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Messages - ericmartindale

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1
Hackensack Discussion / Re: Michael Mariniello
« on: January 18, 2019, 09:09:41 AM »
Copied from facebook: ...Those of you that knew him knew a man with a friendly smile and a kind, genuine soul. He lived his life with no regrets, spending much of his time and energy supporting and raising money for a miriad of charitable organizations, with a special fondness for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. He had a loving, devoted family, many adoring cousins, nieces & nephews, and countless loyal friends and business relationships....Our Family will receive friends on Friday January 18, from 3:00PM-8:00PM at G. Thomas Gentile Funeral Home, 397 Union St. Hackensack, NJ
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10: AM at
St. Francis RC Church, Hackensack, NJ with burial to follow at St. Joseph's Cemetery
Our Family asks that you Honor his memory with a donation to: www.Stjude.org

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Hackensack Discussion / Michael Mariniello
« on: January 18, 2019, 09:08:16 AM »

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Great pictures. Thanks for photo-documenting.

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Hackensack Discussion / Re: boycott northjersey.com
« on: January 15, 2019, 03:01:44 PM »
Mike, going incognito got me to view 10 articles, and then apparently I still have to pay. That'll be in just a few days, I'm sure.

I do appreciate you trying, and I gave you one "clap" point on your karma.

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Hackensack Discussion / boycott northjersey.com
« on: January 15, 2019, 05:36:33 AM »
I want to encourage readers and those who link articles for public viewing on this website to utilize news sources that are FREE. 

www.northjersey.com is charging me to view articles.  I am unsure if this is because I viewed too many articles for free this month, or if they are now doing this across the board to everyone.

It's great that people are posting news articles of interest, but at least some of us can no longer read them.

There are other news sources that have news articles which can be viewed for free.  Hell, I'd rather read Victor Sasson than have to pay northjersey.com a few dollars per month. Go Victor....lol.  northjersey.com ise running an intro special, but the actual price is higher than 99 cents per month.

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www.northjersey.com no longer allows people to read their articles online. There's a pop-up screen that says you have to pay.

Now I see why they stopped this website, years ago, from posting the full articles. 

7
Hackensack Discussion / Re: "Homer Jones"
« on: January 07, 2019, 06:11:54 PM »
Homer Jones was a tremendous source of information, and he has contributed greatly to the body of knowledge on the history of Hackensack. There's not even a handful of people alive with his level of knowledge on Hackensack. His passing is a huge loss for the rather small historian community.

My first meeting with him was in 1986, and it went very different than the Editors, but the irony is that my meeting was also my firm and instant resolve to get involved with public affairs. Some day I'll tell that story. I will respect the Editor's desire to keep his identity secret. 

Editor, if you are in contact with any surviving family members, perhaps there are documents and maps that could be donated to the City of Hackensack.  I have tons of documents to give when my time comes.  I bet ol Homer has his own stash.

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For public information, here is the most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the Hackensack Public Schools, that I could find online. https://www.nj.gov/education/finance/fp/cafr/search/17/1860.pdf

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I saw that on Facebook.  It's short-sighted. Yes, taxes go up but you'll get it all back when you sell the house in 5, 10, or 20 years. Hackensack will be a much better place with schools that are not overcrowded, with free pre-K for 4 year olds, with a stunning "magnet" school for grades 7, 8, and 9, and with all the schools having air conditioning and security upgrades. All of that is surely worth something when you sell the house

So who's going to vote against it. Renters are going to vote "yes", and especially those with children. Homeowner families with children in the school system or soon to enter will vote "yes". Many people who plan to sell their house in a few years and retire somewhere will vote "yes" because it'll increase their house sale value. It's people who meet ALL of the following criteria that are most likely to vote against it, which are no kids in the schools, own their house, and not planning to move for at least 20 years. And some of those people will still vote YES because they are very progressive minded and want to support public education. And the vote is deliberately timed for the day after MLK Jr Day to tap into the feeling that education is a civil right.

And even then, people who are thinking of voting "No" will still flip and vote "Yes" because a No vote passes up over $40 million in State aid.

Folks, it's going to pass, and the turnout will be much higher than most people think.

10
I find it astounding that the famously liberal Democrat, Victor Sasson, is coming out against public education. The same liberal who blasts Christie and Trump repeatedly on his blog and supports all the most liberal Democratic politicians.

Has Victor ever thought that the value of his house would GO DOWN in a school district so overcrowded with kids that the school system eventually resorts to renting trailers for classrooms. That's what they do in the majority-Latino neighborhoods of Newark when classroom space runs out.  And by the way, you can be sure that the 3 sending districts will stop sending if the high school is absurdly overcrowded and the school has to start renting trailers. And what do you think will happen to the high school's performance and test scores if there are classes in trailers and the 3 sending districts contribution reduces even further.

Also key to the entire plan is to create a new junior high school (grades 7, 8, and 9) so prestigious and filled with new technology that it will be sort of like a magnet school. This contrasts greatly with the existing Middle School (grades 5, 6, 7, 8) that has been somewhat stigmatized for decades. Most parents in Hackensack feel that the Middle School is "the weak link", and perhaps that is not justified, unsure. In any case, that entire problem will be gone. And that's also something that affects property values.

