Monday, June 29, 2009

Parade Or Disruption?

In its wisdom, the township has decided to disenfranchise a large part of the community by insisting on holding the Independence Day Parade on the morning of July 4th, when a substantial number of residents will be attending synagogue services.

What's worse is that the parade route will pass three synagogues on its route. The synagogues, in an effort not to seem unpatriotic, have acquiesced to the parade passing their buildings during services. Had the synagogues complained, they would have been lambasted by those from "the other half" of the community. So they did the only thing they could possibly do and agreed under duress.
At a council meeting back on March 17th, Mayor Feit and Barbara Toffler suggested moving the parade to Friday whenever the 4th falls out on Saturday and to Monday whenever the 4th falls out on Sunday. This idea was shot down.
Seems that the last time July 4th was on Saturday, there was only one shul on the route (two have since been built) and the parade detoured to Palisade Avenue to bypass the shul. Another time, the route was reversed.
Now, the organizers want to enforce a "quiet zone" around the synagogues. Good luck with that. Even the mayor feels that is an impossible endeavor.
So what can be done?
Suggestion 1: Change the parade's date (It's not unpatriotic; Englewood moved their fireworks and music show to Thursday night).
OR Suggestion 2: Hold the parade in the afternoon when the synagogue services have concluded.
OR Suggestion 3: Change the route so it doesn't pass (and disturb) three synagogues that will be in middle of services at the time of the parade.
By the way, does anybody else see the irony in holding a United States Independence Day parade on a street named for a lady who was Queen of England in the 1700s, when the colonies were still ruled by the British?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Here Comes The Sun, There Goes Our Money

Here's Teaneck's latest dumb idea. The township will install solar panels atop the Rodda Center and Fire Station 3 this fall in an effort to save energy costs and promote conservation.
The town will spend $615,000 to save $9,200 a year. In just 69 years, they'll recoup the investment. What a great idea!
Teaneck can get back its investment faster by selling Solar Renewable Energy Certificates to state public utilities. The town estimates about $30,000 a year in income, but based on the state's data the price of these certificates varies greatly and fluctuates monthly. Last month, some went for as low as $170, which would reduce Teaneck's annual income to less than $13,000 a year.
Even if we use Teaneck's figure of $39,200 in annual income and savings, it would still take about 16 years to get back the initial investment. And that's not counting any annual maintenance or replacement costs.
I've tried to determine the life span of these solar panels, but the best I could find was a very general 15 to 25 years.
Some may argue that about half the money will come from a state grant or federal stimulus funds. So what? That's still taxpayer money and it's still a waste!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mexican Flu Hits Home

Just received word that Yeshivat Noam, an orthodox day school in Paramus, is closed through next Monday due to a flu outbreak. According to my friend's kids, there were many absences today. The principal sent a recorded phone message to all of the parents this morning telling them to keep their kids home if the kids exhibited any flulike symptoms. Another message this evening told parents that school was closing through Monday. (School was already scheduled to be closed Friday for the holiday).
In keeping with Israeli Ministry of Health edicts, the illness is to be refered to as "Mexican Flu" and not "Swine Flu." No word on whether the confirmed flu case at Noam is the H1N1 variety.
With the Shavuot holiday coming up later this week, I ask, do men shake other men's hands in wishing them "Chag Sameach" or "Gut Yomtov" or saying "Yasher Koach" after an aliyah or kibud? Do we supervise the kiddush more closely to discourage those Brooklyn slobs who always stick their hands in the food serving plate instead of using a fork? Do we kiss the Torah? Do we eat the piece of challah that our host cuts and hands to us at the Yom Tov table?
Stay healthy everyone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Money To Burn

