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Letters to the Editor
We Congratulate Election Winners, Encourage Active Role by Residents
As we head into a new century, one thing will remain constant — the final word of every election will befromthevoters. Locally,candidatesformayor and council in our area communities logged many hours of traditional door-to-door campaigning in an effort to get their messages across to the voters.
On Election Day 1999, voters chose those candidates they felt would best represent them in the next few years. While majority party control will change in Fanwood and Scotch Plains, we don’t expect any significant policy changes. Majority government is more of a factor at the national, state and county levels. At the municipal level, new leadership often yields newideas.However,the issuesatthemunicipal level are pretty much the same — road repair, traffic and pedestrian safety, leaf collection, and, of course, property taxes.
On the local level, we congratulate Gregory S. McDermott,MatthewP.Albano, NeilF.Sullivanand JanisFriedWeinsteinon theirvictoriesinWestfield’s Town Council races; Mayor-elect Louis C. Jung, Councilman Stuart S. Kline and Councilman-elect Thomas P. Ryan, Jr. on their wins in Fanwood; Frank Rossi on his successful bid for a Scotch Plains Township Council seat and Mountainside Mayor RobertF.Vigliantiand CouncilmenKeithTurnerand
Paul Mirabelli on their reelection. At the state level, we congratulate Assemblymen Richard H. Bagger and Alan M. Augustine, who will continue their leadership in the 22nd District, along with Union County Freeholder Board incumbents Nicholas P. Scutari and Linda d. Stender and newcomer Angel Estrada.
Surrogate-elect James S. LaCorte will have big shoes to fill as successor to Ann Conti, the long-time Surrogate who died this past summer. We wish him well as he takes over one of the political offices most frequently utilized by county residents.
The new year will also see a mayoral election for the first time in Scotch Plains history and the enactment of a Length of Service Awards Program for Fanwood’s fire department and rescue squad volunteers. Both initiatives were supported through ballot questions November 2. A non-binding referendum was also approved in Fanwood which favors acquisition of the Dean Oil property by the borough should the privately-owned lot become available.
We encourage residents to take a more active role in government by letting their elected federal, state, county and municipal officials hear their concerns. After all, that’s what democracy is all about.
MANAGER Maintaining a Tight Rein
On a recent visit to a local bank, we had occession to speak to the resident woman bank manager. Can you ever remember watching a television or movie drama in which the part of the bank manager was played by a female?
The position of the bank manager, which was until very recently the exclusive turf of men, has now become a veritable female stronghold.
We have no idea what caused the “perfuming of the bank platform,” but it does raise some interesting questions: What do you call a female bank manager? Not knowing the answer, we asked, and her answer was “managerette.”
Managerette? It sounded to us a lot like majorette, the feminine rendition of “drum major.” The -ette suffix is the feminine version of the masculine -et and was originally affixed to a noun to create the diminutive form of the word i.e., cigarette, a small cigar.
In terms of capability and responsibility, these recently franchised managers certainly do not perform their duties in a diminished manner from that of their male counterparts. We submit, therefore, that managerette is not the most suitable title for them.
The -ess suffix is often used to signify the feminine gender of a main noun, so managess is a possible candidate as the title for these safeguarders of the nation’s wealth. However, the -gess ending sounds too much like “jest” and there is nothing humerous about a bank managess when she turns down your loan request.
Just plain manager is actually the proper title for either sex. The -er suffix while once a masculine agent, is now bi-sexual, i.e., writer, player, murderer, and the like.
Prosecutor Urges Municipalities To Offer Law Officers Counseling
In my capacity as chief law enforcement officer of Union County, I am requiredtoaddress issuesofconcernrelating to members of the law enforcement community.
I am writing about a concern which emanatedfrom arecentlyconductedsurvey among the municipalities in Union County.Thepurposeof thesurveywasto determinewhichmunicipalitiesprovided employee assistance programs to law enforcement officers.UnionCountyand themajority ofmunicipalitieswithinthe countydooffer suchprograms,butmany of our municipalities do not.
The programs that are provided throughout the county provide law enforcement officers (and in some cases, their families) with confidential assessments and counseling for emotional and mental health problems relating to family and marital difficulties, alcohol and substance abuse and other stress related conditions.
Within the last 12 months, three law enforcement officers in Union County took their lives. These tragic incidents clearly evidence what has been determinedthroughmany studies,suchasthat those involved in law enforcement are particularlysusceptible tolongtermpsychological symptoms emanating from their job experiences.
