Chris Leggat via Unsplash

The following letter is in response to an earlier letter by Sergio Gonzalez, in which he criticized the League of Women Voters of the Montclair Area’s leadership for not personally representing the group at this Thursday’s Montclair Local forum on whether the township should have an elected or mayor-appointed school board. 

The first line references a headline written by Montclair Local, summarizing Gonzalez’s letter.

Mr. Gonzalez asks the question, “Why won’t the MontclairLeague of Women Voters debate elected BOE question personally?” There is nothing sinister or weird going on, nor was there any stalling on the part of LWV Montclair Area. We object to the insinuation that there is “someone behind the mask.” The answer to this question is that the persons who will represent the LWV Montclair Area are the ones best able to educate the public on this issue in our judgement. Our question would be, “Why is Mr. Gonzalez trying to cast aspersions on the integrity of the LWV?” 

The LWV Montclair Area has been one of the leading promoters of voting rights in our country for over 100 years. Any issue regarding voting, and voting rights, that comes into play is studied with great care and diligence, and our position is formed and adopted by our membership after careful deliberation. Our hallmark is in-depth research to produce fact-based information for consideration by the public to help in voting decisions. After 100 years, we know that the public values and trusts the research we do, and the information we produce, and we always strive to maintain that reputation. 

For the past six months, a group of our members, including those cited by Mr. Gonzalez, researched arguments both for and against an appointed school board. The group presented those findings at a member meeting in September. After spirited debate, the LWV Montclair Area’s long-held position in favor of an appointed BOE was re-affirmed by our membership and updated as published on our website, lwvmontclairarea.org.

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For the Montclair Local forum, two people who will most ably represent our position will present: a LWV Montclair Area member with children both recently graduated and currently enrolled in Montclair schools, and a Montclair-bred-and-educated woman with extensive experience in both appointed and elected boards. We initially wanted to have a person who could represent another appointed BOE. Rick Hanley, former president of the Summit BOE was willing to participate, but we were told that there was a limit of two panelists. Please refer to the TAPintoSummit article found at bit.ly/2YZEPqA describing the success of the Summit appointed BOE.  

We are not sure what Mr. Gonzalez fears from the League’s presenters. Mr. Gonzalez, who has been a vocal and forceful critic of the appointed BOE on which he served, is now undermining the careful and thorough actions of the League. Any one of the members Mr. Gonzalez mentioned could have been our representative at the debate, but we chose whom we chose. We have not sought to influence or criticize the speakers supporting the elected position. Mr. Gonzalez shouldn’t disparage our speakers and question our choice.

Susan Mack
Vice President, League of Women Voters of the Montclair Area


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