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Summit Deserves Fair and Open Governance

I am running for Mayor to help Summit get a fresh start - Eileen Forman Ludden

The question I hear most often these days, is: Why would you want to be Mayor?!

I’m serving my second term on the Advisory Board for the Department of Community Programs, which works for seniors, youth, and community recreation. As a result, I attend a lot of Common Council meetings, and I don’t like what I see. Chronic wrangling has damaged Council’s ability to work for the common good. I am running for Mayor to help Summit get a fresh start. I have the mix of experience and skill to help Council refocus on conducting all of its business with clear goals, efficiency, and community input.

When I review the record of the Council that my opponents have served on, here is what I find:

  • A pattern of reacting, rather than proactively choosing and implementing strategic priorities 
  • Studies and rhetoric – e.g., about parking -- but no solution
  • Criticism of County taxes, but no real progress in working with other towns to lobby and negotiate for money-saving measures with the County
  • A history of disrespecting qualified City staff, experts and advisors  

Why should people care?  Among other things, it costs us the benefits of our peoples’ good ideas.  Today, the same arguments are being re-hashed by the same people, and that translates to lost dollars and community strength.  Council’s hapless handling of the Ameripay fraud put the continuation of Summit’s liability coverage at risk.

What’s the record of my opponents? Ms. Dickson helped lead the charge to pass a previously rejected $800K pay-parking ordinance during the quiet of summer, with insufficient public transparency—squeezing out new business from the agenda.

Mr. Vernotico’s history of public outbursts and negative press releases as a Council Member is well known, making it tougher for Council to work together on Summit’s business.  Comments like: “Habitat for insanity” against a Habitat for Humanity project, and name calling of colleagues (“Tom Getzandanner:  Common Councilman or Common Criminal?”) are not constructive and leave a residue of divisiveness and animosity.

Summit needs a fresh start, beginning with its new Mayor.  My education and 20+ year professional career and volunteer experience in communication, business, and nonprofits put me in a strong position to competently address Summit’s needs, while working with Council to restore a healthy civic culture.

My commitment is to get things done by getting people to work together.  I will do this by being an active listener and respecting people, even when I disagree with them; by dealing with facts and doing my homework; and by attacking problems, not people. 

I look forward to hearing from you now, and with your vote on November 8th, working for you in the future.

Eileen Forman Ludden

jaw2012 September 23, 2011 at 03:28 PM
Your article is very well written, but you gloss over the "experience" factor. Summit has a very long history of outstanding mayors-- all in recent memory had prior experience as council members. You just do not have that-- or anything comparable. So many people do not want to see Mike Vernotico assume the role of Mayor. Your candidacy may just give us that outcome. That really is unfortunate.
Tyler D September 24, 2011 at 02:24 AM
Well said Ellen. Finally someone who will be forthright and honest. I would prefer an inexperienced newcomer to any of the cronyism and mendacity that we see today in "establishment" experienced politicians. Although I would prefer someone who operates a business in Summit and has to serve Summit customers, you will suffice.
Eileen Z. Wolter September 24, 2011 at 12:14 PM
Re:JAW2012: I think Mrs Forman Ludden's work in creating TryCan shows experience you overlook. I especially applaud the "working together" aspect of the organization. Working with the community itself as well as surrounding towns to creatively fill a need and to serve children of all kinds. That's new thinking and problem solving Summit desperately needs.
ressummit September 24, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Forman-Ludden's questions at the last Common Council meeting with a wink and a mouthed thank you from the Mayor demonstrated a marked naiveté and an arrogant demeanor.
Robert Steelman September 24, 2011 at 03:38 PM
Any candidate using the parking debate for political gain deserves special recognition. The parking issue is a complex and seriously challenging subject. Public participation in the discussion is well documented over the years. It certainly was not sprung on the public mid-summer. It’s a tough claim to make that others have failed the community on this subject unless you’ve made a genuine effort to contribute. Unfortunately, the “hot button” status of the parking debate makes it low hanging fruit for the lazy candidate. The lack of progress on parking is the result of political maneuvering of narrow interests. Is that something you favor? It is hardly popular to recommend change of any consequence is Summit. The elected official willing to tackle the tough and controversial issue is truly an asset to the community. An Advocate for Parking Solutions
OurTown September 26, 2011 at 01:50 PM
I am skeptical that Ludden supporters would vote for the out-of-touch, "four more years" candidate. Ludden voters realize that government in Summit needs change, not the extended rule of Republican insiders.

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