Before Taghkanic voters decide the town’s future on Nov. 3, I want to correct some oversights and distortions contained in the Republican press release “GOP backs Erik Tyree for town council” that ran as a news story in the Oct. 9 Register-Star.
First, voters may wonder why the release doesn’t mention that Mr. Tyree is controversial racetrack developer Alan Wilzig’s family chef, project manager, agent, and all-around good will ambassador. Voters might then ask what effect Mr. Wilzig would continue to have on Mr. Tyree’s judgment, actions, and independence. Mr. Wilzig, remember, is the man who said in a 4/19/07 Register-Star article, “I can . . . wait for the political climate to change in the town, which it will in November[,]” to get town approval for his racetrack.
Would Mr. Tyree really work in the best interests of Taghkanic, or would he simply do his boss’s bidding on the town board?
The release claims that Mr. Tyree has been “actively involved in town government for a number of years.” Generously, that number would be two. He was first hand picked as an alternate on the Planning Board in April 2008 specifically to drum up support for the racetrack, then favored with a full appointment three months later. His earliest activity in town government was his service on a Comprehensive Plan subcommittee in 2007.
Other details that escaped disclosure or explanation in the release are that registered Democrat Jim Romaine was the GOP’s first choice for a town board seat. Mr. Romaine declined the nomination at the last minute, and the Republicans quietly replaced him with Mr. Tyree, who is also a registered Democrat.
The release boasts that Mr. Tyree is “a volunteer firefighter at the West Taghkanic Fire Department.” The organization to which he and I belong is actually the “Taghkanic Volunteer Fire Company,” and most people haven’t used that “West Taghkanic” moniker for many years. It seems peculiar—or careless—that a candidate running under the banner of a “United Taghkanic” would resurrect that decades-old term of divisiveness.
The release says Mr. Tyree is the manager for “several multi-million dollar construction projects.” The reality is that the only construction project Mr. Tyree has "managed" is his employer’s vast motor sports complex, the legality of which is now before a state court because it may violate Taghkanic’s zoning ordinance.
A misleading typographical error describes Mr. Tyree’s other professional experience as “executive chief [sic] for a mid-sized New Jersey bank.” This should read “personal chef”; he prepared meals for an executive (Mr. Wilzig) and his guests at Mr. Wilzig’s bank.
Mr. Tyree claims he can “keep taxes low, [and] services high, while preserving what’s great about our town.” I was surprised to read that our taxes are “low” and our services “high,” and I’m still waiting to hear how the racetrack Mr. Tyree has worked so hard to realize will preserve what’s great about Taghkanic.
Mr. Tyree sounds right at home with his Republican sponsors, adopting their tired “tax and spend” cliché in describing badly needed repairs to the town’s neglected infrastructure as “overly ambitious” and “pie in the sky.” As usual, the Taghkanic GOP’s campaign relies on continued division and fear of higher taxes to solidify its base, and confuses years in office with positive results. Now, Mr. Tyree wants to fulfill his employer’s plans and personal privilege at the entire town’s expense. A vote for Mr. Tyree and the rest of his ticket is simply handing his boss the keys to Taghkanic.
We can and must do better than this. Please join me in supporting Larry Kadish and Joyce Thompson for the Taghkanic town board and Loretta Hoffmann for supervisor. The town’s future is in the balance.