So readers, if you don't care about your kids, and if you are not a liberal and don't care about  defending public education, vote YES to preserve the value of your house.  I think that everyone planning on selling their house within the next 5 or 10 years would be eager to vote YES, because they'll get it all back and then some when they sell their house.

Oh, and I mentioned one more thing. If the referendum passes, the State kicks in over $40 million towards the construction. If the referendum fails, lots of the work will still be done, but without any State contribution. Oh wait, that's another reason for the taxpayer-conscious voter to vote YES.

I'm not 100% on board with their decision on what and where to build, and I would have done something different, but to vote "NO" at this point would be insane.

11
Hackensack Discussion / Re: HUMC Expansion
« on: December 25, 2018, 01:54:55 PM »
I'm interested in Reiner's comment on the combined stormwater and sanitary sewer system.

"If a developer comes and proposes a project, then they’re going to have to fix the system along Second Street and Atlantic Street and separate out those systems so the stormwater can go into the river and the sewage can go into [the Bergen County Utilities Authority], like it’s supposed to," Reiner said at the meeting.

To me this is a good sign that people are now thinking in the right direction. I have long advocated that the best way and cheapest way to solve this problem is to get stormwater out of the system, not build a new sanitary sewer system with literally thousands of major plumbing connections. The number of storm sewer grates draining into the combined system is only in the dozens. I continue to believe that a major discharge pipe can be built from the vicinity of Railroad Ave direct to the river, and it will drain east by gravity.  It would be relatively shallow at Railroad Ave, and pretty deep around State Street, but that's OK. As long as it is fairly straight, at good 5' in diameter, and drains by gravity, it will work.

12
Yes irons35, and there were two incidents in Hackensack within the past 20 years in which buildings being demolished fell unexpectedly.  One was on Newman Street and Atlantic, the demolition to prepare for the parking tower. They were demolishing one end of the building and they didn't have the sidewalk blocked off at the other end, along Newman Street. The west end of the building then collapsed onto Newman Street, and could have killed people if they were walking there. The other was during the construction of the Ice Quad. The plan was to take off the roof and leave the 4 walls, and then rebuild from there to create the Ice Quad. High winds caused at least one of the 4 walls to completely collapse.

13
I notice something on the city's promotion of the project that will infuriate the future tenants of this complex. And that is: "Amenity Space that may be converted to retail". I can tell you from being a tenant leader in Newark for 10 years that this is WAY BEYOND extremely objectionable. The builder is going to have some kind of temporary amenity, perhaps a fitness center or an oversized luxurious lobby, in order to lure in all the tenants at high rent, and then as soon as the building is filled and they have great rent roll coming in, they are going to screw the tenants and remove that amenity that they treasure. And then the tenants don't get a rent reduction for the loss. It's really VERY obnoxious and objectionable for a builder to do this. The city Zoning and Planning Boards should never allow or encourage that, and in fact, the reverse should be true. Approvals for construction should REQUIRE that amenities remain. And if a builder provides security guards in the lobby, they should be required to keep them. The most tremendous tenant movement in Newark all started with amenity reduction, and it culminated with the city council being pressured to adopt the strongest rent control ordinance in the United States.

14
I attended last night's forum. 90% of what is planned is really excellent.  The best part of the plan is that the High School will essentially be a double campus covering 6 grades. The existing buildings will be grades 10-12 instead of 9-12, and that will free up space for growth (even though enrollment was higher than now in the 1970's). The new buildings will be built along American Legion Drive and Comet Way for grades 7-9. That will include all the 9th graders from the sending districts in what is being billed as "the 9th grade academy". This will be a State-of-the-Art school with everything modern and high-tech, and I susepct it will be extremely attractive to the 3 sending districts. The kids will be very eager to attend it, and more parents will say "yes" to this option. The presenters expressed serious concern that magnet schools will be draining away our best kids in the future, so this new school will be competition and function as it's own kind of magnet.

All schools in Hackensack will be getting air conditioning and security upgrades. Every one will have a single point of entry and there will be street improvements for drop-off purposes. Most or all bathrooms will be modernized.

Hackensack will have free pre-school for all kids that are 4 years old by October 1st. There are about 800, and currently only about 300 are enrolled due to space issues, and it's all the way in the South Ward at the old St. Francis school. They are renting from the Catholic Archdioscese

The 4 lower elementary schools are currently K-4, which is 5 grades, and maxed out for space. They will become Pre-K to 2, which is 4 grades. Having 1 grade less per building frees up space, just a little, for future growth.

A large parking garage for students and teachers will be built along Comet Way. They are discussing with the City Council about widening Comet Way and making it 2-way, but that is not finalized. They are also eliminating the eastern block of American Legion Drive (the city council is doing that), and adding it as green space to the school campus to help compensate for the loss of one athletic field. Kathy Salvo was there asking them fencing off space on the roof of the new building for school recreation purposes, and they said the architect will consider that.

