MontClairVoyant: Before Adjourning, Council Satisfies Rent-Regulation Yearning


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

The Township Council voted 5-0-2 this past Tuesday, April 7, to pass a rent-regulation measure. Your three-letter reaction?

Sincerely,
Road to Dwellville

Actually, I wrote three texts rather than three letters after the remote Council meeting, but I know what you meant. My three-letter reaction? YAY!

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Wonderful that the measure passed, despite opposition from a group called the Montclair Property Owners Association that popped up out of nowhere. Heck, wasn’t the ordinance an imperfect compromise in the works for a long time?

Sincerely,
MPOA Entered the Fray

Yes! The measure (not as strong as the Tenants Organization of Montclair wanted, but welcome) allows reasonable rent hikes while preventing rent gouging. There should be more variety in our town’s economic diversity than the rich and the…very rich.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Indeed. Montclair’s economic diversity is declining, and it’s important to keep whatever remains. But, as a renter, can you be objective about this rent measure?

Sincerely,
Moan-a Lease-a

Sure. My Montclair apartment complex raises rents modestly each year, so little will change for me. And I’ll continue to pay my rent electronically, which involves sticking my checkbook into an outlet.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
You’re misunderstanding the concept of online payments. Is your IQ the first digit of your routing number?

Sincerely,
No Insult Intended

When social distancing ends, come see my collection of charred checks.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
This is going to be a long question, so stay awake. Will Montclair’s coming pricey downtown rental behemoths be exempt from the new measure? I ask because the new local ordinance says “Dwelling units rented for the first time after the adoption of this chapter are exempt, and the initial rent may be determined by the landlord, but all subsequent rents shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter” but state law says “In any municipality which has enacted or which hereafter enacts a rent control or rent leveling ordinance‚Ķthose provisions of the ordinance which limit the periodic or regular increases in base rentals of dwelling units shall not apply to multiple dwellings constructed after the effective date of this act, for a period of time not to exceed the period of amortization of any initial mortgage loan obtained for the multiple dwelling, or for 30 years following completion of construction, whichever is less.”

Sincerely,
I Knew You’d Stay Awake!

Zzzzzz.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Amid the heartbreaking coronavirus pandemic, rent regulation isn’t the only issue that’s not life-and-death but still major. For instance, our kids are sadly not able to see their friends in person. What can they do?

Sincerely,
I. Solation

They can text, FaceTime, share TikTok videos, and swap 19th-century wax cylinder phonograph records.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
You visited the Edison museum once too often. Yes, our kids these days have no at-school socializing, no organized sports, and no other in-person group activities. Just how stir-crazy does that make them?

Sincerely,
Fraction of Past Interaction

Very, although my middle-school daughter has yet to use a wok.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Meanwhile, Montclair teachers are doing fabulous instruction online. Should they, principals, and other school staffers be profusely thanked?

Sincerely,
Project Gratitude

Yes! (My answer after consulting with my Obvious Questions Coach.)

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Teachers and students certainly deserve a breather during spring break next week, though the hiatus in remote learning will make it harder for many parents to work. Any plans for that break in lieu of travel?

Sincerely,
Up on Downtime

Actually, I’ll fly a paper airplane from my living room to my dining room — after booking an “Economy Plus” seat for extra legroom.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Let me know how many Frequent Psycho miles you earn. Meanwhile, there’s a form for parents requesting a different school for their kids this fall. Should I request that my son be transferred from remote learning at home to his usual school?

Sincerely,
Switch McConnell

You’re missing the point of that form. Perhaps deliberately. Perhaps just to make a joke. So…YOUR GENESIS ACCESS IS BLOCKED!

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
In other school-related news, the Board of Education has significantly narrowed the field of superintendent candidates. Comment, please.

Sincerely,
Future Chosen One

How narrow can superintendent candidates be while eating more and exercising less as they shelter at home?

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
A LOT of Frequent Psycho miles. There’s also a field of hopefuls running for mayor and Township Council. What’s going on with candidate forums (that would be watched virtually rather than in person)?

Sincerely,
Rice and Screens

The library reportedly was to host an April 15 forum that not enough candidates were agreeing to participate in. Ifsothatisverysadtohear.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Ouch — even the spaces between words are losing their jobs these days. Also, three other local entities are planning to co-host a televised April 22 candidates’ forum. Comment?

Sincerely,
Politicians on Missions

It’s good for those running to be publicly questioned on issues such as our town’s coronavirus response, overdevelopment, BOE appointments, ecological matters, and why there’s yet another movie based on Jane Austen’s “Emma.”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Mailings and websites are fine but not enough — and “Emma” is just the fifth best of Austen’s six novels, with “Persuasion” my fave. Speaking of writing, isn’t Montclair’s May 12 election write-in-ballots-only because of the pandemic?

Sincerely,
Mansfield of Dreams

Indeed. May 12 is also the date, in 254 AD, when Pope Stephen I succeeded Pope Lucius I. The ceremony was televised on Channel 34.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
I doubt ANYTHING was televised back then.

Sincerely,
Or Streamed

That explains why Pope Stephen I was succeeded by Pope Zoom Meetings II.

 

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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