MontClairVoyant: Black Lives Matter in a Montclair That Cares

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
What a weekend in our town! Two impressive rallies/marches protested devastating police violence against black citizens such as George Floyd and drew attention to other forms of racism everywhere — including Montclair. Can any past June 6 or 7 event compare?

Sincerely,
Look Back in Anger

The June 7, 421, wedding of Emperor Theodosius II and Aelia Eudocia nearly 1,600 years ago was much less important — not even making The New York Times’ “Vows” section.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Let’s first discuss the June 7, 2020, action organized by Montclair High students and attended by more than 4,000 people! How impressive was THAT turnout?

Sincerely,
Plethora of Protesters

VERY impressive, as were the signs saying “Black Lives Matter” as well as “Stop Police Brutality,” “Racism Is a Virus,” and “No Justice, No Peace.” Trump’s mottos are “Start Police Brutality,” “Racism Is a Virtue,” and “No Justice…Is Better Than Brett Kavanaugh.”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
What about that huge crowd segmenting into two marches — one going north and the other south from the high school area?

Sincerely,
Opposites Attractive

Brilliant idea. It created a Buzz on Bellevue Avenue and a Bullock when passing Washington Street.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
The day before, more than 1,000 people participated in June 6’s antiracism rally/march. What was one highlight of that great event organized by Abraham Dickerson and others?

Sincerely,
We Day on D-Day

Remarks by Montclair’s Lawrence Hamm, the U.S. Senate candidate trying to unseat Cory Booker in New Jersey’s primary July 7 — which will take place exactly a month after Theodosius and Aelia’s 1,599th wedding anniversary. The spark is gone for that 5th-century couple.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Who do you favor in the contest between the progressive Hamm and mostly centrist Booker?

Sincerely,
Varied Views to Choose

Hamm. He’s a longtime civil-rights activist, among other things, and supports Medicare for All — especially needed after the pandemic robbed many millions of their jobs and job-tied health insurance. That’s “Awful Awful” — as in the huge milkshake at the old Bond’s on Valley Road.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
What have you got against Booker?

Sincerely,
CV of CB

He’s okay in some ways, but is too aligned with New Jersey’s problematic Democratic establishment — and has supported charter schools (which siphon money from public schools) and Big Pharma. Better to back Big Parma, because I like large portions of Italian food.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Many police departments in the U.S. should have reduced funding, less military equipment, and much better antiracism and de-escalation training. There also needs to be major jail time for officers who needlessly assault or kill citizens, and a comprehensive national database so bad cops who are fired don’t get rehired as cops elsewhere. Comment?

Sincerely,
Those-in-Blue Blues

Can’t disagree with any of that. And while Montclair’s police department is better than many, it should share in local budget cuts if decreases in state aid and taxes collected unfortunately cause belt-tightening in these pandemic times. (Drinking “Awful Awful” shakes required belt-loosening.)

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
In other news, a number of prominent Montclair residents have signed a letter urging that Martin Schwartz be kept on our town’s Planning Board after the new Township Council is seated July 1. Your thoughts?

Sincerely,
Missive Moment

He’s very knowledgeable about planning issues, occasionally takes major developers to task, and is thankfully more ambivalent about upscale overbuilding than some board members. But… (I’ll continue after reading Edgar Allan Poe’s “MS Found in a Bottle,” which, despite the initials, is not about Martin Schwartz.)

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Go on…

Sincerely,
Kate and Nate Wait

Schwartz unfortunately supported the too-big “arts district” currently being constructed, and abstained rather than voted no on the deeply flawed/history-harming Lackawanna Plaza redo. Also, a very wealthy owner of upscale properties is among the letter signees. Perhaps, to reference Poe again, the letter wasn’t purloined in time.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Let’s end on a somewhat lighter note. If pools open in Montclair and elsewhere in Jersey starting June 22, only half capacity is allowed. What does that mean?

Sincerely,
Water Rationing

It means only 50 percent of Edgemont Park’s geese will be allowed in the park’s pond at any one time, and they must observe social-distancing rules by staying six quacks apart.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Don’t ducks quack and geese honk?

Sincerely,
The Sound of Silence (Not!)

Actually, geese are very patient when driving cars. None of them who were behind the wheel during the June 6-7 weekend honked at Montclair demonstrators, except to indicate their approval.

 

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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