Apparently, the fact that some of are forced to leave our apartments has to do with the new legislation concerning rent control and related laws.

Some landlord homeowners, including my own landlord, are making the decision to sell their houses, thereby displacing tenants.

I have lived in Montclair for over 50 years. I was a homeowner for 38 of those years. My wife and I decided it was time to sell our home and rent. We have lived in a comfortable first-floor apartment of a two-family house on Central Avenue for the last 15 years.

I had a consulting business in Upper Montclair for 32 years. My four children attended Montclair public schools, and, with my wife, we were active in all the classes and activities of our children through to graduation.

In addition, I served on the Juvenile Conference Committee for several years and served as the director of the municipal Human Right Commission. I was the founding president of the Schools/Business Partnership and served as president of the Montclair Kiwanis and president of the Joint Services Council. Through Kiwanis, we were able to provide an upgraded ambulance for the Montclair Rescue Squad. We provided forensic photography equipment to the Montclair Police Department and a film and teaching program for parents, teachers and police officers, "Good Touch, Bad Touch," narrated by Lindsey Wagner, to prevent child sex-abuse. I served on the team and as president of the Friends of the Bellevue Avenue Library that saved and reopened the Bellevue Avenue Library. I hosted "Greater Montclair," a TV interview show for Montclair's Channel 34 for four years. I have been active in town and county politics. I am an active member of St. Cassian’s Church and served three elected terms as president of the Parish Council. (This is a partial listing of my involvements.)

I’m know that many of the newly displaced have been just as active as I have, resulting in continuing to build a diverse community that is the envy of many communities in New Jersey. My point is that it is unfair to dismiss those of us who have worked so hard with each other to build on the shoulders of the citizens of the previous age only to be cavalierly dismissed from the community at the most vulnerable time of our lives. I’ll be 85 this year, and resent being part of a cancel culture that is an inappropriate vision of Montclair.

I hope you can explain this to the community. Most will not understand it. Least of all, those of us who have been victimized by this decision. There are many things The Township Could have worked on like the availability of senior housing, rents that average $1,000 a month higher than in surrounding communities, and community services that respond to the needs of all of our citizens. The council has a legacy to fulfill for which its members were elected, but they don’t seem to know what that is.

Raymond D. Aumack
Montclair

Editor's note: Montclair's rent control ordinance was approved April 19, after the initial submission of a version of this letter, but has not yet gone into effect because of a 20-day waiting period that applies to most newly enacted municipal law. Tenant groups and landlords announced a negotiated deal for the ordinance March 23, and the council soon after authorized a settlement obligating it to adopt the ordinance. At a recent council meeting, tenant groups disputed the idea homeowners were selling over rent control, citing the lucrative real estate market in the pandemic.


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