As I’ve been knocking on doors throughout Ward Four, I’ve met many residents of our neighborhood. As these residents talk with me in the doorways of their homes that are meticulously and lovingly cared for – from the colorful flowers that line the walkways, to the whimsical doorbells and charming cus- tom mailboxes – a common theme of our conversations is the degraded condition of the streets in our neighborhoods. Of- ten, the streets that these immaculate homes sit on are in disrepair. The roads we live on simply do not reflect the value of the homes that line them, nor does our tax burden explain the lack of services being provided. Some residents have even expressed their embarrassment when guests who visit from other towns see the condition of our streets.
As I’ve been campaigning through Ward Four, I inquired how residents with newly paved streets were able to accom- plish that. They told me about petitions that needed 30 signatures. They also told me that residents contributed half the cost of the paving. Indeed, this instruction is on the town’s website. What? Aren’t our taxes supposed to pay for that?
After consulting with other towns, they appear to have very well considered and executed plans in contrast to Westfield. It is clear to me that we need to reassess completely the priorities for road repair. The onus should not be on homeowners to determine which streets need atten- tion. And residents should not need to advocate, petition or pay for the paving of our roads. This is what our tax revenue is for. We lack the impetus and imagination to consider an ambitious review and ini- tiative not only catch up on repairs but restore our streets to the standards com- mensurate with the beauty and value of our homes.
Additionally, we need an ordinance to protect the streets that are finally com- plete - If you are one of the lucky ones who gets your street paved, it’ s likely you waited for years before it happened. Ha- zel Avenue has not been paved in 42 years! Currently, Westfield does not have an ordinance in place to protect the long -awaited accomplishment of a newly paved street. Ridgewood, for example, protects its newly paved roads for five years. We should too. This is a simple correction to our code which will pre- serve the value and longevity of the cov- eted freshly paved streets. It is my plan to shed a light on the logical and proactive ways other towns function, and to high- light the many areas of potential im- provement to processes here in town. Make no mistake – Westfield is a great town. But there are things we can do better.
Dawn Mackey, Westfield Ward 4 Council Candidate
By CRAIG SEAMANS
September 27, 2017 at 10:00 PM
Recently our Ward 4 Councilman touted an initiative by the town to plant trees.This initiative has been in effect since 2016, yet only now, weeks before an election, are Ward 4 residents being asked if they would like a tree planted on their property. I wonder where this call to action was as the plan unfolded in 2016. Or at the beginning of each subsequent planting season.
My neighbor, Dawn Mackey, first learned of this tree planting initiative by speaking with a DPW worker planting a tree on Hazel Avenue. Since this street had lost many trees during Superstorm Sandy, she inquired about the process. Dawn then personally reached out to those of us who had either lost trees during the storm or were without them in the first place.
She knocked on doors, took names, addresses and types of trees preferred and coordinated the effort with the DPW. When other neighbors on adjoining blocks saw our new trees they asked to be a part of the effort, too. Dawn collected and coordinated the same information for even more of us for another round of planting. Dawn wrote a letter to the editor of The Westfield Leader to commend the DPW on their responsiveness.
Dawn Mackey did this as our neighbor. This is how she approaches community. She sees a need, identifies an opportunity and proactively leads the way.
Imagine what she could do as your councilwoman
Downtown Business District Top Concern for 738 Westfield Residents Polled in Public Survey by Westfield Together
by: Westfield Together
Westfield’s downtown business district was the top concern among the 738 Westfield residents who participated in a public online survey conducted by Westfield Together, the Democratic slate of candidates running for council and mayor.
The survey, which was posted online May 3, asked residents to identify the top five issues most important to them from a list of 24 choices. Those who completed the survey, reported the following:
- 71% cited the condition of downtown as one of their top five most important issues, and 133 or 22% found downtown the most important issue of all.
- Property taxes and schools were tied as the second most cited in respondents’ top five issues at 59% each.
- 32% cited property values in their top five issues.
- 28% cited parking as their top issue.
- 21% cited schools as their top issue.
- 17% cited property taxes as their top issue.
- 6% cited property values as their top issue.
- 4% cited public transportation as their top issue.
- 3% cited parking, housing teardowns, and government transparency as their top issue.
36% of those who took the survey reported living in Westfield for 20+ years, and 32% reported living in Westfield between 11-19 years. Of those residents who participated in the survey, 96% are registered voters. Residents in all 4 wards participated in the survey with the most, 30% from Ward 1, and the fewest, 19% from Ward 3.
Residents had the opportunity to respond to an open-ended question asking respondents to include additional feedback. 87 residents submitted written responses, with the majority expressing concern about the downtown vacancies and parking.
Residents accessed the survey via the candidates’ Facebook pages, the Westfield Together website, and in this TAPinto Westfield article. This survey was created and controlled through Survey Monkey, and results were tracked by the responder’s unique IP address. Party affiliation was deliberately not included as a question on the survey. The data cited above was collected from May 3 to May 24, 2017.
