On plastic bags

I saw your recent coverage on Montclair’s plastic bag use and wanted to share two new studies with results that may surprise you: two governments — Quebec and Denmark — recently completed life cycle assessment research of all grocery bags and found that the common plastic grocery bag has the least environmental impact. For example, the Quebec study found that “reusable” bags must be used at least 35 to 75 times for their life cycle impacts to be equivalent to that of a plastic bag. Meanwhile, the Danish report found that cotton or canvas bags must be reused at least 52 times to offset their climate change impacts. These two studies are a good reminder to take a close look at the alternatives and how they truly stack up on sustainability.

As the discussion continues, sharing these findings will help inform readers on the science behind the products they use every day — and how they ultimately impact the environment. If you’re interested in learning more, connect with the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA). The APBA promotes sustainability in the American-made plastic products industry, and has worked all across the country to offer insight into the results (economic, environmental and more) of bag bans and taxes.

Washington, D.C.


Why are we saving deer?

Let's see if I have this right: Because of escalating problems with deer stripping the forest understory and consuming the next generation of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, crashing into moving cars with dire consequences to humans, eating precious flower gardens, spreading Lyme disease, and dropping feces on lawns, the Montclair Environmental Commission proposes to tackle the problems by trapping and temporarily neutering the deer, at an average cost of $2,000 each, then setting them free to continue escalating the very same problems? Only in America!

Woodland Park


Let’s enforce dog-leash ordinances

My family and I love dogs, cats, horses, and virtually every other pet. We currently have two Golden Retrievers, but have always had dogs ever since moving to Montclair in 1984.

But the one thing we have against dog owners is their reluctance, and sometimes deliberate actions to let their dogs off-leash whenever they feel like. Some have told us it’s “cruel” to keep a dog on a leash.

But here’s the deal, I can’t tell you just how many stories where off leash dog owners have told others, including children, that the dog is friendly, but the dog bites the adult or child anyway.

My dogs are always on a leash. I, my family, and others have been knocked off their feet or dragged and hurt when I hold on with dear life while my dog lunges or runs after unleashed dogs.

Eventually, your off-leash dog is going to run into the street. When that happens either the dog will be injured (and if you’ve ever had to bring your dog off hours to a hospital you’ll also remember the cost.), or there will be an accident, which damage and injuries, as a cars swerves to avoid the off leash dog.

It is wrong to not keep your dog on a leash at all times when you’re in public. It is illegal to not keep your dog on a leash at all times when you’re in public. Look at this from Montclair’s Code 82-13: “No person owning or having the control, custody or possession of a dog shall permit or suffer such dog to run at large or to go or be upon the public streets, sidewalks or other public places within the Township unless said dog shall be on a leash and in the custody of some person or persons capable of controlling such dog.”

“Any person who violates any provision of § 82-13 or 82-18 shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding $2,000, imprisonment in the county/municipal jail for a term not exceeding 90 days, or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof as determined by the Municipal Court Judge. Each day on which a violation of an ordinance exists shall be considered a separate and distinct violation and shall be subject to imposition of a separate penalty for each day of the violation as the Municipal Court Judge may determine.”

I think Robin Schlager’s suggestion of a fenced in and controlled dog park in Edgemont is excellent. But I think the public should be demanding that the current law should be enforced with zero tolerance.
In my own experience, Montclair has many good ordinances to protect its residents. Now all that needs to be done is for the Town to enforce these ordinances.




Township to blame for rent increases

Good job on your Oct. 11 article about increased rents (“Stay or go?”, page 1). I am the tenant whose rent got raised $800. I am also friends with one of the renters at 39-41 N. Fullerton whose rent also got raised. Like my neighbor Angela DeCosta said, we didn't want to sign a new lease but felt like “our backs were against the wall.”

Our landlords gave us the lease right before school started, and I am a single mom of three kids (ninth, eighth and seventh grades) who have been in Montclair's schools all their lives and the oldest was looking forward to playing MHS football.

My other issue is that the township is blaming the landlords for these hikes, but they should take some of the blame also, because if we had rent control it wouldn’t happen. I will be at the next meeting.



Vote for Menendez (even if you’re not thrilled about it)

If you’re hesitating about casting a vote for Bob Menendez, please reconsider. By not giving him your vote, you’d be helping his opponent win. And unless you’re a fervent Trump supporter, that’s not something you want to do. Right now, the polls show the candidates in a very tight race.

Many of us consider Republican control of all three branches of government a disaster. We’re hoping — and working to ensure — that in November, Democrats will regain control of both houses of Congress, and put a brake on at least some of the Trump Administration’s destructive behavior.

If we lose this Senate seat, that hope will almost certainly be lost.

The differences between the two candidates could hardly be more dramatic.

On healthcare: Menendez helped fight for passage of the Affordable Care Act. Hugin supports Trump’s efforts to dismantle it.

On abortion: Menendez gets a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood, and voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Hugin supports Trump, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh — all hostile to Roe v. Wade and abortion rights in general.

On guns: Menendez strongly supports common sense gun safety measures, and is endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Hugin has contributed generously to right-wing groups that oppose these same measures.

If you care about these issues — as well as climate change, immigration, and education — you should vote for Menendez. Unless, that is, you heartily support everything our president wants to do.

This is not the time to abstain in protest.




We can have it all at Lackawanna Plaza

The developers of the Lackawanna site continue to say that they have to demolish parts of the Lackawanna Plaza landmark in order to bring in a supermarket while refusing to identify any supermarket who could verify this claim. This strategy pits Fourth Ward community food needs against residents trying to get a supermarket design which enhances the neighborhood and preserves this federal, state and local historic landmark at the same time.

Both the planning board’s supermarket design expert and local architects say that this developer's claim is not correct. Our Historic Preservation Commission has demonstrated how the train station structure can be creatively integrated into an outstanding and open supermarket and retail space with better traffic flow and safer parking and pedestrian access.  Adapting train stations for markets have been done successfully at multiple sites around the U.S. and the world.

Since the developer has not presented any prospective supermarket tenant to support their “must do” claims, the needs of our community are being manipulated to pressure for approvals for mediocre plans such as happened with this developer's Siena building, Valley & Bloom site and the initial Seymour Street project plans.  Montclair residents deserve much better and our planning board and the Township Council needs to insist on it.

Linda Cranston