Mayor, why doesn’t Montclair trust voters on rent control, too? (Letter)
Mayor Sean Spiller’s support of a referendum for a publicly elected Board of Education is an insult to the 1,800 people who signed a petition for rent control to appear on a ballot, only to be castigated by the mayor and some members of the council and thwarted administratively by the municipal attorney and clerk.
Not only was the committee of petitioners for the rent control referendum forced to bear tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs to overcome what a judge ruled was an arbitrary and capricious review process by the clerk, we now are facing an appeal that has little hope of winning and is delaying our access to the ballot.
Mayor Spiller stated: “Voters can and should be entrusted to decide for themselves what mechanism for naming members of the Board of Education will best serve students, residents and taxpayers.”
Why can voters in Montclair be trusted to choose the mechanism for school board membership, but they cannot be trusted to decide if they want rent control?
The mayor supports a referendum on electing Board of Education members, which has been defeated three times before, but on rent control, which has also been defeated three times before, he pushes the law through with virtually no public engagement and despite substantial outcry, subsequently denying the voters the right to the ballot?
It is all so much hypocrisy and manipulation and is nothing short of a declaration that government in Montclair suffers from bipolar disorder. We recognize that the mayor is in untenable conflict of interest as a result of his leadership role in the New Jersey Education Association when it comes to school board issues, but certainly it should occur to all of us, including the mayor, that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, whether we are cooking in our own kitchen or in our neighbor’s. We shouldn’t be faced with totalitarianism on one issue and egalitarianism on the next.
Executive director, Montclair Property Owners Association
Montclair Local's Opinion section is an open forum for civil discussion in which we invite readers to discuss town matters, articles published in Montclair, or previously published letters. Views expressed and published in this section are solely those of the writers, and do not represent the views of Montclair Local.
Letters to the editor: To submit a letter to the editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail "Letters to the Editor," 309 Orange Road, Montclair, NJ, 07042 (email is preferred). Submissions must include the name, address and phone number of the writer for verification. Only the writer's name and town of residence will be published. Montclair Local does not publish anonymous opinion pieces.
Letters must be no more than 500 words in length, and must be received by 5 p.m. Monday to be eligible for potential publication in that week's Thursday print issue. Letters may be edited by Montclair Local for grammar and style. While our goal is to publish most letters we receive, Montclair Local reserves the right to decline publication of a letter for any reason, including but not limited to concerns about unproven or defamatory statements, inappropriate language, topic matter far afield of the particular interests of Montclair residents, or available space.
Town Square: Montclair Local also accepts longer-form opinion essays from residents aiming to generate discussion on topics specific to the community, under our "Town
Square" banner. "Town Square" essays should be no more than 750 words in length, and topics should be submitted to email@example.com at least seven days prior to publication.