Teaneck Today

Teaneck is 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.

Because that’s the rule: Dog Licensing and early re-vaccination

Recently, a question was raised by a resident about the need to re-vaccinate a dog in order to get an annual license from Teaneck.  I’ve looked into the issue.  As with most things in NJ, it’s…. complicated.  I’ll break down the relevant rules below and discuss some changes that I’ll be suggesting.

Issue:

  • July 2020: You get a new dog
  • October 2020: You get your dog vaccinated for Rabies (expires one year later in October 2021)
  • January 2021: You attempt to register your dog in Teaneck

 

This is a common scenario that many people have faced, only to find a rejection notice.  Residents are being told to re-vaccinate for rabies.  It’s confusing to most dog owners, because the vaccine is good for a year and they received it only 62 days ago.

Why can’t a dog get registered and then get a booster before the October vaccination expires? Continue reading “Because that’s the rule: Dog Licensing and early re-vaccination”

Affordable Housing vs Rent Control

Affordable housing enables Teaneck to keep the promise of equality and equitable treatment in our real estate markets. It furthers the objective of what Teaneck has always been about. Rent control does not. And I want to take a few moments to explain what the difference is.

From the time NECO and Fair Housing activists put out “Not for Sale” signs in response to blockbusting efforts, we’ve held true to the creed that everyone* deserves to live here and that we should be a town that creates the environment that allows people to move here and live here.

Affordable Housing creates a lower than market alternative for those unable to afford to live here due to market rates effectively pricing them out. All modern apartments must comply with affordable housing requirements. The affordable housing units are given only to those that can’t afford them otherwise and the processes in place ensures that ONLY those needing affordable housing receive it.

Rent control on the other hand has no means-test. It applies to a mere subset of units here in town and it has a lot of drawbacks. Make $250k a year? You get the benefits of rent control. Continue reading “Affordable Housing vs Rent Control”

Teaneck Deserves Equal Representation

This year, Teaneck saw record turnout at the polls.  One member of the Board of Education received more votes than any local office holder in the history of the municipality.

Resident Tom Abbott, made a comment here, providing a link to details on his website, where he broke down the voter numbers.  And one thing stuck out to to me.  Three of the districts, at first glance, seemed to have far fewer registered voters than others.

Districts should have, roughly, an even number of registered voters.  But as I started to look into the issue, I found that Teaneck, compared to its neighbors also has far fewer districts.

Fact: Teaneck has the highest number of registered voters for any Municipality in Bergen County.

We do NOT have the greatest number of Election Districts.

Why not?

Hackensack, with over 6,000 fewer registered voters than Teaneck, has 25 election districts, compared to our 23.

Fair Lawn, with over 5,000 fewer registered voters than Teaneck, has the same number of districts as us.

When it comes to the average number of voters per district, Teaneck packs more in than anyone.

And when you look at our districts, the numbers of registered voters they contain, are all over the place.  Despite an average of 1,258 voters, some districts (e.g. 12) have 1,776 while others (e.g. 16) have a mere 788.

Why does any of this matter?

There are several reasons.

There is a County Committee pursuant to Title 19, Section 19:5-3

Membership and organization of county committees; vacancies; certification of unit of representation and number of election districts.
NJ Rev Stat § 19:5-3 (2013)

As you can see from the By-Laws of the Bergen County Democratic Committee:

The County Committee shall be composed of one male and one female member elected at the Biannual Primary Election by the Democratic voters of each election district of the County pursuant to law.
– Section 1. ELECTED MEMBERSHIP

and the By-Laws of the Bergen County Republican Committee:

Section 1. The membership of this organization shall be composed of members of the Bergen County Republican County Committee who have been duly elected or appointed pursuant to Title 19.
– Art. III, Section 1.  Membership

On the local level, there is a municipal committee for each party, comprised of one male and one female from each election district.

