POSTED: 06/13/18, 4:39 PM EDT | UPDATED:
1 DAY AGO
One story begging
for airspace regarding the 2018 Trenton election involves an endorsement by the
New Jersey Sierra Club for now Mayor-elect Reed Gusciora.
The April support
for Gusciora, openly gay and rightfully proud, arrived in April with this press
“We are endorsing
Reed because he has worked hard for the environment. We believe he will help
improve urban areas for cleaner drinking water, especially in schools where lead
is in children’s drinking water. Reed will take on the illegal trash dumping
problems in Trenton while making the city the greenest in the country”, said
Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
“We believe Reed
will make Trenton more resilient deal with issues by increasing the city’s clean
energy infrastructure. He will move the city towards 100% renewable and move it
into the 21st century. He will fight for Trenton’s environment, public health,
and economy and we believe he is the best candidate for Mayor of Trenton.”
Pressed about the
appearance of the Sierra Club’s foray into Trenton politics, an inquiry that
seemed noteworthy considering that the environmental preservation organization
had avoided previous endorsements of any minority city mayoral candidate, Tittel
delivered a jugular assault.
“One might say that
you’re being homophobic?,” Tittel responded, after hearing dismay about the
Sierra Club’s first-time endorsement of a substantive white mayoral candidate.
An endorsement never
surfaced for former Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer, whose administration
started the city’s run on seven Phoenix Awards, dispensed to cities involved in
remediation of brown fields.
A Phoenix Award
recognizes successful efforts to turn contaminated properties into successful
environmentally friendly projects.
In 2015, Trenton
claimed a seventh Phoenix Award — more than any other in the U.S. — for
transformation of an contaminated industrial wasteland on East State St. into a
new park and housing development.
circles, Phoenix Awards hold as much significance as winning an Academy Award.
The New Jersey Sierra Club overlooked Trenton’s successful environmental
projects for petty politics.
had some personal issues with Mayor Palmer,” Tittel noted.
Sierra Club members
disagreed with a Palmer push for the Route 29 Tunnel and construction of
Waterfront Park, a professional baseball stadium built in 1994.
The joint Mercer
County and City of Trenton project overlooks the Delaware River. Both projects
impacted land and ecosystems adjacent to the river.
Tittel explained his
organization received questionnaires from only two of the original seven mayoral
candidates then made a decision to support Gusciora.
Aaron Mair, the
first African American to be elected Sierra Club president in 2015, helped move
his organization toward an understanding that environmental concerns and racial
Terrell Mwetta, an
editorial intern in the Sierra Club’s Communications Department, wrote Mair, who
ended his two-year term in May 2017, “sees the causes of environmental
protection and racial equality as intertwined, and he’s passionate about
unifying the two.”
“If one is going to
be an environmentalist in the 21st century, one has to be a human rights
activist,” Mair offered.
“People say, ‘well,
that’s social justice, that has nothing to do with environmentalism.’That’s
observation exists for Tittel’s “homophobic” assertion. Questions about Sierra
Club policy and procedure, the Sierra Club president moved the conversation
toward Gusciora and fear mongering.
Tittel should know
that a personal Twitter post, offered before Gusciora made public his Trenton
mayoral hopes, suggested the assemblyman should consider a run for the city’s
top government position.
Founded in May 1892,
in San Francisco, California, by the Scottish-American preservationist John
Muir, who became its first president, the Sierra Club needed nearly 125 years to
select a black man as president.
credit for moving the Sierra Club’s office to Trenton although some organization
projects fail to engage minority citizens.
Personally, a love
for environment, especially trees, water and air, developed during early
childhood romps into Winslow Township, Camden County pine lands.
Moving forward, time
remains an essential matter of life, as hours should not be wasted on personal
grudges and lackluster assertions.
Franklin St. could use a newly planted tree in the middle of our block. Mr.
Tittel or any other Sierra Club member have an open invitation to deliver and
help plant that tree.
Call the invitation
an olive branch as Trenton residents engage in the cultivation of ideas, dreams
L.A. Parker is a
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