The Montclair resident is the organizing force behind next weekend’s “Rally for Freedom,” scheduled to take place on the steps of West Orange town hall on Sunday, 10/24 at 1 p.m. Cotter says that the reason for holding the rally in West Orange is because of its central location, and also to draw attention to the town’s 0 percent tax increase this year. Cotter wants to make a positive statement about West Orange’s fiscal responsibility and good management, and rally citizens from all over Baristaville and beyond.
While he insists that he’s not looking to “dis” Montclair by holding the rally elsewhere, Cotter explains that his own town’s ever-rising taxes are the force behind his pent up frustration. Besides, he thinks that people just don’t care enough in Montclair to show up. “There seems to be an apathy there,” he said, though he’s hoping that they’ll “wake up” and become members of his newly formed activist group, Citizens For Freedom.
Joining Cotter in speaking out about “the most important current issues facing our area and our country” will be congressional candidate Roland Straten and other concerned citizens. Cotter says there will be a contingent from the NJ Tea Party Coalition — which have endorsed the rally — and he’s expecting hundreds of people who are just as fed up with the government as he is. Here’s an excerpt from a statement Cotter submitted to the Tea Party’s blog site:
Our liberty, freedom & individual prosperity are under assault by elected officials who are supposed to be working towards our best interests. From the Federal level (ObamaCare, cap & trade) to local municipalities (i.e. the proposed 5.8% property tax increase in Montclair), government on every level is failing the American citizen. We need a change in leadership.
Cotter is hoping his fellow Montclair residents will snap out of their apathy and take action against the current local leadership. “The Montclair town council is not doing right by the people,” he said. “They can’t keep raising taxes — these increases are frightening and unsustainable.” Cotter wonders whether Montclair’s leadership has the backbone to make the difficult changes they need to make.
A registered Republican and owner of a small television production company, Cotter says the main point of the rally is to generally encourage activism, and give concerned citizens a voice. He hopes the event will remind everyone to vote. “There’s never been a more crucial time for people to get involved with government decisions, from the town hall level all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
“I’ve always been political, but the lack of responsibility and preparedness in the current Montclair government has inspired me to step up to the plate,” Cotter explained. Hearing the end-of-his-rope frustration in his voice reminded me of Peter Finch’s monologue from the movie Network, which urged the film’s citizens to stick their heads out the window and yell “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore.”
Figuratively sticking his own head out the window, Cotter has been reaching out to people throughout the surrounding towns, but he’d really like to hear from his Montclair neighbors. “We need to rally together now, while the council is thinking about the 2011 budget. We need to express our displeasure publicly in large numbers.”
It remains to be seen whether Cotter’s fellow citizens are as motivated as he is, but the aspiring politician might just have enough umph to make some changes all by himself.
Rally for Freedom
On the front steps of the West Orange Town Hall, 66 Main Street
Sunday, October 24, 2010 – 1 p.m.
Rain or Shine
For more information, write firstname.lastname@example.org