It seemed to come out of nowhere. Within a few hours Friday, word spread that Phillip and Barbara Sellinger, of Old Glen Road in Morris Township, were hosting on Monday a fundraiser for Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez. And, the guest of honor expected to join him and the Sellinger's that night would be none other than Vice President Joe Biden.
Suddenly, the Morristown Partnership was issuing notices regarding expected traffic delays in the area. The Morris School District was letting parents know that after school events would be cancelled on Monday, and that schools were likely going to let out an hour earlier, in order to allow people to avoid what is going to likely be one heck of a traffic mess (update: Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty said Saturday that schools would not be closing an hour early and after-school activities would not be affected by the fundraiser).
Patch reader Susan Tangel also noted that "office employees along the route and near the venue have been notified to make plans to either pick up their children early or find care for them because employees will be stuck in their office buildings until the event commences.
Area residents' lives are being disrupted for non-official business because of one township resident," she said. "Who is paying for the police? Who is paying for the cleanup? Where are the attendees planning on parking? No area businesses have been asked permission to use their parking lots. Who is paying for all the signage around the township advertising the road closures? Who paid for the employees to put up these signs? Are the taxpayers footing these miscellaneous bills?"
Tangel concluded her statement regarding the event asking "why is one citizen allowed to disrupt the lives of thousands and impact area residents for a fundraiser? Why were the residents not consulted? Who granted permission for this? Why weren't public venues considered for this event?"
Morristown councilwoman Rebecca Feldman was also concerned about the ability to navigate town on Monday, saying, "I'm an Independent, so my view is as a parent and a citizen concerned about mobility. The road closures point out that we need more and better ways to get around the area, (such as) on foot and on bicycles. So many area roads lack basic sidewalks or even a simple, painted shoulder space."
We want to know: Do you agree with the above comments? Are you bothered by the seemingly-sudden announcement (some media outlets reported in February that Biden was expected to attend a Menendez fundraiser in New Jersey on March 19, but could not confirm a time or location)? Are you fine with it because you support Menendez and/or Biden? Are you opposed because you don't? Regardless of your political stripe, what do you think about this whole thing overall? Vote in our poll below and chime in in the comments.