21 December 2007


I like to read. Most of the time I have at least two books going. I just finished the phenomenal Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar - Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes, and I have just started Paul Theroux's China travelogue Riding the Iron Rooster.

But the majority of my reading is devoted to the newspapers. I receive three daily papers and the weekly Hillsborough Beacon. I invariably turn to the editorial page first to get a feel for what's on the minds of the editors and letter writers.

Thursday's Hillsborough Beacon contained four important letters to the editor. I am going to use this space to briefly comment on each one.

  1. Farm sale helps land preservation - by Sam Conard, Agricultural Advisory Committee. This letter talks about the sale by the township of two farm properties on Mill Lane that were acquired as open space. Mr. Conard goes on to say that the properties are deed restricted to remain as farms, and that it was always Hillsborough's intention to put these properties into the hands of private owners. What this letter doesn't say, although it is implied, is that there are many ways to preserve open space - purchasing property outright, buying development rights, having farms enter into the Farmland Preservation Program - as well as buying properties for later sale. Hillsborough does and should use all of these methods to preserve the character of the township.

  2. Vaccines should be free of thimerisol - Peter J. Biondi, Assemblyman, 16th Legislative District. Assemblyman Biondi's letter is about a pending state mandated plan to require preschool age children to receive flu shots. Almost all of the flu vaccine currently produced contains the mercury laden preservative thimerosal. Thimerosal has been linked to an increased diagnosis of autism in children. Some experts will try to tell you that studies have found no link between autism and childhood vaccines. The truth is that there is a statistical link - scientists just haven't been able to find the medical link between the two - at least not yet. Until they do, this issue is really about money. Thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines save the flu shot. Currently it is more costly to produce a thimerosal free product, but with state mandated vaccinations for all children, it seems to me that the drug companies could easily make up lost revenue in the sheer volume of vaccine that will be sold. Not to mention that New Jersey is the first state to propose such a vaccination program - and when other states do the same this will surely be a windfall for the drug companies. I agree with the Assemblyman that New Jersey should err on the side of caution, and demand a thimerosal free vaccine for our children.

  3. Salary debate misses real problem - by Amadeo D'Adamo Jr., Professor Emeritus of Biology, CUNY. Mr. D'Adamo writes about teacher salaries and administrative costs of our school district. This is a letter that I cannot comment on. But I will tell you that the Hillsborough Township Board of Education will be negotiating a new contract with the teachers in 2008. I know the Courier News and the Hillsborough Beacon will be covering this story - so look there for news!

  4. Commission presented truthful information - Glenn van Lier, Commissioner, Hillsborough Charter Study Commission. This important letter needs its own blog entry. I think I'll hold off until tomorrow to delve into old CSC business.

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