MontClairVoyant: Jane Austen Is Better Than ‘Dense and Densibility’

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Does the Planning Board’s recent approval of the too-big MC Residences on Orange Road leave a sour taste in your mouth?

Sincerely,
In a Pickle

So much so that I started an online petition to rename Orange Road “Grapefruit Road.” Proud to say it got no signatures — thus achieving my goal of not crowding Change.org.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Nice to avoid overdevelopment hypocrisy. What are among the coming project’s problems, in addition to being too big?

Sincerely,
Pinnacle’s Density Propensity

It’s near other large buildings such as “The MC” hotel and two schools, so that downtown area will soon be too crammed for adults to enter. Hillside and Montclair Community Pre-K students will have to teach themselves.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Why does the Planning Board almost always give major developers almost everything they want?

Sincerely,
Love, Montclair Style

Maybe when we hear board members inevitably say “Yes” we’re misinterpreting and they just want to hear songs by the prog-rock band Yes. You know, like “Yours Is No Disgrace.” But their decisions too often ARE a disgrace.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
The final board vote was reportedly 6-1-2. Kudos to Carmel Loughman for saying no?

Sincerely,
Dissent There Is Rare

Many kudos. The two abstentions? Gutless, unless there was a conflict of interest. Board members need to take a stand one way or another. Be counted. Own it. Let the chips fall where they may. Preferably in chocolate-chip cookies.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
But…but…but…Pinnacle offered $150,000 for Montclair’s affordable housing fund. Ain’t they saints?

Sincerely,
Dollar Twee

Puh-leeze. Consider these four points: 1) Was that money sort of “required” for the deal? 2) Is the company trying to “buy” a less-toxic reputation? 3) $150,000 is small compared to the profits amassed overdeveloping downtown in recent years. 4) “Yogi has it better than a millionaire, that’s because he’s smarter than the average bear.”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
As I wonder whether Yogi Bear was partly inspired by late Montclair icon Yogi Berra, I know many students and parents are less inspired by remote learning than by in-school learning.

Sincerely,
Screen There, Done That

A lament heard at the September 21 virtual Board of Education meeting. Remote instruction has improved since last spring, but I hope the hybrid plan can start in November with better school-building ventilation. Reading “Gone With the Wind” backwards might help.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Um…you mean a purifying wind wouldn’t be gone? Anyway, kids need to be with kids, remote learning is especially hard for younger children and special-needs students, and…

Sincerely,
Ms. and Mr. Obvious

…an orange is orange, Grant is buried in Grant’s Tomb, the sun rises in the morning, the sun sets at night, the sun can be obscured by clouds, “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,” “you can stand under my umbrel–”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Enough! Are you inspired by Gov. Murphy and our state’s legislative leaders reportedly reaching a deal for a “millionaires tax”?

Sincerely
Community Chest

I am. That tax is sorely needed as COVID-19 slams government budgets and the economic lives of MANY. The rich can afford to pay a bit more, and if they selfishly flee the state they’ll miss seeing squirrels earn doctorates in Acorn Studies.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
We will greatly miss the great Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Your thoughts on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell trying to ram through a Supreme Court replacement during an election year when the Republican blocked President Obama from doing that in 2016?

Sincerely,
So Wrong on the Right

The hypocritical McConnell is evil, foul, ignoble, immoral, malevolent, malicious, nefarious, noxious, pernicious, vile, villainous, wicked, and…excuse me while I dry my tear-stained thesaurus.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Is the MC in MC Residences a reference to McConnell?

Sincerely,
Name of Shame

No, Mitch is more Valley & Bloom. But when Republican senators’ votes are counted in the scorched-earth rush to replace RBG with a far-right judge, it’ll be Tally & Doom.

 

 

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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17 COMMENTS

  1. Dave,

    I think you missed your opportunity to influence Montclair’s extraordinarily low 2020 Census response rate. It will wrap up next Wednesday. A couple of things baffle me.

    Internet connectivity/social media usage/blah, blah is exponentially greater than the last Census in 2010. The pandemic has driven even more to getting their news from online sources. So, almost all people know it is going on. So, almost all of the 27% people not responding are doing it by choice…or waiting to the last moment to respond. Clearly, lack of communication is no longer an issue.

    What is fascinating it 2 years ago, the State, the County and Montclair all agreed Montclair’s population had risen to 39,227. We know this because Montclair was granted a 13th liquor license. Today, it is reported that Montclair’s population is actually 38,564. Close. Less than a 2% difference. Except, the trend we were told was definitely upward. We added redevelopment, we added private development, we had school class size issue, we had parking issues. We were bursting at the seams!

    So, as further to the point I have made before, a decennial census, is not critical and a high participation rate is helpful, it is by no means necessary and in no way efficient.

    Thankfully, Montclair does not have to give back its 13th liquor license. That would have been bad.

  2. I also failed to note the very large discrepancy this year in Montclair’s registered voters. That number was off by 10%.

    A handful of years ago we had those make believe projections on kindergarten class overcrowding – and we added 3 or 4 – and then, poof!, the sub-cohorts dissipated the next September.

    We do love to play with our numbers.

  3. Thank you for the comment, Frank. Yes, it might have been a good idea for me to mention that Census response rate, which could indeed be much better — especially during such an online time, as you note. But you mentioned it! 🙂 (I wonder if at least a small sliver of the 27% non-respondents are undocumented people understandably apprehensive about filling out the Census during a time of Republican anti-immigrant hysteria.)

