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Councilmen Tom O'Donnell and Pat Capozzoli are the very models of fiscal restraint. Since joining the Caldwell Council they have worked tirelessly to hold the line on municipal spending, and twice they were responsible for zero-tax-increase budgets. In other years, the municipal portion of the tax levy's slight increases never came close to the state's permissable two percent cap.
So imagine my surprise when a mailer from Democrat challengers Steve Flack and Henderson Cole arrived in my mailbox yesterday.
What have we here?
Tom and Pat want to raise taxes?
News to me!
And probably news to them too.
Because it's an absolute falsehood.
Oh, and memo to you two supposed "businessmen" running as Democrats. The town council doesn't set rents. Not downtown, not anywhere. Landlords do that. So if you have a beef, take it up with the guys who own the properties. I understand quite a few of them are your fellow democrats.
But wait, there's more tomfoolery! The other side of their mailer lists five supposed goals of their candidacy. Number 3 rings a bell:
Uh oh. They're harping on the Community Center again. We know what that means. Fire Gordon Lawshe!
The Democrats finally figured out that coming right out and saying they want to fire Gordon isn't a winning strategy. So this time they're couching it in a nebulous paean to fiscal responsibility.
Don't be fooled. They've been looking for his head on a platter ever since he spearheaded the takedown of their party's council majority.
You remember when the Deocrats ran Caldwell, right? They ran it into the ground with shoddy record keeping, sloppy bill paying practices, whopping tax increases, and enough cronyism to make Hillary Clinton blush. We don't need to experience that again. Ever.
Re-elect Tom O'Donnell and Pat Capozzoli. Keep Caldwell moving in the right direction. You'll be glad you did.
One-time Caldwell council candidate and current West Caldwell resident E. William Edge wrote a letter to our local paper last week taunting Donald Trump for saying this upcoming election might be "rigged."
Mounting his high horse, Mr. Edge proceeded to explain how his extensive experience as a voter guarantees that vote fraud could not possibly occur here in Essex County.
And he's got the straw man, complete with multiple mismatched raincoats, to "prove" it.
Now I happen to know Bill Edge from my Verona days. So I can call him out.
You've got a small problem there Bill.
Er, make that three not so small problems.
Problem #1: Carmine Casciano, a fellow Democrat, and former Superintendent of Elections in Essex County. He was in charge of voter registration, absentee ballots, and ensuring the smooth operation of the electoral process.
Mr. Casciano is a smooth operator alright. He's charged with second-degree official misconduct for giving unauthorized paid days off to the employees of his office so they could work on political campaigns and then telling them to destroy or alter their time logs so nobody would find out.
Penny ante stuff really. He forged time records so some folks could get extra paid days off. And for that he faces up to 10 years in state prison and a six figure fine.
But here's a deeper question. Why are employees of the office which is tasked with ensuring a smooth electoral process allowed to volunteer for political campaigns? Isn't that an enormous conflict of interest? They can hardly be even-handed in their official duties if they are actively working on behalf of a particular candidate or political party!
The guys in charge of running a "fair" election were working for the Democrats on the taxpayers' dime. But there's nothing to see here, right Bill?
Except he pleaded guilty. And a fish rots from it's head, as Gianine Narvaez, a suspended data processor in Casciano's office, also pleaded guilty to submitting phony absentee ballots while working for the 2007 campaign of State Senator Teresa Ruiz.
Leading us to Problem #2: Samuel Gonzalez. AKA State Senator Ruiz's husband. And vote fraudster extraordinaire. Can you guess that he's another well-connected Essex County Democrat? Gee Bill, I wonder why you two have never met? Anyway, Sam was quite skillful at the fraudulent absentee ballot game. His buddy John Fernandez helped rat him out. But he managed to avoid jail time because his wife is a hot shot protected by Essex County Executive For Life Joe DiVincenzo. Yeah Bill, it's good to have friends!
But the people around Teresa Ruiz keep getting caught. Enter Problem #3: Angel Colon, a Newark "campaign worker" who also managed to beat your supposedly impenetrable fraud detection system.
Wanna play the Bonus Round Bill?
Meet Rocio Rivera! She pleaded guilty to vote fraud too. And she fraudulently kept her Essex County job after entering her guilty plea. She landed a job with your fellow Democrat and Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura even though she's got a felony conviction on her record.
It's almost like there's a conspiracy afoot, or something.
I won't hold my breath waiting for Sheriff Fontoura to uncover it though. He's too busy double-dipping at the taxpayer's trough to concern himself with such trifles.
But as for your protestations Bill?
Yeah, they're bullshit.
And you know it.
Vote fraud is rampant in Essex County.
And it's a nationwide problem.
Because if Democrats don't cheat, they can't win.
And you know that too.
