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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Summit Common Council- At Large

Vote for one to represent Summit at large for a three year term.A Candidates Forum will be held on Thursday, Oct. 12th at 7:30pm in the Summit High School Media Center.
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    David Dietze (Rep) Financial Planner

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    Beth Little (Dem) Community volunteer/former prosecutor

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Biographical Information

Parking is always an issue in Summit. How do you propose to make parking more convenient for the shoppers and short term users while at the same time enforcing long term parking?

Name another major issue facing Summit. What would you do about it if elected?

What is your position on full day kindergarten

Education Dartmouth College, AB, Economics (Honors), Phi Beta Kappa, Magna cum Laude, Rufus Choate Scholar, five Citations, and Football. Yale University, Graduate Studies, Classics & Political Philosophy. The Law School of the University of Chicago, JD. Bar Admissions: NJ/NY/DC. Chartered Financial Analyst. Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Mtn. Lakes HS (NJ), Football (3 varsity letters, All Conference, All Morris County), Tennis.
As a downtown tenant for nearly 25 years, parking is a problem.

My opponent ignores the issue, focusing instead on “walkability”. We can’t ignore it.

To fix parking consider all approaches. Provide all stakeholders with abundant advance notice. Allow all voices to be heard. What we are looking for is the least risk, the lowest cost, yet with a high likelihood of success.

A new parking structure may be the answer but not if objectionable to neighbors. Novel features could be incorporated, like a community center or restaurant on the top, with a pleasing view.

Consider public/private partnerships successfully employed by other cities. Our City wouldn’t construct its own movie theater or office building; why go it alone on new parking? Via a well drafted lease, with strict guidelines on policies and pricing, the City could avoid tying up its own capital and politicizing every aspect of parking. Pilot proposals may fit the bill.
The number one issue for this election is affordability, specifically the rising level of property taxes. Nearly everyone is considering leaving Summit after their kids finish school because of our high cost of living. My proposals would not take a penny from the schools or downtown. Cut The County’s Tax on Our Taxes: Each region within the County must be able to elect its own freeholder, similar to the US Senate. Demand a more equitable County funding formula: Sole reliance on questionable property values is inappropriate. Demand less overall County spending. Demand Our Fair Share of State Aid: Trenton has numerous programs designed to bring resources to local municipalities. Increase Commercial Ratables: Do everything possible to bring in high quality businesses. Outsource Non Essential City Operations: Contract with third parties to reduce the costs and headaches of non-essential operations. Increase Shared Services: Every adjacent town is conducting the same operations.
As a sitting Board of Education member I can't speak on ongoing matters like FDK. I value deeply public education for all. The community hears countless proposals for our schools. The initial examination is quite simple.

First, will the proposal positively impact student achievement in a measurable way? Will it improve our students’ PAARC scores? SAT/ACTs? AP exams? Improve college acceptance rates or other post graduate paths?

Second, can the cost be absorbed within the budget? Under current law, school districts are generally capped at 2% annual budget increases. If not, can current programs be identified to be reduced or eliminated, such that the net change in student achievement is still positive?

Consider strategies if there’s uncertainty on either of the above. A pilot test may be in order or cost sharing can be developed.

It’s irresponsible to spend millions if the benefits are unproven or the spending compromises other priorities.

Education B.S. Commerce University of Virginia J.D. University of Virginia
Parking has been an ongoing issue in Summit and we need to continue to pursue creative solutions to address the problem. I am in favor of programs like the Uber pilot which brings commuters into the downtown and I would continue and expand that program. Neighboring towns have had success with a jitney that can provide transportation to the train during busy commuting hours, or peak times during the day, and I think it’s worth looking into this for Summit. The new parking fee structure in the DeForest lots which increases costs for long term parking while keeping the short term rates low is another effective way to address the issue. Finally, the redevelopment of the Broad Street corridor offers the opportunity to incorporate parking into multi-use structures that would be paid for by developers and not by the city. I do not believe that building more multi-story parking lots is the correct solution - they are a huge expense and are not likely to be necessary in the long term.
Summit’s downtown is one of our major assets and a benefit to all residents. However, our downtown businesses are under increasing pressure from e-commerce and outside sources. Our city council can be proactive in partnering with our downtown landlords and commercial business owners in working to help Summit’s downtown stay vibrant and healthy. One important step is to form an economic development committee on our council that would proactively look at our zoning laws, tax policies and ordinances to encourage a business-friendly environment in Summit in order to attract new businesses and support existing businesses. I would also look at initiatives that would encourage landlords to convert upper-floor space in the downtown to residential use, streamline permitting for new businesses, and develop policies that incentivize landlords to fill vacancies. A healthy downtown makes Summit a great place to live, benefits business owners and landlords and bolsters our commercial tax base.
Currently, we provide half day kindergarten at no cost and a tuition based full day program at a cost of $7175 per child. This tuition based program was instituted as a pilot, which should not be the long term solution. Since that time, demand has increased and the program has expanded so that about 2/3 of Summit’s kindergartners attend the full day program. The problem with this system is that there are many families who cannot afford the high cost of the full day tuition. Much has changed since Summit last debated the issues of FDK as a community, including the demographics of the school aged population, the common core standards and the demand for full day programs. I believe it is time to revisit this issue and discuss it as a community. If elected, I would ask the Board to hold community town halls in order to listen carefully to residents’ positions on FDK. Our children should not be put at a disadvantage in a public school program based on their families’ ability to pay. logo


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