What town do the historic society members live in?

Maybe if you live nowhere near Lackawanna Station you would think that more parking spaces wouldn’t be critical. Have the Historical Society members tried parking nearby lately? It’s a disaster even when there isn’t a special event. Bars like the Crosby took over parts of Glenridge Avenue as valet parking for a time. Residents fight to park and use the post office.

They misidentified the supposedly rare train sheds and now there is talk of giving the space to Whole Foods, which would make our town even less affordable to working people. Which is beginning to feel like the overall strategy of the town planners. Upper Montclair tried to secede once. Now the plan seems to make the rest of the town as expensive and unfriendly to people who actually work here.

The people are what gives the town its character. Not an abandoned shopping mall that the society wants to upgrade into a boutique experience. Where was the society as condo tower after condo tower was approved at a half million per unit? Will they halt the conversion of historic apartment buildings into condos with such fervor as they maintain the food desert in the heart of the working class section? People don’t want a farm truck they need staples at an affordable price all year round.

Wake up or the diverse character of Montclair will be history. But you’ll be able to get the finest delicacies and stay in a boutique hotel... And talk to people working there who remember when there was more to the town than condos and $17 hamburgers.




Let’s hear it, Montclair

Congratulations publishers of the Montclair Local. The new compact format for the newspaper makes it easier for readers to handle. Placement of the contents within is also enhanced with the change.

A disappointment, however, is that the Letters To The Editor section has failed to encourage more citizen input about the many challenges facing the Township of Montclair. Yes, Letters can count on comments about leaf-blowers vs. rakes, and organic gardening, etc. but otherwise opinions on the building boom taking place throughout the Township are scarce. That is the main benefit of our township having its own news source:  being informed of important events and discussions taking place; and in turn using this information to express to the Township Council the citizen’s opinions on these subjects.

One of the major impediments to this free exchange of ideas between local governance and residents is the upcoming Federal mid-term elections. Almost all the broadcast, printed and digital media is awash with the charges and counter-charges of national politics. Very little space in the average person’s attention span is left for “trivia” like what’s happening in their own backyard. What a pity. Each federal voter’s ballot counts only as one among the approximately one-hundred-million or more citizens who will vote. Unless your vote happens to coincide with the majority, your individual vote will not actually sway the fate of the nation.  

On the other hand: your vote (or comment) on what you believe the Township of Montclair should look like in the future, will add to those of others with similar beliefs. If expressed forcefully enough, your vote can be decisive.

What is now needed is for the easier-to-read Montclair Local to dig deeply into the fabric of the Township for personal observations of average citizens. The corollary for the other half is that the inhabitants of Montclair more often use their off buttons to silence the deluge of national news, and instead focus on local matters. It will lead to better teamwork between newsmakers, news reporters, the editors, Montclair’s inhabitants, and the Township Council.




Please follow leafblower laws

Thank you for referencing Montclair’s leafblower restrictions in your recent Fall Foliage article.

Many property owners are unaware of the ordinance and contractors are either not familiar with it, or choose to ignore the mandate.

  • The operation of leafblowers is limited in each calendar year to the time period between March 1 and June 30, inclusive, and between Oct. 1 and Dec. 15, inclusive.

Leaf-blowers produce more pollution than high-performance vehicles (https://edmu.in/2NbQzyY) and the associated noise has been shown to have many detrimental health implications (bitly.com/WHONoise and https://wapo.st/2MHEv3b).

Property owners, business operators, landlords, and tenants of a property are responsible for the duties prescribed in this ordinance. Fines for each infraction start at $100 but can increase as determined by a Municipal Court Judge.

Code Enforcement can be contacted to address incident on 973-509-5703 or via email at CodeEnf@montclairnjusa.org. The non-emergency Police Department number can also be called to log an issue - 973-744.1234.

However, the town has limited inspectors available and the police have many other competing priorities. Therefore, you can take action yourself and file a complaint with the town. It’s a simple process — the steps are outlined in the  following link: bitly.com/MTCLBCP.

If Montclair Residents believe that the “Rule of Law” is applicable to all, then please consider adhering to this ordinance too.




Vote on behalf of our children

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, is the day we in New Jersey’s District 11 can elect a representative we can trust to support our schools: Mikie Sherrill.

