MontClairVoyant: Cease in Police Gives March 4’s BOE Meeting More Peace

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
You attended the Board of Education meeting last night, March 4. Was there an on-duty police officer — aka, an armed “man in blue” — in the room again?

Sincerely,
Edgar Allan Podium

No, thank goodness — a smart move by the BOE given that there were never threats at ANY meeting to warrant a police presence. I did see blue on the cover of Dr. Seuss’ “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,” but that was years ago.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Yet in a February 28 statement, the BOE defended having a policeman at its February 19 meeting. Did his presence decrease tension as black parents have been prominent in discussing racism during public-comment time at meetings?

Sincerely,
Gathering, Blue

Actually, the police presence at George Inness Annex increased tension on the 19th. Sure, Inness himself didn’t feel more anxious that evening, but you have to remember that the Montclair painter died in 1894.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Much less tension March 4 without a police presence. The BOE also said in its aforementioned statement that it “stands by the public apology” made earlier this year by Interim Superintendent Nathan Parker for racially controversial remarks last fall. But wasn’t that apology a sorry-I-was-misunderstood sort of thing?

Sincerely,
Mia Culpa

Okay, here’s the history of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”: First recorded by Nina Simone, the song became a rock hit for The Animals and a dance hit for Santa Esmeralda. So, perhaps the Annex ceiling needs a disco ball…

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Ooh, glittery! The BOE also said in its February 28 statement that it decries racism and is trying to combat it. Anyway, back to the March 4 meeting. Anything else to say about it?

Sincerely,
Jo March

I saw legitimate anger from frustrated parents about equity and other recent or longstanding issues, and I saw Dr. Parker trying to be conciliatory. I did not see “The Cat in the Hat,” which also has blue on its cover.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Stop this weird Dr. Seuss obsession. So, what might help the ill feelings we’re seeing play out at BOE meetings? A “Restorative Justice”-like intervention, as a parent suggested during March 4’s public-comment time?

Sincerely,
Horton Hears Keith Moon

Not a bad idea. And BOE President Eve Robinson said there are about 50 applicants for the (non-interim) superintendent job — a reminder that there could be a fresh start when someone’s chosen. It also helps that “Green Eggs and Ham” wasn’t titled “Blue Eggs and Ham.”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Among the other matters the BOE discussed was the plan to do masonry work and other needed fixes on Montclair’s school buildings, all but one of which are quite old. Excellent idea?

Sincerely,
Bricky Don’t Lose That Number

Of course. To quote another Dr. Seuss title, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”…if you fall through unrepaired stairs.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Not funny. Meanwhile, our school district will reportedly receive only a $288,381 increase in state aid for its 2020-21 budget despite a state funding formula that says it should get quite a bit more. Isn’t the Murphy administration supposed to be more a friend of public education than the Christie administration was?

Sincerely,
Pay Pal Fail

Perhaps the current administration friended “bubble incrustation” rather than “public education.” Facebook and Autocorrect can be a tough combination.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Getting back to the bias topic: From your vantage point as a writer and parent of a Montclair student of color, is there racism in our school system and the town as a whole?

Sincerely,
Bias Isn’t Pious

Of course, but I think less than in most suburbs, and at least many people in Montclair grapple with it. I would add that every day is Super Tuesday in Montclair if you dine weekly at restaurants but never Wednesday through Monday.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
That non sequitur was perhaps the dumbest thing you’ve ever written, and that’s saying something. What did you think of the actual Super Tuesday on March 3?

Sincerely,
For Whom the Bell Polls

The media and Democratic power brokers certainly went all out to back deeply flawed candidate Joe Biden despite tons of grassroots enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren deserved more votes than she received. As for Amy Klobuchar’s Midwest shtick, does that former candidate really live near Watchung and Upper Mountain?

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Her shtick involves Midwest USA, you idiot, not Midwest Montclair! Two other flawed former candidates, Michael Bloomberg and Cory Booker, dropped out after being endorsed by 07043’s congresswoman Mikie Sherrill. Thoughts about those losing bets of hers?

Sincerely,
Gamble On

I’m guessing no one wants Rep. Sherrill with them in a casino.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
In other news, Montclair Brewery has named an ale after longtime resident Larry Doby, the late baseball star who was the American League’s first black player. There’s a welcome petition to rename Nishuane Park’s baseball field after him, but should he be honored in other ways, too?

Sincerely,
Jack E. Robinson

Yes! Perhaps name an entire park after him? A street? Don’t be fooled by the “25” signs on some local roads; that’s the speed limit, not a celebration of Doby’s 25 home runs in 1950. Twenty-five more than Dr. Seuss hit…

 

Dave Astor, author, is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.

 

 

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