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Response to Candidate Questionnaire by Ian Grodman

Response by Candidate for Maplewood Township Committee:


to South Mountain Peace Action Candidate Questionnaire

Question #1 Over the past two years, federal spending on the war and occupation of Iraq has cost South Orange and Maplewood taxpayers an estimated $62.5 million. The cost to South Orange has been about $27.6 million, the cost to Maplewood, about $34.9 million. Given local tax burdens and shortfalls in state and federal assistance, should a Trustee or Township Committee member address this issue with constituents and with our Congressional delegation and President? How would you do this?


A township committee member should certainly be available to assist organizations such as South Mountain Peace Action in addressing this issue with our congressional delegation. While most of the contacts we have are with state legislators on state issues, Mayor Profeta and I have recently had two scheduled meetings with Congressman Donald Payne to discuss federal funding for Maplewood. Maplewoodians can rest assured that Congressman Payne has always expressed vehement opposition to the ill-conceived war in Iraq (and has recognized the work of SMPA on the floor of the House of Representatives). I would be more than willing to meet with Congressman Payne and SMPA to make the sentiments of our community known.

I had recently offered and been scheduled to be a member of the Maplewood delegation to present SMPA's petition to Senator Lautenberg, but was unable to attend due to a work-related emergency situation. I would be pleased to do so again in the future, and to help facilitate such meetings with our representatives in Washington.

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Question #2 In this era of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act, do you think a Trustee or Township Committee member has a responsibility to protect First Amendment and privacy rights of our residents, as well as to assure a safe and secure environment? How would you do this?


After completing a judicial clerkship after law school graduation, I spent several months working as a part time staff attorney at the New Jersey office of the American Civil Liberties Union. I sought this position based on my firm belief in and conviction that protecting the first amendment and privacy rights of all Americans was essential to the workings of a democracy. Now, as a member of the township committee, I am sworn to uphold the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of New Jersey, and, on a personal level, my commitment to the protection of our first amendment and privacy rights has not waivered.

Regarding a safe and secure environment, a member of the township committee is responsible to ensure that all of our public safety agencies, police and fire, are protecting our citizens from harm locally, as well as from threats of terrorism locally. Our police and fire departments, and Office of Emergency Management have been recognized for their achievments in meeting these goals, and continue, with the support of the township committee, to be ahead of the curve.

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Question #3 How do you see your role as a Trustee or Township Committee member with regard to activities in the community which seek peaceful alternatives to war, such as those organized by South Mountain Peace Action?


My family and I have always supported the work and activities of SMPA. I continue to do so as a member of the Township Committee. As a member of the Township Committee, I will continue to facilitate and foster the ability of SMPA to accomplish their goals in the community, and to assist with presenting the community's concerns on related issues to our elected representatives in Washington.

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Question #4 Please discuss any additional ways that you believe the issues of war, military spending and national security impact our communities, and how you believe a Trustee or Township Committee member should address them.


The war in Iraq has had a tremendously negative impact locally. Most importantly, local families have been impacted as a result of loved ones serving in dangerous circumstances far from home and for far too long. The war has had a devastating impact on the country's economy and caused the country to again be in a precarious, deficit situation. It is immoral for our troops to have had to remain for so long in a place where the stated reason for war has still not been proven.

As stated before, as a member of the township committee, I can be of assistance in facilitating the goals and activities of SMPA, and serve as a voice for our community to our elected leaders in Washington. One of the first decisions I had to make as a member of the township committee was regarding the resolution on the war in Iraq. While I supported the resolution personally, I discussed the issue beforehand with many who counseled (many of whom were elected officials) that it was inappropriate for a local official to vote on issues to be decided in Washington. In three years on the township committee, I have learned that many of the things we do, and many of the things we can advocate for in our position as elected officials, fall outside of our local duties. They say that hindsight is always 20/20. If I had to do it over again, I would have voted in favor of the resolution in 2003.


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