Anonymous Robo-Call Campaign For ‘Peace And Nonviolence’ Monument Park Underway

An anonymous automated telephone messaging campaign designed to bring supporters of the proposed “Peace and Nonviolence” monument park to the Sept. 25 Township Council meeting is underway.

The robo-call message, which is less than two minutes long, does not identify who sponsored it.

The message urges listeners to attend the meeting, speak during the public portion and ask that the park be built right away.

The controversial park, targeted for a portion of township-owned open space at Cortelyous Lane and Route 27, is proposed to feature bronze statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and bronze busts of Nelson Mandela and Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

The park has long been championed by Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad.

Councilman Prasad: ‘Peace And Nonviolence ‘ Park Opponents Are Republicans Who Don’t Want ‘Colored Statues’ In Town

The message, featuring a female voice, says the following: “Friends. The Franklin Township Council will be discussing the Peace and Nonviolence Memorial proposed at Cortelyous Lane and Route 27 on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 7 pm. The meeting will be held in the council chambers, 475 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873.

“Proposed statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa will be discussed and need your support to be approved. Please speak during the public comments portion and request that it should be built right away. Hope to see you there on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7 pm. Try to arrive there early for a good seat. Thanks.”

At least one recipient of the calls says they are “deceptive.”

Franklin Park resident Krishna Shah said she received the calls on Sept. 22 and Sept. 23.

“I think it’s deceiving how they are calling,” she said. “Not mentioning the controversy and making it sound like majority of people are for it.”

Shah said the calls are made more annoying because her phone number is on the national Do Not Call registry.

According to the Federal Trade Commission web site, violators of the registry can be hit with a $41,484 fine per call. Political calls are exempt, but these calls don’t identify a campaign or candidate.

If you are on the Do Not Call registry, and you believe you have received an illegal robo-call, you can complain to the FTC by visiting donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236).

Councilman Prasad did not respond to a request for comment.

We’ll be following up on this story as the week progresses.

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