Mayor Robert D. Jackson, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do! (aka NIMBY)

Really Montclair? Is this how you notify residents that a public meeting is being held?

Really Mayor Jackson? Is this how you notify residents that a public meeting is being held?

I was originally going to post this as an open letter to Robert D. Jackson, the mayor of Montclair.

I was trying to come up with a clever way to express my sheer and utter disappointment with his handling of the planned development of a water pumping station down the block from my house.

But as I started writing, I realized that I didn’t just want to blast on dude in absentia.

I’ll wait for tonight’s meeting to blast him in person.

You see, last night, I attended the Nishuane Well Project Hearing, from which Mayor Jackson (and the rest of the Township Council) was conspicuously absent.

Despite the fact that he’s my neighbor (he lives around the corner from me) and he supports the project, last night he was nowhere to be found.

And while he wasn’t there, a roomful of angry residents of the 4th Ward were.

Maybe he didn’t attend because he wasn’t aware that the meeting was taking place.

That massive industrial billboard with the fine print at the bend of High Street is really hard to see when you’re driving.

So I’d understand if he missed it – being all big and all.

Oh, wait, maybe he thought that billboard was for the meeting tomorrow, not today.

No. He’s part of the governing body of Montclair, and should know when meetings are.

So why wasn’t Mayor Jackson (and the rest of the Township Council) there?

Perhaps it was because the consultants he hired to present his plan had it covered.

Why should he attend when these guys were paid (how much?) to study the issue and present a proposal for bringing the 30 year old defunct well into use.

But since they were just hired guns whipping boys outside consultants, they really were out of their depth.

They simply didn’t have the capacity to answer some of the more nagging questions those in attendance had to ask.

They were there to present the plan, not defend Mayor Jackson’s absolute failure to get community input on the project.

So why wasn’t Mayor Jackson (and the rest of the Township Council) there?

Was it because our Councilor, Renée Baskerville should have been keeping us abreast of what was happing in our Township?

Well, no, it couldn’t be that, because she was as in the dark about Mayor Jackson’s intentions as were the rest of us.

She only saw the report issued by the consultants the day before the meeting.

Shouldn’t she and the rest of the board have received it when it was completed in October?

Probably, but she didn’t.

Unlike Mayor Jackson, last night was the first time that most of us saw any report about this project.

So why wasn’t Mayor Jackson (and the rest of the Township Council) there?

The fact of the matter is Mayor Jackson (and the rest of the Township Council) think that this project, like so many before it in the 4th Ward, is a done deal.

The public comment period is just that: a public comment period.

They’ve decided that they want to construct this pumping station at the top of a beautiful hill in (what some think is a marginal) section of town, where nobody cares.

So they’re just going to do it.

End of story.

But Mayor Jackson, that’s not the end of the story.

I’d suggest you recount your eggs.

And show up tonight to explain to me (and the rest of the residents of the 4th Ward) to my satisfaction:

  • Why we need a pumping station in the first place. We don’t.
  • Why non-construction alternatives have not been explored. They weren’t.
  • Why the township is about to borrow $2.6 million (which the taxpayers are going to have to pay back) to finance a project to produce water for residents outside of Montclair.  They shouldn’t.
  • Why we’re finding out about a project that is going to ruin the natural beauty of a bucolic hill, down the block from a community pool, elementary school and a park, all routinely trafficked by small children, at the 11th hour.  How else to get over but through subterfuge and deceit.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There are residents angrier that I, who want to holla atcha.

But don’t take my word for it.

Pick up a copy of today’s Montclair Times.

Perhaps go online to Montclair Patch.

Or even Baristanet.

Reporters from those publications were in attendance last night, and caught an earful.

So Mayor Jackson, I’d suggest you show up tonight.

Before you find us on your doorstep.

Or your name in the defendant’s column of a lawsuit.

Yeah. It’s like that.

You’re not just going to put a pumping station on my block without a fight.

Not in my backyard.


Filed under opinion

2 responses to “Mayor Robert D. Jackson, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do! (aka NIMBY)

  1. Thanks Gwen. I was waiting to see something pop up from last night’s meeting. The Montclair Times did a good job laying plain some of the concerns we raised last night. Mayor Jackson better not be a no-show tonight! It’s already on and he does not want to be late to the party. Not this one anyway!


  2. A report on last night’s meeting is up on The Montclair Times’ website (not in today’s paper, which went to press before the meeting). That report is here:


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