Working Productively For A Better Shared Future

This week Council did something new and different.  We had a weekday meeting.
Mayor Hameeduddin suggested that Council meet in open session at 2pm instead of our typical 8pm meeting time.1

Truth be told I was a bit skeptical.  I wasn’t entirely sure that anyone would show up!  We walked into the council chambers to this scene:

A packed house

Literally, every seat was filled.  We had an overflow crowd in the halls.  Residents were speaking at the Good & Welfare portion for well over an hour, telling the council about their concerns and informing us of how they wished us to proceed.

This was democracy in action and the daytime meeting provided a rare opportunity for many who otherwise couldn’t, to come and address council about their concerns.  We will continue holding these types of meetings throughout the year (hopefully supplementing others meetings with additional ways people can address council-members, e.g. video from home).

The importance of having more people be able to contribute

One of the reasons I was so happy this was such a success is because Continue reading “Working Productively For A Better Shared Future”

Historical Perspectives on “New Problems”

Since joining the Teaneck Planning Board (about a decade ago), I’ve spent a lot of time researching how we did things, in the past.

I use that information to gain perspective, and guide decisions on what we might wish to do, going forward.  When you know what has been tried (for better or worse), you gain a good perspective.

Issues residents face tend to be cyclical1 and knowing how we handled them in the past, is very informative if you want to avoid prior mistakes2.

With that in mind, I hope to make several posts in the future about issues affecting Teaneck, that we face on Council.

Lighting:

A couple weeks back, a resident asked, via the Facebook group Teaneck Today (click to join)  “has there ever been an audit on the effectiveness of Teaneck’s street lighting? Continue reading “Historical Perspectives on “New Problems””

[UPDATE] The Port Authority Apologizes For Any Inconvenience But That Is [NOT] All

[UPDATE] After posting this, I received a call from the manager of the Port Authority.
The update appears below the post


Last month, I was frustrated by the fact that carpools are limited to “Cash-Only” lanes at PA bridges and tunnels and I fired off a tweet to the Port Authority and my elected reps.  Shortly after, I got a letter from Diannae C. Ehler, Director of the Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals at the Port Authority, who is responsible for operations and maintenance at the PA.

If you are tasked with making sure that people can efficiently move between NYC and NJ, there are several things you want to do.  Among them is to

  1.  Reduce the number of cars on the road and
  2. Have the remaining cars move as quickly as possible.

 

The Port Authority has an incentive program, for people that wish to carpool (with 3 or more people) whereby they pay reduced rates to go over the GWB or Lincoln Tunnel: Continue reading “[UPDATE] The Port Authority Apologizes For Any Inconvenience But That Is [NOT] All”

Questions abound with Board of Education Pre-K program

We have received questions from residents regarding several recent actions taken by the Board of Education. This post will focus on the lease of Christ Church by the Township for its pre-k program.

At the last regular Board of Education meeting of 2018, the Board approved item #19 on the agenda:

Excerpt from Dec. 12, 2018 Board of Ed agenda

Teaneck Today has confirmed that this approval, for a lease to rent the Christ Church for use as a pre-school was done without the Board of Education trustees having seen any lease documents.

In fact, based on an Open Public Records Act request sent to us from a resident, it appears that there is no lease in place to use the facility, at all. Continue reading “Questions abound with Board of Education Pre-K program”

Why re-codification of the Teaneck Code is important

At some point in the past, the township passed a rule to prohibit businesses from operating on the first floor of buildings.  Not only could they not operate, say, in a basement — but they had to be seen from the street.

Maybe this provision made sense at some point in time.  It has become pointless today. 

Whether or not it made sense when the provision was last tinkered with (in 1951) is debatable, but it appears that I’m not the first person to think this is pointless and counter-productive.  Teaneck also considered it pointless in 1973.

That’s the year that the Teaneck Council passed ordinance 1568, which reads in relevant part:

Section 3. That Sec. 5-14 entitled “Buildings to be open to public view” and Sec. 5-15 entitled “Business to be conducted at street level; exception as to bowling alleys” of said Chapter 5 entitled “Amusements” be deleted in their entirety“. (emphasis added)

Continue reading “Why re-codification of the Teaneck Code is important”