Blog: 50th Anniversary

Burt Ross

No, no, no! I have not been married for 50 years. If I were celebrating my golden wedding anniversary today, it would mean only one thing—that I married my bride when she was in junior high school. I am no Jerry Lee Lewis. The 50th anniversary I am referring to is my election as Fort Lee’s mayor. On November 2, 1971, the voters of Fort Lee elected me their mayor, and, as they say, “the rest is history.”

I was the youngest mayor in the country then, so young in fact, that all my successors have passed on leaving me the sole surviving former mayor of Fort Lee.  A friend of mine back East recently suggested that we hold a reunion to celebrate my administration. I was touched by the thought, but as I looked into the fate of the many people who served with me, I was saddened to learn that virtually all of them had died. 

Like most things in life, there are two sides to every coin, and so I tried to find the bright side of losing most of my colleagues. Sure enough I found it. I could rewrite history, and there would be nobody left to contradict me. And so, I want to share with you some revisionist history:

As Mayor of Fort Lee, I reduced taxes in half, rents went down, our bond rating went to AAA, and there were no traffic accidents during my four year term. Even better, nobody died, got divorced, or needed to see a psychiatrist. All thirty-five thousand citizens were happier than Danes.

Now if you believe any of that, you are my kind of people!