It’s 2018, Not 1968

In 1968 there was a rebellion by the people against the elites who doubled down on political repression. Our great country has made tremendous strides during the past 50 years. Too many proud social and political achievements to list in this writing.

On Tuesday February 20th a judge’s ruling will decide whether the UCDC will have an open or closed ballot election for Chairperson. All eyes are on Union County. I have never been so proud to be a resident, as well as a candidate, and slightly embarrassed that we march into court for a ruling that should have been totally unnecessary and avoidable given the current tense atmosphere in this country. The Democratic Party is the party of the people. The party of hope, champions for immigrants, women, civil rights, equality and voting rights just to name a few. This particular fight is amongst Democrats in Union County. Many fellow Democratic comrades within and outside of Union County have expressed their fascination and amazement that this issue has escalated to this very public level.

First, let’s not gloss over the voter intimidation or suppression factor that is the crux of this matter. For the privileged few who have never felt fear based on your voting choice or support, that possibly could effect your employment, consider yourself “in” the minority. This situation is real and fluid.

Second, focus on the actual process and the glaring knowledge that many county, municipal and board of  education employees are feeling excruciating anxiety over the possibility of an open vote on Wednesday in a much watched and highly anticipated outcome. It’s about the PROCESS Smarty.
Voter INTIMIDATION and/or SUPPRESSION knows no boundaries when the stakes get higher as we approach election day. An open ballot is a transparent vote that does not allow privacy of one’s selection. An open ballot vote is necessary for elected officials who pass legislation and make laws. This is not the case. For the greater good a closed ballot vote is just  the RIGHT thing to do.
All across this country voters exercise privacy in various levels of  elections from elementary student government to college to primaries to general elections. Most using machines or concealed ballots. Possibly not for the UCDC election to be held on Wednesday. Amazing.
We are in a battle for voting machines or raising your hand to be counted. A battle amongst Democrats. Unbelievable. This is 2018, not 1968. Special thanks to our veterans, civil rights and women’s rights advocates who sacrificed so much for us to have and maintain the right to vote.
Countries worldwide attempt to emulate the democratic process of our nation. People immigrate here to enjoy the basic freedom that are protected by the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution and we as citizens sometime take for granted.
Third, this is why diversity and inclusion in organizations is of paramount importance. Without it you have people in silos who to no fault of their own make the best decisions on what they know, experienced or have perceived. They are oftentimes inadvertently totally insensitive to the experiences of intimidation, suppression or fear encountered daily by other people. Ignorance or insensitivity to the feelings of others who feel oppressed or in this case suppressed does not make one guilty. It on the other hand also does not excuse or exonerate those who perpetuate, intimidate or supress. They are wrong. VERY WRONG. Decisions without inclusion lead to self righteous delusion. Again, let me reiterate intimidation has no boundaries (race, gender, religion, orientation, geography, employment level, etc).
On Wednesday with the entire state of New Jersey’s political world watching the UCDC has a tremendous opportunity to break open a cracked glass ceiling for women, underrepresented minorities, suburban and urban communities taken for granted, government fiscal accountability, and UCDC members and Young Dems left voiceless. Also to show our leaders in the Local, County, State and Federal government that the Union County Democratic County Committee is alive, well and more demanding then ever before.
Conducting a CLOSED ELECTION in a progressive or conservative organization in 2018 is just the right thing to do. God Bless You. God Bless Union County. God Bless the UCDC.

 Anthony Salters
(Hillside Democratic Chairman ) and Candidate for UCDC Chairperson 
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  • Alan Goldstein

    In 2009-2010 the City of Plainfield, during the Sharon Robinson-Briggs administration, hatched a scheme to award a job training contract to a former City Council President, utilizing the bulk of a $270,000 Community Services Block Grant tied to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Stimulus). It was an end run around the federal Workforce Investment Act that established One-Stop Career Centers, Workforce Investment Boards, and Eligible Training Provider Lists throughout the country. With the unanimous consent of the City Council, which at the time included current Freeholder Linda Carter and Mayor Adrian Mapp, it was an illegal use of CSBG funds. At the same time it ripped off Plainfield residents of a singular opportunity for real legitimate job training, it was the politically expedient move. Senator Scutari’s office was contacted but the best it could offer was a robo-response.

    These politicians are very flexible when weighing public need against political expediency (their political careers) and way-too-frequently their own taxpayer-funded day jobs and appointments. So often it seems that political ambition is paramount to doing right by their constituents, even in the simple matter of offering a thoughtful response. As a result, I am no fan of Scutari and believe his commitment to Plainfield is thin as ice.

    But on the matter of the Open vs. Secret vote for UCDC chair, I am in agreement. Committee members are publicly elected, and their votes, as our representatives, should be there for all to see. This a lot different than casting a vote in a primary or general election, where your only constituent is yourself. Those who are calling for a secret vote are putting their own transient political standing above the public’s right to know where their reps stand and what they are doing in our name. If it ends in intra-party retribution, then let the public take its own revenge in June or November. At least we would have some basis on which to make a reasoned decision.

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