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A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains - Fanwood Thursday, March 23, 2000 Page 5


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Steffi Weissman Director/ Teacher Letters to the Editor

Local Resident Has Good Experience At Inspection Site

I recently had the good fortune to have my car inspected at the Westfield inspection station. Having heard all of the bad press that had been given to New Jersey’s auto inspection system, I was apprehensive to say the least.

However, I was treated courteously and efficiently. The entire inspection was completed within 11 minutes. I think that the personnel at the Westfield station should be complimented for doing a great job.

Ron Jacobson Westfield

Resident, Active Democrat Worried About ‘Acrimony’ in Town Council

Letter Writer Defends Perception Of Seventh Congressional Race

Reader Says Recent Appointments By Mayor Are ‘Clearly Partisan’ It is Time for a County Animal Kennel

That Can be Shared by Municipalities Patricia Knodel Writes to Clarify Decision to Run Mountainside BOE

On March 31, after many years of questionable care of the animals it has “rescued,” Garden State Kennels will be closing its doors. This is the good news. The bad news is that many municipalities will be without contracts for animal control, looking, perhaps, to facilities that are already strained to the bursting point. It is not a case of simply picking another location and deciding to go there.

A committee is presently studying the feasibility of establishing a Union County Animal Control Center. The group, chaired by former Westfield Councilwoman Peggy Sur, meets at the office of Sheriff Ralph Froehlich in Elizabeth.

Sites are being investigated for a facility where stray and abandoned animals can be brought, where essential spaying/ neutering will be done before offering the animals for adoption, and where educational programs concerning animals for adoption, and where educational programs concerning animals and their proper care can be presented.

It will be a humane area where animals will be cared for with dignity and respect, not treated as disposable items. Planned properly, this center can be costeffective, efficient and animalfriendly, housed in a place to which the residents of all 21 municipalities in Union County can travel easily and safely. The Atlantic

County shared animal program is a prime example of how effective such a facility can be.

Since the time for choosing an animal control site is now so crucial to so many, please take a few minutes to call or write to your Union County Freeholders, stating your concern about this matter, urging them to consider seriously a shared facility.

Awareness of the concern of Union County voters might encourage quick action on this project. Contact your local officials and urge them not to commit longterm to a facility at this point. Remind them that giving animals over to the lowest bidder is not really the best solution. Sometimes, as in the case of Garden State Kennels, it is not even a good one.

This is an issue that transcends humane issues, important as they are. It involves public health and safety, also, and cost should not be the sole criterion. It might be effective to require officials responsible for selecting an animal shelter to tour a facility before committing to using it. Even if this does not touch their hearts, it will certainly open their eyes to the need for improved conditions in many instances.

MaryEllen Chanda Plainfield

I write to you because I am greatly concerned by the acrimony between Westfield Town Council members, which I have recently witnessed on TV 36 and read about in The Westfield Leader.

As a Democrat who has run for town public offices as well as a resident bringing up concerns to the council, I have had nothing but respect and caring from the Republicans. While we did not always agree, there was always a flow of productive ideas. It did not matter whether it came from one party or another. There was not, and still is not, a Republican on the town council that I don’t regard with admiration, and feel the same from them in return. Many are my lifelong friends.

Earlier this month, two very qualified, mayoral appointees to the Recreation Commission, former councilman Jack Walsh and Sal Antonelli, were not accepted by the Republican members of council. I interpret their reason being that the mayor didn’t give ample notice of his choice of nominees, even though each once of them has been held in high esteem for their previous volunteer work for Westfield. What’s more ironic is that for decades, when there were Republican mayors, mayoral appointments were never questioned by the Republicans on town council.

Our governing constitution is set up so the mayor can appoint whom he feels is capable of those who have come forth to serve in a volunteer basis. The other council representatives vote to confirm his selections. Except in very rare incidences, respect to the presiding mayor was given. Mayors in the past have made good choices. So has this mayor. I haven’t met one person who feels that it isn’t a loss to the town because these two were not confirmed to serve on the Recreation Commission.

In addition, I’ve found no one who can be convinced that this was not a political move.

One thing that makes me proud is that the Democrats are not getting into the game of “titfortat.” At the reorganization meeting in January, when a Repub lican member of the town council’s name

came up for an appointment to the Recreation Commission, the Democratic put party preferences aside, and voted unanimously for her confirmation.

