MontClairVoyant: April Fools Follies Follow March Madness

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
If/when our town’s elementary schools reopen April 12, students will easily social-distance much more than six feet from each other during this continuing time of COVID. Impressed?

Sincerely,
Protocol Pro’s Prose

Very impressed! Um, wait, you mean students at, say, Nishuane will easily social-distance from students at, say, Bradford? Duh. I’ve been April Fooled on April Fools’ Day.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Some Montclair families with elementary-school children will travel during Spring Break the week before April 12, but none will bring back COVID because they’ll be surrounded by force fields with Mountie logos. Your response?

Sincerely,
Jody and Cody on the Road-y

Phew! What a relief! Hold on a minute…I’ve been April Fooled again with fake-force-field ridiculousness. Reopening schools immediately after some families travel is a bit risky, though quarantining for two seconds is better than one second.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
As more Montclair teachers and school staff get COVID vaccinations, eligibility for shots will widen April 5 for New Jersey groups such as people 55-64 and anyone who listens to “25 or 6 to 4.” Generous, huh?

Sincerely,
Jenna Riss

I’ll play that Chicago song on YouTube right now! Oh…I thought I “won’t get April Fooled again,” but I just did. No song can increase vaccine eligibility, except for David Bowie’s “Moderna Love.”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
That’s “Modern Love,” you idiot. If it’s necessary to cut money from the 2021-22 school budget, our district would try to lessen teacher and staff layoffs by dropping all outside consultants. Putting loyal full-timers first is wise and decent, yah?

Sincerely,
People Priorities

Yah. Oops, April Fooled again. We heard at March 29’s Board of School Estimate meeting that 53 teacher and staff layoffs were a “place-holder” possibility if personnel cuts happened. Given that pro-football teams have 53-player rosters, expect the demise of the Jets or Giants.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Weird non sequitur and not true. Besides, isn’t federal and state relief money coming to our school district — albeit after the 2021-22 budget is finalized? Arriving by Pony Express!

Sincerely,
A Horse Is a Horse

Live ponies in Montclair? What a treat! Ah…no way there’ll be live ponies. Direct-deposited ponies? Perhaps. Depends on the bank, I guess.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Meanwhile, all Montclair developers just promised to build only housing that’s affordable for middle- and lower-income residents so as to keep our town economically diverse rather than mostly for the affluent. Pleased?

Sincerely,
Pricey Is Dicey

Wow — a secular “come-to-Jesus moment” that restores my faith in humanity! But…eek…pranked again on April Fools’ Day. Developers will do no such thing. “April is the cruelest month” — or at least it’s in the top 12.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Also, the Montclair Property Owners Association has dropped all its efforts to kill rent control in Montclair, so the (imperfect) Township Council rent measure passed last April now stands! Nice?

Sincerely,
A. Partments

Yes! I had hoped the MPOA initials really stood for Mensches Practice Obeisant Altruism, despite not knowing the meaning of “obeisant.” Something to do with oboes? Actually, the real MPOA is still trying to kill rent control; the group never “saw the light” other than traffic lights when driving to court.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Hasn’t the MPOA’s barrage of litigation been adjudicated online, not in-courtroom? Anyway, the indispensable Toni’s Kitchen is having another COVID-time food drive this month. A jar of peanut butter will even drive from South Fullerton to Orange Road!

Sincerely,
Sticky Situation

Really? It’ll be amazing to see a peanut-butter jar with wheels do that! Whoops, not that kind of food drive. Perhaps my brain was warped by eating too many “fluffernutter” sandwiches as a kid — especially when my parents substituted toy-kitchen plastic bread every April 1.

 

 

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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46 COMMENTS

  1. “No song can increase vaccine eligibility, except for David Bowie’s “Moderna Love.”

    Dave, I’d say Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”

  2. Absolutely, silverleaf! 😂 Great one!

    There was a 1995 Clancy Brothers album called “Older But No Wiser.” Given that it came out long before COVID and senior citizens getting COVID vaccines, it could’ve been called “Older But No Pfizer”…

  3. louielouie, I’m probably being dense, but I’m not sure I understand the Eric Clapton mention. Can you explain? Perhaps a reference to Clapton’s version of Bob Marley’s song “I Shot the Sheriff [with a dose of COVID vaccine]”? 🙂 Thank you!

