play-to-Play
Americans increasingly feel unrepresented by government, and they are largely right to feel that way. What's now famously referred to as "the Princeton Study" definitively illustrated that public opinion has a “near-zero” impact on law in the United States. But when it comes to corporations and large donors, their interests directly drive policy. Why is that?
The short answer is, "Money in Politics". Politicians govern to the benefit of the people that paid to put them, and keep them in power. This dysfunction is an open secret in State and Federal Politics, but it even affects us all at the municipal level. Why do out of town corporations write five figure checks to municipal candidates in a town that they're not based in, and unconnected to? It's to buy influence.
Unlike their partisan opponents, Gabriel Franco and Shaun Moran reject money from corporate donors and only fund their campaign with clean money and hard work. They seek to have Little Egg Harbor join other municipalities across New Jersey that have passed resolutions calling for the State legislature to limit the influence of unregulated donors, and promote transparency and fairness throughout the election process.
Attendees to public Township Committee Meetings will invariably find that Committee Persons routinely recuse themselves or abstain from voting because of conflicts of interests. This is not in itself inappropriate, but the public is never told the nature of the conflicts, and because the entire committee is made up of members of a single party, legislation is largely rubber stamped without challenge or inquiry. This is unhealthy in a democratic republic and leads to self-dealing at tax payer expense.
Gabe and Shaun propose legislation that would compel Committee Persons to disclose the nature of any conflicts of interests for the record during public committee meetings whenever they intend to recuse themselves. They also propose significantly strengthening the Municipality's anti-corruption legislation.
Additionally, they would like to see the Township’s budget published on the Township website in a searchable format so that the public can see where their tax dollars are going. Presently, these records are only available in person and by appointment only.
Reducing Government Waste
Taxpayers in Little Egg Harbor are on the hook for many mistakes and oversight issues in our government. From hundreds of thousands of dollars related to FEMA Sandy Relief that should have been forgiven, to costly legal settlements, and even public resources being used for private benefit. Gabe and Shaun seek to prevent this kind of waste in the future and work with our Congressional leaders in forgiving the Townships Federal Loans.
Additionally, Gabe and Shaun point to several local statutes which cause an undue burden on Little Egg Harbor families and home owners including excessive permitting fees, draconian curfew laws and other unnecessary regulation. Electing Gabe Franco and Shaun Moran will bring a fresh pair of eyes to Little Egg Harbor Government.
UPDATE: On September 30th, President Joseph Biden signed the "Continuing Resolution to continue operations" until December, 2021. The resolution includes a provision to cancel outstanding balances related to FEMA disaster that forgives more than 4 million dollars owed by Little Egg Harbor Township.
Improving Public Spaces
Gabe Franco and Shaun Moran intend to improve Little Egg Harbor Township’s public spaces to the benefit of all who enjoy them. As Township Committeemen, Gabe and Shaun will take advantage of State and Federal funds to have the Township install more sidewalks and bike lanes along Little Egg Harbor’s busiest thoroughfares in order to beautify and enhance our public spaces, and make our town safer for pedestrians and riders alike.
Similarly, they will seek to expand and improve the Edward Thornton Little Egg Harbor Community Center and expand Veterans Park, transforming them into neighborhood hotspots that will host more community activities, events, and festivals.
Preventing Overdevelopment and Preparing for Natural Disasters
Hurricane Sandy and, most recently, Tropical Storm Isaiah each proved that Little Egg Harbor Township must act to mitigate the impact of future hurricanes, tropical storms, and other potential natural disasters. Gabe and Shaun believe that the Township cannot continue to permit the construction of new residences in areas of our town that are most vulnerable in times of natural disaster. Additionally, many large tracts of natural land have been approved for development which will fundamentally change the character of our town, all for the profits of outside investors. Gabe and Shaun will do everything possible to preserve our community’s small town identity including lobbying the County to purchase large tracts of land for preservation.
Additionally, as sea levels continue to rise to all-time highs and while some homeowners still struggle to rebuild or repair the damage caused by Sandy in 2013, our communities remain woefully unprepared for future potential disasters. The Township website doesn’t offer resources to residents on what to do in a time of natural disaster or advise as to what comes next if homes are damaged or destroyed.
As Committeemen, Gabe Franco and Shaun Moran will work with fellow Committeepersons and township officials to prevent over-development in vulnerable areas, and establish and disseminate clear plans on how to prepare, evacuate, and/or seek assistance so that when the next Hurricane Sandy reaches our shores, Little Egg Harbor residents will be ready.
Protecting Our Great Bay Wetlands and Waterways
When Gabe and Shaun visited the Seven Bridges Great Bay Wildlife Management Area at the end of Great Bay Boulevard, they were horrified by what they saw: litter strewn along the roadside, bulk trash dumped in the bushes, and massive piles of garbage. They immediately organized a volunteer cleanup event that removed more than a truckload of garbage. To date, they and dozens of other Little Egg Harbor volunteers have removed several dumpsters worth of garbage and bulk trash.
Several private organizations and private citizens routinely take it upon themselves to try to clean the area in order to stem the tide of Garbage, but it’s a constant battle that private citizens should not have to fight. As environmentalists, Gabe and Shaun will not only push for municipal-level policies to defend our precious local ecosystems, but also continue to personally check in on the areas of our town that are most susceptible to abuse.
Gabe and Shaun also intend to work with New Jersey State Law Enforcement Officials to better police our waterways. Many boaters in town flagrantly violate no wake zones causing damage to private home bulkheads, and cause undue wetland erosion. Effective enforcement will abate the township’s need to prematurely dredge lagoons and waterways.
Perhaps the leading complaint we hear from Little Egg Harbor Residents is that they feel disconnected from Township Leadership which includes complaints of phone calls to the Mayor and some Committeemen going unanswered, little if any public engagement, and a lack of redress from public comments during Township Committee meetings.
Gabe and Shaun are already engaged with the community as candidates and through their community service projects. That engagement will only increase with public office and they hope to expand their public service initiatives to create more opportunities for Little Egg Harbor Residents to feel connected to their town. They firmly believe that elected officials literally work for the residents of their town and will treat their offices accordingly.