EAST ORANGE, N.J. — East Orange City Council Chairman Ted Green wants to bring outside government at the county and state level into into the city to engage residents and the local governing body.
With that in mind, Essex County Registrar Dana Rone was invited to come to the council meeting on Monday, March 14, to describe her job for audience members. On Monday, April 11, Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver and Assemblyman Tom Giblin stopped by the council’s regular meeting to give legislative updates about their activities in Trenton on behalf of their constituents, including East Orange.
“We’re doing a roadshow this year and we’re making sure that all the citizens of Essex County understand the value of our office and how they can use our office to avoid fraudulent claims on their property,” said Rone on Monday, March 14. “Council meetings, libraries, town hall meetings, to talk about how they should come and check on their mortgage, check on their deed and letting them know what ‘open’ means, because some people think: ‘OK, I can go get it myself.’ But it’s not just you. I can go get yours; you can go get mine; the Open Public Records Act allows anyone to get anything that’s public information.”
According to Rone, telling citizens how government works and what officials are supposed to do on their constituents’ behalf is important, and that educated, well-informed voters help promote democracy.
And Rone said there’s also a lot of good news to share.
“It was a great year; we collected $69,000 for the homeless last year in the last quarter of the year,” said Rone. “We’re looking to have a big year this year, with $200,000 to support the county in their eradication of homelessness. So we’re happy with that. I’m loving my job.”
“When I became chairman, I reached out to our various county and statewide elected officials and invited them to come to East Orange to talk about who they are and what they do and why that’s important to the average citizen and taxpayer,” said Green on Tuesday, April 19. “In March, we had Dana Rone come up from the county Registrar’s Office. Just recently, we had Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver and Tom Giblin come in and give us a report from the state level.”
Green said he was particularly glad to have Oliver speak since, at the state level, she is championing the local legislation banning the sale of realistic-looking toy guns to school-age children. According to Green, at the meeting on Monday, April 11, she said, “On the state level, people have watched what we’ve done on the toy gun ordinance and that’s important, because it’s proof that local politics and legislation being passed on behalf of real people really does have a wider impact than most believe.”
“On April 27, I’ve been invited down to Trenton to speak to the Assembly about what East Orange has done to prevent realistic-looking toy guns from getting into the hands of our children and potentially putting their lives in danger,” said Green on Monday, April 11. “I’m taking my display down there; toy guns that look like guns; statistics on how many men and women were killed; everything I’ve got that shows why getting realistic-looking toy guns out of our young people’s hands is important. We’re going to continue to fight, in the effort to make sure that the community knows these guns are dangerous and contributing to people being killed.”
Green said he and his council colleagues were “very happy that Sheila Oliver came through.” and that a host of other officials have been scheduled to to visit East Orange in the weeks and months ahead.
“We’re going to be very proactive on my watch as chairman,” said Green on Tuesday, April 19. “We recently honored every Pop Warner organization in the city, because we wanted to show our appreciation to the men and women and their organizations that work with our kids.
“On April 30, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., we’re going to be meeting with all the clergy in the city to let them know their legislative body is reaching out to the city’s community leaders to invite them in.”
Green said he’s “on fire, in terms of meeting with people and engaging them.” And he said it’s all part of “moving forward” and “changing the perspective of how people feel about government.”
“We’ve got some initiatives to let people know that we care,” said Green. “We are engaging ourselves. Folks need to know who we are, not only during election time.”