Yesterday Chris Christie proposed a statewide school aid plan that's so sensible, so fair, and so simple, it probably has zero chance of passing our rabidly partisan Democrat-controlled legislature.
The plan calls for equalizing state aid per pupil across the board. Every kid in every district gets the same amount. The current court-imposed formula sanctifies 30 "Abbott" districts, giving them the lion's share of state aid while leaving crumbs for the other 534. How this could be considered "fair" is beyond me, but then I'm not a liberal socialist. So expect the Democrats and their NJEA unionista buddies to oppose this plan tooth and nail.
But man-oh-man, if it did pass, I'd see my school tax bill shrink, by a lot.
Because according to this Star-Ledger analysis, Caldwell's state aid would rise from a measly $400.20 to $6,599 per pupil, an increase of 1524%!
Given that the CWCBOE spends about $14,000 per kid, and pretty much all of that comes out of property taxes, I could potentially see my school tax bill go down by about $4,000 a year.
That's almost better than winning the lottery!
Of course I'm only dreaming. Not because the Democrats won't pass Christie's plan. But because even if they did, the spendthrifts on Caldwell's board of education would never surrender that property tax revenue. These guys have a wishlist a mile long and an extra 6 grand per kid in state aid would get vacuumed up into lavish pie-in-the-sky ostensibly "educational" spending projects in a New York minute. The gold-plated water fountains in their Performing Arts Center or the state-of-the-art locker room facilities they're currently building in Met Life Stadium Junior (formerly known as Bonnell Field) would pale in comparison to the stuff they'd throw money at given the chance.
Christie's plan is only half of the solution. The other half is spending
control, something that's even more lacking in these parts than state aid.
Between the teachers union and the BOE the taxpayers don't have a prayer. And
until that situation changes it doesn't matter what Chris Christie or any future
governor does, because in the end we're still gonna get hosed.
Yeah it's an off-year election, and no, you can't yet vote for (or against) Donald Trump. But it's still important. Really important.
Because all politics are local. And nothing is more local than the Caldwell Council and the C-WC school board.
That's why you need to get out and vote to re-elect Rich Hauser to the Caldwell Council. And send Rick Alonso to his first term as a Council Member. Rich's record speaks for itself, he's helped keep municipal taxes low, he's worked to upgrade the water and sewer mains and repave streets around town, and he's made sure the Council is accountable to the citizens of our fair town.
Rick is a local guy and well-known community volunteer who's always willing to go the extra mile for our town. His business savvy and energy will be a welcome addition to Mayor Dassing's team.
Their opponents are two retreads from last year, because incumbent Democrat Ed Durkin is bowing out after one essentially ineffective term. Frank Rodgers and Stephen Flack lost in 2014, and they're back looking for another chance. except they're once again singing the same tired old tune about "partisanship," which apparently only Republicans are ever guilty of. Or something.
The truth is, it's the local Democrats, led by erstwhile acting-governor-in-waiting-for-life Dick Codey who are rabidly partisan, seeking to reload Town Hall with their cronies the minute they regain a council majority.
Town Hall works. The council is in good hands, and there's no need to rock the boat.
Re-elect Rich Hauser. Elect Rick Alonso. You'll be glad you did.
Now, on to the school board. You know, the out-of-control spendthrifts who raised our property taxes by 10½ percent this year. These guys wouldn't know how to cut costs if you handed them a hatchet and an instruction manual. So it's inconceivable to me that the two jimokes up for re-election are running unopposed.
They're obviously going to "win," but we can send them a message. Don't vote for the school board candidates. Because a non-vote shows "no confidence" in their, ahem, "leadership." Let them see their vote totals come in way under the number of voters and maybe, just maybe, they'll get a clue. I doubt it will impact their thick heads, because they're completely unaccountable now that we can't vote on their bloated budget, but it's worth a shot.
So there you have it. Tomorrow November 3rd, vote Line B — Hauser and
Alonso, and don't cast any vote for school board.
I almost had another heart attack when I saw my new property tax bill.
It's up almost 7 percent over last year.
Almost all of which is because the drunken sailors on our local school board hiked their tax bite by a whopping 10.5 percent.
Ten point five percent.
A double digit increase, when property taxes are supposed to be held to a 2% cap. By law.
What the hell is going on with the Caldwell - West Caldwell Board of Education?
Have they lost their minds?
Have they no shame?
Because this tax increase in unconscionable.
But this is what happens when the Democrats in our state legislature, who are of course a wholly owned subsidiary of the teachers union, decided to stop letting us vote on the school budget.
Without the voters to curb their profligacy, the school board runs amok, screwing the taxpayers with abandon.
