We live in a town where a Mayor's son( not the current one)doesn't have to worry about getting a ticket because his father can have it taken care of. Where an officer might lose a promotion because he had the misfortune of having to give an original askan's wife a summons. Where our police chief is busy going to every ribbon cutting and political dinner, instead of making sure there is a police presence in high crime areas.
If the police see that they are beholden to certain leaders, they answer only to them and all else is insignificant. When a regular Joe calls the police with a problem, the response is begrudging at best. We are not their bosses, they answer to a higher authority. If you have the right connections and you need something done, wham ! the divers are in the Lake looking for your ring. If you have no connections, or refuse to use them, you are on your own buddy.
This same problem is evident at the inspection department as well. Certain buildings get overlooked because they are owned by certain people, while others may incur a fine on a daily basis for having a wayward branch on the lawn. It is not that the inspectors are corrupt in any way. They just don't want to deal with the firestorm that would be caused if they inspected the wrong person's house.
Favorable tax assessments or lack thereof are a result of knowing the right people. There are homes in Lakewood that pay no property tax simply because they have the right connections.
When a resident calls a committeeman to ask why his street hasn't been plowed and receives the answer; "I don't remember you donating to my campaign",,the truth becomes clear.
The public works department is not only useful to help keep our town in order, it is also a useful tool to threaten, and intimidate people.
Here is a little story that I know of firsthand:
For eight years I had been putting out boxes in front of Toys For Thought with no incidence or complaints, It is not always the neatest pile of boxes in the downtown area, but it is not any different than many others. One day I received a fine for putting my boxes out early. It seemed the truck didn't pick up the boxes that morning and they were left out all day. I went to court which was required, paid 250 dollars with an explanation.
Later that day, I was in the Township building to attend a meeting where I planned on speaking about the misuse of UEZ funds. Everyone knew about the speech. Before the meeting Bob Singer and Ray Coles approached me. They asked about the fine , and said. "that is ridiculous, you shouldn't have to pay a fine". I answered that I was happy to pay since it goes to the Town, and I love my town.
Two days later I get a phone call from a public works employee asking if I got a fine.I answered yes. He told me that he was told by a supervisor to go check my store for any offenses, and write up a fine. When he came to the store he found no problems. The supervisor sent a different employee the next day and found the leftover boxes. The employee explained to me that no other store ever receives a fine for putting out their boxes early. That same week I also got a stern warning that my home recycling bins had some garbage in them.
All of these special favors. All of these polite requests from those in power to focus on certain individuals, causes the rest of the Town a myriad of problems.
In order to offset tax favors the rest of us pay the price, literally by paying their taxes.
If you have a tenant moving in and you need a CO, and are told the inspector can't make it for another week because you don't know who to call to get it done.
I find it so funny when a small sidewalk crack gets a summons while down the block there are apartments above stores that are roach infested, covered in lead paint ,with no heat.
If the inspectors would look at the town square they would give the Committee a summons for all the dangerous broken steps and holes in the sidewalks.
Someone once said that this town is run for 15 influential people. When I mentioned that to a person that works in the Township building, they said it is not true. "The town is only run for ten people".
I am really happy for those ten people, but can they at least ask the heads of each department to still look out for the rest of us?