Selma Avdicevic: Let’s Get to Work

Monday, May 07, 2012 10:15am  |  COMMENTS (44)

Let me start by saying: I love this town.

The reason I am running for the 2nd Ward Councilor is because I want to see a better future for this town and all its residents, and this is how.

What are some of the most pressing problems we are faced with?

High taxes

Crushing debt

Decrease in services

Average schools

Empty storefronts

Now, when you peel back the layers of the onion, these issues, it all comes down to one thing: the way we manage our MONEY.

What do I know about managing finances? I’ve been called a soccer mom, a nice girl, newbie, too young, too inexperienced. For the last four years, I have owned a small business, based here in Montclair, called Woolly Boo. So, I know how to manage a business with limited time and resources.

What you may not know is that I also spent nearly 10 years of my career in commercial real estate management, at some point being responsible for more than 15 million square feet of Manhattan office space. I also have a Masters degree in Real Estate Investment and Finance from New York University. And I have worked for several major investment banking firms as a debt underwriter, where I handled more than $5 billion in securities. So, I know a thing or two about debt as well.

I am a dedicated and hardworking person, independent thinker who likes to hear all sides of the story before making a decision. I have a strong skill set and business acumen that can be effectively utilized in the municipal government. If I get elected as a 2nd Ward Councilor, I promise to be responsive, responsible, and accountable to the residents of Montclair.

My resume speaks for itself. I bring the experience, financial training, and creative thinking to the table. I ask for your vote, because it is time to get to work.

Selma Avdicevic

Candidate for 2nd Ward Councilor


  1. POSTED BY johnqp  |  May 07, 2012 @ 10:52 am

    My 2nd ward vote will be cast for Selma.

  2. POSTED BY willjames  |  May 07, 2012 @ 10:57 am

    The perception, based on aggregate test scores, that Montclair’s schools are merely “average” is inaccurate. They’re actually high-functioning schools, with top-ranking test results, if you know how to read the state data.

    The schools that rank high in NJ Monthly’s yearly “Best Schools” issues are consistently found in districts that lack diversity of socio-economic status (SES). Social scientists who have studied educational outcomes keep arriving at the same conclusion: SES is the most important correlative factor with educational attainment. High SES students do better than their peers in the aggregate. Low SES students do much worse than the average.

    New Jersey is a strange state. Many of its 566 municipalities are effectively forms of segregation-by-municipal-border, carved out of larger municipalities in the 1890s for the primary purpose of establishing a more uniform school district in terms of student-demographics. The schools in those new districts became “better” overnight, and have continued to be “better” than the districts they seceded from.

    Montclair is an outlier in this regard; north and south didn’t go their separate ways during the gold-rush of the 1890s. And that is a good thing overall. But it necessarily means that our overall performance looks middling, because our schools educate a large population of students living in poverty or on the edge of it.

    In my experience so far in Montclair, the parents who worry about the “mediocre” performance of the Montclair schools are generally middle-class or higher; i.e., high-SES. And the schools they tout as comparatively better are districts such as Glen Ridge, Millburn, and Tenafly–all three of which are largely white, high-SES communities.

    My initial gut reaction to high-SES parents’ worries was to guess that their children, and children like them, were probably getting as good an education as their peers in these other systems, and that the parents were failing to understand the unfair apples-to-oranges comparison that NJ Monthly was engaging in. So, I went looking for data at the NJDOE site. What I found confirmed my suspicion.

    These three Google docs linked to below compare Glen Ridge, Millburn, and Tenafly to Montclair, based on the performance of each district’s population of white students (which is the closest proxy we have to “high-SES” students) in the NJASK and HSPA tests:

    Glen Ridge:



    As you can see, the results are essentially equivalent in these four districts (and actually, Montclair outperforms Glen Ridge).

    The acceptance by otherwise intelligent adults of the NJ Monthly rating of the Montclair school system is all too typical, but it is not accurate. For students from middle-class and higher households, the schools in Montclair are very good.