So here's a special "thank you" to CWCBOE President Paula Getty, Vice President Thomas Adams, and board members Marie Lanfrank, John King, and Dan Cipoletti: You are a disgrace. You have failed in your fiduciary duty. You are unfit to call yourselves representatives of the hardworking taxpayers of Caldwell. You embody everything that is wrong with out-of-control government spending in this state. You have forgotten those of us who are affected by your wanton disregard for any semblance of budgetary restraint.
You should be ashamed of yourselves.
But that would require you to actually care about us taxpayers. Which
clearly, you do not.
Yes! A clean sweep for Republicans in Caldwell! With a decisive margin of victory to boot. Dick Codey's quest to turn Caldwell blue has crashed and burned, again. Not only couldn't he defeat Mayor Dassing, but he lost 2 council seats too.
Good thing you own a funeral home Dick. You can hold a wake for your party's future. (Hint, see the national results. Harry Reid feels your pain.)
Under Votes 81
Over Votes 0
|Dem - Francis X. RODGERS, III||964||47.44%|
|Rep - Ann DASSING||1,068||52.56%|
Under Votes 316
Over Votes 0
|Dem - Susan VEZZA||941||24.08%|
|Dem - Stephen J. FLACK||902||23.09%|
|Rep - John R. CASCARANO||1,024||26.21%|
|Rep - Kristian BROWN||1,040||26.62%|
Congratulations to Mayor Dassing on her re-election!
Welcome councilmen-elect Cascarano and Brown!
And a big Thank You to the people of Caldwell. You chose to keep our town
moving forward, and rejected the failed politics of cronyism. Mayor Dassing
and her team will work hard for you, every day. Bravo!
I guess by now everyone has seen Frank Rodgers' mendacious hit mailer. It landed in my mailbox on Saturday blaring — "It's time to put Caldwell first, and not Mayor Ann Dassing's brother."
Sheesh, you'd think she was another Maureen Ruane, writing checks without council approval to anyone who asked.
Here's the truth.
Remember all the snow we had? Bloomfield Avenue is a county road. It's Joe DiVincenzo's job to keep it clear. Except, remember how snow was piled sky high and people couldn't park or walk to the shops? That's because Joe D's minions didn't do their job.
What about our junior Freeholder? Nope, Lenny Luciano didn't lift a finger to get Joe D off his ass.
Lenny and Joe D only pretend to care about Caldwell when they're up for re-election.
And as for good old Frank Rodgers? He sat on his hands while the snow piled up too.
There's your Essex county Democrats, they gave us a whole lotta nothing when we needed them most.
Mayor Dassing took action. She solved the problem. She wanted the job done right, so she went with someone she could trust. That's called leadership.
Frank Rodgers points fingers.
Ann Dassing gets results.
I'll let you decide who deserves your vote.
And if you're worried about wasting our tax dollars, ask Joe D why he spent
$10 million of them on Safari Mini Golf at Turtle Back Zoo. Ten million bucks
buys a lot of snow removal. But you don't hear Frank Rodgers complaining about
that. Something else to consider when you vote tomorrow, eh?
Watch out Caldwell. Lurking in the wings behind Democrats Frank Rodgers, Stephen Flack, and Susan Vezza is the specter of State Senator and erstwhile governor Dick Codey. He didn't move his funeral home business to our town just to sit on the sidelines, and if his track record is any indication, giving him the keys to Town Hall is guaranteed to put Caldwell on the road to perdition.
Codey started out in Orange, back when it was a nice, quiet, desirable place to live. But his policies, and the crooked Democrats he maneuvered into its local government, soon ruined a once great city. Parks, a bustling downtown, and bucolic residential streets became Section 8 tenements, abandoned storefronts, and crack houses. Crime escalated. Taxes soared. Politicians went to jail. And decent people fled.
Codey fled too, leaving behind the destruction wrought by his Democratic Party rule, and he set his sights on West Orange. Again, the inevitable downfall played out as taxes rose unchecked and gangs infiltrated the schools. Once a shopping mecca, Main Street from Orange to West Orange is now a blight of pawn shops, bail bonds, check cashing, tattoo parlors, and above all, strip clubs.
Is this really what we want for Caldwell? For our kids to walk past on their way home from school?
Because Dick Codey is here. And that's what he left behind after he "helped" Orange and West Orange. In fact, it's the legacy of decades of Democratic Party rule in every major city in America. Crime. Poverty. Decay. Despair.
We don't want that kind of "help.". But Codey is already lurking around town hall, because all he needs is one more Democrat in office and he's the new King of Caldwell. Then he puts his people in place, and the trifecta of depredation is complete. His candidates will tell you they won't let that happen here. But their Party's track record belies their good intentions.
