Independent conservatives Martin Marks and Harry P. Pappas say that Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick’s sudden interest in addressing affordable housing mandates is just more election year pandering by a Republican who suddenly finds himself in a tough re-election campaign.
Marks and Pappas are coming at Bramnick from the right, hoping to siphon off conservative Republicans in what might already be a close race for the nine-term Republican from a district that has becoming increasingly more Democratic in recent years.
Marks, a former Scotch Plains Mayor, says that the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Mount Laurel decision that forces high density, low-income housing on suburban towns has been around since the 1970s and 1980s.
“Jon Bramnick has been in the State Legislature for 16 years, and now he is finally coming around to stating the obvious?” Marks said. “This is a classic case of closing the barn door after the cow has escaped.”
Pappas said that time has run out on Bramnick, who started his career as a Plainfield City Councilman in the 1980s and then moved to Westfield.
“After all his years in the legislature Jon Bramnick has had ample time to address these long-standing liberal Supreme Court decisions,” said Pappas, a former Union County Democratic Chairman in the 1970s and Republican Township Committeeman in Springfield in the 1990s. “Giving our residents a false sense that someone is finally standing up for them is misleading and unfair.”
Marks is proposing a constitutional amendment to prevent judges from legislating from the bench.
“It needs to be clearly stated that New Jersey municipalities have the right to protect themselves from overdevelopment through their own zoning laws,” Marks said.