  3. POSTED BY normal  |  May 07, 2012 @ 11:25 am

    thanks for these, willjames. you shared these before and i had a chance to review them…

    now, do you know what the problem is with this analysis? nearly half of our students are not white or from the high-ses, as you say. so, until we do right by all the students in this school district, not just white, rich kids, our schools are average, at best…

    my kids are in public schools, and they are doing well. some of their friends are not, a combination of many factors….

    my vote goes to selma…

  4. POSTED BY huh_wha  |  May 07, 2012 @ 11:34 am

    Unlike those candidates who are tediously throwing mud at one another, Selma has responded thoughtfully and fully to every question that’s been posed to her (including the recent silly “Selma doesn’t understand commercial real estate” attacks). Although it means voting cross-ticket, for me Harvey Susswein (Wharton MBA and 30-year career as an insurance-services executive) and Selma look like the experienced, serious professionals this town needs.

  5. POSTED BY willjames  |  May 07, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    My point is that “average” is a meaningless adjective to describe Montclair’s schools. It’s lazy. It shows that the speaker hasn’t thought critically about the issues.

    But you’re right to point out that a complete analysis needs to look at the students who are not wealthy or white. The next thing on my list of analyses to do is to compare how Montclair’s students from low-income households are doing vis a vis their peers in other districts where there are meaningful numbers of such students. The comparisons there are more difficult to do. I’m on the lookout for other districts that are acknowledged to be doing a good job educating disadvantaged students. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  6. POSTED BY paine  |  May 07, 2012 @ 11:53 am

    Does anyone know how to search for lawsuits?

    I overheard a discussion while getting coffee this morning. All I heard was “multimillion dollar lawsuit,” “bankruptcy,” and “what happens if the mayor resigns?”

    I can’t find anything with Google. I tried all these searches:

    Jerry Fried lawsuit
    Karen Turner lawsuit and Karen Turner PTA lawsuit
    Robert Jackson lawsuit
    Harvey Susswein lawsuit and Harvey Susswein zoning lawsuit

    I was trying to scoop Baristanet, Patch, the Times. If there is a lawsuit, maybe we can break the news as a group?

    Email me or share it here.
    (Disclosure: I’ve said I expect to vote for Turner, but not if there is a legit lawsuit that will hang over the next council.)

  7. POSTED BY bitpusher  |  May 07, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

    “I overheard a discussion while getting coffee this morning. All I heard was “multimillion dollar lawsuit,” “bankruptcy,” and “what happens if the mayor resigns?”

    What makes you so sure that they were refering to Montclair?

  8. POSTED BY bitpusher  |  May 07, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

    “But you’re right to point out that a complete analysis needs to look at the students who are not wealthy or white.”

    Wealthy families of any race or ethnicity can always opt out of the public school and go to private school. Those of more modest means have no alternatives at this time.

    Quest anyone?

  9. POSTED BY dazedandconfused  |  May 07, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

    Paine, I find it hard to believe you didn’t find anything when you googled Robert Jackson and lawsuit, hmmm.

  10. POSTED BY complainerpuss  |  May 07, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    I overheard a discussion while getting coffee this morning. All I heard was “multimillion dollar lawsuit,” “bankruptcy,” and “what happens if the mayor resigns?” I can’t find anything with Google.

    Did you try Ask Jeeves?

  11. POSTED BY walleroo  |  May 07, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

    Either Adicevic has incredible skin or she is very good with the makeup brush.

    I know, I know, it has nothing to do with anything. So shoot me.

  12. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  May 07, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

    I think posting these rumors is totally unfair and inappropriate. Any lawsuit is being handled in the proper forum – the courts. If you have a question of a candidate, please consider contacting them directly.

  13. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  May 07, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

    Sorry everyone, it was me, at starbucks, running my mouth off about my weekend.