Fortunately my friends, we have a choice! We can re-elect Mayor Ann Dassing. We can elect John Cascarano and Kris Brown to the town council. Together with Council President Rich Hauser and Councilmen Pat Capozzoli and Tom O'Donnell they'll ensure our town not only stays great, but gets better. The Dassing team's record of minimal tax increases coupled with responsible fiscal management speaks for itself.
Send Codey and the Democrats a clear message. Don't let Caldwell become
another Orange. On November 4th, vote
Dassing, Cascarano, and Brown.
Now that we aren't allowed to vote on their budgets any more, the Board of Education can really start spending like drunken sailors.
So bend over and grab your ankles Caldwell, your property taxes will be soaring this year.
The Caldwell-West Caldwell board of education hosted their public meeting for the school budget, offering a 3.75 percent tax hike for the new 2014-2015 school year.
This new tax hike is due to numerous factors but a majority of it is because of contractual obligations, including salaries, pensions and health benefits.
Remember Chris Christie's 2% tax cap? Yeah, there's a ginormous loophole in it.
Superintendent of Caldwell-West Caldwell schools Dr. James Heinegg explained.
"The state allows for "banked" cap, which means, essentially, that you can go above occasionally if your average remains below 2 percent," noted Heinegg. "Over the past 5 years, the district is averaging an annual increase of about 1.05%."
So last year they only pretended to be cutting us a break, knowing full well they could completely hose us any time they want. And there ain't Thing One we can do about it.
Kiss the parking spaces along Bloomfield Avenue goodbye.
Get ready for traffic gridlock, and watch formerly four-lane roads get reduced to two, as "bike lanes" and "pedestrian corridors" are prioritized over cars.
Wonder in amazement as zoning board decisions are vetoed by a nameless, faceless, unaccountable bureaucrat deep in the bowels of a United Nations NGO, whose only loyalty is to George Soros and Agenda 21.
No, this isn't some conspiracy theory.
It's the reality behind the progressive-nirvana "Complete Streets" program, which was just adopted by our Mayor and Council.
But don't take it from me, take it from their own website, where they tell us straight-away what the goals are.
The traditional performance measure for transportation planning has been vehicular Level of Service (LOS) — a measure of automobile congestion. Complete Streets planning requires taking a broader look at how the system is serving all users. Communities with Complete Streets policies can measure success through a number of ways: the miles of on-street bicycle routes created; new linear feet of pedestrian accommodation; changes in the number of people using public transportation, bicycling, or walking (mode shift); number of new street trees; and/or the creation or adoption of a new multi-modal Level of Service standard that better measures the quality of travel experience.
That's urban-planner gobbledygook for "no cars allowed." It's an exercise in raw power by the do-gooders among us, foisting their utopian vision of how we ought to live upon an unsuspecting populace. Our streets won't be "complete" until cars are eliminated entirely.
But of course they don't tell you about that part up front. It's all rainbows and unicorns until one day you wake up and discover the truth for yourself, like they did in Alexandria, VA.
All this is to be done on the model of the frog in the boiling pot, with the temperature raised by small degrees until the frog is quite cooked. Step 1 is to convince City Hall to paint "sharrows" on a road, indicating that the road is to be shared with cyclists. Only the road is already shared with cyclists, so what's the point? Step 2 occurs when the road is repaved by the City. At that point, the sharrows are replaced by dedicated bike lanes. Where the street is too narrow for both on-street parking and bike lanes, the parking spaces disappear.
Step 2 is usually opposed by businesses and homeowners. For some reason, shopkeepers don't think their custom will increase if they remove customer parking. Homeowners want to invite their friends over for coffee, set up play dates for their children, and accommodate the carpooling arrangements that transport them to and from school. They want to be able to say "yes" when the roofer, plumber, or electrician asks if there is parking near the house. That's when the "Bike Wars" start, and that's also when Step 3 is invoked. Parking is merely the symptom and cars the disease, and the goal is to cure the disease.
We're talking about cyclists who commute to work or school, and they're only one percent of American adults. Like the Occupy Wall Street people, they want to occupy our streets, except this time it's the one percent who claim the mantle of social justice.
Ever hear of "guerrilla tactics"? One "PM" suggests on a bicyclist blog what's to be done if they don't get their way:
Any bicyclist using King Street to go uphill could always just make a point to ride slowly and smack in the middle of the lane, especially at peak times*. Then, frustrated motorist [sic]will complain to the City that they want the bikes "out of their way" and the motorists and bicyclists will be fighting the neighbors together. Seems like a win.
A number of King Street residents have experienced this, me included. I can tell you that it's frightening on a dark night to have a cyclist dressed all in black lycra and helmet, only a small tail light visible, suddenly pull out in front of your car to pull off this stunt. I'm not enamored of these guys, but I don't want to hurt them either.
