Tag Archive: Englewood Cliffs

Good Government Demands Sunshine on the Palisades

This opinion piece is about the Proposed Changes to the Englewood Cliffs Master Plan to allow hi-rises on the Palisades north of the George Washington Bridge and east of 9W that will destroy the Palisades views from absolutely everywhere. The hearing is supposed to be April 30 at 7:30 pm at 143 Charlotte Place in Englewood Cliffs even though the Borough as of Saturday refused to include it on their Borough Calendar.  This article is cross-posted at my column at Epoch Times.



A friend involved in NJ politics always tells me, when it comes to political corruption, if you want to stop a strategy – expose the strategy.  Her father made a living turning over rocks in NJ and fighting whatever corrupt mobsters were under them – often at great risk to himself.  Another NJ Councilwoman I know had a grandfather who became famous for cleaning up the Hudson County waterfront from something out of a gritty Marlon Brando movie into the respectable and expensive “Gold Coast” it is now.

These things were hard, even dangerous, but the results speak for themselves.  Sunshine on the problems we faced then was the best disinfectant and led to the laws we now have in NJ that have improved quality of life for residents: the Open Public Meetings Act and the Open Public Records Act. These laws were championed by former Senator Byron Baer of Bergen County. Baer preceeded Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, who now co-chairs the Bridgegate Legislative Committee.

Far to go

Despite these laws, we have a ways to go.  When elected officials choose to keep residents in the dark, restrict access to their actions and intent from the press, and blatantly ignore the Open Public Records and Meetings laws, we lose that tenuous grip on our democracy.  As Benjamin Franklin said when asked if we had a monarchy or a republic, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Democracy demands constant vigilance.  I often felt, while we were fighting corruption in Bergen County, that it was like babysitting a strong-willed 2 year old.  You need to follow them everywhere, they want what they want, and there is no telling what they will get into next. And when they are quiet – that’s when you really have to hunt them down to see what they are up to. (Ryan Lizza’s Bridgegate article in the New Yorker explains Loretta Weinberg’s description of raising teenagers who would hide their parties, but leave the telltale beer cans behind.)

Senator Paul Sarlo – Pander Bear

Why was Paul Sarlo stumping in District 37 this past week when he is supposed to be running in District 36?  

In order to understand why, you need a little background on the incredibly busy Mr. Sarlo, who was one of Joe Ferriero’s favorite State Senators while Joe was in power.  Sarlo, an engineer, is not only a sitting state Senator, in a district filled with urban blight and industrial contamination (District 36). He is also the Borough Engineer for Carlstadt – another NJ contamination hotspot, AND the Chief Operating Officer at Sanzari – one of the largest construction firms in NJ.  Most disturbing, he is the Deputy Majority Leader in Trenton.  Sarlo is a guy who profits regularly off construction for a living.  By pushing for the LG construction project in Englewood Cliffs, he is actually interfering in Loretta Weinberg’s district, and advocating ruining the view of the precious Palisades – an official designated National Historic Landmark. He is hoping that the Palisades soon looks like his district of brown fields, buildings, and parking lots.  

I hope to God that the Rockefeller family donates a hefty sum to a political challenger who DOES care about the environment to run against this guy.  

A New Deal for the Palisades

promoted by Rosi

The video I narrated in 2001 about the creation of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission and paid for by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission is now available free online.  


I am so excited folks can now view this easily online.  It depicts the creation of the Palisades Interstate Park in 1900 and then shows video taken throughout the beginning of the 20th century, through the Great Depression and World War II. The video is only a half hour long but has incredible video of people using the parks and is a nostalgic look back at exactly how the New Deal affected us here in New Jersey in positive ways. For the past ten years people have been buying the video and giving it as gifts. Now folks can share it for free.

This week, the Iron Man competition comes to NJ and the participants will be again swimming in the Hudson just offshore from where this film was taken 80 years ago.  They also will be running and bicycling through the 112 year old park. The first Interstate Park in the United States. It is fitting that the Ironman event is being held in both NY and NJ, because both states had a hand in creating this beautiful park.

Many folks not familiar with our neck of the woods in NJ will be introduced to it for the very first time thanks to the Ironman competition.  We should be proud of this National landmark.  It is a model of conservation we  have protected for over a century in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world.  Just a stone’s throw from Manhattan. In this cynical time when we rail about what government gets wrong, we can celebrate something our State Legislature, and our Federal Government got totally, blissfully right.

I hope you enjoy the video as much as we enjoyed making it. And I’d like to wish all the competitors who are coming this Saturday to NJ for the Ironman, the best of luck in their efforts!