Time for action on ICE

In this time of great unrest in our country, with impeachment, war, climate change and many other crises on the horizon, we can still act locally to make change. New Jersey is known for having progressive policies, but are we known for being fast to action and instigators of national policy change?

One way to make a potentially significant impact on national immigration policy is to stand up and voice our opposition to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. This rogue, corrupt organization has been wreaking havoc on our civil rights since 2003. In our backyards, there are ICE jails in Essex, Hudson and Bergen counties illegally and unethically jailing thousands of refugees. Even worse, our county governments are profiting from these prisoners and claiming to be progressive beacons of hope at the same time. This does not feel right from either an ethical or policy perspective.

New Jersey should defend the legal and civil rights of refugees and end ICE contracts in these counties. Say no to the ICE jail in your backyard. Better yet, let’s create a state-wide ban on public and private contracts with ICE, and send a strong signal against ICE at the national level. 




We need to stand united

I welcome the apology of James Harris for his unfortunate remarks during the recent forum at our Montclair Fire Headquarters.  I continue to condemn all forms of bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism. My entire career in public service has been devoted to uniting all of Montclair, and providing a bridge among all of our diverse communities,  with past forums such as our highly effective “Conversations on Race” during the years I served as Mayor. I urge us to re-institute these useful roundtables as instruments for fighting anti-Semitism and “undoing racism”.  

Montclair is a unique community for others to follow as a model for good government & positive race-relations.  Let’s all heed Rabbi Katz’s call that we should address the issues at the root of the problems that were discussed, such as affordable housing & gentrification, and “chart a mutual path forward of learning and growth”.  There is no room in Montclair for anti-Semitism or racism. There is room for improved communication & mutual respect!  



The author is an at-large Township Councilman.


Idling cars and more

We keep reading in the paper about Montclair cars being stolen while idling with nobody in them. Why would anyone do such a thing?  It seriously damages the engine of a car to idle for more than 30 seconds. Worse, it causes climate change, which is becoming a serious problem.

We are also concerned about the number of times we see someone not slowing down for the yellow lights at a pedestrian crossing.  Human life is precious!

Pedestrians are not all innocent either. We have witnessed some crossing the street in dark clothing after dark, apparently without checking the car traffic. Not safe! We were taught as children to always look both ways for traffic when preparing to cross the street and not stepping out if cars were coming. Now we know it is crucial to look for cars coming around corners too – and out of driveways.

Why don’t we read about meetings of the Pedestrian Safety Committee and the Traffic and Parking Committee? Both are still needed in Montclair.