CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
David B. Corbin
The Westfield Leader
Member of: New Jersey Press Association National Newspaper Association Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce
Periodicals – Postage Paid at Westfield, New Jersey
The Official Newspaper of the Town of Westfield and the County of Union Official Newspaper of the Borough of Fanwood and
the Township of Scotch Plains
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the offices of the newspapers at P. O. Box 250, Westfield, New Jersey 07091 P. O. Box 250 • 50 Elm Street
Westfield, N. J. 07091 P. O. Box 368 • 1906 Bartle Avenue Scotch Plains, N. J. 07076
Suzette F. Stalker
Karen M. Hinds
Horace R. Corbin
Gail S. Corbin
Paul J. Peyton
BUSINESS and GOVERNMENT
PUBLISHED EVERY THURSDAY BY WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
Tele: (908) 2324407 • Email: press@ goleader. com • Web: www. goleader. com • Fax: (908) 2320473 Oneyear – $24 • Twoyear – $46 • Threeyear – $66 • Oneyear college (September to May) – $16
SUBSCRIPTION PRICE Joanna B. Marsh
MARKETING — Established 1890 —
of Scotch Plains – Fanwood
— Established 1959—
Member of: New Jersey Press Association • National Newspaper Association
Scotch Plains Business & Professional Association Fanwood Business & Professional Association
Periodicals – Postage Paid at Scotch Plains, New Jersey
Michelle H. LePoidevin
A& E and EDUCATION
Letters to the Editor
NEWS & EDITORIAL
Joisey Humor on Voting Recounts, The Woild Ain’t No Poifect Place
A 33 percent increase! For the second year in a row my single health insurance premium has been increased by 33 percent. Over three periods I have gone from paying $187/ month to $332/ month which equates to now paying $3,984 per year.
What kind of policy is that, something fancy? My deductible is $2,350 with a 70/ 30 copay. No frills there. Extrapolate five years out with these rate increases and I will spend approximately $21,500 on just premiums alone.
I am dropping my insurance because I cannot afford it. I have to think even if I could afford it I would still go without because now I am (we) being ripped off. I do not blame insurance companies, but rather the very uncompetitive, highly regulated, government controlled healthcare system in New Jersey. I am young and healthy and might do okay without, but my absence from the paying system just puts more costs on others who are forced to buy individual (nongroup) policies and leads the system into further crisis.
When will our elected representatives realize the crisis we are in and do something about it? You wonder why there
are so many uninsured out there. I am them. We are willing to pay, but not be taken to the cleaners.
Government’s usual kneejerk reaction to handle health insurance affordability issues has been to offer more free programs to “some.” The intention is wonderful, but how about measuring results every now and then.
If government did they would realize their efforts to fix the problem have actually made things worse. Healthcare costs have not gone down but up and up dramatically. Care has gotten worse in so many areas; satisfaction levels by healthcare workers and patients are down considerably.
Who bares these increased costs? We all do; it’s a tax on society; on our economy, on our future. It is time to put some commonsensical incentives back in our healthcare system. More government regulation is not the answer but a big part of the problem. We must get back to consumers making reasonable choices based on certain incentives and disincentives rather than whole systems based on entitlements.
David Withington Ridgefield Park
“If you are innocent, trust in God; If you are guilty, get a Philadelphia lawyer.”
This satirical bit of wisdom suggests that Philadelphia lawyers are a particularly clever lot. Let us trace the origins of this special status accorded to the Philadelphia Chapter of the legal profession.
Peter Zenger, a Scottish born printer living in New York City, published articles exposing corruption by the English Colonial Governor. To defend a libel suit brought against him, Zenger, in desperation, petitioned Andrew Hamilton, a retired Philadelphia lawyer. Acceding to Zenger’s request, Hamilton successfully defended Zenger and, moreover, would not accept a fee for doing so.
This precedentsetting case firmly established the right to freedom of speech in the Colonies. This right was later preserved for all time in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights.
County Is No Palm Beach When it Comes to Elections
By DANIEL P. SULLIVAN
One of the best investments Union County has made in the past three years has been new, automated voting machines. This seems particularly true in light of this year’s election problems in Florida, New York and elsewhere across the country.
As anyone who voted in this year’s general election knows, these machines have a touchactivated screen, and works by electronics, rather than levers and gears. Voters simply touch a space next to the candidates’ names and touch a red button at the bottom right side of the machine to register their votes.
These machines, used in all of Union County’s 437 election districts, have made Election Day less expensive, more accurate and easier for voters with disabilities.
The old machines, with metal levers and the crank, which operated the curtain and registered the votes, weighed in at just under 1,000 pounds. Besides the great deal of storage space they required, they needed constant maintenance and lubrication of their gears and moving parts. For nine months of the year, election workers maintained the old machines.
