News from Nearby

Chatham Resident says Moms Appearing on Fox News Made Chatham 'A Global Target'

6710fe17324437ce9d26_1dd0147122ac3fba428b_Tango.JPG
Chatham Borough resident Tracey Tango stated that Chatham became a "Global Target" once Chatham moms spoke about curriculum on Fox News Credits: TAP Chatham
835355c7ec6302e82e2b_017ebc36741c14a63908_PHoffman.JPG
Chatham Borough Council member Peter Hoffman defended the first amendment rights of Chatham mothers who appeared on Fox News Credits: TAP Chatham
bc0572f54f8657e9a05e_30cbdeea296a5d9db308_LenResto.JPG
Chatham Borough Council member Len Resto authored the "Welcoming" Resolution passed by the council on Monday night Credits: TAP Chatham
6710fe17324437ce9d26_1dd0147122ac3fba428b_Tango.JPG

CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Borough resident Tracey Tango read a letter of thanks after the Borough of Chatham Council passed a "Welcoming" resolution on Monday night, but followed up with a counter-point to council member Peter Hoffman's statement, by asserting that two Chatham moms appearing on Fox News last month had made Chatham a "global target."

Chatham mothers Libby Hilsenrath and Nancy Gayer had appeared on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight on Feb. 20 to discuss the emphasis on Islam in a 7th grade "World Cultures and Geography" class. That prompted a request by residents, who signed a petition asking for a "Welcoming" resolution.

The resolution authored by council member Len Resto had passed by a unanimous voice vote before Hoffman, who voted for the resolution, made a public statement about the resolution. (Full videos of all three statements are included below).

Sign Up for E-News

"I initially found it a bit ironic that we were talking about considering a resolution that stated that Chatham values all viewpoints and opinions, when at the same time the citizens who raised concerns to the school board about an issue of import to them had their character repeatedly besmirched and denigrated, often with some abhorrent labels leveled at them, by many citizens of the town we are about to re-affirm as “welcoming,” " Hoffman said in part.

Tango read a letter thanking the board, which had been written by resident Colleen Markley, and then followed with her own response to Hoffman during the public portion of the meeting.

"I feel I need to address Mr. Hoffman," Tango said. "What you said tonight in your statement. Yes, we all have a right to question any board. Yes, we are all neighbors. And being the Girl Scout leader that I am, we teach girls to treat each other with kindness at all times. And I feel it doesn't hurt to tell adults sometimes the same. I heard about the two women going before the board of ed and didn't question it. Just as many of my neighbors and friends didn't think twice about it.

"However, once they appeared on Fox News, to my knowledge, the majority of the community of people at that time felt that them questioning the religion of Islam and saying to be taken out of our schools, basically, going on the television, put Chatham students, parents and residents as a target. Not just a target in Chatham, not just a target in New Jersey, or the United States, it put us as a global target. And if you do read through many of the comments made, if you have gotten a hold of any of those emails through to the middle school, to the board of ed, they came from members outside of Chatham, not just inside of Chatham."

Tracey Tango, Chatham Borough residents, responds to council member Peter Hoffman's remarks

Hoffman read his own statement on the resolution after it was unanimously passed the regular meting on Monday night. His statement reads as follows:

I’d like to commend Councilman Resto for drafting a resolution which sets the right tone and sends the right message regarding the reaffirmation of what I believe is already generally the case, that Chatham is a welcoming town.

That being said, I am generally not a fan of passing resolutions which engage in the practice “virtue-signaling,” resolutions designed to proclaim our own good character or moral rectitude on a particular issue. I’m usually not sure of what the purpose of such resolutions are other than to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. I think the way we treat each other in actions and deeds speaks much more forcefully than do resolutions which are forgotten about the day after they are passed.

However, I do support this resolution because it expressly affirms the right of our citizens to question those in authority, including this governing body, the school board, etc. , and to ask for transparency of policy makers in a civil way in an appropriate forum.

