May-November Relationship: Does the turnout argument have merit?

The questions I raised about the referendum to move Teaneck’s non-partisan Council elections to November, should be looked at carefully.

1) Does moving the elections increase turnout and reduce costs?

2) What has happened in places that moved elections to November?

One argument put forward is that the BOE has already done this.
Let’s take a look at the data.


Did moving the BOE vote from April to November drive up turnout?

Not every November election is the same.  Let’s examine the three basic types of November elections:

  1. Presidential election years
    (I looked at 2016, a very large turnout election since 2020 was vote-by-mail & very abnormal).
  2. Even year non-Presidential elections 
    (I looked at 2018 for this type of race – note: 2014 was uncontested)
  3. Non “even-year” elections
    (I looked at 2019 for this type of race, although the data is similar in 2017 and 2015)

The Data

For each type of November election, I looked at three metrics:

  1. Number of Voters: What was the total turnout?
  2. Number of Votes (expected): How many BOE votes could have happened (# of Voters x 3 positions available)?
  3. Number of BOE Votes (cast): How many BOE votes did voters use for BOE candidates?

This chart represents the results: Continue reading “May-November Relationship: Does the turnout argument have merit?”

A May-November Relationship

UPDATE #3: Clerk’s Amended Response Letter to Petitioners

UPDATE #2: Clerk’s Response Letter to Petitioners

The clerk of the Township of Teaneck sent the following response to petitioners on Tuesday, August 17th.

Petitioners have brought suit in Bergen County Superior Court.

In the clerk’s letter, several deficiencies in the petition are noted.

In the lawsuit, the petitioners seem to agree there are deficiencies, but ask the judge to “liberally construe all such petitions“.

We will continue to monitor for developments.


UPDATE: Clerk’s Response Letter to Petitioners

The clerk of the Township of Teaneck received the petition on July 9th.

The review then commenced and his office responded to the petitioners within the 20 days allotted by statute.

The letter below lays out the information as to why his office was not permitted to certify the petition and gives the petitioners 10 days to cure the defects.

 



Keep Teaneck Non-Partisan

You may have seen them with the clipboard already.  There’s a proposal underfoot to change the way elections are done in town.

Save money and get more people out, what could you possibly have against it?

As far as pitches go, this one is fairly simple – and the clipboard is currently seeking signatures to move Council’s non-partisan elections to November.

But we should remember H.L. Mencken: “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

Why are Non-Partisan Municipal Elections in May?

We moved the election from November to May in 1930, when Teaneck was nearly bankrupted by partisan forces.  Since then, powers in Trenton have tried many times to move back to partisan elections, with a first step of moving the Municipal Elections to November.

Attacks started right away.  By 1938, this was reported:

As of 2021, Teaneck has always resisted the move to November.

In 1942, the Bergen Record published a major editorial entitled: The Battle of Teaneck.

They decried the possibility of a return to partisanship, concluding:

Some 20 years later, here’s what Mayor Matthew “Matty” Feldman had to say in 1962:

“In order to continue attracting the Werner Schmids [ed note: Mr. Schmid was the manager after Paul Volcker reitred], the Clara Christensens and the Marion Browns to Teaneck’s employ, we must maintain our aloofness from partisan politics.

This is not to suggest that Teaneck’s citizens are to isolate themselves from the mainstream of American politics; on the contrary, we have active Democratic and Republican Clubs, and that is all to the good. But we cannot permit the intrusion of these political groups into our Councilmanic elections. Under our form of government, there is no room for politics and this is a concept which we must guard jealously.”

Continue reading “A May-November Relationship”

League of Women Voters: 2021 Democratic Primary Guide and Debate [video + pdf]

Voter’s Guide from the League of Women Voters is available below

Download the entire guide here: LWV 2021 Primary Candidate’s Voter’s Guide


Statement from Keith Kaplan: Silence is not an option — It wasn’t the flag

We are living in dangerous times.  Attacks are happening around our Country.

It is repugnant to find out that such HATE is now home here in Teaneck!

Now, there’s also a claim that the raising of the flag is what brings antisemitism into acceptability?

No.

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc is a logical fallacy. Continue reading “Statement from Keith Kaplan: Silence is not an option — It wasn’t the flag”

Statement regarding planned protests [Schwartz, Kaplan & Orgen]

Statement from Deputy Mayor Schwartz and Councilmembers Kaplan & Orgen:

Due to the overwhelming number of emails, we cannot respond to everyone individually at this time.  We want to thank you for your correspondence and the many valid points you and others have shared.

Requests for assembly concerning the right to protest (e.g. in public rights of way) generally receive automatic approvals in accordance with general freedom of assembly laws. Our police chief, attorney, and outside expert counsel have approved this permit with our Township Manager. The manager has the ultimate say, not the Council. Continue reading “Statement regarding planned protests [Schwartz, Kaplan & Orgen]”

Guest Post on Flag Raisings (and response)

Reader Yoni Bak wrote in:

“I’m not opposed to the Pride flag,” Pruitt said. “I’m opposed to flags, because I think that’s going to be an opportunity down the road for internal community conflict that we could do without.”

That’s Councilman Henry Pruitt at the council meeting in September 2019 in response to the proposal to fly the Gay Pride Flag on Teaneck Township property. He was, of course, 100% correct. We hoisted the pride flag and later painted a BLM mural on a parking lot and now every group wants not only to have the right to publicize their symbols but to have the Township give it official endorsement.