Substitute "Bloomfield Avenue" for "King Street." And get ready for even more urban civil disobedience in the form of "Critical Mass." Here's what they do. A line of bicycle activists organizes themselves into a complete traffic-blocking phalanx, pedaling along in slow-motion at 5 PM on a Friday afternoon. It's not their fault you're stuck behind them, waiting to see your wife and kids.
Nope, it's your fault. Or more importantly, your way of life's fault.
You don't live "sustainably." You're the enemy. And UN Agenda 21 aka "Smart Growth" is the cure.
Put simply, Smart Growth is a breathtaking usurpation of private property rights. In New Jersey it's come to mean "upzoning" of single-family lots to permit construction of hundreds or possibly thousands of inclusive housing units, including apartments and condominiums.
Remember COAH? Mount Laurel? Yeah, they're the bellwether of Smart Growth, putting a slum in every town.
And in case you haven't guessed by now, Smart Growth and Complete Streets are two sides of the same coin.
You guys just made it the law in Caldwell that 5 percent of any public project, and 20% of private development, must be dedicated to Complete Streets. So that nice new store proposed by the Corner Butcher Block? It just became 20% more expensive. And whoever buys the old Rite-Aid building could be on the hook for a sidewalk boondoggle, like resurrection of "the loser bench," and all the dead cigarette butts that go with it.
Oh, and Mayor Dassing? I saved the best for last. Smart Growth means no more Republicans.
"Smart growth is not science; it is political dogma combined with an insidious dose of social engineering. Smart growth is a wedding wherein zoning code is married with government-sponsored housing initiatives to accomplish government's goal of social re-engineering. It urbanizes rural towns with high-density development, and gerrymanders population centers through the use of housing initiatives that enable people with weak patterns of personal financial responsibility to acquire homes in higher-income areas. This has the effect of shifting the voting patterns of municipalities from Right to Left."
Because we don't have enough socialists in this town already, right?
It took County Clerk Chris Durkin a week to do it, but the provisional ballots from last Tuesday's election have finally been tallied. And I'm happy to report that Tom O'Donnell and Pat Capozzoli are officially victorious!
Of the 10 provisional ballots that were certified, 6 went for O'Donnell, 5 for Capozzoli, 4 for Grace Kerrigan, and only 2 for Maureen McNish. Which means Kerrigan and McNish still came up short.
|Tom O'Donnell, (R) incumbent||1086|
|Pat Capozzoli, (R)||1080|
|Maureen McNish, (D)||1073|
|Grace Kerrigan, (D)||1069|
Congratulations gentlemen! You successfully defeated Dick Codey's demented
dreams of demagogic Democrat dysfunction. He can strut up and down Bloomfield
Avenue all he wants, but in Town Hall the adults remain firmly in charge.
Even if you win by 4 votes, it's still a win!
Under Votes 523
Over Votes 0
|Dem - Maureen T. McNISH||1,071||24.96%|
|Dem - Grace F. KERRIGAN||1,065||24.82%|
|Rep - Thomas O'DONNELL||1,080||25.17%|
|Rep - Pasquale CAPOZZOLI||1,075||25.05%|
But remember Hugh Hewitt's words of wisdom: if it's not close they can't cheat. It's close. The guy counting the votes has a cousin on the Caldwell Council. And, now pay attention here, his cousin wants to be mayor, and will run next year.
With so slim a margin there will be a recount. And Mr. Durkin will have to certify provisional ballots, which could change the outcome. Gee, I wonder how fair he'll be.
But for now, Tom O'Donnell has won re-election. And Pat Capozzoli will join Tom in keeping Caldwell firmly in the Republican column for one more year.
UPDATE 06 Nov 2013 16:49:
Let the cheating begin!
Kerrigan and McNish refuse to concede.
"We have not conceded and it is not official yet," said McNish. "It's definitely close. … We are looking at our options."
It could take until at least Monday, Nov. 11, for the Caldwell Council race to be decided, according to a spokeswoman at the Essex County Clerk's Office.
Counting of provisional and emergency ballots cast in the race will be counted starting Friday, and the results are expected to be released no earlier than Monday, said the spokeswoman.
Well, sure. The Democrats who run the County Clerk's Office need the weekend
stuff the ballot boxes "discover" a stack of
provisional ballots which purely coincidentally will put their team
over the top.
And in a year or 2 another one of Chris Durkin's or Joe DiVincenzo's henchmen will join Carmine Casciano and Samuel Gonzalez in prison for vote fraud. Purely coincidentally, or so we'll be told.
The days are getting shorter. The air is clean and crisp, and nights are pleasantly cool. Which can mean only one thing — Fall is here. And as the leaves fall from the trees our government wants us to know there are regulations for how we rake them.
Pages and pages of regulations. For leaves.
