Johnson and Brook for Township Committee
P.O. Box 6722
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
I think the most pressing issue facing Hillsborough is that the majority of the Township Committee runs the Township like a high school clique ignoring the democratic principles of supporting the needs of the residents. The current Republican-controlled government disrespects the idea of the rule of the people in favor of strict tyranny of the ruling party. Our Township is filled with an "old boys" network and it rewards those who pledge allegiance to them and it has established a system of cronyism. Hillsborough is run like the Trump Administration with misinformation, deceptive statistics and decisions made that benefit a few chosen cronies, staff members and real estate developers. Our current Township Committee continues to sign off on development projects bringing more traffic and destroying our environment without any real benefit to our residents.
My life has been focused on public service, both prior to and after becoming an attorney. I have had the opportunity to work and learn at many levels of the federal and state government as well as on a local level in many Townships promoting positive change. I have seen how government works and I have seen why sometimes it does not. I believe that my experience, combined with a proven track record of implementing positive change, makes me uniquely qualified to represent the diverse interests of the people of Hillsborough. I am focused on helping people, not special interests. I know that I can help make Hillsborough an even better place to live and I am committed to working hard on behalf of all residents to do exactly that.
My years of experience being involved in government will help establish new ways to govern more openly, effectively, efficiently and politely. I intend to examine new ways to streamline and expedite the needed services for the people of Hillsborough. I have a history of working in the system to get real results, and I will do the same for Hillsborough.
The most important contribution I can make as an elected official is working to restore good governance and accountability. Everything that happens in the Township ties directly back to this basic foundation. In Hillsborough that "foundation" is cracked and deteriorating due entirely to a control dynasty that is not interested in helping all of the people. The current government in Hillsborough is abusing its authority and failing to actively invite public participation. Take a simple example: the Township Committee meets every two weeks and by law it is required to provide an agenda. It now releases the full agenda 2.5 hours before the meetings. How can the public participate if they have such a short time to review sometimes hundreds of pages of documents?
I will work for open, transparent and accountable government and change these practices and welcome public participation. That change will allow for better decisions that will best serve all residents now and in the future.
I do not think that economic development is what determines how we measure success in our communities as much as other criteria like financial responsibility, protecting human health and enhancing the quality of life for our residents. We need to think more broadly so that we balance economic development with preserving our environment. We can successfully do just that in Hillsborough if we focus on a Master Plan that promotes redevelopment in our central core in exchange for preservation efforts in the outer portions of the Township. Hillsborough is in a prime location for attracting that type of economic growth and I will work attract those businesses while also focusing on preserving the natural beauty of the Township. The quality of life for the people of Hillsborough is intrinsically linked to how we handle the environmental concerns in the Township. By adopting a comprehensive Master Plan for the Township, we can ensure that future changes in the town will be done with the environment and sustainability in mind. We can reduce traffic, increase the quality and availability of services, lessen the strain on infrastructure, and improve the financial prosperity for everyone.
The Township Committee is failing the residents of Hillsborough by excluding us from active participation in the governmental decisions that impact our lives on a daily basis. So, no there is not sufficient transparency in Hillsborough. In the current age, truth and transparency are more important than ever. People have lost faith in their governmental institutions and processes and I seek to restore that faith. I am elected to serve the people, and I will be proud to do so with full transparency. I will expand accessibility to all Township information, like applications for development and demonstrate credibility by increasing transparency of that information and making sure that our citizen Boards and Commissions have members who actually have knowledge of the subject group they serve on. The party affiliation of members to those boards is irrelevant compared to competency to serve. We can help make better decisions, and that will mean better government for Hillsborough.
PO Box 7362
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Hillsborough Township Republican Party
One of the most important challenges facing Hillsborough Township is satisfying our affordable housing obligation and the impact that obligation will have on the infrastructure of our town. I look forward to working with our Republican state representatives to pass legislation that will reform the process that's the cause for over development, unnecessarily burdening our infrastructure and schools and eating away our rural landscape. A reform process that the Democrat controlled Legislature and Governor Murphy have refused to address. Additionally, I would use my experience as a municipal and county employee to work with our Municipal and County Open Space Advisory Committees to identify strategic properties for acquisition that would preserve our rural landscape and block development.
In 2019, the Hillsborough Board of Education eliminated courtesy bussing for middle school students living two miles or less from Hillsborough Middle School and high school students living 2.5 miles or less from Hillsborough High School. The elimination of courtesy bussing for these students equated to an increase in students walking to and from school during heavily trafficked times of the day, traversing some of our busier streets. My immediate and priority initiative would be the installation of flashing Pedestrian Crossing signs at cross walks to ensure the safety of our town and student pedestrians.
Hillsborough Township is fortunate to employ a Business Advocate who receives support from the Economic and Business Development Commission to assist current businesses and help those looking to establish themselves in town. As a member of the Economic and Business Development Commission since 2018, I worked on the inaugural Restaurant Week to support our food service community, which is now in its third year; visited businesses during the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home period to communicate services available through the township; organized a letter to Governor Murphy supported by the signatures of 50+ restaurant owners to encourage the safe re-opening of restaurants; and have supported numerous business social events to promote networking among business owners and township departments. The Hillsborough Business Association has an informative website to assist our business community as well. I would continue to support the Hillsborough Business Association and Business Advocate in my position on the Town Committee to assist with initiatives to attract new businesses and provide ongoing support to our present business community.