A 62 million dollar budget. No layoffs. The maximum allowed increase in the tax levy. A 2.4 million dollar tax hike. Half a million more in spending. "Modest" raises for several years.
The rest of the world is in a recession. People are losing jobs or taking pay cuts and losing benefits. But not in Teaneck. We're going to keep the bloated bureaucracy just as bloated as it ever was.
The proposed layoffs are out the window. Our spendthrift mayor is willing to hand out raises to Teaneck's employees. What do the employees have to sacrifice? Maybe rolling back larger raises to take smaller ones. No givebacks, no productivity increases, nothing!
Looks like Feit fiddles while Teaneck burns. Who ever thought I'd agree with Monica on this one?
And now that William Broughton is officially the township manager, I'd think he'd be taking over the negotiations with the unions. Not so. We're going to keep Interim Manager Greg Fehrenbach on the payroll. Why? Because it would be "challenging" for Broughton to take over midstream. If Broughton can't even handle the job from Day One, imagine what kind of trouble Teaneck is going to be in on Day One Hundred.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Democracy Defeated

The voters went to the polls and defeated the school budget proposal. 
The town council decided to take the recommended 4% increase and decrease it to 3%, defeating the will of the majority of Teaneck's voters.
We'll keep on paying six figure salaries to gym teachers and to administrators who haven't seen the inside of a classroom since they removed the inkwells from the student's desks.
The town approves a "worst case scenario" layoff plan to deal with a $650,000 deficit, yet claims to be trying to avoid any layoffs.
Our interim town manager says he wants to avoid layoffs and limit salary increases.
In a world where people are losing jobs or taking pay cuts, we want to give out raises to township employees, but "limit" the amount.
This is fiscal irresponsibility. How about asking for pay CUTS instead of limiting the amount of RAISES!
Our firemen claim to only want 3% raises annualy beginning next year. How about we counteroffer a 3% annual pay cut (after we eliminate 28 men).
This town is not democracy in action, it is democracy inaction.
According to 2008 figures on the Asbury Park Press' website, Teaneck had 174 employees making six figure salaries, with 98 of those coming from the board of education. (The records include employees enrolled in various pension systems. These are base salaries and do not include overtime, bonuses or benefits).
If the town feels it can make do with fewer employees, the cuts should be made whether or not there is a budget deficit. Just because we can somehow get the money from the backs of the township's residents, doesn't mean we have to spend it all on grossly exorbitant salaries and unheard of benefits for extraneous township employees.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Giving Back In A Big Way

You may never have heard of Kasib Powell. He's a Teaneck High School graduate. He played basketball here, then went on to play college basketball at a community college in Kansas before landing at Texas Tech for his junior and senior seasons. 
He wasn't drafted after college, and has played mostly in basketball's minor leagues and overseas over the last few years. He spent this past season playing in China and Sioux Falls, SD. He was called up to the NBA's Miami Heat at the end of the 2007-08 season, where he appeared in eleven big league games.
He's never given up hope of getting another "break" and another shot at the NBA. He's played in NBA Summer Leagues and his decision to toil in the "D-League" instead of chasing more money in Europe speaks to his desire to achieve the NBA dream.
He's no millionaire. His NBA salary over the course of his short stint is estimated at only $36,000. And there's not a lot to be made in basketball's "D-League" where Powell is one of the league's top all-time scorers.
But Powell is giving back to Teaneck in a great way. He has started the K.P. Youth Foundation.
His foundation is offering a summer SAT prep course free of charge to Teaneck residents in grades 11 and 12.
For info, visit or email
Teaneck at its finest.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Teaneck's Firefighter Fiasco

Those overpaid Teaneck firemen are too much.
At last night's council meeting, moved to the library to allow more people to attend, the firemen stacked the crowd in their favor by forcing "certain" people to leave the room because there was a "fire hazard." Interesting to have seen which folks the firemen chose to force to leave. Most were very likely people who did not see things the way the firemen did.
The firemen keep harping on their proposal to change overtime to days off and "consider" forgoing raises this year.
That, of course, means Teaneck will face the same situation next year. Their plan just pushes off the problem for another year. 
Layoffs mean we don't have to deal with this again next year.
Mayor Feit is a long time volunteer on the Teaneck Ambulance Corps, a volunteer organization (where he may or may not have sexually abused a teenage volunteer).
My question remains: why do we have paid firemen at all? Seems that most other towns in our area make do with volunteers.
From an earlier post, here are some stats regarding local fire departments:
Teaneck: 98 paid firemen, 0 volunteer firemen
Bergenfield: 6 paid firemen, 72 volunteer firemen
New Milford: 0 paid firemen, 48 volunteer firemen
Bogota: 0 paid firemen, 84 volunteer firemen
And I still haven't gotten over the FACT that Teaneck's "bravest" caused the death of the Seidenfeld children a few years back.
Save Teaneck lots of money, fire the firemen!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Rising Cost of Day School Tuition

I voted in the BofE elections today. I had to wake up the poll workers, the place was so empty.