    “(my) mullet, collar, (and) vermillion leisure suit.” ” catastrophe” and “what happens when the (8-track tape) “player rewinds”

  14. POSTED BY raeven  |  May 07, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

    Come now, this is NJ–as if any politician would step down b/c of involvement with a lawsuit/legal matter. It’s practically a requirement in this state.

  15. POSTED BY paine  |  May 07, 2012 @ 1:44 pm


    Crowd sourcing and citizen journalism are perfectly acceptable these days with the decline in media coverage. You and I do it all the time when we report observations from the meetings we attend.

    And, it’s not at all unfair to work together as a group researching an issue that could affect all of us.

    I’m hoping a lawyer on the thread would have access to a database of lawsuits. If there is one, they could share it. We have a right to decide if it is relevant.

  16. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  May 07, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

    Paine with little more to go on that “i overheard while getting my coffee” It’s hardly anything. And it is irresponsible to spread rumors. In fact you may have even made up this rumor because you don’t even know which mayor they were talking about. A TV show? A mayor in another town?

    Personally, I suspect you’ll float this “overheard” conversation. Then another new poster will mention some tangential piece of information “indicating” that it refers to some candidate or another. Then one of the rabid new screaming-meanie posters will repeat it ad infinitum and then (whadya know?) one of the candidates will issue a statement that “there’s no law suit hanging over OUR head, unlike some things we’re hearing about another slate”.

    Better get a move-on with phase 2, time’s a-wasting.

  17. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  May 07, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    Sorry, I can’t buy this. Journalism, citizen or not, has canons that we should aspire to adhere to in spirit and practice. Lobbing this unattributed watercolor talk 24 hours before an election without even a hint of due diligence on your part does not come close to the standards you espouse.
    I hope some lawyers and journalists weighs in as I think they would agree with me.

  18. POSTED BY mountiebred  |  May 07, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

    Selma, as to your opening words…..”Let me start by saying: I love this town.”

    Did you not, on a Montclair blog (and who cares which one), say that you are telling all your friends, in so many words, STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM MONTCLAIR AS YOU CAN?

  19. POSTED BY deadeye  |  May 07, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

    It’s obviously a sex scandal.

  20. POSTED BY paine  |  May 07, 2012 @ 2:26 pm


    It worked when we all chipped in on the financial disclosure forms.

    I don’t have access to a legal database. Someone with access or know how could check to see if there is a lawsuit.

    And, how am I being unfair? Being too public?

    And your right, it could be a TV show, which is why I’m hoping someone with access would check.

  21. POSTED BY walleroo  |  May 07, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

    There could be a lawsuit hanging over any one of the candidates, but there is no legal precedent for a suit being brought against a marsupial. Therefore, the only safe vote is a write-in vote for walleroo.*

    *Disclosure: I paid myself $5000 to write this message.

  22. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  May 07, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

    I heard ugly rumors and did my research long before now. If you want to satisfy yourself, try Googling Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly.

  23. POSTED BY nickcharles  |  May 07, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

    While I’ve been critical of some of the “a campaign just issued a press release, let’s post it in its entirety right now” aspect of Baristanet’s coverage of the election, I will say some of the other items have been great, and it’s certainly preferable to, say, the Montclair Times, which is featuring four stories on its website right now, one about why you shouldn’t recycle pizza boxes and antoher about events at Watchung Booksellers.

    Maybe someone should wake up the editor and let him know there’s an election tomorrow.

  24. POSTED BY bebopgun  |  May 07, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

    I thought it was a Bausch & Lomb advert.

  25. POSTED BY nielmtc  |  May 07, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

    just out of curiosity, I did google Robert Jackson and lawsuit- there is another Robert Jackson who is NYC Councilman.

    Let’s stick to the local candidates and stop starting false rumors, esp the day before the election!

  26. POSTED BY stayhyphy  |  May 07, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

    paine, go to It is only .10 per page to view all public court documents after you sign up. If you know in which district the suit was filed it will be easier. You can search any district in the country. Pacer is a great tool.

