The Jersey InsiderOpen For BusinessJuly 13, 2007
Vol. X, Issue 1. Friday, January 1, 2014
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July 13, 2007


Nicholas J. Veliky

While plans for Clifton's longest and probably most jubilant conga line, to escort lame duck superintendent of schools Dr. Michael Rice (how's that for showing respect) out of town, are still in the planning stages, the Board of Education has made probably the most intelligent decision of their tenure. That decision being the unanimous decision to appoint Dr. Anthony G. Barbary to serve as interim superintendent of schools. Dr. Barbary is no stranger to the Clifton School system; he has a past association with Clifton schools that totals over 30 years. He has served as a teacher, principal and as assistant superintendent of schools. He knows Clifton's schools, the needs of the students and of the community. Barbary currently serves as a consultant to the Tenafly school Board. Welcome back Tony! They should have never let you go . . .

While on Clifton's most entertaining and controversial subject, the Board of Education, lets explore what happened at a recent BOE meeting. It was an open public on camera session of the board and what did we all see? Someone, we won't name names, try to give his two loyal supporters raises??? With the new legislation in place, the increases in salary had to be published 30 days prior to the session. Oh well better luck next time when you try to pull one over on the public. . . Is it true that the walkways which were approved by Clifton's voters and whose construction should have been started by now were approved last November by the state Department of Education? This is contrary to the accounts currently making the rounds as to why the building hasn't begun so as to have the project complete and ready for the opening of school this September. . . Lets not forget the BOE's greatest debacle, 290 Brighton Road. We understand that the playing field has changed a bit with a suit challenging the NJ DOE decision to approve the school site with a law suit by Van Ness Plastics and Pro Logics. This is a different tact in the Brighton Road saga and it will be interesting to see how the courts will handle this most controversial of issues.

The Million Dollar Stadium Toilets. . . Only in Clifton can a referendum be passed to renovate the toilets in Clifton Stadium - about 3 years ago - and never has the work ever been completed. Now the BOE has the nerve to approach the City Council to ask for one million dollars from the city coiffures to do the work and upgrade the toilets in Clifton Stadium where funds have already been designated. When asked what happened to the original funds, their response was that the dollars were spent on other items and a list of these expenses is forthcoming. Not to just flush taxpayer funds, an accounting of the diverted funds was requested and will be reported here once the list is made available. In the meantime, the public will continue to go on the misrepresentation that the School Board spends appropriated funds where they were designated.

With the need for more and more funds, why is the BOE so dead set against selling assets to bridge the budget gaps? Do they plan on developing the surplus parcels?

By the way, just how many high school graduates were their? The numbers range from 580 to 630 range. Why all the secrecy, how come this is even a question??

Once again, the Clifton City Picnic has taken a giant step forward in improving the product produced for the city of Clifton. For years this event has lingered on life support with low attendance and little interest. This year continued a trend begun last picnic, food vendors were once again plentiful and diversified, the rides for the kids were fun, the vendors and displays were interesting to all who chose to come out, and the weather, picture perfect as ordered. It just doesn't get any better than that and the picnic committee deserves our thanks for a job well done. . . If you were fortunate to attend the picnic, and stayed late enough for the fireworks, you were not disappointed. The display in honor of the birth of our nation and a celebration of all the freedoms we enjoy, did not disappoint. Those in attendance exclaimed these were the best fireworks ever!!! It was a certainly a birthday celebration for our nation that we can all be proud of.

The City of Clifton once again took part in the American Cancer Societies Relay for Life. The event planned over the past few months was supposed to raise the awareness to the masses of the fight to cure cancer. Apparently someone dropped the proverbial relay baton! The event was probably the most poorly attended since the event began two tears ago. Cancer is a dreaded disease and it touches all our lives in one way or another and deserves much more attention than it has received of late.

It is reported that Hillary Clinton has been making automated phone calls to the Clifton area! Many see these calls as an invasion of privacy at this point in her personal campaign to lead our nation. Will we ever see a woman in the White house . . . absolutely, but Hillary, no, not if we can help it.

Clifton's channel 77 recently carried the video from the city picnic, the video from the fireworks display and you guessed it, the video of Christmas decorations from December of 2006. The real question here is what is happening to one of the city's greatest mismanaged resources? In the coming weeks we will look into publishing a channel 77 TV guide. This will be our attempt to keep the public informed as to the programming on our public airwaves and to get an accurate account of the hours of broadcast time the city is given by the our cable provider. Perhaps a competing local cable channel is the answer where residents can view local meetings on a more regular schedule. By the way if you think people aren't watching you can be sure that late night disruptions of replays of the high school graduation ceremonies and the personal birthday greetings that go out for hours on end are not noticed, they are.

In other local happenings, Freeholder Bruce James is the new leader of the Democratic Party here in Clifton. Word has it that the Freeholder along with a cadre of local resident sheriff's officers soundly defeated the reigning Democratic Czar Councilman Peter Eagler and his followers. Could this be the beginning of the end for non-partisan elections in Clifton? Some think so.

Its time to say goodbye . . . the City of Clifton bids a fond adieu to Board of Adjustment Commissioner James Varcadipane and his family who will depart for greener pastures later this month. Jim has been a vocal and opinionated member of Clifton's Board of Adjustment who surprised the masses with his change of heart as he cast one of his last votes on the board in favor of a middle school on Brighton Road. Jim and his family will be heading south. I wish this good man and friend well as he embarks with his family on his new venture. No matter where Jim lands, he will be an asset to his community and obviously will always be welcome to come back to Clifton.

Another bittersweet departure from the city of Clifton is former councilwoman Lorraine Bremmer who has sold her Allwood home and will be moving on to write yet another chapter in her life. She will be moving closer to enjoy time with her daughter Pat and her family. Loraine has proven to be one of Clifton's great citizens, one who was always there to lend a helping hand and support those most in need. Even after supporting a controversial local hospice on Mount Prospect Avenue, Loraine was invited back to fill an unexpired council seat vacated by the resignation of Antonia Latona. Loraine is a class act and was not to be played as part of the grand plans of local politicos. Loraine you will be missed but go with the love and support of a grateful community for all you have done for us.
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