MontClairVoyant: Hooray! Howe House Has Historical Hope

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Your reaction to Friends of the Howe House successfully bidding to buy the historic Claremont Avenue home in which freed slave James Howe lived nearly two centuries ago?

Sincerely,

A Bid for Abode

Wonderful news, and what an amazing effort by the Friends group (and other entities and individuals) to make it happen. Sealing the deal was an offer of $400,000 — with the down payment 20 percent of the comma in $400,000.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

You do strain for fact-free quips sometimes. As fundraising continues, the plan is to make the house an educational site about slavery and Montclair’s rich African-American history. Comment?

Sincerely,

Making the Past Last

Sounds great! Heck, the dwelling dates back to around 1780 — just a few years after famed African-American poet Phillis Wheatley studied creative writing at Montclair State University.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Um…MSU was founded in 1908. Speaking of education, your thoughts on Gov. Murphy’s teacher-shortage task force whose members include Montclair’s mayor?

Sincerely,

Trent from Trenton

Forming yet another task force to study and make recommendations about a major problem with obvious causes is almost as pointless as my pen that lost its nib after I dropped it.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

What are among the obvious ways to attract more teachers?

Sincerely,

Stay Classy

Pay them more for the difficult, important work they do. Give them the respect and autonomy they deserve for being in such an important profession. Reduce interference from self-important politicians — who would better spend their allegedly important time stopping me from overusing the word “important.”


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Given that Montclair’s mayor has a demanding full-time job in addition to being an elected municipal official, should he be spending time on a task force when portions of our town’s government have performed so poorly and dysfunctionally?

Sincerely,

Things-to-Do Brew

Perhaps Congress lengthened the day from 24 to 30 hours without me knowing it.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Meanwhile, the Township Council voted to prohibit the retail sales of cats and dogs that often come from awful breeding mills that treat those poor creatures horribly. Much better to adopt from shelters and such, right?

Sincerely,

Pet Smart

Right! Of course, this legislation is preemptive because retailers selling animals isn’t a problem in Montclair. Let’s hope some actual local problems will also be resolved soon, perhaps by December 32.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Yeah, such as renegotiating the fire deal that saw Glen Ridge fleece our town, and finalizing the ouster of the suspended township manager who was sued twice for workplace harassment of women, including women of color.

Sincerely,

Painful and Shameful

His alleged actions are such a stain on Montclair — and at least some of our town’s elected and appointed officials HAD to know what was going on. Ip! (Implausible deniability.)

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

The Township Council also voted — with no public input that evening, unfortunately — to have a politically connected company study the “culture and climate” of Montclair’s municipal workplace. Is that pretentious-sounding, money-wasting study as pointless as Gov. Murphy’s teacher-shortage task force?

Sincerely,

Yogurt Has Cultures

Yup. We know full well that some of Montclair’s municipal workplace “climate and culture” was awful and still has issues. One solution? Everyone elected or employed by Montclair simply needs to act like a Decent Upright Human. As in…DUH!

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

I see what you did with that acronym. But the Council declined, at least for now, to pay an also-politically connected Cedar Grove law firm that was apparently selected without “a fair and open procurement process” to study possible racial bias and nepotism in the Montclair fire department’s promotion exam. Was that sentence of mine too long?

Sincerely,

A. Turney-Atlaw

Sorry you’re in jail.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Any final remarks?

Sincerely,

As Today’s Column and 2022 End

Happy New Year to my readers! A timely thing for me to say given that January 1 and the aforementioned December 32 might be the same date.

 

 

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.

 

 

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.

2 COMMENTS

Comments are closed.