Teaneck Today

Teaneck is a town with a unique and proud history. I’ve created this blog to provide a place to exchange ideas and share visions for how to solve the challenges facing the town in a manner that brings diverse groups of people together.  Contributors are welcome.

Please join us and help Teaneck live up to its promise.

I also created a Facebook Group where residents can bring up and discuss topics about the Township: Teaneck Today

Feel free to click the link, join and share with your neighbors.

Kaplan: Remarks on Veterans Day, 11am, 11/11/2021

Remarks for Veterans Day, 11/11/21
Keith Kaplan, Councilman

Without veterans, without the service to a cause larger than yourselves, many of us simply would not be here today.  That service, right here in NJ, earned my grandfather his citizenship — and on behalf of the Township Council and the Township of Teaneck, I want to wish everyone a happy Veterans Day and thank you for your service.

We owe our veterans a profound debt.  Not merely for service, but for what that service has meant foto us all.

The history of any town is the history of its people.  And veterans have always been an integral part of what has made Teaneck what we are.  Even before we had our own name, our sons and daughters sacrificed for our freedoms in the 22nd infantry of Bergen County during the Civil War.

Last year, I focused on this day, at this time – and how it was inextricably linked to WWI and the Armistice signed to end the fighting for that “War to End all Wars”.  In many ways, we still mirror that time, including a world struck with a global pandemic.

Just as we are meeting here today, Judge A. Demorest Del Mar spoke here in 1938.  Del Mar was a lieutenant in the Navy during WWI and he said to those assembled: “We fought to retain that which we value above all earthly things – liberty.  We will fight again and again to preserve it if necessary.”

Unfortunately, those words would become true too soon.

Today, I wanted to take a little time to talk about Teaneck’s WWII veterans and specifically the way Teaneck was molded by their service. Continue reading “Kaplan: Remarks on Veterans Day, 11am, 11/11/2021”

Mayor’s Statement on Referendum Questions 1 and 2

PRESS RELEASE
Mayor’s Statement on Referendum Questions 1 and 2:

November 4, 2021

It is now clear that the majority of township voters who cast their ballots on November 2, 2021 chose to move our Council elections from May to November. Voters also voted in the majority to have the township pursue energy aggregation opportunities for our residents. Thus, the 2022 council elections will convert to Bergen County control in November, rather than the traditional month of May. Continue reading “Mayor’s Statement on Referendum Questions 1 and 2”

2021 General Election Results: ?

Here’s what I know as of 7am on 11/3:
The ability of the County to add 3 numbers and provide a “Total” does not appear to be a thing.

The County has results of various sorts listed here:

Election Results

As per the “Unofficial General Election Results link, the winners are currently Klein, Rodriguez and Greene.

But….

The link appears to only show two of the sets of numbers above.  There are three:

  1. Early Voting
  2. Election Day
  3. Vote by Mail

Adding the election day totals and early voting totals appears to give the results that the County is currently posting on their site and that I posted last night.

When adding the Vote by Mail at the link above, the results change:

Why didn’t the County add the VBM to the results?

Were these all of the VBMs?

Are there more VBMs coming in?

These are open questions and I do not yet have the answers.  But these are the links and numbers available thus far.

 

Mayor Dunleavy on Teaneck Referendum Questions 1 and 2: Fixing Things or Causing Confusion?

By Mayor Jim Dunleavy

Teaneck Voters have started going to the Polls to vote for our Governor, Senate and Assembly Candidates, Board of Education Members, and State & municipal questions. I wanted to explain why I am opposed to both municipal questions.

Question 1 calls for the township to move our Council elections to November, joining the BoE, county, state, and federal elections, and questions on one ballot.  I have heard the reasons being primarily to increase access.  It is important to note that access to the polls in NJ follows the same rules for May and November Elections.  Others mention the change could lead to increasing the number of votes cast in our elections. While certainly more people come to the polls in November, especially in presidential election years, the data show that the majority, unfortunately, do not vote down the ballot to local issues.  I would submit that yes, they are coming to the polls, but not because they want to vote in their local elections.

I believe the move Question 1 is asking for has more political rather than altruistic motives.

