MontClairVoyant: A Parade of Quips About July 4th Parading and GOP Charade-ing



Why wasn’t Upper Montclair’s Trump-supporting congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen chosen as grand marshal for our town’s terrific July 4th parade?

Tom S. Jefferson

Of the world’s 7.5-billion population, Rodney was in the mix as the 7,499,999,999th choice. Better luck next year, Mr. F!

Only Chris “On the Beach” Christie was lower on the list. Meanwhile, I was mailed Frelinghuysen’s Summer 2017 newsletter a few days ago, and now can’t unsee that right-wing Republican’s words. What to do?

Spin Is a Sin

Try a “Harry Potter” memory wipe, like the one Hermione Granger did on her parents in England — though America’s lack of single payer makes that amnesia procedure quite pricey here.


Reminds me of how Rodney said in the newsletter that he’s working to “improve our health care,” even though he voted for a House bill that would knock 23 million people off insurance! Orwellian, eh?

By George, It Is!

With many national GOP politicians, one can’t spell “Republican” without the letters in “lie.”

Frelinghuysen also said in the newsletter that he gets “enthusiastic reviews” for his telephone town halls, even though most people hate them because he dodges questions, stumbles over answers, etc. Comment?

M. Barrassing

And, as the great grassroots group NJ 11th for Change often notes, Rodney avoids in-person town halls. Maybe he’ll hold one when Trump starts acting decently; we’ll all be long dead by then, so Frelinghuysen won’t have to face an audience.

Meanwhile, our school district has laid off dozens of talented/much-needed staffers, yet I see online that it’s still seeking new hires. What am I missing here?

Wring in the New

You’re missing an updated resume. But I agree — it doesn’t look good. I suspect Montclair’s well-staffed central office includes a Deputy Superintendent for Bad Optics.

At least our town’s “Annual Drinking Water Quality Report” arrived in the mail this week — and I was particularly interested in Methyl Tert Butyl Ether!

Fred E. Mercury

Didn’t they play the Wellmont last month?

Getting back to our town’s wonderful July 4th parade, were you impressed to once again watch an Independence Day event that’s not just the realm of white conservatives?

Bette C. Ross

Yes! I saw multicultural marchers, progressive participants, and signs like “Dissent is Patriotic” as I stood near Midland Avenue’s northern end — and felt much closer to Watchung Avenue than to Trump, Christie, and Rodney.



Dave Astor, author, is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.




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  1. Apparently the Council is going to vote on a series of fiscal resolutions in a mid-July Council meeting, an un-televised conference meeting at that, and not publish the resolutions ahead of time.

    Seriously, Bob & Renee? Just contribute to Donald’s 2020 Campaign.

  2. In the category of either “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up”, or, in the category of all men being flawed (women to be determined?), the Roman Catholic Church says no to gluten-free. Just made my weekend!

  3. Thank you for the two comments, Frank! Serious, yet with droll elements. 🙂

    I wasn’t aware of the Township Council being kind of secretive about upcoming fiscal resolutions. Whatever the TC may or may not do, government should be as transparent as possible — though I realize the reality is often otherwise.

    Re that gluten-free ruling, organized religion has some very strange rules sometimes. If a devout Catholic needs to be gluten-free, that should be respected. One must ask: WWGD? (What Would Gluten Do?)

  4. Dave,

    It is not/never was about the gluten-free Catholics. The rule is about the gluten-eating, ‘progressive’ majority. Rome wants – and more importantly, needs this rule to get coverage.
    Just doing my part for the thinking Catholics out there.

    PS: the Council is not being secretive, even kinda. They are just doing what they know. They don’t know any other way. It’s time for a change.

  5. Thanks for the follow-up comment, Frank!

    In 2020, after eight years of this reelected Township Council, it would be nice to see at least some different members. There are positives to the current TC — for instance, its members seem to work well together, and this was not always the case with previous TCs. But there are also important negatives — such as the depressing overdevelopment bent of the mayor and some other 2012-2020 TCers.

  6. Yes, the Roosevelt Era was of unquestionable benefits to America, but I like the 22nd Amendment.

  7. Frank, a THREE-term Township Council would indeed start approaching FDR territory. As you know, he was President from 1933 to 1945 — which correlates to the 1,933 to 1,945 new housing units which may rise on/near Bloomfield Avenue. Well, I’m exaggerating (somewhat).

  8. “I wasn’t aware of the Township Council being kind of secretive about upcoming fiscal resolutions. Whatever the TC may or may not do, government should be as transparent as possible — though I realize the reality is often otherwise.”

    The Council has now posted their fiscal policy resolutions. Interesting.

    Debt Reduction Policy

    In February, 2013, our total debt stood at $212MM. The long-term debt reduction target was to get it down to $120MM by 2022. A very impressive goal of a $92MM reduction. I thought it unrealistic at the time, but discarded the “if it is too good to be true,…” lesson.

    The new policy has revised the target to get down to $160MM by 2023. Still an achievement, but quite the significant deviation to communicate.

    Fund Balance Policy

    I didn’t know what to expect here. I was hoping for better & clear accounting standard classification of fund balances. Like what is spendable and what is not. Of the spendable, what is restricted, limited, assigned or unassigned. We’ll just have to wait until the next decade for this. Oh well, the new policy is a start.

  9. Thanks, Frank, for the very interesting information! That IS a very different debt-reduction goal, albeit still impressive if achieved (as you note). Paying less for debt service can make a big difference.

    I do wonder about what’s being done to achieve the debt reduction. Is all this overdevelopment part of the strategy? If so, it’s a devil’s bargain. Yes, some new ratables come in, but money has to be spent on infrastructure, educating new students, possibly hiring additional public-safety people, etc. Also, it’s my understanding that the PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreements Montclair gives developers result in tax money going to the municipal budget but not the school budget.

    I might be wrong about some of the above, so please correct me if necessary, Frank. 🙂

  10. No corrections.

    Few really know how the specifics. Most really don’t care.

    Yes, the schools levy costs are being reallocated. Not a bad thing. They still haven’t prove they can manage a 9-figure budget. They think money grow on trees. It kinda does, but that’s for another day.

  11. Glad there were no corrections, Frank. Things can get rather complicated in Montclair, and it’s hard to remember everything.

    I hear what you’re saying about the school budget. There have certainly been some questionable decisions made over the years — with money not always spent wisely. Still, when the school budget isn’t balanced, teachers and paraprofessionals and other important people get laid off — and they and students suffer. A number of those jobs could be saved if a portion of the PILOT money went to the school budget.

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