Some of the savings:
1. The school system will no longer be spending $700,000 a year to rent that space from the Archdioscese, which over the cost of 30 years would be $21 million. Actually more because that cost will probably go up every year. So it's fair to say at least $26 million. (FYI, the Board of Education is doing a bad job talking up this aspect of the savings by not multiplying it out over 30 years and explaining that on their literature)
2. If this is all approved in the Referendum, the State of NJ will kick in $41 million.  So that's $67 million
3. There are additional efficiency savings, the presenters said.

My outstanding concern was that all kids grades 3-6 from Hackensack will have to attend one school (currently the Middle School). The presenters said that the modern educational needs of pre-school and kindergarten kids is "so vastly different" from that of 5th and 6th graders that it no longer makes sense to put them all in the same building. 

They said they have thought for years about shrinking the district sizes for the existing 4 elementary schools so there will be space for the existing grades, and then building a new school somewhere in central or south-central Hackensack. They couldn't do it, they couldn't make the numbers work. I tell you what, they can pay me $30,000 and give me all the enrollment data. It might take me some time, but I could do it, I'm sure.

What I think will happen in the future is that the school enrollment will continue to grow, and they will STILL be forced to build another new school in Hackensack, somewhere near Kansas Street. That could be a Middle School South, for Jackson and Hillers. And the existing Middle School would be a Middle School North for Nellie K. Parker and Fairmount. Or perhaps, since the old Middle School is pretty huge, it would nibble a bit into the territory of the South elementary schools. My $30K offer stands on the table, in a few years when they are ready to think about this again. I am sure I could do it.

Also, if I was on the Board of Education, I would immediately use eminent domain to seize and purchase the Cinelli Brothers metal recycling property off of Lodi Street. That way the Board of Education would own a piece of property for future school construction, and it would be just about where it needs to be geographically. They could then lease the property out to Cinelli or anyone else with a similar business plan. The cost of buying that property, spread out over 30 years, would probably be less than the annual rent from Cinelli. They should consult with the appropriate realtor on this, see if the numbers work. The property might be rented out for 10 years or more before any school construction occurs.

15
The plan to build a new elementary school on a high school athletic field should be considered a loss of open space. It's more than just a loss of recreation for the students.

I also feel that the school system is moving in the opposite direction of neighborhood-based schools. Decades ago, all children K-5 went to schools in their own neighborhood, or reasonably close. The logic was that 6th graders are old enough to walk to or from school on their own, so if they had to walk a mile or two, that was considered acceptable.

Then, all 5th grade classes were consolidated into the Five-6 school on the Middle School campus. So now you have kids a year younger having to walk very far.

Now the Board of Education wants to take that same approach for younger and younger kids. Now they want even 3rd and 4th graders from all over the city to attend a single school. They are essentially forcing all parents to drive their kids to and from school. I am remarried with a 5-year old, and living in Maywood. Thinking of buying a house in Hackensack, which is more affordable than the suburban towns, but I would then be subjected to these education logistics and having to purchase another automobile. The Board of Education should not be complicating people's lives with education logistics.

There are multiple problems with education logistics.

1. First is that it complicates the ability of parents to have employment. The potential employment of at least one parent (sometimes there is ONLY one parent) now has to work around driving a child to and from school. So that leaves not enough daytime hours to work full-time.

2. Second, if there are children in more than one school, the logistics are even worse.

3. Third, not everyone has a car, or perhaps they only have one car and the spouse who works full-time with a good-paying job is using it all day.

4. Lots of parents without cars walk their younger kids to school. It's too much to expect them to walk their small child miles across town. Especially in the cold, in the rain, in light snow when there is no snow day.

All of this really makes life difficult for families in Hackensack. It's totally anti-civic. Maybe this is being done deliberately to discourage families with children from living in Hackensack. And if that is the case, (unsure) that would be simply terrible public policy.

The Board of Education is moving in the opposite direction. They need to go back to having all kids K-5 educated in neighborhood schools, or perhaps K-6. If that means expanding them, expand. If that means building a new school somewhere in the center of Hackensack, do it.  If that means to change the boundaries of the elementary schools, do it. The boundaries are non-sensical, having been gerrymandered for racial balance reasons at least 40 years ago, and those demographic issues no longer exist. All of Hackensack is thoroughly mixed. There are Latino's and African-Americans all over Hackensack, in every neighborhood.

Or even better, make all neighborhood elementary schools K-6, and perk the boundaries to make the enrollment numbers vs. available classroom space work. I bet grades 7-8 can fit in the old Middle school building, which was designed for 6-8. The current Five6 school can become a K-6 school for the Park Street area Hackensack, and lower Anderson Street, and moving outwards a few blocks as needed to fill up the school.

There would still be the need to build one new school, I would say somewhere in the area of Kansas Street. 

The Hackensack School system should be moving in the direction of neighborhood-based schools, and not in the direction of parents having to drive little kids all over Hackensack.

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