Remember, BoE elections were moved to the Fall when then-Governor Christie waved the carrot of not having to get their budget approved via voter referendum, allowing the District to raise school taxes up to 2% per year without direct review of the voters.  The change was not to increase voter turnout, but to control finances. I believe the move Question 1 is asking for has more political rather than altruistic motives. Some have stated what others have been thinking, that more votes will result in a different outcome for certain candidates – namely, those candidates that the group who petitioned for this referendum wish to retain. We have seen many different sets of statistics regarding this proposal, but my vision of Teaneck is not one where our residents are put in a position where local elections are an afterthought.  Having attention split between our local candidates and questions amid state and federal elections does not allow the Teaneck voter to focus on what we need to decide for ourselves. This type of conflict is not necessary. We will also lose the ability to design the ballot for our township elections, a factor that has contributed to the issues with early voting on the new voting machines. A ballot that covers several pages that the voter has to scroll through is not progress. These new machines will be the ones used in future elections. It may also be worth noting that since 10 years have passed, a group has been seeking support for moving the BoE elections back to the Spring, enabling better options for budgeting for the sake of the students.  Obviously, this would also let the public have greater input and control of their school priorities.

my vision of Teaneck is not one where our residents are put in a position where local elections are an afterthought

Question 2 calls for the township to pursue an energy aggregation supplier in the hopes of increasing renewable energy in Teaneck and the state. I do not know about you, but the more I read, the more confusing this system is. Some key questions every voter needs to ask themselves:

  1. “Will this energy aggregation program increase renewable energy sources that are homegrown in New Jersey”?
    The answer is No, it will not. PJM, our regional transmission organization has had to buy RECs (renewable energy Certificates) which are “tradable, non-tangible energy commodities in the United States that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour(MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource (renewable electricity) and was fed into the shared system of power lines which transport energy. (Wikipedia accessed 10/21)”.
    They use these to meet the state mandate of 25% renewable power. PJM has the largest inventory of un-renewable inventory of all the regional transmission providers in It is also the ONLY interchange in the country that does not have a majority of clean sources for energy
  2. Will my energy bill go down?
    Well, maybe.
    Savings have been seen in some towns, while others have not. The township will contract with an energy supplier recommended by a consultant. If the consultant cannot find a company that beats PSE&G’s price, everyone will remain with PSEG. I have seen average #s of $100-$150 savings over the course of these contracts (1-2 years) but there is no way to know until a contract between Teaneck and the aggregation company is completed. There is also the possibility that what happened in towns like Maplewood, could occur here – namely after their first contract was completed, they could not find a bidder for their second round. They had to move back to PSE&G only to have to change again a few months later. The residents then go through the same review of the new plan in order to determine if they want to opt-in or opt-out. This has happened in other towns as well.
  3. Will everyone be automatically “opted in” the program.
    There will be a window of time for you to take action to opt yourself out, otherwise, you are opted into the aggregation program.I’d also like to note:

    – The township and four other New Jersey towns are being targeted by Food and Water Watch, an international environmental group that is supporting the referendum efforts. Part of their activities includes soliciting dollars for their PAC, which, anecdotally, I have heard, has already started. In addition, a recent report from a fact-checking organization, Food and Water Watch – Media Bias/Fact Check (mediabiasfactcheck.com) states:
    Overall, we rate Food and Water Watch left biased based on environmental positions that always favor the left. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to not always adhering to the consensus of science and the use of poor sourcing techniques.

    – Our current chair and a previous chair of the environmental commission have already stated their misgivings about the program and both recommend against it at this time.

 

In conclusion, we have a program proposal that is confusing, does not guarantee savings and incentivizes profits which inhibit the creation of renewable energy sources in New Jersey.

This will not affect our environment here in Teaneck.

Instead, we need to fully examine whether this is right for Teaneck. Realize also that this is not the only chance to enter into an energy aggregation program.

Do not feel time pressure. We can start it at any time without a referendum when we see that it is right for Teaneck.

Like you, I want all the sources of our energy to be renewable. However, when I see PSEG pouring billions into meeting their goal of a 50% reduction in their carbon footprint by 2030, 5 years earlier than the state goal along with township initiatives such as putting in electric charging stations, I see better in-state solutions that will have more positive impacts on our environment here in Teaneck and New Jersey. Seeing our money going to out-of-state energy providers with no impact on our environment is not what we need.