Mayor Tom Jardim was elected by the voters because he and his wife, Karen, exemplify the bright, fresh and energetic wave of young couples who are establishing roots and bringing up their families here. Perhaps some would like to think his first election win was a fluke, but let’s not forget that his second victory was by a landslide. Moreover, it wasn’t just Democrats who voted for him. He has been supported by many Republicans and Independents as well.

The town demographics have changed from the time I moved here in the late ‘50’s and asked where the Democratic Party held its meetings, and the response was, ‘What Democratic Party? ’ We have worked hard over the years to build an organization so residents could have a choice. Somehow I felt the more choices for elected office we gave people, the better off the town would be. My naive belief was that both parties could continue working together. Let’s hope that events will turn for the better, and this can be a possibility. It has to be. There is no other way.

Carolyn KlingerKueter Westfield

It is unfortunate that Theresa Hanbicki did not speak to either Linda Esemplare or myself before she wrote her letter which appeared in last week’s The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood. I wish to correct her inaccurate statements.

First, Mrs. Esemplare did not file a petition and then withdraw it after I filed mine. Mrs. Esemplare filed no petition. She acted as my petitioner.

Secondly, no one is officially a “candidate” whose name appears on the ballot, until he or she files a petition at the board office by the filing deadline. Mr. Geiger became a “candidate” Monday morning, February 28 and I became one Monday afternoon.

Thirdly, it is perfectly all right for you to disagree with me and not want me on the Board of Education. That is your privilege and is what makes America so unique. It is what this country is all about — the right to disagree. But, I take issue with you in trying to make me out to be something I am not — a person lacking integrity. We did nothing dishonest or illegal. Your choice of words was unfair and untrue.

In my 26 years on the board I have never done anything dishonest, never received anything or asked any favors for any of my children, never requested specific teachers or classes. I was always faithful to my duties, spent more time representing the board at state and

national meetings than any other board member. I rarely missed a meeting and took many assignments that no one else wanted.

As to the plaque, the board presented it in recognition of my years of service to the board not in recognition of my retirement. It has been the custom to present plaques to everyone who has served on the board regardless of their reason for leaving. More than one member has received a plaque and then returned to the board at a later date. My original request was not for a plaque but rather for books for the library — books on Irish history and a book called the “U. S. S. Maryland,”

the battleship on which my husband had served during World War II.

However, after several months, I was told there was difficulty in filling my request. In order to bring the matter to closure I said — “forget the books, just put a plaque in the library.” I thought it would be especially nice for the young girls in our school to see that a “woman” had attained this milestone.

Patricia Knodel Mountainside

I read Patricia A. Plante’s rebuttle to my recent letter (March 16 The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood)

about how to filter out the carpetbaggers of the 7th congressional race, which included filtering out her mentor, Michael LaPolla.

Although I normally have a policy to state a point, let the opposition state theirs’ and then let the readers decide, I must allow one more comment since the context of her letter is so much like the Democrat’s way.

She attempts to support Mr. Lapolla by stating he moved into Westfield back in 1997. To me this is still selfserving and state Senator Raymond Lesniak’s way. I would hope that the Democrats would have enough sense and foresight to establish the beachhead in the 7th District ahead of time to fight Bob Franks, who to their luck, decided to move up the ladder. Two years doesn’t change a thing.

She tried to list all the wonderful things he did for the county. Looking at that list still doesn’t justify the total of

$1 billion (yesit’s still a billion) that we gave him the last three years. One item of her list was the lowered taxes That’s ridiculous. Under the solid Democratic Freeholder regime, the taxes went from $240 million a year to over $300 million a year. I would assume she must be referring to the ’9899 change, where the taxes decreased from $310 million to $301 million. Wow. I guess when you’re spending over $1 million each and every weekday, it’s tough keeping up that pace of expenditure.

She also says that I devoted half my letter to attacking Mr. Lapolla. The Democrats always have had problems with numbers and statistics. Although I could have dedicated a whole letter to him, I reviewed my letter and found less than 30 percent is dedicated to Mr. Lapolla.

I now have some questions for Ms. Plante and her Fanwood Democrats. In November, Mr Populus had run for the mayoralship, lost, but stayed on as councilman. However, three months later, he is bowing out of the council seat because of business reasons. My questions: what would have happened if he won the mayoral race? He didn’t know about these business reasons three months ago? Why did he run in the first place? I assume it would have been three months as a mayor and then gone. What game was being played?

