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

December 22, 2006


Nicholas J. Veliky

It's been two years since the first issue of the Clifton Insider made its debut on December 15, 2004. During our tenure, we have worked at making a difference in the way Clifton residents receive their news coverage and I dare say we have done that. We have covered stories bringing insight into many of the issues facing our community. We have reported things as they are and have stated what needed to be said to a community at the crossroads. Since our first issue I have met many people truly interested in their community. Some of these residents so concerned with the direction their community is taking, they took an active role in changing the direction in which we were headed. These people were willing to take a stand for what they believe was in the best interest of their community. Others I have spoken with were concerned with the deteriorating quality of life, rising taxes, the city's infrastructure. Clifton's Renaissance has brought with it challenges that need to be addressed. We will continue to address the issues and do what it takes to tell Clifton's stories.

Mayor Anzaldi's Holiday party attracted a huge crowd to the Valley Regency on Valley Road. This event is traditionally a time when folks from all over the city come out to wish each other good cheer for the holidays. This year was no exception; the room was filled to standing room only. The partygoers enjoyed a sumptuous buffet and of course the Mayor's famous Italian pastry extravaganza topped off the evening. The Russo family, owners of the Valley Regency, once again exceeded expectations. They really know how to please a crowd.

When traveling in Italy, it's a thrill to be able to visit the Vatican, it's an even bigger honor to be granted an audience with the Pope, and to be asked to sing for the Pontiff, now that's really something! The Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington Concert Choir will be doing just that, singing for Pope Benedict XVI. The group, including Alice J Cichon, a Clifton resident, has been invited to perform for the Holy Father in the Vatican. Alice, an active member of St. Philip the Apostle Parish Antioch Group will surely have stories to share when she returns home from her travels.

The Clifton Board of Adjustment is going through some changes. Apparently certain members of the sitting Board of Education, oops I mean City Council felt there was a need for a more friendly board member attitude toward the "Brighton Road school project". Yes, word has it that if you voted against the Brighton Road School, you are history regardless of your performance during the rest of your tenure on the board. There is even one councilman that has stated that he will not support anyone that voted against the Brighton Road School. (Maybe he should have run for Board of Education instead). . . The council appears, at least on the surface, to be united and happy with their new interview process. The public dog and pony show really serves no purpose for sitting commissioners since their performance should be judged on the way they served their entire term, not as a result of one application or 15 minutes of public questioning. If the council isn't satisfied with a commissioner's performance than they (the City Council) should have the conviction or guts if you will, to tell the commissioner personally that their services are no longer needed on the board. According to the initiators of the interview program, this process was supposed to stop back room deals. Well this is yet to be seen. Rather in certain appointments it has given an aura of credibility to what would have otherwise been called a "Back Room Deal." Commissioner Paul Graupe, who served the Board well, bringing insight from his 34 year career patrolling the streets of Clifton as a member of the Clifton Police force, was assured of one particular Republican Councilman's support as late as 10pm the evening prior to his interview. Well when the chips were down, Paul did not get the promised support and will no longer be sitting on the board. A great loss for the city.

When will it all come to an end? Latest word is that the Clifton Board of Education is going to once again change the "perfect plan", you know the third, or was it the fourth one, that will cure the school system's overcrowding problem. The flavor of the day this time around is rumored to be a recycled version of the original Latteri Park plan. This time the building will be smaller requiring no variances from the city. But wait, didn't the voters speak and didn't they say that they didn't want a school on Latteri Park? I guess this isn't a mandate - Wait, wasn't the Brighton Road referendum passed by a smaller margin and the Board of Education called that a mandate. I guess it depends on what side of the issue you are on as to whether things are a mandate or not. . . I guess some of these guys are just hell bent on getting their names on a bronze plaque. Maybe we should take up a collection and get them their plaque and affix it to the box of invoices for legal, architectural and other services that taxpayer dollars have been wasted on in the quest for the new school.

Rumor has it that after the votes were tallied a Board of Education Commissioner made derogatory comment regarding selling the Latteri Park property to a developer to be used for section 8 housing. What a slur on those less fortunate - What makes it worse, a Councilman in attendance and very involved in the referendum vote agreed with his comments. . . Councilman Joseph Cupoli and BOE Commissioner Kin Renta are both officers of Kids First Clifton, a political committee that came out promoting a "Yes" vote on the Latteri Park referendum. Just asking, but isn't it illegal for sitting board members to solicit votes for the approval or the defeat of a referendum question? It is certainly appropriate for Board of Education members to encourage people to get out and vote. I dare say some commissioners as well as highly placed members of the administration did a bit more than that. With Kids First Clifton president Ernie Berthold reporting in a local daily publication a paltry $3,000 being spent on the "Be True to your School vote yes" campaign, it makes one wonder where all the money really came from. The cost of the mailing alone would exceed the amount they claimed to have spent.

There is also the cost of the postcards, the address list and labels and the cost of lawn signs. Maybe there were gifts in kind, which by the way, also have to be reported to the state. There are many who are watching very closely and anxiously anticipate Kids First Clifton filing their reports and coming into compliance.

Do the numbers 1185 mean anything to the whole scenario? This common thread that is being investigated and we'll have more on the 1185 connection and what it means in the weeks to come.

With the outcome of the Latteri Park (yes, that word park really does mean something) referendum now history, what to do about the overcrowding problem? Better yet, is 20 to 25 students per classroom crowded? Apparently the board of Education agrees it is not. They said so at the December 19th meeting. . . What about Athenia Steel? It seems the no further action documents received by the city indicate there is no soil contamination the ground water is the only concern and that same aquifer currently runs under a good portion of the city.

In the music industry they are called "one hit wonders", in political circles, they're called "one term wonders" and we have a few developing right here in Clifton! Between this phenomenon and the BOE spring cleaning in April, we may just get somewhere next year. . . The only thing is we need to field some good candidates to take over . . . Anyone interested?

Remember the matching game we all played as kids, well there is an adult version that is coming into vogue and you can play it just by going on line and observing the many identities individuals use when participating in a popular community chat room. The game involves matching screen names used on the chat room site with the real people that hide behind them. The game gets tricky as individuals use more than one screen name. The amusing part is when managing multiple personalities get out of control for the chat room participants and they forget who they are. One BOE member is known to have mixed up identities a time or two and often carries on dialog with himself.

We have it on good authority that the New York Sports Club, located on Main Avenue next to Costco, will be opening their doors in February, just in time to help area residents keep those New Years resolutions. There will be some great incentives to join the club so watch for more details.

As I close out 2006 my wish for all is Peace in our world, cooperation and good will in our community and good health and happiness all over this land.

Happy New Year!
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