I couldn't believe last week's letter from Mayor Dennis Elwell attacking Councilman Gary Jeffas and myself regarding the Damascus Bakery controversy. The entire Town Council agreed to stick together and address this issue in a completely non-political fashion. Now, out of the blue, the mayor decides to go back on his word trying to make political gain on what should be a community concern.
The mayor was not only untruthful, but he also contradicted his previous statements on this issue. He stated publicly, on more than one occasion, that since I am a New Jersey Meadowlands Commissioner, I should not make any public statements either for or against Damascus. This is because it has never come up for a vote before the Commission, but in case it does, I would certainly not want to jeopardize any opportunity to represent the people of Secaucus on such an important matter. Everyone, including the mayor, knows this and understands this. The mayor is not telling the truth when he states that I support Damascus. And he is misleading our residents when he states he is surprised I haven't taken a stand. Imagine the criticism he would level at me if I were to take a stand and was disqualified from voicing my opinion when it would count the most.
I wrote a letter to the editor one month ago, fully explaining my position as a Meadowlands Commissioner, why I could not vote or make definitive statements, and complimenting the entire Town Council for putting political posturing and grandstanding aside to work together. Mayor Elwell did not utter a single work in disagreement with the letter. That is because it was consistent with the position the entire council agreed to take. Now, a full month later, he makes wild untrue accusations.
It is important for the people of Secaucus to understand that the mayor has a lot more influence on the Meadowlands Commission then he would have you believe. Before a matter comes before the commissioners for a vote, it goes before the Meadowlands Mayor Committee, of which Mayor Elwell is chairman and has the ability to approve, disapprove or veto any proposal.
Apparently, the mayor has changed his mind and decided to make this a political issue. I will not go that route and I will let the people of Secaucus determine who is doing the right thing and who is more worried about this election next year.
Councilman Mike Gonnelli