The Jersey InsiderOpen for BusinessFebruary 13, 2009
Vol. X, Issue 1. Friday, January 1, 2014
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Open for Business


February 13, 2009


Nicholas J. Veliky

It continues to look like tough times ahead for the City of Clifton, with apparently no easy solution for the economic shortfall which is plaguing not just Clifton, but communities throughout the region. The Clifton City Council should be applauded for making the effort and leading by example, not something we see much of these days in our “me first” society, by what may well be more of a symbolic gesture and taking a 4% reduction in their already paltry salaries. While it may just be a token, it is a show of good faith, something this community desperately needs from its elected officials . . .

Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. Interesting concept isn’t it? Saying things like “get a life” and “haven’t we heard enough of this” or my favorite “give it a rest, it didn’t cost the taxpayers one penny” just doesn’t cut it when it comes to curbing discussion of potential wrongdoings by elected officials. If something is wrong it is wrong. It doesn’t matter to what degree. Self aggrandizement is illegal when it comes to elected officials. . . The Board of Education may have set a dangerous precedence and sent a mixed message with some of its recent actions. Young people who look to the board as an example of conduct saw board members condoning activities that were thought to be miniscule (and they were) in the scheme of things, however when is it right to do wrong? The message sent by the board was if it doesn’t cost much and as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone it’s OK! . . . If you look at the precedence they set, residents can now look to the BOE to rent facilities for celebrations, gatherings, and storage of personal effects and property. I wonder what the business owners who have invested in the community feel about the Clifton BOE going into business selling duplicate services. And from what was reported at the February 11 BOE meeting, the storage and rental fees are a real bargain . . . Allowing board employees to use a Jr. High School gym at no cost to have a private party and renting boat storage space to a sitting board member for a mere $50 is just wrong. . .

(Sung to the tune of the Gilligan’s Island theme song) Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful term -That started on election day - Aboard this nine man board. - The board president was a mighty leading man - The attorney brave and sure. - Nine Board Members set sail that day for a three year term, a three year term. . (thunder and lightning sounds). . The board term started getting rough - The tiny board was tossed - If not for the courage of the fearless few - The city would be lost, the city would be lost. . . . So this is the tale of the board of nine, - Some here for a long, long time, - The voters will have to make the best of things, - Cause it's an uphill climb. . . No budget, no surplus, no state grants, - Not a single buck to spare - Like an old fashioned one room school house - As primative as can be. . . . So join us here each meeting my friends, - You're sure to get a smile - From the nine sitting board members - Here on "Clifton BOE Isle."

One BOE member calls it “Silly Season” others take it more seriously, but yes; the Board of Education election is just around the corner. It is good to see candidates stepping up and putting their hat in the ring to run for office. So far in the running for the three seats are incumbents Board President Michael Urciuoli, Commissioner Liz Gagnon and Jack Houston a Dean at Fordham University. The deadline to file petitions for the April race is March second.

You have probably all seen the headlines and pictures of EPA workers and contractors in hazardous materials suits moving barrel after barrel of toxic substances from Abrachem, a company located on Peekay Drive, that has been a blight on the Clifton Community for years. There were numerous hazmat incidents at Abrachem over the past few years . . . Abrachem had improperly stored and failed to identify products they were storing, some hazardous on their own and others with the potential to become a toxic cocktail when mixed with other substances, stored within a few feet of each other. On numerous occasions the Clifton Fire Department, Passaic County Health Department, Passaic County Sheriff’s Department and EPA were called to the scene to investigate the mishandling of chemicals and toxic substances. Fines issued by the Clifton Fire Department, violation notices given by the Passaic County Health Dept., and EPA did little to make Abrachem work within the guidelines prescribed for handling and storage of toxic substances. . . Early this year, Abrachem vacated their Clifton location and resettled in Belleville but not without leaving in excess of 1,500 drums filled with unidentified chemicals in their abandoned facility. . . After touring the facility and seeing firsthand the hoard of chemical drums left behind, Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. penned a letter to the New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram requesting she look into what could result in a criminal action.

Former US Attorney General Chris Christie made it official he wants to be our governor and has announced his candidacy during a tour of the state last Wednesday. Christie has a good chance of taking this race with his no nonsense approach and proven track record as US Attorney. Christie is most known for going after the bad guys, no not gun slinging mobsters; even worse, he takes on dirty dishonest politicians, officials elected by the people who in turn have tried to profit from the trust the public put in them. Christie has put away some locals like Passaic Mayor Sammy Rivera and Assemblyman Al Steele. This guy takes no prisoners and would be a breath of fresh air in the Governor’s office. Did I mention he is not a multi-millionaire who will simply buy his way into office?

The annual Clifton High School Prom Fashion Show, a Project Graduation Fundraiser and the only place to see all the latest fashions for the upcoming prom season, is scheduled for March 8th at 2pm in the JFK Auditorium, located in Clifton High School. The admission is $5.00. Refreshments will be available and a basket raffle is scheduled to take place during the program. If you would like additional information or would like to make a donation please contact Maryann Cornett at 973-779-5678. For anyone who is not familiar with Project Graduation, it is a graduation night all night excursion offered to the graduates of Clifton High School. It is a lock in event which takes place from 10pm to 5am. This is a drug and alcohol free party to keep our seniors safe on their Graduation Night.

Clifton Against Substance Abuse, (CASA), the driving force behind Clifton’s Red Ribbon Month, activities and programs that promote substance abuse education and understanding in the Clifton community, have experienced budget cutbacks that are common today and have no regard for the good the organization does for the community. The volunteers who make C.A.S.A. a reality have decided to take matters into their own hands and are sponsoring the First Annual Saint Patrick’s Dinner fundraiser. The event will be held March 16 at 7 pm at the VFW Hall located at 491 Valley Road. Tickets are $35 and the proceeds will help C.A.S.A. continue their good work. If you would like to purchase tickets or support the event please contact Judi Bassford at 973-278-5356.
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