Finding angels in Thursday’s snowmageddon

I just wanted to drop a quick line and let you know that Montclair’s firefighters are superheroes. When the snow hit hard just as the grade schools were letting out, they took it upon themselves to help push cars, including mine, uphill (at the corner of Cedar and Harrison avenues).

After all that, I abandoned my car about 12 feet or so from the station because it was waffling so wildly I was afraid I’d either slam into oncoming traffic or slide down an embankment into the park. I gathered up my girls and prepared to walk, but one fireman, I didn’t catch his name but a wonderful older man offered us shelter inside, including plastic bags to wrap my youngests feet, so we could walk back downhill to the school, where the substitute nurse immediately spied my plight and offered me and my daughters a ride in her snug SUV (with snow tires!!!).

I wish there was a way to properly express gratitude for the kindness these individuals showed me and my children during this blizzard, but they are the helpers and do what they do selflessly, so a simple “thank you” will have to suffice.

They may be everyday people to some, but to me they are heroes.

JACQUELINE KOBAIDZE

Montclair

Blue wave election was badly needed

The First Lady just fired the national security deputy. The presidential son-in-law has been put in charge of our Middle East foreign policy and has led us into a tightening alliance with a murdering Saudi prince with whom he has a bro-mance.

This is not normal. And the Republicans in Congress, who have the power to investigate these actions, have almost to a man failed to speak up.

Thank you, New Jersey voters, for turning out and building the blue wave in the House of Representatives. This is really needed. Hold on folks, a piece of sanity is coming to Washington in January.

MARK LURINSKY

Montclair

The writer is a member of BlueWaveNJ and a co-chair of its healthcare committee.

 

For Montclair Republicans, no open dialogue

I just want to respond to Jim Price’s letter in the Nov. 15 Montclair Local.

Mr. Price was responding to John Van Wagner’s opinion that many Democrats are not inclusive of Montclair Republicans.

I think a critical point missed by Mr. Price’s response to John Van Wagner’s letter isn’t the politics or political opinions of being Republican, but the actual fear of discussing them in Montclair.

I have been living in Montclair for 30 years and have personally witnessed the intolerance of many of my neighbors growing with each passing year. I use the word intolerance intentionally because we all brag about our tolerant beliefs in Montclair; we are all so “stigma-free”…unless you talk about any conservative or Republican…they are just idiots. And yes, I have been called that and much worse.

Just look at your opening argument, Mr. Price, you note the Republican reluctance to defend “their” president. It is not relevant that you do not like President Donald Trump. Heck, I disagree with many of his opinions, but he is still our President…of all of the people.

This very attitude is what creates the entire your-side vs. my-side divisiveness that exists today. I believe that the single greatest moment in U.S. history was the day that Thomas Jefferson beat John Adams in the presidential election. He took over in 1801.. and Adams went home. This is our greatest strength in world democracies; the peaceful transition of leadership. We may not like the outcome, but we are all Americans and we live with it until the next race.

By the way, why, oh why, must it always come back to President Trump? This issue of not accepting Republican thought goes back further; I faced this same condescending, judgmental, ostracism during the 2008 presidential election. We actually lost friends and were called belittling names because we mentioned that we supported John McCain. Our neighbors, whom we shared parties with and had many, many things in common with, suddenly would not tolerate our presence because we were apparently mesmerized by the wrong side of the aisle. In 2010, I was even called a foolish ass to my face, by a long-time teacher at the then Mount Hebron Middle School, simply because I mentioned (not quoted) Fox News.

It is a true fact that 30 years ago I could speak to my friends in Montclair and have friendly debates and disagreements about our political beliefs. Today I am afraid to speak to anyone about anything more political than our town’s taxes.

So, maybe it’s not what Tip O’Neill meant when he referenced that “all politics are local,” but before we go attacking national immigration and tax policies maybe we should more openly allow that as citizens of Montclair, we probably have a lot more things in common than we have things that divide us.

Maybe if the majority was a little more inclusive of the minority we would be able to have interesting and decent conversation face to face and not only on the Letters to the Editor page.

MICHAEL C. VASSALLO
Montclair

 

Grateful to live in Montclair

In this Thanksgiving season I find myself listing ways I am grateful to live in Montclair.

Its beauty, proximity to Brookdale Park, and fertility for raising my vegetables certainly are important.
I also enjoy the diversity of people. On my own block there is delightful diversity of race and religion and immigrants from at least six countries. How can anyone oppose immigrants? The diversity adds so much to life and perspective.

The variety and quality of religious communities in Montclair is delightful, along with their collaboration in promoting their common goal of being kind to others. The variety and quality of other programs, stores, and eating places is nice along with the easy access via walking or biking to many of them.

We moved here in 1975 for the quality of the schools that the principal Jerry Samuels recommended after our daughter was diagnosed as “incorrigible and will never amount to anything.” He suggested that Montclair would be more accepting to unusual children. Daniel Gill and his colleagues reached her. She now has a degree from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate from Boston University. Recently she received an award for community service from her local NAACP after spending five years successfully campaigning for a 200-page bill reforming Massachusetts’ criminal justice system. Our younger child also thrived in the Montclair school system.

I wish all a happy Thanksgiving this week and hope you share my gratitude for our wonderful community.

PAT KENSCHAFT

Montclair