Letters to the editor, June 7
If not Edgemont Park, where else is Montclair’s senior center?
Mayor Jackson’s remarks that Edgemont Park House is “not a senior center” and so does not need adequate safe parking contradicts the numerous promos on TV34 titled “Edgemont Park House Senior Center.” He and the council appear clueless as to the amount of activity there.
True, if it were a real senior center there might be hot water in the bathrooms, instead of frail seniors washing their hands in freezing cold water all winter. Light fixtures might not be dangling dangerously by threads of duct tape over their heads. And floor tiles would not be lifted by the strength of masking tape.
Drivers parking “in the mud” was an indication that more, not less, parking is needed there. Having a “grand” and “beautiful” entry to the park need not preclude convenience and safety for those who use it.
Years ago when a senior facility was available this town didn’t want it. A council member then (and still) suggested seniors should “find some church basement” for their activities. Maybe when the giant new hotel goes bankrupt, it could be used as a senior center. Until then, Edgemont Park House is functioning as the only one in town, so its patrons deserve sensible parking rather than more shrubbery and Belgian blocks.
On the lack of parking at Edgemont Park
The Memorial Day services in Edgemont Park provided the first view of the Valley Road entrance without construction equipment.
After many months, we could walk around and observe that the narrow, very curvy driveway, which looks like a series of accidents waiting to happen. The entrance is an unusable disaster. The only place for visitors to park within Edgemont is this Valley Road entrance area.
Where are the parking spaces? Where will the handicapped spaces be situated?
The Senior Center is used for many classes and events and the park did not have enough parking before the renovation and it looks like there is none now.
If town management thinks that parallel parking on a very narrow curvy driveway is really feasible, they are dead wrong.
Who designed this mess? Who ignored the needs of the community? Who did not look at functionality and what actually works in the real world? Who authorized and approved this very expensive and unacceptable plan? Who is responsible? And most importantly, what can be done about it?
We need to hear what solutions town management is proposing. All the pretty improvements such as new benches and new walkways, will be for nothing, if people cannot easily access the park.
Lower-income residents aren’t just left behind
I had a good laugh at the May 31 article about the NJTV panel (“Lower-income residents being left behind in Montclair,” page A-1)..
Left behind doesn’t exactly describe how we have been mistreated. If NJTV actually interviewed some of the town’s lower and middle income residents, they’d get a different story. The fact is, there has been a deliberate, concerted effort on the part of successive local governments, lasting for decades, to harass, bully, lie to, overdevelop, and destroy the neighborhoods of working and middle class people.
Our taxes have been raised way out of proportion to the declining values of our homes. I keep telling them, rich white people have no interest in living in my home or my neighborhood, and working people can’t afford the taxes. I didn’t need President Donald Trump to teach me who my enemies are, since they are right here in Montclair: rich people, white people, developers, politicians, churches, New Yorkers — or are you forgetting where Trump came from?
Recognize Montclair’s many music legends
On May 5, local legend John Finnegan was honored at the Cinco de Mayo festival produced by Montclair BID. Great idea, he deserves it.
However there are some Montclair music legends that need to be recognized because of their stature and outstanding contributions to Montclair’s musical community and beyond.
The majority of these legendary musicians have a long history of community involvement. Some have gone on to national and international recognition and made their mark in history of American music and others have garnered local and regional fame.
Most, if not all, have been profiled in both the national and local media, as well as numerous magazines.
During Montclair’s 150th anniversary would be the perfect time to honor this group of outstanding individuals. Here are just some of the people that have made and continue to leave their mark on this great artistic community. Al Anderson (Bob Marley), Chuck Burgi (Brand X and Billy Joel), Armel Anderson (Twisted Sister and The Dictators), Ken Neill (Twisted Sister, Ike Brown’s Jazz Profits, Tayata and B.D, EYEZ), Richard Pierson (drummer, composer and producer), Denise Hamilton (jazz vocalist), Christian McBride (six time Grammy award winning bassist, co-founder and artistic director of Jazz House Kids), Melissa Walker (co-founder of Jazz House Kids, jazz vocalist), Fatal Hussain (rap artist), Ike Brown (trumpet and Ike Brown’s Jazz Prophets).
There are many others that span the musical spectrum from pop to classical music, that are too numerous to name, but hopefully they can be recognized by the township on its 150th anniversary. What a great thing that would be. Oh... and lets not forget the Fabulous Flemtones, a band that has performed at Tierney’s for more than three decades.
The writer is a drummer, producer and arts activist, a co-producer of Montclair’s first Blues & Jazz festival and a member of the Montclair Arts Advisory Committee.
It’s MHS graduation time
The ribbons are on the porches and trees, the congratulatory signs are on the lawns. Joy abounds in Montclair, the 151 graduating class awaits for June 21.
Following it will be the 29th Project Graduation which is a way our town gives a safe and proper farewell to our seniors.
Our best to our senior class and the Montclair community that makes it possible.
How many more?
I wonder how many more of my friends will die by suicide. After Noah died, I cried and withdrew and lamented. I had already been depressed and in the hellfire of OCD (although I didn’t know it yet), and Noah had taken his life. So it became real, something that people actually decide to do.
Then Danielle. How it could it be Danielle? How could she be so good at hiding her struggles? My mother called me after Danielle died. She remarked, “you loved her,” and told me she was sorry. A neighbor said that my friends and I had gotten more than our due. “It’s disturbing,” someone else told me.
I wonder how many more of my friends will die by suicide. I don’t want to wonder. I want to use my rage and sorrow. Kids like me should be taught that our mental health matters. It shouldn’t have taken the death of my friend to get me to ask for help.
New Jersey lawmakers and voters—here’s what you can do. Support bills 1828 and 3408. 1828 expands suicide prevention training for school district employees and 3408 creates a mental health hotline for students in higher education. Don’t wait until someone you love dies.
The writer is a senior at Montclair High School.