Letters to the editor, Oct. 26
Plant 40 bulbs
May In Montclair celebrates its 40th birthday as it continues its mission to acquire and distribute tulip and daffodil bulbs for planting all over Montclair.
It is an honor to be part of this community-funded beautification project. We encourage you to join this birthday year’s ambitious goal of planting 40,000 tulip and daffodil bulbs this fall. So, in addition to filling every park, school garden, church and public space in town, we need you to plant our bulbs in your yards. It’s called “40 for $40” — your contribution of $40 or more will entitle you to 40 bulbs, ready for planting. All the details are at mayinmontclair.org.
We moved to Montclair in 1971 with our two young sons aged 3 and 6. Our house on the southwest corner of Edgemont Park was a good choice for us in this great community. We never expected to stay 46 years, but here we are.
We have seen many changes in our town over these years. There were very few restaurants here when we first arrived, Edgemont pond was icy all winter, the Edgemont Park playground was small and quiet, and businesses came and went. But through the years May In Montclair has endured, in large part because of your commitment to our community and your continuing financial support. Please join the 2018 “40 for $40” Campaign!
Gene Bloch is treasurer of May in Montclair and Joan Bloch edits the May in Montclair calendar of events.
Whatever happened to quiet enjoyment?
One of the advantages of being old is having memories of a time very different from now. For example, I well remember the first time I heard a power lawn mower. “What, they are going to allow that in a residential area?” Previously, the delight of birds singing was interrupted only by occasional car and airplane noise.
Years before that I remember my reaction to seeing a woman mow a lawn. “Women can mow lawns.” I laughed at my reaction, reflecting that I was working on a doctorate in mathematics, which in those days was probably even less common for women. (It would lead to 32 years of happy teaching at Montclair State.)
When we moved to Montclair 42 years ago, my husband warned me that his allergies would prevent him from yard care, and I agreed to do it, including mowing the lawn. I still do — with no power machinery or poisons.
In 1987 I was further horrified by the sound of leaf blowers. I timed myself, no longer young, using a rake compared to young men using the noisy newcomers, and decided there was no difference in the time needed to clear a lawn. Numerous professional studies have confirmed my conclusion. Indeed, I have often seen men with leaf blowers taking far more time than I do to clear a lawn. It is clearer when they finish than mine, but a few hours later there is no difference.
The loud sound is terrible for people who want to enjoy nature, garden, work at home, converse, think, pray, or nap. The blowing damages the soil, making lawns and gardens less successful. The dust and pollen makes my husband and many others immediately sick; indeed one Montclair child almost died after running indoors as she had been taught to do.
Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-California), the only mathematician in Congress, said at a national mathematics meeting that if we are concerned about climate change, we will pass national legislation prohibiting all power lawn machinery. That audience of several hundred clapped enthusiastically.
I do not want to harm landscapers; indeed, some already function without leaf blowers. Studies have indicated that over a third of those exposed to sounds as loud as leaf blowers for significant time lose significant hearing. Biological Urban Gardening Services, an international membership organization of primarily professional landscapers, has opposed the use of leaf blowers for many years. A survey of six California cities that banned blowers concluded that the cost of lawn care did not rise, and that those providing it did not suffer economically.
I grew up three miles from where I currently live and remember that the lawns were just as pristine then before power lawn machinery.
Let’s ban all leaf blowers in Montclair year round. If you agree, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s
People have complained about the cost of trash collection in town, and the cost of “goose control,” but no one has stated the real reason why our local property taxes are so high. Who is taking so much of our local land and property and not paying for it? The churches.
Churches claim to be charities, they are totally tax exempt and, thanks to George Bush’s faith-based initiative, they get billions in tax-funded grants. This charity doesn’t go far: homeless people often ask me for money, because local churches only feed them on certain days of the week.
When I feed my feral cat colony, I use my own money — not the taxpayers’ — and I feed the cats 365 days a year.
People go to churches for help, and find the doors locked. A pregnant woman came to me, thinking that my home was the pastor’s house. I said, “that church won’t help you, but I will.” My neighboring church said it did not do charity work because it didn’t have a kitchen. But I am forced to subsidize that church anyway. Every sect has its own church — yet Christians demand respect, even when they cannot agree on their own religion. Within walking distance, we have Congregational, Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, Lutheran, etc. All are constantly whining and asking for more money, when they don’t pay a penny for all the local services that they use.
We see homeless people sleeping on the streets, or on church steps, because most of these useless, oversized churches don’t house any people at all. One local church was begging us for tens of thousands in donations so they could build showers for the homeless. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just give that money to the homeless?
On top of that, churches are nuisance neighbors, spreading pesticides on their lawns, creating parking and traffic hazards, paying nothing for parking, harassing women at the abortion clinic, and treating our neighborhood streets as if we were bars and cafés.
Maybe all this excessive giving to churches has turned Christians into arrogant, entitled people. President Ulysses S. Grant had a great idea over 100 years ago: tax the churches. Churches, once you pay taxes, maybe I will respect you. Until you do, I can only think of churches as freeloaders which take more than they give.
What he said
I agree with Michael Byrne’s opinion concerning Chelsea Handler (Letters to the Editor, Oct. 19).
If she had said these bigoted remarks about Muslims or Jews, she would not have been considered to attend Marcia Marley’s home.