Letters to the editor, April 5
Councilman: I’m not running for U.S. Congress
As many of you know, it is no secret that I aspire to continue to serve the public in elected office—if the people would have me. I am humbled and flattered with the outpouring of support from people in Montclair, my home town in Morris County and all over New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District—from those of identify as Republicans, Democrats, independents, liberals and conservatives - people of all political persuasions. The letters, emails, calls, texts, meetings and social media messages offering support and genuine encouragement meant a great deal to me.
I want to thank everyone who reached out to me. I especially want to thank my friend and colleague Mayor Robert Jackson for his kind words at his recent press conference. I consider it a true honor and privilege to serve with him and to be a part of the wonderful things he has done here in Montclair.
I grew up in Morris County, before attending college (the first person in my family to do so) and later law school in Washington, D.C. My father served as a detective lieutenant on our town’s police force for 28 years and my mother still serves as a teacher’s aide as she has for the last 38 years at the local elementary school. My parents instilled in me the importance of public service. It is something that I hold very dear to my heart.
I served on the staff of a member of Congress from New Jersey and on the staff of a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom. I was a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. I had the privilege of working in all three branches of government in our nation’s capital. I truly enjoy serving and working to make things better for everyone.
Timing—like many things in life as they say—is everything. Unfortunately, there simply was not enough time to gear up for an election and conduct the campaign the way I believe it should be done.
Moreover, even if there was ample time, at this point, I continue to have a little over two years remaining in my elected position serving the residents of the First Ward on the Montclair Town Council. Working together with my constituents, there remains a great many things I still want to accomplish here in town.
As such, after consulting with my family, friends and advisors I have decided that I will not be running for New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District seat in this upcoming election. Thank you.
Clarifying Murphy’s stance on marijuana legalization
I want to make one small correction to Tina Pappas’ article about the event Blue Wave, UU Faith Action and New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform held on March 20.
The article says that Governor Phil Murphy supports decriminalization of recreational marijuana, but he, in fact, supports legalization.
Decriminalization would mean that users are fined and for poor people, unpaid tickets often result in arrest and that marijuana sales remain criminalized and thus in the black market.
Governor Murphy supports legalization which would also regulate and tax sales.
Let’s thwart climate change
The increasing number of climate catastrophes makes me ponder what we can do locally to slow climate change and perhaps avert a local catastrophe.
First, we can stop the extended idling of vehicles. My car-buff husband, who drove us to Chicago and back last summer in his 30-year-old car, believes that idling for more than 30 seconds damages any vehicle’s engine, thereby shortening its life as well as accelerating climate change. Alas, I witness too much idling for far more than 30 seconds.
Second, we can stop using power lawn machinery. I have maintained our property and raised most of our vegetables for four decades without any power machinery. Several studies have shown that leaf blowers do not save time, and my observation is that those used near me take far more time than I do with a rake. I agree their property is more immaculate when they stop, but a few hours later there is no difference.
Leaf blowers have many other disadvantages beyond climate change. They damage the soil, their noise torments the neighbors, and they make some people, including my husband, immediately sick by blowing around dust and pollen. It shocks me that the township government wastes our tax money by violating the leaf blower ordinance in its prohibited season. I believe Montclair should ban all use of leaf blowers and that the employees should obey leaf blower ordinances.
Also, the township should install solar panels on more public buildings. Like many others, I wish my taxes were lower and such installations would help that too.
I have lived a good, long life and will probably die before climate-caused catastrophe hits Montclair, but I care about many younger people. Let’s act to allow them to have a good, long life too.
Heaven next, heaven, heaven next
One of my favorite TV shows while growing up was Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone.”
I have a favorite episode, I don’t remember the man’s name, I’ll cal him Mr. James. I’ll also have to use creative license for parts, nothing that would change the story.
It begins at the office, Mr. James is at his desk with stacks of paper work piled on it. His boss is adding more and asking why previous work is not done, all while Mr. James is trying to field calls. Some calls from his wife complaining about things that could easily wait until he got home.
It would be dark by the time Mr. James got onto the old smoke filled train to go home. Exhausted, he’d always fall asleep immediately. He’d wake up hearing “Willoughby next, Willoughby, Willoughby next.” He would awaken in a beautiful brand new 1800s train, with those woven and shellacked wicker type seats and back like the old eerie Lackawanna trains I once took to work in New York.
Looking out of the window on a beautifully sunny day, he could see the Willoughby town square. He saw old-fashioned type people greeting each other warmly. He could also hear a few musicians, a tuba playing fun music in a small gazebo. As his train left the station he falls back to sleep, and this happens every day.
He finally makes a decision, next time he’s going to get off at Willoughby to stay. He did just that as he walked onto the town square, smiling from ear to ear. He saw two young boys going fishing and one boy said, “Hi Mr. James welcome home,” then the TV screen turned black.
It was night again, we see the side of the train with the conductor standing on the steps saying, “I don’t know, I saw him get up and just walk off the speeding train. I couldn’t get to him in time.” A man in a black suit and tie just shook his head while closing the rear doors on a large black van. The doors read Willoughby Mortuary.
Most would like to believe that the visit to Willoughby really did happen but soon after Mr. James died when he stepped off the train believing he was going to finally live in Willoughby. I’d like to believe that too.
I’d also like to think that the Willoughby Mortuary van was actually a heavenly limo service sent to bring Mr. James to the section in heaven designed for all people who believe that heaven is a place like Willoughby. What do you think?