Tomorrow, Sept. 1, is Pompton Lakes Pride Day. Pride Days have been popping up in small towns all over northern New Jersey since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. On this day, neighbors walk up and down Lakeside Avenue, visiting the vendor booths, some from Pompton Lakes businesses, as well as others.
As suburban towns go, Pompton Lakes is fairly clean, though not so clean as it was before the 1960s. Home and business owners take pride in the appearance of their properties, even as they struggle with competition from the big, highway stores on Route 23. The businesses on Wanaque Avenue (the main street through town) are within walking distance of homes in the northern part of town. The businesses are struggling. The metered parking along Wanaque Avenue didn’t help the town’s commerce but there are back parking lots for the stores.
The rental apartment complexes have helped the businesses. But the residents, who don’t pay taxes, have brought with them a plague of filth and garbage. I’ve tried to help by taking a daily walk around the business district, as well as other parts of town, to keep the garbage from becoming a mountain.
However, there’s more debris and filth than meets the eye. What seems like a very clean town once I’ve passed through is an illusion. In the woods, the brush, along the streams and railroad tracks, I’ve carried away bags and bags of unsuspected garbage: particularly soda and beer cans, and liquor bottles big and small. The police should pay attention to these particular hideouts, like the woods behind the New Bridge building on the corner of the Hamburg Turnpike and Ringwood Avenue. Since clearing it out, the bottom-dwellers no longer leave their cans and fast food wrappers along the railroads tracks but wedge it into the brush.
They toss it over the side of the overpass bridges along the Hamburg Turnpike, in the wetlands areas of the Pequannock and Wanaque rivers, into the hedges of homes, businesses, and library on the Hamburg Turnpike and Wanaque Avenue, and along Cannonball Road, particularly at the Post Office. Anywhere they think no one will look. I carried away so many garbage bags of this detritus that I think I shorted out Pompton Lakes’ recycling center this past week.
It’s not a fun job. It’s exhausting. People ask me why I do it – there are several reasons, which I’ll get to in a moment. To get through it, I pretend I’m my father, 1st Lt. John Rafferty of the U.S. Army’s First Cavalry Division. He drove trucks, mainly, but he also did many patrols and saw combat. I pretend my garbage picker is his rifle and my little cart is his truck. The hedges of Pompton Lakes become the hedges of Normandy, the churches the village church of St. Mere-Eglise (which no longer exists).
I treat the bottles and cans in the gutters and the sidewalks as mines. I carefully poke my “rifle” into the hedges looking for enemy devices. I follow their trail of garbage as my father might have followed tank tracks. Lt. John C. Rafferty will not allow the enemy to intimidate the villagers of Lacs du Pompton. He will not permit them to befoul her pleasant streams and rivers, desecrate her village churches, or ruin the prospect of commerce for her business owners.
The job is tiring and lonely. Most of the villagers are grateful for his assistance. Some think he is out of his mind, but they are ignorant of the danger lurking in their quiet woodland village. He knows, as they do not, of the enemy’s plans. When they ask him, he tries to explain but they don’t understand or fear being engaged in a political conversation.
Why does he do it? It must be to protect the environment, oui? The answer is yes, with a caveat. If he thought the residents, the good, tax-paying residents had caused this damage, he wouldn’t do it. They do leave or ignore some of the debris. They believe picking it up is beneath them, which is a mistake. That their woods, rivers, and properties are garbage-strewn is no accident. The enemy plans to transform Lacs du Pompton into an area of urban blight. They intend to take over the town. But the Lieutenant is only one man. After his long march, he takes a rest at the Ice Cream Station and treats himself to a much-needed milkshake.