These symptoms include severe depression, unexplainedillnessesandflashbacks to traumatic events. In many instances, the officers who are confronted with these difficulties are reluctant to requestassistanceoutof aconcernthatit will be viewed as a weakness and that their seeking assistance will adversely impact their career.
Theyarealso concernedaboutthecost forcounselingand treatment.Thekeyto dispelling these fears and concerns lies
in the provision of a confidential assistance program without cost or at a minimum cost to the officer.
When governingbodiesconsiderhow taxpayer dollars should be expended, I believe they should consider the invaluable service that law enforcement officers provide to our communities, the incumbentand unfortunatestressthatarises out of the performance of those duties and the essential need for available assistanceprograms.
Thomas V. Manahan Prosecutor of Union County
‘Taste of Westfield’ SupportersThanked By First Night Organizer
On Sunday, October 14, Temple Emanu-El donated its facility for “First NightWestfield” toholdthefundraiser, “A Taste of Westfield.”
On behalf of all of the volunteers, thank you for your continued generosity and support of “First Night Westfield.” For the second year in a row, this event was a huge success.
“First Night Westfield” is supported by the Westfield “Y,” the Town of Westfield, theWestfieldFoundationand many other local contributors. Those supporters and other contributors were our guests for “A Taste of Westfield.” On behalf of “First Night Westfield,” thank you for your participation.
We hope you enjoyed the samplings prepared for you by the many community sponsors. Please continue to patronize them and recommend them to your friends.
Thank you to all our local restaurants, caterers and contributors who have generously donated your time and talent toward making this event a success. The variety, quality and quantity of your cuisine was outstanding. Your commitment to Westfield and “First Night Westfield” is to be commended.
And, thank you to all volunteers. Without you, this event would not have been possible. You are the best!
Julia Black First Night Westfield Union County Democrat’s Caricature
Of Mr. McDermott Was ‘Shameless’
In a desperate and transparent attempt to impugn First Ward Councilman Gregory S. McDermott on the eve of the election, campaign literature attacking the candidate’s father, Republican County Chairman Frank X. McDermott, was widely distributed in the ward on Halloween and I am told at the train station the following morning.
It contained a shameless caricature depiction that was particularly hurtful to theMr. McDermott’schildrenandgrandchildren when a dozen fliers were found strewn on their lawns.
It was found to be clearly offensive to many of us in the community and marks another new low in local politics. Some more sensitive to these issues have commented that the image was also appalling because it was recognizable as a common and basic ethnic slur.
No doubt this was an unintended and unfortunate consequence as well.
Posed as an open letter to Mr. McDermott, Union County Democratic Chairwoman Charlotte DeFilippo wrote in the piece, “We could easily have taken the picture on the right and sent out over 100,000 pieces…..Instead, Frank, I have chosen to send this to you and your neighbors…”
She concludes her attack on Republican campaign literature by saying “…..and perhaps you will try the High Road next year?” Ms. DeFilippo obviously knew she had left little room to spare on the Low Road. While an elected orpolitical official’spublicrecordshould always be fair game, its relevance in a spouse or family member campaign is
debatable and not the issue here. The voters and people of good will in Westfield have consistently stood together against negative and personal attacks on our candidates and officials, who are also our friends and neighbors. We are a town of neighbors, and the mean-spiritedness behind this particular act makes it a serious concern for all.
Ichallenge MayorTomJardim,Democratic Campaign Manager Tony LaPorta and council member Larry Goldman as the local leaders to repudiate this disgraceful personal attack, and to state whether they had prior knowledge or complicity in its distribution.
It is hard to believe that they would be out of the campaign loop on the eve of the election. Unlike their Gail Vernick fiasco last year, a public apology to the family and voters may not be sufficient this time.
Given this and other negative and inflammatory rhetoric they injected late in the council campaigns this year should we not reassess Mr. Jardim and Mr. Goldman’s values and leadership? Was the Republican sweep a backlash to their heavy-handiness?
More must be said and done by these gentlemen to turn Ms. DeFilippo’s High Road one-way out of town. If they decline to repudiate this vicious attack it would be reasonable to assume their own political or party ambitions lead beyond the town as well, and that our local political culture is in dire need of better stewardship.
Sal Caruana Westfield
Marilyn Gulotta Thanks Supporters, Urges Town
Support for Council
I am taking this medium to thank all the wonderful people who believed in me and supported me throughout my campaign for Town Council. I met a lot of new people and reinforced many old friendships. In particular, I want to thank my family for their day-to-day reinforcement!