    Interesting about Montclair’s population. If it’s below 39,000, there’s an “illegal-ish” liquor license out there. 🙂 I’m also puzzled; it seems like all the overdevelopment would keep Montclair’s population in 13-liquor-license territory — making it easier to drown one’s sorrows after each awful Planning Board decision.

  4. Frank, I didn’t see your second comment when replying to your first comment. You wrote that “We do love to play with our numbers” — and I noticed that your second comment and my first reply both posted at 3:16, three numbers that add up to 10, the same number as the 10%-registered-voter discrepancy you mentioned. I’ll stop now…

  5. “I wonder if at least a small sliver of the 27% non-respondents are undocumented people…”

    Yes. More than a sliver, but much less than the very affluent who also fear sharing information freely with the government, Trump or no Trump.

  6. “…the very affluent who also fear sharing information freely with the government” — undoubtedly, Frank, but I’m curious why. Because some of their money is ill-gotten? Or they haven’t paid their fair share of taxes? Other reasons?

  7. Nah, none of your suspected reasons.

    They don’t for the same reason they universally don’t do Amazon product reviews or CVS feedback surveys.

  8. Frank, do you mean they feel they’re too busy? That replying to the Census is beneath them?

    A shame they’ll miss the chance of ethnically identifying as Monied-Americans…

  9. We all have a finite amount of time on this earth. I don’t waste my time filling in marketing surveys. I always wondered what kind of person does.

    My point was the Census is essentially irrelevant. It is an anachronism. I think most people don’t have the first clue how their privacy is an increasingly imagined state.

    I get daily texts, emails and calls on very specific, “targeted to me”, topics. And those are the entities that don’t care if their targets appreciate this. I worry about those that just squat in the background vacuuming up and storing all they can attribute. That is the world we live in.

    In summary, the 2020 Census is truly a stupid concept.

  10. Forget about November offering in school instruction. Did you see the Township’s new distribution of cases by age group? 31% under 21. 42% between 21-60. 27% over 60.
    That is truly troubling, statistically. Of course, Montclair Public School District sucks at math, much less any competency in statistics. Settle in people. It will be a long, gray Winter.

  11. I could only laugh at this “news” item…
    https://patch.com/new-jersey/montclair/s/h97mp/truck-pulling-trailer-full-of-monkeys-catches-fire-on-nj-highway?utm_source=nearby-news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=alert

    Apparently most NJ residents are totally unaware NJ is the Pharma capital of the USA…and we kill monkeys as part of that business. This is really not material in the scheme of life (or death, depending on your POV). It is truly disturbing monkeys may have been harmed in transit to their deaths. That is not good.

  12. Thank you for the three replies/comments, Frank. My responses:

    I almost never fill out marketing surveys, either. Indeed a waste of precious time in most cases. And I agree that people have very little privacy these days.

    The Census? Indeed flawed, and a lot of what surrounds it has become politicized under Trump, but the form is hardly irrelevant until something better possibly comes along. I don’t think the personal information already being vacuumed up necessarily covers everything we fill out in the Census.

    Re schools maybe reopening in November under the hybrid model, it’s a hope for me (and many others) but hardly guaranteed — as you note.

    As an animal lover (and vegetarian/near vegan), I loathe animal testing.

  13. “…but the form is hardly irrelevant until something better possibly comes along.”

    Dave, this sounds like a sentiment of some terribly misguided Preservationist – the ones that the NAACP President says inhibits getting our fair shares.

    The last Census was way back in 2010. Life hasn’t stopped, new decisions are still made daily, many important changes – several notable ones within the last year or so. Do people actually think we used 2010 Census data? Really?

    Take the Rent Control statistics the generally uninformed are so freely quoting. Or the granting of 13th liquor license I previously mentioned. Or the COAH obligations. Just about every decision the school district makes.

    I get it that people around these parts actually think this is based on the 2010 Census. You just have to love that ignorance is bliss. But, let’s not come down too hard on anyone, who for any reason, decides it is really not obligatory….and further, the whole argument for doing it is monetary self-interest. aka Greed.

    Very sad. Very sad indeed. But, I love the honesty of the marketing campaign.

  14. Frank, it’s my understanding that Census results are used to determine political districts based on population, determine how to apportion federal funding, etc. If that weren’t the case, Trump and other Republican officials wouldn’t have been working so hard to “game” and sabotage the 2020 Census process to try to make things worse for Democratic-leaning districts. (I realize that Census results are just one set of data used to make decisions.)

  15. And if you want to connect the dots further…these same districts have a voter turnout of how many? And then these voters are represented by electors. And administrations & parties tweak all this constantly depending on which side of the bed we get out of.

    Remind me again the reasons we are making all these process interdependencies and mechanizations. What is our goal? Maybe, just maybe there is an opportunity to really improve this Democracy of ours. Actually add some value. Nah, let fight over this stuff.

    Thank God it looks – for now – like the Census count will be extended beyond its customary & arbitrary deadline!

  16. Well, voter turnout tends to be less in the U.S. than in many other industrialized countries. Various reasons for that in addition to “laziness” or “apathy” — including obstacles/discouragements such as closed or not-near polling stations in some places, gerrymandering, onerous ID requirements, people involuntarily struck off the voting rolls, former prisoners who have served their time not being allowed to vote, the false allegations that mail voting is fraudulent, etc. Also, a good number of Americans accurately see the Democrats as “Republican lite” in things like the military budget and kowtowing to corporate interests, so they feel “why bother?” to vote. (Of course the Dems are better on social issues.) Etc. Fewer people voting obviously helps the now-far-right Republican Party — they love lower turnout, and do everything they can to make that happen.

Comments are closed.