  4. LOL, silverleaf! 😂 Nice to have The Pharma in the Dell (computer) when a person makes a vaccine appointment online. Of course, Mac users might feel differently…

  5. Happy Easter.

    Dave,
    I’m confident almost all Motnclarions do not realize our most recent affordable housing zoning has been specifically written to minimize affordable housing. And, if I am not mistaken, our Council, our governing body is still the group we designated as our representatives. Correct me on this if I’m wrong.

    And this zoning is written to benefit our wallets. And then we feel guilt-ridden and say someone has to be held to account for the impact of gentrification…and the tenants who don’t pay taxes, but vote sometimes. And voted to put this township $235MM in debt.

    Landlords must pay! Not the big landlords the Council partnered with. The others. Yes, of course.

    What a great day for church services!

  6. Happy Easter to you, Frank!

    “…our most recent affordable housing zoning has been specifically written to minimize affordable housing” — I’m not aware of the details of that, but if that’s the case I’m not exceptionally surprised. Various Montclair officials have talked for years about the importance of affordable housing, but actual actions have been minor at best. One thing that would potentially help is taking a harder line with developers, especially the big ones you mentioned. Heck, that approach can even work on occasion — as illustrated by how a group of Montclair citizens (not Montclair’s leaders) filed a lawsuit over the Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment that at least indirectly led to the sale of Lackawanna to a developer who might bring a somewhat higher percentage of affordable housing to the site. (Might, or might not; time will tell.)

  7. Dave – I was actually thinking of the old Keil’s Drugs on Valley Road. For those that recall, the pharma in the deli.

  8. Totally agree Montclair taxpayers (& their elected representatives) could walk the talk on redevelopment projects. Redevelopment agreements are negotiated agreements. Regular development applications requesting variances of taxpayers are a form of agreements.

    This rent control ordinance, the way it was written and set up, was nothing more than government taking. We singled out a group and we took. I know most don’t understand this. This rent control ordinance is like if the leaf blower ordinance applied just to properties over an acre. But, the argument is you have to start somewhere and we can always change the discriminatory provisions of a law down the road.

    Great argument for getting rid of the judicial branch. No need for one when we have our own legislative branch. Seems to be a trend these days. Everyone is doing it.

  9. Ha! 😂 That was clever, silverleaf!

    I’ve always preferred independent pharmacies over the chain ones. Often some quirkiness to the independents, and usually better customer service.

  10. Frank, you’re convincing me more and more that the rent-control measure is seriously flawed and doesn’t cover nearly enough properties. I still think it’s much better than nothing, and if the measure eventually stands up to the Montclair Property Owners Association’s well-funded effort to take it down, it’s my hope that local rent control would be expanded — as you alluded to.

  11. Yes, and the only place in town where you could pick up a container of chili and a bottle of Pepto-Bismol under one roof.

  12. Ha ha, silverleaf! 😂 Perfect!

    Too bad the pharmacy didn’t just mix the chili and Pepto-Bismol together to eliminate some packaging. 🙂

  13. “Frank, you’re convincing me more and more that the rent-control measure is seriously flawed and doesn’t cover nearly enough properties.”

    Carpe diem! Well now, how about joining me in opposing the bike trail in just Montclair’s 600+’ segment of the Essex-Hudson Greenway? If you think my rent control opposition is compelling, just wait until I use NJBWC’s own arguments to instead start the trail in Glen Ridge. At the very least, your joining me will give a lot of coverage to a whole lot of Pride Goeth Before The Fall (of their bikes) stuff. For fun, ask NJBWC to show where the commuter bike access points are (not the recreational bikers). Ask them for a profile of a typical commuter priorities & manners. It will crack you up.

    To say they have not thought this through for the tiny Montclair segment is quite the understatement.

  14. Frank, I think the Greenway is a good idea for various reasons — environmental, nature, exercise, etc. I do worry about whether the Montclair portion will lead to increased gentrification near that portion. Officials say it won’t, or they won’t let it, but we all know that “promises” like that are often broken when the affluent will benefit.

