MontClairVoyant: Overdevelopment in Montclair: a 21st-Century History

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 20, 2017 12:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Has it occurred to you that the huge/awful redo proposed for Lackawanna Plaza is distracting many of us from thinking enough about the huge/awful “arts center” planned for the Seymour Street area?

Sincerely,
A. Tention-Span

Great point! Sort of like the latest Trump outrage distracts us from the previous Trump outrage. And Montclair developers didn’t even win the Electoral College.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
The Seymour project won an award from New Jersey Planning Officials, an association of the state’s planning boards and zoning boards. Why honor something that will cram downtown, worsen traffic, cater mostly to the affluent, etc.?

Sincerely,
Surprised at Prize

People in the same field often undeservedly pat each other on the back, even as our town’s spine (Bloomfield Avenue) looks more and more stegosaurus-like. If only the meteor that hit Earth 65 million years ago wiped out variances…

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
And the Lackawanna Plaza and Seymour projects are distracting many of us from thinking about The MC hotel — which will be much too tall, right?

Sincerely,
The Height Club

Let me put it this way: People imbibing at The MC’s rooftop bar will be able to see Manhattan the borough; Manhattan, Kansas; Manhattan Beach, California; and the star of “Where’s Waldo?” when he’s vacationing in Hawaii.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
And the Lackawanna Plaza, Seymour, and hotel projects are distracting many of us from thinking about the ugly, sterile, bulky Valley & Bloom. How do you feel when walking by V&B?

Sincerely,
Mood In-You-Go

Sad, glum, depressed, miserable, melancholy, doomed. At those times of bleak despair, I wonder if I have the strength to carry on. Darkness descends. So…a therapist needs to set up shop in one of V&B’s empty storefronts.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
And the Lackawanna Plaza, Seymour, hotel, and V&B projects are distracting many of us from thinking about The Siena and its still-remembered leaks and mold. Would Leaks and Mold make a good name for a rock band?

Sincerely,
Lu Mineers

I’d be afraid to download their songs.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
And the Lackawanna Plaza, Seymour, hotel, V&B, and Siena projects — which all share the same developer — are distracting many of us from thinking about a different developer’s work. Do you know who I mean?

Sincerely,
O. L’Gark

Ah, yes, the guy who razed The Marlboro Inn to construct the too-dense Christopher Court and is now trying to overbuild, with inadequate parking, on the former Diva Lounge site. His giant collection of variances is destined for the Smithsonian!

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
So what’s the result of all this distraction? Does it affect people’s focus? Their concentration? Their ability to respond?

Sincerely,
Queries Jubilee

Um…did you just ask something?

 

 
 

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: Presenting…Harry Potter and the Chamber of Montclair

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 13, 2017 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

MontClairVoyant
 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
I hear your younger daughter is VERY into “Harry Potter” these days. Can she confirm or deny that she’s now reading book number five?

Sincerely,
‘Phoenix’ in New Jersey

She takes the fifth (wherever she goes).
 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Do you recall “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling visiting Montclair Kimberley Academy in 1999?

Sincerely,
Seems Like a Century Ago

Thrilled she was in our town, but many fans were bummed that she spoke at a private school rather than one of Montclair’s superb public schools. At least “He Who Must Not Be Named” (Newt Gingrich) wasn’t at MKA.
 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
If you really want to chuckle, look at the Facebook page recently started by the co-developers of the huge, hated Lackawanna Plaza redo. Full of laughably positive “spin,” eh? Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: Drones, Layoffs, Builders, Rodney: Nightmares Without Wake-up Calls

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 29, 2017 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

MontClairVoyant
 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
After last week’s lightweight column about Montclair’s parks, it’s time for “serious humor” again. Can you comment on the recent Board of Education, Township Council, and Planning Board meetings?

Sincerely,
Sessions, But Not Jeff

Students and parents at June 19’s BOE meeting lamented budget-caused layoffs, while the TC on June 20 dismayingly discussed spending scarce money on drones. What a “juxta” (“juxtaposition” minus another lost “position”).
 

  Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: From ‘Parks and Recreation’ to Montclair’s Parks and Graduation

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 22, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

MontClairVoyant

 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Montclair High seniors will board buses tonight for a celebratory ride around town before being driven to their much-deserved Project Graduation party. What’s one notable thing about that bus route?

