Local Issues

Here's what Democrat Jim Devine would do as mayor:

Public Safety & Security

Putting People First
Police have a terrible relationship with people who live in the community. Making first responders live in the towns they protect and serve would be one step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to re-establish bonds of trust and cooperation because the real problem is a failure in leadership. Zero tolerance for official corruption, aggressive community outreach programs, universal security consultations to inform homeowners and tenants how they might better protect their property, and other direct contact among police and people would help improve the level of mutual respect among these partners in public safety. We should love each other, but we must at least trust and respect every member of society to make our community a place worth living in.

Open & Honest
While crime reduction remains a high priority, we cannot afford to cover up problems like gun violence or ignore the police department's current failure to solve more than 75 percent of the reported crimes. City Hall has to come clean with citizens so that we can work together to solve serious problems. Allowing criminals to escape justice is a leadership failure and a political issue related to deployment priorities and staff allocation, not a reflection on the officers who put their lives on the line for our safety.

Police Accountability
Hold police brass accountable to solve more crimes and build a better bond with the community that they are sworn to protect and serve. Require law enforcement agencies to do a better job investigating crime and bring more criminals to justice. The police chief should not be permitted to engage in partisan politics and the city must clarify the nepotism ban enacted over former Mayor Rick Proctor's veto.

Stop Gun Violence
Rahway had at least four shootings in four months, with a murder in November, followed by Rahway High School student being injured in December, an aggravated assault with a gun in January and a February incident that that left one 16-year-old paralyzed and another facing decades in prison. The number of shootings in 2013 was 50% higher then the number in 2012. Over the last three years there have been more than 60 reported crimes involving firearms, so City Hall cannot cover up these crimes and just hope they will go away.

Tax Fairness

Accurate Assessments
People are being robbed in their property tax bills as overestimated assessments are combined with gigantic reductions for greedy corporations. Democrat Jim Devine intends to cut every homeowner's tax bill by making sure the assessments are fair, because right now it looks like more than 90 percent of the residential properties are being overcharged.

Expose Corporate Greed
Merck stashed profits of $55 billion in overseas accounts to avoid paying federal taxes while it pursued a tax appeal that cut its Rahway property tax bill by about one-third. While the pharmaceutical giant is knocking down buildings and preparing to leave, City Hall should not be helping them pack. Smart negotiations and effective environmental enforcement can save jobs, cleanup toxic contamination, produce massive government revenue and shame the greedy business into doing the right thing instead of chasing profits without concern for the cost to society.

Think Globally, Act Locally

End Politics As Usual
Democrat Jim Devine intends to advance progressive policies in order to arrest climate change, restore the American Dream and prevent the destruction of democracy in line with American values and ideals.

Make Merck Stay
Democrat Jim Devine intends to stop the unannounced but planned departure of Merck, the city's largest landowner and employer, and insist that the giant global corporation makes good on its obligation to pay a fair share of the tax bill. Rahway does not have to end up like Detroit because heartless economic forces inspire a company to abandon its home for convenience of satisfying unlimited greed. Corporations are not people but they are owned and managed be people who can understand logic, respond to appeals for the greater good and recognize the difference between right and wrong.

End 'Too Big To Fail'
A longtime supporter of the Move Your Money project, Democrat Jim Devine intends to ask City Council to pass ordinances that would invest more of the public's dollars in banks committed to stopping foreclosures, and pull taxpayer money out of those that continue to kick families out of their homes, deprive small businesses the credit they need to survive and engage in other unscrupulous practices.

Short Circuit Foreclosures
By employing eminent domain in a strategy developed in Richmond, California, and approved in New Jersey by Irvington township council members last month, Democrat Jim Devine will protect honest homeowners from crooked greedy bankers, stopping foreclosures and restructuring mortgages. Devine's proposal allows the municipality to seize underwater mortgages and restructure them on behalf of homeowners to make payments more affordable. More than 230 Rahway families have been foreclosure victims but City Hall has ignored the problem and instead catered to out-of-town developers.

An Economy That Works
Democrat Jim Devine intends to make sure we have a local economy that works for people who work for a living and who live here in Rahway. The first step is to develop a sustainable transit village that is part of our community, benefitting people who already live in Rahway and those who want to make this city their home.

