October 18, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: (973) 844-1124
(Belleville, NJ) “Because I believe in a better Belleville!” And with those words, Michael A. Melham, a former Belleville Councilman, 2000-2004, formally declared his candidacy for Mayor in Belleville’s non-partisan, May 2018 municipal elections.
Standing before a faithful crowd, organized as a ‘Candidacy Declaration Party,’ Melham confidently walked through the door he admittedly left open some 13 years ago when he decided not to seek re-election, stating at that time, “Who knows, maybe one day I’ll return.”
Melham, 42, has been busy in the 13 years since he left public office. As an entrepreneur, his Belleville based company, AlphaDog, currently holds 20+ government contracts for municipal communications, and builds campaign and election software. Melham also travels as a public speaker at national conferences including the National Association of Government Web Professionals. His passion for public spaces has also led Melham to pursue a Master’s in City & Regional Planning. With multiple real estate holdings throughout the Township, Melham openly discussed one particular issue which re-ignited his interest in public office; his 6,000 sq/ft commercial building, adjacent to Town Hall, located in the heart of Belleville’s main thoroughfare, Washington Avenue. The building remains unfinished and deteriorating, which Melham asserts is due to political retaliation. The Township has prevented him from accessing the property and thus completing it.
In 2015, Melham was forced to file a federal lawsuit against the Township, which, in part, alleged the Township Manager was holding his position illegally. As a result of the evidence presented, multiple government agencies immediately stepped in and asked for the Manager’s resignation, which was reluctantly provided.
“They say you can’t fight City Hall. I not only fought City Hall, but took on the Township Manager, Township Attorney and several members of the governing body at the same time, and so far, I’ve won! I plan on using that same vigor to fight for every taxpayer and resident who feels they don’t have a voice. I will stand up for them, the same way I stood up for myself” Melham stated.
One the of focal points of Melham’s campaign is the revitalization of Washington Avenue. “My building is literally a microcosm of everything wrong with Belleville. From the lack of leadership and vision, to old-school mindsets, to the way current elected officials use their positions to settle personal and political vendettas. It’s over. I believe in a Better Belleville, that’s why I want to be Mayor!” Melham concluded.