MontClairVoyant: Whirring Through Montclair’s 2019 Months That Were

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
This is your last column of 2019, which means it’s time for a Montclair…YEAR-IN-REVIEW!

Sincerely,
Mix of Many a Month

I’ll start by reviewing your keyboard’s “caps lock” feature: DON’T OVERUSE IT! LOWERCASE! LOWERCASE!

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Whatever. One big 2019 occurrence was the Planning Board’s approval of the unpopular Lackawanna Plaza also favored by much of the Township Council. What are some of the things that make that redo plan so deeply flawed?

Sincerely,
Nadir for Pinnacle

Endangered historic elements at the former train station, little open space other than ugly parking on that gateway site, the last-minute reveal of a so-so supermarket, and failure to delete an “x” from the Exxon station across the street.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Exon? Don’t think so. Then a citizens’ lawsuit was filed against the Lackawanna plan. Welcome?

Sincerely,
Court and Spark

VERY welcome. And it’s a Shell not Shel station further east on Bloomfield Avenue, which reminds me of Shel Silverstein’s lost song “A Car Named Sue.”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
There was also the 2019 opening of The MC hotel: “too tall, with rooms too pricey. And the fancy rooftop bar? Blech.”

Sincerely,
Beddy Lee

Was the latter part of that quote your…beer-in-review?

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Plus the announcement that the Bellevue would reopen at some point! Although the redesign plan for that beloved movie theater also sounds over-fancy, still great news, right?

Sincerely,
Screen & DeLuca

Yes! As long as they don’t show disturbingly upscale versions of films: Harry Potter as a luxe developer, Mister Rogers as a hedge-funder, bold/valiant Harriet Tubman as a corporate lawyer, Simba the lion as a heroic boutique hotel operator…

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
In July, Dr. Kendra Johnson submitted her resignation as superintendent after only about 15 months on the job — helping to give Montclair more school-district leaders this past decade than there are stars in the sky.

Sincerely,
Not-Stellar Job Churn

“Starry starry night/paint your palette (Mountie) blue and gray/she left us on a summer day…”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Hat tip to “Vincent” songwriter Don McLean. Meanwhile, salaries for Montclair Education Association members became all screwed up in summer/fall 2019. How did that debacle conclude?

Sincerely,
A Short, Short Time Ago

Teachers and other school staffers were paid in Russian rubles, or maybe I made that up.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Our town even got involved in the gun debate, as Montclair High students lamented school shootings with a heartfelt mural at the Chestnut Street underpass, only to have some local Republicans ghoulishly push for a pro-gun counter-mural.

Sincerely,
In Sway to the NRA

SO tone-deaf. I guess gun massacres can do a number on one’s hearing.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Returning to the overdevelopment problem, what’s the future of the proposed 60,000-square-foot home that was (temporarily?) withdrawn despite the sad demolition of vintage 1865 and 1907 mansions on that property?

Sincerely,
Razed and Confused

Not sure, but I haven’t seen 60,000 square feet since 30,000 robots danced on “American Bandstand.”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Perhaps you saw 59,999 square feet, because the “Lost in Space” robot only had one (large) foot.

Sincerely,
Lewis and Dick Clark Expedition

“Danger, Will Robinson!” “It does not compute!” “Montclair High robotics team!” “Could you please continue the petty bickering? I find it most intriguing.”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Now you’re quoting “Star Trek: The Next Generation” android Data. Wouldn’t it be better to wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah (December 22-30), Merry Christmas (December 25), and Happy Kwanzaa (December 26-January 1)?

Sincerely,
Billie Holidaze

Yes — and a Happy New Year, too! Montclair’s big 2020 event could very well be the municipal election. If all 39,000 town residents run for mayor, and each gets one vote, we’re…gonna need a bigger Council Chambers.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Ya think?

Sincerely,
Kate Contemplate

Apparently I don’t.

 

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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4 COMMENTS

  1. The Montclair Public School District always takes several of the top positions in the year in review.

    While it may be water under the bridge to many residents, I thought this topic was worthy for those with a tolerance for discomfort and open to some introspection:

    https://www.nj.com/news/2019/01/catholic-church-settles-for-400k-in-five-sex-abuse-lawsuits-against-nj-priest-attorney-says.html
    https://www.montclairlocal.news/2019/02/21/abuse-victim-clergy-list-montclair-nj/
    https://www.nj.com/news/2019/12/ny-giants-team-chaplain-accused-of-sexual-abuse-while-serving-as-a-priest-in-nj-in-lawsuit.html

  2. True, Frank — Montclair’s never-a-dull-moment school district is always going to be represented in a year-in-review piece.

    Thank you for the links. Sexual abuse of kids by priests, and the Catholic Church’s tolerance of/protection of those priests, is a wrenching/repugnant/heartbreaking scandal. Beyond depressing that Montclair was the setting for some of that.

  3. You end the year at your very best. I was laughing all the way down. How about running for Mayor? Don’t laugh, not a joke. Have a wonderful new year and come out swinging after Jan.1.

  4. Thank you very much for the kind words, Ira! I greatly appreciate them!

    Running for political office is not for me. (And Montclair’s developers might toss banana peels on the sidewalk in front of me as I ran. 🙂 )

    I hope you have a wonderful 2020, too!

Comments are closed.