Mattox In The Middle

Ted Mattox’s decision to run for mayor of Montclair may indeed become the center of local political controversy in 2008. John Reichman opines, from The Montclair Times:

In announcing his candidacy for mayor, Ted Mattox is promising “out-of-the-box thinking.” Mr. Mattox’s previous “out-of-the-box thinking” has consisted of suing his fellow council members and former running mates when they would not vote with him.
To date, this debacle has cost Montclair at least $200,000 in legal fees. Mr. Mattox’s lawsuit makes him unqualified for any position in town government, much less mayor.

It is also apparent from Mr. Mattox’s announcement that his campaign will consist of the same type of demagoguery and invective that is his style. He questions the council members’ “honesty and sincerity” – something he has done repeatedly before – without a shred of evidence to back it up.
He also attempts to denigrate his former running mates by calling them “career politicians.” I am not sure that this is the insult he intends it to be, but the fact is that all of the current council members have non-political careers and are paid a pittance for the extraordinary number of hours they spend on town matters. Mr. Mattox’s irresponsible mudslinging only serves to lower the level of discourse and to dissuade talented persons from being involved in public service.
One more thing – and this is addressed not only to Mr. Mattox but to anyone who runs for mayor – please do not insult our intelligence by promising to maintain or even increase services while lowering our taxes, without giving a single example of how this can be done. Tell us the services you want to eliminate and the people you want to fire before proclaiming that you can lower taxes.
JOHN REICHMAN
Montclair

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Funny but Mr. Rechman left out the fact that the rest of the Town Council filed a spurious lawsuit against Mattox accusing him of, in effect, doing his job.
    Teddy’s lawsuit stopped the stupid wasteful WAYFARING SIGNS Project that the town council had voted to spend $850,000 big ones on.
    They wouldn’t table the project until Ted sued.
    What JOHN REICHMAN is not telling us is that he’s been on committees appointed by REMSEN!

  2. You folks are very kind! The Curmudgeon will be there for you!!
    But you should also know, whether or not one agrees with John R’s assessment of “the lawsuit,” John is a TERRIFIC guy who lead the Joint Capital Investment Advisory Group. You know, the one that the Town Manager disbanded? The one that gave out all that intelligent analysis regarding Capital Projects?
    John has written extensively about town finances in an incredibly pointed way. He has stood up for what’s right and has stood up to the Council.
    In any event, The Curm sure hopes John will be among the many able Montclair residents helping run the town with the NEXT Council, the one that will APPRECIATE people!
    C

  3. Wayfinding! Another favorite topic!
    The Wayfinding project was a consultant’s delight! Estimated to cost at least $850,000, the intent was to put classy gold leaf wooden signs throughout the business district pointing “visitors” to the essential attractions in Montclair.
    You know those signs? The kind you see at Mystic Seaport or other early american attractions? Or Disneyland?
    Well, Montclair’s signs would do things give directions to the Art Museum. There would be the words “Art Museum” in gold leaf, an arrow and then letters such as “1.3 Miles.”
    Or they could say “Watchung Business District” with arrows and associated information.
    Surely the vast crowds of visitors wandering aimlessly about Montclair in search of such spots clearly would benefit!
    Mind you, we wouldn’t want one of these visitors to actually “ask” a real live Montclair person for directions, would we?
    But I digress.
    No one seemed to know where the Wayfinding project came from. With no parents in evidence it just seemed to have come from the general miasma.
    Once brought to light, the creature, er project, refused to die, however.
    No matter the lack of purpose, it just wouldn’t go away.
    Fearless Pegi Adam collected over 350 signatures on a petition and had several hundred more but the Council still moved ahead.
    On and on it was rushing until, one day, THE Lawsuit. And suddenly, the Wayfinding project was gone! Officials claimed it a miracle, or rather, a “coincidence.” The lawsuit came into being and the project disappeared.
    Now children, off to bed with you. And be good children tomorrow OR ……
    The Wayfinding Project will get you, gobbling up your allowance for the next thousand years to feed its insatiable appetite!

  4. Curm is 100% correct on Wayfinding. The council was pushing ahead with it regardless of the overwhelming public comments against it. I was at the meeting where the petition was given to the council. In addition, public comments were almost 100% against the signs (with the exception of 1 person from the MEDC).
    The program was pulled at a Tuesday meeting after the lawsuit was served on the previous Friday. This led to Remsen’s famous Watercooler posting that they had an informal meeting over the weekend, (as Curm says, by coincidence) to discuss pulling the program. Remsen backtracked on the meeting comment when reminded that “part” of the council can’t have a unannounced meeting to discuss how they would vote.
    So yes, the lawsuit saved the town approx. $850k.
    Here’s another fun fact. Earlier this year, the town council sent Mattox a letter agreeing to all of his terms in the lawsuit if he would drop it. They wanted a statement to the effect that while all future such contracts would go through a no-bid process, that the council agreed that the past no-bid process was “acceptable”.
    Mattox agreed to all terms with the exception that he didn’t want his name included in saying that the past process was acceptable (that was the whole point of the lawsuit), but that they could issue the statement leaving out his name.
    The council pulled the agreement with no further comment.
    so, the council agreed to accept the terms of the lawsuit, Mattox agreeed to drop the lawsuit, the council reneged and here we are. the council is continuing at our expense.
    One other little note, the council is using our money to defend themselves, which is fine. BUT, the council decided to countersue Mattox without taking a public vote to do so and which includes a vote on using our funds to pay for their lawsuit.
    So again, the town is using our money, not just to defend themselves, but to launch a countersuit that was never voted on, never subject to public comment because they had their feelings hurt.
    Way to go Ted, you have my vote.

  5. By the way, while I know there is no crack team of investigative journalists at the Baristanet, would it have been to much trouble to do more than lift a letter from the Montclair Times (which itself has no great investigative journalists?)
    How about calling Mattox for a rebuttal, or is this type of post supposed to let us know how the Baristanet feels about this particular candidate?

  6. It’s important to remember that the rules of sourcing, attribution and fair comment, which credible reporters need to follow, simply do not apply to the self-proclaimed “citizen journalists” who run this site.

  7. How about calling Mattox for a rebuttal, or is this type of post supposed to let us know how the Baristanet feels about this particular candidate?
    Mr. Mattox has posted here before. I look forward to reading his response.

  8. ” I know there is no crack team of investigative journalists at the Baristanet”
    there are no journalists here, why would there be a crack team?

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