李春燕 06/20 8803
Dear members of the board,
As you ponder on the leasing issue, I couldn't help but write several points to you.
1. The amount of animosity is astounding, making me wonder what town and age we are living in. While some residents made a thin disguise by mentioning they have business ties with China (or Hong Kong), which by the way has nothing to do with the issue at hand, others just directly attacked the community even by mentioning a MINOR who is related to one of the Chinese school proponents. This act is despicable to say the least.
2. The amount of bigotry is astounding. When a gentleman asked the Chinese school for a traffic study, the response was "where was the traffic study for the sports club?" And you all know the answer, but may not have felt the same. This gentleman spent five minutes talking AT us the Chinese Americans, but when confronted by the concept of EQUALITY, just shrugged and said "soccer club? Well that is JUST THE WAY WE DO THINGS." If this is not hypocrisy, I don't know what it is.
3. The amount of threat is astounding, from lawsuits (even drumming up Massachusetts Institute of Technology!) , to telling the BOE members they will not get votes for reelection, to even referring to someone's child! If anything, the community at large should applaud board members' effort in finding revenue sources, however small. But is it really small? As many board members have elaborated so well, when over 80% of the cost is fixed, what amount is small? If there have been lawsuits, how come I have never heard of any from the 21 towns that have had Chinese schools for more than 20 years?
4. Residents frequently mention Livingston, but did they know that the Livingston Board of Ed, town council, police department are all VIPs of the Chinese school annual performances? Did they know that the Chinese school promoted many budget votes (before the 2% change) and referendums? Did they know that superintendents, business administrator, high school principal, guidance department all have gone to Huaxia for referendum meetings, seminars and book donations? Did they know that I took my Jewish friends to such shows one year, and four years later, her daughter is in the honor Chinese society, MCs the annual performance which drew congressman etc, and just came back from China on an exchange trip?
5. How come only this town has so much reservation? The traffic issue seems to be the least of people's complaints. Even those Livingston residents who complained about traffic are among my friends who have been working on lessening the traffic impact. In addition, neither the Mt. Pleasant Middle School nor Heritage Middle School in Livingston has as big a parking lot as Millburn High School. I kept wondering where the reservation is really from.
6. What people really are threatening is the authority of the Board of Education, and the integrity of each of you. If you make this decision based on threats, then today the threats may be directed at certain member(s), but tomorrow, they will be directed at all of you, because not one argument was presented based on rational analysis. Fear mongering should not be a way forward. The Board definitely should not let fear, and past resentment, perpetuate this community. No one will want to volunteer anymore.
7. What the Chinese community has witnessed is beyond my words. But more importantly, perhaps you guys the board members, while sitting high up there, may not see this clearly--we the Chinese Americans feel that we NOT being treated equally and fairly. This is not a stretch by any measure. Just observe the tones, listen to the underlying messages, and discern the patterns, you will agree with me. The example in #1 perfectly illustrates this--why is it necessary for multiple speakers to lecture us, the Americans, about their ties to China? We are Chinese by ethnicity, but Americans no less than anyone else, and we deserve equal treatment.
8. I will post this letter to my blog and disseminate to our community.
Thank you for your time.