Intelligent conversation, I beg of you.

First, I’d like to thank everyone who came out last night to the town hall meeting. Making an effort to understand facts, start conversation and form informed conclusions is a respectable one, regardless of your ultimate “side.” It is extremely important to not be swayed by the radical pamphlets under a republican guise that were spread all over town.

Onto the topic at hand: First, Mr. Vinegra did a wonderful job in his presentation. He was clear about the town’s circumstances, thorough in explaining his findings and polite to all of those who asked questions when the forum was opened. This is a professional, a man who literally handles matters of civil engineering like these for a living. Clearly, this man knows more about his job than any resident and still, his clear professional recommendation is attacked. If I understood Mr. Vinegra correctly, his recommendation for this project was not made by a small margin. And his pain, a product of the resistance, was palpable. We should trust his competence and have no foundation to question his integrity.

Next, to the gentlemen from Russo Developments. Let me make this clear for those who might have been tainted: these men are not the oppressive bourgeoisie and believe you me, they do not plan to salt your lawns, steal your puppies and pillage your cabinets. When given the opportunity to speak, these men presented an elaborate, well-constructed plan to replace industrial wasteland (sorry ‘bout it) with luxury apartments that will, without question, raise surrounding property value. Oh, and generate $855,000 in tax revenue.

Now, I know there are concerns about the sincerity of these men, I heard the whispers while they spoke. But of course they have special interest, it’s their living just as it is yours and mine to grow a business. But to say that their forthcoming nature is anything but commendable would be absurd. These men were entirely willing to answer the questions and concerns of any resident willing to ask. Of course, I hate douche developers as much as anyone — no one wants to be trampled and treated as lesser. Luckily, in this instance, these men were everything but this. I was incredibly happy to see the demeanor of the men, and the content of their proposal last night. These were not elitists with blueprints to ruin your town, as the delirious might suggest. If you did not get the chance to receive one of their thorough packets in which they addressed each and every concern that has been raised with statistics, I encourage you to email them at info@russodevelopment.com –I’m sure they’d be happy to provide you with a copy.

At the meetings end, a kind older man (in the yellow shirt) stood up with questions. He was an admitted skeptic with legitimate questions that he wanted answered. Now, this was at the tail end and all of his matters were able to be addressed but the manner in which they were handled was inspiring. Egos were set aside and truthful conversation occurred.

Onto Councilman Matthews — an embarrassment not only to the counsel or the town but to intelligent conversation. A man rattled by proper dialogue that made the childish decision to attack the character of a man offering nothing but his own story. This red herring, smoke and mirror attack is a typical tactic used by radicals to create a singular, and very distracting narrative. Its goal is to cloud waters, inspire resentment — a pitiful act of a cowardice.

George Santayana was quoted last night by the gentleman, the former Mayor of Roselle Park (whose name I cannot recall) who asked the audience to learn from the disastrous mistakes of his town in circumstances quite similar to ours, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

All I ask of you, the residents of this town, is to engage in intelligent conversation. Do not let the fear mongers’ keep this town in the molasses they have for decades. We live in a wonderful town with incredible potential and, with intelligent conversation, that potential can be realized.

Oh, and as for the claim made on this forum that these developers will “go to hell” for this proposal — you, madam, have clearly no understanding of afterlife theory as found in any religion, philosophy of Dantean poem.