Sincerely,
Under the Moon on the 22nd of June

It passes near several parks, which gives me an excuse to make today’s column about Montclair’s great public green spaces. The first person to guess how many blades of grass are in Brookdale Park wins an expired AA battery!
 

 


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

What do you like about Brookdale Park? Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: Fidget Spinners, Unicycling Unicorns, and Weirdly Named Dogs

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 15, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

MontClairVoyant

 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
A small number of developers are doing most of the overbuilding in Montclair. How did those rich guys become our town’s “permanent government” of sorts?

Sincerely,
Self-Selected, Not Elected

It’s bad enough that they “purchased” their power by owning so much local land, but naming all their pets Variance is causing confusion at Brookdale’s dog park.

 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Will you send those developers a holiday card this December?

Sincerely,
C. Zunz-Greetings

Yes, if I find one saying “STOP THE OVERBUILDING MADNESS OR YOU’LL FILL SANTA WITH SADNESS.” I’m confident Hallmark will come through. Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: After Trump Left Climate Pact, Township Council Should Act

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (40)

MontClairVoyant

 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Will our eco-minded burg’s Township Council vote to denounce Trump’s awful withdrawal from the global climate accord and (like many cities) also vote to symbolically adopt that international pact?

Sincerely,
We’ll Always Have Paris (Not)

I hope, but the TC was cautious when making Montclair a “welcoming” rather than “sanctuary” town after Trump’s vile anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim push. If there’s no TC vote, and temperatures soar, the Council Chambers’ flip-up seats can be used as waffle irons.
 

 
DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Meanwhile, on June 6, Phil Murphy won New Jersey’s Democratic gubernatorial primary over more progressive opponents. Did the multimillionaire former Goldman Sachs exec basically buy that nomination?

Sincerely,
Rose on Cash

Montclair’s Planning Board could allow six-inch-wide stacks of Murphy’s money to become part of our ever-taller downtown skyline, complete with tiny rooftop bars.
 

 
DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
But Murphy’s a better choice than any Republican. Another local entity, the Board of Education, was scheduled to meet the evening of June 7 at the George Inness Annex. Your take on the gathering? Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: You’ll Quail at These Quirky Quips, Quotes, Queries and Quibbles

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

MontClairVoyant

 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Montclair residents: “Overbuilding is hurting our town! Developers are not being community-minded!” Developers: “Oh! Sorry, we’ll stop.”

Sincerely,
J.R.R. Spoken

Dialog from the next great fantasy writer!
 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Parents: “We should attend June 7’s Board of Education meeting to demand more info on all those staff cuts.” Gov. Christie: “Bwahaha! My funding policies helped cause those cuts. More charter schools! More charter schools!”

Sincerely,
Cy Finning-Money

That’s even scarier than Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Lackawanna Plaza Architectural Renderings.”
 

 
DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos: “You ain’t seen nothing until OUR public-education cuts filter down to the local level.” Gov. Christie: “I’m in love!”

Sincerely,
Smooch Central

Is this a “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands” sequel? Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: Educator Layoff Pain and Lackawanna Plaza’s Overbuilding Train

BY  |  Thursday, May 25, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (8)

MontClairVoyant

 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Today you’re discussing school-district layoffs and the latest profit-obsessed plan to overdevelop Lackawanna Plaza (LP). Is there a connection?

Sincerely,
Lack a/Wanna Reply

Yes, this column couldn’t have posted without an Internet connection.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
After the huge LP plan was denounced by audience speakers at May 23’s Township Council meeting, what words would describe the redevelopment that would rise next to the lovely, historic former train station?

Sincerely,
Tracks of Our Tears

Gentrification/Overbuilding/Avarice/Traffic (GOAT). LP and other downtown-cramming projects — such as the proposed overdeveloping of the old Diva Lounge site — mean cement-eating goats are now our only chance for open space.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
The ugly LP’s only positive: it may include a not-too-pricey supermarket. Meanwhile, when money from school-district retirements becomes available, should 100% be used to rehire people who depressingly received layoff notices this month?

Sincerely,
M. Ployees

Yes, 100%. The whole enchilada. Every refried bean on the plate. All the salsa in the jar. I have to stop writing this column during dinner.

  Continue Reading

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

BY  |  Thursday, May 18, 2017 1:27pm

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 (40)

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.

 

 

 

 

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