MontClairVoyant: Events in May and June Might Make You Swoon


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

There’s so much to do in Montclair during the spring. Where to start?

Sincerely,

May B. June

Spring started this year on March 20 — the date in 1916 when Albert Einstein first presented his Theory of Relativity that proved he was related to his parents and children.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

I think the theory was more complicated than that. Anyway, what was one of the great recent spring events in Montclair?

Sincerely,

Season to Believe

The second annual Disability Pride Parade on May 1 — the 91st anniversary of the Empire State Building opening as the second-tallest building in the world after The MC hotel.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

That Montclair hotel is not THAT tall, and didn’t exist in 1931. Coming this Saturday, May 14, is the Anderson Park event celebrating the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmstead. Nice?

Sincerely,

Central Perk

Nice. Technically, the famed landscape designer was born on April 26, 1822 — exactly 103 years before the 1925 publication of Franz Kafka’s novel “The Trial,” about the contesting of a parking ticket in Montclair.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Your false narrative is Kafkaesque. Also May 14 is the MayFair event at Nishuane school, followed by AAPI Montclair’s poignant second annual Lantern Festival for Justice and Remembrance in Edgemont Park on May 20.

Sincerely,

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

May 20, 1927, was when Charles Lindbergh began his arduous one-second flight across Edgemont Pond, staving off hunger with takeout avocado rolls from Sushi Hana on North Fullerton.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Hence the nickname “Lucky Lindy.” Then, the Montclair African-American Heritage Foundation’s excellent festival is scheduled for June 4. What else happened on that date?

Sincerely,

June Is Soon

The 1738 birth of King George III, loser to the 13 colonies and ancestor to three other famous Georges: boxer George Foreman, kid-book character Curious George, and “Seinfeld” character George Costanza.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Seems you and King George share some psychological problems. And Out Montclair’s exciting inaugural Pride Festival is happening on June 11, the same date in 2002 that…

Sincerely,

Out Is In

…”American Idol” made its debut. Kelly Clarkson won that inaugural season, with Mozart a close second.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

But that composer was European — and long dead in 2002!

Sincerely,

Symphony Sympathy

Relax and enjoy the Montclair events I mentioned as well as the ones I didn’t mention. And don’t forget that Mozart triumphed on the TV show “18th Century’s Got Talent.”


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

A different kind of event was Montclair’s imperfect but still welcome compromise rent-control measure that was to take effect on May 9 — 20 days after Township Council passage. What happened on May 9, 1754?

Sincerely,

Tenets for Tenants

An early political cartoon appeared picturing an unconnected “Join or Die” snake. The image was created by Benjamin Franklin — who, alas, couldn’t connect Montclair’s Franklin Avenue with Montclair’s Franklin Place.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

In the negative event realm, 26 non-tenured school staffers were to be given layoff notices today, May 12, to close a possible deficit in our district’s 2022-23 budget. An unknown number of para jobs are threatened, too. What took place on May 12, 1972 — exactly 50 years ago?

Sincerely,

Much More ‘Ugh’ Than Shrug

The Rolling Stones released their album “Exile on Main Street.” Now, local education professionals will sadly be “Exiled on Chestnut” and/or other Montclair roads that have schools.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Speaking of schools, the NJSLAs — formerly called the PARCCs — are scheduled to be given starting May 17. Those not-needed exams steal precious time from creative learning, right?

Sincerely,

Tests That Are Pests

Right. Appropriate that the wedding of one of the worst U.S. presidents — Andrew Johnson — took place on May 17, 1827. He apparently married a person rather than a fully charged Chromebook, but historians differ.

 

 

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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15 COMMENTS

  1. On point as always Dave! Why do you think we aren’t seeing the usuals come out and fight the important fight against these cuts??

  2. This is another substandard Board of Education that spends more time creating an image of the district than actually doing their job and improving the district. The MEA is not held to account either. All the same old, same old; decade in, decade out mediocrity. But, what make 2022 truly special, with big assist from the newer voters to Montclair, was the budget process for the coming school year.

    Here is our first budget under the elected, Type II board (hallelujah!). A system where the voters demanded more accountability and capability into determining the district performance. Most importantly, the big thing, the why we did all this…was to have the Board report directly to us! Yes, hallelujah, glory to ourselves. We nailed it. Already I can see the impact.

    So, what did the Type II board that reports to us do with this year’s budget?

    Well, they gave a copy to the employees. Did they think to provide a copy to us, their bosses, the voters? Certainly not. Nope. The thought never crossed their collective mind. Some voter had to call in to the meeting (what a novel concept!) and ask for a copy to be posted. Like his request was both a revelation & an annoyance. So, they gave us only the Budget Friendly version because I guess we can’t handle the line item version everyone else gets. We’re just dumb. Of course, we all know from the Municipal Budget process how User Friendly Budgets complement the line item and offer specific – what did they call them – lenses into specific aspects of the budget. Even after some training, the great unwashed didn’t seem to understand the UFB all that well.

