Letters to the editor, April 13
Oppose ending the Election Assistance Commission
There is a movement in Congress to terminate the Election Assistance Commission. With continuing controversy about the accuracy, conduct and participation in elections, this is not the time to abolish the only federal entity devoted exclusively to improving election administration on a bipartisan basis.
The EAC does invaluable work to improve our nation’s election systems on a voluntary, nonregulatory basis. It oversees the federal voting system certification program that sets standards for the upgrade of America’s voting machines. Forty-seven states depend on this agency to maintain their voting machines. The EAC also improves accessibility at the polls for more than 37,000,000 disabled voters. Local election officials rely on it to provide best practices on voting and election administration.
The EAC instills confidence in our election system. Rather than eliminating the EAC, Congress should provide the agency with resources and a renewed commitment to sponsoring and encouraging information sharing among state and local officials.
Since 1920, the LWV has worked to guarantee access to the polls for all citizens. We are at the forefront of the battle against voter intimidation and onerous voter ID laws that serve no purpose but to deny the right to vote to vulnerable populations.
Elections are the lifeblood of a democracy. We strongly urge our representatives to actively oppose The Election Assistance Commission Termination Act.
For more information on the LWV, or to join us, please visit our website, lwvmontclairarea.org.
Elizabeth Milner is the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of the Montclair Area
1st Ward cleanup a rousing success
Today more than ever, local government, businesses, schools, community groups, nonprofit organizations and citizens must work together to solve the problems we all face on a daily basis. When I began my term on the Township Council our public areas – parks, schools, train stations and business districts were in dire need of care in the First Ward – the area that I am honored to represent.
Park benches, trash receptacles, street signs and post office boxes were covered with graffiti. Bus kiosks and park benches were broken and in need of paint. Flower beds, tree pits and flower pots were overgrown with weeds. Garbage was scattered. Sidewalks and curbs were broken – curbs were so bad that tires were punctured when people parked in the business district because the metal supports were protruding.
This was unacceptable for a community rich in pride and steeped in history. The situation could not continue.
Fortunately, there are many community-based organizations in the First Ward — the Yantacaw Brook Park Conservancy, the Friends of the Bonsal Preserve, the Upper Montclair Business Association and various neighborhood groups. In addition, the First Ward is home to Montclair State University.
The township, county, business leaders, neighborhood organizations and citizens came together to tackle these problems. Working with Freeholder Brendan Gill, the sidewalks and curbs on the County section of the business district were replaced. The municipality did the same on township roads and sidewalks. The Department of Community Services, Montclair School District, United States Postal Service and local businesses cleaned up the graffiti. The Montclair Police Department and the Montclair Fire Department’s Code Enforcement Division made sure it did not reappear. New Jersey Transit made repairs to the train stations.
I sought out the help of groups and neighbors, gathering folks to pitch in for an effort that has now become an annual event — the First Ward Clean-up Day. Montclair Township and the Passaic Valley Water Commission provided garbage and recycling bags, paint, brushes, mulch and gloves. Volunteers brought rakes, wheelbarrows and tools. Many businesses donated water, soft drinks and food. College, high school, middle and elementary students pitched in earning community service hours.
The annual clean-up day is now in its fifth year. Volunteers donated their time and efforts in Yantacaw Brook Park, Mountainside Park, Carlisle woods, Upper Montclair Business District, Upper Montclair, Mountainside and Montclair Heights Train Stations, Sunset Park, Bonsal Preserve, and Northeast, Bradford and Buzz Aldrin schools.
Garbage and debris was removed. Park benches and bus stop kiosks were repaired and painted. Weeds were pulled and replaced with fresh mulch. Trees and flowers were planted. Friendships were formed.
The place looks great. And all in time for May in Montclair, the Montclair Film Festival and other spring events.
This is a great example of what can be accomplished when government — municipal and county, schools, businesses, community organizations and most importantly the people of Montclair come together to work for a common purpose for the benefit of all. I am honored to have played a small role and proud to say this is Montclair.
William Hurlock is the Township Councilman representing Montclair’s 1st Ward.
Ideas and thank yous
The Montclair Times was rated the best local paper in the state for years. It was sold and is half its usual size. It is filled with ads, it even includes what houses were sold in many counties.
Please put more information in your paper. Please put in when Blue Wave NJ meets.
I believe that more should be said about the closing of the Pathmark supermarket. It has been closed for nearly a year and a half. The A&P in Upper Montclair became an Acme in three days. There is no excuse for that store to be closed. The town obviously doesn’t care about people living in the Fourth Ward. Almost every other town has replaced those stores.
Thank you for the article about Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. I expect to see archbishop in May and will give it to him. If you mail anything to the archdiocese it is ignored.
Remembering Don Rickles
I first became aware of the genius of Don Rickles while watching the Johnny Carson Show way back when.
Don told a great story: Friends were visiting from out of town. Mrs. Rickles thought it would be nice to bring them to one of the restaurants frequented by famous showbiz celebrities. They had barely sat down when someone noticed Frank Sinatra seated across the room. Don walked over to his friend and asked him if he would come to their table to meet their friends from out of town. Frank said no problem, signal me when you’re finished with dinner. Don said their friends were so excited they won’t enjoy dinner. Could you come over in a few minutes? Frank said sure just signal me when. In a few minutes Don did. When Frank arrived at the table and began to speak, Don said loudly, Frank, can’t you see we’re eating? Johnny Carson nearly fell off his chair, me too.
Just the name Don Rickles will always bring a smile to my lips. I’ll miss his cutting humor. Genius.