MontClairVoyant: For Those Keeping Score, You’ll Recognize Montclair in 4034

BY  |  Thursday, May 18, 2017 1:27pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

MontClairVoyant

 

 
DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Two weeks ago, your column was set in the Montclair of 2017 BC. How about a column set in the Montclair of 4034 AD?

Sincerely,
Adie in 2017 AD

This IS 4034, Adie, meaning you’re more than 2,000 years old. Nice run collecting Social Security!

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
It’s also been 2,000-plus years since Rodney Frelinghuysen was hit with an ethics complaint for threatening Saily Avelenda’s bank job because she was a NJ 11th for Change member critical of the then-congressman. The result?

Sincerely,
Upper Montclair’s Preppy Rep

The Frelinghuysen family’s political dynasty ended soon after, but Republicans still thrill to the “Mr. Rodney’s Neighborhood” episode in which cute puppets are deprived of health care.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Ah yes, Rodney’s vote for the awful Trumpcare. Why have public schools disappeared from Montclair in 4034?

Sincerely,
Nisha Waned

Betsy DeVos and dozens of her equally atrocious Education Secretary successors (such as Etsy and Metsy DeVos) pushed school “choice” so much that Montclair students are bused each day to different planets.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
My daughter will be entering kindergarten this September, and I’m trying to figure out her bus route. Can you help?

Sincerely,
Go Mars Mounties!

Board on Gordonhurst, right turn on Park, left on Lorraine, right on Valley, upward 2.7 billion miles to Neptune.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
What about the afternoon return trip?

Sincerely,
P.M. Ride II

Students are driven past Jupiter, aka Big Soccer Ball.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Despite our school district being spread throughout the Solar System, Montclair still has a local superintendent in 4034. Thoughts?

Sincerely,
Lea Durr-Shipp

More than a thousand interim superintendents since 2015 — with some hired after search firms found them in George Inness Annex vending machines.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
I found a printout of an ancient story about May 2017 layoff notices sent to revered staffers — including many paraprofessionals, Montclair High’s athletic director, Nishuane’s assistant principal, and others. What say you?

Sincerely,
Feeling Down About Downsizing

People back then rightly blamed Chris Christie’s local-tax-hike cap and his underfunding of state aid to school districts. I heard the then-governor was also guilty of something called “Bridgegate,” which I assume involved impersonating a dentist. Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: Frelinghuysen’s Heartless Health Vote Made Many People Heartsick

BY  |  Thursday, May 11, 2017 3:04pm  |  COMMENTS (39)

MontClairVoyant
 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Your May 4 column was posted just before Upper Montclair’s congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen voted for the heartless Trumpcare health bill. Care to react this week?

Sincerely,
Louse of the House

The word “Frelinghuysen” should replace the word “coward” in every future use. “The Wizard of Oz” character becomes “The Frelinghuysen-ly Lion,” the Kenny Rogers song becomes “Frelinghuysen of the County,” etc.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Deserved! The New Jersey Republican opposed Trumpcare’s cruel first version, yet — fearful that his far-right GOP peers would remove him as House Appropriations Committee chair — cowardly voted for the even worse second version. Comment?

Sincerely,
Not-Brave New World

Rodney may be humming The Who line “I call that a bargain” — remaining chair in exchange for millions losing medical insurance, including many thousands in his 11th District. So depressing, unlike a Noel Coward…um…Noel Frelinghuysen play.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
What’s the point of chairing a committee if Rodney — a former moderate who now votes ultra-conservatively — can’t use that power with some independence?

Sincerely,
“Mine” Over What Matters

Perhaps it looks good on his resume, which now also includes “Supporter of Legislation That Would Cause Countless Deaths” and “Recipient of Most Campaign Contributions From Grateful Undertakers.”

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
If Frelinghuysen runs again next year, can he be defeated?

Sincerely,
Please Lose, Please Lose…

I think so, with the help of the fantastic energy of NJ 11th for Change members. There would be nothing more satisfying than seeing Rodney swept into the dustbin of history, though no self-respecting dustbin wants him.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Meanwhile, what’s that enormous sound I hear?

Sincerely,
Noises Off the Charts

Thousands of Upper Montclair residents are stampeding south of Watchung Avenue, begging to be represented by 10th District congressman Donald Payne Jr. So…there are now plenty of seats at the usually too-crowded Dai-Kichi.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Can you compare Frelinghuysen (who also responded weakly to Trump’s self-incriminating May 9 firing of FBI director James Comey) to the wonderful teachers and other Montclair school staffers who recently received state awards?

