Letter: Democracy Dies When Opposing Voices Are Silenced
Westfield residents who oppose the proposed lit turf field awoke to find lawn signs expressing their opinion had been stolen sometime between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.
It appears that “freedom of speech, thought or opinion” is no longer an option in Westfield, NJ, even if it’s on your own private property.
To recap, on May 1, 2012, the BOE made mention of their desire to have a Lit Turf Field installed at Westfield High School, replacing the existing natural grass field. On May 15th, they voted unanimously in favor without informing taxpayers on the issue.
The BOE then voted to bundle the LIT TURF FIELD bond, a luxury, with a bond for much needed roof repairs on our schools, a necessity, taking away our freedom of choice as to what OUR taxpayer dollars should be spent on.
So, as you can imagine, and as you’d see in any other town, there are two opposing opinions, which have been presented by Westfield taxpayers over past months in the local news sources, both online and on paper. This is healthy, this normal, this democracy.
Whether you’re against or for the luxury/necessity bundle, you are within your right to have an opinion. Opponents from both sides have taken it upon themselves to have lawn signs made, at their own expense, to express their opinions.
What is not healthy, normal or democratic is what happened over the course of the last 12-24 hours.
Those residents/taxpayers who were expressing their opinions opposing the luxury/necessity bundle on lawn signs, awoke Sunday morning to find that the signs they spent their money on had been stolen from their property. The ones remaining are mostly on major roads, where traffic is constant and the thieves would have been easily spotted. Sneaky and spineless indeed!
So let me understand this, voices opposing the bond are being silenced by those for the bond, by stealing the lawn signs that states their opposing opinion. Is that democracy?
Clearly no one is going to take a stand and say that they are responsible for stealing lawn signs off of private residential property, because it’s illegal and just dirty/bad politics. You can rest assure that it was not someone who is opposed to the lit turf/roof bundle. We believe everyone deserves to voice their opinion and we prefer to play fair and by the rules.
Kerry Jean Murphy