In her OpEd piece in today's Asbury Park Press, Kate Mellina spoils her strong message by attacking those who were most responsible for implementing the reforms that Mellina has worked so hard for.
Rather than celebrating the unprecedented reforms the Monmouth County Freeholder Board voted for last week, Mellina bashes Rob Clifton and Jeff Cantor for not making those reforms happen sooner, and for hanging Anna Little out to dry while she was calling for those reforms earlier this year.
As a stong supporter of Little, I share Mellina's sentiment. I think Clifton should have stood up for Little when Bill Barham and Adam Puharic were engineering her unceremonious dump from the Republican ticket. I think Jeff Cantor should have rejected Puharic's last minute arm twisting to seek Little's seat and that he should have run for Assembly in the 12th district. However, that is water under the bridge.
Mellina said, "But with November elections looming, it's definitely time to shake it up at the county and state levels, where Republicans and Democrats, respectively, have held power for far too long." In April, after Little was dumped, I would have agreed with Mellina's points wholeheartedly. However, the Democratic candidates for Freeholder have yet to offer anything other than increased government spending...they called for an expensive renovation of the court house and for an ethics ombudsman to do what they should be doing if elected. They rejected term limits, which the Republicans have endorsed.
Mellina concludes,"New Jersey politicians still aren't getting the message that state residents want honest, ethical government. It's time to grab their attention."
Clifton and Cantor apparently did get the message, belatedly or not. Their opponents have yet to demonstrate that they have gotten the message. If Clifton and Cantor are elected and their ethics reforms turn out to be empty election year politics, I'll lead the recall effort. But for now, they are winning on the ethics issue.
I hope the Democratic candidates embrace and endorse the reforms too, rather than declaring them "20 years too late," as candidate John D'Amico did after they were passed.
Wouldn't it be something if ethics weren't a campaign issue because all sides agree to do the right thing. Then we could have a campaign about issues that effect the quality of life.