You just can’t make this stuff up, folks. My Lorax diaries continue. The state will now be hearing the case of Robert “The Onceler” Gilman because the Mayor and Council have succeeded in delaying the simple hearing of the ethics board complaint by John Smith (that’s his real name – I swear) against Gilman who voted as a Councilman to approve spending on the PAL complex at the same time he was the President of that organization. Gilman, in his capacity as both Councilman and President of the PAL also ordered trees cut before a Green Acres public hearing, and broke the flood hazard law by building a garage in the riparian buffer of Mezler’s Creek. The Borough is now in violation thanks to Mr. Gilman’s handiwork and the ethics Board, according to my sources was allegedly ruthlessly pressured to leave Mr. Gilman alone.
Tag Archive: Bergenfield
You can’t make this stuff up. In a complete flip of the figurative bird to the taxpayers of Bergenfield and tree lovers everywhere, the disgraced Bergenfield Councilman who ordered trees chopped down before the Green Acres hearing, who destroyed the Riparian buffer along Mezler’s creek with his backhoe, and who oversaw the construction of a building in the stream buffer of Mezler’s Creek, in full violation of the Flood Hazard Control Act, THAT GUY – is on the agenda tonite in Bergenfield to be appointed to the Bergen County OPEN SPACE Committee.
Excuse me, but I thought the whole idea of the Open Space Committee was to PRESERVE open space. So why is the Bergenfield Council about to appoint “The Onceler” to the Open Space Committee? Good question, I’d love to hear Mayor Tim Driscoll answer that one.
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The official Record article from today credits the local residents who spoke up with being the force that stopped the ill-conceived and under-funded project from going through against the wishes of the public.
I am really proud to know these folks. They have been TIRELESS since last November when this plan was hatched. They have come to every meeting against what seemed like impossible odds, and even when the building was delivered to the site – they kept going to meetings. Even when the trees were cut, they kept coming to meetings. Even when their cars were keyed, they still came to meetings. Even when they got threats and intimidation, they still came, wrote letters, and spoke up.
I am proud to be from Bergenfield. For these folks who opposed the project – most of them had actually been volunteers for the PAL and some still are, it was difficult for them. This debate pit them against an organization they still believe in. It will take a while to heal the rift, as you can tell from the heated comments in the article.
The PAL leaders may never understand that these residents saved them from a years long financial debacle, but that is what happened. It wasn’t about personalities or vendettas. It was about flooding. It was about acting without public input. It was about trees. And most of all, in the end, it was about money.
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At the meeting last night, the Community Center Gym project was pulled by the PAL who decided to back out based on the mounting public opposition to a project that would have cost the Borough of Bergenfield $1.9 million when they had only $261,000 budgeted for it.
The opponents of the project had to sit though a half hour screed by the PAL who appeared to be trying to get the Council to save the project.
Thanks to Nick Lento, blogger, activist, and video journalist, I was able to get a YouTube video of just what is going on in Bergenfield regarding the My Lorax Moment diaries.
Here is the video of the meeting where The Mayor finally discusses the unavoidable fact that they don’t have the money to build the Gym. (I hate to say I told them so, but there it is):
Watch how the Mayor talks of “unofficial” quotes for a 1/3 acre building foundation that will cost over $350 k. Mind you, there is NO money set aside to actually erect the steel frame ON the foundation or even finish the inside. This thing will be like a watch you get from a street hustler. Nothing inside.
For the official newspaper version look here:
But wait – it gets more interesting.
Another update on my Lorax story. Bergenfield is getting more interesting by the minute. Now I understand the Chinese curse – “May you live in interesting times.”
At this moment, residents who have been writing letters in the newspaper opposing the destruction of Whittaker Park by the PAL under the direction of Councilman Gillman, have been subject to “visits” from the police department and also threatening phone calls. Fortunately, us Bergenfield types don’t scare easy.
A political update to my Lorax story. It appears Councilman Robert “The Onceler” Gillman who summarily chopped down my childhood, lost his primary in Bergenfield. How sad. Not.
Unfortunately the Record is spinning it that it was all Clancy’s doing. Gillman wants a recount.
His running mate happened to win – which means that voters in Bergenfield are savvy enough to know that Councilman Lodato is a class act, while his running mate was only representing his organization – the PAL rather than the rank and file mere Bergenfield citizen.
There is a council meeting tonite. I plan on being there with my folks – just like I have been for the past few months – with dozens of other angry residents – long before Clancy even made a peep about this or used it for his own ends.
The biggest disappointment was the Mayor, who let this whole thing unfold because Gillman is his Golden Boy who could do no wrong – even when he cut down trees on Green Acres land BEFORE the public hearing. The Mayor could have saved Gillman from himself and those trees, and the creek and the flooded residents, but he chose to support Gillman’s actions and to disregard the concerns of flooded residents – which makes him no better than Clancy.
When is Green Acres Land not Green? When Bergenfield officials cut down the trees at Whittaker field BEFORE any public hearings or approvals.
Forgive me if I am emotional today. Those trees they cut down are very familiar to me. My parents bought the house next to them on my very first birthday. Our house was originally owned by the head of the Audobon society and had all manner of bushes and trees to attract wildlife. The house was at the end of a dead end street with a huge piece of parkland next door.
Years ago the town wanted to create a ball field and promised my parents that the area between the ball field area and their tiny Cape Cod house would remain forested buffer. It was tough keeping it that way – since over the years – the Police Athletic League which would not allow me or my three sisters, or any girls for that matter, to play on their manicured fields, would occasionally cut a tree here and there forgetting all about the long ago promise to keep the park green. It was after all Green Acres land designated and zoned as park open space. As a girl I had to travel across to the other side of town to play softball on a rutted excuse for a field. But we had still had that little piece of green as a beautiful visual buffer.
Quote of the Day today belongs to senators Steve Sweeney and Loretta Weinberg who just issued a joint statement on the occasion of Gov. Chris Christie’s visit to a school in Bergenfield, in Weinberg’s LD-37 District.
It is great to see the governor visiting the wonderful schools in Bergenfield, home to the outstanding music program where Frankie Valli got started. But somehow we get the feeling the governor forgot to mention to the students and teachers at Roy W. Brown Middle School that he has shortchanged them over $1.7 million in state aid since he came into office. He probably didn’t mention the 16,000 millionaires in New Jersey that he further enriched at their expense either. But hey, what’s another teacher, a few more school books, or an outstanding music program when you can give someone on the Mets a tax break?
My, but the wheels of justice turn slowly. Elaine Rabbitt, former Bergenfield Council Woman indicted for a forgery that nearly changed the course of a State Senate special election in 2005, finally got to face a judge.
I wished I could have been there yesterday, I love good courtroom drama.
For those who need refreshers on how we all got here, I offer up some old Blue Jersey Diaries: