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Cub Scout Pack No. 172 Thanks Bill Risberg, Cub Master for Service
On behalf of Cub Scout Pack No. 172 of Franklin Elementary School, we wish to publicly thank Bill Risberg for five years of dedicated service to Pack No. 172.
For the past five years, Bill has acted as the Cub Master for our Pack. He has dedicated countless hours to managing the affairs of the Pack, running the Pack meetings, organizing and attending the Pack events and in teaching our children to be responsible young adults.
His success is shown by the current size of our Pack (in excess of 120 boys) and by the number of boys who stay committedtoscouting evenastheygraduate to Boy Scouts at the end of fifth grade.
Bill has encouraged a very healthy emphasis on outdoor activities for the Pack. Each year the boys participate in outdoor camping, cabin camping, nature hikes and science center sleep-ins. We
balance this off with sports events (Yankees, Nets, Devils, Trenton Thunder) and craft activities such as the PineWood Derby.
Bill also never forgets the “helpful” aspect of scouting, and plans food and gift drives for the needy during the holiday seasons.
At our annual Blue & Gold Dinner on May 20, the Pack gave Bill a Waterford Scout Clock and a camping gift certificate as a token of our thanks. However, our appreciation of his efforts over the years can never be fully expressed.
Thank you, Bill, and good luck as you follow your boys into Boy Scouts.
Mark Rhodes, Paul Nuber, Neil Sheflin, and Parents of Pack No. 172 Franklin Elementary School
Westfield Overseas Resident Wants Leader Sent
Electronically; Enjoys Reading Paper
We would be interested in receiving
The Westfield Leader electronically. At present, we subscribe, but because we live overseas, we receive the paper two weeks after print. We have been in London, a wonderful change, for the past six months. At the end of June, we will return to Doha, Qatar.
In September, we will have been in the Middle East for four years. Before Doha, we were in Tokyo, Singapore,
Boston, Halifax, and Surrey, England. My family was one of the founding families in Westfield, (French), and we still have our home there with two of our adult children living in it.
We do enjoy the website and look forward to reading The Leader. Receiving it in a timely manner would be great.
Thanks for keeping us in touch.
Brenda French Failla London, England
Who Really Benefits From Money Resulting From Commuter Tax?
In response to your Editorial pertaining to the New York City Non-Resident Income Tax, I would like to briefly observe that — for all the rhetoric regarding equity — total taxes paid may not go down were the levy on New Jersey commuters eliminated.
In broad terms, taxes paid to New York City are offset against income taxes which would otherwise be payable to the State of New Jersey. Hence, if New York City taxes go down, New Jersey State
Income Tax payable will go up. Anyone expecting a tax windfall from an elimination of New York State NonResident Income Tax will likely be disappointed.
Equity plays a part in how the political question is being framed, but it is a smokescreen which serves to divert from the real discussion which is being played out: “Who gets the money?”
Michael Lewis Fanwood DRACONIAN
There is historical evidence to support the theory that man is happiest under an authoritarian rule. The story of Draco is a case in point. Despite the proverbial harshness of his Draconian Laws, he was killed, not as a result of any hatred that the people felt for him, but rather because of the affection in which he was held by them.
Draco was a seventh-century statesman and lawgiver who established a rigid code of law. The penalties he set forth were so harsh that it was said by the orator Dramedes that, “They were written in human blood.” In fact, all but minor offenses in the code called for the death sentence.
According to Brewer’s “The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable,” Draco was smothered in the theater of Aegina by the number of cloaks and hats showered on him by spectators (590 B.C.). It was the custom of the Greeks of that period to throw hats and cloaks as a sign of approval.
It is ironic that Draco, whose laws would be considered by most modern societies as an excellent example of legislative “overkill,” should be literally smothered by the affection of his citizenry.
Mr. Jung Thanks Fanwood Voters In GOP Primary
I would like to thank the Republican and independent voters who voted for me in the June 8 Fanwood Republican Primary Mayoral race. I very much appreciated your faith and confidence in me. This will help inspire me during a challenging campaign in the fall leading up to the Tuesday, November 2 election.
I would also like to thank my terrific campaign committee and all those who helped with the campaign in any way.
My Primaryopponent,DanValentino, raised some worthy issues for discussion in the campaign. I would hope that he and those who voted for him will support our Republican campaign effort this fall.
Louis C. Jung Fanwood Councilman Republican Candidate for Mayor
Combining Cable to Include Channels With Neighborhood News Is ‘Absurd’
I fail to understand the purpose of your subject editorial in the June 3 edition of
The Westfield Leader.
I am a longtime subscriber to Cable TV in Westfield. I started out paying about $8.50 per month and was able to watch the home games of both the BostonRedSox andthePhiladelphiaPhillies.
Now I pay $33.74 per month and can’t even watch the Met games!
Meantime, these exclusive franchises get sold for billions of dollars.
Our town is supposed to protect us with rates, but don’t seem too interested. The
franchise fees that we receive are minimal. I asked our cable provider for either free service or a reduced rate for a nonprofit resident situation, and they said that the franchise fee should be used for this purpose. Lots of luck!
I don’t know anybody who cares about the community channels, this typical political correct imposition of our modern government.
Expanding this concept to include neighboring towns is completely absurd.
Joe Simons Westfield Amending Town Charter is an Issue
That Requires Serious Consideration
Recently, you reported on the discussions held among Town Council members regarding a proposal to amend Westfield’s Town Charter provisions on the length of terms of the Mayor and council members.
You also editorialized against the proposal. However, you failed to report that five members of the Town Council would not allow the public to express its views on the subject through a non-binding referendum.
Thesignificance ofthisactionmust be put in context. Westfield’s form of municipal government is pursuant to a “special charter” adopted by a twothirds vote of both Houses of the State Legislature and signed by the Governor.
The same process is required to amend the Town Charter in any respect. It is therefore not surprising that very few municipalities have opted for the “special charter” form of government.
Its “cast-in-cement” quality makes it inflexible and extremely difficult to change when the times and will of a municipality’s residents change. Moreover, one may question why the approval of legislators from Bergen, Sussex, Camden, Atlantic and Salem Counties should be necessary if Westfielders would like to make a change in the way they govern themselves.
The two-year terms of office for Westfield’s elected officials, selected in 1967, are also out of step with an overwhelming percentage of New Jersey’s municipalities.Withveryfew exceptions, mayorsandcouncilmembers throughout the state serve threeor four-year terms.
Another provision of the Town Charterselectedby itsframersin1967 was atwo-yearresidencyrequirement before an individual could seek local elected office. Some time after 1967, a one-year residency requirement became the state norm.
In 1994, Westfield’s Town Charter two-year residency requirement was determined by a judge to be unconstitutional, demonstratingthatoldpolicy determinationswarrantre-visitingafter the passage of time.
I proposed lengthening the terms of ourmayor andcouncilmembersbased upon myexperienceandobservations of the past several years.
Our short terms, the fact that half of the Town Council is up for election every year and the fact that contested electionshave becomethenormrather than the exception, have given way to a preoccupation with elections.
Posturing, partisanship and pandering to special interests frequently displace prudent and thoughtful decision-making. Council members shy away from making the hard choices we are sometimes forced to make. I believe that the residents of the town would like a periodic break from the seasonofrhetoric andallowthetown’s governing body to get its work done.
The process of amending the Town Charter can be initiated either by petition of the Westfield Town Council to the State Legislature, or by an expression of will by the voters of the town.
I had hoped that there would be bipartisan agreement on the Town Council of the soundness of the reasons for amending the Town Charter, and that we could agree to petition the Legislature to begin the process of change.
Naturally, I was disappointed when my council colleagues from the other political party lined up against the proposal. Nevertheless, that was their respective prerogatives, if, individually, they did not believe that a change was warranted.
What wasdisturbing,however,was the rejection of the second avenue of amendment, in not allowing the voters to express their will by way of a referendum. It was also disturbing that this newspaper did not regard that rejection as newsworthy.
As local elected officials, we serve the people of Westfield. If the council itself was not going to commence the process for amending the Town Charter, how is it justified to deprive the people of an alternative means?
I proposed amending the Town Charter not to provide a longer term of office for myself. At best, it would takeseveralyears fortheentireamendment process to be completed. I had hoped to lay the groundwork so that my successors on the Town Council and future mayors, regardless of their partyaffiliations, couldenjoythebenefitsof abetterfunctioninggoverning body.
While a Town Charter amendment will not be pursued in the short term, I believe the issue merits continued attention and I plan to keep the dialogue alive. As one of my colleagues statedin commentingontheproposal, “It’s an intriguing idea. The time just is not right.”
Hopefully, the time will come soon to lift the anchor from the will and the ways of the past.
Lawrence A. Goldman Councilman, Fourth Ward
Letters to the Editor
Scotch Plains Lawyer Lauds Editorial On Commuter Tax, New York Lawsuit
Thanks for your editorial regarding the commuter tax and Governor Whitman’s $95,000 class-action lawsuit against New York.
