19 November 2007

Bizarro World

"Shall a charter study commission be elected to study the charter of the township to consider a new charter or improvements in the present charter and to make recommendations thereon?"

Haven't we already done this?

Yes, we have - now it's someone else's turn. This Friday, while we Hillsborough residents are making turkey sandwiches and nursing our tryptophan hangovers, residents of the Union County Township of Union will be celebrating the 199th birthday of their township, and considering whether to make its bicentennial year its last.

More Deja Vu.

A local citizen's group had been organizing a petition drive to put a government change question on next year's ballot. The group, Citizens for a United Union, has called for a Mayor-Council form of government with a directly elected mayor, with both ward representatives and at large councilmen. The Township Committee, some of whom support the idea of a directly elected mayor(!), introduced the charter study ordinance because they questioned the motives and financial backing of CUU, and wanted to prevent the spread of misinformation.

As we know from our own recent history, a charter study ordinance trumps a petition drive - if it is introduced and adopted legally - and apparently the Township Committee in Union has all of their ducks in a row thus far. Perhaps they learned from the missteps in our town.

I don't know a lot about Union Township, but I do know this. Its 54,000 residents live in a municipality that is 9 square miles in size. That comes out to 6000 residents per square mile. Contrast that with Hillsborough's 40,000 residents in 54 square miles - or about 750 per square mile - and you can see that a government form used by the cities may actually be appropriate for Union Township. This is one large densely populated township!

Ready for the twist?

Union County democrats have had control of the Township Committee for ten years - and they are the ones resistant to change! We know from Hillsborough's Charter Study that one of the main reasons behind the push for government change is that the party on the "outs" wants "in", while the party in power, wants to stay there. We also know that this is not a good reason to change government forms.

Unlike Hillsborough, there may be a few good reasons to change forms in Union - about 6000 per square mile!

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