Elected officials to get an earful at community meeting
By STEVEN HART
HAINESPORT - A New Jersey assemblyman will be there. So will a Burlington County freeholder. As well as officials from the township, Pemberton Township and Westampton.
But the Rancocas Valley Clergy Association wants to see a great many more elected officials Monday when it convenes an open forum on social issues at 7 p.m. at the Christian Faith Assembly on Marne Highway.
If they don't show up, it won't be for a lack of invitations to attend, according to Kent Pipes, a member of the association. Even the March 31 date was picked because, as the fifth Monday of the month, it was unlikely to conflict with any municipal meetings.
"I sent letters out in the first week of January, and as a follow-up, I sent letters again the second week of February," Pipes said. "I don't know why mayors and council members wouldn't be concerned about issues that affect their constituents and everyone else. I'm concerned what this says about our elected officials."
The idea for the meeting formed during the association's October meeting, when members realized they were hearing many of the same complaints over and over.
The forum, Pipes said, "will not be a time to vent about just anything, but to focus on human needs."
"This is what democracy should be about," he said. "What are people feeling about health care? What are they feeling about gun control? We are inviting people to speak directly to their elected officials, not have their elected officials speak to them."
Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra, said he will attend the forum simply to listen and consider what he is hearing.
"I think it's going to be very interesting," Singleton said. "I want to hear what people have to say."
Also planning to attend, according to Pipes, are Westampton Mayor Carolyn Chang and Township Committeeman C. Andre Daniels, Pemberton Township Council members Diane Stinney and Jason Allen, Hainesport Committeeman Michael Fitzpatrick, along with representatives of other government officials.