Matthew Frankel: Our Children Deserve Better, Our Community Deserves Better

BY  |  Monday, Mar 02, 2015 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (46)


Each of us needs to be aware that over the last few years Montclair’s public servants, who want only the best for our children, are being bullied and attacked.

Come to a Board of Education meeting. Go on social media. Attack is the tactic of choice by a small group of people in our community.

They use buzzwords like “McCarthyism,” and “corporatization.” They cite easy to understand, political driven and poll tested reasons for the state of our District. They disrupt meetings like the AGAP group, where good people are trying to come together to build consensus. They create lawsuits against Board members. They issue OPRA, after OPRA request to the our school’s headquarters. They publicly question the integrity of long serving, beloved District staff. Most of all, they assume the worst in anyone who may disagree with their point of view. This is the playbook we now have grown accustomed in Montclair. If you look at these actions, solutions or ideas are not offered, only blame and criticism.

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Blog: Protect Historic Status Of Upper Montclair Train Station

BY  |  Monday, Feb 16, 2015 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (4)

Baristanet-BlogsThe following blog post is from Scott Kevelson, President of the group, Friends of Anderson Park:

Because Anderson Park is directly south of the Upper Montclair Railroad Station, Friends of Anderson Park has deep concerns about New Jersey Transit’s efforts to remove the station from the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Once federal preservation regulations are removed from the train station, the genie is out of the bottle: NJ Transit would have more freedom to develop and Anderson Park could be adversely affected by inappropriate construction across the street. Building on or beside the station could alter the park’s viewshed and destroy the historic feel not just of the park but of the Upper Montclair Village.

Upper Montclair Railroad Statio

A fire significantly damaged the station in 2006, but fortunately its historically significant porte-cochere — now the restaurant entrance — survived. The entire station was carefully rebuilt under preservation guidelines to ensure that it evoked the feel of the original 19th-century station and that it meshed with historic Upper Montclair. For more than 120 years, the station has been tightly interwoven into the architectural, historical and cultural fabric of Upper Montclair, and the train shaped our town into the suburban commuter community it is today.

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Blog: Montclair Historic Preservation Protections Dismantled

BY  |  Thursday, Jan 22, 2015 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (46)

Baristanet-BlogsLinda Cranston is co-founder of the Save Upper Montclair Facebook group:





Montclair’s historic preservation protections dismantled ….protection process has been eliminated, undermined or ignored by this administration…and NJ Transit starts effort to eliminate protection for the one Montclair train station.

The Montclair Historic Preservation Commission meets tonight, Thursday, January 22 at 7:30 pm, and this NJ Transit request has been requested to be on the agenda. The public is encouraged to attend and comment if possible.

Bill Hurlock, 1st ward councilor received letter from the State of NJ, as per a request from NJ Transit requesting the removal of the Upper Montclair RR station from both the NJ and National Registry of Historic Places. This would leave the station with no protection from demolition in the future. Bill is organizing a working group to oppose this. Contact Bill here.

In 2006, a fire took most of this Bellevue Ave station. Great pains were taken to rebuild it, replicating the original 1892 station, incorporating the only piece salvaged from the fire, the station’s covered carriage-way. A restaurant currently resides in the station on the tracks and adjacent to a parking lot, still zoned for 3 stories in the new master plan.

Historic towns attract visitors, higher income residents and consequent businesses all over the world. Visitors come and support Montclair’s local businesses now only because of Montclair’s small town historic ambiance. Common sense historic preservation is an economic no brainer.

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Essay: The Boomers’ Third Act

BY  |  Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 3:15pm  |  COMMENTS (20)

boomer 350 x 200It was always about the numbers. Whatever we did, we did in a crowd. There were 3.4 million babies born in 1946 — a record — and by the time those last two digits had reversed, 1964, we were 76 million. We marched through our lives like an army laying siege: filling schools to the bursting, stomping through the muddy fields of Bethel Farm, rushing into cities in a land grab of gentrification, then boomeranging back to the suburbs and issuing a baby boom echo of our own. Our sheer numbers turned toys — Frisbees, skateboards, hula hoops, Slinkys, Silly Putty — into phenomena. Television was our twin, coming of age alongside us. Together — the boob tube and us — we put the mass in mass media, grabbing the attention of demographers, sociologists and marketers of every kind.

