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NEWS & EDITORIAL
PHONEY All that glitters is not gold
Phoney is a recent addition to American English. It first appeared on our shores around 1939. Many think that this word evolved from the telephone, which in its infancy was not acoustically reliable. But, alas, that etymology is a phoney.
The word actually comes from the Irish word, “fainne,” meaning a finger ring. The name moved on to England, where the British underworld used the term “fawney drop,” which described the efforts of certain swindlers to pass off a gilt ring as one made out of pure gold.
The word was then imported to the United States and ultimately took on the present spelling, phoney, as well as its new pronounciation and a new definition: a person who is not sincere, or something that is fake or not genuine.
By Milt Faith, Executive Director
Youth and Family Counseling Service
Judging Individuals on Their Size Reflects Society’s Weight Obsession
A man writes:
Camryn Manheim, who appears in the TV show “The Practice,” has written a book and appears all over TV as a spokesperson for fat women. She says she is proud of herself and is tired of the discrimination shown towards obese people. She had to fight poor selfimage feelings because people prefer being thin and admire people who are thin and trim and have solid bodies. She wants us to be more sympathetic and understanding of fat people. I think she is living in a dream world.
Doesn’t she know that it is unhealthy to be fat! Doesn’t she realize that fat people are unattractive. Dieting, being in control of what you eat and drink, and exercising can cure this problem. Why doesn’t she tell it as it is? My mother weighed 300 pounds and it was humiliating to see her in the same clothes all the time, or crying because someone called her names.
The name of the game is to look good, and you will feel better about yourself and no one will pick on you. Self control is the answer; or do you have some psychological excuse for obesity?
Talk about discrimination! You are very angry at people who have a weight problem, and oversimplify the issue by stating that lack of control equals being overweight. There are many dimensions and contributing factors, which include our eating lifestyles, our metabolism and other hormonal/ physical/ biological factors, psychological factors, and so on.
Since we live in a society where being thin is a top priority for “virtue” and acceptance, having a weight problem is a source (for many) of feeling depressed, inadequate. Camryn Manheim is a good role model who says “I like myself and you can accept me or not that’s your problem.”
It seems to me that you have unresolved issues related to your mother’s weight difficulty. You are still angry at her for not resolving this problem, for the sense of shame and humiliation that she brought upon the two of you. Try to accept the probability that your mother was unable to lose the weight and suffered through the rejections and name calling.
If you resolved this, you would not be so judgmental of others. Some individual therapy will make you more accepting of your mother — and your feelings of heavy people, which you have transferred onto others. It is never too late to change — no matter how difficult the process.
A woman writes:
I need you or someone to give me a push in the right direction. I grew up to be a quiet person who does little when in conflict, and then I regret it and become angry with myself for not being more assertive. Specifically, my mother has always taken over and made decisions for me; I’ve let her, sometimes doubting my own judgment.
I’m 31, just bought a house, was looking forward to decorating it, and my mother has already chosen colors, window treatments, etc. I am afraid to challenge her, but I know I must. Can you dig into your psychological words of wisdom and advise me how to grow up fast?
Forget Freud and his brethren; I like to quote the comic strip Ziggy, who says: “The best angle to approach life’s challenges is always the tryangle.” If you don’t make an attempt to change something, nothing happens. Motivate yourself by first telling yourself: “I’ll be happy if I choose the furnishings for my house; I will be angry at myself and angry at my mother if I permit her to take over. I will never be happy if she controls my choices.” And then go and tell your mother how you feel. Trust me, once you assert yourself you will feel a sense of relief and selfsatisfaction.
A distraught wife writes:
Against my husband’s initial wishes, my husband and I moved into my mother’s home until we were able to afford our own apartment. We’ve always gotten along together so we felt this would help us in our short term problem of having limited funds.
It has been four months now and I think our marriage is suffering. Mother has completely taken over; she cooks meals and we have to eat with her; she does our laundry, makes our beds and never stops talking. We have no privacy. The problem is that now “Mike” doesn’t want to leave. He feels we are saving a lot of money and likes to be taken care of. I can’t take it much longer. We can afford a small apartment at this time.
In retrospect, this was not the wisest of choices. In situations such as this, it is best to set up a time frame and boundaries, such as the length of time you would stay with mother, and the clear roles of each of the participants. This would include who buys food, with whose money, do you eat together; to continue to strengthen the marriage, each of you should take care of your own needs (laundry, making beds, etc.) thereby encouraging mother to respect your privacy.
It is time for you to sit down with your husband, express your feelings completely, and strongly set up a date by which you can find an apartment and move out. I would hope that he would recognize the importance and validity of your feelings, and agree to move. Stand firm.
