EDITORIAL — In thanks to Santos and NJSEA for keeping Keegan closed

Last week, we brought you and update for the first time about the status of the Keegan Landfill since we first learned it would close, forever, in December 2019.

What we found wasn’t all that extraordinary, but what we did learn is that the process, one that was fought for for months and months and months, is moving along extraordinarily well, on time and with full cooperation between the Town of Kearny and the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.

Thinking back to 2019, this reality in 2021 was unfathomable just two years ago. But it, indeed, real — and those involved must be cited for their work.

While politicians rarely, if ever, discuss their legacies in public, there is little doubt that the legacy of Kearny Mayor Alberto G. Santos will, in part, be defined by his steadfast battle with the NJSEA. Whether it was attending meetings every single month, or organizing a protest, or attempting to speak with Gov. Philip D. Murphy, Santos will be and should be always remembered as a man who never gave up, never caving, and who did everything within his power to make sure the health and well-being of every West Hudson resident (not just Kearny) was paramount. 

Truth is, he did what seemed for a while to be next to impossible. And residents should never forget his impact on the closure.

The NJSEA as a governing body bore a lot of vitriol from local residents for months. Even this newspaper was a thorn in the side of the commissioners and especially Chairman John Ballantyne.

Yet all these months later, the NJSEA has kept to its word, and for that, we must always laud them, because in the end, they did what was right, even if it took a while longer to get there than we had all initially hoped.

In eight months, this years-long saga will be over. We still have reason to celebrate. And we give thanks to all who made this a reality, especially Santos & the NJSEA.

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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.