The Montclair Tree Slate

Not sure yet if Cary Africk is throwing his hat into the 2008 mayoral race, but if he does, we’ve got his slogan. “Save a tree, vote Cary” and “No free tree left unplanted.”
Campaign promise: “A tree on every street.” We can even sell him some leafy hats cheap.
From the Montclair Times…

Cary Africk is troubled that Montclair will not be receiving as much as $240,000 worth of free trees from the New Jersey Tree Foundation.
Africk, who is a member of the Montclair Environmental Commission’s Shade Tree Subcommittee, contends that municipal officials ignored an offer for up to 75 complimentary trees.
“The municipality is turning down very high-quality, no-cost trees with planting labor and it’s just plain silly,” Africk said. “Other towns around us including Glen Ridge, and Essex County, have jumped on the offer.”
Africk is interested in the Tree Foundation’s “Green Streets Cool Schools” program, which involves planting trees along streets and at schools within the Lower Passaic and Author Kill Watersheds.

Considering what trees might be worth and how many we’ve lost, could Montclair could be passing up big $$$?

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  1. I’m positive that you have the slogan wrong.
    It’s going to be more like.
    Lets get spending under control.
    Montclair, no more double digit tax increases
    Come on Cary- say you’ll run.
    There’s a need for someone who wants transparency in government and someone who will listen to the residents of Montclair – as well as someone who will keep spending under control and who will apply for grants and accept help that is offered from businesses, the state and residents!
    We want someone who will allow the residents to have a part in government not someone who announces the srong time for town council meetings in order to fake people out and so no residents are able to attend. Not someone who routinely breaks the sunshine laws and doesn’t post the FULL BUDGET on the town website but makes you go to the Town Clerk to read the FULL BUDGET!
    Wasn’t there an offer from a private company that wanted to landscape and maintain the island in Edgemont park- all for no $$$.
    Didn’t the town turn it down or ignore it – look at what the island looks like now.

  2. Cary Africk, isn’t that the guy who posts on the Watercooler about the Montclair budget, BOE, and other strange things the mayor and Town Council spend out money on?
    Like moving the ballfield 17 feet for $750,000. Or the wayfaring sign thing that was going to cost us $800,000+.
    I like him!
    He’s suggested that the town government listen to the towns people who have volunteered and are working on town committees.
    He’s also asked exactly what the microburst cost us and if there were detailed records kept for tree removal costs.
    I remember hearing that tree companies were allowed to just submit bills with no accompanying documentation.
    And that the town just paid up – WITH OUR MONEY
    I bet Cary wouldn’t have let that happen.

  3. Add me to the list of supporters.
    but either way I’m still going to be wearing my “Stop Spending My Money!” t-shirt.

  4. I know Cary Africk. He’s a good guy.
    He’s both smart and has common sense.
    He both asks (the right) questions and listens to the answers.
    He’s managed both personnel and corporations.
    He builds teams and consensus.
    He’s good with people and with numbers.
    And more…

  5. ROC must be on vacation. From what I remember, he isn’t fond of Cary’s views.
    Actually, that’s one more thing in Cary’s favor.

  6. I can sometimes support a policy of “Author Kill” myself, especially if it’s by drowning. But I nonetheless suspect that the Montclair Times citation really refers to the “Arthur Kill.”
    But if the issue of $240,000 in arboreal reimbursement is all it takes to “trouble” Cary Africk, Montclair might really wish for a more sanguine, less excitable sort as its next mayor.

  7. “But if the issue of $240,000 in arboreal reimbursement is all it takes to “trouble” Cary Africk, Montclair might really wish for a more sanguine, less excitable sort as its next mayor.”
    Funny, as anyone who has met Cary knows how “unexciteable” he is. And I mean that in a good way as I’ve seen him in action at many town council meetings. I do hope Cary runs for some position on the next town council.