We believed first and foremost in our youth, in the power of so many young people on the planet at one time. Ian Dury’s 1977 song, “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” became our anthem. We were never going to trust anyone over 30. We got smoked pot, giggled through screenings of “Reefer Madness” and thought we had invented irony. Continue Reading

Blog: Why Central Park is Montclair

BY  |  Friday, Dec 05, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (15)

Baristanet-BlogsThis past October at “Why Montclair is Montclair: the Role of Art and Architecture in the Early 20th Century” a panel discussion presentation held at the Montclair Art Museum, Panelist Diane Lewis, Rome Prize recipient and professor at the Cooper Union School of Architecture, brought to light how Olmsted’s Central Park is conceived as a three dimensional Hudson River Valley School painting. The Montclair Municipal Arts Society engaged John Nolen, a student of the Olmsteds, to plan a town conceived to preserve the natural beauty emblematic of George Inness’ and the other Montclair Artist Colony, Hudson River Valley painter’s works. Back then, visionary architect George Maher, a Frank Lloyd Wright colleague who in 1904 designed Montclair’s Gates Mansion stated, “peculiarity or originality in design arises from local reasons; the exactions of an educated public are essential for any improvement in art. Thus it was in Athens in the time of Pericles and also in Florence in the fifteenth century”

Lewis stated during her portion of the panel discussion, “This site of Montclair, is architecture before the buildings. In the most ancient sense, like a Greek or Roman site. Montclair is a geographical god- or gods-given place. This distinguishes it from a lot of other kinds of settlements.”


In other words, Montclair’s physical location at the base of the First Watchung Mountain, with a series of views either west towards the bluff or east towards New York City, a cameo on the horizon, makes it a perfect and wholly unique setting for a picturesque town.

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BLOG: Walnut St. Village and Grove Pharmacy Plaza Neighbors in Montclair… Do You Know ?

BY  |  Thursday, Nov 13, 2014 9:30am  |  COMMENTS (29)

Baristanet-BlogsLinda Cranston is co-founder of the Save Upper Montclair Facebook group:

The Montclair Master Plan is re-zoning Walnut Street for “highest intensity retail, commercial, and mixed-use corridors “ with up to 4 story condominium development throughout that village and around corner onto Grove Street.

It includes all of Walnut Street business district including the RR station park, RR parking lot used for farmers market, Deron school block and the park behind it used for outdoor events, Ball field on corner, 4 Story zoning goes around the corner onto Grove Street both ways to include the whole Grove Pharmacy plaza block and south on Grove St to the RR tracks.

Voting to approve may be Monday December 8 at next planning board meeting unless major objections arise from local residents.


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Opinion: Committee For A Healthy Montclair Writes in Support of Earned Sick Leave (Updated)

BY  |  Friday, Oct 31, 2014 3:06pm  |  COMMENTS (10)

sick leave 2You’ve heard from those against. Now, Cary Chevat and a long list of others write in support of the Earned Sick Leave resolution on the Montclair ballot next Tuesday. The letter also appears on the BlueWave NJ website

(Read the proposed ordinance here)

On Tuesday, November 4th, voters in Montclair will have the opportunity to join a growing number of New Jersey municipalities that allow private sector workers to earn paid sick days. A local ballot initiative would allow nearly all private sector workers to earn 3-5 days per year to care for themselves or their families when illness strikes. For voters who want to keep Montclair’s families, workplaces and local economy healthy, our top priority can be found at the bottom of the November 4th ballot.

