You probably know me as the Council Member who “nerds out” on stormwater policy, parking infrastructure, and rent stabilization law. But what really jazzes me more than anything, is protecting our planet and in particular, our creatures.
We don’t tend to think about the suburban New Jersey as a place to make policy and change to support eco-systems. But it turns out you can do a lot. As a passion project, I’ve been focusing some of my time this last year on exploring what’s possible and pushing an agenda with the help of some incredible allies. Learn more below about the specific Resolutions and Ordinances being proposed.
I believe Montclair can be a place where we sustain a perfect credit score, restore our local eco-system and develop model policies.
Montclair, New Jersey Named an Official Monarch City
Mostly due to the heroic and long-time work of environmental leaders in Montclair like Pat Kenschaft, Gray Russell, Suzanne Aptman, Ben Rich, Deb Ellis, Jose German, Norm Solomon, David Korfhage and many more who came before; and a little to do with some of the things my Council colleagues and I have done like dramatically curtailing the use of gas-powered leaf blowers and require 70% of new trees and plantings on public property be native to the region; Montclair has been able to help restore some of our native ecosystem for pollinators. These efforts have led to improved conditions for pollinators like butterflies, and Montclair being named as the first city in the tri-state area and only the second in New Jersey to be an official Monarch USA City!
We are so fortunate to have many people who are passionate about animal welfare in Montclair. In addition to the long-running Friends of Montclair Animal Shelter (FOMAS), two new organizations are now up and running. Click their logos to learn more and get involved.
Over the past few months I’ve been meeting with the Humane Society of New Jersey along with Annette Batson who leads the new group Humane Montclair and Karen Sacks who leads Partners in Animal Welfare (PAW). We decided to propose an initial batch of Ordinance and Resolutions for the Council to consider adopting. I approached long-time animal welfare advocate, Councilor Robin Schlager of the second ward, to be my co-sponsor. Together we’re discussing this with the Mayor, who is very supportive of this work, the Deputy Mayor, and our Council colleagues with hopes of introducing it all in September.
Ordinance to Prohibit the Retail Sale of Puppy Mill Dogs and Cats in Pet Stores
People need to know that when they buy a dog or cat from a pet store, they are likely supporting an abusive puppy mill. Puppy mills are inhumane high-volume dog breeding facilities that churn out puppies for profit, ignore the needs of the pups and their mothers, and subject them to neglect, abuse, and illness. Indubitably, promoting animal abuse does not reflect Montclair’s community values. By passing this ordinance, Montclair will join the 134 New Jersey municipalities that have already passed similar legislation.
Resolution Opposing Trade in Fur Products in Montclair
Discouraging the trade in fur products in Montclair will increase community awareness of animal welfare, bolster the demand for sustainable and innovative alternatives, and foster a more humane environment. The fur trade is unnecessarily harmful to animals, public health, and the environment, especially considering the vast number of alternatives to fur. Animals slaughtered for their fur suffer tremendously. In addition, COVID-19 infections have been confirmed at fur farms in the U.S. and have been linked to animals most commonly farmed for their fur. The fur production process is also energy intensive and causes air and water pollution. This resolution would give Montclair the opportunity to be a leader on fur sales resolutions as no New Jersey municipalities have passed resolutions discouraging the trade in fur products.
Resolution Supporting Passage of Confinement Bill, A1970/S1298
A1970/S1298 would ban the use of gestation and veal crates, and, thus, allow mother pigs and baby calves enough space to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. Nearly identical bills to outlaw gestation crates passed with overwhelming bipartisan legislative support in prior years in New Jersey. Ten U.S. states, Canada and the European Union have outlawed them. Similarly, nine U.S. states have banned veal crates. The passage of this resolution would urge the legislature to support A1970/S1298, legislation which would ban the cruel confinement of mother pigs and baby calves. Furthermore, this resolution would help promote community awareness of animal welfare in Montclair and enhance the Township’s humane reputation.
Resolution Opposing the indiscriminate Killing of Wildlife in the form of Wildlife Killing Contests
Wildlife killing contests are organized events, unmonitored by the Division of Fish & Wildlife, in which participants compete to kill the most, the heaviest, or even the smallest foxes, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels, and other animals within a certain timeframe for entertainment, prizes, cash, or other inducements. These contests, organized merely for sport and attended by adults and children alike, are simply barbaric and brutal and teach children that indiscriminate killing of animals is not only acceptable but sanctioned. The resolution supports changes to New Jersey statute or regulations to ban any and all future killing contests that target furbearer and unprotected mammal species.
Backyard Chicken Ordinance
The purpose of this ordinance is to modernize Chapter 82 of the code of the Township of Montclair to include requirements consistent with humane standards of care for the construction, location and maintenance of sheds, coops, pens and other structures in which animals or fowl are kept or housed. This includes minimum requirements for health and sanitation. The current ordinance, Montclair E-Code 360 General Code Section II, Chapter 8 Article IV – Animal Raising or Breeding [Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Montclair 4-15-1980 by Ord. No. 80-12 as Art. XIV of Ch. 137 of the 1979 Code] is out of date and sparse in details.
I’ll keep everyone updated via emails and social media posts. Connect below and forward this to others who might be interested in my updates. Look for another on this week’s Council business, shortly.
Thanks for reading and have a great week.