With some 100 people in the audience, the seven trustee candidates shared their very different ideas for South Orange's future. The League of Women Voters hosted the event, which saw the candidates respond in turn to prepared questions, first, then audience questions.
Candidates for the three open seats on the South Orange Board of Trustees are:
South Orange 2013
And running independent of a slate:
Topics of interest included development, shared services, and safety.
Clarke noted that, in meeting with residents in every neighborhood in South Orange, he learned that a top concern is speeding and traffic issues, especially on major thoroughfares. He and Collum both suggested scheduling police efficiently, to maximize shift overlap at times of the day that historically have seen the most need.
"Curbing traffic violations and speeding," said Clarke, "is a matter of engineering, education and enforcement. Engineering is expensive, but the others are not."
Kika said, "A lot of people run surveys." He noted his concern about household safety. Likewise, Mehu reiterated her respect for policework that prevented flash mobs from forming.
On the topic of shared services, Sullivan said she wants to see shared services "benefit" South Orange. Kika gave as an example of successful shared services the Board of Education.
Sandow agrees with shared services "with oversight" he said. Sandow noted that residents have recently noted "a drop off" in code enforcement in South Orange, noting that shared services sometimes "needs work."
Collum applauded shared services, noting that, especially in small towns "we sink and swim together." She would seek additional shared services.
In terms of development, the two slates shared different ideas. The Village First candidates want to see "owner-occupied homes." South Orange 2013 looks to the increase the number "mixed-use developments in the business district to better support our local businesses."
Patch will continue to cover the debate, and hopes to provide a rough transcript. The debate was recorded and Patch will report in when the air time is annouced.