WEST NEW YORK AND BEYOND – After two and a half hours of crying, screaming, arguing, and insult-throwing back and forth between many officials and audience members that once again had to be mediated by police, resident Beatriz Pelaez-Martinez approached the front of the room at the end of the West New York commissioners' meeting on Wednesday afternoon with her two young children.
“My five-year-old was clinging to my leg during the last meeting as everyone yelled at each other,” she said, placing her hand on her daughter’s head. “She’s been here for two and a half hours and even she isn’t acting like the people in this room.”
The audience applauded.
Pelaez-Martinez then went on to repeat what she said in perfect Spanish, because audience members had had an argument earlier in which people shouted at each other: “Speak English! This is America!” and “Español! Es mi pueblo!” (“Spanish! This is my town!”)
Amidst all of the drama, there were actual several matters of major significance on the board’s agenda. The list read like a recap of all of the issues that had come up one at a time at some point during the past year.
The meeting was held just three months after Roque’s arrest by the F.B.I. on charges of allegedly hacking into a political opponent’s website. Roque has refused to resign. Last month, he reorganized the town’s five departments, which also caused controversy.
For details on the meeting, read this weekend’s edition of The West New York Reporter. -- Gennarose Pope