The West Windsor Township Council will soon vote to fill the vacancy that will be created on Jan. 1, 2018 by Hemant Marathe’s election as mayor. The four members of the council must vote by Jan. 30 to fill the vacancy or it will remain vacant until the next election. If their vote results in a 2-2 tie, newly elected Mayor Marathe casts the winning vote.

Of the several candidates who have applied for the vacancy, only two were on the Nov. 2017 municipal election ballot: Yingchao “YZ” Zhang, who received 3,526 votes for council, and Yan Mei Wang, who received 1,600 votes for mayor.

The vote to fill the council vacancy is a golden opportunity for council members to demonstrate that they respect the choices of the voters in last month’s election. The same electorate that chose Hemant Marathe at the next mayor and Linda Geevers and Virginia Manzari to be council members, also appraised YZ Zhang’s experience, credentials and abilities. YZ Zhang fell short of election by only 136 votes out of a total of 14,773 votes cast for council.

No law mandates how council members must vote. They can ignore voter preferences and select a new council member based on political cronyism and alliances. Instead, they could credit the same electorate that chose them by appointing a candidate whom the voters have favorably considered.

Although they may have the legal authority to reject a popular candidate, they do not have the moral authority to do so. They should appoint YZ Zhang based not only on the election results, but because of the 17 years he has contributed to West Windsor as a highly respected WW-P School Board member, community volunteer and entrepreneur.

Let’s call on our newly elected representatives to reject the current policies of national officials to oppose everything their political opponents stand for regardless of merit. The mayor-elect and council members are elected to represent all residents of West Windsor, not just those who voted for them.

— Barbara Hoffman, Paul Shapiro
West Windsor

I would like to express my support for Yingchao “YZ” Zhang to fill the upcoming vacancy on the West Windsor Council that will be created when Hemant Marathe shifts from council member to mayor on Jan. 1.

During our recent campaign for the two open council seats, I have worked very closely with YZ. I have become even more impressed with YZ and his steadfast work on behalf of all West Windsor residents. In the face of enormous pressure and fatigue, he always maintained his principles and integrity. I cannot recommend anyone more strongly than I do YZ.

YZ is a dedicated public servant. He was elected three years ago to the WW-P School Board and has served with intelligence and compassion. As a long-standing board member of the Central Jersey Chinese American Association, he will enhance the diversity of the West Windsor elected officials. In addition, he holds a PhD in physics and is an accomplished businessman in IT and sales/marketing. YZ would contribute constructively and collegially to council discussions and decisions.

Based on the November election results, Linda Geevers and Virginia Manzari will join Ayesha Hamilton and acting council president Alison Miller. According to the Mercer County Clerk’s website, YZ received 23.8 percent of the vote, just 136 votes shy of Ms. Manzari, who received 24.7 percent.

In an election where no candidate for mayor or council received more than 48 percent of the votes, no elected official has a mandate from the majority of the voters. Appointing YZ to fill the vacant council seat would help ensure that all West Windsor voters are represented at council.

— Kristin Epstein, West Windsor