    Also, Selma is solid, one of only a few that really gets it.

  27. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  May 07, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    She does have great skin.

  28. POSTED BY herbeverschmel  |  May 07, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    I can’t wait till this election is over and these people leave the forum. I miss sparring and defeating my favorite opponent, Spiro.

  29. POSTED BY paine  |  May 07, 2012 @ 3:43 pm


    “paine, go to It is only .10 per page to view all public court documents after you sign up. If you know in which district the suit was filed it will be easier. You can search any district in the country. Pacer is a great tool.”

    Thanks! Waiting for my account to be accepted at

  30. POSTED BY stayhyphy  |  May 07, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

    No problem, it takes an hour or so, the system is not the greatest however the doc filing functionality is uniform across all districts which is super convenient. The search function is also pretty efficient and if a given name is part of a proceeding this tool will locate the case and provide all the documentation.

  31. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  May 07, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

    Does anyone know if the Montclair Election Commission study on moving the Municipal elections considered asking the BOE to have a late-opening for the schools on Election Day?

  32. POSTED BY walleroo  |  May 07, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

    I feel the same way, herb. Carpetbaggers go home. Leave us to our pathetic squabbling.

  33. POSTED BY Tom Traubert  |  May 07, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

    FYI, PACER is only for federal cases. It won’t help you at all if what you’re looking for was filed in state court.

  34. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  May 07, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    I’d really rather discuss her skin at this point. The rest is so….ugly. On Wednesday, it’ll be back to herb, ‘roo, ROC, Mrs. Martta, Nellie and Holly’s cocktails.

  35. POSTED BY willjames  |  May 07, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

    Too bad about what happened to this thread. I thought I had raised a valid qualm about Ms. Avdicevic’s characterization of Montclair’s school system. Major detour with the “lawsuit” B.S.

  36. POSTED BY paine  |  May 07, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

    Tom Traubert,

    “FYI, PACER is only for federal cases. It won’t help you at all if what you’re looking for was filed in state court.”

    Still waiting for my account. Is there anything for state court?


  37. POSTED BY mountiebred  |  May 07, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

    Listen to Karen Turner’s Own Words [9/30/10] About The Library, The Arts & Trees

  38. POSTED BY Tudlow  |  May 07, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

    willjames, your point is very valid–thank you for posting it. This says it best:

    It shows that the speaker hasn’t thought critically about the issues.

    Beautiful skin aside, I couldn’t agree more.

  39. POSTED BY bebopgun  |  May 07, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

    Willjames, you are of course correct. Your analysis not only applies to MTC but most school districts. Most people look at a rating and make a decision, like those who only apply for colleges in the ‘top tier’ thinking every place else is ‘average.’

    Only in Montclair & Lake Wobegone are all the kids above average.

  40. POSTED BY paine  |  May 07, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

    Cary gave me the search watchtower lorterdan, which brings up several stories:

    According to, there appears to be an open lawsuit between Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. and Lorterdan Properties at Ramapo I, LLC

    Where’s Linda Moss when you need her? It looks like a serious real estate lawsuit. Maybe above Patch and Baristanet. Or, why don’t you give it a try Walleroo and RoC?

  41. POSTED BY dazedandconfused  |  May 07, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

    Linda Moss is a HUGE Jackson supporter, this is a serious lawsuit and he could be in a lot of trouble.

  42. POSTED BY normal  |  May 07, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

    why do people continue making this same (frankly “racist”) argument and hide behind diversity as the reason for our average schools; i honestly don’t get this

    the schools are here to work for everyone and accepting average as good enough is absurd

  43. POSTED BY sohobound  |  May 07, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

    OMG. If we elect Jackson for Mayor, we’ll all be walking around on egg shells hoping he doesn’t have to file for bankruptcy. That would be just a little embarrassing.

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