MontClairVoyant: Deign to Feign a Mayoral Campaign? Yup!

Our minds are full of Democratic caucusing folly and Republican support of dictator wannabe Trump, but there’s still brain space to think about Montclair’s 2020 municipal election. Will you run for mayor?

Have a Hive at 205

Bwahaha! No way! Being a politician isn’t my thing, and if I did run I’d 1) Lose or 2) Not win.

Apparently, Nostradamus won’t manage your campaign. But if you WERE a candidate, what would be your slogan? You know, like 1840’s “Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too”?

A Motto That’s Blotto

I prefer “Tip a Canoe and Tiler, Too.” A flipped-over canoe would entertain Edgemont Park’s geese, and I’d rather aim my campaign at someone like a working-class tiler than someone like a bank CEO.

What would you promise as a mayoral candidate?

Don Your Platform Shoes

Instead of spending money to oust Edgemont’s geese or possibly euthanize those poor creatures, I’d have that money spent on cleaning up their poop several times a day. But not at 4 p.m. — that’s tea time for geese.

Speaking of critters, what would you say about the Montclair Township Animal Shelter’s newly renovated cat rooms if you were vying for mayor?

Purr Diem

I’d let one of my slate mates speak to the positives of that renovation. Yes, in my imaginary campaign, a 22-pound Maine coon cat would be on the ticket for councilor-at-very-large.

What would be your plan for potholes?

Axle Blows

I’d ask local dentists to plug them with giant fillings.

And your plan to deal with all those too-tall buildings going up or recently constructed in Montclair?

Despises Hi-Rises

I’d assemble a cadre of barbers to snip off the upper floors.

Shampoo included?

Where Have All the Showers Gone…

No. It’s distracting for barbers to watch that 1975 film while snipping.

Given that the mayor appoints Board of Education members, what kind of people would you vow to choose?

The (Not Always) Magnificent Seven

I’d want BOE members who’d urge Gov. Murphy to honor his campaign promise of pushing hard to end the NJSLAs (nee PARCCs). Slogan describing those tests: “They’re Worse Than Goo and a Waste of Time, Too.”

Last night’s BOE meeting took place hours after your February 5 deadline. If you were mayor, would you bend the rules of time to allow Wednesday-night meetings to be included in Thursday columns without getting a deadline extension?

Your Inner ‘Outlander’

Montclair mayors can’t alter time. The only people who can are Trump and the U.S. Senate’s craven Republicans, who’ve returned our country to something like a pre-1776 monarchy.


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. Dave, “Shampoo” and “The Magnificent Seven” both terrific movies, but I’m having a problem envisioning Warren Beatty washing Yul Brenner’s hair.

  2. Thank you, Melissa! ๐Ÿ™‚ Speaking of coffee, one of my favorite pieces of literary trivia is that Starbucks is named after Starbuck — the first mate on Captain Ahab’s ship in “Moby-Dick.” But, alas, there was no character in Herman Melville’s novel named “Java Love”…

  3. LOL, silverleaf! ๐Ÿ™‚ Love that goofy connection you made! When I think of “The Magnificent Seven,” I also think of The Clash song — which, in vinyl or CD form, would also not be an appropriate recipient of a shampooing.

  4. Dave, The Clash track “Lost in the Supermarket” reminds me of the Acme on Valley Road. Are they ever going to complete that long-ago begun renovation and configure a sensible aisle plan?

  5. Great reference and great point, silverleaf! Acme’s aisle configuration is still kind of weird (albeit weird in a somewhat different way than before) and it would also be nice if they finished the floors in the aisles on the right side of the store beyond the checkout registers. Montclair residents see enough gray concrete in their own basements. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. The unfinished floors not to speak of the aisle plan is a complete and utter abomination. I mean who designed it, Rube Goldberg? They should config the aisles to go from the checkout registers straight through to the seafood and meat dept. at rear of store. Is this so complicated?

  7. Ha, silverleaf — Acme’s layout IS Rube Goldberg-esque! Definitely some weird configurations, such as where the horizontal mini-aisle with aluminum foil, plastic lunch bags, etc., makes a right turn into soups, etc. There might be pre-Acme A&P shoppers lost in the store since 1980 who are unaware that smartphones were invented… ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Well, Frank, that store does have its issues (I shop there each week because it’s not THAT bad, it’s close to where I live, and it’s usually not too crowded — I wonder why ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), but it and its A&P predecessor have survived for a long time. Unless there’s something I’m not aware of, I assume Acme will be around for a while.

  9. Yikes, Frank! Acme could use another cashier or two — might we see Trump working checkout there rather than in the White House for another term? ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Since u brought Acme up, I went @6:30 tonight to see if anything had changed. 2 cashier-staffed lanes w/ baggers, 4 self-checkout kiosks…just 1 other shopper checking out…and, the church mice from St James & Union Congregational (joking).

