In a democracy, all voices should be heard, an act that is the basis of the American electoral process. And, as we know and should expect, prior to any election there should be a sharing of information and data in order to guide citizens to the best voting decisions possible. But what happens when the sharing of data and information does not occur?

In recent weeks, some who are for an elected Board of Education have delivered emotional and often fear-driven statements, riddled with “I,” I’ve,” “I’m,” “you,” “we,” all in support of opinions based on personal preferences and biases, nothing more. In contrast, thanks to the delivery of non-partisan data via a multi-lateral study process, the League of Women Voters of the Montclair Area took a position in favor of appointed BOE membership that is not based on opinion. The LWV positions reflect processes lasting one to three years, during which the thorough pursuit of facts and details is undertaken, both positive and negative. That is how the LWV came to the knowledge that a BOE that is appointed, no matter how controversial the mayor, allows for better outcomes including better representation of our diverse Montclair population.

In the 100-plus years since American women won the fight and the right to vote (it was not a bloodless fight, by the way), the non-partisan practices of the League of Women Voters have not only been to register citizens of all ages for the purpose of encouraging Americans to vote, but to create and finance committees to study various positions that are of local, statewide or national interest. And it was after such a study that, in 2009, the LWV of the Montclair Area took the position that an appointed Board of Education does, in fact, provide more beneficial outcomes to a community than do BOEs whose members are elected. 

Unlike those who have expressed nothing but opinions and fear about this lightening rod issue, the LWV position in favor of an appointed Montclair Township BOE membership is one that has been proven over time. While every town administration has provided controversy at one time or other, the appointed BOE has remained effectual and representative of our town.

Diana Stewart
Montclair

Editor's note: This letter was originally signed by and submitted to Montclair Local by another individual, and an earlier version of this post was erroneously credited to that person.

That person had sent the letter to Montclair Local under his own name on the request of the League of Women Voters of the Montclair Area, which in turn originally received it from the author now credited on this updated post. Montclair Local was first made aware of the circumstances Nov. 5, after being notified by the actual author and contacting the LWV.

Under Montclair Local policy, letters are to be attributed to their own writers. 


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