The future of our schools in New Jersey is in the balance. While we have long had the second best school system in the nation, changes and proposals at the federal level under Betsy DeVos threaten our ability to educate our children. As Mikie Sherrill explains on her website, “Congress is supporting Betsy DeVos by voting to cut funding for teacher training and public schools by $2.4 billion.”

In addition, DeVos supports vouchers that would send public tax dollars to private schools, including religious schools. While some say that vouchers promote school choice for families, this is not the case. Vouchers do not guarantee that schools have to accept our children — vouchers allow private schools to choose who to accept and who to reject, all on our dime.

We need to support public education on all levels and for all children, and we in New Jersey need a representative who will work to strengthen our schools and increase opportunities for all of our children to learn. We cannot afford the cuts being proposed and enacted by the Republicans in Washington; we cannot let them sacrifice our children’s future for the sake of tax cuts for the wealthy. As Sherrill states, “A good job comes from a good education, good employers are attracted to strong schools and a talented workforce, and every child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Please vote Tuesday, Nov. 6, for Mikie Sherrill. Please vote on behalf of our children.




Don’t complain, vote

Earlier this month, in a speech at the University of Illinois, President Barack Obama offered U.S. citizens some advice: “if you don't like what's going on right now — and you shouldn't — do not complain. Don't hashtag. Don't get anxious. Don't retreat. Don't binge on whatever it is you're bingeing on. Don't lose yourself in ironic detachment. Don't put your head in the sand. Don't boo. Vote.”

As a liberal and a woman, I’ll admit that, increasingly, since the election of Donald Trump, I’ve engaged in all of the behavior Obama advised against. Stunned by the rapid deterioration of decorum and social norms (the famous grab them by the --- speech that didn’t derail Trump’s campaign), the endless tweeting and bullying by the commander-in-chief, the evolving Russia scandal, the Comey debacle, the Stormy Daniels bombshell, the Charlottesville tragedy, the cruelty at the border, I’ve alternated between rage and cynicism.  

I’ve marched, signed petitions, called and faxed my representatives, and also despaired about Trump’s environmental policy, his hard line on immigration, and the appointment of conservative judges who are anti-union, anti-women’s right to choose, and pro-gun.  

But there are signs of hope, the Parkland kids are top of my list.  So are the slew of women and progressives running for office, and the local activism across the country, including right here in my district. I’m so grateful to the members of NJ-11 and their persistence.

On Nov. 6, I’ll be voting for Mikie Sherrill for Congress because the only remedy to our current crisis is to change the players who represent us.




A fascinating environmental film

Last Thursday the Montclair Public Library hosted its 88th free environmental film.

It was a great one featuring Josh Fox traveling to interview many people about their concerns about climate change. Its theme is that we must continue to live during this scary time. It begins with a long scene of him dancing in a most entertaining way. Later we see people in many parts of the world doing their native dancing beautifully.

After the initial dancing we are told scary facts about climate change by impressive people and we are relieved when Fox takes off on his trip. The Amazon forest is the home of 30 to 50 percent of the world’s species. We saw spectacular photos, including a “butterfly” tree. A native told us, “For us oil means death.” One of them hikes with Fox for over five hours into the forest to show him where it is being destroyed, telling him about their demonstrations to protest. A young native girl asks, “What are you doing here?” When he says he has come to document the effects of climate change, there is a chorus of “thank you,” followed by requests to tell others what is happening to us.

In the Pacific Islands people are very worried by the ocean rising and covering their land. “We have no place to go.” We see people chanting, “we are not drowning” as they dance to keep their spirits up. He is told that coal is not good for society, He then films dozens of hand-carved canoes blocking a coal ship from leaving the harbor.

In Beijing he sees the effects of too much coal in an extremely hazy atmosphere. None of the 20 million people open their apartment windows and they minimize their time outside; very few people are on the sidewalks. It is estimated that 1.6 million have died from pollution. He coughs and hurries to leave.

In Vanutatu everyone is talking about climate change. He films people dancing thousand year old dances as they protest. They hold hands and tell stories.

“Try to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Change Can’t Change” is a fascinating film, but so have been others. The library has to skip October, but I highly recommend attending the films that follow at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month, thereafter.