#b#Let’s End Big Money’s Role in Politics#/b#

Represent.Us/Central NJ is celebrating a great year — and we’re not done yet. In 2016 two more towns — South Brunswick in April and Lawrence in June — joined our growing network of towns in central New Jersey. They followed the examples of Princeton (2014) and Ewing (2015) as civic leaders for change. Despite differences in populations and demographics, all share a single, unified goal: to end the corruption of our politics by Big Money and special interests so that our government can once again become “of, by, and for” the people.

In a rare show of unity, Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, agree that money has too much influence on elections, the wealthy have more influence on elections, and candidates who win office promote policies that help their donors.

With Labor Day and the traditional kick-off of the political season, we will work with our volunteers and partners from like-minded groups, such as local chapters of the League of Women Voters, to encourage more towns to join forces. We will urge action by elected officials in East Windsor, Hopewell Township, Montgomery, and Rocky Hill. We hope to add Monroe Township too. Together we seek, in the words of the Lawrence Township resolution, to encourage “the Legislature and the United States Congress to pursue and enact measures that provide voters with a greater voice in the electoral process.”

We hope your readers will join this campaign for greater democracy, check out our Facebook page, and E-mail us your interest: www.facebook.com/RepresentUsCentralNJ.

David M. Goodman

Team Leader, Represent.Us/­Central NJ

#b#Comcast & Verizon: How Can We Escape?#/b#

Why are we captives of Comcast and Verizon? Both companies have the worst customer service I’ve ever experienced. And we are prisoners, forced to pay what they decide we should pay.

I am a senior, living on social security and savings and do not have an income that rises regularly in the percentages that these companies expect us to pay.

I am not a television watcher and have had Comcast’s lowest TV plan, which includes network TV, public TV, C-Span, and a few other stations. No CNN, Turner, sports channels, or the other popular cable channels. I do not want them and I do not miss them. I use the Internet and like having a telephone in the house, a necessity. I do not have an iPhone and my cellphone is on a family member’s plan and therefore not included in monthly bill.

I was on a promotional plan of $87 a month with Comcast and suddenly in one month the bill went up by 30 percent to $114. No warning, no additional services, no improved customer communication — in fact, these companies that deal basically in communication, are the worst communicators I have ever encountered.

Since my home is already wired for FIOS and Verizon is on the hunt for new customers they are sending almost daily fliers about the low low prices they are willing to give me. Of course these mailings seemed appealing: $69.99 a month for two years for Internet, phone, and TV. I’ve been getting these pleas to switch for months. When one came in for $59.99 a month for all three services, with far more tv than I’d ever care to even explore, I called. It was worse than dealing with the aggressive sales people for time shares, land deals or penny stocks. But we came to an agreement — and within minutes the $59.99 became $111, with no extra services, but you need to pay for the boxes for your TV, taxes, and assorted fees, none of which are itemized under that appealing $59.99 a month.

FIRST they get you to sign up — at that stage the estimated monthly cost including “everything” was $91. Then they had me sign, “agree” to pages of copy that no one has the time or energy to read, and the deal was made. Only then, for the first time, did I see what my monthly cost would be: $111.

It took far longer to cancel this yet uninstalled service than to sign up for it.

I’d call this dishonest marketing — a new form of bait and switch — but certainly deceiving the customer.

In addition, when you do change from Comcast to Verizon, they tell you you must have a new telephone number and pay for a listing.

I hear mumblings about government making the Internet free to all. How can we eliminate being under the power of these “marketers” for a necessary requirement of our lives?

Phyllis Spiegel

Plainsboro

#b#Taxes & Transportation#/b#

We are told that there is a deficit in the transportation fund (U.S. 1, August 24). Who’s fault is that? Are we taxed too little?

Of course not. The taxpayers have been maxed out in taxes. In the 1960s we did not have an income or sales tax, and New Jersey survived and thrived. Now the politicians want to add another 23 cents on the gas tax. Enough is enough.For years the politicians have been raiding the transportation fund to pay for projects that have nothing to do with roads and bridges. If there is a deficit in the transportation fund the simple solution is take the money out of the general fund.

Unfortunately, when we pay for gas we are also charged a federal tax. Only a small fraction of the federal funds comes back to New Jersey. Our senators and representatives are inept when competing to get back our fair share.

The cost of road repair in our state is much higher than other states. To rectify that we should abolish prevailing wage laws. This restrictive law forces contractors to pay inflated union wages. Our politicians should deal with reality. That taxpayers are broke and so is our political system.

Fred Stein

South Brunswick

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