LETTER: Madison candidate’s statements on public safety are ‘baffling’

TO THE EDITOR: I listened with interest to the League of Women Voters Madison Borough Council candidate debate and found myself puzzled by the single issue that Republican candidate Michael Martinez brought up again and again.

Public safety is something that we all can agree is hugely important. Mr. Martinez shared his harrowing personal story and then used that to leverage a series of baffling claims that just don’t add up.

Our Madison Police Department has been incredibly active in working toward our town’s safety, and I am concerned that Mr. Martinez’s statements do their efforts a disservice.

It appears that Mr. Martinez may have missed the February 27 council meeting where Chief John Miscia, our MPD Chief, shared impressive statistics. Since 2020 police actions are way up  – motor vehicle stops, traffic, and parking tickets – while major crime has declined quite a bit – theft, burglary, etc. I felt it was important to ensure that our community knows the facts regarding the positive impact the MPD is having on this town, along with their ongoing commitment to the work they are doing.

It’s unfortunate that a candidate whose campaign focuses on safety seems to be so out of touch with the reality of the results our MPD is delivering.

Mr. Martinez also claimed falsely on Instagram that “The Madison Borough Council has spent exactly zero minutes and zero seconds discussing crime and public safety in public as a governing body.”

Every single council meeting has a public safety update. Every single one. Just in the prior meeting, there was a lengthy presentation and discussion on reducing the speed limit to 25 mph on Kings Road, along with measures to make it easier to hire more police officers. Public safety is a huge priority and a massive share of the annual budget.

Hearing Mr. Martinez say in the debate that public safety is “Pretty much the only reason why I’m running” also gives me pause.

This is very important, but should not be the only issue on which a candidate is focused. Members of the Madison Borough Council need to be motivated to act across all of the critical issues that affect our town, not just one to build a campaign around.

In contrast, candidates John Forte, Bob Landrigan, and Melissa Honohan consistently stressed the importance of listening and responding to whatever requests come from MPD leadership and expressed full support for the work they are doing to keep Madison safe. This is a healthy approach to ensuring that our amazing police and fire departments get the support they need.

I urge everyone to cast their votes on November 7 for Forte, Landrigan, and Honohan for their strong stance on public safety, well-rounded experience and their commitment to focus on all of the issues that fall under the responsibilities of a council member.