On June 5th we introduced Engage Maplewood to the Township Committee (TC) and took a few minutes to explain the genesis of the group. We summarized the group’s initial meeting at Morrow church and described the long-term and short-term efforts we had in mind undertaking. The petition signed by community members is our short-term goal, driven by a desire for the Post Office project to be a process of inclusion in which the community understands and endorses the zoning decisions and developer selections that are made.
We provided a report on the short-term petition activity at the TC Meeting. At that time we had collected approximately 330 signatures asking that the Township to support a public forum to have the re-development document explained. These had been collected in the six day period preceding the TC meeting. The TC did not specifically respond to the request or the petition ballots presented. On Tuesday June 11th, however, Mayor De Luca announced that two additional weeks were being scheduled for public comment. The decision was reported on Patch
Our longer-term goal is to explore ways of improving the amount and quality of public discourse in our community. Our sense of the issue is not that there is a lack of information, or any lack of transparency. In fact, we have many resources at our disposal. On-line, for example, there is the Township web site, media outlets, bulletin boards and blogs. Exploring the strengths and weaknesses of these, and looking for an answer to the question “How would you like to get information and engage in discussions” may be a good place to start. We hope to start a discussion on longer-term activities in the next couple of weeks, so please send us your thoughts now and in the coming days.