The members of the municipal committees of political parties shall consist of the elected members of the county committee resident in the respective municipalities
NJ Rev Stat § 19:5-2 (2013)

So, as an example, while Teaneck has 2.25x as many registered voters in District 12 as it does in District 16, both get two representatives.  And while Hackensack has over 6,000 FEWER registered voters than Teaneck, they get MORE representation at the County Committee because they have more election districts.

What is the right number of districts and why does it matter?

When one election district has 2.2x as many registered voters, the lines are 2.2x as long.  The volunteers are asked to work 2.2x as hard.  The number of machines / ballots and equipment needed is in part based on the number of expected voters.

In Title 19, Section 19:4-13, the relevant numbers to look for are election districts with more than 750 or less than 250 votes cast in any two consecutive general elections.

19:4-13. Readjustment of boundaries for correct number of voters
When in any two consecutive general elections in an election district more than 750 or less than 250 votes shall have been cast, the county board shall readjust the boundary lines of such election district and other election districts necessary to effect changes so that none of the election districts affected shall have more than 750 registered voters, and for this purpose shall have power to consolidate any number of districts and subdivide the same.
NJ Rev Stat § 19:4-13 (2016)

How many Teaneck Districts had more than 750 votes cast in two consecutive general elections?

Here’s the breakdown:

2018 General Election
2020 General Election

We have 7 election districts that have consecutively had more than 750 voters, and all but three did, this year.

Will Redistricting Change Council / BOE elections?

No.  Because our elections are “at-large”, meaning that you vote for members of Town Council and Board of Education regardless of where you live, redistricting will have no effect on our elections.  Whoever receives the most votes will still win.

What is the process for redistricting and how many districts will we have?

That is what I intend to look at.  On Tuesday, I will present the information above to the Council and ask that we create a task force to look at our election districts.  We should have clean and clear districts, with roughly the same number of voters in each.

To bring down the average number of voters at the polls to the maximum permitted (750), would require an additional 7 districts.

We currently average over 1,250 registered voters in each of our 23 districts.  Bringing that number down to 750 would mean adding 16 districts.

Veterans Day 2020

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of this eleventh month, Teaneck held our annual Veterans Day ceremony.

I want to thank all that attended, it was a very moving program.

The plaque I referenced in my speech can be found here: Teaneck WWI Memorial

Here are some of the individuals I mentioned in my speech:

UPDATE: Unofficial 2020 General Election Results for Teaneck

UPDATE: The unofficial results have been updated as returns are coming in.  The post has been updated to reflect the new unofficial stats.


While ballots may still be counted for the next 10 days, as mail arrives, here are the unofficial counts from Bergen County for Teaneck.

Official Link to updated results (11/4/20)

Official Link to results (11/3/20)

Here is a breakdown of turnout by district.  I made this based on information received from the County.  It’s subject to change and I can’t verify the accuracy of the information.  It also may not count those recently registered to vote.  But, it’s the best I have at the moment.

 

 

 

District Voted Registered Turnout
1 863 1,118 77.2%
2 1,047 1,471 71.2%
3 1,040 1,321 78.7%
4 963 1,226 78.5%
5 719 964 74.6%
6 861 1,143 75.3%
7 873 1,176 74.2%
8 1,123 1,362 82.5%
9 1,054 1,366 77.2%
10 1,190 1,552 76.7%
11 1,029 1,387 74.2%
12 1,378 1,776 77.6%
13 873 1,179 74.0%
14 1,159 1,596 72.6%
15 856 1,262 67.8%
16 560 788 71.1%
17 1,015 1,350 75.2%
18 1,136 1,453 78.2%
19 982 1,224 80.2%
20 726 901 80.6%
21 1,109 1,441 77.0%
22 850 1,103 77.1%
23 795 1,122 70.9%
Total 22,201 29,281 75.8%
Voted Registered Turnout
Dem 13,419 16,320 82.2%
Rep 2,933 3,721 78.8%
Una 5,710 8,987 63.5%
22,062 29,281 75.3%
Election Summary 11-5-20

Teaneck Schools Admin: Remember the Rubric, Forget the Rationale – “Mandating” Chaos in Pre-K

The Teaneck School system is blindly applying Pre-COVID regulations designed specifically for “in-class instruction”, to “virtual classrooms” — and it’s actively harming education.

