The Jersey InsiderOpen For BusinessSeptember 22, 2006
Vol. X, Issue 1. Friday, January 1, 2014
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Open for Business

September 22, 2006


Nicholas J. Veliky

Clifton's new administration, the first 100 days, are we there yet? October 8th . . . More to come . . .

So just what's going on in our fair city? . . . If you read any of the local headlines or tune into any of our local meetings, you’ve got to get the feeling that Clifton is obsessed with Schools, middle schools to be more specific. People have voiced their opinions and have approached the topic from every angle imaginable. The Latteri Park issue has drawn attention from the Sierra Club, neighbors and even one resident who expressed dissatisfaction with the plan because a pet will miss using the slide. . . Interesting point, with the classroom utilization figures being circulated . . . oops! These figures were supposed to be confidential, however with seemingly everyone either having a copy or having seen a copy, it's safe to surmise that this secret is out. . . There is strong feeling that maybe there should be a push to use existing space more efficiently and possibly realign and reschedule the classroom space already available rather than spending millions on the construction of classroom space according to these these figures may not be needed. . . It seems classrooms are far from bursting at the seams. Preliminary analysis of the figures shows some classrooms near capacity but far from overcrowded. Years ago the High School graduating classes numbered in excess of 1000 students. The class of 2006 was just under 650. Word has it that there are fewer students in the current class entering the High School than there were last year, so it seems the enrollment is dropping. . . Watch for this to become an even more contentious issue as time goes on. It seems to some that a few administrators may be more interested in getting their names on a plaque in the lobby of a new school than they are in fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility and doing what is right for Clifton's students. Remember ladies and gentlemen, you are in charge. We seem to have a bad case of the tail wagging the dog and that isn't good for anyone. Lets all remember, the well being of the students is what this should be all about!

Spin Doctor Rice is at it again. With only 14 of the 17 schools in the district meeting the acceptable level for No Child Left Behind (NCLB), you would think that there would be some effort to accept responsibility for the failure rather than trying to twist the numbers and make excuses to justify what Dr. Rice wants the figures to mean. . . This type of behavior reminded me of a story my father told me about something he had done as a sixth grade student. His parents, my grandparents were hard working immigrants. My grandfather had a sixth grade education and my grandmother never attended formal school. Both my grandmother and grandfather worked double shifts in the Botany Mills (the woolen mills from which the Botany Section of Clifton gained its name) day and night to provide for the families needs. Times were tough and things didn't come easy, they had to make due. One thing for sure, my grandmother made sure that the clothes my father wore to school, while not new, were always clean and mended. One day my father came home with a report card that had a failing grade, a big red "F", in deportment. My Grandmother realizing that the red mark was not good questioned my father as to what it meant. My father, rather than telling the truth and admitting to being a cut up in class, spun his own message and replied that the failure in deportment meant that he wore old clothes and didn't dress properly. My Grandmother was devastated and went to speak to one of their neighbors who happened to be a teacher. When she asked her what she could do to correct my fathers school wardrobe so he wouldn't get another "F". The teacher smiled and proceeded to fill my grandmother in on exactly what deportment meant. Needless to say my father learned a lesson in accepting responsibility and telling the truth. Perhaps its time the school hierarchy stopped making excuses and admits that they are not meeting the needs of Clifton's students as set forth by NCLB.

Give it up already . . . Once again claims by select elected officials clutter the local airwaves with untruth and innuendo as to how the Board of Adjustment created issues during the 290 Brighton Road proceedings. The Board of Adjustment did one thing and one thing only, that being to hold the Board of Education responsible for the school project they were proposing. To think that the Board of Adjustment had the power to create issues is ludicrous and only the most un-informed would try and perpetuate this false information. Elected officials should examine the facts and think for themselves rather than be manipulated, that is unless they've had a double dose of Kool-Aid.

It's business as usual back at Clifton's Board of Education. Now that the Board of Ed has to face the Planning Board regarding the Latteri Park proposal, the personal attacks on members of the Planning Board have started and will most likely become a regular part of the Board of Educations modus operandi, at least until resolution is reached. By the way, perhaps some Board of Education members should sign up for ESL classes to learn how to properly pronounce Planning Board members names. . . Some people will never learn!

Congratulations are in order for one of Clifton's favorite citizens, Tom Miller. Tom, Passaic County Coordinator of Veterans Affairs, has been chosen by the Paterson Federation, Knights of Columbus to be honored with their Community Service Award. Tom is in very distinguished company. Other honorees include Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson who will receive the Humanitarian Award and Vincent Rienzi, founder of the Banyon School receiving the Corporate Ethics Award. The presentation will take place November 4th at the Grand Chalet in Wayne.

By now you have probably heard that the much anticipated PSE&G / Exelon Merger is now off. How does that affect us you might ask? Not as much as one might think. The much anticipated deal wasn't all that popular from the get go and as long as the electricity kept flowing, most folks didn't really care. When things at the bargaining table started to go sour, Governor Corzine could have stepped in and kept the parties moving toward the merger, instead he chose to take a wait and see approach and the deal ultimately fell through. As for now, the power continues to flow and that's all that really matters. The only problem that remains is that many of the PSE&G team chose to depart for other opportunities before they were cut from the new Exelon structure leaving some critical spaces to fill by the utility. Once again, as long as the power flows, it doesn't really matter now does it?

Rick's located on the Allwood Circle, oh, I mean Round-about, or should I say maze or maybe labyrinth . . . in any case call it what you will, the news is that Rick's will be closing its doors and in its place will be (drum roll please . . . ) you guessed it, a drugstore and a bank. God knows there is a shortage of both in this community. While on the Allwood traffic challenge, what ever happened to the inquiry regarding the excess land that could be used for right hand turn lanes? We have it on good authority that Clifton's Freeholder has been asked for comment on the property by a local watchdog and to date no response has been forthcoming. It's good to have a Freeholder from Clifton watching out for our interests, isn't it?

What's the latest on the Quinn Road project? Has the problem of unloading the cars of some 10,000 plus students cars onto Clifton's streets gone away or is everything under control?

Gasoline mania, hope there is enough to go around! It's reminiscent of the gas shortages seen back in the Carter administration. At least that's what it looks like at the Valley Road Gulf Station near Robin Hood Road. Lines consistently form along Valley Road to get a few gallons of their bargain priced petrol. The irony of it all is that the recently re-opened Citgo gas station on Route 46 offers gas at equally inexpensive rates, only thing; they don't offer the convenience store items like the Valley Road station.
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