The Jersey InsiderOpen For BusinessJanuary 25, 2008
Vol. X, Issue 1. Friday, January 1, 2014
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Open for Business

January 25, 2008


Nicholas J. Veliky

STOP THE PRESSES!! . . . (I've always wanted to say that!) Late breaking news: I have it on good authority that there has been an offer made to the Clifton Board of Education to purchase 290 Brighton Road, the hotly contested industrial parcel of land that was purchased by the Board of Education prior to obtaining the proper variances and permits to build a school; the same 290 Brighton Road that has a 50 foot truck easement across the front of its building; the same 290 Brighton Road that has pit a community against itself; the same 290 Brighton Road that if developed into a school would fall far short of the academic campus that Clifton's students deserve; the same 290 Brighton Road that the DEP will not allow the Clifton Board of Education build on. Yes that 290 Brighton Road. Many have said they wish 290 Brighton Road had never happened and that it could all go away, well here's the opportunity. Reportedly the dollars offered are greater than the original purchase price, so what's to lose. On top of that, the revenues would greatly enhance the plans the architects are currently preparing based on the findings of the site selection committee. Let's also keep in mind that Brighton Road, Clifton's closest thing to a corporate campus would be preserved. The business expressing interest in the property is Preferred Display, the business located next door to the proposed school site. This could be a solution where everyone comes out ahead let's hope the Board of Education acts outside of personal agendas and spheres of influence, let's all hope they act wisely.

Speaking of 290 Brighton Road, guess who blew back into town and attended a fundraiser for an incumbent Board of Education Commissioner, none other than Dr. Michael Rice, the very political former Clifton Superintendent of Schools who left Clifton to take a school superintendent position in Michigan, and let us not forget, was at the core of the 290 Brighton Road controversy. Dr. Rice or as he has been known, the leader of the school yard gang, came to support his former colleague John Traier. As you probably already know, Rice's actions as Superintendent of Clifton schools caused great division in the community, much of which still exists today. He was also at the root of the decay of the relationship between the Clifton City Council and Board of Education (BOE). While Traier and Rice were always mutual supporters, word of Rice's appearance at Traier's fundraised has raised many eyebrows and questions. Many are wondering just how deep does the loyalty to the former Clifton School Czar go? Board allies of Rice, also in attendance, were reportedly mesmerized with the surprise visitor. Who would have thought that Dr. Rice would be playing a role in BOE politics even after his departure? The question remains will Rice's endorsement help or hinder Traier's bid for re-election. One can only speculate, we saw what happened when the frontrunner in the special election for a vacant council seat was endorsed by a powerful county official, voters didn't see it that way and he lost his bid for the seat. Clifton voters are smart, they don't forget.

While on BOE politics and the upcoming election, there is word of a slate of Board of Education Candidates being fielded by a self proclaimed King Maker. Wonder what happened to erode his relationship with the incumbent commissioners?

As most of you already know, New Jersey has joined the ranks of states holding their presidential primary on February 5th aka "Super Tuesday". In an effort to assist voters in making their decision, the Clifton Democratic Club will be holding a presidential forum on Monday January 28th at the Main Memorial Library on Piaget Avenue. Standing in for the frontrunners will be some familiar faces, former Congressman Herb Klein will be standing in for Hillary Clinton, Clifton Councilman Peter Eagler will be surrogate for John Edwards and Barack Obama will be represented by law professor Seth Harris. Regardless of your party affiliation this should be a good event. I guess the Republicans will kick into gear for the general election.

A group of residents met with the search company, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, Ltd. from Glenview, Illinois to discuss what they would like to see in a new Superintendent of Schools. The residents on the whole were frustrated and angry, most vowing not to let history repeat itself since they felt the last superintendent didn't understand Clifton. There were a number of common themes expressed which follow: The person, man or woman, many preferred a woman, should have a proven record and be ready for a challenge. The new Superintendent should be approachable and not feared by the students or the staff. He or she should be an educator and that they should understand that education is not just bricks and mortar. The new school head should assimilate into the community and have respect for Clifton's citizens. Many expressed the desire for a home grown candidate while others were more specific in their requests looking for someone who would establish a dress code and uniforms, someone with a PHD, someone who would deal with gangs and illegal students, someone accessible with a sense for what special education children need and someone who would work to fulfill the no child left behind requirements, not denounce them. Someone who doesn't think he is the Czar of Clifton. Whoever is chosen it must be clear that the Superintendent answers to the Board of Education. The process is open to local candidates as well as those from a nationwide search.

Lunch anyone? Or how about breakfast, a late morning snack or something to keep the energy levels up in the afternoon. That seems to be the order of the day at Clifton High School where it is apparently too difficult to keep track of the students with over 100 outside exit doors. So just when you thought your high school students were tucked safely in the big high for the duration of the school day it has come to light that the school has adopted a very lenient policy on students leaving the building to grab a bite at one of many nearby restaurants instead of the high school cafeteria. Students can be found exploring local eateries and running from the school vice principals at all hours of the school day. Those with cars take off for points unknown and the only time the school administration steps in is if there is a complaint by the businesses and the students get rowdy. Long lines and blan bill of fare is no reason to allow students to roam the streets in search of a bagel, slice of pizza or some sweet and sour chicken. While keeping the young Mustangs corralled is not a top priority, it sends a message that it's ok to roam. The real question is will it take a tragic event for the herd to be brought back under control?

Looking for some great entertainment on a cold winter's night? How about some hot blues "Botany Style"! Clifton's Historic Botany Village will present a blues concert Saturday Jan 26th on the stage at the Coop located at 282 Parker Avenue. Tickets are 15 dollars at the door and food and a cash bar are available. Music by Big Mike and the Perpetrators long with Dean Shot will fill the bill for the evening. Why not make your way to Clifton's "Village" this Saturday night.

The St. Philip Knights of Columbus are sponsoring a beefsteak to establish the Msgr. Peter Doody Scholarship Fund. For those who don't know, Msgr. Doody is the former pastor of St. Philip and it was under his leadership that the Knights of Columbus Council was chartered. The event will be held Saturday, February 16th at 7:00 pm at the St. Philip the Apostle School auditorium, located at 797 Valley Road, Clifton. Tickets are $30.
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