Ice cream shop’s logo is unprofessional, disrespectful

Last week’s article about the Dairy Air ice cream shop (“A chilly reception, page A-1”) got to my core.

I agreed wholeheartedly with Amy Tingle, co-founder and owner of The Creative Caravan, when she wrote that the ice cream shop logo about the cartoon cow - sporting blond braids and a jaunty French beret, who has a curvy very human-looking rear end that has a heart with the initials “DA” for Dairy Air - is offensive and sickening.

What is this world coming to with a business that is supposed to be positive and now is being negative and hateful? It is scary enough to have an alleged sexual predator, racist and inhumane person in the White House, but to have this is unbelievable. He makes the world think to some out there that it is OK and you can say and act on your feelings. It is not OK.

I would not support this franchise or work there under these circumstances, because I feel it is disrespectful to me and to any woman regardless of her race. This franchise needs to move out of Montclair, even though a lot of money was put into this business. The owner should have thought before he acted.

There is a real food shortage that needs to be addressed. And having a demeaning menu listing of ice cream flavors and not smart meals is the reason why there is a growing number of serious health issues.

This is a scary time for hate in America and I will not stand for this anymore.

Cherie E. Hayes



Where is Rodney? Tax bill is bauble for billionaires

Tax bills, described as a big Christmas present for the middle class, approved in the House and voted on in the middle of the night in the Senate, over 500 pages long with scrawled illegible handwritten changes, and no time for senators to read before voting, somehow managed to contain quite a few holiday baubles for billionaire donors. Are you a multimillionaire or billionaire with an estate valued at over $11 million? Your heirs will be freed of inheritance tax. Are you a member of the Trump family or other real estate mogul? Billions of dollars in breaks for you both in estate taxes and deductions. Are you a manufacturer of beer, wine or liquor? You will receive a tax break of more than $4 billion over 10 years.

But if you are a resident of New Jersey and truly land somewhere in the middle class, you will be slammed by loss of deductibility of the high property and income taxes that we pay to have quality schools and to maintain our public services (roads, clean water, police and fire). We already pay more per capita in federal income taxes than those in most other states - close to $2,700 more per capita than we get back in federal spending.

The projected deficit of over $1.4 trillion does not seem to trouble the Republican Congressional majority. They plan to make severe cuts in Medicare, up to $25 billion, along with cutbacks in Social Security, to balance this deficit. They have not even managed to restore funding to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which helps families with children who have serious illnesses. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen needs to stand with his constituents, not with the big donors of his party. Does he have any principles left?

Bella August



Objecting to the Christmas Day ban on leaf blowers

I was dismayed to read in the newspaper yesterday that Montclair is banning leaf blowers on Christmas Day. This seems so unnecessary. What’s the problem? Carolers can always carry portable amplifiers with them to overcome the noise. Christmas is usually a time for families to get together which can often mean raised voices in joy or disagreement. They can drown out the leaf blowers. And let’s face it, the ecstatic screams of children opening their gifts can probably counteract the incessant leaf blower noise assault as well. More importantly, it is just as easy for an errant leaf to find its way onto a grassy lawn on Christmas Day as any other day. What are we supposed to do about that? How can we get that leaf off the lawn without heavy, loud, environmentally hazardous machinery? I certainly can’t think of a way. Can you?

Lynn Hendee



Continuing the marijuana legalization debate

Mr. Thomas Pluck’s letter in the Dec. 7 issue of Montclair Local is completely on target. Several weeks ago, Mr. Thomas Russo’s first letter said, “The effect of these cigarettes is one of a stimulant that can cause some people to go into a delirious rage,” lost me with the “Reefer Madness”-like fervor that is a tad misplaced. Mr. Russo’s second letter, where he makes the logical error of relating a specific anecdote and applying it to the general case, also lost me with similarly dated arguments.

Mr. Pluck is on point about the opioid crisis, to which lip service is currently being paid by the current DC crowd. This is where the danger lies. I’d look to Colorado and the state of Washington five years later. In both cases, the positive aspects, including dedicated education funding in Colorado, have outweighed the negative while eliminating a faux criminal class that has been demonstrated to be disproportionately and unfairly of color since it’s been shown repeatedly that whites and nonwhites use marijuana at roughly the same percentage.

I’m looking forward to our state joining the 21st century next year.

Steve Cohen



Pot legalization bill creates many issues

I sometimes wonder where our lawmakers heads are when instituting new legislation. This bill as drafted and presented needs to go back to the drawing board. Sen. Nicholas Scutari Democrat Union proposed a bill which is expected to generate over $300 million in tax revenue by legalizing recreational marijuana.

His bill gives each of the 565 municipalities a chance to cash in by approving this bill for their respective community. If a municipality fails to buy into this bill they would suffer the loss of sharing in this $300 million tax expectation.

The bill as drafted creates a host of issues, most of them bad. This bill is almost equivalent to a strong armed robbery where the assailant holds a gun to your head demanding your allegiance to a cause or you will suffer the consequences.