Already, the town has too many rental apartment complexes. I believe the number is eight. More had been planned for the business district, but the town’s mayor has been fighting back against it. If the Environmental Protection Agency finds all that garbage along the Wanaque River on the Hamburg Turnpike and along the northern side of Wanaque Avenue from the apartment complex to the beginning of the business district, and in the abandoned lot across from the Pompton Town Center where a gas station used to be; if they find the A&P shopping cart still sitting in the Wanaque River; and if they still discover roadside trash along northern Ringwood Avenue to the Haskell border, they will have the ammunition they need to declare Pompton Lakes an urban blight zone.
Ironically, that means they can send HUD in to build more Smart Growth/Affordable Housing as they have in Wanaque, Bloomingdale, and Butler. The businesses who believe they’ll profit by this bargain need only to look to Paterson to see their future. Already, there are empty businesses along Wanaque Avenue. Judging by the amount of liquor bottles retrieved at this point, meaning that drunken people wander the streets of Pompton Lakes at night, and worse, drive, judging by the barrage of bottles along the back parking lot of the liquor store in the southern part of town, a new influx of such residents will make the town unsafe for decent people.
Someone must fight them. Some of the garbage is of illegal alien origination; some of it is teenage alien filth. We can’t fight them through violence. We can’t fight them through the vote, because they already outnumber us, unless Conservatives begin campaigning, and the littering problem is a handy cause. No need to worry that our proof is already gone. After cleaning up the bank of the Ramapo River, all the garbage reappeared two weeks later. Mount Filth on northern Ringwood Avenue is rebuilding again, like a smoldering volcano.
The Boy Scouts do what they can, but this kind of campaign takes a daily commitment. For the time being, unemployed as I am, I can do it. But it would help if home and business owners followed Mayor Cole’s lead in keeping properties clean on a daily business.
The reasons I do this are:
- The garbage is disgusting. When I take my daily walk, I don’t like having to find whiskey bottles, acid packets, pot butts, beer cans, and fast food wrappers in my path, especially along the cemetery behind the Pompton Reformed Church.
- Even though I’m a “Conservative,” I’m actually pro-Conservation. Hard to believe, isn’t it, Liberals? But it’s true. I love animals, trees, flowers, streams, lakes, rivers, and brooklets. I don’t enjoy seeing them defiled.
- I believe in God. Actually, this should have been the first thing. Well, it was sort of. The last place that we should be finding whiskey bottles is on the properties of churches. Why their groundskeepers don’t do something about it is beyond me. Cleaning up may seem a Sysifusian task (the Greek who was sentenced to rolling a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll down again). But I have faith, just like the song says: “The wrong shall fail; the right prevail.” The PRCs bell is a reminder to not fail in that faith, “And in despair, I bowed my head, ‘There is no peace on Earth,’ I said, ‘For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on Earth, good will to men.”
- Hate is strong, just as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in his poem. The minorities have been stirred up to hate those who work hard and prosper. Those who’ve done well do have nice homes, reliable cars, and take vacations. No one gave it to them; they worked hard for it. The lower classes talk about the greed of the rich, but the Bible also condemns envy as one of the seven deadly sins. It’s no accident that garbage winds up on suburban lawns; those who commit these acts know exactly what they’re doing. It’s not even that they just don’t care. They can’t throw bombs because they’d be arrested, so they throw garbage, instead, to show their malice towards us, their frustration, jealousy, and anger.
- Not only is this act of defilement deliberate but we have to ask ourselves whether they’re actually encouraged to do so by “community” activists from the cities. Communists who hate the rich and will do anything to divide Americans, redistribute our wealth, and destroy suburbia have an agenda. Obama is the leader of that agenda. Stanley Kurtz wrote a book about it called “Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Big Cities.” Back in 1992, the United Nations held an “environmental” summit in Rio de Janeiro. The Rio Summit had a lot more on its agenda than just saving the Earth. Agenda 21 is about redistributing wealth and property and rebuilding towns like Pompton Lakes, Bloomingdale and Butler into Affordable Housing cities. HUB’s neighborhood plan would force every community in the United States to accept its “fair share” of minority, poverty-level individuals and families. We, the taxpayers, would not only have to pay for the housing, but their health care, schooling, housing, and retirement. Already Jersey Central Power and Light has invoked a Social Benefits regulation on users’ bills to pay for the deadbeats who can’t pay their electric bills. We already pay for the rates of bad drivers in the urban centers, a fee insurance companies have been forbidden by law to tell us about. We pay similar fees on our cable and internet bills. These are the politics that suburbanites don’t want to hear or get involved with. They’d sooner just walk over the garbage than complain. We’re expected to bear the entire burden of people who hate us. That’s just not right. Supporting them isn’t going to make them “like” us any better. To them, it’s amusing. It’s their idea of “social justice”; that we should have to clean up the streets after them.
