Citizens’ rights – mosque settlement

To the Editor:

Second Ward Councilman Sal Gallace made a statement in the paper, before the actual mosque “settlement” was or had been made. How could he, the council, or the mayor know what the Zoning Board’s decision would be prior to the vote actually being taken? Why even have a vote or waste the public’s time attending the so called “public” meeting? How could the public’s comments have any effect if our Bayonne leadership has already made “the decision?”
Mr. Gullace praised the settlement for being “fair” and “fast.” Question is, to whom is it fair? Should zoning laws currently in place be ignored. Should these be put aside, under the guise of racism and bigotry?
Since the beginning of the mosque situation, I’ve read comments by some residents such as they attended school and live here and are not leaving. Well guess what, I too live here, attended local schools, am not leaving and also pay high property taxes. My neighbors and I, who live in the small congested Eastside area, should be entitled to live a good quality of life and not be subjected to this type of reverse discrimination in the name of “religion.” I must follow the zoning laws. Why shouldn’t all people be obliged to do the same? This is not a religious issue. It is strictly a zoning issue, whereby all the zoning laws should apply. Not one set of rules for one and another set of rules for another. It appears to me that the vote has already been taken, yet it hasn’t gone before the zoning board. How strange?
A recent comment from Mr. Gallace was, “I think they need a place to pray. Everybody should have a place to pray.” “And if Kevin Kuhl or anyone says something else, that means they’re prejudiced.”
I agree “all” persons should be allowed to pray. Though I do not feel I need to justify my position let me state to the people who do not know me personally: I am not anti-mosque, anti-Muslim, or anti-any religion. My faith is important to me, so I can understand why others feel the same. What I cannot understand is why this location, one of the smallest in Bayonne, was selected by the Muslim leadership, knowing that it did not meet zoning requirements, and later failed approval from the Zoning Board, is being questioned again. If the settlement is approved, which according to the mayor, appears it will be, all the zoning issues addressed by myself and other will just get tossed under the bus. Laws should apply equally to all.
Didn’t the Muslim leadership have the responsibility to check first to see if they were compliant with the zoning? Why did they not purchase this property with a contingency? The failure to thoroughly investigate, prior to purchasing, is the responsibility of the purchasing “leaders.”
Another comment I read was, “Think about how it affects our daily lives when we are told that we cannot build a community center in our hometown.” My response is, think about how my life and my neighbors lives will be affected by the influx of cars, people and noise seven days a week, multiple times each day. Again, perhaps this is something that the Muslim leadership should have considered prior, not afterward.
The mayor’s opinion of the “settlement” may sound good in theory, but the mayor and the others will not have their quality of life destroyed. This mosque issue, which is strictly a zoning issue, as well as all the other “development” on small East 24th Street, is overly unfair to the Eastside residents.