Through the haze plaguing New Jersey this past week, the future of this warming world might seem bleak. But when the smoke clears, it would be a huge mistake to resume activities as normal and accept the effects of climate change as inevitable.
Instead, we need to see the appalling air quality as an opportunity for New Jersey. The wildfires are incredibly tragic but, now, more than ever, the effects of climate change hang right in front of our faces, and everyone is talking about this. It means we can mobilize the public and politicians alike to take action while we still have time.
Luckily, the state has both an answer to this problem and the ability to address it. A legislative proposal, S-2978 and A-4658, unofficially dubbed the 100% Clean Energy Bill, would require that all of New Jersey’s electric energy generating facilities be zero-emissions ones by 2035. It’s certainly within our ability to do so; the Atlantic coast region has the capacity to power its electricity usage four times over with offshore wind alone.
Now, the public must speak up for strong climate policy, and politicians must step up and support these bills to show that our health and future are a priority.
Erin Bachmeier, New Brunswick
Transition to clean and green
As pointed out in the Star-Ledger’s cogent editorial, “Choking on climate denial,” climate change will have devastating effects on all of us. Undeniably, the world is becoming hotter and action is urgently needed.
A nonprofit environmental organization for which I volunteer, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, advocates for clean energy projects such as wind and solar and for expansion of the infrastructure needed to transmit electricity from clean energy sources to communities.
Starting this weekend, more than 800 Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers from around the country will lobby their members of Congress in Washington for action against climate change. Members of the Morristown Citizens’ Climate Lobby group are looking forward to meeting with U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-11th Dist.
This summer, please urge your elected officials to support a rapid transition to clean energy to reduce the heat-trapping emissions that contribute to disasters such as wildfires.
Linda DeLap, Morristown Citizens’ Climate Lobby group leader, Morris Plains
Keep your religion out of our schools
This is in reply to the recent article “Tempers flare over book banning during N.J. school board meeting.”
Of course tempers flared at the Hamilton (Mercer County) Township school board meeting. If they didn’t, that would be something to truly worry about. What’s happening here, like in so many other towns, is that small groups of very loud people have decided to wage battles over public school education.
These folks are mostly driven by partisan political intentions or a desire to force their personal religious views on everyone, starting with our schoolchildren. One thing that we all know is that nobody should want partisan politics or any church group to take over public schools and try to dictate how or what gets taught; just good, quality education in the time-honored standard of our American public schools.
When political opportunists or religious fanatics attack our schools, we get angry and we fight back. These attackers lie and distort, they toss around words like, “groomers,” “pedophiles,” “indoctrination,” “deviant behavior ” and more. All hateful and all false when applied to school personnel who select books and materials,
Hamilton takes pride in our schools and the professionals who teach and administer them. Of course, our tempers flared. Leave our schools and our school children alone, and keep them out of twisted schemes. Leave politics and religious views out of our schools.
Mark P. Van Wagner, Hamilton
She’s Taylor made for making money
N.J. Advance Media published a series of articles on Taylor Swift’s tour in Philadelphia and her three shows in MetLife Stadium. They reference parallel themed events at shopping and eating venues, and transportation issues.
But two economic statistics in Bobby Olivier’s show review caught my attention: “Cheapest seat available was about $950″ when the gates opened, and “70,000 people” filled the stadium — that’s multiplied by three shows.
Simple math says $1,000 multiplied by 70,000, multiplied by three, equals $210 million — taken in by official sites and resellers for tickets at MetLife.
And, how much did “merch” bring in? Food and drinks at other related events? Transit fares? Gas and parking? And, sales tax receipts to New Jersey, versus the cost to control crowds and traffic? What profits and costs get passed along the food chain from fan, to MetLife, to Swift?
I hope N.J. Advance Media assigns a reporter to evaluate the economic value to New Jersey business and services — and taxes generated — for this brief concert series by one artist. My guess, round numbers, is $350 million private spending; $10 million in state tax revenue.
This is impressive.
Herb Johnson, Ewing
Murphy should help N.J.’s senior citizens
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, has introduced a 50% property tax credit for all homeowners age 65 or older, regardless of income. Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has stated he would shut down the state before he would let that happen. Really?
What type of governor would be that petty as to deny senior citizens getting a fair share and hurt every citizen in New Jersey rather than negotiate a fair deal? I see a selfish man who only cares about what is good for Murphy, not the citizens or New Jersey.
Murphy said that New Jersey already has the senior property tax freeze and the ANCHOR benefit, which is not age-restricted. But there are income limits for these programs, and many don’t qualify.
The governor didn’t deny himself or his buddies when he used COVID-19 relief money to purchase eight gas-guzzling SUVs for administration officials. Nor did Murphy deny himself and his wife a luxurious renovation of Statehouse offices they use.
Retired New Jersey public employees retired have not received a cost of living adjustment in more than 10 years, but Murphy stated there is not enough money in the state budget to fund Coughlin’s plan fully. Really?
When will Murphy help the seniors? When will he help the dedicated state employees who worked over 30 years for peanuts because they loved what they did for the state?
Maybe it is time for Phil Murphy to move out of New Jersey.
Joyce Crea, Ewing
Stunning defense of Saudi actions from LIV golf pro
This concerns professional golfer Bryson Dechambean’s statements in the wake of the planned LIV and PGA golf tour merger, in the article “LIV golfer Bryson DeChambeau on Saudis’ ties to 9/11 and cold-blooded murder: ‘Nobody’s perfect.’ “
DeChambeau defected from the PGA to the Saudi-financed LIV, and reportedly received $125 million to do so. He says it’s been over 20 years since 9/11, and it’s time for grudge-holding Americans to forgive the Saudi Arabian government for what happened on that day and the Saudis’ involvement in the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Apparently, DeChambeau’s definition of “nobody’s perfect” is flying airliners into high-rise buildings and the Pentagon, and killing 3,000 people.
I wonder if he would feel the same if any of his loved ones were involved. Maybe so.
Steve Niforatos, Bluffton, S.C.
Apples to oranges, every barrel has rotten ones
I found the recent letter from Jim LaRegina and its headline, “Small corps of bad cops does a lot of damage” to be quite interesting —because it focuses on removing only bad police officers.
This headline would be equally applicable, if not more so, to most other professions. Instead of “bad cops” who use unjustified force, substitute biased news personalities, incompetent doctors, crooked politicians, greedy corporate leaders, etc. Just imagine how long this list could be.
Every profession has its share of bad individuals. If 5% of cops are “bad,” that percentage is not acceptable in any profession. The goal should be to have programs in place to reduce that number to zero for all professions.
Focusing on just police is shortsighted, but unfortunately it’s the popular thing to do.
Santi Condorelli, Verona
Curfew and guns: The same principle applies
“I understand that these new directives will affect many people who are not teens,” Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian said about closing beaches at 8 p.m., after some incidents of rowdinesss, “but it’s important that we stop this type of behavior now.”
If only the National Rifle Association realized: Gun control might affect many law-abiding citizens, but it’s important that we do our best to stop mass shootings.
Steve Lederman, Princeton
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com.
The Star-Ledger/NJ.com encourages submissions of opinion. Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow us on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and on Facebook at NJ.com Opinion. Get the latest news updates right in your inbox. Subscribe to NJ.com’s newsletters.