Majority of Edison police are good cops, reader says

The police in Edison have in the past, had some unfavorable publicity. I have had some really good encounters with the police in this town. I have found them to be courteous and kind.

I think most of the citizens of Edison have a great deal of respect for them, but this doesn’t make the news.

I had a problem a few months ago and had to call them. A young policewoman came to my house and could not have been more helpful.

This past week, when I was taking my mom home from the doctor, I noticed a young policeman stop his car on the side of the road. I wondered why, until I saw that he was picking up everyone’s garbage cans that had blown into the street. He placed them all far enough back on the curb on their sides so that the residents would not find them in the street when they came home.

The ordinary things that our policemen do everyday most times go unnoticed. Maybe, the next time we see them going out of their way for us, we should stop and say thanks.

Loretta Lord


Rabbi: Congregation Beth El in good shape

A number of local synagogues because of their size and locations have been forced to merge with larger synagogues. My congregation, Congregation Beth El, of Edison, continues to survive because of the dedication of our membership. For a small congregation like ours, we have a very large percentage of members attending our services.

Years ago rumors were circulated that our building was in need of a tremendous amount of repairs. Ironically, the building had just undergone a major renovation including new landscaping and the re-facing of the entire building. The synagogue has a beautiful modern lobby and we have recently put on a new roof and redone our electrical system. This does not sound like a building in ill repair.

The latest rumor is that we are financially destitute. This is not true. Why do other congregations have to belittle us so that congregations will not consider merging with us? I hope that members leaving other synagogues will consider joining us. We are small but warm and welcoming.

Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg


Edison voters don’t owe the school board a nickel

For years, Edison residents have heard the same drivel. Case in point: Ms. Sarafconn’s recent letter to the editor where she proudly offers Edison residents the “opportunity to approve a school budget that will enable the schools to go forward with necessary improvements and updates.”

Frankly, I am tired of the “gimme gimme gimme more money” game played by the Edison Board of Education, and their advocates in the Edison School Budget and Bond Information Committee.

The truth is that the board and their apologists are still seeing red from the overwhelming “no” vote to a BOE bond proposal in late September. Sarafconn wrote in a local newspaper back then asking for support for “the children” too.

The emotional blackmail did not work back then. And it will not work now or possibly ever again. Contrary to her assertion that we have no control over rising taxes, we do. Perhaps her wishful thinking is driven by the fact that she is a BOE employee. Oh wait – she didn’t mention that, did she?

And now for my favorite part. A failed budget will only result in a one-tax-point reduction by the council, and that only saves each of us $17 a year. So Sarafconn ponders: “What better use do you have for $17? Pizza and a bottle of soda, two tickets to the movies, a magazine subscription?”

Yes, a pizza pie and a bottle of soda would probably cost about $17. However, it would serve Sarafconn and her committee well to know that perhaps an Edison family could use that extra $17 to buy an extra bag of diapers or more food at their local supermarket.

You see, after residents subsidize health premiums of $17,000 per school employee per year, and pay the town’s ever-escalating taxes and sewer charges, there isn’t much left in the lard bucket.

Although I do not know Ms. Sarafconn, her fundamental scorn for a few saved bucks smacks of elitism. And that is where the BOE and their apologists lose all of our votes. They have forgotten what it is like to struggle to put food on the table. They are all becoming fat, lazy, myopic and dangerously condescending.

In closing, I ask Ms. Sarafconn and the BOE apologists to provide the residents of Edison with one more calculation: Should Ms. Carol Toth, the superintendent of Edison Schools, work through the entirety of her newly re-negotiated contract (from 2004 until 2010) she will have drawn down over $850,000 in just salary from the township. And her two assistant superintendents will have drawn down approximately $720,000 each. How much do these executive salaries cost Edison residents a year? Perhaps enough for an extra cheeseburger at a local diner?

Edison, I say vote no on April 18. Keep your $17, and enjoy your pizza and soda. I prefer the stuffed crust myself.

Vik Advani


Students deserve to have school budget passed

On March 30, the first- and second-graders at Metuchen’s Campbell Elementary School put on a show that should have put to rest any doubts about how the borough’s school tax dollars are being spent. Is the future of the 6- and 7-year-olds in that school gym worth the thousands of dollars my husband and I will pay in school taxes next year? You bet.

As the kids sang American folk song classics, it wasn’t so much their fine pitch, deft gestures, clearly articulated lyrics, or unrepressed enthusiasm that moved me. It was the opportunity that showed in their faces.

On that stage, you couldn’t tell which child had immigrated from a war-torn Mideast country, who had been born into eastern European poverty, who was born into privilege, who has learning disabilities, or who is blessed with intellectual gifts or athletic prowess. They all performed with equal enthusiasm and equal promise as they begin their journeys in our public schools.

If the week of March 27 is any guide, Metuchen educators are spending our taxpayers’ dollars wisely.

On March 29 at the Edgar Middle School gym, nearly 100 parochial and public school parents learned ways to keep their kids safe from Internet predators and learned that Internet safety will be one of the middle school’s goals for the 2006-2007 school year. On March 30, the high school kicked off “Bye, Bye Birdie” with what seemed like more than 100 students involved in the musical production.

And that was only one week. Metuchen schools have much to be proud of, including record SAT scores in the last two years, championship teams, and the Greater Middlesex County Divisional Sportsmanship award for this year.

All of that is in the face of escalating costs mandated by the state and federal governments, and rising energy, transportation, and utility costs over which the district has little control.

Given the pittance the state throws to Metuchen these days (5.5 percent of the proposed budget) despite the state’s ever-growing demands, it’s a wonder our educators manage to do what they do under the tight budget constraints they face.

Voters again are fortunate to have four excellent candidates running for three seats on the Metuchen Board of Education. Incumbents Fran Brennan and Terry Kohl, and newcomers Eileen Frowenfeld and Brenda Redshaw all have proved their mettle with years of volunteer service to the schools. Become an informed voter, and choose the three of your choice.

Please vote for the school budget on April 18. Remember, polls don’t open until 2 p.m., and close at 9 p.m. Urge your voting friends to come show their support for those first- and second-graders. After all, they’re our future.

Anne Newman