Anyways, this hit my inbox today, so I'll share it with the rest of you.

Subject: Seeking a Sustainable, Affordable Day School Model

Friends -

We all know the rising cost of Day School tuition has been an issue for quite some time. And now, the current financial crisis is shining a spotlight on the topic.

While many day school and community leaders across the country know this is an issue, let's use this petition to quantify and demonstrate just how big of an issue it is. Please click on the link below to sign your name and forward to your friends.

Then, let's work together to find a long-term, affordable model to provide our kids with an excellent Jewish and Secular education.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Anti-Semites of Teaneck

Maybe I read more into it than I should, but I think I'm right on target with this one.
A member of the Teaneck orthodox community, Herb Burack,  is running for a seat on the town's Board of Education.
His kids attend(ed) yeshivot.
Therefore, he must be running to try to "screw" the public school kids. He can't possibly have their best interests in mind. He can't possibly be running because the school system as it now stands is an abhorent failure. He can't possibly be running to stem the waste of taxpayer's money.
Seems to me that the popular opinion is if you don't want to spend the exorbitant sum of $18,500 per student, you must want the schools and the students to suffer. If you don't want to pay $100,000+ for a gym teacher, then you don't have the students best interests in your heart. If you think handing out raises to teachers in the current economy is a bad idea, you must hate public school students.
This, of course, is not my opinion.
This is the drivel that's being discussed on the "Teaneck Progress" blog.
Nobody has come out and said it as bluntly as I have put it, but that's what I derive from "between the lines" of the postings I have read.
In last week's Suburbanite, there was a letter to the editor endorsing one of the other candidates. Here's what bothered me most:  "It is imperative as we continue the process of up-grading (sic) the Teaneck school system that we elect candidates that love and respect public education and will fight for the quality academic programs, athletic avenues, and social activities that our children so richly deserve."
Let me ask: Why do our children "richly deserve" athletic avenues and social activities? This is a school district, not a summer camp. If parents think their kids "richly deserve" these non-academic pursuits, let them arrange for these things at non-school hours and at their own expense, perhaps as a reward for getting good grades in school.
Well, enough is enough. 
Burack is the bitter Herb our school system needs.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bienvenido... Corzine's Cheesy Illegal Alien Panel

Englewood's mayor, Michael Wildes, whose family made its fortune in immigration law, was on Governor Corzine's panel on immigrant policy. The panel came out with a report today suggesting far-ranging benefits to the legal and illegal aliens in our midst. The panel did not differentiate between legal and illegal aliens.
Wildes status as an immigration lawyer as well as Englewood mayor is not mentioned in either the Star-Ledger or the Record.
Wildes' most moronic quote is this: "America cannot just stand by and do nothing about its undocumented population while Congress fails to address it. Gov. Corzine understands this, and he wanted us to study how to integrate, not segregate, immigrants. There are not enough handcuffs to arrest and deport every undocumented immigrant."
Too many criminals? Let them go.
If bank robbery becomes endemic among the local population, maybe Wildes will suggest we let all the bank robbers go free as well.
Naturally, the panel made suggestions that would make the average tax paying citizen sick. The Star-Ledger estimates that there are 400,000 illegal aliens in our state. The Record estimates the total at 500,000
Firstly, they recommend giving in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens who want to attend state colleges. How much sense does that make? An illegal alien can attend Rutgers at the same tuition as a lifelong state resident, but if God forbid some kid from a legal, tax paying family in New York wants to go to Rutgers, she'd have to shell out a higher rate than the criminal illegal alien. In-state tuition is about $11,000. Out-of-staters pay about twice that.
Another part of the report, that hits closer to home, asks local school districts not to ask for parents' social security cards when registering their kids at public schools. So now, we're being asked to subsidize illegal aliens in our schools, which in Teaneck will cost you $18,000+ per year, per kid.
The ridiculous suggestions also include a moratorium on ICE raids on illegal aliens and issuing some form of driver's licenses to the illegals.
Many people will tell me the Torah says to be kind to the alien because we were aliens in Egypt. That's true. We were also slaves in Egypt. Let me have a Mexican slave and I'll be glad to let his kid go to public school on the town's dime.

