The Jersey InsiderOpen For BusinessMarch 9, 2007
Vol. X, Issue 1. Friday, January 1, 2014
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Open for Business

March 9, 2007


Nicholas J. Veliky

Just when we thought things couldn't get any lower, fate along with a lot of help from our "illustrious" Board of Education (BOE) steps in and the City of Clifton is once again taken to new lows. Meetings that should be run with respect, order and decorum have been reduced to sessions laden with chaos and confusion more closely resembling the prelim to a brawl rather than a meeting of elected public officials. The most recent session featured BOE Commissioners, with few exceptions, acting more like a pack of wild dogs on the hunt rather than the elected representatives they are supposed to be. BOE candidates approaching the dais to address the meeting were chastised even before they began to share their views. The peseta resistance of the evening was a vote to level ethics charges against a sitting Board Member, Michael Paitchel for endangering Clifton students by releasing enrollment figures said to be inaccurate representations on his web site. Interesting too, was the fact that the study requested by Paitchel to look into the feasibility of adding an addition to the high school which was originally quoted at $4,000 by the BOE's official architect was passed on by the BOE at the last session. This month the cost of the same survey by the same architect has gone up to $20,000.

Commissioner Norman Tahan tried to offer an olive branch of sorts to the people of Rosemawr during his remarks; he's running for re-election, so every vote counts. He stated that he has knowledge of religious classes being taught in basements of area homes and knowing this is illegal, he has turned a blind eye and not reported the events. He said he wanted to build a school in Latteri Park so the religious classes could use the facility. Answer this, why would a city firefighter fail to report an illegal gatherings in basements?

290 Brighton Road update: March 16th marks the one year anniversary of the denial of the faulted and incomplete application submitted by the Board of Education to build a school in an industrial zone which is not a permitted use. Word has it that the application has been stalled in Trenton in the offices of the Department of Education.

Thank God for Karen Perkins, she is a wealth of knowledge, always has the answers and keeps things running smoothly. How about a vote to extend her contract and give her a raise!!

Implementation of full day kindergarten throughout the school district continues to be a challenge for the Clifton Board of Education. Now it seems because of limitations to the physical plants (fancy way of saying there isn't enough space, hey I thought we were only space challenged in the junior high school level. When did this happen?) Schools 3, 13 and 14 will not get the program any time soon. Just asking, how can an all day kindergarten program be selectively offered to only certain areas of the city and not to others? Isn't this a law suit waiting to happen should any of those denied the full day program decide to seek legal relief against the school system for not making an equal offering of the full day kindergarten services?

On April 17th Clifton voters will have the opportunity choose three members of the Board of Education. Those chosen by the electorate will serve 3 year terms and manage a budget in excess of $100 million. Those who have come forward from the community to run for office are (in order of ballot number):

#1 - Incumbent Norman Tahan
#2 - Maura Giron
#3 - Jim St. Clair
#4 - John Salierno
#5 - Incumbent Kim Renta
#6 - John Houston
#7 - Steve Goldberg
#8 - Paul Graupe
#9 - Kevin Coradeschi

Take some time during the next few weeks to learn something about the candidates. listen closely to their plans and solutions and make an informed decision as to who you will send to represent you on the Clifton Board of Education.

While she claims she is no longer a part of the organization, Kim Renta is still listed as an officer of Kids First Clifton, a political committee. There has only been one filing by the group which is available from Trenton. It was made back in 2005 in spite of the fact that the organization has been active and is required to make quarterly filings. As a result, until the filings are made current, she is still listed as an officer.

While some BOE members may not want to hear about it, the $600,000 in Greenacres funding would do a lot of good around the school district. The $600,000 would be just the first installment of what could be 75% of the fair market value of Latteri Park, should the board decide to sell the parcel to the city. This is a win-win and should be made a major issue in the current Board of Education Election.

Board of Education candidate Steve Goldberg stands out with his goal of building a consensus on the board. He hopes to be part of a "kinder and gentler" Board of Education. Now that's a lofty goal but it could be done with a mandate from the voters. The real question, Are we better off now than we were three years ago?

Recent Board of Adjustment appointments have caused quite a stir among local residents with questions being raised regarding the timeliness of applications filed by applicants for the position. It seems there is debate as to the "official" cut off for the filing of applications for the position. Word has it that the records have been requested through OPRA, (Open Public Records Act). Looking at recent appointments to the board, one might think there is a common theme, maybe getting a rubber stamp approval for a new school. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I believe you call it stacking the deck.

The North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce is currently making plans for their 2007 STAR Awards dinner. The gala affair is traditionally held in early December. The group has chosen to honor local attorney Frank Carlet and Deborah Hoffman, the Passaic County Director of Economic Development.

In closing, I want to send special wishes to my wife Sharon who will be celebrating a special birthday this weekend. Sharon is the perfect mother of our three children; she has stuck by me through good times and bad. Sharon has been my business partner, confidant, and is my best friend. Sharon is my once in a lifetime and is truly the wind beneath my wings. Happy Birthday Babe, I Love You!
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