Teachers are being told to limit instruction time to 15 minutes based on a rule that’s meant to ensure that teachers don’t plop kids in front of a screen in a center or large child care facility.

It was written before the days of COVID (in 2012) and has nothing at all to do with distance learning.

Mandating 15 minute intervals, especially as parents struggle with a constant stream of links, creates chaos for the virtual classroom.

Teachers need to be given the opportunity to design their lesson times and breaks, as fits the situation.


It’s September and schools have started up here in Teaneck.  As most families are acutely aware, this year will be like no other that preceded it.

For families with Kindergarten and Pre-K students, like mine, it’s far more difficult.

We received an email from our daughter’s Teacher at Bryant school.

It reads:

“We are mandated to stick to 15 min. intervals of screen time/ live instruction.” (emphasis added)

The Bryant School Remote Learning Plan contains similar language:

“In accordance with NJ DOE guidelines, children between 2 and 5 years old shall be exposed to no more than 15 minutes of screen time, and no more than 60 total minutes of combined home and school screen time.” (emphasis added)

Misinformation and Obfuscation

All class instruction is virtual.  If there is no “school screen time”, is there merely an hour max of instruction per day (in the home)?

I made an inquiry to the district as to to the source of this “mandate” and I also emailed the principal.

Principal Davidman provided the information rather quickly and we spoke for about half an hour yesterday.

The “mandate” doesn’t exist and it’s certainly not new or related to virtual education.

This requirement is created by Teaneck and stems from the CFOC Guidelines (Caring for Our Children, (CFOC) is a collection of national standards that represent the best practices, based on evidence, expertise, and experience, for quality health and safety policies and practices for today’s early care and education settings)

Her email in response to my querry can be found here:

It reads:

Children between 2 and 5 years old shall be exposed to no more than 15 consecutive minutes of screen time, and no more than 60 total minutes per day of combined home and school screen time.
– Caring for Our Children, includes the recommendations for early care and education facilities of three national organizations, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education,https://nrckids.org/CFOC. P. 67 third edition (CFOC3)

Does the CFOC actually say this?

Indeed, the words appear (it’s up to CFOC4 now, so if you click the link, it’s on page 70) in section 2.2.0.3.

But here’s the rub – this is not the scenario the recommendation applies to.

After each section, the CFOC lists the following:

  • Rationale
  • Comments
  • Type of Facility

These are areas, where they explain the reccomendation.

Here’s what it says (again, page 70-71 in the CFOC4):

Rationale:

To best develop their cognitive, language, motor, and social-emotional skills, infants and toddlers need hands-on exploration and social interaction with trusted caregivers (1). Digital media viewing do not promote such skills development as well as “real life”. (emphasis added)

Comments:

Digital media is not without benefits, including learning from high-quality content, creative engagement, and social interactions. However, especially in young children, real-life social interactions promote greater learning and retention of knowledge and skills.  When limited digital media are used, co-viewing and co-teaching with an engaged adult promotes more effective learning and development.

Because children may use digital media before and after attending early care and education settings, limiting digital media use in early care and education settings and substituting developmentally appropriate play and other hands-on activities can better promote learning and skills development. (emphasis added)

TYPE OF FACILITY:

Center, Large Family Child Care Home

Did you catch that, too?

They remembered the rubric (screen bad), but for got the rationale (because in-person instruction is better!)

This is a rule that’s meant to ensure that teachers don’t plop kids in front of a screen in a center or large child care facility.  It’s written before the days of COVID (in 2012) and has nothing at all to do with distance learning.

If the teacher’s find that kids can’t handle that much instruction time, of course, it is appropriate to modify the schedules accordingly.  But, to pretend that a  recommendation on extraneous screen time is a mandate during virtual learning is detrimental to our kids, and onerous on parents & teachers.