For people with paid sick days, it can be easy to take them for granted. But nearly one quarter of adults in the United States have either lost their job or had their job threatened because of a family illness. For the over 40 percent of Montclair workers who lack paid sick days, every cold becomes a crisis and every child’s fever could spell economic catastrophe.


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Opinion: Residents Form Committee for a Responsible Sick Leave Ordinance (UPDATED)

Thursday, Oct 30, 2014 5:29pm  |  COMMENTS (15)

Residents Form Committee for a Responsible Sick Leave Ordinance

Update:This post previously listed names of persons named as committee members by the author. Harvey Susswein and Jerry Kapner have stated that their names were included erroneously. All names other than the author have been removed Baristanet will only add names that have been confirmed by email.

On November 4th, Montclair will vote on a proposed ordinance requiring all private sector employers in Montclair to provide sick leave to their employees. While universal sick leave is a laudable goal, we have significant questions regarding this ordinance. While we are generally in support of passage of a sensible local or state law to address this important topic, the proposed ordinance is not sensible. Instead it is a canned version of an ordinance that the proposers have been seeking to enact in various jurisdictions throughout New Jersey as a precursor to the passage a state wide law. Montclair is being used as a pawn in a larger political game and this proposed ordinance is a part of that effort.

• Montclair residents have not had any input into the creation of the ordinance. It was proposed at the last minute by its drafters to the Council which did not act in time to prevent a legal loophole from placing the ordinance on the upcoming ballot. Most Montclair residents likely have not read the ordinance and are unaware of its existence nor of the fact that the Council cannot amend it for three years. Is this backdoor approach the way to pass legislation that will impact so many people? Wouldn’t it be better to allow the Council to study the bill, have public comment and then enact it if necessary?

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BLOG: Master Plan Not Developed For The Good of Montclair

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (40)

BLOG: Master Plan Not Developed For The Good of MontclairLinda Cranston is co-founder of the Save Upper Montclair Facebook group

I have been following deliberations for the new Montclair master plan since the the March 2013 version was made public and one thing is clear. This master plan has NOT been developed for the good of Montclair. Throughout meetings, concerns about the lack of financial and infrastructure analysis has been expressed and ignored by town leadership. Taxes revenue from current property owners and renters will pay the bills for new infrastructure required for the high rises and for town and school services needed by new residents. In return we will get more population density and congestion. There is not much time left to stop this plan. The planning board vote on approval could be in August or September.

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BLOG: Protecting the Right to Vote…Or Not to Vote in America

BY  |  Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014 5:00pm  |  COMMENTS (45)

vote sign flag neThe following blog is written by Christopher J. Durkin, the Essex County Clerk.

Should we as a nation mandate voting by our citizens in every election under penalty of law? 
My election day polling site was approximately 100 steps from the front door of my house. I turned 18 in 1986 and cast my first vote at Morrow Memorial Church in Maplewood where my mother served as an election day challenger. I signed the poll book and stepped behind the curtain of a hulking metal mechanical voting machine where I voted for candidates for Congress, County Surrogate, County Executive, two members for Township Council and six ballot questions that had a direct impact on policy and the taxpayer’s pocketbook.  
The five minutes it took to voice my opinion felt important. Currently 22 countries require its citizens to vote by law, although only 11 of these countries truly enforce prescribed penalties on non-voting offenders. Australia fines its citizens $20 if they do not vote. If the $20 fine is not paid then the court will increase the penalty to $170 and slap the offender with a criminal conviction. In Brazil, if you fail to cast a vote in an election, you are barred from obtaining a passport and must appear before an electoral court where you can make good by voting in the next two elections. If a citizen does not cast a ballot in Bolivia, the government can deny you a salary for three months. 

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Featured Comment

This is really great, thanks for the article and video. I taught my little ones how to ride a few years ago through the usual lessons of pushing them off and yelling "pedal!" I wish I could go back and try this out! Perhaps I'll check with my wife and see if she wants to go for one more so we can test out your method.

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