This is about the Turtle Back Zoo, the waste of taxpayer money, the ongoing destruction of South Mountain Reservation and bad education. The Essex County Executive, Joe DiVincenzo, intends to build an amphitheater in the zoo. Though the budget has not been finalized, the county received 4 million from the state after Joe’s early endorsement of candidate Murphy. The freeholders (the guardians of the purse), are expected to add 4.6 million more on top of the 600K they have already allocated for design plans. The zoo’s footprint has doubled in the past ten years to 40 acres including McLoone’s Restaurant and a mini-golf course.
Joe’s justification for the amphitheater is education. He wants children to come by the hundreds to see exotic animals like giraffes and lions. These animals are native to the savannah and range freely over many miles daily; in Essex County, the giraffes are kept indoors for half the year because - cold weather. This is called animal cruelty. Hundreds of children watching an event in an amphitheater is not education, it’s entertainment. Real education happens in small groups where teachers and students interact, ask questions and think out loud together. The only lesson taught in this amphitheater will be that cruelty to animals is wrong.