Recreation Commission Need Not Operate In Vacuum When Considering Future Plans
Those serving on public boards and committees have a tough job. The members have to carefully weigh the needs of the public they’re serving with the difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions resulting from changes that need to be made from time to time. As everyone knows, it is impossible to please all the people all the time.
The Westfield Recreation Commission is one such group that found out last fall just how tough the job can be. The commission presented a nearly $3 million plan to renovate both Memorial Park and the swimming pool complex in September and was immediately met with public outrage. Neighbors near the south side park and pool angrily protested the preliminary plans and cried foul that they had not been even consulted in the process of arriving at these ambitious, expensive and, what they viewed to be, disruptive plans.
Commission members, taken aback by the neighborhood reaction, responded by forming a subcommittee that included local neighbors. The committee’s task was to take apart the plans and to, hopefully, arrive at something that was more palatable to everyone. After several months of meetings by the committee and with the Recreation Commission, the commission recently unanimously passed revised plans that contained all of the recommendations made by citizens.
While the Recreation Commission’s actions in responding to public concerns are commendable, the next time the commission proposes changes in public parks we hope that it will get citizenry involved more early on. Anyone who has had experience in public relations or marketing will tell you the importance of customer feedback before a product is unveiled. The same theory applies here. When a project of that magnitude that affects so much of the public is proposed, it is wise to get the public involved from the very beginning.
Consider choosing members of the public to serve on a committee that directly prepares the plans and works with an architect. Had such a group been involved or consulted when putting together the Memorial plans, citizens would have had a chance to hear firsthand why, for instance, so many local kids would like to have a place to roller blade. The commission created the rink and proposed such an element in its original plan in response to comments from young local residents who have turned to tennis courts to roller blade. That rollerblading court was one of the proposed elements that was eliminated because neighbors felt its location would jeopardize their privacy. Perhaps, if the citizens knew how important it was to local youth and why it was put in the original plans by commission members, an alternate location could have been identified. Instead, the court was eliminated entirely.
At the same time, the public must realize that there has to be compromises in nearly all discussions of projects and plans. Many people wish things could stay the way they are forever, but that is neither realistic nor wise. Parks are an important part of a community and their maintenance and continual updating are essential. Change is necesssary and inevitable.
As the Westfield Recreation Commission commences a new year of planning, it will again face some tough decisions, including how to handle a soldout town pool membership. As the commission faces a decision on the pool as soon as February 7, it is critical that commission members think back to last year and what went wrong when it proposed the changes to Memorial Park and the pool. The commission cannot operate in a vacuum, without the valuable input from the citizens who use the parks facilities everyday. Perhaps both commission members and the public will be surprised at the results.
Council’s Action on Appointments Labled as ‘Backroom Politics’
Know them by their deeds, not their words. This advise I would give to the citizens of Westfield, regarding four of the five Republicans on the Town Council.
Council members Gregory McDermott, Matthew Albano, Neil Sullivan, and Janis Weinstein took the oath of office on January 1, 2000. In their remarks that day they spoke of team work and bipartisan effort on the council.
However, their actions, just a few days later on January 4, 2000 (the Town Council’s reorganization) betrayed these laudable goals with oldfashioned, backroom politics. I do not wish to rehash this very sad night, but I will make available, to anyone who wishes, a video tape of these proceedings, as seen on Channel 36.
Please feel free to contact me. I would like to convey a simple message to those council members. Stop putting politics ahead of important town business. Before you recklessly attack someone’s character, service to Westfield and professionalism, stop and ask yourself, “is the political game worth it?” I think you can do
Public Works Employees Deserve Thanks for Clearing Streets Safely
A slight, dark complexioned man is driving a large yellow Town of Westfield truck mounted with a huge curved snow plow. The streets are thick with new fallen snow and he is clearing a path for all of us. Dozens of youngsters are enjoying a blanket of snow on a front lawn.
Suddenly, a young boy on a sled torpedoes down a steep drive and appears to be heading directly into the path of the big Tonkalike truck. Without hesitating, the alert driver quickly brings his powerful vehicle to a quick stop.
I suspect that similar scenes have occurred hundreds of times this past week
as our town. County and state workers labored long hours to keep our streets clear of snow. I know it happened on St. Marks Avenue. I witnessed it.
So, I am writing this note to thank that man for his alert driving and his prompt decision to quickly stop his massive vehicle in what appeared to be a potential dangerous situation. He, like hundreds of his coworkers, deserves a word of appreciation for a job well done. I am sure this written word of thanks is echoed in the hearts of my fellow Westfielders for your long, safe hours of hard work on our behalf. Thank you.