    Anyway, between a substandard elected school board not providing a budget, doing the process in 9 days, soups to nuts, and the “All Quiet On The PTA Front”, it was a spectacular fail. The mumbling over solutions to the multi-million unsustainable expenditures was priceless. The shutting down of board dissent was heat-warming. There are just certain things you don’t say in front of The Children or The Voters. Yes, the same VoteMontclair-type voters who will green-light the $188MM bind issue in November.

    The bestest part of all its that this district will become even more dysfunctional this year. But, that’s OK by me. There is a 2% cap on the levy and the bond thing is just a long overdue bill to be paid. My preference is to go for the whole prize of $300MM vs the $188MM. Full disclosure: the $188MM in projects will cost us $240MM by this time next year. I just thought you should know.

  3. Thank you, pardonmyfrench! To answer your question, there has been some fighting against the school-staff layoffs and probably more to come. If there’s less than usual, it might be because of a certain amount of fatigue (these layoffs seem to happen almost every year). And there have been a number of occasions in the recent past where at least some of the laid-off people get their jobs back before the next school year starts. Of course, they go through a lot of painful uncertainty before that possibly happens.

  4. Thank you for the comments, Frank. At the moment, the Board of Education is only 2/9ths elected, so it’s hard to blame what happens on an elected BOE. (Though of course the seven appointed members will eventually have to run for election, if they want to stay on the board.) When the BOE is all-elected it might not act much differently than an appointed BOE, yet maybe it will. We’ll find out…

  5. I consider them all to report to us, the voters, for the simple reason we fired their previous boss, the Mayor. Now we get to fire & hire them.

    Clearly a majority of the board are 1 & Done. This is a good thing.

    Let me be clear. Almost all of the board members seem thoughtful, committed and bring certain skills or experience. Some are smart. Some have strong comms sense and prepare. Many are good people, I am sure. Collectively? As a board? As an institution? Not good. Not good at all. I can’t ever thank them for their service because of this.

  6. Frank, I would have been shocked at the last BOE meeting and the lack of pushback if I hadn’t seen the nonsense leading up to it in recent years. Boy do some people change when they get a President position on that Board. Somehow they seem to lose all their memory of why they wanted to serve in the first place. I find it so disheartening!

  7. I agree, Frank, that even the seven appointed BOE members are now more accountable to voters. But they were never elected, and some of them indeed might not be interested in running for election (perhaps in some cases because they’re worried they’d lose?), so they’re in sort of a gray area of accountability.

    I also agree that a board can include impressive individuals yet not be that impressive as a combined entity.

  8. Well said, pardonmyfrench. I share your feeling of disappointment when a board member we have high expectations for ends up acting like part of “the establishment” when they’re in a position of power. I’m still kind of stunned that a certain board leader went along with suing the MEA union in early 2021 when teachers and other school staffers were understandably reluctant to return to classrooms before vaccines were widespread — especially with the ventilation problems in our district’s old school buildings.

  9. C’mon pmf, you knew & still know better. You know we all half-listen until they finish saying “I’m doing it for the children”. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Then we all know to use our critical thinking skills to identify the personal self-interest(s) driving them. It may not be apparent at first, but it always shows itself. Something about the BoE culture is like paint thinner. It just strips away the veneer with not many swipes, revealing the raw, unique grain.

    Watch the new members who alternate their behavior between so politely deferential to a twitchy, whistling past the graveyard mode (as at the budget discussion). If it is not about the issue in their personal agenda wheelhouse, they struggle to make any constructive contribution.

    All that said, a decent, commercial-free evening of entertainment.

  10. I hit my capacity limits reviewing the muni & the school annual budget process, so I had only made a cursory, earlier review of tomorrow night’s big $7.9MM muni bond vote. And weirdly, these funds were not included in this month’s approved 2022 Capital Budget Plan. But, I figured out a likely explanation. The Council’s Finance Committee is following the Board of Education’s Finance Committee’s lead and moving up it annual capital spending plan in the face of rising costs. Quite the role reversal – the Council cribbing from the BoE!

    There are a couple of details I would like to comment/question. Yet, I don’t feel civic-minded enough to meet their in-person public comment requirement as Montclair’s COVID cases continue rising to a level last seen end-January.

  11. Yup. Number’s people. Versus what, literate people?

    This is but one reason why the Montclair Public School District is so deficient teaching “numbers”. The MPSD truly sucks at it because most instructors/administrators don’t get numbers. It’s an affliction to most. This is why there are no “numbers” people in creative jobs.

    And then the very same literate people get all fired up and say standardized testing also can’t properly measure “numbers” skills. We graduate 3 out of 5 that are functionally illiterate in “numbers”…and typing. This is why we have Siri & Alexa.

    Wow. If you were driving, you would likely be pulled over for repeatedly crossing the center line.

  12. Ha, Frank! 🙂 You’re of course not just a “numbers person.”

    I’d say many Montclair school-district administrators and teachers are good at numbers. Including math teachers. 🙂 That doesn’t mean there still aren’t some problematic decisions made. And even a numbers genius can’t always find enough money to pay for everything that we want to pay for.

  13. My sincere apologies. My post was over the top. I’m putting a strip of tape on my keyboard to think twice before posting. So sorry.

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