Thank you to members of Vernon PAID

Vernon /
| 21 Oct 2019 | 01:53

    I am writing to say thank you to the hard-working, law-abiding members of Vernon PAID (People Against Illegal Dumping) for defending our community against the serious problem of the dumping of solid waste and potentially hazardous materials in our rural community. I will always be appreciative to these citizen volunteers for the time, talent and treasure that they have devoted to making Vernon a cleaner, nicer and safer place to live.

    For 33 years, I have lived on Silver Spruce Drive, off Route 565. Day after day, truck after truck went up and down my road to and from Joseph Wallace’s property, dumping dirt and construction debris. Vernon’s elected officials said there was nothing they could do to stop them. If it were not for the diligence and resolve of the citizens advocacy group to stop these trucks in their tracks, they—and their cargo—would still be coming through our community.

    On Oct. 2, after a trial on almost one hundred summonses, Long Hill Township Municipal Court Judge James Bride sentenced Mr. Wallace to 90 days in the county jail after finding “[h]e has a single-minded purpose to build a landfill.” The judge concluded “Mr. Wallace believes he answers to no one and has a total unconcern for the welfare of his fellow citizens.” The trucks have now stopped and, hopefully, the clean-up can now begin.

    Sadly, it was the failure of our local elected officials to protect the health, safety and welfare of Vernon’s residents that allowed this situation to fester and get out of control. As the judge explained in his decision, “[m]unicipalities need to rely on themselves to satisfy residents and apply zoning laws in a uniform and sensible manner.” He emphasized “[s]wift action is required in these situations.” But when the trucks started rolling down my street, all I got from our local politicians was the usual all talk and no action. I became a founding member of Vernon PAID because the business of the people of Vernon was simply not getting done.

    As a 33-year resident whose grandchildren proudly call Vernon home, I think it is time for our local government to get the business of the people of Vernon done. On Nov. 5, I am running for a seat on the Vernon Township Council to get the business of the people of Vernon done for the people of Vernon. Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?

    Margaret M. Distasi


    Vernon Township Council