Sincerely,
Rodney Gets Paid More

A personal shout-out to one honoree: Marcie Chanin, the amazing Bradford teacher my daughter had in second grade. The only thing Frelinghuysen can teach well is how to sell one’s political soul.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

May 3’s Board of Education meeting included discussion about a Christian abstinence group that was going to provide its version of sex education at Glenfield before parent pressure rightly stopped that. What about the separation of church and state?

Sincerely,
Rhea Ligious-Overtones

Frelinghuysen should also practice abstinence from slavishly obeying inhumane House Speaker Paul Ryan, who’s young enough to be Rodney’s…downfall.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

MontClairVoyant: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Montclair — Plus a Film Festival!

BY  |  Thursday, Apr 27, 2017 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

The popular Montclair Film Festival (MFF) runs from April 28 to May 7 — 10 days! Does any other festival last as long?

Sincerely,
Cinema and Pa

Yes — the never-ending MOADTOONBATTPWTNDSAMOTSWHHCSBCDDCTCIGRF (Montclair Officials Allowing Developers To Overbuild On/Near Bloomfield Avenue to the Point Where the Next Director Shooting a Movie On That Street Will Have Her Camera Smacked By Cars Driving Downhill, Catapulting That Camera Into Glen Ridge Festival).

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

You might consider joining Acronyms Anonymous. What film would you like to see at a future MFF?

Sincerely,
Moe Shunn-Picture

Something with King Kong hanging from The MC hotel’s roof, flinging sushi rolls into the fuel tanks of cars after Delta service-station attendants twist off the gas caps.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Ape has hobby! Getting back to overbuilding, we learned at the April 25 Township Council meeting that Montclair code enforcement needs six more full- and part-time people to handle all the new construction. Thoughts? Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: April Is the Foolish Month, And This Spring Break Piece Proves It

BY  |  Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (30)

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Are you away for Spring Break, or in Montclair?

Sincerely,
The Easter Bunny

We traveled to Brookdale Park for my daughter’s weekly soccer game — and going through customs was a breeze!

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Okay, so you’ve been home. What else did you do besides watch soccer?

Sincerely,
Variety Subscriber

One thing I did NOT do was worry about my daughter’s homework for a few precious days. I’m still recovering from her science-fair project of turning vinegar and hot milk into plastic — creating an almost-usable credit card.

  Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: As ‘Overdevelopers’ Get Richer, Satire Is Our Only Compensation

BY  |  Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (26)

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
For years, you’ve been railing in vain against the overbuilding and gentrification that has made Montclair pricier, more crowded, and less diverse. You’ve failed, right?

Sincerely,
Lou Zer

I prefer to call it “being successful at being unsuccessful.” And I can still satirize the pretentious writing on developer websites!
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Okay, here’s some begging-to-be-lampooned copy from the main website of a developer involved with several downtown projects in Montclair: “Every facet of a buyer’s demanding lifestyle needs are met with design innovation and…hallmark quality in only the most coveted locations…that wholly enrich…lives. Let (us) show you WHAT’S NEXT, and discover a brighter future for you and your family.”

Sincerely,
Future Schlock

My alternate take: “Every facet of a buyer’s demanding lifestyle needs are met with design abdication that makes you covet a Hallmark card to send to developers who enrich themselves. The cards say: ‘Let us show you WHAT’S NEXT when we gift you with a one-way ticket to Mercury to discover a brighter future for you and your family because that planet is closer to the sun.'”
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Ouch! From the Valley & Bloom website: “Views of the NYC skyline can’t be beat… Our vibrant community features all the luxuries you’ll need to experience an elevated lifestyle. Wind down and watch the sun set over the NYC skyline on one of our rooftop decks or gather around the fire pit in one of our landscaped courtyards. Our…TV lounge invites you to relax and enjoy a sophisticated communal space. The children’s playroom features a fun environment for your little explorers…”

Sincerely,
A. Menities

Translation: “Our blocking of neighborhood residents’ views of the NYC skyline can’t be beat… Our vibrant community features all the luxuries you’ll need to experience an elevated lifestyle — namely, stilts. Wind down and watch the sunset of open space in Montclair on one of our rooftop decks or gather around the fire pit in one of our landscaped courtyards to rub together two sticks — all you have left after paying the outrageous rents. Our TV lounge invites you to relax and enjoy a sophisticated communal space before you faint at hearing a TV lounge talk enough to extend an invitation. The children’s playroom features a fun environment for your little explorers after they return from the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”
 