  8. But if the issue of $240,000 in arboreal reimbursement is all it takes to “trouble” Cary Africk, Montclair might really wish for a more sanguine, less excitable sort as its next mayor.
    Posted by cathar | August 16, 2007 3:16 PM
    I would certainly prefer a Mayor or Town Council member who is troubled that we haven’t taken an opportunity to save some money rather than one who has spend spend spend as his/her mantra.
    I take it that cathar would prefer the “big” spender. Too bad you don’t live in Montclair cathar, then you’d know why we are all “TROUBLED” by Remsend/Hartnett and their big spenders.

  9. from the Montclair Times Letters from readers 8/15/07
    Dollars and sense
    Wednesday, August 15, 2007
    Montclair needs creative leadership. Schools, the local economy, redevelopment, parking, refuse pickup and more. All require creativity.
    We committed to building a new $40-million-plus school. It looked affordable, but now we are scrambling to hold borrowing costs down. And $40M? Do we really think that’s a big enough number? And that’s just the capital budget. How about an operating budget?
    Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for spending. Carefully. On the right things. For exmple, I’ve heard that the new school will only add 150 new “seats.” Is that enough to accomplish the reduced class sizes we need?
    And while we focus our spending on a new building, what about our teachers, whose salaries haven’t kept pace with inflation over the last 20 years? Moreover, if we expect to keep the best, where do our pay scales fall in com-parison to the best of the schools?
    There’s more. How do we accommodate residents who have no parking options other than the street? And, why must we prohibit overnight street parking?
    As to trash, in 2005 we invested in a study of our current trash collection methods. Recommendations were made to root out inefficiencies and extra costs. Have the changes been implemented? How many other studies are sitting on shelves, ignored?
    Our budgets need more visibility. Our operating budget needs detail so that residents can see where money is being spent. Today’s budget data is just too obtuse.
    And as to capital expenses? I think every capital expenditure over $50,000 should have a sign identifying the project and the cost. For example, the recent Woodman Field “upgrade” should have had a big sign telling everyone just what their $750,000 bought. So should other capital projects.
    Vision, sensitivity to needs of the entire population, transparency, fiscal responsibility. The time has come.

  10. My questioning of the use of the word “troubled” refers to the very bad writing that is an earmark of the Montclair Times, dearest HidingIn…. Surely in a world full of terrorists and drunk drivers, to be “troubled” over trees is either a wild exaggeration or a wild overreaction.
    But then, of course, you can’t ever tell bad writing from good, now can you? Perhaps the matron can change your meds for you today, that might help. Wait till after “All My Children,” however.

  11. Seems to me that Montclair, among other towns, plant trees on a regular basis. There is a constant need to replace old, damaged and diseased trees. The town would have this as budget item which would include the the equipment, labor and TREES. So where is the problem with 240K in donation to the process? Why would this be anything but win/win?

  12. ah cathar you big spender,
    I didn’t know that soap was still on. Do you tape it or are you there plopped in front of your TV every day to watch it.
    If the poor writing in the article mentioned above really “troubles” you so much perhaps you should write to its author:
    Erica Zarra at
    I’m sure that a suggestion from such as yourself, that in addition to running a spell check on her articles that maybe she should read them before they go to press, would be appreciated.
    OOPS- am at work- there goes that pesky alarm again- gotta go.

  13. Why would this be anything but win/win?
    Posted by Ambidextrous | August 17, 2007 12:49 PM
    It’s because someone else suggested it and no one wants to fill out the form or schedule the front loader and crew- too much trouble- for them.
    And then, the people of Montclair might also find out that the town isn’t planting replacement trees, or is planting the wrong trees, or hasn’t bothered to apply for the free trees for years.
    When asked about the trees, Joe Harnett said “we don’t need no stinkin trees”.

  14. I heard that Hartnett also said ala Alexander Haig “I’m in control here”
    Both Haig and Hartnett are/were incorrect.
    Hartnett should remember that he reports to the Mayor and Town Council and they they report to us, the taxpayers.

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