The Jersey InsiderOpen For BusinessJune 22, 2007
Vol. X, Issue 1. Friday, January 1, 2014
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June 22, 2007


Nicholas J. Veliky

Clifton isn't a "have it your way" community. Everyone wants to live in a perfect city, a place where the grass is always green and the only sounds you hear are of birds singing in the trees. Well life isn't like that and sometimes you get caught in the system. Everyone has an opinion on quality of life, no matter who you speak with, after listening to their plight, quality of life seems to be the major issue. Where one man's rights end another man's begin and the only way to ensure a high quality of life is through rules that guide specific behavior acceptable in our society. In short, rules and quality of life go hand in hand. Whether a situation or action is "Clifton-like" or "Not Clifton-like" is not the issue. The issue is how people choose to live within the confines of their home, their neighborhood or their city. Certain actions and conditions should not be tolerated and it's up to Clifton's legislative body to step up and make sure our rules interpret correctly the quality of life we expect. If the rules currently in place do not match the expectations for our community, then it is the responsibility of the City Council to expeditiously make changes so our standard of living is not compromised. Enforcement of rules is essential in keeping quality of life in balance. Unfortunately this takes time and we are often faced with noisy streets, littered neighborhoods and some properties desperately in need of maintenance and repair, lowering the standard for all. While some may feel rules are there to limit what they can do, they are necessary for the community as a whole.

Members of the public who voice their claims and complaints at local meetings regarding the alleged control of Clifton's Board of Adjustment by members of the City Council are baseless at best. The recent 4 to 3 vote denying the Board of Education application to build a school at 290 Brighton Road should be proof positive. All the maneuvering by the Council, to put people in place on the board that they were confident would vote according to their wishes, failed miserably. In fact, two of the commissioners who voted in favor of building the school at 290 were thought to be against the project but later changed their minds casting their votes for the application. The newly appointed members of the board who sat on the application and were thought to be in favor of the 290 school voted against the project. This goes to show one thing, the members of Clifton's Board of Adjustment are not under anyone's control, they are independent thinkers who listen to the facts of each case presented and vote for what they feel is in the best interest of the City of Clifton. It is unfortunate that those who do not share the same views make false claims spreading untruths about the process and the Board of Adjustment. I commend the members of the Board of Adjustment. They are Men and Women of Great Character and I defy anyone to publicly state differently. The job they do is thankless and I for one a former member and Chairman of the Board now wonder why they do it? . . . While on the Brighton Road application, it is back to Superior Court where Judge Passero will once again rule on the board's decision. The question of whether or not to build a school in this industrial zone has polarized the city of Clifton. . . There are going to be no winners in this battle but one thing for sure, the students of Clifton are suffering most.

After 13 years, the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection finally followed up on an open file that dealt with the ground water contamination, discovered underneath Christopher Columbus Middle School during the cleanup of an underground oil tank back in 1994. The elevated levels of chlorinated organic compounds in the ground water were determined not to have come from the oil tank and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) advised the Board of Education that an investigation of the property was necessary to identify areas of concern and to confirm that the contamination was from an off site source. According to a letter dated May 2, 2007, to Clifton Public Schools from the NJDEP, the NJDEP states that their files show the Board of Education did not complete the required investigation. Yes, an environmental consultant has been hired by the Board of Education and upon calling the NJDEP, the Clifton Insider learned that the levels of contamination reported at the middle school site were de minimis. . . What does raise an eyebrow or two is the fact that the same substances found in the Christopher Columbus groundwater are the same as the contaminant found on the Athenia Steel site. I guess Athenia Steel isn't so contaminated after all, if you can live with the stuff for over 13 years under a school no less, it can't be that bad.

The Board of Education found an additional $200,000 in interest income to close the gap in their budget. Just how do they do that and why couldn't they do it before their budget was cut! I want to meet the Board of Education's investment advisor, because I want to know how I can find additional interest income in my portfolio. In fact maybe we should have their consultant examine all the city's accounts. Finding an extra $200,000 in interest income is an amazing feat and it leads me to wonder just how prudently the city's investments have been managed in the first place, or what type of risk did they have to take to gain the additional income?

With just a week before the event, the Relay For Life needs your support. In order to help raise funds for the Relay which will help cancer research, The Clifton Insider, the community newspaper that truly cares about Clifton and its residents, the one that "Celebrates Clifton and its continuing Renaissance" will donate all proceeds to the Relay for Life from every new subscription received from now until July 31. Subscribe to the Clifton Insider and have it delivered directly to your mail box 26 times a year and support the Relay for Life at the same time. Again this year, Dr. Andreas Skounakis' Alternative Chiropractic located on Clifton Avenue and the Clifton Insider have joined forces to form a Relay for Life team, the "Paper-Backs". If you would like to join our team and participate in the June 30 and July 1st event, simply contact the Clifton Insider and we will be glad to sign you up. All that is required is a willingness to make a difference in your community. . .

Once again we want to remind you about the annual city picnic and Independence Day fireworks display which will take place Sunday July 1 (there is a rain date of July 4th for the picnic only). The picnic promises to be a fun filled day with a great variety of food, games and activities including family races from 1:00 to 3:00pm. The fireworks beginning at dusk will feature a performance by Clifton's Community Band and will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets are available through the City Clerk's Office, or you can call the Mayor at 973-470-5757. . .

This past council meeting seemed something like a coming out party with Councilman Matt Ward and George Silva making it official that they are both running for the one open council seat in the special election this November. Ward noting that he was appointed to office and not elected, stated he would bring up issues, if he is elected, that he raised in his original council run which he has left dormant to date. . . Silva, probably the most active of all contenders has been pounding the pavement, shaking hands, meeting voters and not just saying, but showing he cares about Clifton. It's a long time until November and others will join the race, but for now we have two declared candidates and one seat to fill.

The Downtown Clifton Economic Development Group will present "Salsa Night" on Friday evening July 13th from 7:00 to 11:00p.m. This free event will take place at the corner of Clifton Avenue and First Street. There will be free Salsa lessons offered by Continental Dance Studio, live entertainment by a 12 piece Salsa band, food and a dance contest. This annual dancing under the stars event has been well attended in the past. Make sure you mark your calendar and come on down for a Salsa good time.

The Clifton Police Department's "National Night Out against Crime" will be held Tuesday August 7th (with an August 14th rain date) at Main Memorial Park. This 50's concert, a Ronnie I Production and classic car show will also feature rides for the kids. If you own a classic car and would like to be part of the car show, visit city hall for a registration form or call 973-470-2245. Come join Clifton Chief of Police Robert Ferreri, the Clifton Police Department, Community Policing Division, Crime Prevention Unit and see first hand the "Police and Community Working Together."
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