I initially found it a bit ironic that we were talking about considering a resolution that stated that Chatham values all viewpoints and opinions, when at the same time the citizens who raised concerns to the school board about an issue of import to them had their character repeatedly besmirched and denigrated, often with some abhorrent labels leveled at them, by many citizens of the town we are about to re-affirm as “welcoming.” So because of the way these women were treated,

I do in fact think we need to reaffirm their right, and everyone’s right, to engage in civil discourse without being accused of bigotry or having other base insults flung at them just because others may find the concerns they are expressing uncomfortable. It’s critical to democracy that people express concerns and debate policy in civil way and attempts to shut down that debate with what is essentially name- calling is counterproductive.

Peter Hoffman reads his public statement on the "Welcoming" Resolution, which he voted for

Len Resto read the resolution he authored into the record. The full text of the resolution follows

RESOLUTION REAFFIRMING CHATHAM BOROUGH’S WELCOMING NATURE AND BOTH ITS DIVERSITY AND TOLERANCE OF DIVERGENT VIEWS

WHEREAS, the core strength of the Borough of Chatham lies in its rich diversity, in the welcoming nature of its residents, in the respect and dignity with which we treat each other; and

WHEREAS, the residents of the Borough of Chatham have proven again and again that they value all of its citizens and recognize that many ethnicities and many faiths have come together in a rich mosaic to give the Borough its strength of character; and

WHEREAS, the Borough of Chatham recognizes that there is strength in diversity and inclusivity; and

WHEREAS, the Borough of Chatham realizes that only through education can we learn about each other and that education builds bridges that overcome barriers.

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Chatham that they and the residents of the Borough of Chatham respect the right of its citizens to express their views in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and shall not condone or tolerate any form of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religious creed, age, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, physical or mental disability or veteran status.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

New Jersey Youth Symphony Announces 2018 Summer Camps

February 20, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE—The New Jersey Youth Symphony announced today that it will hold two summer camps, Orchestral Camp from June 24 until July 7 and Junior Winds Camp from July 30 until August 3, at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence. Campers can take advantage of a 5% tuition discount by registering before the Early Registration deadline on June 1, 2018. For more information visit ...

Return Berkeley Heights Public Library's Books, etc.

Remember those book and DVDs and other materials borrowed from the Berkeley Heights Public Library before it closed? It's time to return them.

Staff will be at the Municipal Courtroom/Council Chambers at 29 Park Ave. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24 to accept them. Enter through the glass door, using the stairs by the Police Department.

For more information, email ...

2018 Gov. Livingston Highlander Softball Clinic Set for March 19

Come join and learn from the 2017 Union County Softball Champion Gov. Livingston coaches and varsity players on Monday, March 19, 2018 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Activities will include the following fastpitch softball skills:

Batting Techniques
Throwing Mechanics
Fielding
Base Running

Who: Children grades 1-7 of any skill level or ability

Where: Gov. Livingston High School, 175 ...

Mike Zuko at Salem Roadhouse Cafe

Raised on a diet of The Beatles, Buddy Holly and The Doors, Michael Zuko was exposed first hand to the thrilling music of the legendary 70s NYC club scene. Zuko and the band show a skilled singer-songwriter who is backed by solid musical talent, bringing original, fresh and intelligent lyrics to the stage. A true entertainer, Mike engages the audience fully and leaves them wanting more. Mike and ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...

We Need More Women Like Colleen Mahr in Municipal, County and State Government

Dear Editor:

I’m proud to support Colleen Mahr for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee  (UCDC) and am encouraging my Scotch Plains peers to join me.

I was a first time candidate wanting to make a difference in my hometown of Scotch Plains, when Mayor Mahr of neighboring Fanwood stepped in to help me campaign and win my election to be Councilwoman three years ago.

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, February 20

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, February 21

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, February 21, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

The Underground Railroad Documentary

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, February 22

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Thu, February 22, 6:00 PM

UCEDC, Cranford

Next Level Business Planning

Business & Finance

Fri, February 23

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Invest Like a Tortoise -- Not Like a Hare

Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a perfect metaphor for the way people go about investing their money. As you recall in the fable, the hare brags about his ability to beat the tortoise and is overly confident about winning. In the investment world, the hare is someone who thinks he or she is great at selecting “winners” and avoiding “losers.” The ...