Spending open space money on recreation

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

    To the editor: On Election Day the voters will decide if the money already set aside for open space be partly available for recreation land. I do not feel the argument that these monies be kept exclusively for open space is valid. The fact that two thirds of West Milford land has always been held by some type of government agency and forever not available for development coupled with the Highlands Act precludes development of any substance. The real issue is should the taxpayers of West Milford already straddled with higher taxes than most surrounding towns be asked to fund (there will be additional costs beyond the purchase of lands plus the elimination of ratables) more recreation when at least 60 percent of our taxes already spent on children. Actually, the answer is yes. Herbert Hoover once said “children are our most valuable natural resource.” I wholeheartedly agree, but I cringe when I hear those words today. Hoover is responsible for saving more children from death and starvation than anyone in recorded history. He gave up a fortune to rescue the lives of children caught up in World War I and later during and after World War II. He and his Hoover men, as they were called, worked day and night without any compensation or consideration for the sake of these children. Behind his words were substance and a great love for children. Unfortunately today his words are echoed merely by the self serving. They are the PTA parents who don’t care if we have poor teachers so long as their child gets the best teachers, the school administrator who gives lip service to accountability and the teacher who is only interested in double salary increases and how quickly they can leave for the day. West Milford has had its share of the later, but thankfully we also have some of the former. We have a group of folks lead by Joe Smolinski and Carmen Scangarella who want to build ball fields in West Milford. They are willing to give of their time, money and machines to get those ball fields built, but they need the land. Surely if we are going to invest in our children, I can not think of a better return on our money. It is an investment backed by a true dedication to children. Hoover also said “Words without actions are the assassins of idealism.” It is refreshing to see parents committed with their own personal actions. They deserve our support. John Aiello West Milford