endorsement: (noun) an act of giving one’s public approval or support to someone or something.
Having been asked many times more and more over the years why not have endorsements, as editor and publisher I always refused, believing that a newspaper’s duty is to provide information in context and let the reader decide what to do with it. An endorsement would cross the line and no longer have the news be an objective outsider but a subjective participant. Taking sides is a dangerous thing to as a journal of record. I so much believe in trying to be objective that I will now tell you whom I voted for locally since May 2010, the year Roselle Park News started.
In fact, the last person I voted for locally was a write-in candidate, Andrew Casais for the Board Of Education just a month earlier. Before I started the newspaper I gave him my word I would vote for him if he ever wanted to hold office so I wrote him in for the Board Of Education.
That was the last time I voted locally, even for him. That was one of the hardest things for me to not do. I love to vote and hold it as a sacred right but I also knew that if I did cast my vote, even privately, I would be telling myself I had taken a side. So I stopped. Again, a hard decision to make.
So now another year of municipal elections is upon us for positions that will make decisions and set a course for years to come.
What is the newspaper’s responsibility?
What is my responsibility?
Who will lead?
Who should lead?
It was this last question that needed an answer more than anything.
Even though I am a journalist, I am also a resident, a home owner, a taxpayer, a husband, a father, a neighbor. In attending meetings as well as events and talking with everyone from the candidates themselves to friends to neighbors and fellow residents, the answer became clear.
With that said, Roselle Park News endorses for the positions of Mayor, Council-At-Large, First Ward Council, and Board Of Education members . . .
The voter. The resident. The people.
Roselle Park News endorses you in your vote – for whomever that may be.
I have imposed that restriction upon myself knowing how much it means to me and our system of government; the ability to vote is envied by millions in so many other countries and taken for granted by so many of us in America.
But then I ask you to go beyond the first Tuesday of every November. Also, go beyond asking the tough questions only of those you do not support. Asking the tough questions is important but the more important thing to keep in mind is regardless of who gets into office – and especially if the person you supported gets elected – hold them accountable.
Not every three or four years, but on a regular basis. Do not stop being involved on November 5th or Inauguration Day or 2015. Check in on them every once in a while to see how and what they are doing.
Ask the same determined questions to them in the same way you demanded to know something from the ‘other’ person. In fact, perhaps you should do that more so of those you support.
If they do not receive any input from you, then they will do what they think is best – and sometimes that might not be what you want or what is best. There is no casting of ulterior motives in that last statement, it is just human nature. If not given input, people end up doing what is a priority for them, and that can lead to making an elected official believe that something is theirs – again, nothing nefarious, just human nature.
In the end, you are the school district, the first ward, the council-at-large, the mayor. The people in office are simply those elected to speak for you, for us.
To call them town leaders is a misnomer. They are our representatives which is a serious responsibility but, at a least in America, and especially in small-town America (Roselle Park is that), elected officials represent us, the leaders – to paraphrase a cliché – of our town’s destiny. With how we communicate with our elected officials, we lead us to our tomorrow. If we do not do that, we have only ourselves to blame.
This is our Roselle Park, the people we elect are simply minding the store.
It does not belong to them.
It belongs to us.
Get involved . . .
And start by voting.
– Saul Qersdyn