EDITORIAL : Here’s what happens when soppy sentimentality overcomes reason: An Orthodox congregation is willing to pay $1.24 million to keep a dangerous oak tree at the corner of Cedar Lane and Palisade Avenue from being cut down. It’s like giving the keys to a gasoline tanker-truck to a frail and unsteady 80 year old.
After buying the property at a bankruptcy auction on Monday, members of Netivot Shalom proudly declared the tree would be spared — even though it precariously threatens the safety of those who pass beneath it at the busy intersection.
The previous property owner, the Union for Traditional Judaism, had the right idea, vowing to cut it down. That only fired up the congregation.
Pretty soon, state Senator Loretta Weinberg was involved, promising COUNTY tax dollars would help preserve the tree. Her late husband had fought to save it from the developers’ chainsaw, she said. So would she.
The Puffin Foundation, a Teaneck-based philanthropic organization, has offered to put up $200,000 for a conservation easement and to take care of the tree going forward.Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM
So as taxes increase, and people lose employment, these folks scoop up enough dough to throw at an inanimate object that — given its size (eight stories high), age (eight decades old) and bulk — threatens to do someone serious hurt should major winds blow through Teaneck.
If you live in northern Bergen County, you know how likely that is and what kind of damage can be done. The very favored tree itself lost a huge branch that fell onto the sidewalk this summer, somehow missing anyone or anything. And it stands virtually alone, too close for comfort to mostly single-story buildings, with no wind-breaking protection from other trees.
Yet Weinberg, members of the congregation, and even the mayor of Teaneck are rejoicing at their ability to raise enough cash to spare a potential killer from the ax.
I hope they considered the liability they all face should something horrible occur. If it doesn’t fall directly on them, it will still be on their heads.