MontClairVoyant: The Directions on This Column’s GPS – Guns, Politicians, Superintendents



After America’s latest horrific/preventable/infuriating gun massacre on Valentine’s Day, NRA-bought Republicans again said little more than “thoughts and prayers.” Before those spineless right-wingers hopefully get voted out, how should they be punished for favoring guns over student lives?

GOP: Gutless Old Party

They could be forced to view high-definition photos of Edgemont Park’s messy renovation.


Gasp! You monster! But isn’t it heartening that Montclair’s Democratic congressman, Donald Payne Jr., proudly has an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association?

Gun Sense and Sensibility

Sure beats the stance of another “F”: Frelinghuysen, the Republican congressman for Upper Montclair who’s been his usual useless self on America’s gun scourge — earning the far-right former “moderate” the title of Mr. NRA: Not Running Again.


As of Feb. 21, there was nothing on Rodney’s website, Facebook page, or Twitter page about the Feb. 14 carnage. With retirement nearing, wouldn’t he have little to lose criticizing the NRA like Florida’s impressive student survivors are doing?

Profile in Cowardice

Frelinghuysen did say on social media that county colleges are important, and I commend him for that bold, brave, gutsy, fearless, daring, valiant, heroic, courageous stance. Thank you, Rodney, for giving me a thesaurus moment.


Rodney is going and a new Montclair superintendent is coming. Anything to say about the three finalists announced at Feb. 20’s Board of Education meeting?

Thrice Capades

If Montclair’s skilled assistant superintendent for equity, curriculum, and instruction is chosen from among the three, her title will shrink from seven words to one word — the most downsizing since 2008’s economic crisis.


Dr. Kendra Johnson and the other finalists (from the Passaic and Freehold school districts) will be questioned Feb. 26. Great to have that public forum, but isn’t it annoying that queries had to be pre-submitted and are being massaged by the BOE?

Spurning Spontaneity

VERY annoying. I once tried to massage a question and ended up with smudges on my computer screen. Fortunately, the smudges bore a striking resemblance to Yankee sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.


Also on Feb. 20, the BOE voted 3-2-1 and 4-0-2 on two resolutions. Do those three abstentions have any worth?

Not-Yes-or-No Flo

Put ’em on eBay and see what happens.


The BOE voted 3-2-1 to explore the possibility of bringing back public Pre-K to Montclair if the state funds it, and 4-0-2 to support educating all students regardless of immigration status. Comment?

Tally & Bloom

Pre-K is crucial, especially for economically disadvantaged kids, and I favor anything that counters the abysmal treatment of the “Dreamers” by Trump and other far-right Republicans who are far-wrong on so many issues.


The BOE meeting opened with a beautiful singing/dancing/orchestral performance by Glenfield students of “Hard Times Come Again No More.” Comment?

Transcendent Tune

They totally deserved that standing ovation at the George Inness Annex, whose painter namesake was 29 when that Stephen Foster song came out in 1854 and undoubtedly heard it often on satellite radio.


The PARCCs — which steal countless hours from valuable pursuits such as music — will soon be given again in Montclair and the rest of New Jersey. Does Gov. Murphy need time to keep his solemn promise to end those awful tests?

Exams’ Expected Expiration

I guess, but they better be gone by 2019. For now, I spent a few minutes Feb. 15 refusing my daughter’s 2018 PARCC participation via an easy-peasy form in Genesis. Grateful the Old Testament offers that.


Um…do I really need to tell you that Genesis is our school district’s online student information system, not the Hebrew Bible?

Or the Prog-Rock Band

That system tells me my daughter has three absences this year. “Thanks” to the NRA, there are students in Florida and elsewhere who will be absent forever.


Not funny, and I’m irked to see such seriousness in a humor column. What worthless thing can you do to console me?

Solace R Us

Sending thoughts and prayers.

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. Food for thought…

    As a finalist, Dr Johnson is clearly considered superintendent level. Considering there is a cap on superintendent salaries by NJ, wouldn’t it make sense to hire one of the other candidates and keep keep her in the current Assistant Superintendent position? We get 2 superintendent-quality people and a built-in succession plan.

  2. I see what you’re saying, Frank. It would be great to have both a top-notch superintendent and a top-notch assistant superintendent. But what if the Passaic or Freehold candidate stayed superintendent for a number of years? Dr. Johnson might go elsewhere in such a scenario.

    There’s something to be said for having a superintendent who already knows Montclair’s school district firsthand, as Dr. Johnson does. But I haven’t yet decided which of the three finalists I support. I’ll be attending the public forum Monday night, and will hopefully figure out my favorite then.

  3. Then we hire into the open position…which we would have to do anyway if she is promoted.

    Further, if we promote her, we lose a lot of momentum the position has been focusing on full-time now – equity and Pre-K. It is a one-of-a-kind position, so there isn’t a subordinate to step in as an acting Assistant Superintendent.

    I wouldn’t make it a primary consideration, but definitely a tie-breaker one.

  4. I hear you, Frank, but I’d be reluctant for anyone to be penalized from being promoted because they’re too valuable in their current position. I think someone as good or almost as good could be hired or promoted to replace Dr. Johnson if she became superintendent (though that might take some time and a learning curve). Plus Dr. Johnson’s expertise in equity and other areas would be still be available from the higher position she’d be in.

    Again, I don’t necessarily support her or not support her as superintendent. Waiting to see the other two “in action” at the forum.

  5. In the case of a split decision, the BoE would be remiss in not considering it. Anyway, I strongly suspect it will not be a split-decision.

  6. Yes, probably not a split decision — especially with a seven-member (odd-numbered) board. Though I guess there’s the remote possibility of 3 votes for one finalist, 3 votes for another finalist, and 1 vote for the third finalist!

Comments are closed.