  15. Frank, Any word on how and who will provide security along the bike path? Seems like at least part of the path will go through some remote places. Heck, it might make it more fun to run the gauntlet during off hours. They can give out medals for a midnight run to Jersey City.
    Dave, Please stop with “affluent” hate. They subside your child’s education and any other public service you have the advantage using. I am not affluent but I don’t bite the hand that feeds me. I love rich people! They have given me jobs and pay 80% of the taxes. Besides constantly complaining what have you contributed to the greater good. From what I can tell you don’t even smile. Lighten up, life is short and believe it or not no one is ripping you off. Why don’t you go to construction site and ask the workers what they think of developers. Give them your opinion but expect the back of your head to be introduced to a shovel. Those lowly non-college educated tradesman, that you must hold in equal distain, have mouths to feed. You and those with your attitude will never make that possible.

  16. Ah, gentrification! So controversial. To bring outsiders into a neighborhood. Diversity. Outsiders bringing the surrounds a new, unseen level of economic wherewithal. Before that, a hardscrabble, but steady economic drip for the neighborhood – in spite of the obstacles. Then, a once-in-a-generation, Robert Moses-type cleansing event clears the spigot of capitalism. And now another. Is this a form of restoration, or growth? Or both?

    For guidance to future generations, Townspeople overlaid the neighborhood with an historic preservation designation. The designation simply provides some perspective for each new day’s choices..and what we value & want to preserve for the future. Or until the next new day.

    The question is not gentrification. The question is what makes a neighborhood.

  17. Excellent belated April Fools comment, Frank! 🙂

    To respond seriously to one of your points, gentrification of course ultimately means less diversity (economic and racial) once the gentrification is “complete.” 🙁

  18. Thank you for the comment, flipside.

    I don’t hate the affluent. I have various friends and some extended-family members who are affluent. I just don’t like how the affluent often get much of the good stuff — housing, political clout, etc. — at the expense of the less-affluent.

    As for the rich subsidizing things with their taxes — yes, to an extent. But many don’t pay their fair share of taxes, relative to what they owe. Loopholes, etc. Plus tax rates for the rich (including corporations) went down under the previous presidential administration.

    And re you getting a bit personal, flipside, I smile quite a bit, donate a lot of money within my modest-income means, etc. Also, when I used to be in a semi-supervisory position, I never exploited the full-timers and freelancers under me. As for non-college-educated people, my working-class parents and working-class grandparents didn’t go to college. And you sound a bit disdainful of workers to think some of them would have no self-control and turn to violence (that shovel you mentioned) if someone said something they disagreed with.

    In short, you make a lot of unfounded assumptions.

  19. Dave, I must apologize. I did get a little to personal but one assumption I didn’t make is your constant harping on the affluent. What is the “fair share” you talk about? Is there anything more greedy than wanting a bigger portion of someone else’s earnings? Many affluent do great things with their money especially when they realize they can’t take it with you. Have you ever seen the Langone NYU Medical Center? That place was a dump until Ken Langone pumped his money into the place. Do you think the government could do that job with tax money? They never have. More locally, drive by St Barnabas. Lean Cooperman’s name is all over the place. Thank God the government let him keep some money so it could be put to good use instead of it going into a politician’s donors pockets. BTW, nice try flipping the script on workers. Not buying it. I come from a family of bricklayers and worked plenty of construction jobs through HS and college. No one had a problem with self-control unless you threatened their income. Big difference so don’t try to equate it to a “disagreement.”

  20. Affluent is not a definition of income. What do you mean affluent? People making over 160k or those having investment, salary and various other income over $800k. Just for the sake of clarity those in the 800k contribute about 25% of all federal revenues. So I’m not sure where that 80% figure comes from. Even those in the $160k range pay only 68% of revenues.

    Dave, as for corporate taxes don’t look now but the top 55 corporations in the US paid zero in corporate taxes over the past 2 years. Perhaps it’s time to bite a few hands flipside. Payroll taxes, which help finance SS, Medicare and unemployment benefits are the second largest source of federal revenues and make up about 36% of all total receipts annually. The bottom 90% of income earners pay more in payroll taxes (FICA) than in income taxes. Hardly a recipe for equality. But I love the affluent they gave me my job. I don’t think so.

    Bottom line, individual income taxes account for 50% of total revenues and payroll taxes 36% with corporate income taxes accounting for about 7%. Maybe some research is in order before statistics are thrown out as fact. And yes, Dave, “I Shot the Sheriff” is correct.