Two collection dates are assigned to each street in Caldwell. Residents can rake leaves to the curb up to six days prior to the scheduled pick-up date. All leaves must be curbside by 7 a.m. on the curbside pick up date.
Residents who place leaves on roadways before and after the specified dates will be subject to fines.
Mother Nature, fined for littering!
Biodegradable bags will be available for purchase at Caldwell Borough Hall and Caldwell Community Center during normal operating hours.
Yes, you have to use The Official Leaf Bags. You can't put leaves in plastic bags. You can't put leaves in the trash. And you can't make this stuff up.
Additional restrictions and requirements include:
Do not include any branches, grass clippings, cans, bottles, or debris in the leaf piles. Foreign materials damage your town's equipment and risk employee safety.
Do not place leaves within 10 feet of any storm drain or fire hydrant.
Arrange leaves in a long row across your property's frontage rather than in large piles. Leaf rows should not extend into the street more than 4 feet for safety.
Do not park vehicles over leaf piles. This makes leaf collection difficult and it is also a significant fire hazard. Avoid parking vehicles on streets during scheduled pick up days.
Got that? Thou shalt not run afoul of the leaf inspectors!
Really. There's a guy who drives around town all day in a white pickup truck, checking on the leaves. Because he has nothing better to do.
Back when I was a kid we burned our leaves in a big metal garbage can. Sitting around that fire, with my uncles drinking beer and telling stories, those were good times.
Leave it to government to take all the fun out of everything it touches.
The students at Caldwell's James Caldwell High School decided not to hold their prom at The Newark Club this year. Aside from the high cost, one of the reasons cited is the recent rash of violent crime.
The prom committee of the regional school in West Caldwell looked at the Metropolitan Room at the Newark Club as one of nine venues. The Newark Club was eliminated from the list because the facility was too pricey and the city may be unsafe because of a recent rash of violent crimes, according to Superintendent James Heinegg.
So naturally, the denizens of Newark see racism.
The decision was strongly criticized by Barbara Yeninas, a marketing consultant from the Newark Club. She said a student from the school's prom committee — a group of five seniors and a class adviser — wrote to her, saying they were told, "You can't go to Newark, it's not safe."
In response, Yeninas sent an e-mail to the Caldwell-West Caldwell school board and superintendent.
"Your quoted excuse that Newark is 'a bad place' and your so-called fear that your students would be unsafe is exactly the attitude that promotes discrimination, hate and divisiveness among our young people and continues that pattern without end," Yeninas wrote.
When you can't defend your city's crime record, cry racism. But if there are ten murders in ten days, totalling 63 this year, along with the usual plethora of muggings, car-jackings, assaults, and rapes, well maybe those fears aren't exactly unfounded. Facts don't discriminate. Statistics don't hate. And it's not divisive to decide you're safer where criminals don't congregate.
Are there decent people in Newark? Sure. Are those decent people "winning" the battle against crime? Nope. Newark may not be as dangerous as Camden or Detroit, but it's no Mayberry, RFD either.
Perhaps Newark could counterbalance the negative perceptions by charging
less than their suburban competitors? At $85 bucks a head The Newark Club
is $25 more expensive than the venue ultimately chosen by JCHS. That sounds
like the kids would be getting robbed even before they set foot inside Cory
Booker's Urban Paradise.
To almost no one's surprise the Caldwell - West Caldwell Board of Education approved their $42 million dollar annual budget last night. The school tax will bump up by the maximum 2% allowable under state law, just like every other year since the beginning of time.
$42,172,356.00 divided by 2288 students comes out to $18,431.97 per kid.
For comparison, annual tuition at my daughter's Catholic school is $5,300. At the nearby Catholic high school tuition caps out at $14,300.
And before someone says "but Chris, Catholic schools do lots of fundraising," allow me to point out that the school board's Education Foundation is no slouch in that department either.
Maybe it's the bake sales. Public schools aren't allowed to have bake sales anymore. Yeah, that's gotta be it. Because there can't possibly be anything the school board could cut.
He's been on the job for a little over a month, but new Caldwell Councilman Edward Durkin is already making a name for himself. As a crybaby.
At his very first council meeting Mr. Durkin pompously pronounced that he'd personally look into a resident's complaint regarding an issue with the Caldwell Community Center. Mr. Big Shot Greenhorn Councilman wanted to make a splash!
Alas, we happen to have a Mayor, 5 other Councilmen, and an extremely competent Borough Administrator. They quietly handled the situation, except they didn't run it by Durkin The Magnificent first.
And when you're a legend in your own mind you don't take that kind of thing laying down. Nope. No way. You throw a public temper tantrum instead!
Durkin, during the council meeting February 5, was upset he was not included in the discussions or letter sent out in the council's name to the Mignone family before it was drafted, written and mailed.
