An open letter to NJ Democratic leaders

Montclair resident Michael D. Byrne has published the following open letter to Democrat gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy and BlueWaveNJ president Marcia Marley:

Dear Ambassador Murphy and President Marley:

As you know, so-called comedian Chelsea Handler is scheduled to appear in Montclair for a fundraiser at the home of BlueWaveNJ President Marcia Marley which will benefit Ambassador Phil Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 6 p.m.

Unfortunately, Ms. Handler is an anti-Catholic bigot who has made a habit of defaming the Catholic Church, Roman Catholic beliefs, the Holy Father, Roman Catholic clergy, and Catholic laity generally.

Among Ms. Handler’s more egregious offenses, she or guests on her TV show have said:

“[T]he new pope is on the list. That’s interesting since he’s never had penetration. How can he be that powerful?” Chelsea Handler, speaking of the inclusion of Pope Francis on the Forbes list of the most powerful people in the world, Nov. 8, 2013.

I love that the Catholic Church has like a zero tolerance policy on everything other than child abuse.... It’s a German priest, so that’s a difficult set of circumstances. You know what I mean, it’s like-do I make out with that kid or do I kill that Jew.” Kurt Braunohler and Moshe Kasher on the The Chelsea Show

It’s a very popey thing to do, to help the homeless; I mean that’s kinda what he should be sneaking out and doing. It’s not like he can go to a glory hole [a hole in the stall in the men’s room in public places used by homosexuals for anonymous oral sex], I mean he could. I’m not making fun of Catholics. I’m thinking that he’s so liberal – he’s right around the corner from taking confession through a glory hole. That’s how advanced he is.” --Chelsea Handler on Pope Francis

As a Roman Catholic yourself, Ambassador Murphy, I’m sure you share a complete disgust for these bigoted, slanderous comments and the sentiments that breed them.

And, as a Montclair resident, Ms. Marley, I’m sure you share an appreciation for the virtues of mutual respect and tolerance that so many cherish in our town.

As such, now knowing that Ms. Handler has been so deliberately offensive to Catholics, I trust you will agree that it would be unseemly to host Ms. Chandler in Montclair and disrespectful to accept political contributions from those who would encourage such base rhetoric against your friends, neighbors, and voters. I, therefore, respectfully request that this event be canceled and that the statements and sentiments of Ms. Chandler be clearly, completely, and utterly repudiated by your campaign and your organization, respectively.

Michael D. Byrne



‘X’ marks the spot

The writer is responding to a challenge in the Sept. 14 issue of Montclair Local to come up with something beginning with X, to complete an alphabet for Montclair in the fall.

X-TRA ORDINARY! The people, the culture, the diversity, the many restaurants, the Montclair Film Festival, the great theaters like the Wellmont where top-rated performers are featured, the libraries, the fantastic schools, shops, shops and more shops, famous resident celebrities, various houses of worship, a great Police Department, the various parks, easy access into NYC and surrounding communities ... stop me now, please, because I could go on and on ... and ON!!! But don’t just take my word for it ... immerse yourself fully in the Montclair Magic, allow it to be your source of pride that you call Montclair “home”!

Ana SzarzynskI



Thanks from ‘Unc’ for being you

Even when Kim (Nicastro) Romola was a child I thought of her as an “old soul,” kind and wise beyond her years. I remember clearly Kim walking up and down the street, hand in hand with her granddad, my dad. From the porch I could see they were talking away. That wasn’t a one-time incident; I’d watch Kim grow taller and gramps grow older but the routine remained the same.

Jumping ahead to 2006, Kim now married with a child of her own, lost her mom, my sister Rosalie, to cancer. Just two years later my sister Marion, also a cancer patient, was facing the final days in home hospice. Thankfully, our sister Barbara came up from Georgia to help.

Kim’s daughter Nicole was quite young at the time. I remember one particular evening Kim, her husband Nick and their daughter Nicole were there. Marion was resting comfortably in her bedroom. At one point it dawned on me that Nicole wasn’t there and I said where’s Nicole? Kim smiled and pointed towards Marion’s bedroom.

The room was dark but the hall light illuminated a part of the room. There was young Nicole sitting in a chair, her elbow on the side table and her chin in her hand watching Aunt Marion sleep. She’d been there for a while and I knew she would stay until her Aunt Marion woke up so that they could have a conversation.

My eyes welled up because I could see at that time that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Nicole is now an engineering student at Columbia University, Kim has a demanding job and also helps with a family business but still found the time somehow, to honor me when the kind folks at the Montclair History Center asked if I would display my “Memories of Montclair” art in the Founder’s Room at the history center’s Crane House.

Nagging health issues would have kept me from doing it, but dear Kim asked if she could do it by handling my end of the preparation.

Thanks to Kim and the kind folks at the Montclair History Center and my work was taken out of the darkness of storage and brought into the light at the Crane House for five wonderful months, until the end of September.

“Unc” loves you, Kim, happy belated birthday.

Vincent Tango