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Mayor Parisi Responds to Citizens’ Concerns on Trump Immigration Threats

In a Facebook plea asking the Mayor to respond similarly to NY Mayor DiBlasio in this video, Mayor Robert Parisi responds, below.

“I have heard from several residents with similar concerns to yours [the concern that our immigrant friends and neighbors are fearful and that West Orange needed to be  safe place for them] over the last several weeks…whether through Facebook or emails. I have issued a few statements via Facebook over the last few weeks and answered the many emails. I would have responded as well once the petition you started was officially presented to this office but did not yet feel the time was appropriate. I will respond now.

Though I am not fond of Mayor DeBlasio, I respect his statements and convictions in the video you posted. However, I do not believe comparing us to New York City is fair or appropriate. We may have a similar make up of diverse populations, but we do not have the track record of turmoil or angst that often plagues large cities with large populations. West Orange remains a suburban community…maybe just an improved 21st century version of a suburb!

I appreciate your concern, not only for your own family but for our community. I told my own children the night of the election, that a Presidential election does not really change our daily lives in our own community…and certainly does not in the weeks and months that follow immediately after. I have lived here all my life and have seen West Orange become a model community for this new world, have seen my children prosper in the environment created here and I have faith that we will continue to live as an example to each other and to the world. I have been part of government through three different Presidents, with the new President to be the fourth, and I cannot recall one issue debated or agreed upon in Washington that had a real or tangible impact on the course of our lives, living together in West Orange on a daily basis and I see no reason why things will be different with this election. Though our national elections are important for any number of reasons, I never believed they really impact the day to day lives of the residents in communities throughout the country and certainly not in West Orange. Regardless of what happens in these elections, we return to our daily lives, with the same responsibilities. For decades, West Orange has been a collection of nationalities, religions, colors, creeds, old, young, different economic backgrounds and sexual orientations with over 40 different languages spoken in our school system alone… and there were 5,300 hundred West Orange residents that voted for Mr. Trump…and we have all lived amongst each other, peacefully, before the election and will continue to. No election, nor how each resident may view that election, will change our priorities or sensibilities as people and as a community. We have cared for each other up to now and I believe we will continue to.

It is said that you cannot legislate morality…and I believe that…I also believe the opposite to be true. I am not sure what laws may come from this new Presidential Administration…though I do not share your concerns for the reality of extreme new guidelines…but regardless of what measures may be taken to address some of the issues facing our nation, I do not believe they will change us as people, change the character of the people that chose to make West Orange their home or change how we choose to govern. Any laws or measures taken in our nation’s capital will not alter who we are as people or what has defined us as people and as residents or how we treat each other, officially as government or unofficially as neighbors.

As a nation, we have always prided ourselves on the peaceful exchange of power with Presidential elections, this is no different. But building a strong nation, being part of a community, caring for each other, being respectful, being responsible, becoming loving friends and neighbors does not know party lines and does not care who the President is…we all share the same responsibility to each other that we did before the election and that we will next year and the year after. A community is not a product of who the mayor is but a product of each of us, working together, listening, caring and being respectful of our differences and beliefs, but more importantly, our humanity. I am proud to be Mayor, but prouder still of the spirit and strength of our residents and the sense of community that has been woven together from each corner of the Township and the people that provide that strength.

However, as Mayor, I can assure you and all residents with similar concerns that local government will continue to be representative of the values and standards we live by as residents and neighbors. I have spent most of my adult life working to provide every opportunity for people to build a strong life for themselves and their families in this community. Government cannot guarantee happiness but I will continue to see we provide every opportunity for residents to build the life they had hoped for when moving here and to find the happiness we all dream of.

Our Police Department will continue to enforce the laws of this state and do everything possible to insure both the legal rights and human rights of all our residents. Our Police Department, and the men and women that serve, is a source of pride in our community and the results of this election will not change that or change the character of those that serve in this important role, in these demanding times. They interact with hundreds of residents each week, without fanfare or disruption, respecting their concerns, needs and rights as people. The Police Department, and local government as a whole, will continue to work with all community groups, civic & service groups, the Human Relations Commission and the newly formed Police Clergy Alliance as well as any residents with concerns to insure everyone has an opportunity to be heard and to feel welcome among their neighbors.

And though I may be Mayor, it is a distant third to being a husband and a father. And more than that even, I am a resident, a taxpayer, a neighbor, a friend and will be each of those, to many people, long after my tenure as mayor is over and, like you, I care equally about the community I govern today as I do of the town I hope to find as a former mayor.

I understand your hopes for additional statements and declarations from the Mayor’s Office but more than any additional statements or declarations from this office, it is my belief that our everyday lives here in West Orange speak more clearly and definitively of how we will make out in this changing world…just as we have up until now in this changing world…with character, sympathy, caring, tolerance, respect and the honest belief that we are prepared for any future, for any obstacles and challenges, for we remain stronger, collectively, as one community and I believe we are prepared for whatever the future has in store for us.

I thank you for your efforts to get more people involved in town and would offer my input or assistance in making that happen. And, as always, am happy to discuss these concerns or any with anyone that would like to discuss further.”

{included on this blog with Mayor Parisi’s permission}

1 Comment

  1. […] 2 1/2 months after Mayor Robert Parisi made a statement about becoming a sanctuary township, he has released this video furthering his opposition to the idea. While neighboring towns, […]


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