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.

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)

BOE Candidates on Vaccine Mandates for Staff and Mask mandates for students [Yoni Bak]

This is a guest post from reader and group member Yoni Bak.


Vaccine Mandates and Mask Requirements

I reached out on facebook to the candidates for BOE about their positions on vaccine mandates for staff and mask mandates for students. I asked in a neutral way to try & get their honest opinions. Presented without comment are the responses I received from Victoria FisherLori FeinYassine S. Elkaryani & Rachel Schiffman Secemski.

 

Continue reading “BOE Candidates on Vaccine Mandates for Staff and Mask mandates for students [Yoni Bak]”

Mosquito Spraying: Where and why?

Resident Glenn Williams Jr submitted the following query to the group:

So…I took a snippet overlaying where Bergen County has sprayed for Mosquitos the last 4 times (2018-2021). And I mean…this is almost hilarious to see. I’m genuinely interested in hearing a reasonable explanation as to how this is even possible. Do the mosquitos stop in the middle of Votee park to play basketball? Do they only cross Route 4 in one area? I mean COME ON. lol. I mean I’m willing to listen, but this doesn’t make a lot of sense to me at all. 4 years?
At first glance, it certainly seems odd.
So I did two things.
  1. I called the county to get information (they have yet to call me back)
  2. I looked up the Environmental Resource Inventory (available here)

Bergen County Mosquito Control

Continue reading “Mosquito Spraying: Where and why?”

2021 Mosquito Spraying

Tomorrow, August 2, the County will be spraying for Mosquitos throughout Teaneck.

The map of areas set for spraying can be found below.

In compliance with N.J.A.C. Title 7, Chapter 30, the Bergen County Mosquito Control Division BCMCD will be applying insecticides for the control of adult mosquito populations on an area-wide basis, in Teaneck, on Monday, August 2, 2021 between 4:00 AM and 6:00 AM. Continue reading “2021 Mosquito Spraying”

The End of Prohibition in Teaneck? [Part 1]

It seems that the end of prohibition may officially be on the horizon.  Once a never-ending war on the foul drugs of decadence, those in the temperance movement on the waning side of history.

What will the future be like in the USA, NJ, and Teaneck in particular once prohibition is finally over?

It’s unclear for sure, but we will track developments here. Continue reading “The End of Prohibition in Teaneck? [Part 1]”

Rodda Center POD to Close on June 27th

After a very successful six month operation, the Richard Rodda Center COVID-19 vaccination site will close on June 27, 2021. Since opening in early January, this incredible vaccination site administered well over 100,000 doses of vaccine which saved many lives across the State.

This remarkable achievement could not have been attained if it wasn’t for the hard work of staff from Holy Name Medical Center, the Township of Teaneck, our private sector partners, as well as our community members who visited these sites to get vaccinated.

Now that vaccine supply has caught up with demand, getting vaccinated is easier than ever. In areas where mass vaccination sites are closing, there will still be multiple vaccine providers nearby that will continue to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. People can visit the New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub https://covid19.nj.gov/ for help finding vaccination sites in your area.

Holy Name Medical Center, located at 718 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, New Jersey, will continue to provide first and second doses of the vaccine at the hospital facility after June 27, 2021. Anyone unvaccinated can register for the first dose of the vaccine by visiting https://vaccine.holyname.org/covid-vaccine. Continue reading “Rodda Center POD to Close on June 27th”

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?”