MontClairVoyant: Young Generation Generates More Leadership Than Many Adults Do


Any thoughts on yesterday’s 17-minute student walkout for better gun control?

Go Away, NRA

Wonderful that a huge number of Montclair students took part in that March 14 national protest, and showed leadership many adults can learn from. If only Upper Montclair’s congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen spent those 17 minutes finding a spine.


Did Mayor Jackson REALLY praise the NRA-friendly Rodney at a March 9 press Q&A?

NJ 11th Has Changed

Yup, he called Frelinghuysen “a good, honorable fellow” despite the Republican congressman’s bad-for-Montclair support of most things Trump, who’s the worst person on a planet now orbited by the moderate views Rodney jettisoned.


Jackson also said the Board of Education shouldn’t pick a first-time superintendent, yet many prefer the two finalists who are assistant superintendents over the finalist who’s a superintendent. Your take on that qualified trio?

A Trip to the Pair

Dr. Kendra Johnson and Rachel Goldberg seem more progressive and thus a better fit for our district despite not having superintendent experience. Given Jackson’s overdevelopment bent, his dream candidate would be nine stories tall.

The mayor appoints and can decline to reappoint BOE members, so should he have sort of endorsed Ross Kasun for superintendent while also saying the search could be reopened?

Loose Talk of the Town

No. And I don’t want interim superintendents serving far into a future when cars will fly — if those cars take their wheels off to get through airport security before boarding a plane.


Jackson said Montclair’s most recent non-interim, Penny MacCormack, was a first-time superintendent who didn’t work out. But that had nothing to do with being a first-timer, right?

The Worst of Times

Right. It had to do with testing overkill, investigating and subpoenaing opponents for no good reason, etc. And the amount of true public input into her appointment was somewhere between zero and zero.


March 12’s BOE meeting saw more talk about the 2018-19 budget, which has a deficit at this point. Will some educators be laid off? Please not. Will bus aides be let go? Please not. What’s your favorite color?

Query Flurry

I can only answer one question at a time. Turquoise.


Then, in his March 13 budget talk, Gov. Murphy called for an increase in state education aid! Could that help reduce Montclair’s deficit?

A Day to Say Yay

My favorite color is now green.


Meanwhile, the far-right Betsy DeVos made an appalling “60 Minutes” appearance on March 11. How can a U.S. Secretary of Education be so against public schools, such as the great ones we have in Montclair?

Beware of Billionaire

It’s a fox guarding the henhouse thing. A more accurate title for that avid fan of vouchers and charter schools would be U.S. Secretary of Shamefully Slashing Funds for Public Education. We’ll know the title changed when her business card gets wider.


Some Montclair parents are expected in Trenton on March 21 to tell the State Board of Education that Pearson’s time-wasting PARCC tests need to go — as Murphy promised. The chance of ultimate success?

Dustbin of History Awaits

One problem: Pearson-loving former Gov. Christie appointed several SBOE members who are so unprogressive they tilt to the right when walking. Some even tumble from Trenton into Pennsylvania as they stroll southward.


I strolled past the under-renovation Edgemont Park last week, and was chagrined to see Christie’s name still on the construction sign. What is to be done?

The Geese Asketh

“What Is to Be Done” is a Lenin political pamphlet. Are you one of those Montclair communists? Loser! And bag the snooty word “chagrined,” you freak. There…my pale imitation of Murphy’s bully predecessor.


And the latest less-big-but-still-too-big Lackawanna Plaza plan gives the LP redo a better, more historical look. Comment?

In the Brick of Time

I just hope the former train station’s REAL historical elements are appropriately retained. I’ll add that the redo has been discussed for so long it makes sense for LP to be at a corner (Grove and Bloomfield) with initials that spell “gab.”


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. David,

    Let Lackawanna Plaza go. It fits the definition of normal size by every measure imaginable.

    Market Pressures moved on. They’re all about RESIDENTIAL development. Cubic footage is the rage. Keep up!

    My Rubic’s Cube property of the month is 9 Upper Mountain Ave.

    And this property is in which ward? Of course! The 3RD Ward! The 3rd is like the Mikeys of wards. They consume anything and everything. They look sustainability in the face and laugh – or deny. They are our 3rd Warders.

  2. Thanks, Frank! Well said, and I hear you.

    The Lackawanna Plaza plans are indeed much more palatable than they were a few months ago. I now ALMOST feel I can support the LP redo, but I’m still uncertain/uneasy about whether all of its historical elements will be saved. And I wish (in vain, of course) that LP would be all retail/commercial. Not that I think the number of LP’s proposed residential units is outrageous any more, but because the reduced number of LP residential units will still add to the cumulative impact of all the existing or to-be-built residential units at The Siena, Valley & Bloom, the future Seymour project, and elsewhere in or near downtown.

    As for the 3rd Ward, it has become an ODD (Over-Development Delirium) place.

  3. The historic loss is a shame. When we look at the original site photographs compared to what is there now, it is pretty amazing how much of the original state remains. It makes sense. The elements each contribute clearly to the whole.

    It is a design. It is the work of an architect.

    The opening slide photograph of Lackawanna Station from the Lackawanna Plaza perspective is new to me. It is amazing. It amazes me for the original design and it amazes me how much of this site remains in an unaltered state. Therefore, there is absolutely no victory in what is proposed to be preserved from this application.

    What we are preserving is a collection of pieces. We are relocating them, repurposing them, cataloging them. There is no design. There is no whole.
    It a Disneyfication of historic preservation. I accept it. I have to. Historic preservation as public policy is going away. It has gone away as a priority.

    Some people think this is hyperbole. Well, take this as a case study. Pretend there is no development application. Just look at it as an archaelogical site. Arguably the largest and most important historical site in Montclair. What amount of original fabric has survived and in its original location? A tremendous amount. How is this sites relationship to Montclair any different from the old Penn Station site was to NYC?

    No, this is no victory. Far from it. This is about a grocery store being the priority. This is about general fund revenues, this about something better than what is there now. And that last phrase perfectly captures why historic preservation as public policy is dying. It is better than what is there now. And we don’t see the value of what is there now. Bingo. If we can’t see it in our premiere historic site, we will certainly not see it in lesser examples. Put a fork in it. All hail Agin In Place as the new “feel good” public policy.

  4. Dave,

    I was making so many corrections in Edit Mode that it timed out on me and none were accepted. So, it is what it is. You get the gist of my point.

  5. Eloquent comment, Frank.

    Yes, some of whatever historical preservation there’ll be at Lackawanna Plaza is sort of piecemeal, disembodied, whatever. And I agree that it’s unfortunately what often happens in the U.S. — in many cases, history is less a priority than other “wants” such as making a profit, building something for more current uses, etc. The demolishing of NYC’s ornate old Penn Station (as you mentioned), the razing of Montclair’s partly-dating-back-to-the-1840s Marlboro Inn to build Christopher Court’s bulky McMansions, the tearing down of the Washington Street Y to build the Bullock school, etc. (The last was not a profit thing, but that Y was a major part of Montclair’s history — especially for African-American residents.)

Comments are closed.