Barry and Richardson deserve your vote

Oct 21, 2020, Observer Tribune

EDITOR: For the good of Harding’s natural resources, I voted for Kate Barry and Amanda Richardson for Harding Township Committee and I encourage you to do the same.

Harding is home to a variety of sensitive ecosystems that are local biodiversity hotspots. Kate and Amanda understand the important benets the swamp, wetlands, meadows, vernal pools, and woods provide to wildlife, including state and federally listed endangered and threatened species, and to us as residents. In Harding we enjoy clean air, clean water, and the natural beauty of the landscape.

Kate and Amanda know these ecosystem services must be protected. Amanda grew up with the Great Swamp NWR (National Wildlife Refuge) in her backyard and has moved back to Harding so that her young son can have the same childhood experience with the outdoors.

She has worked to protect our country’s National Land Conservation System with the Wilderness Society, researched the intersection of climate change and land rights with her organization Resource Equity, and identied and tested models that strengthen resource tenure governance and increased the eectiveness of climate change mitigation and adaptation eorts with the USAID-funded Tenure and Global Climate Change project.

Kate has a master’s degree in environmental science. She currently serves on the board of the Great Swamp Watershed Association, a nonprot dedicated to protecting and improving our water resources, on Harding’s Environmental Commission, and on the Community Advisory Group for the EPA (federal Environmental Protection Agency) clean up of the Rolling Knolls superfund site.page2image11297520

Together, Amanda and Kate will always consider the impacts of town activities on our local ecosystems. They plan to preserve additional open space in Harding and will seek out expert advice on land management and the many environmental challenges facing our region including invasive species and climate change. Kate Barry and Amanda Richardson are the best candidates on the environment for Harding Township Committee.

You don’t have to take my word for it! Kate and Amanda received an endorsement from the nonpartisan group the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.

JULIA PERZLEY

Kitchell Road Harding Township

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Vote for Barry and Richardson in Harding

Oct 19, 2020, Observer Tribune

EDITOR: I support Kate Barry and Amanda Richardson for Harding Township Committee and want to describe why.

I grew up here and have lived here for 53 years, and I know this town and the people who live here as well as anyone.

I have been very disappointed in the Township Committee’s lack of communication on Aordable Housing, especially on Hurstmont and Glen Alpin, which were arranged without any meaningful input from the town’s residents.

The resulting rezoning of (Route) 202 allows for extreme over development—the possibility of 800 new units—changing the character of Harding permanently. Proactive planning with meaningful resident input, before the township engages in condential litigation negotiations, must be the way forward.

Furthermore, with Mayor (Christopher) Yates at the helm, our taxes have just increased dramatically, especially those on less than three acres. This tax hit came as a surprise to residents and places an added burden on our local businesses that already are struggling to survive.

At the Meet the Candidates Forum, Chipperson oered nothing new, simply nodding along with Yates and stating that she would do exactly as he has these previous years.

Amanda and Kate will bring a better way of doing things, one that is more responsive to township residents and does a better job of communicating to them.

Kate Barry and Amanda Richardson have been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters and the Working Families Alliance.

Vote for them to keep Harding green, vibrant and an aordable place to live.

PETER ALLEN

Deer Ridge Drive Harding Township

Barry and Richardson perfect for Harding

Oct 16, 2020, Observer-Tribune

EDITOR: I am voting for Kate Barry and Amanda Richardson for Harding Township Committee and I urge you to do so too.

As long-time residents raised in Harding who know the town’s history, people and potential, they will bring a much-needed refresh to the Township Committee.

Amanda and Kate are committed to maintaining low taxes, proactively planning how to address aordable housing mandates in a way that preserves Harding’s character, saving the beauty of Dickson’s Mill Road and preserving our open space.

Amanda and Kate will meet residents “where they are” using streaming, social media and one-on-one meetings to keep residents informed.

Their approach is a welcome contrast from the existing Township Committee’s expressed view that “if residents care about an issue, they should show up at a meeting.” In-person attendance is not always feasible, and as this year has demonstrated, we can improve citizen participation and communication using modern technology.

At the Candidates’ Night, Kate and Amanda engaged in a collegial and substantive discussion of the issues.

In his closing statement, Mayor (Christopher) Yates ignored what they said and unfairly stereotyped them.

We respect each other in Harding and we must not allow the toxic climate outside of our borders to have a place in our local government. It will hurt our community and discourage volunteers from participating in Harding’s civic life.

It’s time for bipartisan representation on the Township Committee. Please vote for Amanda Richardson and Kate Barry.

ELAINE MCHALE

Blue Mill Road Harding Township

Vote for Richardson and Barry in Harding

Oct 13, 2020, Observer-Tribune

EDITOR: I write in support of the candidacies of Amanda Richardson and Kate Barry for Harding Township Committee.

Both are energetic and smart and have demonstrated their commitment to the community through their volunteerism and participation in local organizations. Both would represent a welcome broadening of representation on the Harding Township Committee.

At the Candidates Night event on Oct. 5, the interactions were on the whole civil and respectful. Kate and Amanda brought forward new ideas and suggestions that would enhance the knowledge and awareness of the township residents. They also probed Township Committee inactions such as a lack of followup to explain the dramatic disparate impact of the recent revaluation of properties in Harding.

Only in closing did both of their opponents engage in unfounded ideological characterizations, something just not relevant to governing a small community. There is as little logic to the view that a Democrat is fiscally imprudent as to the view that a Republican is anti-environment. There is no place for such labeling in a municipal race.

Please vote. When you do so, please vote for Amanda and Kate for Harding Township Committee.

CHRIS ALLYN

Lake Trail West, Harding Township

Where was Yates on Harding revaluation? She’s voting for Richardson and Barry

Oct 12, 2020, Observer-Tribune

EDITOR: The Harding Township Civic Association sponsored a Meet the Candidates Night on Oct. 5.

This forum was an excellent opportunity to learn about the substantive positions and personal qualities of the four candidates.

Amanda Richardson and Kate Barry demonstrated that night that they are the best candidates for the Township Committee. They have my vote.

That night Amanda and Kate shared important information about the recent Harding revaluation of Harding properties.

They explained that properties with less than three acres were hard hit with tax assessment increases: the data shows that 83 percent of all such properties saw tax assessment increases.

After subsequent investigation, I learned that one property in this category received a tax increase of over 100 percent. Contrast this result with the tax assessment decreases of properties with ve acres or more: 37 percent of all such improved lots had tax assessment decreases while only 24 percent of properties in this category saw tax assessment increases.

Despite the significant impact on so many Harding citizens, Mayor (Christopher) Yates did not think it necessary to hold a public meeting either before the revaluation took place or after the results were released.

While other nearby towns did host public meetings with the outside appraisal company to explain the methodology and to answer resident questions, Mayor Yates has declined to do so in Harding.

We are left with many unanswered questions. We want to know, for example, how the appraisal company came to its valuation conclusions in light of the fact that in Harding there are so many unique properties and relatively few comparable sales on which to rely.

How were properties grouped together?
How was the at fee applied to lots within each group?

Despite his years of being on our Township Committee, Mayor Yates could offer nothing more than his own personal speculation that larger properties have lost value in recent markets. While Mayor Yates may have heard anecdotes to this effct, he offered no serious or systematic study to prove this to be the case.

What is needed now is clear-eyed, rigorous thinking.
What is needed now is a commitment to fact-based transparency.

What is needed now is Amanda Richardson and Kate Barry to sit on the Harding Township Committee and they deserve our vote on Nov. 3.

WENDY L. MILLER

Spruce Lane, Harding Township