A Good Citizen

As a citizen of the United States, the state of New Jersey, Bergen County and the township of Mahwah, I have certain rights, privileges and responsibilities. One of my major responsibilities is to be a good citizen, respecting my fellow citizens and respecting and obeying the laws of the country, the state, the county and the town where I live.

A good citizen makes contributions to the country, the state, the county and the township which is used to maintain and improve the general welfare for myself, my family and my fellow citizens in the community. A good citizen’s most direct contribution is in the form of taxes that citizens pay – especially to the local government where a citizen lives – in my case, the township of Mahwah.

A good citizen respects and obeys the town laws and ordinances that have been enacted to protect me and my family and my fellow citizens. For example, if I want to renovate my home, I need to pay for and obtain the necessary permits prior to construction and to have inspections performed to ensure compliance with township building codes.

Another major responsibility is to respect my neighbors and their rights and privileges as citizens of the country, state, county and town. As a good citizen, I should not do anything that would harm or infringe upon the rights of my fellow citizens.

A good citizen takes the roles and responsibilities of good citizenship very seriously and constantly strives to meet and exceed their own expectations and the expectations of their fellow citizens.

Regarding the current environment where an eruv is being constructed in Mahwah, Montvale and Upper Saddle River, I believe that at the heart of the eruv controversy is the issue of being a good citizen and, more importantly, it is an issue of respecting all fellow citizens.

A good citizen does not cross over state, county and township boundaries and erect a self-imposed religious boundary on the private property of the Orange & Rockland utility company.

A good citizen does not erect the eruv without first asking permission from the township officials in Montvale, Upper Saddle River and Mahwah.

A good citizen does not reject any discussion with the township officials and defiantly states that the eruv will not be taken down.

A good citizen has a dialogue with township officials who represent the town’s population regarding any matter that would positively or negatively affect the town in any way.

A good citizen does not sue a township when the town tries to enforce the laws and ordinances of their own town when the litigation is based upon their own self-imposed religious laws.

A good citizen does not cross state, county and town boundaries and utilize parks and playgrounds without making a contribution to the cost and maintenance of those recreational facilities.

A good citizen does not fight with the town’s elected representatives but works with the town to resolve differences.

I am sadly disappointed that some residents of Rockland County have decided to invade my state, county and town. They have crossed state, county and township boundaries for their own benefit – with no benefit to my fellow Mahwah residents.

They have not sought any dialogue with my elected officials. Instead, they dismiss our concerns with a condescending attitude.

By erecting this eruv, they have demonstrated total disrespect of the citizens of the affected towns. I believe that the residents of Mahwah are proud of their town and have worked hard to make Mahwah a desirable place to live. I believe that the Mahwah residents do not want to be disrespected by any group.

To be very clear, I believe that the residents of Mahwah openly accept and embrace members of all religions and I am in complete agreement with Mayor Bill Laforet’s recent statement regarding the township of Mahwah and especially it’s openness to all religious communities.

I do not believe that the eruv is a religious issue – that is a distraction.
I believe that the eruv is a private property issue and an issue of good citizenship and respecting the laws and township ordinances.

As a resident of Mahwah for the past 37 years, I am offended that there are people from another state who are not meeting the standards of good citizenship and are showing total disrespect for our town and its citizens and are creating this unnecessary problem for the citizens of Montvale, Upper Saddle River and the Township of Mahwah.

We should all be good citizens and make contributions to our town’s general welfare.
We should be respectful of one another in our community.
We should expect the same level of respect from our fellow citizens.

Respectively submitted:

John Fesen

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