To maximize communication and transparency we have appended the complete unedited survey results PDF. We hope this survey contributes to the productive conversation on local priorities. Polling residents on the local issues that impact them will be routine practice if the Democratic slate of candidates is elected November 7th.
On Sunday, June 25, Dawn Mackey hosted a family event at the Westfield Community Center on 558 West Broad St. Led by several volunteers dressed as glamorous princesses and superheroes, the event allowed the community to be fully immersed in an afternoon of fun and excitement. Other rising seniors at Westfield High School participated in the event set-up, decorating and activity tables. From giving out superhero temporary tattoos to painting fingernails, volunteers played a pivotal role in the event’s success and the community engagement.
Magic floated through the air as princesses gracefully twirled with the 4th Ward’s youngest and waved glimmering wands, but this was no fairytale; the real magic lay within the dedication of the volunteers and their involvement in their community. The great amount of civic engagement cultivated by volunteers was incredibly important to Mackey.
“I love that young people are … engaged and devoting their time to interact with residents,” Mackey said.
The event gave community members an opportunity to bond, unwind and spend time together as a collective family. Moments that an entire community can come together in the same place are rare, and Mackey hopes to change that.
“Including everyone of all ages in the community in events and conversations is an instrumental part of my leadership plan,” Mackey explained. She is dedicated to creating a culture of openness and inclusivity.
Mackey’s passion for inclusion was illustrated in the fact that she was able to discuss concerns of residents all day while volunteers worked together to smoothly run the event. Listening to the concerns of all Ward members is paramount to Mackey’s mission and having an opportunity to do so at this event is another reason to celebrate its success.
It is also no surprise that the event was held at the Westfield Community Center. Built in the heart of Ward 4, the Community Center served as the perfect location for Mackey, as she wanted to ensure that the event would be accessible to all families. The Community Center has been a central part of residents’ lives since its inception in 1941 and still serves as the pinnacle of community involvement today. Mackey hopes that hosting this event at the center will bring more awareness of its importance and amazing services.
All in all, the day, filled with fun from fairytale characters, was also pervaded with real life magic resulting from the work of passionate volunteers. This enthusiasm will set the tone for the rest of Mackey’s efforts.
“Interacting with youth and speaking with members of the Westfield community was a rewarding part of this event”, Mackey reflected. “This was truly an enchanting experience and I look forward to more opportunities and exciting discussions with all of you.”
On Sunday, June 11, the Democratic Council and Mayoral Candidates hosted a thank you brunch for the thirty Westfield High School students who interned for the campaigns, many as a supplement to their AP Government class.Read more
Beautiful day for canvassing in Ward 4. I was fortunate to run into retired Westfield firefighter Tom Dries who has been an outstanding supporter!Read more
I'm overwhelmed by all your support and offer a heartfelt thank you for coming out and voting in the primary.The results belong to all of us. The general election season has just begun and we need your support now more than ever. Please consider volunteering- come knock on doors, host an event, donate or put a magnet on your car (hot item this week!).
#westfieldtogether #localelections #wardfour #brindleformayor
Sign up today!Read more
Inspired by Phil Murphy and looking forward to casting my vote for him!
WESTFIELD, NJ — The crowds were undeterred by the weather this Saturday and showed up in droves to experience the Friends of the New Jersey Festival Orchestra’s 2017 Tour of Notable Homes.
“Despite the rain, we still expected attendance to be good since so many tickets were purchased in advance,” said Alicia Barker, president of the Friends of the NJFO. About 350 tickets were sold beforehand.
A more than 30-year tradition, the annual tour has acquired a loyal following.
“I’m pretty sure that we’d have our core group in attendance even if it was snowing,” said one Friends of NJFO volunteer.
“We have an acquired interest after having done this for so many years,” added Jessica Doyle, daughter of NJFO Executive Director Linda Doyle.
Prepared with plastic bags for patrons’ wet shoes and cloth foot covers, volunteers from the Friends greeted guests at four of the area’s finest homes.
Each home featured live music from members of the Junior Musical Club in Westfield, luxury basket raffles and door prizes, along with unique vendor experiences ranging from dessert tastings to Tesla test drive raffles.
It with great confidence that I endorse Dawn Mackey for Westfield Town Council Ward 4. I am a 17 year resident of Ward 4 as well as a local business owner for over 10 years. I have known Dawn both professionally and personally for close to 10 years.
Professionally Dawn and I have worked very closely on many occasions. Even though at one time we were rival business owners, Dawn still reached out to me to offer help, suggestions and even customer referrals. Dawn is a consummate professional who gives her all too each and every business task she undertakes. If there is a problem that needs a solution, Dawn is absolutely the one person you want in your corner!
Dawn is known for her commitment to the Westfield community. Time and time again it is Dawn who steps up whenever and wherever she is needed. From running countless successful school and sports events, to organizing fundraisers, Dawn does it all while still running a successful business.
The residents of Ward 4 would be in extremely good hands with Dawn Mackey representing us in the town council. It is for that reason that I proudly endorse Dawn for Westfield Town Council Ward 4.
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