I urge a NO vote on both questions.

The Value of Predictions

In 2019, the Teaneck Board of Education hired Whitehall Associates, Inc. (a qualified demographer by the New Jersey Department of Education) to conduct an independent analysis of the effects of new development on the Teaneck Schools.  The analysis (available here) projected enrollments based on particular projects and to the overall school system through the 2023-24 school year.  Some of the numbers were purely projections (as the pre-k and K classes hadn’t been born yet), but the rest were based on trends and the scientific methodology as outlined in the report and consistent with NJDOE practices.

So how good were the predictions?

To find that out, I contacted Superintendent Dr. Christopher Irving and asked for information regarding the number of students in these locations.

Below is a list of the predictions from Table 4 of the report and the corresponding chart indicates how well those predictions have been borne out in reality.

Location# of Apartment
Units
Predicted #
of school age
children
Actual # of
school age
children
Difference
1500 Teaneck Road2264414-30
1775 Windsor Road (Avalon)2486328-35
890 Palisade Avenue740-4
1387 Hill Street720-2
764 New Bridge Road1910-1
1475 Palisade Avenue120284-24
227 Teaneck Road24711+4
Totals65114957-92

Out of the predicted 150 school-age children attending the Teaneck Schools, only 57 have moved into these developments.

Broken down by school, the numbers show an average of 1-2 kids per class, max.  In short, there is roughly zero impact on the top line item in the school budget: staff, based on the people moving into new developments.

School# of students
Bryant Elementary School6
AUCC‐ PK Location1
Theodora Smiley
Lacey School
4
Lowell Elementary School8
Whittier Elementary School10
Benjamin Franklin Middle School5
Thomas Jefferson Middle School2
Teaneck High School19
Out of District1
Charter School1
Total57

Teaneck BOE: Independent Demographic Study of Impact of New Development

Why Vote NO on Municipal Questions 1 & 2?

There are 2 Municipal Questions on the Ballot this year.

Question #1: Moving the date of Council Elections

  • Local elections deserve attention
  • Very little focus on local issues in November amid Presidential / Congressional races
  • Traditionally nonpartisan races were in May and Partisan Races were in November to remove crossover influence
  • While turnout can be higher in some November races, the votes for non-partisan (e.g. BOE races) do not increase proportionately as voters skip these important races.

 

Question #2: Community Choice Aggregation.

  • This proposal allows for the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to offset energy use
  • This does NOT change the energy content in our area
  • This proposal typical enriches the lobbyists that create the programs, creating bad incentives to actually create clean energy in our area
  • The PJM interchange (which handles our area) is the ONLY interchange without a majority of clean energy content
  • The current and former chair of the Teaneck Environmental Commission expressed reservations about this plan.

Follow the Science — Vote No on Municipal Question #2

Current and Former Chairs of the Environmental commission weigh in on the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) proposal:

These days, there’s a lot of misinformation and it’s very hard to know what to believe.

For Municipal Question #2, Community Choice Aggregation, here are the experts:

“I think it’s important we’re careful with our language. Community Choice Aggregation [CCA is Municipal Question #2] will not improve the environment of Teaneck. It will support renewable energy credit swaps which overall, in the long term, can help mitigate climate change. The more that we’re encouraging renewable energies um – and I think for the broader environment – absolutely makes a huge difference.

But it’s not gonna affect Teaneck’s environment, in any way um — measurable way.

Joseph Gillers
Chair, Teaneck Environmental Commission
(October 20, 2021)

“What seems like a good idea, with a very small actual impact on climate change, is structured in such a way that a small group of former utility officials stand to benefit handsomely if this legislation passes for a dubious amount of actual work. That seems wrong to me. There are far better ways to incentivize local green energy purchases than enriching people who were once the regulators and grouped NJ with the highest polluting states, all coal dependent. We need a disinterested 3rd party to analyze this and given the animosity between the Council majority and proponents on both of these measures, it is hard to see how this helps or hurts. At this point, I would vote NO, but reserve judgment on the idea itself.”

Michael Rogovin
Former Chair, Teaneck Environmental Commission
(October 22, 2021)