MontClairVoyant: New Council Seated After Many Votes Deleted

The new Township Council was sworn in yesterday, July 1. Are you still irked that the not-counting of many votes may have helped Sean Spiller maintain his super-close mayoral lead over Dr. Renee Baskerville, the very-much-outspent candidate you preferred?

Unfair Fare

Yup. The Republican Party messed with the 2016 presidential election to help Trump, the Democratic National Committee put its foot on the scales of the 2016 and 2020 primaries to hurt Bernie Sanders, and now Essex County should’ve done better. “The Three Musketeers”?

And “The Count of Mounties Missed, Oh!”

No d’Ifs, Ands, or Buts

Cute renaming of “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas, who also wrote “Georges” — a disturbing fantasy about Montclair having TWO ultra-pricey hotels named “The George.”

Many Montclair mail ballots weren’t counted because they had alleged signature issues or were delivered more than two days after our town’s May 12 election. Why can’t the July 7 primary’s seven-day delivery window, and the chance to fix signatures, be retroactive to Montclair’s vote?

If I Could Turn Back Time

Good question. After all, May 12 is the three-month anniversary of Lincoln’s birthday — with Abe being born the same year (1809) as all but one of these people: Charles Darwin, Edgar Allan Poe, Nikolai Gogol, and Beyonce.

Dr. Baskerville has rightly challenged the not-counting of many votes, though the challenge won’t be heard in court for a while. Why wasn’t the case fast-tracked to before July 1?

A Need But Little Speed

Another good question. After all, the July 1-born James M. Cain wrote “The Postman Always Rings Twice” and its sequel “The Postman Who Might Also Be a Postwoman Would Need to Wring Twice Any Montclair Ballots That Got Wet.”

Heck, Sean Spiller might have still won with every vote counted, but wouldn’t the result have felt more legitimate?

Don’t Mock Democracy

For today’s guest reply, give it up for…Mr. Obvious!

Also yesterday, the NAACP of Montclair and the League of Women Voters of the Montclair area held a morning rally outside the Municipal Building to urge that all votes be counted in elections. Any problem with that, Montclair guy?

Rally & Bloom

No, I’m thrilled the rally happened. The only problem I have is that you wrote “Montclair” three times in your question. Now we need one more zip code, and I’m not pleased.

Are you pleased that three non-incumbents (Peter Yacobellis, David Cummings, and Lori Price Abrams) have joined the new Township Council?

Starting to Serve

Yes. There’s always hope that at least one or two of them will be more skeptical about ugly upscale overdevelopment than the TC members who were elected in 2012, reelected in 2016, and saw a Beyonce concert in 1840.

That almost predated Destiny’s Child! Speaking of upscale overdevelopment, The MC hotel’s rooftop bar reopened during this pandemic time. Will you continue to never visit that “screams gentrification” lounge?

Drink Floyd

Yes, enthusiastically so. Not my kind of place, and I’d be enjoying a view at the expense of neighborhood residents whose sight lines are now blocked by the hotel. The rooftop’s eastern view of course includes a long/thin/iconic metropolis Peter Minuit purchased for $24. I’m talking about…Glen Ridge!

Um…Manhattan. Let’s switch topics to Montclair’s Glenridge Avenue. The one-way direction of part of that street might be reversed?

Road’s Scholar

A shame Montclair Book Center would have to change its name to Rialctnom Koob Retnec.

Getting back to the Township Council, it passed needed rent regulation in April. Then the Montclair Property Owners Association (which includes at least one VERY rich developer) fought the measure via legal action, its effort to collect signatures for a referendum, etc. Comment?

Nay to the MPOA

With many tenants struggling these days, I’ll make another Poe reference by noting that the MPOA has a “Tell-Tale (Lack of) Heart.” By the way, strong advocates for the now-stalled rent measure included the Tenants Organization of Montclair and…Dr. Baskerville.


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. “ the Democratic National Committee put its foot on the scales of the 2016 and 2020 primaries to hurt Bernie“

    —not even the Bros whine like this anymore, but leave it to the Clairvoyant to remain solidly behind the times…

  2. Thank you for the comment, jcunningham.

    What you mentioned is not something I whine about (much), but I was making a brief recent-history comparison when discussing election issues. The sudden coalescing around Joe Biden’s candidacy after he won just one single primary was…interesting.

    Also, I have to respectfully say that your “Bros” reference is also behind the times, because Bernie’s 2020 campaign had a large presence of women and people of color (as staffers and voters).

    But given that I mentioned 1809 in my column, I AM behind the times. 🙂

  3. Speaking of new rooftop views, one of the best (& also available to the public) will be from the top floor of the new Midtown Parking Deck, breaking ground this month. Of course, we are going to use the valuable view to park 50 cars…which is an unimaginative governmental choice.

    I would do something different. Not expensive. Maybe even a cost saver. Maybe even a win-win…like putting the new planned skateboard park up there. Just spitballing’ ideas (yes, with a face covering).

  4. And you have to love the fact it would be a unique offering for the Arts & Entertainment District. Sometimes I just amaze myself. 🙂

  5. Thank you, Frank! Ha! Maybe they could charge admission to see the view from atop the new parking deck, and have a souvenir shop. Selling developer figurines and such.

    A skate park atop the deck? That’s innovative, outside-the-box thinking. Knee pads and brake pads in the same structure…

  6. Now we’re cooking with gas. What if we tie our two views together with a zip line?

    Skateboarding is for youngsters and orthopods. A Smart Growth, gentrified zip line from the MC’s lounge to Forest Street’s Midtown Parking Deck would be more egalitarian, e.g. Aging In Place seniors, the cardiac & trauma MDs.

  7. OMG, Frank — that zip-line idea is hilarious! All the squirrels racing around Montclair these days would enjoy it, too. Money or acorns accepted as zip-line-ride payment.

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