Open Space and openness
Today's Record reports on a plan to consolidate power over Bergen County's Open Space Trust Fund in the hands of a single official. Sadly, the fact that the current County leadership wants to be able to circumvent the vetting process when convenient and grant greater influence to the Democratic party donor currently occupying the seat of Director of Bergen County Department of Planning and Economic Development is not the least bit surprising. We've come to expect such galling actions from Bergen County government over the years. While each additional step away from the principles of good government- transparency, multiple checks and balances, and the like- is troubling, we have become so numb to the situation that there is scarcely any protest anymore.
Compare this situation to what we have going on in Teaneck. Here every step taken by municipal government seems to raise hackles. While it is terrific that vigilant citizens are keeping a close eye on the actions of their elected and appointed officials, the righteous anger so often poured out in letters to the Suburbanite or during the public comment period of Council meetings seems somewhat hollow. If the protest is truly on principled grounds, why does the appearance of impropriety in local government matter more than the same thing in Bergen County government? Put another way, might all the energy expended in pointing fingers at Teaneck officials be better spent curbing the egregious excesses of Bergen County insiders, whose power and money is allegedly the root of many of the abuses supposedly occurring in Teaneck?