The Jersey InsiderOpen for BusinessJune 26, 2009
Vol. X, Issue 1. Friday, January 1, 2014
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Open for Business


June 26, 2009


Nicholas J. Veliky

Just how safe are our kids? From what started out as a one page application for a high school annex on Brighton Road and later turned into one of the longest running, most polarizing and contentious Board of Adjustment applications in Clifton's history, has once again given area residents cause to gasp. The total disregard on the part of the Board of Education for the hours and hours of discussion and testimony of experts appearing before the Board of Adjustment, all making recommendations that would cure some of the flaws that come when you place a school in an industrial building and zone. Commissioner Norm Tahan stated that the stipulations placed and changes made to the plans of the project during the Board of Adjustment application process, were accepted by the Board of Education, only if the Board of Adjustment approved the project. Since the Board of Adjustment didn't approve the application, "all that went out the window". In a word the BOE apparently went back to their original plans. Now the city has a high school annex built with a 50 foot truck easement protruding across the property and potentially obstructing an entrance/exit to the school. By the way, all the controls for the gate which allows access by way of the easement , are all housed in 310 Brighton Road (the building next door) leaving the 290 Brighton Road School with no control over the gate or use of the easement.

The traffic pattern for discharging students in the morning apparently reverted to the original plan as well. Busses will pull head on into the front of the building to unload students arriving at the school and will back up to exit the parking slot in the same area where students will be walking onto the school campus and parents will be pulling in to drop off their children. It can be said the original building plans were a recipe for potential disaster and now it appears the original plans have been built. The architects will be called before the Board of Education to explain what happened to the numerous recommendations to make this project safer. But just as Commissioner Norm Tahan said, all that went out the window.

No money monitors for the bathrooms in the high school, but there is enough money for raises for supervisors making over 100,000 a year. It's ludicrous that the BOE should try and pass a resolution that would have given raises to employees. Even though the finance committee of the old BOE had proposed the raises. With the passing of time and the current economic conditions, the raises are totally inappropriate. While the BOE finally decided to table the motion, one commissioner again urged the board to move on, because he didn't think the board was serving the public well by rethinking the 3% raises that were to be voted on. Well the public can't afford the 3% raises and it's a good thing four of the commissioners stuck to their convictions. The raises will be reconsidered. By the way a newly created vice principal position almost snuck by as well.

BOE Commissioner John Traier (he doesn't come up for reelection until 2011) filed a lawsuit to have the original BOE attorneys returned to their comfortable positions. The lawsuit filed against the board has many in the community shaking their heads wondering where this is coming from, and once again, who will foot the bill? With so much at stake it's disheartening to see a Board elected to represent the people spending more time on their own personal agenda as opposed to doing the business they were elected to do. It's amazing as to what lengths a flock of sheep will go to get their shepherd back.

Many around town are asking how come so much attention is being paid to the BOE and not much to the council - The main reason the city council doesn't get attention is because they don't do anything. Here we are less than a year from an election and the most notable occurrence at council meetings come as a result of comments from citizens with genuine concerns, and of course the regular local TV celebrities who speak of the sun, moon, and stars and how wonderful it is living in Oz - oops I mean Clifton. With taxes on the rise, services on the decline, understaffed police and fire departments and no city employees feeling secure in their positions, it's a wonder the line for public comment doesn't reach out to the parking lot. Crime is on the rise, violent attacks, home invasions, sexual predators on the prowl, just an overall erosion of our quality of life. With all this going on there is very little coming from the dais at 900 Clifton Avenue.

According to an unedited press release printed in today's Clifton Insider on Page 17 the Clifton Recreation Department is sponsoring volleyball tournaments in Robin Hood Park, or are they? It seems in order to be eligible to participate in the tournament at the advertised rates of $15 and $25 you have to be a member of PowerVolleyball or be penalized an additional $5 per day of the tournament for non members. Why would the Clifton Recreation Department promote an event like this, where the only one who benefits is the promoter who is charging a premium for anyone outside their organization? The Volley Ball Tournament on city owned grass fields sounds like a great idea, but who will re-seed the fields after the days of play, who will provide toilet facilities, who will provide the police to manage traffic and possible crowds? Who is providing insurance for the event? Who is paying for the use of the fields? If this event is done under the Department of Recreation umbrella, most likely the taxpayer of Clifton will be picking up the bill.

The recent departure of DPW Czar Vince Cahill has many in City Hall abuzz. For some time now DPW staffers and concerned public citizen watchdogs have questioned the unused rusting leaf removal machines (reportedly valued at $40,000 each) at the DPW garage - an outsourcing of recycling pick up, which should have resulted in an excess work force, which never materialized. Equipment purchases that would make a contractors blush and a tricked out tractor complete with chrome exhaust stacks. I guess that's what is meant by taxpayer dollars at work.

Jimmy Sturr and his orchestra will appear in Passaic on Wednesday, July 15. The free outdoor concert at Third Ward Park begins at 7:30 p.m. The bandstand is located at the corner of Passaic Avenue and Van Houten Avenue across from the train station. Concert goers are reminded to bring their own chairs or blankets. This is the sixth year that Sturr will appear under the stars in Passaic at a concert presented by the Holy Rosary Young Men's Club and the City of Passaic Recreation Department. There is plenty of parking in and around the park. Call Greg Komeshok for more information at 973-473-5111.

Better late than never - Kudos to Clifton's Relay for Life organizers. The event held a few weeks back in Clifton Stadium raised over $50,000 and attracted a loyal group of followers who kept the pace of the relay moving throughout the night. Special mention has to go out to Chris Liszner and the "Red Hat Angels" Chris is no stranger to making things happen she was one of the original driving forces behind C.A.S.A (Clifton Against Substance Abuse). Her team raised over $8,700 in the friendly competition that kept the fundraisers on their toes and working tirelessly to outdo one another. To quote from a letter I received from Chris, she summed up so well, the determination these volunteers have. "There is no finish line in our Relay until we FIND A CURE". We all need to rally around the Relay for Life and help them cross the finish line once and for all.

The second Annual John Samra Memorial 5K Run/Walk is scheduled for October 11. The event starts and ends at Clifton City Hall. The proceeds go to fund the John Samra Memorial Scholarship fund. Register now to be sure to get a t-shirt. A registration form is available on page 19 on today's edition of the Clifton Insider.

The Clifton Insider would like to wish all a Happy July Fourth. Without the brave actions of our founding fathers our voices would be silent, our choices would be few and liberty would be just a dream!

And finally, Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2009!
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