Illustrating the Agenda

Almost exactly one year ago, I found an anonymous note on my door from a concerned resident warning me about an impending zoning change to the township-owned property behind my house. Although Teaneck had done their legal duty in telling the public about this rezoning, it had never come to my attention before that in part because the property was referenced by tax lots, which at the time meant nothing to me.

As a result, I’m planning to start making maps of properties that may be affected by upcoming changes implemented by Teaneck’s government, as given by council, zoning and planning board agendas. Where possible, links to supporting documentation will be included. One can then easily see what is planned near their house, even if they don’t get a personal notice about it.

See here for a map of properties mentioned in the upcoming 5/29 council meeting agenda.

Continue reading “Illustrating the Agenda”

School Bus Safety

As many residents and parents are no doubt aware, there was a horrific bus crash that occurred on May 17th involving students at Paramus’ East Brook Middle School, on their way to a class trip.

On Tuesday, it came to light that

“The bus driver, Hudy Muldrow, 77, of Paterson, has had his license suspended 14 times since he began driving in 1975, said Mairin Bellack, a commission spokesperson. Muldrow has eight speeding tickets on his record, as well as one careless driving ticket and a summons for unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, from 2003, Bellack said.”
Source: Bergen Record

Yesterday, it was announced that the driver has been “charged with two counts of death-by-auto, also known as vehicular homicide, for allegedly driving recklessly and causing the deaths of bus passengers Miranda Vargas, 10, and Paramus social studies teacher Jennifer Williamson Kennedy, 51.” Continue reading “School Bus Safety”

Hello Teaneck

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.

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.

Let’s Grow, Teaneck!

Having three kids, the parks and recreation facilities in Town are a large part of our family’s life. We moved to Teaneck for the programs and the commitment to the open space it provided.  But as we grow, our kids, our parks, and our greater community should be permitted to adapt and grow as well.

A mini-library sits on Warwick Avenue in Teaneck
Signs for parks inform parents in shopping districts in MA
A mini-library available outside municipal parks in MA

One very simple proposal I brought up as a member of the Parks, Playgrounds, and Recreation Advisory Board (PPRAB) was to add signage to our residential areas indicating locations of parks as well as mini-libraries for residents to share books.

Some residents have already taken this up themselves.  On the right, you can see a mini-library set up with a bench on Warwick Ave. here in Teaneck.

We have wonderful facilities and many of them are underutilized throughout the Township.  Let’s harness available technology to let people know is available and what the Township has to offer.


Another proposal is to adopt an online sign-up system for programs in the Rodda Center and for parks around the Township.  As demand for use of our Votee Parks sportsplex and other areas increase, it becomes increasingly complicated to know what is available, when, and how to request use of facilities.

Let Children Play

As my children start to grow into their own independence, they have started to ask to walk to the park alone.

When is the right time to start allowing our kids to have that independence and who should be in charge of making those decisions?

Teaneck is hardly unique when it comes to this question and in some towns, merely allowing your children to walk to the park has led to arrests, the involvement of children’s services and worse.

I reached out to the Township Manager, the Chief of Police and the School Superintendent to determine how Teaneck deals with the age of kids and the parents’ ability to decide if they are old enough to venture out on their own.  The responses can be found here:
School Superindent Response
Police Chief Response

As a member of the PPRAB, we have heard about issues that have surfaced over the years when students and children were accosted in parks and questions were raised as to whether they were permitted to be in the parks alone.  I made a motion, which was unanimously put forward to council to consider a change to the code which would enable parents, to be the ones that get to determine the age in which their children were mature enough to play unsupervised.

The proper role of government here is to defer to parents.

If parents, in their role as custodians of their children, feel that their child is old enough to earn a degree of independence, we must defer to their decision.  This doesn’t mean that police and other services cannot deal with legitimate and well-founded cases where danger or neglect exists.  But it does mean that we should let borderline cases, in which judgment calls could be made, default to the will of parents.

Since the decision by the PPRAB to advise Council to create such an ordinance, Utah has created the first legislative code to enable this on a Statewide basis.  You can read about the efforts on the LetGrow website.

We should foster our kids’ independence and the parents’ role in crafting it.  Children live in our world and it’s a very safe one (statistically, every crime metric is down from when we were kids).

Let’s give our kids the same opportunity to play that we had growing up.  We all deserve that.