Brendan P. Culligan Westfield Resident Opposed to Subdivision
Poses More Questions About Plan
In reflecting on the subdivision granted by the Westfield Planning Board during the holidays at 1049 East Broad Street, so many more questions come to mind. For example:
Who would ever allow one East Board Street address to turn into Three Karen Terrace addresses?
Who would allow two sidebyside culdesacs (i. e., Karen Terrace and Hampton Court) to be developed so differently?
Who would ever allow the setbacks on East Broad Street to be so blatantly altered from those that currently exist?
What will be the addresses of the three new homes on the south side of Karen Terrace if the last home on this street is 3? Perhaps 1, -1 and -3?
Why hasn’t anyone connected with historical/ preservation commissions stepped forward with ideas on how to save the 1780 Westfield keepsake (we did offer the first $10,000)?
Why wouldn’t someone require the outoftown developer to post a million dollar bond to ensure the structural integrity of the 1780 treasure and insure the integrity of the developer?
Who would allow a former Town Attorney (someone very knowledgeable in the interworkings of the town) to represent the outoftown wrecker without even a whimper of impropriety?
Why hasn’t any public official stepped forward to acknowledge this
miscarriage of justice? Why isn’t at least one of our elected officials taking charge of investigating how this happened?
Who is comfortable with relying on the efforts of one outraged resident to raise the awareness and conscious of an entire town?
If any of these questions peek your interest, arouse your anger, cause chills down your spine, then I ask you to please call your elected officials, attend the upcoming Town Council meetings, go to the Planning Board meetings, speak up, call me with your ideas but please don’t let them get away with this. Your very town is at stake!
Lori Zivny Westfield
• Snow Must Be Deeper Than 3.486 10 Inches
• Sleds Must Be Steerable with Struts & 4WD
NO Having Fun Of Any Kind!
Letters to the Editor
Baseball League Thanks Memorial Committee
The John Fiorino Memorial Committee has again planned a successful fundraising event that will help keep the memory and spirit of John Fiorino alive.
On behalf of the Westfield Baseball League, I would like to thank the John Fiorino Memorial Committee for its generous donation to our organization. In addition, we would like to thank all the individuals who participated in making the evening such a great success, including the silent auction donations, ticket sales, the children who served the dinner and everyone who attended the benefit.
John Fiorino contributed an enormous amount of time and energy to youth baseball in Westfield. Your support in his name is greatly appreciated.
Gary E. Fox Vice President Westfield Baseball League
Councilwoman Weinstein Responds To Letter About Insurance Contract
Editor’s Note: This is a copy of a letter forwarded to The Westfield Leader that was sent to the President and Executive Vice President of Bollinger Fowler, Inc. insurance company that previously handled the insurance risk program for the Town of Westfield.
* * * * *
I am taking this opportunity to respond to your Letter to the Editor of January 27 to The Westfield Leader with regard to the process of appointing the insurance broker for the Town of Westfield. As Executive Vice President of Bollinger Fowler, Inc., I am confident that you are familiar with the process regarding rfp’s and doing business with municipalities. For the past year, you have expressed your displeasure over the fact that your company was not reappointed once again as the Risk Manager for the town’s insurance program.
Your company and past affiliates have had the opportunity of serving our community for 50 years. By today’s standards, I believe, that is quite rare. Your negative commentary about Republican politics seems ironic to me. Have you forgotten that it was the Republican Party who gave you the opportunity to serve our town for those 50 years? This position was not and is not, a lifetime contract. Perhaps a letter of thanks to the Town of Westfield would have been more appropriate.
Quite frankly, it is disappointing that one was not received, given your longstanding service. Rather, you chose to launch personal attacks and express bitterness and resentment towards myself and other members of council.
I admit that I don’t know you and very little about your company, Bollinger Fowler, Inc. In retrospect, it may have been to your advantage to make yourself better known to me. I do, however, know your competition. I’ve known him for 30 years. I know his company and the fine reputation that it has.
On this basis, I chose to vote for AGA last year. So far, that decision has been a good one. Am I obligated to vote for you solely based on your longstanding tenure with our town?
My colleague, Mr. (Councilman Lawrence A.) Goldman, along with members of the laws and rules committee, worked very hard to create a Request For Proposal ordinance to ensure that the process you so bitterly complained about, be established for the best interests of our town.
This ordinance was discussed at great lengths at our meetings, which were all publicized in the local newspapers. The ordinance was passed this year with bipartisan support. I am sorry that you feel that you were unaware of this process. If
you read The Westfield Leader every week as claimed, you would have known exactly how, when and what to do.
The bottom line is, Mr. (Louis) Lefevre, you chose not to participate and respond on a timely basis to our ordinance. Your criticisms and complaints about the outcome are unjustified and baffling.