Now there’s a Star of David flag about to be flown which will surely generate controversy. And there will be endless debates about it. And demands for new flags to be flown. And the council will be spending all its time on matters that are not specifically related to the Town but signal which ideologies get our approval.

Why not allow residents to display their symbols of choice on private properties and properties owned by various institutions (Schools, Houses of Worship, etc) & let the Town focus on actually governing?


Mr. Bak raises the core issue at hand, which is whether or not the Council, as representatives, should fly flags.  Deputy Mayor Pruitt did indeed make the issue explicit and those in attendance, as well as others on the council, felt that flag raisings would be appropriate.

The flags are flown in support of residents, in a clear showing that they should feel accepted and safe from attacks and dangers which they face.
When someone marches with a rainbow flag and is attacked, the reason is clear.  The rainbow flag symbolizes that they are a member of or supportive of the LGBTQ+ community.
In a similar way, when someone marches with an Israeli flag and is attacked, the reason is clear.  The Israeli flag symbolizes that they are a member of or supportive of the Jewish community.
As such, the flag has come to symbolize those under constant and rising attack within our borders.
And raising it becomes symbolic of the same message other groups have received.

WHEREAS, acts of hatred and violence against members of the Jewish community have been on the rise in our area and the Township Council wishes to affirm the inherent right of its Jewish residents to live without fear of attacks and hatred

So starts the resolution passed by the Township Council on April 27th, 2021.  I would encourage anyone with questions or concerns to read it first.

This is not unprecedented Continue reading “Guest Post on Flag Raisings (and response)”

Washington Place Traffic Study and Police Reports

The Teaneck Police Department was asked to conduct a report as to traffic and safety on Washington Place.

Here are the findings:

On Thursday, March 11, 2021, the Traffic Bureau was asked to conduct a speed survey on Washington Place. This request was prompted by a resident’s email that claimed that there was a speeding problem and that vehicles were traveling the wrong way on a one-way street. Continue reading “Washington Place Traffic Study and Police Reports”

Why the cluck can’t I own a chicken?

People like raising chickens.  They give delicious eggs and people that raise them say that it’s a clean sustainable pet/food source that should be available in Teaneck.

There’s also a local ordinance prohibiting it:

Sec. 6-5: Keeping of pigs, horses and certain other animals prohibited.

[R.O. 1951, ch. 6, § 4; Ord. No. 341112-20-1994, § 1.]
No person shall keep or allow to be kept in any building or premises, or on any lot of ground of which he may be the owner, tenant, lessee or occupier, any pigs, horses, mules, cows, pigeons or poultry of any age or description.
Repeal movements have come and gone since the rule was created in 1927.  There’s one happening now.

It even has a Facebook Group: Keep Chickens Teaneck

So what’s the deal with chickens and this ban?

The practice of owning chickens in town was regulated in the ’20s as population density turned Teaneck from farmland to residential1. It was formally banned anywhere a decade later in 1937.
(census estimates show the population changing from 4,192 in 1920 to 16,513 in 1930 and then to 25,275 in 1940)
This ordinance is one of the oldest the municipality has.
Ordinance 412 appeared in July 1927

Continue reading “Why the cluck can’t I own a chicken?”

Community Choice Energy Aggregation: Coming soon?

NJ is part of the PJM interchange for electricity.  PJM has a horrible history of meeting clean energy goals set by the State and consequently, instead of generating clean energy, providers like PSE&G have met quotas by purchasing certificates from power plants in other areas that count towards the clean energy mandate.

The CCA program extends the ability to purchase those certificates (called RECs or Renewable Energy Credits) from third-party electric suppliers.

Some towns seem to have had a rocky start, unable to find bids, some found initial bids, but couldn’t find renewals.  The information (pro and con) is laid out below.

My hope is that people will share and read about the program to have an informed discussion at our subsequent council meetings.

– Keith Kaplan

What is Community Choice Energy Aggregation?

The general concept behind the program is to allow an entire County / Town(s), to use their collective purchasing power to decrease electric rate prices for clean energy supply.  In theory, if you can make clean energy less costly through aggregation, everyone can replace dirty energy sources while spending the same amount they paid through PSE&G (or at a small discount).

The legal basis for the program can be found in the NJ legislature’s  Government Energy Aggregation (“GEA”) Act of 20031.  It permits counties and municipalities to create an ordinance (or resolution) to establish an “Aggregation Program”.

Does Air Become Cleaner?

It does…. somewhere.  But only if the Municipality can find a bid. Continue reading “Community Choice Energy Aggregation: Coming soon?”

East Tryon Avenue Traffic Study and Police Reports

The Teaneck Police Department was asked to conduct a report as to traffic and safety on East Tryon Avenue (between Teaneck Road and Crescent Avenue).

Here are the findings:

On Tuesday, August 25, 2020, the Traffic Bureau was asked to conduct a speed survey on East Tryon Avenue between Teaneck Road and Crescent Avenue. This request was prompted by an East Tryon Avenue resident that was concerned about a speeding problem. The resident stated their concerns in an email to Councilman Keith Kaplan. Continue reading “East Tryon Avenue Traffic Study and Police Reports”