The Future of Democracy

As an auditorium filled with people began typing, tweeting, blogging, Facebooking, texting and sharing, you knew it was the start of another Personal Democracy Forum. The conference is so heavily live-tweeted, that this year the hashtag (which is used on Twitter to signify the topic of a given tweet) #pdf11, became a nationally trending topic - in other words it was one of the top 10 keywords in the United States for part of the first day. And for good reason... Speakers at this year's conference at NYU's Skirball Center included US Senator Kristen Gillibrand, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, White House Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Egypt pro-democracy activist Alaa Abd Al Fattah, Beth Noveck, former White House Chief Technology Officer, and Dan Sinker, professor and @MayorEmmanuel creator (a full list of speakers here). Topics ranged from creating participatory budgeting at the federal government, opening voting data, protecting internet user's privacy, revolutionizing journalism, supporting democracy in Egypt and Tunisia with new media and connecting resources to those around the world most in need. I don't want to dive into all the talks because not only were there too many to list here (though here is a list),...

Memorial Day & 14 Day Update

Hey everyone - I would like to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day and give you a little update on what I've been working on over the past couple weeks and what is to come. I say this in the video, but I'll repeat it here - It's important to take at the least a moment today to reflect on the sacrifices many have made for us to have what we have today. This morning someone said to me that the best summation they heard was "For many, this weekend is not just about BBQs." Please take a look at the video below and let me know if you have any questions! You can always find me on Facebook, Twitter, email or stop by Village Hall! (I'll be announcing formal office hours as soon as I figure out an office!)

5.23.11 BOT Summary

Below is my quick summary of the May 23rd 2011 Regular meeting of the Board of Trustees. This is just an overview so definitely visit for the minutes or to watch the full video of the meeting!

Thank you!

Thank you South Orange for choosing me to be your next Village President and thank you to the volunteers and supporters who made it happen! This is deeply exciting and humbling to have this opportunity. Since Tuesday, I have been trying to respond to the hundreds of emails and phone calls about the election from people who are just as excited as I am about the progress that will be made in the next four years. There will be more information added to the site soon. This is going to be an exciting time for South Orange and an exciting time for government! Alex

Torpey on Tuesday!

People everywhere are asking why the government does what it does, from South Orange, to New Jersey, to the entire nation and all across the globe. In times of great challenge, the status quo is challenged and more people start asking the question ‘Why?’ This is a question that does not get asked enough, because with questioning the status quo comes new ideas and progress. And it has been humbling to be part of that process so directly with the people who live and work in this town and care so deeply about it, as I do.So, thank you for being part of this process. We have much work to do ahead of us, but voicing your support for your next leadership in town is the first step, so get out and VOTE today! Click here to find your polling location. They are open 6am-8pm. If there are any issues that you find at a polling location, you can all us at 973.287.4159. Thank you! Alex

A mother's perspective, why S.O. needs your vote on Tuesday

A guest post by Beth Teitel, which was sent out via email yesterday: With the municipal election for Village President only two days away, I want to take a moment out of my Mother's Day festivities to send everyone an email about the election, from a mother's perspective.I’m not writing about Alex simply because he’s my son – but because I am in a unique position to talk about how passionate Alex has been about our town.  While a student at Columbia High School, Alex first got involved in local politics to stand up against a thoughtless idea of a developer the board hired that would have destroyed the vibrant, diverse community of tennis players at the Baird.  Alex refused to accept it when he was told that the proposal (to replace tennis courts with additional parking spaces) was “too far along to stop – it’s a done deal”.  He began attending board meetings, gathered evidence against the proposal and worked with many other residents to make  sure their voices were heard.  Thankfully for the town, the efforts of all the residents were successful, and we still have a wonderful community of tennis players at the Baird, drawn from a...

T-Minus 18 Days Update

Before we hit the weekend, I wanted to provide a quick update on the campaign to everyone! We picked up our yard signs today! If you'd like to support me by having one on your lawn, just head over to to sign up to have one placed at your house. We'll get in touch to arrange a time when we'll come by to throw it up. And if you'd like to, you can donate $10 to help cover the cost at After sorting out the lawn signs I headed over to Seton Hall's WSOU 89.5 radio station to record an interview for the show "Leadership," which will air Saturday morning at 9am on 89.5FM and I also spent a couple hours this afternoon calling residents and talking to them. Really interesting conversations as always, and I hope everyone will come out to Seton Hall for the only candidate forum and debate. RSVP and find more information here: Have a great weekend, talk to you soon! Alex


One of the most common themes in my conversations with the hundreds of residents I've met over the past couple of weeks is that they feel disengaged from our government and our town. Many are even past the point of being frustrated or unhappy, they have simply lost interest with what the Village does because they feel so distant from the decision makers and rarely, if ever, are contacted by the Village for their feedback, ideas or input. And at the very least they feel uninformed about what is going on and what decisions are being made.To see many of our residents and community members feeling so excluded from participation with our government tells me something: That much work needs to be done by our local government to re-engage our residents and get our community invested in the decisions that are made on behalf of them. I think people are tired of seeing developments go up that they had little to no say in. And they are tired of seeing policies enacted that they feel aren't in the best interest of their community, especially without any notice as a resident to get involved and make their voice heard before things...