The Jersey InsiderOpen For BusinessMarch 14, 2008
Vol. X, Issue 1. Friday, January 1, 2014
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Open for Business


March 14, 2008

By:

Nicholas J. Veliky

We live in an era of “Gates” of course you all remember Watergate, the scandal originally thought to be a simple burgurlary that ultimately brought down an American President, “Travelgate” a fiasco that nearly cost the Clinton’s their Pennsylvania Avenue address and most recently “Hoochiegate” whose casualty was New York Governor Eliott Spitzer. Not to be left out of the trend, Clifton has its own saga, “290 Brightongate”. While the public still doesn’t have all the details, (the OPRA requests have unavoidably detained) this certainly has all the elements of a world class drama and it’s only getting more involved. . . It seems the Board of Education (BOE) is paying extensive charges for the storage of steel purchased for 290 Brighton Road construction. Somewhere in the $18,000 range. Now that’s a lot of money to pay for storage when you have a building with plenty of space and an empty, well, an almost empty parking lot to hold the construction material. Put it with the sheet rock and pipes already in storage at 290. . .

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) requirements have proven to be a real challenge. Why not just tackle the issues and move ahead rather than trying to circumvent the system. It seemd the most recent tactic has been a letter written to the Director of the DEP Laura Jackson by Senator Nia Gill on the BOE’s behalf to move things along. . . The question here involves the contamination of the groundwater at the site. If the contamination poses a threat to the students that would attend the school then it needs to be dealt with. If a letter to a department head can make it all go away then what purpose does the DEP really serve if their thresholds are there simply to be explained away as insignificant? Alot of businesses and developers have paid lots of money to have DEP issues cleaned up at projects all over the state because they were forced to. Either these thresholds are in place for a good reason, or the whole DEP system is a farse. As Ray Matera stated at a recent BOE meeting “vote no until they start doing things right”.

While on DEP issues, it seems the board’s consultant, Mr. Lev, has a reputation for never been wrong. It was stated twice by Marie Hakim prior to his delivering his report to the BOE. Now it turns out Mr. Lev’s comments about pesticides coming from the park across the street stating it use to be farmland are “baseless”. The flow comes from the direction of Brighton Road and flows under the building toward the rail road tracks. By piecing together old aerial photos, the park was identified as a farm field and the 290 site was identified as an area full of trees. The water is apparently migrating from up the hill. Two pesticides were found in the samples taken along with arsenik found in the well closest to the rail road tracks. . . BOE members should set a good example and learn to share their information with one another. Perhaps if you all learned to play nice and respect one another the public’s perception of you would not be so negative.

Just asking but why was the BOE able to transfer $1.2 million from the “surplus” account for 290 Brighton Road yet they were not able to transfer funds from the surplus to complete the auditorium renovation? While we are on the surplus, just how much money is in that account? It has the appearance of an endless supply of taxpayer cash. If there is that much money in surplus then why do we continually get hit with tax increases as a result of the ever growing school budget. Can’t that “surplus” cash be used to buy books and supplies for the students attending the schools - explain that one to the school 2 parents who had to buy their own text books! This isn’t a surplus its more like a discretionary slush fund.

The Board of Education Election is just 4 weeks away and with three seats up for grabs, we only have four candidates who stepped up to the plate to run. Incumbents Marie Hakim and John Traier, Paul Graupe who ran unsuccessfuly last election loosing by a mere hand full of votes, and Lou Fraulo, a retired educator. With such a focus of BOE issues it’s amazing that there aren’t more in the race.

Perhaps Councilman Peter Eagler is right in looking into going back to an appointed board. BOE election turnout is dismal at best. It seems a majority of city residents don’t care or don’t know how important their vote is. Going back to an appointed board may not be the answer, however the thought of loosing a voice may be just the wakeup call the city needs to generate interest in the race.

Paul Graupe, candidate for a seat on Clifton’s Board of Education held a campaign kick-off, March 3, at Mario’s Restaurant. He has a respectable turnout which included none other than Mayor Jim Anzaldi who was there lending his support.

Now for some good news - It’s official, Perkins Family Restaurant will be making the corner of Main and Clifton Avenues their home. In just a few short months you can make your way down to Perkins in the Genardi building to be well fed by Claire and August Centrella your host and hostess. . . Judy Bassford is someone who gets things done. Her latest endeavor P.R.A.I.S.E. a non-advarse group founded to help parents of special needs. The group will meet on Monday April 7, 2008 at 7PM at the Allwood Library, the discussion for the evening will be "BASIC RIGHTS TO KNOW IN SPECIAL EDUCATION”. Everyone is welcome to attend.

While we all focus on $3.00 a gallon gas a real shortage has seemed to have been overlooked. Is anyone aware of the shortage of wheat and the rising costs associated with the shortage. Wheat prices have tripled in the past year as farmers across the nation move to a corn crop which will eventually be used to produce ethanol which will be used to fuel Americas cars. It seems the corn crop is more lucrative. A bagel in New York currently costs $1.24. No Butter or cream cheese just the bagel. Locally many bagel stores owners have taken the increase on the chin but prices are slowly creeping up.
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