Tag Archives: mayor of Montclair

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

Not In My Backyard! (or Playground)


No weed in the playground. In the bong, well that's a different story.


Yesterday I got a call from wifey, while she was at the playground in the park with the kids.

Nishuane Park, which is just down the block, is a wonderful little neighborhood amenity.

There are two baseball diamonds, six tennis courts, two basketball courts, a pool, walking path, picnic area and kiddie playground, complete with infant swings, swings for bigger kids, two jungle gyms and monkey bars.

A sign at the entrance announces that the playground is for children under 11, and that all children must be accompanied by an adult.

So you can imagine my surprise when my wife told me that she was looking a several dime bags WITH WEED IN THEM underneath the swings in the playground.


WTF! Discarded dime bags at Nishuane Park?


The ‘head’ in me wondered ‘is it the stickiest of the icky,’ but the parent in me was like ‘goddamn punks!’

I don’t delude myself to think that I live in some sort of insular Eden-like enclave.

I’m regularly picking up trash and debris that guest to the playground have simply tossed to the ground (despite the fact that there are two trash bins in the playground).

I’ve even had to discard a condom or two. Who bones in a kiddie playground anyway?

But weed bags?

When we discussed the options, there were only three viable ones:

1. Call the cops. Clearly the presence of weed out in the playground meant that the perpetrator(s) felt comfortable enough to possess (and likely) smoke weed publicly without fear of discovery, and without regard to the fact that children may come across their paraphernalia. Calling the cops would at least put the Montclair PD on notice that there was a potential problem with drug use/trafficking in the area.

2.  Do nothing. There were at least five or six other mothers in the park with the wife. One of them had recently played with her child on the very swing underneath which the weed was discovered. It was unlikely that she did not notice the bags and shake sprinkled on the rubber mat. But, since no one else seemed bothered by its presence, why should we? BECAUSE THIS IS NOT FORT APACHE THE BRONX YOU APATHETIC TWITS!

3.  Pick it up and toss it. Treat the weed like any other piece of trash that litters the playground, and discard it. While this was admittedly my first instinct, I was concerned that by not calling attention to the problem, it would embolden the hooligans. And who knows what we’d find next – crack vials? hypodermic needles? I exaggerate, but who knows? Marijuana is a gateway drug!

So we ended up calling the cops, who came out and were thoroughly underwhelmed by the fact that a crime was committed on the playground.

His attitude was so very ‘it’s no big deal lady.’

It was clear from the manner in which he responded, that it was a non-emergent call. He didn’t seem surprised, and I was left (from my wife’s recollection of the event) with the distinct impression that this incident would be stashed away in the file cabinet of some dark, dimly lit store room of the Montclair Police Department, never to see the light of day (or an investigation).

If the same incident had occurred at Anderson, Brookdale or Edgemont Parks, I’m sure the would response have been markedly different.

Forensic teams would have been called to the scene to try to lift fingerprints from the bags.

K-9 units and drug sniffing dogs would be dispatched to determine whether the drugs could be traced.

Caution tape would be erected and the area cordoned off to prevent the contamination of evidence.

Witnesses would be questioned about who saw what and when.

At this point, you can file this under ‘rant’ because I’m generally expressing my annoyance with the fact that I pay a college tuition in taxes, and (at times) don’t really feel like I’m getting my money’s worth in Montclair.

This incident is just another example of the disparities that exist in this town, that many fail to acknowledge, but exists nonetheless.

I’m also writing to let my neighbors know about the BS taking place right under our noses, and asking everyone to be more vigilant.

I didn’t grow up with garbage and condom wrappers and weed bags in my parks and playgrounds, and I’m sure as hell not going to let my kids grow up with that b*llsh*t either!


We're watching you shadowy dude!


Do we step up the Neighborhood Watch? Petition for additional roving patrols? Erect video cameras?

I’m definitely going to tell the ‘Mayor of Montclair’ (Alma Schneider) about this! I’m sure she’ll have some answers!

Hopefully Baristanet.com will pick this up, and my fellow Montclairions will have some advice for me on how to handle this problem.

If you’ve got some straight BS going on in your neighborhood, and you just want to vent, please feel free to comment on this post.

Note: As NJ is on the verge of passing a medicinal marijuana law, I wish to clarify that I am not generally opposed to the medicinal (or recreational) use of marijuana by adults. But if you’re going to smoke, do so in the privacy of your home, NOT IN MY BACKYARD!


Filed under Parenting, rant