  21. I appreciate the apology, flipside.

    Yes, there are some rich people — including the two you mentioned — who donate a lot of money. But then we get into the questions of whether philanthropic rich people pay their workers fair wages and pay what they owe in taxes. If they do, good for them. If they don’t, part of the money they’ve made — and are donating — might be better spent on the aforementioned fair wages and paying what they owe in taxes. Sometimes, the rich donating money is a way to try to “cleanse” not-stellar reputations. And of course there’s some ego involved when the donating is done publicly and their name ends up on a building.

    “Is there anything more greedy than wanting a bigger portion of someone else’s earnings?” — yes, people who are millionaires or billionaires wanting to pay less in taxes and not pay their employees fair wages.

    Great that you came from a family of bricklayers and worked construction! My father was a TV and radio repairman (when he was employed). My jobs included working on an assembly line, stocking shelves in a store, being a mechanic’s helper at a Ford dealership, etc.

  22. I’m hoping that some time before we have the next debacle that was the Essex-Hudson Greenway Presentation (just horrible), someone, everyone with a leadership position actually familiarizes themselves with the history of this neighborhood. Just for kicks & giggles. And Wikipedia doesn’t count.

    Maybe they will speak with some knowledge, maybe insights, maybe respectfully of those before them. And a few are still around. Several didn’t grow up in that neighborhood, but they call it home now. Maybe seek them out. And West of Grove Street doesn’t count.

    Don’t misread me. I am very appreciative and give daily thanks to the new blood. We, the Township, was getting a little stale & limited. This is the dark side of Aging In Place we don’t talk about. And yes, history is overrated in the gig world. Tomorrow. That is what is important.

    OK, gotcha again! I crack myself up!

  23. Louie, The top 20% pay 80% of the taxes. Someone making 150k may not be affluent in NYC but it is a big country. Here is novel idea to make things more fair. Dramatically reduce the size of government and the waste that goes along with it. Less money in government coffers will lead to less corruption. Lower taxes for everyone! What will higher taxes yield? Pretty much nothing because there is not enough income to tax to catch up with the recent spending. Where does the little guy get really screwed? Inflation on necessities, sales tax, gas tax, etc. Print money and bag of groceries jumps up from 50 to 100 bucks. A sandwich is 10 to 12 bucks. To the wealthy it’s a drop in the bucket but to the working class it is a killer. Of course a big screen TV is cheaper so there is no inflation…yeah, right.
    BTW, where does all that money the affluent are hoarding go? In a mattress? Nope, right back into the economy. There are some things the government needs to be involved in but government on every level has grown too big. The government screwed up the housing market in the 2000’s and then moved on to making college unaffordable. Can’t wait for what comes next.

  24. Great comment, louielouie!

    Quite a few big corporations indeed pay little or no taxes of various kinds during various years. That certainly doesn’t help the U.S. economy or help pay for necessary things (social services, infrastructure, etc.). Middle-income and lower-income people often do pay a higher percentage of taxes (relative to their income) than the wealthy and corporations pay. Billionaire Warren Buffett himself acknowledged that his secretary should not be paying a higher tax rate than him.

    And thanks for the Eric Clapton confirmation! 🙂

  25. OK, what was non-profit Lenox Hill’s excuse for $3,000 COVID tests?
    FYI, Mountainside Hospital is for-profit.
    Smaller government! No, bigger government! No, it really doesn’t matter, does it? I’m still trying to figure out how unemployment fits into both positions. I think both argue they achieve optimal employment. Then there is the matter of population control. I get so confused.

    It is the human condition.

  26. INTERESTING, silverleaf! Thank you for the link! So, wealthy hedge-funder/”philanthropist” Leon Cooperman was also a white-collar crook. I guess giving away a lot of money helped burnish a not-so-admirable reputation. Convenient…

  27. Silver and Dave, (I kind of like that combo) A couple million buck fine? Really? But you are okay with what Pelosi and Feinstein, to name two, having their husbands becoming multimillionaires using inside government knowledge. BTW, the list would long on both sides of the aisle. If you like you can look into Obama and Susan Rice becoming extremely rich off your tax dollars. Now about good old Leon. A million bucks means let’s just settle because our legal fees will be 20 million. AND WHY was he investigated??? Because after he pledged half his worth to charity he got invited to the White House for dinner with Obama. After that dinner he took out a full page ad, I think in the NY Times, about how much he feared for America’s future because the president was so anti-business and clueless on how the private sector worked. The pay back was Obama having the DOJ and SEC investigate his firm. The settlement looks like they found basically nothing. Payback is a b**ch when you donate a billion dollars. As Paul Harvey used to say, “and now you know the rest of the story.”