I truly hope that we all pull together to support the year 2000 Town Council as it deliberates a lot of the complicated issues for the town which were brought out very distinctly during the televised debates. It’s going to be a truly demanding year for us all.
Marilyn Gulotta Westfield
Reader Questions Mr. Kline’s Comments on ‘Offensive’ Poetry
In The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood of October 28, Fanwood Council candidate Stuart S. Kline described being offended by language (apparently a single word) used by Gerald Stern, a recipient of the National Book Award, at a poetry reading in Fanwood.
IfMr.Kline tookliteraturecoursesin college, I am sure he realizes that, for better or worse, there is lots of “bad”
language in great literature. Perhaps that is because it reflects life, which may also be the reason that inclusion of a sentiment, or a word, in a literary work does not constitute an endorsement by the author.
Mr. Kline’s understandable instinct toshield childrenfromcertainlanguage or subjects does not justify treating adults like children by depriving them of access to works that address serious themes.
It is also interesting how we adults sometimes resist accepting young people’s maturation. I remember being shocked at college orientation when they pointed out the “smoking permitted” areas of the library; up to that point in my life, smoking in school was grounds for suspension.
Perhaps as a sign of the need for a twilight stage between child and adult, we let students portray activities in school plays that would bring suspension in real life.
There is no more clear distinction between “child” and “adult” than there isbetween “good”and“bad”language.
David B. Harris Westfield Frank Rossi Thanks
Voters for Support
I would like to thank the residents of Scotch Plains for showing confidence in me by electing me to serve on the Scotch Plains Township Council.
I view it as a privilege to be able to serve the community where I grew up and have resided for 36 years.
I look forward to working with my fellow councilmembers,townemployees and residents, the business community and our many volunteers on the issues important to Scotch Plains.
Frank Rossi Scotch Plains
New Jersey is one of many states that has raised the bar in education.
By now, most everyone is aware of New Jersey’s Core Content Standards and the various state assessments.
These standards apply across the curriculum. Mathematics, science, social studies and language arts are but a few of the areas that have a minimum content that must be taught by our local school districts.
In order to insure that New Jersey’s students are mastering the course work, a series of tests have been developed. ESPA, GEPA and the HSPA have become household acronyms.
These tests are administered in the fourth, eighth and 11th grades respectively. Assessment in the fourth and eighth grades have been designed as a photograph, if you will, intended to portray just how well our students are doing at that particular time in grasping the subject material.
Ultimately, our district’s administrators and professional teaching staff will havethecapability ofanalyzingtheevaluation of our children’s knowledge. While we all struggle with coming to terms with the three categories our children are scored in _ advanced proficient, proficient and partially proficient, a real benefit of the test is unrealized.
That is, a detailed report of the children’sperformance isnotmadeavailable to local school districts. Having this information would enable our educators to focus on strengths and weaknesses of the instructional program.
Your school board has been listening to the frustration of our district and the parents of the children of Mountainside.
Several members of the Mountainside Board of Education and our Chief School Administrator Dr. Gerard A. Schaller attended a workshop recently on the state of assessment.
Hosted by the New Jersey School Boards Association, the guest speaker was Joan London, Assistant Superintendent of the Berkeley Heights School District.
Ms. London is a member of a committee from the New Jersey Association of School Administrators. This group of administrators has been studying assessment of the standards. Guests at their meetings have included the commissioner, assistant commissioner and representatives from testing, all of the De
Higher Education Standards Have Mountainside’s Support
By JOHN PERRIN
partment of Education. The committee’s findings are as follows:
Amount of testing and the sacrifice on instructional program time.
Limited diagnostic information – if any at all.
Timeliness of receiving results, which severely handicaps planning for changes in the instructional program.
Disparity of scores, which includes questionable scoring methodologies and limited training for scoring performance requirements.
Limited information on tests to come.
Standards not in agreement with the test content.
Impact on the school day, budget considerations, curriculum and our students.
How does New Jersey School Boards fit into this picture?
School boards have also formed a test committee. Various field representatives – Mountainside’s is Carol Larsen – are requesting input from their school districts.
Dr. Schaller has written a letter to Ms. Larsen outlining his concerns for our district, which are echoed in the issues we heard at the workshop.
Between now and January of the year 2000, representatives will be reporting back to the test committee their findings. A comprehensive policy statement will then be constructed that empowers the Board of Directors of NJSBA to work with the Department of Education to affect changes.
Raising the bar in education is a good thing.
