EDITORIAL: An open letter to Gov. Phil Murphy

Dear Gov. Murphy:


Hi, I’m Kevin, a journalist at The Observer newspaper in Kearny, you know, that little town of about 9.33-square miles and about 41,000 residents in West Hudson County, where you won pretty big in the last election and “visit often?”

I am writing to tell you that you aren’t going to win Kearny in 2021 if this keeps up. In fact, many in Kearny will do all they can to ensure anyone who runs against you gets more votes than you do this go round. Here’s why.

Governor, you’ve deserted us, ignored us.

When you wanted to be the one to replace Gov. Chris Christie, our town went out in droves to make sure we’d never have another experience like that again. You won Kearny with 18,851 votes. The other major candidate? She got 5,240. That’s close to a 4 to 1 margin.

Kearny residents got it done for ya, governor. Most believed in you. And there you were, landing just a year ago in Trenton, leading our wonderful state.

You sure have spent a lot of time debating pot.

You sure have spent a lot of time talking about the environment (shockingly.)

You even had the audacity to run an Earth Day 5K while we were protesting at the landfill last week!

But you haven’t said a stinking word about what my neighbors, friends and colleagues and I are experiencing these days with the Keegan Landfill — hydrogen sulfide and all.

You see, my friends are suffering. One’s breathing is so labored, her cough so deep, that it scares me to hear her painfully deep affliction.

You see, one man, who lives on the same street as I do, may have to move because his newborn son can’t live where the air quality is poor (he had lung surgery at age 2 days.)

You see, some of my neighbors’ kids have left soccer practice puking their brains out because they were playing on a field near the landfill, which causes all of this.

One dear friend has suffered two heart attacks and serious respiratory issues — and her doctors have no idea why it’s all happening.

And you know what, Mr. Murphy? When my friends and neighbors suffer, I suffer. When they weep, I weep. When they experience joy, I do, too. But right now, they’re mostly all experiencing hell. And it’s because your NJSEA won’t help. You won’t help, either. And combined, you’ve all done absolutely nothing but show us you couldn’t care less about our town.

So here’s the deal. If you don’t shut down the landfill, here’s what will happen. The 18,851 votes you got last go-round are going to someone else in 2021. I doubt you want that. You kinda need Kearny to win re-election. So do what’s right — close the landfill, and maybe then we can talk about 2021 again. How does that sound?

We’re not holding our breath.

Very Truly Yours,
Kevin Canessa

Learn more about the writer ...

Editor & Broadcaster at 

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.