As I am getting ready to go to the township committee reorganization meeting this evening, it occurred to me that it has been a year since I vowed to attend as many township meetings as possible. I think I did pretty well - I didn't get to as many zoning and planning board meetings as I had hoped, but I did manage to get to a majority of the twp committee meetings.
Going to these meetings has been quite a learning experience for me. I am constantly astounded by how involved the political process has become, and the amount of time it takes for the committee to actually get things done because of the process. While I still get frustrated by way some things are done (such as public comments on the consent agenda coming before the consent agenda), I was pleasantly surprised to find that the committee does actually listen to the public comments at the end of the meetings. In the Patch article announcing Ben Young becoming mayor, he mentioned as one of his priority projects the flooding in East Riverton. As a victim of that flooding, and as someone who has commented on it frequently at meetings, I was pleased to see that the new mayor is as concerned as my neighbors and I are.
I plan to continue attending township meetings as often as I can, and will make an effort to get to more of the zoning and planning board meetings. I would love to see more residents in attendance. If you have a problem with the way something is being done in town, come to a meeting and let them know about it instead of just complaining about it in the Patch comments. The squeaky wheel is much more likely to get the grease if an actual person is the wheel, instead of an anonymous complaint on an on-line article. When you're just typing away at home, it's easy to lose sight of common courtesy, and I don't blame the committee for not responding. I've learned that expressing yourself in person makes you behave in a more respectful manner, and while you may not like the response, it is an immediate response, and given with respect in return.
While I haven't decided which township windmills I'm going after this year - there are several to choose from: the drastic changes in the master plan since the 1980's, the transformation of Rt.130 into a clone of Haddonfield Road or Rt.70, or when did the township decide that being a "bedroom community" wasn't good enough and becoming a shopping destination was preferable, just to name a few - I do plan on making sure that my concerns and opinions are heard.
My congratulations to Mayor Young, and best wishes/good luck to Mr. McCarthy and the rest of the committee- I am looking forward to another year of working together for a better Cinnaminson.