Sunday, August 28, 2005

Montclair Secessionists

In 2004, the citizens of Montclair voiced their support for secession from Essex County. These rebels were motivated by rising property taxes, which many of them attributed to wasteful spending on schools, especially in notorious Newark, where money allegedly evaporates after it is touched by the administration of Mayor Sharpe James.

However, before the town tries to cut taxes by moving to cheaper neighbors, it has to solve its own problems. Montclair leadership has a long history of pandering on the issue of wasteful spending for useless initiatives. Up until last year, the township spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay men to pick up empty garbage cans and place them back in the driveways of residents. The purpose behind this, according to former mayoral candidate Margaret Mukherjee, was to prevent "the atmosphere of abandonment" on streets where people weren't home to tend to their own garbage cans. Nevertheless, the same lower income families that that project was supposed to protect (poorer residents tend to be away from home more often and hence are not able to pick up the cans) are ultimately driven out of town because of the rising property taxes, which are exarcerbated by pork barrel projects such as useless garbage can pickups.

Joyce Michaelson, the councilwoman at large for Montclair, supported the referendum for secession, although her website does not specify what her stance on the actual issue is.

Should Montclair secede? It's not like Passaic County doesn't have it's own problems in the boroughs of Paterson and Passaic.


At 2:42 PM, Blogger MyManMisterC said...

I thought the plan was to join Morris County, even though it would be geographically not possible. What good what joining Passaic do for Montclair if it would have to "help" Clifton and Passaic the same way it "helps" Newark and East Orange.

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

speaking of wasteful spending in montclair, how about the "new school" which is supposed to cost us 50 million dollars! i say supposed because im sure itll be close to 60 when all is said and done. this is for a school that is supposed to serve 550 students. forget that comprably sized schools in other districts go for half the price and less. this school isn't even neccessary! there is no compelling reason why we shouldn't go with the more fiscally sane option, and just add onto the schools we already have. i encourage you to look at the board of eds compelling response to this point


At 2:18 PM, Blogger Sam said...


Not sure if you know who I am, but anyway...

The district's answer to the question you and others have raised is weak. Essentially, it's "We're building a new school because the people said it was OK by them." They could have done better, sure.

But as an observant resident of our town, you can see the rapid pace at which our population is growing. You see the freshman classes getting bigger and bigger each year. Assuming the number of parents who pull out of the school as a result of the No Child Left Behind test results, we're going to have a significant overcrowding problem in our school. That can only mean that there are problems at the lower levels where the kids start out.

I don't know that this new school is the answer to the problem, but very, very significant expansion projects - probably at most of the town's schools - would be needed to accomodate the growing number of students if another building or two isn't added to the school system.


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