Further, and even more inexplicable, are those who you attack and single out in your letter, namely Mr. (Councilman) Matthew Albano and myself. For your information, both of us were unavoidably absent from the Council meeting when the Risk Manager was chosen and therefore unable to vote! Those present, both Republicans and Democrats, chose AGA unanimously, with a nay vote from Mayor Jardim.
Lastly, your personal attacks on elected officials who volunteer their time to serve our community for a dollar a year is insulting, demeaning and sounds like “sour grapes” to me. Perhaps, Mr. Lefevre, it is your financial loss in this matter that has generated all of your anger.
After reading your letter, I feel more confident now that I did make the right decision last year. I hope your conduct will not be viewed as an embarrassment to you and your company.
Janis F. Weinstein Westfield 4th Ward Councilwoman
better than what was evidenced at this public meeting.
I wish to publicly thank Republican Councilman James Gruba for standing up for what was undeniably right, and for refusing to take part in this attempt to wrong some very good people.
Antony M. LaPorta Westfield
Resident Suggests Reversal of Plan For Karen Terrace
I have read the story about the proposed subdivision on Karen Terrace, and I share many people’s annoyance at how this appears to have been handled. We’re allowing a builder who doesn’t live here to change the quality of life in town for those residents, pocket his profit and then leave town. However the planning process works, I don’t think this should be allowed. The town’s character didn’t achieve its present attractive state through decisions like this.
Mr. Mayor, I hope you can reverse this decision. I feel a lot of sympathy for those residents who will under this proposal be saddled with three new neighbors, not to mention the prospect of living next to a construction site for several months. It’s not in the best interests of the people who live here and this project should not be allowed to happen.
Simon Lack Westfield
Describing Town’s Partisan Politics ‘Harsh and Misleading, ’ Reader Says
Letters to the Editor
Children’s Specialized Hospital Thanks Those Who Donated Toys
Last week there was yet another Letter to the Editor on partisan politics in Westfield.
I feel that describing the town council’s sincere concern for keeping the best interests of Westfield in mind as partisan is both harsh and misleading.
Ms. Stanton’s letter was completely accurate about the decisions and behavior of our community leaders having a direct impact on our town and our lives.
For generations, Westfield’s community leaders have, in large part, been from the Republican side of the aisle. And yes, as noted above, their decisions and behavior have had a direct impact on our town and our lives.
That Republican leadership was and is largely responsible for making Westfield the great place it is to live. Likewise, this traditional conservatism is one of the main reasons that Westfield
is one of the most desired communities in all of New Jersey.
It seems to me that there is a vocal minority of Westfield residents who feel it is wrong for council members to disagree with each other. I personally believe it is the council member’s responsibility to question and challenge each other so that the correct decisions will be made for our town. Because of this, I enthusiastically support the town council in their approach to keep Westfield a special town.
We are blessed to live in one of New Jersey’s most prized communities. Let’s all keep focused on what it is that has made this a reality. I think if we do, people like Ms. Stanton who said in her letter last week, “Sorry, Republicans” will say, “Thank You, Republicans.”
Frank L. Arena Westfield
On behalf of the children in our care here at Children’s Specialized Hospital and their families, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who made a donation of toys or money to our 1999 Holiday Toy Drive.
With the donations that came in from over 280 individuals and organizations, we were able to make the holiday season a “very special one” for 983 children in our services.
The endless smiles, which were dis played, and the many appreciative words
of “thanks” from the children and their family members were a sight to behold.
We hope that you all had a wonderful holiday and we wish you the best in this year 2000.
Again thank you for your donations and support of this Annual Holiday Drive.
Janet Weston Director of Volunteer Services Children’s Specialized Hospital
Scotch Plains Resident Suggests Putting Overcrowding Report Aside
The Scotch PlainsFanwood Board of Education is currently studying a Facilities and Enrollment Report, which outlines five options to relieve school overcrowding. All of these options would require some degree of redistricting, which will uproot children’s lives and have a negative effect on property values.
While the facilities report appears to be comprehensive in its mathematics, it treats our children as if they are pawns in a chess match. Behind the numbers in that report are real children with friends, family and a true sense of neighborhood.
Disrupting their lives and tearing their friendships apart by bussing them crosstown
and thus doubling their current 25 minute bus ride, would be cruel at this stage of their young lives.
Any decision made by the board based solely on the shortsighted and incomplete information contained in the facilities report would be totally irresponsible. The Board of Education should set the report aside, listen to the many affected families and think of creative ways to solve the current problem without harming our children or our property values.
Kelly Deegan Scotch Plains
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)