Frankly, when I commuted to my law office in Manhattan from Scotch Plains, I never resented paying the commuter tax. After all, I used New York City’s fine fire, police, sanitation, library and other municipal services, so I felt it was fair to pay a little extra – as long as my lawyer friends from Great Neck and Scarsdale were also paying the freight.
WhileIstilldon’t expecta“freelunch,” now that I’m the only one of my friends still paying, I agree that it’s unconstitutional and should be challenged in court. But a class action? For $95,000? For what? More press coverage for her?
The law on this subject is clear. You can buy the best legal treatise on the subject for about $150 from any legal
bookstore. Even a first-year law student knows that. The New Jersey Law Journal
has run articles about this for years. What’s really telling about the Governor’s “agenda” is New Jersey’s own tax law, which de facto prohibits us New Jersey residents from deducting New York City’s commuter tax against New Jersey’s income tax. While we get to deduct New York State’s income tax, the commuter tax is a no-no. Sort of a (excuse the expression) “tit for tat,” and every bit as unconstitutional as New York City’s commuter tax as applied only to us out-of-state residents.
If the Governor was really concerned about my tax burden (as opposed to her running for higher office), she would include New Jersey as a defendant in the “class” action, have her own tax law declared unconstitutional, and issue refunds to all us commuters who were prevented from deducting the tax. Now that would help my budget.
Yes, as strange as it sounds, she should sue herself. Fat chance of that happening under this administration! Attack New York, yes. Help straighten out New Jersey’s own tax house, no.
Undoubtedly, one of Governor Whitman’s “whiz kids” will argue that New Jersey tax law is different than New York tax law because – get this – New York only discriminates against New Jersey and Connecticut, while New Jersey discriminates against everyone.
That’s a throw-away argument that’s been tossed out of court on constitutional grounds in the Kiryas Joel litigation regarding the Satmar Hasidic school district in New York. Let’s not reinvent that defective wheel, especially at my tax expense.
A constitutional tax lawyer, Governor Whitman is not. I’d love to see her put aside her partisan politics and do something intellectually honest, even if it costs New Jersey a few bucks in tax refunds.
Leonard R. Rosenblatt Scotch Plains
With a 127 mile coastline, dotted with thriving shore communities and beautiful beaches, and a significant portion of the state still comprised of open space, woods and farmland, New Jersey is still the Garden State.
Unfortunately, due to natural erosion of our beaches and growing development in the state’s rural and suburban areas, preserving the New Jersey we know and love for future generations will require immediate action.
In 1992, the Legislature established the Shore Protection Fund, which established a $15 million stable source of funding to be allocated each year to protect our coast from the ravages of nature.
While this program has been very successful, its future success is being threatened by a growing reluctance on the part of the federal government to fund beach replenishment projects for coastal states.
The federal government’s increasingly negative view of shore protection funding is myopic, as it is an investment that clearly pays significant economic dividends, and adds immeasurably to the quality of life for New Jersey residents, as well as for tourists visiting our state.
The Jersey shore generates more than $15 billion a year in tourism revenue and provides more than 250,000 jobs in the state. Faced with less federal funding in future years to continue the work to preserve our beaches, this year the Legislature took the bold step of boosting the state’s Shore Protection Fund by $10 million for a total of $25 million in annual expenditures on shore protection projects.
As Senate President, I fast-tracked the proposal through the Legislature, and it was signed in late April by Governor Whitman. The additional state dollars will be available in this year’s budget to be used in time to help our shore communities prepare for the upcoming summer season.
Just as I believe it is essential that future generations have the opportunity to know the joy and the beauty of the Jersey shore, so too, should our children and grandchildren know the greenery and open spaces that once distinguished us as the Garden State.
I am confident today that we are closer to that goal of preserving our original agricultural roots thanks to the support of New Jerseyans all over the state who voted to approve the 1998 Open Space Bond Act.
The $98 million bond act is currently in the process of being imple
mented into a state program and has been introduced in the Senate as the Garden State Preservation Trust Act. Its very name indicates its objective, which is to take us closer to our ultimate goal of saving one million acres of open space.
The initiative also seeks to address the varied needs of all regions of the state, which includes farmland preservation,the developmentofurbanparks and the restoration of historic sites. The legislation establishes a new account that will receive $98 million annually from the general fund for 10 years.
Of that $98 million, $6 million will go toward historic preservation while the rest will be divided between open space and farmland at a 60/40 percent ratio.
This initiative, along with the Shore Protection Fund, are among the most important laws that we have passed in Trenton. Their long-term legacy will be the protection and enhancement of the state’s environmental, economic, historic, cultural and aesthetic landscape.