Mountainside believesinsettinghigher standards and challenging their students. This belief is reflected in our district’s Strategic Plan. What we have discovered and are reporting to you is that the tools needed by our professionals are slowly being forged by the state.
We believe that the tools for a meaningful evaluation are forthcoming.
After all, the purpose of challenging the students is intended to benefit our children.
* * * * *
John Perrin is a member of the Mountainside Board of Education and Chairperson of the Community Relations Committee.
Mrs. Weinstein Thanks Voters, Calls For an End to Negative Campaigning
I would like to extend my sincere thanksand deepappreciationtoWestfield residents for supporting my re-election bid along with my fellow Republican Town Council members, Greg McDermott, Matt Albano and Neil Sullivan. In particular, I would like to thank my constituents in the Fourth Ward for choosing me once again as their councilwoman.
Winning re-election is rewarding for any elected official because it serves as a reaffirmation of the public’s confidence andtrustintheir leaders.IviewTuesday’s election day victory of the Republican Town Council team as a particularly important win because it was accomplished in the face of an unfortunate and wholly unnecessary personal attack by the Mayor on my integrity and on the character of my fellow Republican candidates.
Just 48 hours before the polls opened, the Mayor had distributed flyers on doorsteps and car windshields throughout town questioning the honesty and integrity of each Republican Council member running for re-election.
Never before in town history has the Office of the Mayor been used for such an unseemly and distasteful purpose. My council colleagues and I refused to be drawn into returning the negative attacks and continued to run a positive campaign based on the issues deemed important to Westfield residents.
I am gratified that Westfield voters also chose to ignore such eleventh hour negativity and cast their ballots based on what was in the best interests of the community.
Regardless of party affiliation, every elected official should be working to improve the town and better serve the public. Personal attacks launched
against individuals working toward that end are counter productive to good government.
It is my sincere hope that this sour end to an otherwise positive campaign constitutes an aberration in Westfield’s political history and will not be repeated. Again, I thank Westfield voters for sending a clear message that issues count more than personal attacks and that negative campaigning has no place in our community.
Janis Fried Weinstein Councilwoman Fourth Ward Westfield
SchuylerQuackenbush Thanks Supporters
I would like to thank all the citizens of Westfield who supported me during this fall’s campaign. Your faith in me as a candidate was inspiring, and certainly prompted me to do my best. I also want to express my gratitude to all the voters who made the effort to get to the polls and vote despite the unpleasant rainy weather.
It was an exciting and invigorating campaign. I am certainly sorry that I will not have the opportunity to serve my community as a member of the Town Council, but nevertheless hope that I might have such an opportunity in the future.
Schuyler Quackenbush Westfield
Letters to the Editor
Resident Lauds Vote on Open Space; Blasts Authors of ‘Smear’ Letter
anyone is enthusiastic about increased taxes;however,I haveacceptedthatmaking improvements in our community and overall progress has a price tag.
What greater investment can a community make than in the areas of parks and education? It is difficult to put a price on the quality of life in our town.
This vote was also a signal to me that we have intelligent citizens who can look beyond dirty tactics of other people. I am referring to the cowards on the south side who circulated a smear letter at the 11th hour. This vote proves the residents of this town give no credibility to such spineless acts. I challenge these people to not only stand up and publicly identify themselves, but produce proof of their allegations against the Township Council.
I am always interested in hearing the truth. Where were these “South Side Scotch Plains Concerned Citizens” months ago when they had the opportunity to educate the entire town about their views and allow people to ask questions? I have no respect for people who conduct themselves in this cowardly manner and this “yes” vote proves I am not alone.
I have no desire to live in a community that is status quo, but rather a town which is not afraid to be progressive and make sensible, long-term investments. This vote tells me I’m in the right place. Thank you, Scotch Plains.
David Bello Scotch Plains
I am writing this letter to thank the residents of Scotch Plains for the recent “yes” vote approving the “Open Space” referendum.
The people in my family have been proud members of this outstanding community since 1951. I was raised and educated in Scotch Plains and have always hoped to be able to raise my own family here as well.
I currently live on the south side of town. The passage of this referendum has much more meaning than parks and recreation. It signals that Scotch Plains is still committed to building a quality community. When I learned of this proposal in the early spring of this year, I attended a meeting and was encouraged to see such a proactive and progressive proposal by my town.
In these times of rising violence in our society, I view this proposal as an additional opportunity to provide positive options and activities for our youth, although many more community members will benefit as well. I do not believe
More Letters On Page 5
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)