Welcome Wagon
Open up the political process and revitalize the Democratic Party by encouraging participation, welcoming new ideas and fueling a robust public discussion about the city's priorities and needs. City Hall should reward Democratic Party members and other Rahway residents who contribute to our success, rather than shopping out high paying jobs and lucrative government contracts to out of towners.

Be The Change We Want
Democrat Jim Devine will exhibit fundamental American values as fairness, opportunity, good government and moral courage. A great mayor must reflect in his actions a love for people who are part of our human family because we are all in this together.

Polluters Pay
Require corporations to rectify environmental damage on property they own or owned and lobby to reestablish the federal Superfund petrochemical industry tax system.

This campaign is about the American Dream and you.

The following is an excerpt from Democrat Jim Devine's statement announcing his candidacy, entitled This election is not about me.

My campaign is about what could happen if I become mayor and what will not happen if Rahway continues in the wrong direction with rising property taxes, falling home values and a vast majority of unsolved crimes. The fundamental distinction between the two parties is that Democrats believe we are all in this together and Republicans would let every man fend for himself.

Americans can no longer afford to pretend that they live in a great society because we abandoned the war on poverty to pay for actual warfare across the globe but it is not too late to restore the American Dream and deliver power to the people.

American values are not easy, it requires courage and dedication and what Aaron Sorkin called "advanced citizenship."

"This is a country made up of people with hard jobs that they're terrified of losing. The roots of freedom are of little or no interest to them at the moment. We are a nation afraid to go out at night. We're a society that has assigned low priority to education and has looked the other way while our public schools have been decimated. We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them."

I have been a member of the American Civil Liberties Union and I was endorsed in a prior election campaign by the National Rifle Association, but I believe we need to reinforce the Fourth Amendment to protect everyone's privacy more than we need the Second Amendment because in times of nuclear ICBMs, an armed militia is not necessary to security of a free state but the ability to have different ideas remains a vital component.

Political corruption more than anything else is the issue of our time.

Some of us may have guns and think that with them, we can protect our freedom, but we already lost our liberty due to an invasion of privacy, the emerging police state that has grown from unending war, and a dedicated effort to disrupt the principles of democracy perpetrated by the wealthiest fraction of one percent of our population that is injecting unlimited money into campaigns.

A total of 7,765 Occupy protesters have been arrested around the U.S. since Occupy Wall Street began on September 17, 2011. Bankers arrested for robbing $22 trillion from middle class families, greedy corporate executives charged for wrecking the American economy and sanctions imposed on those greedy corporations are outnumbered by the words in this sentence.

We need to take the power to sway elections away from the greedy rich billionaires and put it back in the hands of the people. We need to make life livable so impoverished families are not at the mercy of uncaring politicians and greedy corporations. We need to restore faith among people that government can be a force for good and the first step would be stopping the government from doing so much harm.

I do not know how to solve all of the world's problems but I know we cannot afford to ignore the really big ones, like climate change and the destruction of democracy. Privatizing education and health care are ways of destroying democracy and enriching greedy people who already possess vast wealth, and we must resolutely object to such actions.

I know some people care so much about themselves that they do not care if you live or die, if our children are educated, if senior citizens live with dignity, if our bridges remain standing, if our drinking water is clean or if our brothers and sisters endure minimal suffering.

I care and that is why I am running for mayor. As President Johnson declared in 1964, "These are the stakes: To make a world in which all of God's children can live, or to go into the darkness. We must either love each other, or we must die."

Amazingly, we survived the Cold War yet we have failed to make a world where people can live together in peace and everyone has enough and differences are respected. You might ask how all this makes me a better candidate for mayor, a job that deals with parks and recreation, sanitation and public works on a daily basis. I would say it is precisely because I can see the big picture that I will do a better job carting away your garbage, repairing potholes, protecting your neighborhood and ensuring that taxes are fair.

My friend, who inherited the job when Mayor Rick Proctor resigned, says the city is heading in the right direction but I say Rahway needs to change.

We are just two people, both with faults and qualities, but I am older and my experience is broader and my perspective is such that I will never run away from a fight that needs to be waged.

That is the choice you have to make on June 3: More of the same or Democrats for Change. I will do a better job as mayor because I care about you, so I am duty-bound to offer my services and it is up to you to decide whether to put your trust in me or continue along the path that has gotten things as messed up as they are.