Our citizens will enjoy that legacy through a better quality of living for everyone.
Fanwood Residents Need to Mobilize For Planning Bd. Meeting on Dean Oil
Once again, Fanwood Citizens for Responsible Development (FCRD) is mobilizing the Fanwood community to attend the Planning Board meeting for the apartment building proposal on the old Dean Oil site. That meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Park Middle School Auditorium, 580 Park Avenue in Scotch Plains.
FCRD’s prior efforts rallied a large group of residents who attended the first scheduled planning meeting, forced the postponement of that meeting, and forced the developer to reduce his planned project from 36 to 24 units.
This developer is betting that Fanwood’s protests will have quieted since he canceled the March 25 meeting at the last minute. He claimed that the short notice occurred because he realized that he needed to do more to address the project’s affordable housing obligations.
We’re glad our efforts have caused the borough council to sponsor a community referendum on condemning the Dean Oil Site. As a practical matter, the referendum will have no impact if the developer gets the approvals he
needs and starts developing the property. At that point, condemnation will probably be out of Fanwood’s budget
We need people to come to the meeting again. Now our options if the developer does not win out are better than before. If we win, maybe the property can be used for the betterment of the community. If we lose, outside business interests, like this developer, will be able to come in and ruin the character of our community.
Like many Fanwood residents, we’re committed to this community; the developer is not.
Our group will continue to mobilize in the coming week leading up to the meeting by distributing informational flyers to the residents of Fanwood in a door-to-door campaign.
To get involved, volunteers should contact FCRD by e-mail at FCRD@home.com or by phone at (908) 889-0217.
Eric Hess Tom Ryan Peter and Pamela Sayles
Fanwood Citizens for Responsible Development Shore and Open Space Protection
Will Preserve Future of New Jersey
By Senator Donald T. DiFrancesco
Congratulations to Primary Winners As We Look Ahead to November Race
Our congratulations to Councilman Louis C. Jung on winning the Republican nomination for Mayor of Fanwood, and to Council President William E. Populus, Jr., the unopposed Democratic candidate, for officially becoming his party’s Mayoral choice in lastweek’sprimary election.Bothtwo-termcouncilmen are long-time borough residents with extensive experience in the local government and business arenas, and have taken active roles on issues ranging fromthedevelopmentof municipalbudgetstodowntown redevelopment efforts. We believe each is a worthy candidate for Mayor.
Weadditionallyrecognize DanielP.Valentino,3rd, for having also sought the GOP nomination for Mayor, resulting in the first contested primary in Fanwoodsincethe 1950s.Multiplecandidateswiden the forum of ideas and opinions presented to the public, which can only benefit a community. In the weeksleadingup totheJune8 election,welearnedof each nominee’s background and platform, and heard some fresh ideas on key issues which may merit further consideration down the road.
It is regrettable that a debate proposed early on betweentheRepublicannominees didnottakeplace. It would have given voters a greater opportunity to hear and compare the positions of the two candidates seekingtobecome Fanwood’shighestelectedofficial. In addition, the GOP Mayoral contest was tinged by allegations of unfair campaign tactics. However, neither of the candidates, nor any of their committee members, have been cited for any wrongdoing.
We now look ahead to the General Election of Tuesday, November 2, which will determine who succeeds Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly come January 1, 2000. The first Fanwood Mayor of the new millenniumwill taketheborough reinsatanexciting and auspicious time, as the community forges ahead intheareas ofdowntownimprovements,technology, educational opportunities,volunteerism,historicpreservation, and much more.
Besides the Mayor’s spot, four candidates are now seekingthetwoavailable councilseatscurrentlyheld by Mr. Jung and fellow Republican Councilman Stuart S. Kline. Mr. Kline, making his bid for a second term, is being joined on the GOP ticket by Thomas P. Ryan, Jr. Mr. Ryan, a first-time candidate, has recently been active with a local citizens’ group whichopposesconstruction ofanapartmentcomplex at the Dean Oil site.
Rounding out the Democratic slate for the governing body vacancies are Patricia Plante, a council contender in 1997, and newcomer Adele Kenny. Ms. Kenny,Directorofthe borough’sCulturalArtsCommittee, is perhaps best known for her inauguration last December of the Poetry Reading Series at the Patricia M. Kuran Cultural Arts Center in Fanwood.
We wishallthecandidates wellontheircampaigns, and look forward to hearing their positions on issues which will shape the borough in the years ahead. Theircollectiveknowledge, experienceandideasare sure to make for a lively and vibrant election season – the last of the 20th century.
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