Monday, June 19, 2006

Recall - Ledger - Support hits target in Mt. Olive

Published in the Star-Ledger, Morris County edition, Sunday, June 18, 2006

Support for recall tells the story in Mt. Olive

For a recall petition process to be successful, New Jersey Statute 19:27A-5 requires that signatures be obtained from at least 25 percent of registered voters -- a difficult hurdle under any circumstances. This threshold was set high by lawmakers to ensure that this tool of democracy is used sparingly, not frivolously.

As a political veteran, I can assure you that going door-to-door is time-consuming and exhausting. Each signature requires a conversation; some just a few minutes, but others can last 15 minutes, or even longer. That said, collecting hundreds of signatures is just not easy, and collecting thousands of signatures is an outright daunting task.

But somehow, the Bipartisan Committee to Recall the Mayor of Mount Olive Township has done just that: collected thousands of signatures representing more than 25 percent. This impressive number -- greater than the 3,543 required -- grows daily as the committee continues canvassing. It is almost as many as the votes cast for Mayor Richard De La Roche and his opponent combined, and is awfully close to double the number of votes the mayor received when elected in 2003.

Homeowners, alienated business leaders, seniors, supporters of sport organizations, almost every group or individual in our community who has had significant contact with him -- signed. It's over. Therefore, the recall will happen and be on the November ballot. The people have spoken loudly by signing the petition. Any political veteran would hear the call and begin an orderly transition now, or face recall in November. Regardless, De La Roche is out. If he has an ounce of common sense or a shred of decency, he will do the right thing and resign now.

-- Richard Kamin, Mount Olive

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Plainfield resident since 1983. Retired as the city's Public Information Officer in 2006; prior to that Community Programs Coordinator for the Plainfield Public Library. Founding member and past president of: Faith, Bricks & Mortar; Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield; and PCO (the outreach nonprofit of Grace Episcopal Church). Supporter of the Library, Symphony and Historic Society as well as other community groups, and active in Democratic politics.