Friday, March 27, 2009

This Black Man Appreciates The Jews

If you've got next week's (April 6) issue of Time Magazine, there's an interesting tidbit on page 2.
Basketball superstar LeBron James was asked who he would nominate for the Time 100 Most Influential People.
His answer? Jay Schottesntein.
Here's the Time blurb:
LeBron James
The NBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist is a past TIME 100 honoree
Jay Schottenstein, an Ohio business leader and philanthropist, has supported the translation and elucidation of the Talmud Bavli into English, Hebrew and French. The Schottenstein Edition of the Talmud is now utilized by more than 2 million people worldwide.

We need this kind of love here in Teaneck. Maybe Monica Honis will endorse Rabbi Steven Pruzansky for the honor.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fairway: The Reviews Are In

After waiting in a long, long line, I finally got inside the Fairway Market in Paramus this morning.
Tough to navigate the aisles; you have to go up and down every aisle as they all come to dead-ends.
In the kosher departments, I bought boneless kosher for Passover chicken cutlets, $3.69 a pound for a family size pack; Shredded cheese, kosher for Passover, $1.99 for an 8 ounce bag.; Temp-Tee cream cheese, kosher for Passover, 99¢ for an 8 ounce tub.
I wanted to see if the introductory prices in Paramus were that much cheaper than Fairway's regular prices. I checked their online circulars for the Brooklyn and Long Island stores, and it seems their regular prices are just a few cents higher than the prices in Paramus this week: Long Island and Brooklyn both were $3.99 for the chicken, same price for the cream cheese. The silver-tip roast which was $5.99 a pound in Paramus is $6.99 on Long Island.
Does this mean that local kosher consumers will finally have some good news as it relates to prices? Will Glatt Express try to match Fairway's prices? (Note that G.E.'s chopped meat at $3.29 a pound for the family pack is still the lowest anywhere). Will somebody start a slanderous rumor about Rabbi Marmorstein's supervision, since he's not with the RCBC? Will the new kosher section at the Paramus Shop-Rite be able to compete? (their prices are already too high). Will Harold's, across the street, be able to survive? Will the new Whole Foods in Paramus try to cater to the kosher shopper? 
Stay tuned.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Self-Haters At It Again

This time it's Clifton.
The Herald News (that's the Record's sister newspaper in Passaic County) had this on Sunday's front page: TEMPLE PLAN IRKS SOME NEIGHBORS
Seems like the residents of a certain part of Clifton, near the Passaic border, don't want the orthodox to have a new synagogue in town.
The great excuses include this from a Mrs. Greenwald: "When they moved into this community, they knew that there was no facility here. I am not in favor of it. Number one, because it will change the tenor of the neighborhood." In other words, it means more of those darned orthodox jews moving in, and actually walking down the streets.
From a Mr. Goldberg: "It's not necessarily resident against resident. It's really nonresident against resident." That means, those orthodox jews aren't really residents. You know, they don't use our public schools, they don't attend the town concerts on Friday nights. They're not really residents. The fool should realize that since orthodox jews have to walk to their synagogues on Shabbat, it is ONLY residents of the neighborhood who want or need this shul.
Teaneck residents may feel free to substitute Barbara Toffler for Dennis Kirwan in the next paragraph:
Dennis Kirwan, Clifton's city planner, said he opposes the synagogue plan as it's proposed because if approved, the site would be used intensively in a residential zone, and because Dwasline Road lacks sidewalks.
NO SIDEWALKS! Jews would have to walk in the streets! Quick, call Peter Applebome at the New York Times so he can write an expose on how those nasty orthodox jews are ruining our town. We don't want it to become like Rockland County here! 
I wonder if Kirwan is also a business ethics consultant with absolutely no ethics of his own, just like our precious Barbara.
And just like our wonderful non-observant neighbors in Tenafly, who called in a Jewish lawyer to try and block the eruv, the self-haters in Clifton have called in attorney Ira Weiner, who states: "It's a very large building that's very close to the property lines and has insufficient parking by a large margin." (Note that the plans call for 35 parking spaces).
Ah, the parking argument again. Because the jews with the black hats drive to shul on Shabbat! Parking for what? When will people finally see that making an argument about parking when it relates to a synagogue is in and of itself an anti-semitic statement, especially when you know damned well that  people walk there (in the streets, because there are no sidewalks).
Here's my solution: Build it anyway. Then move the rabbi and his family into the building and call it a residence with a really big living room. Now try to fight that one, you bastards!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Cellular Tree Off Route 4

