The Jersey InsiderOpen For BusinessSeptember 8, 2006
Vol. X, Issue 1. Friday, January 1, 2014
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Open for Business

September 8, 2006


Nicholas J. Veliky

Clifton's new City Council has been in office since July First. As we pointed out in our last issue, the council's 100 day mark, a segment of time traditionally used to measure the impact of new leadership, comes up on October 8th. Once again we must report that the meetings for the most part have been lack luster. Nothing of significance has been brought to the table and aside from the learning curve of some of the new council members, it's pretty much business as usual. There were no tremors detected coming from Clifton's Idea epicenter, also known as the Think Tank. The second session, held August 29th produced little if anything along the lines of ideas that would set the city on its heels as was originally anticipated. One of the more amusing topics that did make it on the agenda was the suggestion to sell advertising space on city vehicles. Wow what an idea, imagine police cars carrying advertising for bail bondsmen and ambulances emblazoned with ads from attorneys, but why stop there! Why not sell naming rights to landmarks around the city. Can't you just see it, the Hot Grill Auditorium at Clifton High School or how about the A.C. Moore Arts Center or perhaps the greatest trophy of them all, the White Castle Stadium. The ideas presented are certainly out of the box thinking as were some other suggestions made such as an increased public relations effort and exploring ideas for alternative fuel sources; all new territories being entertained by our governing body. All the reports on these sessions are made second hand by news reports and hearsay from those in attendance. Perhaps broadcasting sessions on Channel 77 or taping them and airing them at a later date might give the general public a chance to see first hand the Think Tank in action.

Word has it that similar case law has been discovered in Councilman Antonio Latona's legal action to keep his council post along with his job as a city firefighter. It seems there are similar situations that exist where firefighters have held elected office in the communities where they reside and work. It's actually refreshing to have a city employee live in the city in which they work. More and more, individuals are moving to other communities. Living and working in Clifton is a good thing, there is a sense of community pride and ownership that is lost if you just show up in Clifton to work.

Post 9/11 America is a different place, posing different challenges and roles of responsibility. Case in point, the role of the Health Department as it relates to handling chemical and bio hazards, some of which may be linked to terrorism. Our own health department was summoned to check on a white power substance found in an aisle of an area drug store. Upon arriving and examination of the situation, the powdery substance was found to be located near the baby powder section of the store. Perhaps our best first defense is common sense.

The rumor mill stops here. Joey's, a favorite watering hole on Allwood Road has closed its doors. The establishment formerly known as Joey's is currently undergoing a massive redevelopment under the watchful supervision of none other than Joey Barcelona Jr. With Joey's uncanny ability to build outstanding entertainment venues, we can count on a whole new look for his popular gathering place. Inside sources close to the project tell the Clifton Insider that the new venue's operating plan will include opening around 5 p.m. in time for cocktails after work and will feature a limited appetizer menu. We also hear that Barcelona's new digs will be available for private parties and should be ready for this holiday season. Look to the Clifton Insider for complete updates on The Establishment Formerly Known as Joey's.

William Paterson University Distinguished Lecturer Series will begin with guests Steven Van Zandt and Peter Bogdanovich, who are scheduled to appear on October 13th at the Shea Center for Performing Arts on the University Campus in Wayne. This series is a great opportunity to hear a variety of speakers from the entertainment, legal, sports and intellectual communities in a close up and personal venue. Look to the promotional release on page 5 of this issue of the Clifton Insider for more detailed information on the series, and subscription information.

Mid Town Grill's summer program will continue on Saturdays through September. The program has proved to be a huge success attracting many visitors to the Main Avenue Business District and generating revenue for the Clifton Recreation Department. Plan on stopping by Saturday and enjoying a good time with your hosts Jerry and Jimmy.

Clifton's Historic Botany District is continuing their musical offerings through October First with the "Botany Blues Festival". The festival will take place rain or shine with the entertainment moving inside the Italian American Cooperative Hall on Parker Avenue. Sullivan Square will be the site of Friday Night Music offerings every Friday until September 29th. The entertainment runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and food samples from local restaurants will be served.

The problem of hoards of young people hanging out up and down Market Street seems to be under control thanks to the efforts of some vigilant residents who brought the situation to the attention of the City Council. The Council turned the matter over to the Clifton Police. Word has it that the first night on patrol, over 30 parents were contacted by the police regarding the activities along Market Street of their minor children. The icing on the cake occurred when undercover officers overheard members of the Market Street group discussing plans to participate in a fight supposedly to take place in the parking lot of a major shopping center along Route 3. The officers intervened and trouble was averted. Kudos to Clifton's Finest for making great strides in improving the quality of life for Market Street residents.

This is first for the Clifton Insider, an "Offshore Section" of "Clifton Open For Business" For the past 35 plus years, I made my annual trek to a little slice of paradise just off the coast of Rhode Island known as Block Island. Much has changed since I was first introduced to the Island as a boy by my Uncle and Aunt Dr. Eugene and Helen Petrik. Block Island has been a place of great memories and experiences as I grew up. The experience evolved from great adventures with my brothers Jack and Rob and Cousins John, Mark, Tom and James Petrik, to making the trek across Block Island Sound with my three children so they too could enjoy this paradise just 185 miles from downtown Clifton.

The Island, only accessible by ferry, private boat or by chartered aircraft, measures about 7 miles in length and is officially known as the "Town of New Shoreham". Aside from beaches that are clean, comfortably calm and quiet with the exception of a chocolate lab chasing an occasional arrogant seagull, this is a place to relax and unwind. Amazingly enough, the Island faces many of the same challenges we face in our home town, Clifton.

The islands permanent year round population of 900 makes decisions similar to those we face each and every day. Zoning for example, a developer thinking there was an opportunity to cash in on the popularity of the island broke ground for a townhouse complex, only to be stopped in his tracks, the foundations already in place when a question of housing density interpretation arose. The school system, consisting of one school building housing grades Pre K through 8, (high school students attend a regional school on the mainland) which needed expansion, so the Island's leadership worked in concert to develop a plan that provided the space that was necessary for the islands children while preserving the Islands need for growth and increased tourism and also managing sensitive environmental issues keeping in mind the economic realities of a vacation community.

No endless referendums or political bickering. This certainly sounds like paradise, doesn't it?
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