Letters to the editor, Dec. 7
Congrats to MHS football on another state title
What makes Montclair different from other towns in New Jersey? I think it is: MHS Pride, MHS History, and MHS Families. Montclair football and Montclair athletics, We have pride. That pride goes back a long time, for decades.
When I look in the stands, I see the parents of the present football players, their parents, grandparents, friends and longtime Montclair residents.
As a amateur photographer I have the opportunity to take a lot of pictures, capturing images from the side line and of the Montclair high fans in the stands.
As a lifelong Montclair resident and former MHS football player. I have heard stories from former MHS players; one that comes to mind is that of Roger Terry, former deputy police chief and deputy mayor. He said, “As a young man, my father took me to a Montclair football game. After the game, we went down to the field. He reached down and grabbed a hand full of Mountie grass and put it in his pocket as this soil was special to him.”
Special thanks goes to former MHS athlete Vincent Tango, who took the time and did a Montclair Football History Book.
Football, and other athletic activities, has been and continues to be a vehicle for many students attending Montclair High School, a school recognized around the country, producing a number of well-known former MHS players and coaches that included such persons as Aubrey Lewis, Clary Anderson, Everett Christmas, Butch Fortunato, Ray Spivey, Royce Flippin, Richard and Robert Hanes. The history of MHS and the history of African American athletes participation runs deep.
The first televised game occurred in 1957 on Thanksgiving, Montclair vs. Bloomfield.
We support our team. Those who attended the championship game at MetLife Stadium will tell you, We support our Montclair team.
Leaf blowers are unnecessary
I have recently moved to Montclair from Santa Monica, California. I think that Montclair is one of the most beautiful, progressive, culturally stimulating towns I can imagine.
I am so happy here, except for one thing. On a beautiful Montclair day, I cannot seem to take a walk anywhere at all without suffering an auditory assault from the ubiquitous leaf blowers. Santa Monica completely banned them many years ago. I am shocked and dismayed that Montclair has not yet done so.
They are a completely unnecessary environmental, health, and quality-of-life hazard. As I mention this to my neighbors and fellow sufferers on the street, there seem to be many others who feel the same way.
Maybe we can all figure out how to fix the one glaring flaw of nearly-perfect Montclair, New Jersey.
Say no to leaf blowers
The use by contractors of leaf blowers and other noise and air polluting machines in Montclair has become excruciating. A few years ago, the practice of clearing leaves seemed limited to Fridays in the fall. In recent times, the activity by contractors goes on all week from early morning until after dark.
Working from home is on the rise around the country. The noise of leaf blowers often makes it impossible to carry out a telephone conversation. People working from home contribute thousands fold more to the local economy than lawn contractors.
Leaf blowers are a major source of dust and air pollution, which is causing asthma, breathing difficulties and potential cancer for residents, especially children and the poorly protected operators of the equipment.
As widely reported in the Wall Street Journal (hardly a harbinger of environment conspiracy theories) and New York Times, Edmunds, the car reviewer, compared a two-stroke-engine leaf blower with a Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck, finding that a half-hour of yard work produced the same amount of hydrocarbon emissions as a 3,887-mile drive in the truck. In other words: have contractors blow leaves from your lawn, or drive from Montclair to Juneau, Alaska.
Montclair derives much of its desirability from its tree-lined streets and leafy parks. There is no need for the city to spend valuable tax dollars to make our parks resemble mini-golf courses without a single leaf to be seen. Leaves are natural, beautiful, fun and critical to maintaining a healthy soil and environment. Bringing in new laws or trying to enforce the codes won’t work, but I do believe if residents think a little bit more about the bigger picture than just their backyard, we could make for a much more desirable Montclair.
Another side of the marijuana legalization debate
While I appreciate the service of Mr. Thomas Russo in law enforcement, his “evidence” of the dangers of marijuana (“Letters to the Editor,” Nov. 30) is as dated as his anecdotes from the 1970s. It is a different world, and the drug war has ravaged communities across the United States. The system of drug courts and officers trained to “spot” impairment without a blood test has turned our county courts into a profit generator on the backs of people suffering from addiction, by turning them into criminals. Marijuana is no longer the precursor to heroin — which is no longer the most dangerous drug on our streets — that is now prescription opiates, which creates addicts when patients are over prescribed, or children find unused bottles in our cabinets of highly addictive drugs and try them for recreation.
Legalizing recreational marijuana is part of how we change this. Medicine in our bathroom cabinets is much more addictive, destructive, and dangerous than this recreational drug. It needs to be highly regulated, but legalization is the only route to ending the incarceration state we created.
We have more citizens in prison than Russia or China, and per capita than anyone in the world, including repressive regimes such as North Korea. It is in law enforcement’s interest to keep this prison pipeline flowing, because it keeps their budgets full. If our police were not hunting drug users they could have more manpower to monitor traffic, which has become deadly in our overpopulated county.
It’s not as glamorous as performing drug raids and breaking up families so you can put addicts on probation and parole, paying into government coffers for the rest of their lives, but it would save more lives than our ineffective war on drugs.
The people spoke when we elected Phil Murphy. We are done with the sham “tough on crime” antics and want policies that are smart on crime. I have seen friends and family in cycles of addiction and incarceration because our system is designed to profit off them and their families, not rehabilitate them. Addicts lose their driver’s license when convicted of a drug crime, then get fees and fines for probation. Which they can’t drive to a job to pay for. The state knows the family will pay, while the addict languishes, guilty and feeling useless, destined to fail and use again. If sentenced to rehab, and there are no empty beds for six months, they go to jail. Sometimes they go out of state and families pay for that. Without family or a support system in a strange place, failure is closer than success. But why does the state care? They get paid, their department budgets are flush, and the friends of Gov. Christie who run shabby rehab clinics make money hand over fist.
Decriminalize and regulate marijuana and focus on the opioid crisis, beginning with the pharmaceutical suppliers who promote off-label prescribing of highly addictive substances, salespeople who reward doctors for writing prescriptions, and the doctors who profit from recklessly giving addictive painkillers for every ailment. Keep rehab clinics state regulated and do not let municipalities profit off fines from addicts unless they allow rehab centers to be built in their towns. After all, the addicts are citizens of the township. Until we admit this is all our problem it won’t be solved.
As for the fallacy of “there’s no test for driving while impaired on non-alcoholic drugs” ... it is simply a fallacy. Officers are trained to spot impairment and a blood test can confirm it. If someone is truly driving recklessly, you can take their license on the spot without proving impairment. You can do it for sleepy drivers. So what is the problem?
Vote out those who voted for the tax bill
We now have more distress with the senate’s passing of a terrible tax bill after 1 a.m. on Friday after giving the senators only a few hours to read its 500 pages. There was no hearing or debate. New Jersey’s senators were leaders in opposing this bill and its passage only a few hours after it was revealed.
Thank you, Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez.
I hear that this bill provides a massive tax giveaway to billionaires and giant corporations, paid for by you and me. It would increase the national debt, undermine the Affordable Care Act and take away health insurance for millions of Americans, tax tuition waivers as income although students never receive the money being taxed, making higher education not affordable for many, lower Medicare and Social Security payments (after we paid premiums for them), and open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling in Alaska.
I read that Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen voted “no” on this bill only after getting permission from the Republican Party when they were sure it would pass. He had earlier voted “yes” in the Appropriations Committee to get it to come to the floor of the House. This bill is one more reason I strongly support the candidacy of Mikie Sherrill for the 11th congressional district. Donations can be sent to Mikie Sherrill for Congress, PO Box 43032, Montclair, NJ 07043.