The following letter to the editor is from Towaco resident Dan Pagano and his opinions are not representative of any club or organization.
Why is the Towaco Civic Association Behaving like Fascists?
That may sound like a harsh statement but please consider the facts and then decide. On January 22, 2013 the Township Committee (TC) passed a resolution recognizing Township Endorsed Events including the Towaco Jazz Festival sponsored by the Towaco Civic Association (TCA). The resolution states, “The event must be open to all Township residents.”
On July 3, 2013 the TCA submitted a Township Endorsed Events Form B. In the description of the event section the TCA wrote; Jazz Bands, Food, Community Organizations, Arts & Crafts, Vendors. Clearly they represented that the Jazz Festival would be “open” to the Montville Republican Club, Democratic Club and The Montville Tea Party as it has always been.
So why then in early August did the TCA ban these three community organizations from participating? They even returned the Republican Club’s check for the booth fee. It appears the TCA has decided to silence free speech, specifically political speech at this event. The Jazz Festival is a public event held on public property and the event is subsidized with public money, our tax dollars. The township provides police and DPW services at the request of the TCA.
This is not the action of a civic association; this is more like the actions of the fascists in Europe prior to World War II. First, you silence political speech then you discredit political organizations by claiming they provide no “community service” (the TCA has done both). Next you vilify individuals and groups who express political opinions. Pretty soon they only voices being heard are the voices of thugs. I am not saying the TCA is attempting to begin a fascist movement in Montville. I am saying that once a community allows a civic association to silence free speech at a public event; that community has opened the door to intolerance and discrimination and there is no telling where it will lead.
The Township Committee passed the resolution; the TCA failed to comply and has instead poked them in the eye. The Township Administrator must now do the job he was hired to do, manage the township affairs in compliance with the ordinances. The Township Administrator must notify the TCA that the event cannot be held because the TCA misled the township when they filed their Township Endorsed Events Forms. Also they have failed to file their financial reports to the township by April 30th as required in the resolution (Ordinance 271-3). As of Friday, August 30th the TCA has not submitted the necessary financial reports since 2010. This type of belligerence cannot be permitted. The TCA has to abide by the same ordinances and resolutions as the rest of us.
Thank you for your time.