Opposing the pro-gun mural
The Montclair Republican Club, by asking for, in effect, equal time for a pro-gun mural, is attempting to force a work of art into a partisan issue.
The student mural is not a Democratic political viewpoint. It is the students’ expression of their fear of being targets in the current atmosphere of school shootings.
It would be a mistake for NJ Transit to allow the opposite side of the underpass to become an ad for a political party platform.
We should all get behind keeping our students safe, as well as safe from the anxiety of being targets.
Young people understand water and climate crises
There is a fine line between corruption and ineptitude. Neither the city of Newark, nor the state of New Jersey should have been ambushed by the Newark water crisis. Environmental justice advocates have argued since the 1980s that communities of color, poor people, and non-native speakers of English are more likely to suffer from water and air pollution.
This week, the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report called “Watered Down Justice” demonstrating that environmental racism persists throughout the United States. It’s not a secret. City, county, and state governments should be hunting down such nightmares before they erupt.
The climate emergency is making all these problems worse. Faced with rising seas, more rainfall, salt water incursion, and disastrous hurricanes, New Jersey’s aging infrastructure will be challenged in decades to come by problems that are entirely predictable. Climate injustice also clusters in poor and minority communities, but as the Newark crisis shows, the suburbs don’t escape in the end. Last week I marched in the Global Student Climate Strike with angry tweens who understand this mishegoss better than their parents do. Let’s get a grip and start repairing their world.
No opposing view mural
I can understand why some people might find the student mural underneath the railroad crossing on Chestnut Street a startling piece of art. It is a stark reminder of what our terrified students are living with everywhere they go. Our own Montclair High School students created this visual plea for the cessation of violence against children. As long as we cannot protect our children from gun violence, it is a valid statement and should remain.
I do not understand what a mural representing the “opposing political view” would be. I do not think gun violence prevention is a partisan issue – it is an epidemic and a public health crisis for all Americans, 100 of whom die by gun violence every single day. Responsible gun owners of all walks of life have asked for measures to be taken to keep more people safe — the majority of Americans support universal background checks, waiting periods and red laws. I do not believe a mural about the right to own guns will do anything but add to the fears of our children.
Our children’s everyday experience is that our society has failed to protect them from gun violence. Our young children have to experience active shooter drills in their schools where they have learned that they have to hide in their classrooms out of sight of the glass in doors and the windows in their classrooms. The reality is that there is absolutely no place that is safe for anyone in our country – not in schools, not in theaters, not in malls, not in clubs, not at concerts, not at places of worship.
I would suggest that we all join together in an effort to change the laws on a federal level to begin to reduce the daily American carnage. We owe it to our children and to ourselves to move beyond division and work together so that all Americans can enjoy their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as their right to safety. Perhaps a mural on the other side of the railroad crossing could be devoted to these American ideals and might pave the way for a renewed sense of safety and hope for our children.
The writer is the chair of the North Jersey chapter of CeasefireNJ, part of BlueWaveNJ.
Lack of transparency on Orange Road development
The lack of transparency in Montclair’s government is alarming. Developers seem to be getting whatever they want. Increasing density from 18 units per acre to 72 is incredible. This does not conform to the intention of the original plan. The developers found a loophole — and the amendment to correct the loophole was pulled with no explanation. An investigation was supposedly done, but the results were not made public. What is going on?!
I appreciate Martin Schwartz’s attempt to get this straightened out. Neither Montclair residents nor the township can afford a legal suit to prevent each egregious development from taking place. We are counting on the council and the planning board to do the right thing.
Council and planning board should pass the amendment to fix the loophole. Hold the developer to the standards spelled out in the original development plans and the town’s master plan. Don’t give out variances as if they were candy—we have rules in place for a reason and increase transparency.
A thank you for helping
Last Wednesday my wife fell while exiting the train at Upper Montclair station and suffered a head injury. Fortunately she is expected to make a full recovery and we are now back home in Florida.
I would like to thank those fellow passengers who called 911 and the NJ Transit staff member who together offered support at a stressful time. Their actions speak well of the Montclair community. I would also like to thank the EMS crew and the staff at St Joseph’s Medical Center, who were all highly professional.
JEREMY A. CARTER