Having worked in the Mayor/Town Administrator’s office, I firmly believe that the township is sufficiently transparent in its operations. Along with posting meeting documents online as they become available, meetings are open to the public and since COVID-19, have been accessible for public participation via Zoom. All meetings are also posted on YouTube for viewing. The Mayor issues a timely newsletter of important township information and TV monitors are posted in the municipal building that transmit Town Committee meetings during business hours.
PO Box 6722, Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Hillsborough is a diverse and affluent town and the quality of life is generally good here, but our current town leadership is not well equipped to face the current crisis or our future challenges. Some of our top challenges are:
• Lack of representative and transparent government that reflects the rapidly growing social and cultural diversity of the town.
• Failure to do smart town planning that considered growth and environmental impacts, equitable housing concerns, tax and school budget concerns.
• Lack of vision to face immediate crises/issues such as pre-pandemic youth mental health crisis, brewing racial issues and economic disparities.
Hillsborough needs smart government that is resident-focused, innovative, and forward-thinking. We need professional town planning that creates the best quality of life for current residents while promoting thoughtful, sustainable growth to preserve what we love.
As a minority/woman business owner, family and community are my most important values. I left a manager-level corporate career where I overcame gender and racial barriers to invest in my community by founding a music and theater arts school. I've mentored young artists and education professionals while providing employment and contributing to our tax base. The soul of a community lies in the institutions that nurture the education, spirit and well-being of its residents.
I created the Hillsborough Music Festival to celebrate artistic expression while raising funds for youth suicide prevention. In 2009, I lost my 17-year-old son who suffered from depression. I understand the critical need for mental health education and prevention efforts. This investment in my business and community has given me strong experience in leadership, fundraising, volunteer building, and leveraging collaborations between local government, non-profits, local businesses, and individuals. This experience is what I will bring if I have the honor of being chosen to represent my neighbors.
I will propose to resurrect the Main Street Hillsborough project in conjunction with a revitalized Master Plan for a bold new vision of the future of Hillsborough. A walkable main street is a win for our residents, all of our businesses, and for the surrounding area. It would strengthen our economy, lower taxes by greatly deepening the tax base, shore up the social fabric of our town, and improve people’s mental health, resiliency and stability. A strong town center will promote the unique flavor and culture of local shops and assorted business located there. Main Street would be a hub for cultural events, business spotlights, farmers markets, street fairs, and more. It would allow the people of Hillsborough the opportunity to enjoy a unique commercial and residential center while allowing local shops and business to attract more customers. We can have it all in Hillsborough: beautiful scenic neighborhoods and parks, landmarks, preserved open space, and a charming Main Street.
Right now, the Hillsborough permit process is a nightmare for residents and contractors alike. As compared to nearby municipalities with similar challenges, our permit process is infamous. Neighbors have complained that reputable contractors have simply rejected otherwise desirable project inquiries once they realized that it was in Hillsborough, due to the difficulty of our process. We need to examine and correct that. It will take time, but our process and reputation is fixable. We strongly believe in the talents and abilities of our municipal employees, and we owe it to them to invest in the best processes for them to efficiently do their jobs. With the talent and skills in this township, I am confident that with good leadership we will sort this out and become known as “easy to do business with.” As we revitalize our Master Plan and create responsible and sustainable development, we must create economic incentives that strengthen and attract and quality businesses, enhance and deepen our tax base, support our education budgets, and improve our quality of life.
No. Furthermore, representation at all levels of municipal government does not reflect the diversity of the community. We will create systems and incentives so that the public is properly appraised of issues and encouraged to participate using effective communication methods. In doing so, the initiatives of the local government will gain trust and the public will feel less ambushed, unprepared, and unheard at the bi-weekly township meetings. We will offer incentives and privacy assurances that encourage residents to share their email and cellphones so that they may receive notice of important initiatives. We will utilize social media to reach the young, and calling for older neighbors. The more residents understand how issues will affect their quality of life and have the opportunity to be heard, the more cohesive our community will become. We will work hard to fix our process so that all residents, regardless of background or party affiliation will be heard, seen and respected.
17 Harvest Dr
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
The biggest issue that will be facing Hillsborough and our state will be the recovery from COVID-19. That is why we have proactively named a task force to be in place to Reopen Hillsborough when the time comes. I looked to the various expertise in functional areas including health, public safety and business. Since the start of the stay at home order, Hillsborough Municipal Services have been operational, despite the building being closed to the public, this task force will be charged with assisting in the roll-out of physically opening the building to the public as well as the rest of the community, including our schools, the library and our businesses.
The individuals selected to be on the task force include:
Office of Emergency Management Director John Sheridan
Health Officer Siobhan Spano
Chief of Police Mike McMahon
Deputy Mayor Shawn Lipani
Committeeman Frank DelCore
Administrator Anthony Ferrera
Township Clerk, PIO Pamela Borek
Business Advocate David Kois
Economic & Business Development Commission Chair Charles Ruggieri
Economic & Business Development Commission Member Janine Erickson
School Superintendent Dr. Lisa Antunes
One of the programs I am interested in pursuing would be and interactive map that would show what grade each roadway is in town for purposes of repaving. Deputy Mayor Lipani and I recently visited roadwork being done on South Branch Road with a new product that extends the life of the road ways and would like to implement it in town.
Hillsborough currently employees a Business Advocate who’s job is to help businesses in town but also to help attract new business to the Boro. We also have a very active Economic Business Development Commission that meets regular to see what businesses need in town. Currently we are promoting our third annual restaurant week starting September 29th to October 4th.
Absolutely. We provide the documents for our meetings as they become available, and since Covid-19, we have moved to an online Zoom meeting where every member of the public can participate. We also upload those videos to YouTube so they can be viewed anytime.