promoted by Rosi We are at a critical moment in the struggle for equal opportunity in New Jersey. Thanks to a 2015 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling designed to break through 16 years of Trenton gridlock, hundreds of towns across… Read more
From David Samson’s call log, after hours on the first day of the Bridgegate lane closures.
David Samson, as a former NJ Attorney General was once the chief law enforcement officer in the state. And at nearly 75 is a trusted elder in Christie’s innermost circle. Close enough, that Christie brought Samson to celebrate with him when he was installed as RGA chair in Arizona last year.
I love everyone in my family, which believe me spans the full spectrum of political understanding and knowledge. And I know that to some of them my politics is a challenge, as theirs can challenge me.
So it is that I’ve been thinking all week of a brief incident with a young adult cousin – one who hoped to join the military – a good and fine young man who nonetheless is deeply suspicious of people and cultures not his own. Three years ago, driving in NYC, we stopped to let a man cross the street – a Sikh man in a turban. “Terrorist,” said my young cousin as he pointed out the window and pantomimed firing a gun. This wasn’t a joke. To him, a great number of people in a span of cultures register as Muslim to him, and Muslims are terrorists, to be eradicated at any cost. To him, they all carry responsibility for September 11th (his worldview doesn’t recognize domestic terrorism, the Tim McVeighs of America, or maybe the Wade Michael Pages, who claim the same religion he does himself).
I wish I had known this week that people were gathering Tuesday at Sikh Temple Gurudwara in Bridgewater – more than 200 people of all faiths – to remember those killed, and to show their support for the families in mourning.
I am not religious – at all – but I do feel the need to think more deeply about the misconceptions of that young cousin I love so much, and to atone in some way for my own misconceptions of people, misconceptions that I rarely if ever acknowledge.
People in Sikh communities across the country gathered to remember Sunday morning, when 40-year-old Christian extremist and white supremicist Wade Michael Page walked into a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and opened fire. He killed 6 people, including a police officer attending to the wounded, then shot himself in the head in the firefight. Page is an Army veteran 1992-98. More than 700 incidents against Sikh people or communities have been reported since 9/11/2001.
Among those gathering at Temple Gurudwara Tuesday was my old boss, Rep. Rush Holt, an advocate of sane gun laws, his head covered as a sign of respect to the community, speaking about the debt we owe the families to do something to prevent this happening again. Bridgewater Township Mayor Dan Hayes, Police Chief Richard Borden and members of the police department also attended. Star-Ledger’s Adya Beasley files this video report:
As usual, they’re both during the daytime, when most people with typical work schedules cannot attend. But Christie has been using his (non-Romney) public appearances recently to talk up the plans he has to remake public education in 2012. So it strikes me that some teachers may be able to get to Voorhees or Bridgewater, and hopefully some parents and community members (though the afternoon scheduling doesn’t make it easy). If you get there, we would love to know if you were able to ask Christie anything about his plans for New Jersey’s public schools – some of which have a highly questionable foundation (want to brush up on just how questionable?).
Details of Gov. Christie’s “Town Hall” on Wednesday: He’ll be at theTed Blum 4-H Center on Milltown Road. The event is open to the public and begins 3pm (doors open 2:15pm). All residents and any members of the public are invited to attend, but space is limited. To reserve a seat, RSVP at the Bridgewater Township website.
Yesterday, more than 50 students rode their bikes to school, commuting in pairs and groups. After studying up on state biking laws — and carrying copies with them — the students legally tethered their bikes in conspicuous clusters around lamp posts, trees and other poles dotting the circular drive in front of the school.
The Principal’s objection seems to be over concern for student safety on the roads leading to the school’s massive campus, and that is a very legitimate issue.
However, what the school should do is use this dispute as an opportunity to work cooperatively with the Township and citizens by developing pedestrian and bike-friendly ways of getting kids to school. Rather than asking property taxpayers to provide expensive “courtesy” busing to students who live close to the school, the Board of Education and Township can tap some of New Jersey’s “Smart Growth” grants to develop paths and “safe walking” programs that use parents to take turns walking their entire neighborhood’s children to school.
Click here to see how Maryland is helping citizens take back their streets and have a real voice in how people can get around town.
Let’s hope that New Jersey’s newest school protest can draw nationwide attention to how lousy planning can lead to unhealthy neighborhoods and unhealthy kids.