At this week’s council meeting, Council President Rob Nixon railed against a recent article he claims misrepresented his words (the author of which has responded as well). He also made a simple plea: “Talk to each other”. If you have an issue in the township, it can be solved by “real communication” with “willing partners”.
This statement stands in stark contrast to a sentiment expressed recently by another township head, Mayor Mike Reina: “Game on, gloves off”. After over one year of discussion, Reina and Nixon decided to walk away from an agreed-upon settlement with Agudath Israel about bans on schools, synagogues and dorms, negotiated at practically no cost to the township. Now, after kicking to the curb “communication” and “willing partners”, Mayor Reina sent around an email about the case saying that he is ready to throw down.
The mayor claims this is in the interest of “all our residents”, but is it in the town’s interest to head back into legal and financial uncertainty by putting a case that has come amid some damning revelations in the court’s hands and hiring a new legal team on the taxpayer’s dollar while the DOJ and AG hover overhead? Or, given the timing of their sudden change of heart, could this have more to do with Reina and Nixon protecting their political careers after last election season.
In what seems to be headed towards a bruising battle though, both sides are preparing to pull punches. After telling the judge that Jackson has been acting in “bad faith”, Agudath Israel was granted carte blanche to add new charges to their lawsuit in a hearing this week. It remains to be seen what will happen, but this case may get much more complex, especially if the state or federal government decide to join the melee.