  28. The compensation seems in line. Elite NFL quarterbacks are paid $30MM/year and their goal is to get to a Super Bowl. They don’t have to win it. After all, football is not heart surgery… 🙄

  29. I am actually more appalled the Montclair Public School District is considering bipolar ionization systems. Maybe it is just an April Fools prank….our magnet system?….get it?
    OK, not the same principle, but apparently one can fool most of the people most of the time.

  30. flipside, I have to admit I’m getting tired of you implying that I reflexively support Democrats when I’ve criticized Democrats multiple times in my replies to you and others here over the past months and years. “You can look it up,” as they say. To repeat, I’m not a major fan of Pelosi, Feinstein, Biden, Schumer, etc. To me their ideology is often “Republican lite,” even as many of today’s Republican leaders have become far-right fanatics. And of course there’s corruption on both sides of the aisle, but I’m not sure there is a national Democrat who’s quite as sordid as Trump and Matt Gaetz and their ilk. All that being said, Leon Cooperman is still a white-collar crook who, for whatever the motives, has also done some good. You’re unconvincing effort to explain away his white-collar crookedness was good for a chuckle. 🙂 If Cooperman was innocent, NO WAY would he have settled — especially given that the legal fees of even $20 million would have been pocket change for him.

  31. Frank, I hear you that medical people deserve high compensation. But there’s a lot of cognitive dissonance when their hospital goes on to bilk patients (and insurance companies) with outrageous charges. And I agree that many pro athletes are overpaid, but of course the usually billionaire owners are much richer.

  32. Thanks Dave, you saved me the effort. Like you, I am not a fan of either Pelosi or Feinstein as he implies.

    Pay no attention and maybe he will go away. After all, he “comes from a family of bricklayers and worked plenty of construction jobs through HS and college.” That is really important within the context of this. Lol!

  33. Dave, Dave, Dave, I know there is nothing I or anyone else could say could convince you of anything. It is part of your charm. The government can indict ham sandwich and make anyone’s life miserable. The easy way out is to bend your knee, pay up, and move on. I do my best to find the good in people. You clearly know nothing about financial markets and absolutely nothing about Mr Cooperman. Nice smear job though. Maybe you and Bill Clinton can have a cigar sometime. (I need to stop this now because you will actually think I am seriously debating you. I am suffering from a little covid boredom today, cheerio)

  34. flipside, flipside, flipside, I have no respect for Bill Clinton — something I expressed in this comments area at least a couple times before (forget when). I don’t like his sexual-misconduct history, and I don’t like his right-center politics.

    I obviously don’t know everything about Leon Cooperman, but part of his résumé is being a white-collar crook. Again, if he were innocent he would have fought the charges tooth-and-nail — even though it might be easier and less time-consuming to settle — because a good reputation is a terrible thing to waste. If you still want to admire a white-collar crook, have at it.

  35. Silver…Is there something funny about using your hands to build things? Mock all you want but the big bad wolf can’t blow my house down. I guess being an enlightened liberal progressive has an ugly side…yuck…good luck with that.

  36. There is nothing funny about one working with one’s hands; nothing at all. It was you that was the source if my humor.

    Dave, did he really say “big bad wolf”?

  37. I agree, silverleaf — working with one’s hands is something to respect and admire; you weren’t making fun of that.

  38. Dave and Silver, What is more fun than watching one enlighten holier than thou progressives get snarky? Watching two!! Isn’t mocking, personal attacks, and snark the tactics Trump used on people he disagreed with? How ironic!! In a humorous sort of way…but not haha funny.

  39. flipside, one additional response:

    In this week’s comments area, you wrote on April 7 at 2:21 pm: “I know there is nothing I or anyone else could say could convince you of anything.”

    Previously in this week’s comments area, I wrote on April 5 at 8:33 am: “Frank, you’re convincing me more and more that the rent-control measure is seriously flawed and doesn’t cover nearly enough properties.”

    I can be persuaded by facts and a good argument.

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