UPDATE: Meet the 2021 BOE Candidates

Subject to certification by the County Clerk, the preliminary list of BOE candidates for the 2021 November election appears below:

If you’re a candidate and would like to participate in a “virtual” Meet & Greet to introduce yourself to Teaneck Today membership, please let me know. A formal invitation to all candidates will be going out as well.

  • DENNIS KLEIN [BRIDGING GAPS]
  • DARRYL F. GREENE
  • ROMAINE L. HASSANAH
  • RACHEL SECEMSKI
  • YASSINE ELKARYANI
  • LAURA E. FEIN [KIDS COME FIRST]
  • VICTORIA FISHER* [TRUST EQUITY ACCESS]
  • JONATHAN RODRIGUEZ [TRUST EQUITY ACCESS]
  • SHAMIQ SYED [TRUST EQUITY ACCESS]

* Indicates Incumbent

(three positions are open and brackets listed were chosen by the candidates)

UPDATE:

Please note that while Mr. Sahmiq Syed submitted an adequate number of petitions, he has been disqualified for not meeting the minimum residency requirement of living in Teaneck (1 year).

Board of Ed incumbent Victoria Fisher acknowledged in a social media post yesterday that the “campaign won’t be easy”.
Apparently, this is the first setback for the “Trust Equity Access” team.

 

Teaneck 101: Talking about the basics

A huge thank you to Miriam Berger, Danny Ackerman, and the others that helped to arrange this.
On behalf of myself and Mayor Jim Dunleavy, we also wanted to thank the residents that sent in questions and tuned in to watch.
We hope to do more of these in the near future.
The recording from last night is available below for anyone that’s interested.
Feel free to also join the conversation in the Teaneck Today group on FB.
References in the video are linked below 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page

Municipal:

Board Of Education:

State:

Breakdowns:

 

Want to hear about a different topic?  Have questions about procedures in Town?

Let us know:

 

Developer Sues Teaneck For Not Permitting Off-Site Affordable Housing

The Township said only on-site affordable housing units.  The Developer agreed.

Then they sued to change the terms.

Developer promised affordable units in Teaneck but hasn’t built any, lawsuit says

As per the Bergen Record:

“Teaneck is facing another lawsuit regarding affordable housing after a developer failed to provide two affordable units agreed upon in the site plan, the Fair Share Housing Center alleges.”

The developer signed an agreement to build two affordable units on-site.  But when the Township wouldn’t let them renegotiate the agreement, they filed suit.

Back in May, attorney Gail Price filed a lawsuit for her client Red Realty against Teaneck and the head of our Building Department.  At issue was the denial of a temporary certificate of occupancy to the builder.

In short, the builder applied to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (“ZBOA”) for permission to build 19 apartments back in 2015/16.  Among the requirements set forth by the ZBOA, he had to:

  • Build 2 Affordable Apartments in addition to Market Rate units
  • Sign a developers agreement with the Township

The ZBOA grant of variance allowed for the affordable units to be built on or off site (the appeal pre-dated the ordinance requiring only on-site affordable housing units), but the developer’s agreement required only on-site and inclusionary affordable apartments.

  • “E. Affordable Housing. The Applicant shall be required to provide 2 affordable housing units either within the development. Or in the alternative, the Applicant may provide 2 units elsewhere in the Township. A contribution to a fund will not be considered an option or be permitted.”
  • “F (3): The within Approval is conditioned upon the Applicant entering into a Developer’s Agreement with the Township. The Developer’s Agreement shall contain the applicable conditions of this resolution.

Resolution of the ZBOA

  • 59. Affordable Housing UnitsThe Developer shall provide not less than 2 on-siteaffordable housing units in connection with the proposed development.  The Developer shall be required to comply with all legal requirements necessary to render the aforedescribed affordable housing units as affordable housing units to low and moderate income families as those terms are defined pursuant to the regulations established by the Council on Affordable Housing (COAI-l) or its successor and the Housing Affordability Controls regulations (N.J.A.C. 5:80-26 et seq.). The Applicant shall be required to take all actions necessary to insure that the unit is deemed to be an affordable housing unit acceptable to COAI-I, and shall be affirmatively marketed in compliance with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. The units shall also be deed restricted in accordance with COAH regulations and only be rented or sold to an income qualified individual.
    Developer’s Agreement with Township

When the applicant asked for permission to do off-site affordable housing units, the Township emphatically said: No!

When asked if they could have a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (“TCO”) to allow them to rent their market-rate units, the Township said: No!

So they sued.  And a Judge granted their papers, ordering the Teaneck building department to give them a TCO.  You can read the decision here.

But the case is not over

As per the complaint filed this week,

57. After Judge Farrington’s June 11, 2021 Order, counsel for the Township of Teaneck contacted counsel for Fair Share Housing Center.
58. Counsel for Teaneck informed FSHC of the action and what had transpired.
Complaint filed by Fair Share (available here)

Fair Share filed a letter in the existing litigation and sued on their own as well.

“FSHC is gravely concerned that if RREA receives its TCOs for all its market-rate units before it has provided any of the required affordable housing units, the affordable homes will never be built.”
Fair Share Housing Letter

Now, as per the Record:

“The center filed the suit Tuesday in Superior Court in Bergen County, naming not only the developer but also Teaneck and its Board of Adjustment. The attorneys for the township, the Board of Adjustment and Red Real Estate Associates were not immediately available for comment.”

Complaint available here

Stay tuned.

 

The End of Prohibition in Teaneck?

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?”

The Future Former Administration of the Teaneck BOE

If you missed it while you were poolside or having bbq and watching the fireworks, I’d completely understand.

While most of us were celebrating the 4th of July, the BOE sent out a notice informing the public that a special meeting would be held tonight, July 7th.

The notice, says:
There will be only one item for discussion this evening (TBD) and public participation (virtual/live) will be kept to 1 hour. Formal action may be taken.

So, that’s…. informative?

Rumors started swirling, almost immediately.  Some said the Superintendent, who was just granted a five-year contract last year, would be tossed out.

Turns out, the rumors were accurate:

Why? Continue reading “The Future Former Administration of the Teaneck BOE”

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”

Moving Elections to November: The part they won’t mention

Those that care about local issues will no longer hear about them
Those that do not care about local issues, won’t vote in council / BOE races anyway (look at the numbers)

Township managers must remain independent of party bosses’ influence

There’s a move underfoot to move non-partisan Council elections (held in May) to November, to coincide with general partisan elections.

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. Continue reading “Moving Elections to November: The part they won’t mention”

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

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”