MontClairVoyant: Budget News and the Parking Deck Blues

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
The proposed 2020 municipal budget has a zero tax-rate increase, and township debt is down about $60 million since Mayor Jackson and the current Township Council took office in 2012. Good news?

Sincerely,

John Kudos Passos

Of course. But are the additional ratables from rampant overdevelopment worth it? Is there some salary-saving understaffing going on? Will this answer include a third question? A fourth? I take the fifth.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Speaking of overdevelopment, Pinnacle reportedly wants to use some of the Orange Road parking deck spaces for its planned MC Residences. Would that mean less parking for the general public than had been promised?

Sincerely,
Art Deck-o

If that happens, it’ll be the umpteenth example of the minimal community-mindedness of some developers. Yet many Montclair officials still adore the “d” guys. Check your next tax bill for municipal purchases of sappy Valentine cards addressed to developers of too-big, too-upscale projects.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
What’s the verse on the cards some town officials may send next month to those moguls?

Sincerely,
No Place Like Poem

“Variances are read/Mounties are blue/your executive suites/give us our cue.”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Aww…how sweet. Meanwhile, 2020 municipal election packets are now available. Will many anti-overdevelopment candidates throw their hats in the mayoral or Township Council ring?

Sincerely,
Paula Ticians

I can’t identify that weird ring thing atop The MC hotel, but it ain’t a hat. Maybe a giant hoop of sorts for plane passengers to drop a basketball through as they approach Newark airport.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
That basketball could become a big martini “olive” at The MC’s oh-so-chic rooftop bar. But hasn’t the horse already left the barn when it comes to overdevelopment? So much already built or coming.

Sincerely,
‘Gnashville’ Skyline

The MC has a barn? Cool! Meaning the hotel’s “Small Town Heart, Big City Pulse” slogan could be a veterinary diagnosis of that escaped-to-New York horse.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
A town barn…um…ban on plastic bags has gone into effect at Montclair’s bigger stores. Welcome?

Sincerely,
Rising Eco-Tide Lifts All Totes

Very! Things have sure changed in local supermarkets and local CVS outlets. It’s now all about two of these three kinds of bags: reusable ones, paper ones, and the bags under the eyes of people who shop late at night.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
The Board of Education has its eyes on finding a new non-interim superintendent. Good that some public sessions have been scheduled for next month to get input into what residents might want in a candidate?

Sincerely,
Sally and Callie Near 22 Valley

Can’t hurt. I want a non-interim superintendent to stay in town a few years without the BOE constructing “a big beautiful wall” on Montclair’s borders and asking surrounding towns to pay for it.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Within our pre-wall town, there’s talk of an additional bus stop for Montclair High students who take a NJ Transit bus to school from the South End. Reaction?

Sincerely,
The Wheels on…

Better than nothing, though I’d prefer a solution using our district’s yellow school buses. Sure, there’s a risk the first student rider would be called “The Yellow Kid,” but that 1890s comic strip was pretty good.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
“The Yellow Kid” cartoonist R.F. Outcault also created the “Buster Brown” comic. Was Buster the plaintiff in 1954’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education case?

Sincerely,
No Business Like Shoe Business

Absolutely not. Cartoon characters are fictional, like some developer promises.

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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8 COMMENTS

  1. MontClairVoyant — it seems like you forgot something. To own up that James Harris…whom you defended with your last dying breath in your last column — finally admitted his comments about Jews and Hassidic Jews were actually anti-Semetic. Not just that they could be construed by some as anti-Semetic. But they actually were.

    Same with Councilor Renee Baskerville who did not stop Harris mid-talk during her community meeting which she should have…first trying to gloss over his statements..until she too had to issue a public “clarification” after and agree in effect that Harris did make anti-Semetic remarks.

    Interesting you and others continued to try and explain Harris’s comments away…while the offender in chief finally got it. Or at least, was squeezed enough by the community, the Governor, Congresswoman, Councilor Spiller and others willing to finally step out and call it like it was.

    Then came the shameless attempt after to deflect and change the conversation by accusing the school Superintendent of also being a racist — because he made some clumsy “what if” technical explanation to the NAACP back in October about having to hire teachers that might have racist beliefs but were good teachers. It was clearly a desperate political move to cover up for Harris.

    “They all do it”…so why make African American Harris resign — was the play. And it worked somewhat.

    In reality, Superintendent Parker’s bumbling: “some of my father’s best friends were Negro farm hands” to show personal empathy — is nothing close to Harris’s clear cut negative stereotype depictions of Jews coming here to steal homes and apartments of Montclair’s less affluent African Americans.

    Going after the Superintendent was just a transparent move by those same Montclair Kids First forces still trying to take over the Board of Ed and prove that there really is a racist living under every rock in this town. Therefore, they were correct to hire Kendra Johnson and they do all need to take over the school board to regain control again.

    Sorry, everyone connected to the BOE saw right through this. It was a good try though.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Right From Wrong.

    Yes, I defended James Harris, but not to my “last dying breath” — I partly criticized him.

    I don’t think Renee Baskerville or anyone else should stop someone mid-talk unless there’s a threat of violence or something. (Because of the…First Amendment.) Mr. Harris was strongly criticized soon enough at that December 30 meeting.

    As for your implication that the criticism of Nathan Parker was sort of distraction/retaliation after the situation with Mr. Harris — I was at Board of Education meetings BEFORE December 30 in which members of the public brought up Dr. Parker’s remarks at that fall NAACP meeting. Yes, things got more heated at the January 22 BOE meeting, but it was not the first time the criticism was made publicly.

    Calling what Dr. Parker said “bumbling” and “clumsy” is putting the best light on it. Maybe bumbling and clumsy, maybe worse, but still not good when one is (interim) superintendent of a diverse school district. I can understand why many parents, of any color, were not happy.

  3. How can we give distinction to right from wrong when all things are talked of as black and white?

    Now this is just me saying what I think. But saying “some of my father’s best friends were . . . .’ sounds so much like that man saying “but I’m married to a . . . . ” or a good friend of mine once saying “I’m a . . . , but my daughter is a . . . . ” Seems to me to be all of a kind.

    Well, it is just things they said. It is not who they are. “We are only as blind as we want to be.”

  4. Well, it is just things they said. It is not who they are. “We are only as blind as we want to be.”

    I think you meant “as deaf”. I’m not joking.

  5. Thank you for your comments, Melissa and Frank.

    I hear you, Melissa. People should be individually judged by the rightness or wrongness of their words and actions, not by their color or religion or so on. But, as we’ve discussed before, that’s the ideal and unfortunately not always the reality in a world filled with prejudice. The fact that James Harris is African-American and Nathan Parker is white has some relevance to the reactions to what they said.

  6. Mr. Astor, thank you. I would say, the words and actions of people are relevant to our civic reactions.

    Mr. Rubacky, I have long had the habit to say what I mean.
    Thinking about what you said, I do think Maya Angelou said it better. They want to tell us what we should have said, should have thought:
    “Now you understand
    Just why my head’s not bowed.”

  7. “…the words and actions of people are relevant to our civic reactions” — absolutely, Melissa. Probably the most relevant. But I still believe the reactions to what James Harris said would have been at least somewhat different if he were white, and the reactions to what Nathan Parker said would have been at least somewhat different if he were black.

Comments are closed.