This bill gives little regards to the problems it will create for law enforcement, the most serious being proving intoxication. There is no instrument on the market today that can measure intoxication under the influence of marijuana. This can only be determined by a blood test which can be refused by a defendant.

The bill totally disregards the possible effects it can have on school children. The bill is structured for those 21 years of age and older, but we all know there is a strong chance of this marijuana getting in the hands of middle class students, on the greed of communities getting a tax break.

Our schools private and public must be protected. Legislation of recreational marijuana is complex and an intricate problem. Experience has shown that there is no single approach solution that adequately copes with the problem. Many people believe “it can’t happen to me,” they think they can use marijuana occasionally without moving on to a more potent substance . We used to call these type of people joy smokers, or weekend warriors. Believe me eventually if you are one of these people you will graduate to the big league sooner then expected.

I am against this bill as presented mostly for the welfare of our youth. Let me be clear, by stating I have no objection to a passing of a bill legalizing marijuana regulated and controlled by dispensaries licensed by the state for medical purposes.

If you are concerned for the health and welfare of your family, children and grandchildren, think long and hard before you support this legalization pf recreational marijuana. Marijuana varies in strength, how strong are you?

Thomas J. Russo



Speaking out against Plymouth St. townhouses

I begin my letter with full disclosure. I live across the street from the property in question. My concern and intent of this letter, however, goes beyond a typical NIMBY response to a proposal before the Zoning Board of Adjustment seeking several variances. The project is scheduled for the Board’s vote Dec. 20. I believe the scope of this project should concern all Montclair residents who trust in the workings of our town government to abide by zoning already in place designed to keep Montclair a place of pride. Unfortunately, local media coverage, thus far, reads more like Willow Street Partners promotional pieces than news coverage. I’ve written this in the hope it will shed light on the whole of the proposed development project.

The property is directly behind First Congregational Church located on the corner of South Fullerton Avenue and Plymouth Street. The frontage of the proposed building lot is Plymouth Street. The lot is zoned a Residential One Family. Developer Steven Plofker is now proposing to construct two three-story buildings on the site, each building having two townhouses.

The lot is just barely a third of an acre. That would be four family units totaling 15,000+ square feet on a Residential One Family zoned lot.

The Church, who owns this property, is facing serious financial problems. The electrical system needs to be brought up to code and there are roof problems, for starters. After searching out various options to raise money, a decision was apparently made to sell this lot. Unfortunately, this solution will very likely prove to be short-term. What if a solution could provide to the Church ongoing revenue to insure future financial security?

What if, literally, the church cannot see the forest through the trees, and is willing to sacrifice this rare “downtown oasis” for, by today’s economics, a very little amount of money? I totally support the church and understand their financial situation. However, if selling is a final decision, why is it okay to sell out the community by the breadth of the proposed development project by way of stomping on zoning ordinances?

In his presentation to the Board on Nov. 8, Mr. Plofker maintained his intent was to help the church. That is difficult to square with his purchase price of the lot being about one sixth of the total projected sales pricing for the townhouses, $3-4 million. Another of Mr Plofker’s stated intents was to provide down-sizing opportunities for township “empty nesters.” That, too, is difficult to square when each of the townhouses is projected to be at least 3,750 sq. ft.

Though Mr. Plofker’s intents appear worthy, are they? At what cost to the community’s trust in Montclair’s zoning ordinances and in the Boards meant to uphold them? Where does it stop? A four-family use variance in a One Family Residential zone? Where next? Continue developing down Plymouth Street? What will be the next neighborhood to be impacted by overbuilding on a small lot? Where is the next spot in town that stands to lose very beautiful old trees and the delight of a small park-like piece of property?

At the time of the Nov 8 presentation to the Board, Mr. Plofker stated several times that neighbors had been brought into the discussion of the project. While it is true that neighbors met on two occasions with the developer to better understand the proposed project, that should not be construed as implicit approval of the proposed building development by all neighbors, as he intimated a number of times. Those meetings served to amplify the developer’s view of the project. They did nothing to address neighborhood concerns about its effect on the streetscape or the added burden to an extremely congested traffic area, both pedestrian and auto, or to the reduction in already sparse parking.

Mr. Plofker’s response to those concerns was not to reduce the size of the development, but to offer options changing the site plan while keeping building size as proposed. In fact, neighbor concerns about losing the trees (along the lot’s frontage on Plymouth Street) were used in an unsavory way, when the developer put forth to neighbors that if use variances were denied, they would be forced to build two single-family houses which, with accompanying driveways, would require removal of all said trees.

The Board of Adjustment is scheduled to vote on this application at their Dec 20 meeting, at the Municipal Building on Claremont Avenue, beginning at 7:30 p.m.. The meeting is open to the public and public testimony will be heard. Any and all concerned residents are encouraged to attend.

Rosanne Spendley