I’m sure she is a good soldier for her side, and possibly sticking up for the LaPolla/ Lesniak machine will garner valuable political points. However, for myself, I have no political agenda except being fed up with the system (and the Republicans aren’t squeaky clean in this area, either). At the least, Ms. Plante should ask Mr. Lapolla to give her $1 million dollars for a calculator.

Bruce Paterson Garwood

Teacher Applauds Local Violinist In Performance

How exciting it was to be at Constitution Hall in Washington, D. C. this past March 11 to hear our own Westfield violinist Peter Yu perform with the National High Honors Orchestra. Peter did us proud.

I am sure that our town, Westfield, will join me in congratulating Peter no only for this remarkable achievement, but for all of his extraordinary musical contributions to our Westfield, the great state of New Jersey and, now, the United States of America.

Stephen Wolosonovich Westfield

What Type of Groups Can Influence Political Direction, Reader Asks

It is interesting that after years of repeatedly accusing Westfield Republican Town Council members of placing partisan politics above the town’s interests, the mayor is doing exactly that with two of his latest appointments.

The mayor possesses the authority to choose which council members will chair the various committees, but it is a long standing tradition that certain posts should be awarded to the council person with enough experience to handle the responsibilities.

Such is the case with the mayor’s appointment of Claire Lazarowitz as chairperson of the Public Works Committee. As chair, she will have the responsibility of making important decisions on numerous road improvement and field maintenance projects — projects which cost a great deal of taxpayer money.

With all due respect to Ms. Lazarowitz, with only five weeks experience on Town Council she hardly has the experience or qualifications to undertake such significant fiscal responsibility. Clearly, she was chosen because she is a Democrat, and other more qualified council members were not chosen because they are Republicans.

Then there was the recent attempt at appointing former Democratic Councilman Jack Walsh as a member of the Recreation Commission. Despite the fact that Mr. Walsh cited “time restraints” as a reason for his resignation from Town

Council, the mayor moved forward with the nomination. He even refused to look at several resumés of some other highly qualified individuals.

It is the mayor’s prerogative to make these appointments, some of which need the consent of the council. But rather than work with the Republicans in town government, his agenda is clearly partisan. He should either change that agenda to one that truly serves in the town’s best interests, or stop hypocritically criticizing others of practicing the partisan politics at which he is so adept.

Elizabeth Gorsky Westfield

We are told through the many media columnists that we as Christians have no right to act as a group in the political realm. Socalled “separation of state” is often lauded as the reason. What we ask, therefore, is to tell us what kinds of groups are entitled to act as a group in attempting to influence political direction and values? Unfortunately, far too many of us have bought into your lie.

Aside from our foundations — both natural law and God’s commands — you

have no value system at all. You are left with that old phrase: “Might makes Right.” Is this what you really want? Do you really want any government to have all power and in effect to dictate to you what is “right” — what is “wrong.” Think about it.

Mike and Nancy Donnelly Berkeley Heights

Reader Will Pay For Lie Detector Test For Congressional Race

I am writing in reference to a March 16 article in the StarLedger in reference to Maryanne Connelly’s race for Congress and Jon Corzine’s offer to take a lie defector test on whether he, Jerry Free and/ or State Senator Raymond Lesniak dangled job offers for Ms. Connelly to drop out of the race.

My wife and I and 35 other New Jersey people recently spent a week in Israel with Ms. Connelly and found her to be a caring, concerned individual. There is no way we can believe Ms. Connelly would make up a story about being offered positions to drop from the race. I offer to pay for lie detector tests for Ms. Connelly, Mr. Corzine, Mr. Free and Mr. Lesniak to settle this matter of who is telling the truth.

A bigger insult to all voters in the 7th Congressional District is that the “party” wants Michael Lapolla as its candidate. After leading the Union County freeholders to borrow and spend record amounts of money and quietly helping private hotels in Elizabeth borrow $70,000,000 with Union County taxpayer guarantees, what will this Union County Democratic spending machine do with a Congressional seat?

On the subject of Jon Corzine’s attempt to buy a Senate seat, it is sad to see a bright, intelligent businessman get pulled into the gutter. Making contributions to county leaders, etc., and then getting their endorsements is a legal, but questionable mode of operation. I doubt if the ethics committee at Goldman Sachs would ever allow this allusion to take place.

Again, let’s have the truth come to the surface and administer lie detector tests to Mr. Corzine, Lapolla, Mr. Free and Ms. Connelly.

David M. Golush Westfield
Copyright 2000 - The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)