- Pompton Lakes is a nice town. I’d kind of like to keep it that way. Chances are, I’ll be spending the rest of my life here. I hate to think that when I’m old, some 20 years from now, I’ll have to fear for my life that some thugs will beat me, or take a hammer to me, the way they did the woman in Pittsburgh, for being born white, even if I have very little in the way of money or possessions. More of these kind of people will mean increasing the police force, which will mean even higher taxes that will drive out the decent people living here right now.
- I dislike hypocrisy as much as I dislike litter. Every time I clean up some teen hideout, I think of how the little darlings recite the mantra of the Green Movement. Their teachers assign them art projects, to make posters decrying big corporations, like DuPont, which used to have a factory in Pompton Lakes during World War II. Save the planet and all that. If only people knew how much garbage they leave in their wake, even the younger kids who scatter candy wrappers and lollipop sticks around the town. I’ve also found half-eaten fruit, banana skins, bagels, and of course, endless cigarette butts. Look at all that garbage below the Wanaque River bridge… Save the Earth! Look at all this filth along the railroad tracks, wedged into the bushes and all… Save the Earth! Look at all the garbage on the other side of the railing on Wanaque Avenue… Save the Earth! Look at the party bottles between the road and Lower Twin Lake… Save the Earth! Save the Earth? Give me a break, you disgusting, hypocritical swine.
- There’s a lot of money to be made out of declaring Pompton Lakes an urban blight zone. Construction companies, developers, real estate companies, and let’s never forget the federal bureaucracy have plenty to gain by dumping garbage on us. The town has already turned Democrat. Another infusion of poor people, who inevitably vote Democrat for the money and government services they can suckle on, will guarantee the end of the two-party system. George Washington never approved of the two-party system, but then Communism hadn’t yet arisen as a political threat. With opposition pretty much out of the way, America (not to mention Pompton Lakes) will become a tyranny, a dictatorship. The voice of the people will never be heard from again. The EPA won’t give a darn how dirty our rivers and wetlands are, how filthy our streets are. They don’t care now. In fact, they’re counting on it. They only care about how they can use pollution to dominate us politically and use that transgression to transform our society and our quiet little town into a violent, drunken, ignorant cesspool of humanity.
- People have commented that the town should pay me for my hard work. That will never happen, especially with a Democrat town council and planning board. Even if they agreed to pay me, they would simply raise your taxes to do so, and that’s hardly the point, is it? We’re Taxed Enough Already. The TEA Party will have a booth at tomorrow’s Pride Day event. I’ll be there at some point. In any case, if I had the cheek to demand money from the town, they would simply (and rightly) respond that I volunteered to do the job; they never asked me or made a contract with me to do so. The Ramapo River is a beautiful, beautiful spot marred by the squalor of the enemy. I happen to love it there, though it’s a long hike from home. I’ll clamber up and down the rocks and boulders (carefully) as many times as it takes so that people can enjoy the view and not be disturbed by garbage.
- Finally, the simplest answer to why I clean up the town: because it’s the right thing to do.
Hope to see you tomorrow at Pompton Lakes Pride Day. Let’s make it our business to make Pompton Lakes a place to be proud of every day of the year, and not just on the first Sunday in September.