It’s only gonna get worse in towns like Ventnor and Margate. Uncontested local elections. The lack of opposition candidates along the Jersey shore. A shrinking, full-time residency plays a major role here.
Over time, an ever-dwindling group of full-time Jersey Shore residents will select our elected leadership. While fine for those protecting the status quo, this doesn’t bode well for 2nd homeowners.
Second homeowners make up 75% of the local tax base. These taxpayers have no voting rights or proper representation.
Last year, Margate had only one opposition candidate for the 3 commission seats up for grabs. Margate incumbents, Becker, Amodeo & Blumberg were able to avoid scheduled ‘Meet the Candidates’ town halls and debates. All three were re-elected with embarrassingly low, voter turn-out.
This year, no one is challenging the 3 Ventnor incumbents, Holtzman, Landgraf and Kriebel.
What to do? At the very least, some join or form a taxpayers / homeowners association. Margate and Ocean City have one. Ventnor does not.
Ocean City’s Fairness in Taxes (FIT) has accomplished much. Most recently, FIT stopped the OC Mayor from overpaying for a shuttered car lot. This effort saved OC taxpayers millions. Read more about Klause Property here.
After just one year, The Margate Homeowners Association (MHA) has grown to over 300 paid members. Margate leadership has taken notice. The collective voice of MHA membership helped stop plans for more high-rises along the beach, among other controversial moves that often get voted on during off-season, when few taxpayers are in town.
FROM NPR > There’s a decreasing willingness of citizens to serve in state and local government, says Adam Myers, a political science professor at Providence College who’s studied the issue.
Myers believes it’s a bad sign for democracy when voters aren’t presented with at least two options in a race. And he says, the problem tends to get worse the further down ballot a race is.
“We don’t have the same data on local races, but we have every reason to believe that the percentage of local races — so school board races, city council races, etc — that are uncontested is even higher.”
Read more about Uncontested Local Elections on NPR.