One of the things I love most about Montclair is its diversity. Over the 20 years that I've lived here, I've become friends with a number of people whom I probably would never have even gotten to meet in a more homogeneous suburb. These friends come from different religious, ethnic and economic backgrounds from my own. I was thinking about this in connection with Governor Christie's veto last month of an affordable housing bill.
On January 24, the governor conditionally vetoed a bill that would have replaced New Jersey's Council on Affordable Housing with simpler ways for towns to meet their affordable housing obligations. He feels that the bill places too much of a burden on towns and builders; I believe that his proposed solutions will endanger the building of any new housing for middle- and working-class New Jerseyans. These are often the very people who provide the services essential to any community--the firefighters, police officers, shop owners, schoolteachers, etc. Without this economic diversity, walkable suburbs such as Montclair may become richer in terms of per capita income, but we will almost certainly become poorer in terms of our civic spirit. Hopefully this will never happen.