Tag Archive: Teaneck

In elections senior citizens rock

Young people in New Jersey have recently been a driving force in politics, advocating for gun legislation, immigration rights, marijuana legislation, taking over Republican held congressional seats, and more. Nonetheless, they have historically voted in much lower numbers than older Americans,…
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For Freedom of Speech A Dark Night Rises

I can recall in July 2012 following the shooting massacre in Aurora, security was beefed up in theaters nation-wide showing The Dark Knight Rises. I went to see the movie at a megaplex and outside there were two Teaneck police cars. Inside next to the entrance there was a plainclothes officer with an ear piece looking closely at everyone coming through the door.

Sony Corporation last week decided to cancel distribution of The Interview – a fictional movie about an assassination plot against “The Supreme Leader” of North Korea. Sony Pictures CEO said he reached that decision because some major theater corporations did not want to show the comedy. Shame on the movie theater owners for their cowardice. And shame on Sony, which could have made the film available to venues which wanted it, including independently owned facilities. We have a nicely restored private theater in Teaneck. Our local police would have been there. Indeed, police nowadays routinely cover events where there is possibility of mayhem.

The movie seems to be a slacker comedy and probably filled with tasteless but occasionally funny jokes. Nonetheless, setting a precedent that a film, a book, a painting or any art can be “disappeared” because some person or government threatens a terrorist attack is a serious mistake. We value freedom of speech and should not allow a dictator to say what movies we can see or not see.

Also the likelihood of organized North Korean terrorists attacking film-goers seems highly remote. There is no indication that North Korea has such capability in the U. S., and Koreans who live here have no respect for Kim Jong-un. It is hard enough for the most persistent terrorists in the middle-east to undertake such a venture in our country. It’s also difficult to imagine a lone wolf would glean from an obviously absurd movie a desire to go on a rampage.

I can understand the hesitancy some people might have to attend a showing, but that does not excuse Sony’s or the megaplex owners’ behavior. Besides, I am confident our Teaneck police could take the matter in stride.  

VIDEO: The US Constitution Wins Big In Teaneck!!! (For Now…)

This is great reporting from last night’s meeting, Nick. Thank you. Particularly loved the last video, of Teaneck locals Loretta Weinberg and Steven Goldstein marveling at the tone Council took with the public. Promoted by Rosi.

The public part of last night’s Teaneck’s town council meeting wasn’t scheduled to start til 8:00…but I got there at around 7:30 because I was told I may not get a seat otherwise…and they were right,   The chamber was packed and there were about ten or more folks standing in the doorways after 8:00….the room was hot and stuffy, even with windows and doors open.   The council did their routine business first so it took nearly an hour to get to the public comments section where people could speak.

Loretta Weinberg and Steven Goldstein were there before me…waiting patiently as were all the folks present.   I would estimate somewhere between 160 and 200 people were present, I should have counted…the place was packed.

For anyone who has been following the saga of how the Teaneck Town Manager unilaterally dis-invited Jason Castle, an honored 7 year Marine veteran who served in Iraq, from speaking at Teaneck’s upcoming Memorial day service…and how the Mayor and Council then voted to affirm the dis-invitation…last night’s Town Council meeting in Teaneck was an extraordinarily dramatic and intense event.  

After a lengthy and intense rhetorical pounding from the folks who spoke at the meeting…the Mayor and Council did a “180” and backed off.  They rescinded the dis-invitation….and asked Jason Castle to speak at the event…and Jason Castle honorably accepted…and there was applause!

But there’s much more to the story….

Watch the public comments at the meeting.

CD 5: Petty Politics, Reporting Failure, and Time to Retire Garrett

Over the past several weeks petty politics has reared its ugly head in Teaneck. After extensive criticism the Teaneck Council has now changed its position and re-invited Iraq war veteran Jason Castle to speak at the Teaneck Memorial Day ceremony. Al Doblin pointed out in the Record, “As a Marine, Castle was an ideal candidate for such a role – local, well-spoken and served in Iraq. That was not good enough for a majority on the town council.” The initial invitation was rescinded. Jason Castle had run in the Democratic primary in CD 5 against Adam Gussen, Teaneck’s Deputy Mayor and Councilman. Castle has also been a critic of the council. It was only fair to re-issue the invitation, which Castle has re-accepted.

In the meantime, however, there is a cloud over Jason Castle because he and his campaign committee have been remiss in submitting FEC financial reports. His last received report was for the period ending March 31, 2012. Since then he has been sent five Notices of Failure To File. The most recent notice on May 3 2013 (covering the period ending March 31, 2013) warns him “civil money penalties, an audit or legal enforcement action” may result.

The larger problem remains: a strong candidate to challenge incumbent Republican Congressman and arch-conservative Scott Garrett – he with the $2 million plus war chest and over ten years on the job. (Last year Jason Castle raised $13,000, and Adam Gussen raised $51,000.) A successful opponent must get in the fray early, have a good track record, develop his/her own substantial warchest, attract a staff, and begin getting out his or her message to the voters. The district leans slightly Republican. It’s not too early now for such a candidate or candidates to step forward. The battle would be fierce but retiring Garrett would be so very sweet.  

He Said What??

Although it’s not a surprise that a Republican said something stupid what is surprising is that no one in the main stream media really wrote about it.

