Star-Ledger threw the masks too literally | Letters

I am writing to object to the photograph at the top of the front page of the March 4 Star-Ledger. This is a close-up of a discarded disposable surgical mask laying on a sidewalk, meant to illustrate “a new phase” of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Jersey.

My pandemic hobby has been cleaning up trash in my neighborhood. I walk around with a few empty grocery bags every day and fill them with a wide variety of discarded trash. Most trash is through no fault: papers and food containers spilling out of the top of the trash barrel. Some are seriously careless or negligent: candy wrappers, fast food bags, beverage containers, and smoking materials that sit in the gutter or get blown into the woods. But the most hideous trash of the pandemic era are discarded masks, crumpled in dust, soaked in mud, probably just tossed out the car window. I’m afraid to touch them.

The message of your photo is that with the pandemic easing, it may be okay to throw away your masks now. But please, please, the Star-Ledger should set an example of more responsible disposal.

Your photographer and editors may have chosen a mask tossed on top of a trash barrel in the park.

Dennis Mancl, Bridgewater

Pumping yourself would be a carjacker’s delight

So we have a war going on in Europe. We have reached a point in global warming where there is no turning back and our governments and businesses do not see the need to reduce pollution. COVID-19 restrictions are falling everywhere because we are simply fed up with COVID and restrictions.

Now, some members of the Assembly have decided it’s time we started pumping our own gas, removing the ban on self-service.

Life is pretty tough in New Jersey. We’ve got most of New York’s problems without the glamour, cachet and diversity – but we got something better than any other state. We don’t have to pump our own gasoline. I moved here over 30 years ago from Michigan where we had to pump ourselves.

At least once a month I read an article in the paper or hear on the news that a poor woman from another state walked into a gas station to pay for the gas she had just pumped – and that someone stole his car, sometimes with a sleeping child in the back seat.

Since I had a small child at some point, I found this very scary. I read the other day that carjacking has become an epidemic in East Coast cities. My child has grown up, but I am now an elderly person with arthritis who is afraid of being mugged when she gets out of her car to pay.

Wise up, Assembly sponsors of A-3105. We have enough trouble without you giving us more trouble. Thank goodness our governor did not indicate that he would support this.

Marlene Czarnowski, Township of Monroe

Call it the pro-corruption bill

Talk about red flags. The article in the March 2 Star-Ledger, “2 counties tried to circumvent NJ public auction laws. Now the legislature can make it legal,” is a classic.

If S-1714, sponsored by State Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, has no name, allow me to suggest “The Pro-Corruption Bill.”

The bill would allow counties to circumvent New Jersey’s local public contract law by claiming that certain projects fall under the category of “redevelopment.” According to the article, redevelopment projects are traditionally paid for by private developers while the projects to which this proposed law would apply are funded by public taxpayers’ money.

If the bill passes, county government officials would have more freedom to choose their preferred contractors, most likely those who have made major contributions to county politicians and/or their party. The article specifies that this is already the case for two projects that are being challenged in court. Lower courts have ruled that the management of these projects violated existing law. At this point, one case is before the state Supreme Court and the other will likely follow.

Do we really need a law that opens up the possibility of corruption? I do not believe that.

Sounds like a bad deal for New Jersey taxpayers.

Susan Waldman, Randolph

Let’s focus on the calamity in Europe

Among Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes, this one has special meaning today: “We may all have come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.

We will all suffer for years, directly or indirectly, from the actions of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Imitators from China, Sudan, Cuba and other nations who take hostages will be emboldened.

We need to temporarily put aside our micro-problems and focus on this major calamity in Ukraine and Europe. Contact your members of Congress and advise them to step in and help lead us down the path to the rapid destruction of the evil Russian dictator and his sycophants. Otherwise, probably sooner rather than later, our boat will also sink.

Arthur Fredman, Millburn

New promise to repeal Obamacare?

In the typically informative and engaging “Friendly Fire” discussion between political strategists Julie Roginsky and Michael DuHaime, a short paragraph stuck out like a thumb in the latest print edition.

Referencing the 2022 midterm elections, and replacing Obamacare, which the GOP had pledged to do without success, Republican DuHaime said:

“I will tell you this plan in 10 months after the Republicans take control of Congress. I promise.”

This is typical Trump language. If DuHaime has a plan – or is aware of a concrete proposal from a fellow Republican – shouldn’t citizens have the opportunity to evaluate it before voting in November?

This is why I will probably never vote for a Republican. I promise.

David Lieberfarb, Edison

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