"I reached out to this gentleman (Mignone) to get his side of the story," he noted. "I wanted to hear the resident's side. I cannot believe you guys resolved this matter with a letter sent out from the governing body from our attorney. I had zero knowledge of this letter - zero."
Durkin also said he believes the way the letter was handled was wrong, and that the procedures were incorrect as well, since he was not included.
[Borough Attorney Greg] Mascera disagreed.
"I do not set procedure, councilman," he noted. "You should learn procedure. You do not call out anyone on council in public."
As the argument grew more heated, Mascera said he was instructed to draft the letter by the mayor and governing body.
But Durkin was adamant: he wants to be included in matters impacting residents of Caldwell - saying this was vital to him especially if he publicly states he wants to get involved.
Referring to his fellow councilmen Durkin said, "I know we are not all the best of friends. I'm an elected official and I want the best for the residents of Caldwell regardless."
Caldwell Council President Richard Hauser also commented, saying "Along the lines of some of those comments, I think comments at the last meeting were inappropriate instead of throwing our government employees under the bus."
"I am not apologizing (since) all I need to get is two (sides) of the story," he said.
At one point, Durkin said they could "step outside" to talk further about the matter, but this statement was taken as a threat by Mascera who said he wanted this statement to be put into the official minutes of the meeting.
Mascera, who runs the council meetings with a professional and courteous manner, was upset by the discussion. Truly, over the past 4 years as borough attorney, he has never been seen as this upset and emotional, and has instead usually been the voice of reason during arguments.
"I have never been spoken to in a council meeting, in four years, or accused of any wrong doing in a council meeting for four years," he said. I resent the fact that Mr. Durkin did not pick up the phone and tell me to discuss the situation."
Yeah, "step outside" is Real Professional. Classy even. What's next Eddie? Holding your breath until you turn blue? All because you didn't get to play hero?
In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, "There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit." Maybe you should write that down Ed.
Later in the evening Mr. Mascera offered a little wisdom.
Mascera said Durkin's reaction may be a result of him being green.
"Most new council members get their feet wet gradually and learn the process and then act accordingly," he said.
He added, "There is no place for partisan politics at a municipal level. Partisan politics in my view get in the way of what is best for the community."
OK, Caldwell Democrats, it's time to muzzle your attack dog before he
embarrasses himself again. But in case he doesn't take the advice, we'll
be sure to have the Waambulance on standby outside the next council meeting.
Last night I finally McGyver-ed the generator into the furnace. We had heat! And Monday Night Football. So we were the happening spot. Around 11:30 I was out in the garage with my buddy Russ refilling the gas tank on the generator. Mere minutes after we finished he exclaimed "Look!" pointing toward his house.
And There Was Light. Everywhere.
On Facebook Nadz wagged, "that's why they call it electron day." Heh.
I'm told it was a crew from Texas who got us hooked up, rewired, and
reconnected. Man, I love Texas!
Apparently my "complaining" about our lack of power and heat is getting on at least one Facebook friend's nerves. She wrote a rather impassioned diatribe on my page last night after I noted that PSE&G has 90% of West Caldwell and 50% of North Caldwell restored but there is no info on what's going on in Caldwell. See, in case I didn't know, there are people worse off than me.
No shit Sherlock.
But sorry New York City, no National Guard for you!
Mayor Bloomberg has snubbed Borough President Markowitz's impassioned plea to bring the National Guard to Hurricane Sandy-scarred Brooklyn — arguing that approving the Beep's request would be a waste of federal manpower and turn the borough into a police state.
"We don't need it," Mayor Bloomberg said on Wednesday during a press update on the city's ongoing Hurricane Sandy cleanup. "The NYPD is the only people we want on the street with guns."
Maybe he thinks all the criminals' guns got washed away with the storm surge.
Meanwhile in Hoboken the National Guard seems to be doing the Lord's work. There are lots of photos at that link, just keep scrolling.
Locally, like I said earlier, some towns are getting their power back. And a few folks around Caldwell also report power being restored. My neighborhood is still stuck in the dark ages though.
Here, I'll let these guys complain for me.
"We are hurting down here," one woman says. "And we need help. Immediately."
The video then details Obama returning to the campaign trail.
"Don't boo, vote," the president is heard saying toward the end of the video. "Vote. Voting's the best revenge."
Don't worry Barry. I'm definitely gonna vote tomorrow.
Five days and counting. The post-Sandy frustration levels are building. We need information. But PSE&G is like the Sphinx. Their response is always the same — 7 to 10 days, maybe. I'm not holding my breath.
When I wake up in the morning I can see my breath.
In their latest "official" update they're still sticking to the flooded switching station story.
1. They told me the flooding in their pump stations is historic; never ever had anything this big happen yet.
2. Why have we not seen an army of trucks around here?
They said it is because they are handling the "behind the scenes" pump station stuff first.