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Did those explorers reach West Caldwell Ocean? From The Siena website: “A worldly enclave set within the sophisticated urban village of Montclair… Poised between the world’s greatest city and the great outdoors on beautiful Montclair real estate… A veritable playground of arts, culture, and unrivaled convenience located right outside the door of your condominium in New Jersey… Inspired by Tuscany and an exquisite place to call home…”

Sincerely,
Tuscs Are Looser

Or this: “A worldly enclave set within the sophisticated urban village of Montclair that hasn’t renamed its Township Council the Urban Village Council. Poised between the world’s greatest city (downtown Glen Ridge) and the great outdoors on beautiful Montclair real estate (various potholed parking lots). A veritable playground of sidewalk-chalk art, yogurt cultures, and the Krauszer’s convenience store located within a drunken crawl from your condominium in New Jersey. Inspired by a grainy photo of some burg in Italy and an exquisite place to call home on your iPhone when leaks and mold prevent you from returning to your condo while your spouse is still inside.”
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Sounds like a 1970s disaster movie. And, finally, from the website of that future hotel: “The MC…sits at a dynamic intersection that serves as a metaphor and stage for a 21st-century experience. Filled with artistic and creative touches, the hotel brings the best values of convergence, easy hospitality, and eccentric creativity to life. With its 151 design-inspired guest rooms, rooftop lounge with unparalleled city views, and 13,000 square feet of chic event and conference center space, this…property promises to be Montclair’s newest local hot spot.”

Sincerely,
Daze Inn

My different version: “The MC overwhelms a gridlocked intersection that serves as a metaphor and stage for a 21st-century nightmare, even during the day. Filled with snooty and ostentatious touches, the hotel brings to life the best values of bumping into people on the crowded sidewalk, valet parking in convenient Honolulu, and eccentric conformity. With its 151 prison-cell-inspired guest rooms, rooftop lounge with unparalleled views of the Delta gas station, and 13 square inches of chic janitorial space, this property promises to be Montclair’s newest local hot spot when the AC stops functioning.”

 

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.

 

 

 

 

MontClairVoyant: Gridlock on Montclair’s Main Block is a Future Shock to Mock

BY  |  Thursday, Apr 06, 2017 2:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Last week, you said the too-big future “arts complex” will make Montclair’s downtown even more crammed. What else might happen in that area?

Sincerely,
Ann T. Crowding

Drivers stuck in Bloomfield Avenue traffic will mutter four-letter words other than “arts.”

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Care to list any of those words?

Sincerely,
Write in Curse-ive

Hel-LO? This Baristanet site includes a “Family” section.

Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: Rodney, Ryan, Rutgers, Russia, Reductions, and Redevelopment

BY  |  Thursday, Mar 30, 2017 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Why did Republican Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, whose district includes Upper Montclair, help sink the GOP’s cruel Obamacare replacement by coming out against it on March 24?

Sincerely,
Makeus Sickby, MD

A huge reason was NJ 11th for Change, the amazing group (powered mostly by women) that has diplomatically but strongly pressured Rodney to stop always supporting Trump and the far right — even as Rutgers students embarrassed about living in Frelinghuysen Hall removed the paper bags from their heads for a day.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
So NJ 11th for Change — which has members from Montclair and many other towns — literally helped save lives?

Sincerely,
Sue Pergroup

Yes! I might add that House Speaker Paul Ryan, who yearns to yank health insurance from millions, used Social Security survivor benefits to pay for college after his father died. So he’s an anti-government hypocrite who wants to block the escalator after ascending it in his Maul of America.

Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: Montclair Residents Have The Reduced-School-Budget-News Blues

BY  |  Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 12:15pm  |  COMMENTS (4)

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
What was your main takeaway from March 20’s Board of School Estimate meeting?

Sincerely,
First Night of Spring Thing

With our school budget hurt by Gov. Christie’s tax-hike cap and state-aid underfunding, “The Waste Land” poem should be revised to call March the cruelest month.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
You’ve lamented the planned firing of approximately 50 paraprofessionals. What about other sad plans such as laying off three deans and three student assistance counselors, and having Nishuane’s assistant principal work for several schools?

Sincerely,
March Mad at This

Reminds me that some school librarians travel between more than one Montclair school — spreading those valued professionals thin, shortchanging students, and getting people hooked on the TV series “Librarians in Cars.”

Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: Lots of Snow, Lack of Dough, and Politicians Not Friend But Foe

BY  |  Thursday, Mar 16, 2017 2:18pm  |  COMMENTS (1)


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Was March 14’s major snowstorm a nor’easter, brad’forder, bull’ocker, edge’monter, hill’sider, nish’uaner, or watch’unger?

Sincerely,
Felix Watch’Unger

All seven Montclair elementary schools were closed — even as Edgemont Park geese donned power suits, grabbed a mike, and gave the most camera-ready weather report I’ve ever seen.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Please drop the Delusional Channel from your cable package. Meanwhile, didn’t Montclair Cares About Schools’ great March 12 forum include talk of Gov. Chris Christie’s state-aid stinginess that harms school districts such as Montclair’s?

Sincerely,
Not Chris Chringle

That Republican’s 17-percent approval rating put him on the cover of “Seventeen” magazine — near the blurb “Get Prom Pretty.”

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
The effects of Donald Trump’s vile anti-immigration actions were also discussed at the MCAS event. How can students learn to their maximum ability when terrified that their undocumented parents might be deported?

Sincerely,
A. Larmed

Trump needs a gift pack containing kindness, empathy, compassion, and Renaissance’s “A Song for All Seasons.” (Heck, it’s a great album.)

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
And it includes the majestic song “Day of the Dreamer” that’s not about any of the immigrant children called “Dreamers.” Anyway, didn’t Christie’s state-aid stinginess also come up at March 13’s Board of Education meeting?

Sincerely,
Bea O. Eee

Inadequate state aid leads to awful cost-cutting such as the proposed layoffs of about 50 paraprofessionals in our school district’s tentative 2017-18 school budget. The guv’s Montclair approval rating is now 34 points below his state approval rating, putting him on the cover of “Minus Seventeen” magazine — near the blurb “Ready, Set, Sparkle.”

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
I have some issues with the new budget, but I still think interim superintendent Ronald Bolandi is infinitely more humane, popular, and competent than Christie and Trump. As Bolandi’s two-year tenure ends, wasn’t it nice that the BOE honored him with a resolution?

Sincerely,
A. Preciation

Let’s hope his interim and permanent successors do as well. Montclair has had so many superintendents the past few years that I can only quote another “Seventeen” magazine cover line: “Party Hair!”

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
It’s now time for your weekly swipe at Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen. Why is that formerly “moderate” Republican supporting a huge hike in the way-too-big U.S. military budget and an Obamacare repeal that will likely result in millions losing their health insurance?

Sincerely,
Upper Montclair’s Misrepresentative

Because Rodney has capitulated to the heartless far right to stay in its good graces. The 1956 book “Profiles in Courage” was published 61 years too soon…for Frelinghuysen to be rejected for inclusion.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Was March 14’s major snowstorm a nor’easter, glen’fielder, buzz’aldriner, or MHS’er?
Sincerely,
Kay Through-Twelve

I asked the robot that Montclair High’s amazing robotics team brought to the BOE meeting, and it replied in the voice of “2001: A Space Odyssey” computer HAL: “Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.”

 

Dave Astor is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.

 

 

 

 

MontClairVoyant: ShopRite, The Far Right and a School Budget Just Partly Right

BY  |  Thursday, Mar 09, 2017 12:45pm  |  COMMENTS (19)

 

 
DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
On March 6, our Board of Education approved a tentative 2017-18 budget that includes a dismaying $2-million reduction in paraprofessionals. Do you blame Gov. Christie’s flat state aid and 2% cap on local tax increases?

Sincerely,
He’s Mr. Unpopularity

Definitely. Given the guv’s hostility toward public schools, I’m taking the drastic step of selling my “Chris Christie’s George Washington Bridge Traffic Jam” playset.
 


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Doesn’t the tentative budget also have good things — such as more dollars for professional development in the areas of special education, world language, and equity?
Sincerely,
Amelia Rate

True. But losing many wonderful paras (even if the remaining ones are assigned more efficiently) is terrible for the paras and kids — including special-needs students. I’m also selling my “Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Betsy DeVos” DVD. Continue Reading

Featured Comment

Stopped by on opening day to take out a dozen empanadas. Very welcoming space, especially with the storefront glass open on a warm spring day and sidewalk tables available; and, the staff were warm and engaged. The empanadas are soft and pastry-like, rather than the harder crisper type. They got a thumbs up from the Morales family, who loves them a good empanada!

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