The old machines were workhorses, were strong and durable, and did their job well. In fact, they might still be in use today, except for the fact that they haven’t been built since the 1970s and replacement parts for them haven’t been made since then.
Our new machines weigh about 225 pounds. They roll into poling places. They fold into compact cubes for storage. They have no gears to become fouled. On Election Day, they roll nicely off our trucks and into polling places,
causing little wear to walls, gymnasium floors and library carpets. At the end of the day, the vote totals are printed onto a slip slightly larger than a grocery receipt.
In the old machines, workers opened a large metal door and read counters that had been moved by gears.
For people with disabilities, or older voters, there is less of a reach in the new machines and they don’t require voters to pull a lever to cast a vote or to open the curtain with the large lever. And writein votes are typed on a small keyboard at the base of the screen.
Immediately after the election, results are sent electronically to the County Clerk’s office:
The Board of Chosen Freeholders purchased these machines in 1998 and rolled them out in selected towns that year. They saw their first countywide usage in the 1999 school hoard elections, and have been used everywhere since then.
The Union County Board of Elections is happy to provide machines to schools curd civic groups for voter education programs. You can contact them at (908) 5274122.
* * * * *
Daniel P. Sullivan is currently Chairman of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
We Should Give Thanks for All We Enjoy As Citizens of Free and Prosperous Nation
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, which for most of us means the coming together of family and friends, a smorgasbord of delights ranging from turkey to pumpkin pie, and perhaps the big football game — all made especially festive by brilliant autumn hues and the start of the holiday season.
At such a busy time of year, with so much to prepare for, it is easy to take for granted the privileges and opportunities most of us experience daily as citizens of the United States, but which are a luxury or nonexistent in many other parts of the world.
The majority of us need not wonder how we will feed, shelter, educate or obtain medical care for their children. We need not fear persecution or worse because of cultural or religious differences, nor the threat that an armed conflict could wipe out our home, our town or our entire way of life in a single day.
We have the freedom to express our individuality, practice our faith, voice our dissent and elect our own leaders. We can travel outside our homeland, associate with whom we choose, and pursue our dreams as
far as our ambition and hard work will take us, regardless of our background.
It was these very tenets which gave the Pilgrims courage to venture across the Atlantic to begin new lives in an unfamiliar and uncharted land; that fueled the American colonists’ fight for independence more than a century afterwards and inspired countless men and women to risk their lives in defense of these freedoms ever since. While our society is not flawless, and there are many within our own borders who struggle against hunger, homelessness and other woes, we continue to stand tall for our strength as a nation and for the ideals we represent.
So as you sit around your holiday table, take an extra moment to contemplate the many things for which we have to be grateful. Then take another moment to remember all of those people, both here and abroad, who face a daily battle just to survive, live with dignity, or carve out a better tomorrow for their children. And to all our readers, and your families — our best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Day.
Hey! Us guys from Joisey are “street smart”, and we’re used to a little tampering here and there. The “Woild” ain’t “poifect,” you know. Election manipulation and street money, we understand that. We set the record.
We don’t want no recount from Newark, Camden or Paterson either reality could get real messy. We really don’t want to know.
“Joiseyians” have come through all these years by knowing about this stuff going in. It’s the nature of the game. We just count it up when it’s all over, and that’s the way it is. Using the “woids” from politicos today when things don’t smell right we just “move forward.” Sort of like if you’re a golfer, the rules have been made in advance. And if you don’t like the rules and results after whacking through the 18 holes, well “that’s the rub of the green.” The score’s the score.
Even by our standards here in “Joisey,” manipulatin’ the score after the game’s over just ain’t kosher. And
with our G. I. boys, we let their votes count regardless of how weird the foreign postal marks look on their envelopes from those places. Hey, these boys carry guns.
So, we say to our friends in Florida, youse guys got a lot of golf courses there “it’s the rub of the green.” Add it up and move forward. Remember, you’re messing with our turf too.
And we got lawyers here in “Joisey” more per capita than any other place. You gotta remember that judges are lawyers too. That Bard guy, Shakespeare, knew what it’s all about. Don’t get them lawyers involved ‘cause things will go to blazes fast.
When you’re sittin’ down with your family for Thanksgiving dinner this year, counting your blessings; remember that you’re supposed to be eating them turkeys not watching ‘em on TV.
Jitney Service Serves MultiPurposes: Addresses Parking Issue, Cuts Traffic
If all goes as planned, Westfield will have a commuter jitney service in town next year. While the main dilemma currently is finding a vehicle, preferably from Union County’s fleet of available vans, the bottom line is that Westfield commuters have indicated a strong desire for such a program.
