Suing Hilltop developer was not ‘doing nothing’

October 3, 2022

TAPinto West Essex

By Marc A. Calello

In Paul Holland’s “Letters to the Editor” published in Thursday’s September 15, 2022’s Progress, Mr. Holland’s core statement: “Our mayor and council took the developer’s side by doing nothing to rein them in when they had the tools to do it” is just not true. Unless of course you consider suing the developer “doing nothing” which any reasonable person would not. I cannot tell if Mr. Holland has a particular agenda, or, he just likes Mr. Raymond and Mr. Rees, but for two former Republican councilpersons (Mr. Raymond and Mr. Rees) who switched to become Democrats at probably the worst time in our history to become a Democrat (think not FDR or Kennedy, but Pelosi and Schumer) running against a man (Mayor Alessi) who brought Josh Raymond into town politics and put both Raymond and Rees on the Republican line for council. Mr. Holland wants his single issue to sway your vote in a healthy, vibrant and well-educated town that has had few tax increases and several beautification and recreational projects blossom under Mayor Alessi.

I would rather the truth be told that Mr. Holland just wants Alessi out instead of falsely calling Raymond and Rees saviors of a town that doesn’t need saving (I read somewhere that North Caldwell is one of the best towns in the entire state in which to live.) NJ Monthly Magazine ranked North Caldwell Lowest property tax impact in Essex County and, #1 Safest place to live in New Jersey (2017) with Joe Alessi as our Mayor. Whether or not you want to give Mayor Alessi credit for it is your business. But he was in fact the mayor. Because Mr. Holland had some flooding as a result of the Pulte Development does not mean it was bad for the town. In fact, the Pulte Development put new homes on county land where the Essex County Jail used to be. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have beautiful housing on that land than a county jail. 

Regardless, please don’t tell me the town lacks leadership and that turncoats Raymond and Rees are a panacea for the town. Mr. Holland’s issueless and misguided cheering on of Raymond and Rees tells us to vote for them because they are “strong” and “willing to stand up for all the residents of this town against special interests.” I like a good fiction once in a while too. The truth is that Raymond and Rees were on the council when the Pulte development was discussed and voted on. Mr. Holland doesn’t tell us this truth but opines that they will “standup.” That’s the misguided part that frankly saddens me. The broadly based accusations and generalizations made by Mr. Holland sounds much more like complaining than an endorsement for Raymond and Rees. We know for whom Mr. Holland will vote because he told us, I just wish my neighbor would be honest about it instead of leaving out the really important stuff (like what a great town we live in.) He also forgot that the town’s litigation produced an order for Pulte to pay for free mediation and any resident damages as a result of the development. One more thing Mr. Holland, I know Raymond and Rees as well, and like you, I will share my opinion. They are not standing up against anyone except when it comes to their own selfish interests.

They had no problem abandoning Mayor Joe Alessi who brought them onto his ticket for town council. Raymond and Rees also abandoned the Republican Party. They abandoned their party and the mayor because it was best for them. They will also abandon you.

Marc Calello
North Caldwell