The Jersey InsiderOpen For BusinessJanuary 26, 2007
Vol. X, Issue 1. Friday, January 1, 2014
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Open for Business

January 26, 2007


Nicholas J. Veliky

The dinner meeting between the Board of Education and The City Council suggested by Councilman Peter Eagler as a venue for open discussion on some of the challenges faced by our city has been an on again off again affair. Well the RSVP's are in and Peter can put away the china and silverware and fold up the good linens because company isn't coming to his dinner party. The event has been canceled because the idea of an informal meeting and open discussion has been rejected by the Board of Education Commissioners. They looked upon the invitation as an "olive branch with thorns". Rather than meeting over dinner, the bureaucratic system has been activated once again and meetings have been scheduled. There is a meeting of the joint committee on January 30th to discuss and formalize the agenda. This meeting will take place in City Hall. On February 5th, the full compliment of Board of Education Commissioners and City Council Members will meet at the Board of Education Chambers to conduct their business. With all this formality let's hope they get something accomplished. The City is in dire need of leadership and direction. We have hit what is probably an all-time low. We need something to rally around . . Hey, how long until the basketball season championships?

Interest is beginning to build in the Board of Education Election. Potential candidates are starting to test the waters before jumping into a race against three incumbents that is sure to be a screamer. Kim Renta, Keith LaForgia and Norm Tahan have all expressed interest in keeping their seats on the board. Local political strategists see a number of groups of concerned citizens coming out to make sure the right people are given seats on the BOE dais. What will also be interesting is how this election will play out with a Top School official. Word has it that there is some romancing of potential candidates for his lair. One would think that with three incumbents in the running there would be some sense of loyalty and he would be true to his team. Maybe there is some doubt as to who will be returned to office, or who knows, maybe someone has lost their taste for Kool-aid. As usual with Clifton Politics, it's got a plot, story line and characters that challenge the best fiction. You just can't make this stuff up.

From the "same old - same old" files . . . Kids First Clifton NJ still no quarterly filing . . . Heard this one around the water cooler; a group of Clifton's BOE commissioners are looking into adopting the phrase "Build We Must" as their new mission statement. This will most likely be discussed in executive session. . . Rumors of Mikey's retirement (dream on) after the building project is complete are greatly exaggerated . . . Fact or fiction, was there discussion of a gigantic Kool-Aid sale as a fundraiser for items outside the scope of the regular budget? . . . regulars acting under the cloak of anonymity continue their name calling, ethnic slurs, personal attacks and accusations. There is no end in sight, there will be no winners, only losers and ultimately the entire community suffers. . . Clifton's reputation has already suffered greatly from this black eye. Promoters looking to bring an extraordinary event to our fair city have even questioned the great divide wondering if the community can come together. . . Clifton can truly boast "Laughing Stock Status" among North Jersey communities. . . There is talk of a name change for Latteri Park to Mustang Field.

As the saying goes a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. . . Just asking, what happens to Clifton's $600,000 in green acres funding as a result of the BOE lease cancellation?. . . And just for clarification purposes, Rosemawr is one of the neighborhoods that make up the City of Clifton.

Will a new school building fix all the shortcomings and problems with Clifton's school system? How about "No child left behind" forgetting one child is a problem, however, the bus loads that got left behind is a tragedy. With so much emphasis on the physical plant, what's being done to remedy the academic shortcomings?

Main Avenue Special Improvement District (SID), the Clifton Downtown Economic Group is making some great strides. The latest news is that the program which currently runs from the Passaic border to Piaget Avenue will be expanding towards Crooks Avenue. This move will incorporate many additional businesses and extend the redevelopment efforts to areas that would have been otherwise left out.

The Bellin's Pool redevelopment project was before the Passaic Country Planning Board. This mixed use retail and residential use will be a much needed boost to the section of Main Avenue closest to the Passaic city line.

Good Progress is being made at the fire site at the corner of Main and Clifton Avenues - inside word has it that an IHOP (International House Of Pancakes) will be taking the space formerly occupied by the Main Clifton Restaurant and the H&R Block. This could be the boost to bring shoppers back to the area.

Clifton's Historic Botany District seems to be suffering the "After the Holiday Blues". When a call was placed on January 17th to the SID's office to see if there was anything we could report on, we were told nothing was happening in Botany Village. So much for that.

It looks like the property "left over" after construction of the Allwood Roundabout will not be sold to adjacent property owners as originally thought. Instead, the land will be held for the possible construction of right hand only turn lanes to be built at a future date - maybe - if they are needed. Will the County ever get this thing right?

The Briad Project along Route 3 east just west of Liberty Lincoln Mercury is closer to being developed. The current proposal calls for a lifestyle shopping center featuring up scale merchants the likes of Brooks Brothers, Talbot's and Trader Joe's to name a few. Previous proposals included a retail and residential mix which was dismissed by the City. This level of shopping will be a welcome addition to Clifton's business community. Just down the road from the Briad project, the Mad River Development is nearing completion with Bed Bath and Beyond, Pizza Uno, Michael's and Clifton's first Starbucks. Liberty Travel, H&R Block and Harmon cosmetics are just a few others that have set up shop. If you have a chance stop by to take a look at the bridge the developer had to construct over the third river, it's really a thing of beauty.

To steal a line from Seinfeld, as Jerry holds a black and white cookie, "Why can't we learn a lesson from the cookie". Well the cookie maker may be coming to Clifton. Joey's fine foods, producers of some of the best packaged cookies, brownies, blondies, pound, marble and crumb cakes is considering locating a bakery facility on Kuller Road. More on this sweet story in issues to come.

The city council is busy evaluating fees looking for ways to raise much needed revenue for the city. This is a yeoman's task with the end result being some much needed tax relief. The challenge here is that many fees and fines are determined by statute. Maybe naming rights to city properties and advertising on city vehicles wasn't a bad idea after all.
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