A survey by the town was conducted recently of some 1,300 Westfielders who either possess commuter permits or who have their names on permit waiting lists. That survey clearly indicated that such a program would be immensely popular in Westfield. Over 300 persons, or 58 percent of respondents, expressed interest in a curbside jitney.
Also, the bulk of those persons, 309 respondents, said they would walk to the jitney bus stop locations. This is very important in that a jitney service not only would help in providing a parking option for commuters, but such a program could cut rush hour traffic in town by hundreds of cars.
Town Administrator Thomas B. Shannon, in a letter to commuters, reasoned that “since it is the town’s intent to substantially increase 2001 parking permit fees to assist in the financing of a parking garage, commuter use of jitney alternatives may be cost effective as well as convenient.”
We tend to agree. Parking permit fees will increase from $30 to $50 a month come January. Those who pay annually as opposed to semiannually will pay $45 per month. Also, officials are looking at initiating an electronic debit system whereby residents would have parking permit fees electronically deducted from a checking account. The goal is to help those persons who would have a problem making one or two large payments a year.
This newspaper encourages the Mayor and Town Council to make initiating a jitney service a priority in the first quarter of the new year.
Legislator’s Push for Abstinence Supported by Ridiculous Reasoning
We are responding to the bill passed on October 30, requiring health teachers to emphasize abstinence in sexual education, over other methods of preventing pregnancy and STD’s. Assemblywoman Marion Crecco has been trying to pass this legislation for 15 years, and it’s not her actual proposition that outrages us so much, as her ridiculous reasoning behind it.
Assemblywoman Crecco claimed in the October 31 StarLedger, that “the programs we have had for sex education have not worked.” But the World Health Organization found in a study that of 35 sexual education programs, the ones that only talked about abstinence were less effective than those which also promoted pregnancy/ STD prevention.
She also stated that sexual education has become “a howto class.” Never have we been in a health class that gives the “howto’s” of sex, and since Ms. Crecco admittedly never observed a health class and bases her entire philosophy on what her two grandchildren and a couple people in her district have told her, her statements are completely unfounded. Ms. Crecco insists parents
“don’t want this stuff” taught in health class. But according to a recent Henry Kaiser Family Foundation survey conducted on 1,501 parents, 90 percent wanted birth control taught.
In addition, 85 percent want how to use condoms covered, 84 percent want how to use and where to get other birth control covered, and 88 percent want their children taught how to talk to their partner about birth control. When confronted with this information, Ms. Crecco responded with, “I think (the Kaiser survey) is absolutely, positively not true,” completely denying the statistics’ validity.
Every high school health class we have taken has covered birth control/ STD protection, including abstinence. Marion Crecco needs to realize that some teenagers are having sex and they need to be educated on safe sexual habits. Although abstinence is the only 100 percent guarantee, why should our teachers be restricted on the information they give us?
Kate Lechner and Sara Ackerman Sophomores Westfield High School
Editorial Commentary on SPF Bond By The Times Sought by Coalition Member
As a member of The Coalition to Support The Bond, a citizen group in Scotch Plains and Fanwood, we talked about whether The Times would be doing an editorial about the school bond referendum which will be coming up for a vote in several of the local communities on December 12th.
As you well know, the decline of school buildings throughout the nation was one of the issues in the recent Presidential campaign. In New Jersey the legislature has passed a bill to raise about $12 billion for expanding and updating long neglected school facilities throughout the state.
Some of that money is specifically earmarked for badly deteriorated school buildings in the poorer neighborhoods of the inner cities. Other monies are set aside for the “richer” districts such as Westfield and Scotch PlainsFanwood where we have not had a major bond issue to debate in over 30 years.
This issue is multidimensional. School buildings everywhere are the victims of deferred maintenance. When faced with a choice between maintenance or teacher salary increases, school boards usually decide in favor of the
latter. Technology, the computer in particular, is imposing very different standards as to what is now essential in the learning process.
The Americans For Disability Act requires facilities that were not contemplated when the schools were built. The State Department of Education now has a requirement that a school building in total must provide 150 of square feet per pupil. Applying that standard, the seven Scotch PlainsFanwood district’s seven elementary schools will have over 1,000 students “unhoused” by the 20042005 school year.
This issue has another complicating component— rising enrollment. In the south side of the SPF district where open spaces afforded more home building, increasing enrollment requires 12 additional classrooms to the Terrill Middle School and four additional classrooms to the Coles Elementary School.
The Times has provided coverage on the bond referendum in SPF in every one of its recent issues. In light of its importance as a local, regional and national issue we were hoping and expecting that it would merit editorial comment in The Times before December 12th.
If you would want some commentary on The Coalition’s positions and rationale, I would like to refer you to our cochair Manya Ungar of Scotch Plains.