  11. Ha ha, Frank! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope the church mice found what they needed in the cheese section. After that, maybe they visited Studio Playhouse to audition for half the roles in “Of Mice and Men.”

    Yes, Acme is rarely packed. And I’m not a fan of all the self-checkout kiosks — they’re labor-intensive for anyone who’s done a big weekly shopping, and they could mean less jobs for store employees. When I go to Acme, usually on a weekday morning, there’s often just one cashier-staffed lane — and, before 9 a.m., sometimes none.

  12. Admittedly not yet comparable to the death throes stage of Pathmark, but they are no more than 2 years away. I know a little/not a lot about retail and this Acme is not long for this world.

  13. My most succinct retail call-out was the absolute, over-the-top stupidity of putting a 65,000SF Shop Rite in Lackawanna Plaza. Of course, the community leaders said they wanted this and nothing less. And then they get amnesia! That was their biggest sin.

  14. Well, Frank, we’ll see if Acme is around in 2022. I hope it is, despite its issues. As for Lackawanna Plaza, there had to be some happy medium between a large ShopRite and the small Lidl that was chosen. Not to mention the LP plan’s other problems — the density, the wrecking of some historical elements of the old train station, etc.

  15. Thatโ€™s the thing! There wasnโ€™t a happy medium. The Council didnโ€™t know this because of their naked hubris in thinking since they shop, they knew better. Retail may be a schlock profession, but it is merciless to the ignorant. Having an Ivy League education was just the petri dish for growing a failure.

  16. Frank, you’re absolutely right that the Township Council has not acquitted itself well in this whole Lackawanna Plaza saga.

  17. Lackawanna Plaza was arguably their low point in their 8 years of service. “Acquitted” would be an understatement. Do you know of another lawsuit against the Township that I don’t?

  18. Ha, Frank! Given how much of a low point the Lackawanna Plaza saga has indeed been, I guess I DID use understated language. I will do penance by eating a three-scoop ice cream cone — one scoop from Applegate, one scoop from Gelotti, and one scoop from Holsten’s.

  19. LOL! In deciding on my response to your suggestion, I’ll be guided by WWMRD: What Would Mister Rogers Do? ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Mr. Astor, you are a hard man. Sometimes I feel you see things too much black and white. President Trump is a bad man. Ms. Mernin is a good lady. And you peering hard into the souls of Mr. Harris and Mr. Parker wanting to know their color.

    Maybe Mr. Trump did some good things. Maybe Ms. Mernin did some things she should not have done. Maybe it is harder to be fair than it is to be hard. What I do know, because I learned it sitting next to my friend Ellie all those mornings in Sunday School, is that you will never know if Mr. Harrisโ€™s or Mr. Parkerโ€™s soul is all black or all white. Only He knows that. I do think they said some things not to be said. They apologized. Mr. Harris got punished. Nothing more for me to say about their hard words.

    I know too what is important: I know we would welcome all those people to share our coffee in the morning.

    Just not on Sundays. Sometimes just you and me need to talk about things for just you and me. Like today.

    Alexa, play โ€œI lived.โ€

    All of that we could have said Friday morning over one cup of coffee. There came something then I had to ask my husband. He said OK. He always says OK. I had too to look at my calendar and see all the things I should be doing and think about the things I would do.

    Mr. Astor I will not be saying what you should do. But if you have a change of mind, and if you decide you might deign to be mayor, and I know those are a lot of ifโ€™s, but if you do, I will go and knock on each door in my neighborhood. I will say Mr. Astor is a hard man, but he is a fair man.

    Come polling day in May I will get up early and go there and put my mark next to Mr. Jacksonโ€™s name. Then I will come back home to what is important: coffee in the morning with Mr. Astor.

  21. Thank you for your eloquently and cleverly written comment, Melissa.

    I’m an opinion columnist in the guise of a humor columnist, so I’m going to have an opinion about things. (People are free to disagree with my opinion, as they often do in the comments section. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I wouldn’t call myself a hard man, though I did enjoy Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novel “The Hard Way.” ๐Ÿ™‚

    I know that no one is all good or all bad. But, as we’ve discussed before, some people have a strong ratio leaning one way or the other. (I see Trump’s ratio as 99% atrocious, 1% awful. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) And no one can look inside another person’s soul, but their words and actions of course give us some clues.

    So far, James Harris has been formally punished and Nathan Porter has not been. And I would disagree about the apology-ness of the interim superintendent’s apology; it was more like he was saying he was sorry for his words being (allegedly) misinterpreted.

    I thought your offer of coffee was more figurative than literal. But I’m happy to meet, if you’d like. I’ve sat down with various readers of my column over the years who I hadn’t met before. If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn, you could message me in one of those places.

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