They said they have 3,000 works; 600 imports just for trees and 100 experts/imports just for flooded pump stations.
I call bullshit. There's a switching station around the corner from me. It's deserted. And there's power along Bloomfield Avenue. That power doesn't come from magic unicorns. So if they've got power and we don't? It can't be because the switching station is flooded. Face it, PSE&G just doesn't care about us.
Major roads in Caldwell remain impassable, blocked by fallen trees and downed
power lines, right where they fell during the storm. Exiting our neighborhood
is like navigating a maze. The cops put up yellow tape and orange cones, and
told us to wait for
There have been PSE&G truck sightings. At Dunkin' Donuts. They load up on coffee and then vanish, destined for parts unknown. There are rumors of some streets getting power back. But as night falls the darkness envelopes us, and we're transported to something closer to North Korea than what we've come to expect from 21st century America.
Have you seen the devastation in Staten Island? They got slammed. And FEMA, Obama, Bloomberg, Red Cross? AWOL. When you rely on government to save you, government gets to decide if you're worth saving. After the Indonesian tsunami the U.S. Navy was able to air drop in supplies within 24 hours. It's been 5 days. Nobody is air-dropping supplies to Staten Island. Maybe the Navy doesn't know where it is. Or, more likely, Barry told them to "stand down."
Staten Island is filled with white, working-class Catholics. Not exactly an Obama (or Bloomberg) demographic.
More good news for today — gasoline
What is the U.N. sending us? Election monitors. Thanks! We'll be sure to return the favor the next time one of your pissant little menber countries gets wiped out by Mother Nature. I hope Con Ed turns your power back on last.
Oh well, time to go back outside and work on cleaning up the yard. Stay
warm folks. There's a Nor'easter headed our way, the forecast says snow
for Tuesday night. Yippee Kai Ay.
Sometime overnight AT&T got their cell service back up, my phone is working again! And that's all the good news I've got today.
When we woke up this morning the temperature was 40 degrees outside, and 50 inside. Even the cat was shivering.
I contacted PSE&G for an update on our power and they told me there were no reports of outages in my area. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? That's the same song-and-dance they gave my neighbors when they called too. Must be their standard response. Obviously their call center dudes don't have any info either. Heckuva way to run a railroad there Ralph.
Via an official Press Release from the Borough of Caldwell:
At the direction of Governor Chris Christie, Halloween will be celebrated on Monday, November 5, 2012.
Because Halloween is what's on everyone's mind, right? Must be, since this is like the 17th time the town has made an announcement about it. At least all the politicians have finally agreed on a date. Has anyone told PSE&G? I'm thinking Ralph ain't in the loop on this one.
For the latest information regarding power restoration in your area, please call PSE&G at 1-800-436-7734.
Gee, thanks for the tip. Oh wait, you guys are serious?
There is currently power on Bloomfield Avenue from Forest Avenue to Prospect Street. Many of the merchants in this area are open for business.
Which is exactly how things stood immediately after the storm passed. Progress? None. Thanks PSE&G!
cancelled their annual
teachers convention union meeting,
which was scheduled for next week in Atlantic City. Sadly most of AC is still
under water, and the devastation there is catastrophic. Fact is, there's no
place there for the NJEA to have a convention. So, good call.
And if you made plans for that artificial four-day-weekend, well sucks to be you I guess.
The schools are closed again, for the fourth day in a row. No word on Friday yet, but since PSE&G is harder to find than Waldo and only 2 schools have power, I doubt school will be open.
Still can't find ice. Or gasoline.
NJ Transit's #29 bus seems to be running again. And I saw a Decamp #33 go by yesterday so presumably at least some folks are able to get into New York City.
And finally, for the laugh of the day, while Barry and Chris Christie were helicoptering over the remains of the Jersey Shore, someone wrote "ROMNEY" in large letters in the sand at the north end of Point Pleasant Beach.
UPDATE 01 Nov 2012 12:50:
Just got the word that Caldwell public schools are closed tomorrow (Friday November 2nd) too.
UPDATE 01 Nov 2012 17:22:
Stop the presses! We might have power by Monday!
Mayor Dassing told The Caldwells Patch that she spoke with PSE&G.
During this difficult time we want to assure you all that we have been and will continue to be in constant contact with PSE&G. During the hurricane the main transfer station that services our area, located in the Ironbound section of Newark, was flooded and rendered useless. Subsequent sub stations across the region also were flooded, compounding the delivery of electric power to our streets.
PSE&G is working to restore and rebuild these sub stations and ultimately to return power to our streets. As of this writing, we have had a few streets come back. They are still telling us that anytime between now and Monday, Nov. 5th our power should be restored.
Here's hoping she's right!