Joe Nagy Coalition to Support the Bond
New Jersey Needs Competitive, Less Regulated Health Insurance Industry
What Does ‘Pro Choice’ Actually Mean When It Comes to Abortion?
I repeatedly found myself befuddled this campaign season as to what, precisely, Al Gore, Jon Corzine and others seeking election had in mind when they described themselves, openendedly, as “prochoice.”
Does “prochoice” mean “it is a woman’s right to do as she sees fit with her own body?” Or, does “prochoice” mean “it is for a woman to choose whether the fetus she is carrying is, or is not, a human being with an inalienable right to life” (something presumably relevant when one is contemplating terminating a pregnancy)?
If a woman’s conscience dictates her fetus is in fact entitled to life, does “prochoice” now mean she, and only she, the mother, still possesses a right (superseding any right of the fetus) to determine whether it lives or does not?
Whatever the definition, to declare oneself “prochoice” is in effect to state one has satisfactorily resolved thorny philosophical and moral problems— problems even the Supreme Court of the United States facilely and irresponsibly dodged, summarily dismissing fetal life as “nonpersonal.”
A parasitic entity like a fetus, for example, hardly enjoys the same biological status as a permanent anatomic member (a thumb for instance). A woman’s decision to abort is not then, strictly speaking, one that affects only, or even primarily her own body.
But even more troublesome and laughable, really, would be the tacit contention that the identity of the fetus— as a human being or not— can in any given case be contingent upon a woman’s conscience. Whether a being represents an individual of some plant or animal spe cies has always been, in the Western
intellectual tradition at least, the province of science and not a matter of private speculation. The term “prolife” on the other hand is not similarly fraught with difficulty.
Could that be because there is nothing disquieting to let slide under the rug? I personally have yet to encounter a single “prochoice” partisan who, while tolerating abortion where other fetal life is concerned, has not readily confessed to being grateful his own gestation had been successfully carried to term. A sad commentary, isn’t it, on the supposedly obvious intrinsic merits of the “prochoice” position?
Yet the frailty of human nature and the fulminant character of contemporary feminism have proven a deadly combination: the ranks of the “prochoice” continue to swell, conspicuously including public figures with names like Moynihan and Kennedy, Cuomo and Lazio, Mikulski and now, closer to home, Maryanne Connelly.
With so many in public life and even Roman Catholics passionately advocating “choice,” abortion on demand would easily have remained a legal option indefinitely had we as a nation failed at this juncture to upset the status quo.
Given the absolute defenselessness of human fetal life, it is hard to imagine any legally sanctioned practice more dehumanizing to each and every one of us, or one more compromising of the JudeoChristian ethos than abortion. Voters defending human life categorically— in all its manifestations— have set aside every less pressing political concern in this year’s election. Or so it would seem from the Republican majorities in both houses of the new Congress, not to mention the victories of George W. Bush and, here in our own Seventh Congressional District, Mike Ferguson.
Dr. Ferdinand Gajewski Westfield
What Were Reasons Behind Rejecting South Ave. Lot for Deck?
Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to the Westfield Town Council and copied to The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood.
* * * * *
I have been following the discussions on the need for a new parking facility in Westfield for some time now and have a basic question to ask.
As I understand it, the town hired a consulting firm, expert in the area of parking in towns of our size, to examine our present situation and then make a recommendation on how to solve the problem. I understand that after examining all of the possible locations, and discussing all of the possibilities with the Council, the consultant’s recommendation was to build a parking deck on South Avenue at the train station.
The Town Council rejected this recommended location and went on to approve the consultant’s second choice, the parkinglot area between Prospect and Elm Streets.
Since I am not aware of any detailed explanation of these decisions, I ask the following question of the Town Council: What are the technical, economic, social and needs factors that caused the Council to reject the South Avenue location and choose the Prospect/ Elm Street location?
Bertram Schwartz Westfield Maryanne Connelly
Thanks Local Voters
I want to thank the voters of Central New Jersey for giving me the opportunity to run for Congress. It is an honor that is awarded to few people and for that, I am truly grateful.
I’m proud of the campaign we ran. Unfortunately, the votes didn’t add up in our favor, but I want you to know that the experience of running has really touched my life.
I wish Mr. Ferguson the best and I challenge him to live up to his campaign promises.
We began some important battles during this campaign and we must keep fighting. The next Congress must preserve a woman’s right to choose, protect Social Security for the next generation, use the budget surplus wisely and ensure that our environmental laws are never weakened.
We won’t lose on the issues that matter to us, and our families, if we keep on fighting, every day.
Maryanne Connelly Democratic Nominee for Congress
MORE LETTERS ON PAGE 5
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)