With the new phone tower off Route 4 getting some media and blog coverage, I decided to take a look at how cellular coverage in the area differs among the major carriers.
The maps below were taken from the cellular carriers' websites.
The lighter areas are the areas with less than perfect service. The darker the shaded area, the better the service.
I could not copy the map on the MetroPCS website, but based on their map, their service in the area is not great.

T-Mobile Coverage (the lighter areas here ar parks, not poor coverage areas)

T-Mobile 3G Coverage (the light areas get only GPRS/Edge coverage)
Sprint Coverage
Nextel Coverage
Verizon Coverage

Verizon 3G Coverage
AT&T 3G Coverage

AT&T Coverage

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Keep The Cuts Coming!

While the rest of the world has been struggling with the recession, our local government is finally catching up.
Here in Teaneck, this is what we have so far in the school system: 

More than a dozen teaching positions would be eliminated under the preliminary $93.9 million 2009-10 budget adopted by the school board Tuesday. The spending plan calls for cutting only five elementary teachers' jobs, however, rather than the 13 job cuts that had originally been proposed. Other proposed reductions include the high school's cross-country program, several middle and high school teachers, and other staff and program cuts.

The original proposal was to cut 13 teachers. Now we're told only 5 teachers will be cut. Why? Cut the other 8!

We spend more per student in Teaneck than all but three or four other districts in the entire state of New Jersey. Enough already! Half the kids in town don't even attend public schools, yet we have a budget over 90 million dollars.

We're told the tax levy will be 3% higher than last year. Why? People have less, homes are worth less; we should decrease the budget! We're dropping cross country at the high school. Big deal. How about dropping basketball, football, soccer and baseball. When you have no money, you keep the basics and drop the fat. Since when do sports qualify as the three R's?

On the township side:
Are we all nuts? Why do we even have a paid fire department when almost all other towns make do with volunteers. Remember, these are the same firefighters that are responsible for killing the Seidenfeld children in our town three years ago.
As for the five cops who would be laid off: Why don't we apportion taxes to pay the police based on crime rates in the areas where the cops are needed. Raise taxes on the folks in the northeast part of town and on FDU students. Leave the rest of us alone!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't Live In West Englewood? Then Screw You!

The dog park set to be erected on the southeast corner of Sagamore Park has met with opposition from neighbors on Belle Avenue.
Thye have no chance of prevailing. Why? They don't live in West Englewood. You'd never see a dog park in a residential area in the neighborhood of Teaneck's power population.
The council doesn't care that the park has a playground used by kids, complete with a wading pool. The fields are used for Teaneck's soccer and baseball leagues. The park is used for Shabbat afternnon "perek in the park" by the orthodox community (not the West Englewood fakers, the real orthodox).
Dog parks are great. My dog has been to many all over the northeast. Not one of them has been located in a residential neighborhood.  But what does Adam Gussen care; it's not his house or his community. Shaft the "regular folks." Make it nice for West Englewood.