And the teacher’s know it’s impossible:

Yet, we are told this is a “mandate” from the State of NJ.

Well, if this is a mandate, I mandate you read this and share it, because something is not right in Teaneck.

HOW TO VOTE IN THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION

  1. Mailing your Vote-by-Mail Ballot, which will be sent by Bergen County to all Active, Registered Voters in early October. If you choose this option, we recommend you do so as soon as you fill out your ballot – postage will be paid for! (If you do not receive a VBM ballot please contact any of the election offices ASAP).
  2. Dropping your Vote-by-Mail Ballot in one of many secured, monitored locked drop boxes throughout Bergen County. There will be a drop-box located at the Teaneck Municipal Building – 818 Teaneck Road Teaneck, NJ 07666 at the North Entrance between the Tax Collection Box and USPS Mail Boxes. (See a list of secured drop boxes here:  List of Secure Drop-Box Locations
  3. Dropping your Vote-by-Mail Ballot at your assigned polling location on Election Day – November 3, 2020 up until 8PM. You will have to submit your ballot directly to a poll worker and sign your name in the registration book.
  4. Dropping your Vote-by-Mail Ballot directly to the Bergen County Board of Elections office at 1 Bergen County Plaza in Hackensack, NJ. Please call the office ahead of time so they can arrange a safe retrieval from you (201-336-6225).
  5. If you wish to not participate in the VBM Process, Voters who are NOT ADA Disabled will be able too go to their assigned polling locations on November 3, 2020 from 6am-8pm and fill out a provisional ballot as a way to cast their vote. Please remember to practice social distancing and wear a face covering if you choose to do this option.
  6. Those who are certified ADA Disabled will be able to go to their assigned polling location on November 3, 2020 and utilize an ADA accessible polling booth as a way to cast their ballot.

 

Below please find the polling locations/district allocations for the 2020 Presidential General Election:

TEANECK

  • 1, 2 TEANECK HIGH SCHOOL CRANFORD PL GYM
  • 3, 4 TEANECK HIGH SCHOOL CRANFORD PL GYM
  • 5, 6 TEANECK HIGH SCHOOL CRANFORD PL GYM
  • 7, 8 TEANECK HIGH SCHOOL CRANFORD PL GYM
  • 9, 10 WHITTIER SCHOOL 491 WEST ENGLEWOOD AVE MULTI PURPOSE ROOM #114
  • 11, 12 WHITTIER SCHOOL 491 WEST ENGLEWOOD AVE MULTI PURPOSE ROOM #114
  • 13, 14 BRYANT SCHOOL 1 EAST TRYON AVE ****CAFETERIA
  • 15, 16 BRYANT SCHOOL 1 EAST TRYON AVE ****CAFETERIA
  • 17, 18 BRYANT SCHOOL 1 EAST TRYON AVE ****AUDITORIUM
  • 19, 20 THOMAS JEFFERSON MIDDLE SCHOOL #5 655 TEANECK ROAD ****AUDITORIUM
  • 21, 22 FIREHOUSE #3 370 TEANECK ROAD
  • 23 FIREHOUSE #3 370 TEANECK ROAD

*A notice will be sent to your registered address from Bergen County notifying you of your assigned polling location. If you do not receive this notice in the next few weeks please contact any of the election offices for guidance.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above information, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office or any of the election offices:

Contacts:

Bergen County Clerk, Elections
(201) 336-7020 electionsclerk@co.bergen.nj.us

Bergen County Board of Elections
(201) 336-6230 , elections@co.bergen.nj.us

Bergen County Superintendent of Elections
(201)-336-6115 , soe@co.bergen.nj.us

Township of Teaneck Township Clerk’s Office
(201) 837-1600 x1025 , clerk@teanecknj.gov

For more information:

https://www.teanecknj.gov/news/post/10118/

https://www.teanecknj.gov/news/post/9976/

If you are unsure if you are registered to vote, please reach out to any of the above offices for confirmation.

You may also utilize the new State website to register to vote online: https://voter.svrs.nj.gov/register