As you may know, New Jersey Transit recently allowed the display of a political mural on an underside wall of the train trestle at Chestnut Street in Montclair.
And, as you also may know, the mural depicts commonly-recognized gun control themes and thereby promotes a single viewpoint on an important political issue currently being debated in community life, the media, and government.
Because NJTransit is a state-owned public transportation system, NJTransit has an ethical and legal obligation to afford free expression, equal protection, and access to opposing viewpoints.
Indeed, NJ Transit appears to recognize this obligation to the constitutional rights of the public in Chapter 83 of its regulations governing the “Conduct and Safety of the Public in the Use of NJ Transit Equipment and Facilities,” wherein it is promulgated:
From time to time, NJ TRANSIT receives requests from members of the public for permission to exercise their constitutional rights of expression at such stations and terminals. NJ TRANSIT, through this chapter, informs and instructs the public how it can exercise its rights on or about NJ TRANSIT facilities and the procedures to be followed in exercising such rights. (16:83-1.1 Purpose; scope) https://www.njtransit.com/pdf/1683_NJT_Regulations.pdf
Indeed, to restrict state-owned facilities for use in promoting a single political viewpoint would violate federal and state constitutional protections against discrimination.
As it happens, our Club wishes to bring forth an alternative viewpoint to that which has already been approved, displayed, and promoted by the artists of the mural and by NJ Transit.
Please let us know, therefore, how we can work with NJ Transit to secure the appropriate permissions and/or permits to commission and display a mural of similar size, scope, and prominence as the existing mural.
Thanking you for your attention to this matter, I am
John Van Wagner, PresidentMontclair Republican Club