Last October Congressman Scott Garrett was at an event where a supported made the comment that doing business in the American Midwest was easier because of their “straight-forward” attitude.  

Congressman Garrett had this to add to that;

“Other ethnicities are not that way,” Garrett said. “They’ll say yes to you constantly and then you’ll realize they really didn’t mean it.”

Then in typical republican fashion he tried to back track, but that wasn’t very successful either he clarified his statement by saying that “he meant people in other countries”.  

One of the few places it was covered was MotherJones.com you can read the whole article here: http://www.motherjones.com/moj…  

CD-5: Teaneck’s Adam Gussen to run against Scott Garrett

Since New Jersey was redistricted late last month, leaving the state with one less congressional district and a volatile, unsettled Democratic Party beginning what looks to be an ugly primary contest between Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman, focus has been on the 9th, the district Rothman declined to run in.

That leaves the 5th an open question; who will challenge  Tea Party darling Scott Garrett?

Connie Wagner appears to have strong and broad support. Among other names, incoming Assemblyman Tim Eustace was early talked up but has since signed on to the (437-member) Draft Connie Wagner for Congress facebook page. Also mulling it over (or being urged in by supporters) are Passaic Freeholder Terry Duffy, Se. Bob Gordon, the victor in November’s most hotly contested race, and (wild card!) NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson.

Adam GussenAdam Gussen, Teaneck’s Deputy Mayor, is the first to make it official, formally announcing he’s in. In the reconfigured 5th, most of reliably-Democratic Teaneck landed in the 5th (it had been Rothman territory).

I don’t know much about Gussen, except that 3 years when he was a councilman ago he filed to primary Valerie Huttle and Gordon Johnson, who serve LD-37 with Sen. Loretta Weinberg, and then dropped out.

Bergen folks, I’d be interested to know your impressions of Gussen and how strong he might be against Garrett.  

Hypocrisy! And Let’s Slow it Down!

Seems to me I write about “Hypocrisy” alot lately. This week, we must again look at the Port Authority. In papers filed in the AAA case against the toll increase, the PA changed its “tune”. Seems they didn’t really mean it when they claimed the toll increase was in part to pay for the completion of the Freedom Tower. Really, it’s to pay only for transportation related projects.  The PA Commissioners were also startled to find out how much their senior administrative staff really earn. How were they to know about all those “secret” salary perks? What’s “really” wrong with imposing the toll increases and then doing an audit to find out where and how they might save dollars? And where really is Governor “Get Rid of Waste or I’ll Veto Your Minutes” on all this?

Charter Schools. I have been a supporter of appropriate charter schools in appropriate places. But it’s become abundantly clear, that it is time to slow down the application process and study those already in existence. How successful are they? How do they compare to other similar schools? Are the entrance standards truly equal? So many questions, and apparently no studies or data to judge. It’s now time! And if you think we shouldn’t start developing some data, just look at what happened in my own hometown of Teaneck the last couple of weeks.

What’s Happening in Your Town?

Our changing world of media places particular challenges on reporting local news. One turning point was reached with the NYTimes’ announcement that on March 28 it is implementing an online subscription pay plan for visitors who read more than 20 articles a month. Also in February AOL announced it had entered an agreement to purchase the Huffington Post bringing together local reporting through AOL’s Patch and Huffington Post’s national reporting on politics, business and culture. While a prestigious newspaper like the NYTimes is more likely to succeed digitally than other newspapers, it still will face competition from online enterprises like AOL/Huffington Post/Patch, and while the NYTimes will continue local coverage, other newspapers and other regions will not be so fortunate.

Howard Fineman, newly appointed Editorial Director, Huffington Post Media Group, says, “As of today there are some 800 Patches in 18 states and DC, with plans to open two or three times that many more within two years, each staffed with a full-time journalist.” Patch launched its first three sites in 2009 in NJ and currently lists about 80 sites in our state. Article subjects include art, business, government, police, school and sports. They are often short, but generally provide the reporter’s name and e-mail address. Patch lets you leave a comment and enter your own email address if you want a follow-up to the article. As an example, today’s Teaneck Patch presents an attractive, uncluttered Home Page that headlines Saturday night’s killing of a former Teaneck High School quarterback, commuter problems, a weekend forum on redistricting and events including an art exhibit at FDU and Irish dancing at the library.

Beyond just growing pains, some of the challenges for the hyperlocals include acquiring/training/retaining good reporters/contributors, not overemphasizing the costs savings potential, steering clear of local political influence, and gaining readership and ads. The quality of writing and insight from one Patch site to another certainly varies, and some articles are short and lack depth. As with national radio chains that achieve cost savings by providing the same news reports to a number of stations, at Patch there are editors assigned to more than one site and the same article sometimes appears in different town reports. In Patch’s recent announcement that it will create two Newark sites, it stated, “We are very excited to work closely with Mayor Booker,” to which AdWeek responded, “The idea of a news organization partnering with politicians it’s supposed to cover is bizarre.” Patch later indicated that Mayor Booker will not have editorial input. Finally monetizing their effort will not be easy.

The challenges of Patch and similar ventures are formidable, but what happens in our towns is important. Taxes, council meetings, elections, board of education minutes, zoning, crime, arts, and sports matter to us. In order to stay informed we hope that hyperlocals will matter to us also.