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Messages - just watching

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Hackensack Discussion / Re: Redevelopment Projects
« on: September 24, 2007, 08:14:40 pm »
REDEVELOPMENT must go on, and I encourage the Planning Board and City Council to find other areas of the city that meet the statutory requirements of "urban blight".

If all else fails, there's always Central Ave just east of First Street.  I'll grow old waiting for a city administration to redevelop that block.  Redevelopment for economic reasons will never fly politically there, but that's where the new police station and city hall should go. It's next to the high school, and it's the absolute geographic center of Hackensack. Both are great reasons for a new city complex exactly there.  No judge will stop eminent domain to build a city hall or police station.  Especially one so well situated. Not in a million years.

For some reason, the city is instead focussing on single large-lot projects.  I admire their initiative and their goals for the betterment of the city, but it is time to refocus, guys. Stop messing around with the edges of town, and go for redevelopment where it is most needed.  JUST DO IT.

And why stop with Central Ave. The judges aren't going to stop the redevelopment of the northern block of Fair Street, Meadow Street south of Kansas Street, the vicinity of Hudson and Water Streets, the north side of Lodi Street between Fair Street and South State Street, downtown Anderson Street, the south side of Banta Place, the NW corner of Union & Lawrence, among others.

Wherever there are multiple properties, small lots, mixed land use, and generally downtrodden conditions the city will prevail in any legal challenge against eminent domain. 

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Education/Charter Schools/Testing
« on: September 04, 2007, 01:02:08 am »
I agree that Spanish is the priority foreign language to be taught, but......The schools already teach Spanish, don't they ???

If there's a SECOND foreign language to be taught, I'd say Chinese should take precedence over Russian or other traditional favorites, such as French or German.

It wouldn't be so bad if putting Chinese on the curriculum encouraged a few Chinese families to move to Hackensack and attend the public schools.  A little more diversity in terms of Asian students might even increase our test scores.  Those Asian families really push their kids to learn, it's more important to their culture than SPORTS, and sports is what Hackensack has always prioritized.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Education/Charter Schools/Testing
« on: September 01, 2007, 08:47:48 pm »
I'd like to know what it was 20 years ago.  I think it was at least 75%.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Services for the homeless...
« on: September 01, 2007, 09:33:45 am »
Some individual homeless people can be "saved" via heroic efforts, but the problem of homeless nationally is not going to be solved. Not anytime soon, the nation is heading 100% in the wrong direction.

The homeless debate is also completely off course.  It's NOT about housing, it's NOT about creating more beds for the homeless, and it's NOT about jobs.  This is a CULTURE WAR ISSUE. What the homeless debate should be about is the cultural and spiritual rot in this country.  Many of the mentally ill are afflicted with mental illness because they can't cope with all the greed and selfishness in our society, and how everyone is just out for themselves.  And that is why they are homeless or turn to substance abuse.

We don't have any kind of value system in this country that is neutral with respect to all established religions, and that could form the fabric of society.  We don't have a fabric of society in this country any more, it's everyone for themselves, and America's celebrities and popular culture is leading the way.  Some people can succeed in this environment, others can get by, but some turn to alcohol and become mentally ill.  I love the USA more than anything, and nothing would make me happier than to see a reversal in the direction we are heading

Wake up folks, things aren't going to get any better, with the media, celebrities, and popular culture are leading us further and further astray from where we need to be.  We now have a society in which only the "type A" personality can survive.  And if the Editor wants to ridicule this observation, and post a picture of a bumbling Sheriff's Deputy from Mayberry, go ahead and do it. 

Things may have been a lot simpler back then, and it's very unfortunate that women and minorities didn't have the rights that they deserved, but other than that things were better then. Someone like Barney Fyfe could get by, and even secure a job that he didn't deserve. In  our modern society Barney Fyfe would be a homeless man.  He simply wouldn't make it.  How sad.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: City of Hackensack Online Auction
« on: September 01, 2007, 09:10:01 am »
Nice work. Good to know someone is doing things the smart way.

In my last post, I asked the Editor to confirm:  (((((that the city gives the final "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to any initial decision by the state controlling agency (I'm told it's the NJ Division of Alcoholic Beverages).  Editor, can you please confirm if this is true.))))

All he responded is that the NJ ABC regulates alcohol sales.  Folks, this is called a non sequitor.  He's answering one question with another question, as if the first question didn't exist. That way he avoids answering the real question.

Editor, please respond with a direct answer to the question, not a non sequitor. Thank you.

I appreciate the responses, and I am satisfied that there is no new increase in liquor sales in the neighborhood.  I didn't know that the license was transfered from Princess Liquors, but that being said, I would still have been happier if it were transferred completely out of any residential neighborhood.

I was under the impression that the city gives the final "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to any initial decision by the state controlling agency (I'm told it's the NJ Division of Alcoholic Beverages).  Editor, can you please confirm if this is true.

I also agree with the observation that the "Deli Mart" has become a dump, and that they are losing business to Quick Chek. 

What I disagree with is the statement that it's OK for children to have some "exposure" to the problems that are part of living in a city, and that this is what city life is all about. Those who live in the Fairmount Section do not consider it "city".  Rather it is considered to be a suburban community comparable to Maywood; the only difference being that it is located within the borders of Hackensack.  Just like Maywood, most of the area is single-family homes, there are some small-scale commercial districts, and even some industry. But the identity is SUBURBAN, not URBAN. That's what people expect when buying a house there. They don't want to be told by the Editor or anyone else that they are living in a city, and have to cope with the exposure to urban problems right in their neighborhood.

 I can state with confidence that the overwhelming majority of residents in the Fairmount Section of Hackensack do not want the spread of urban problems northwards into the area. That's why so many people were infuriated by the opening of the Orchard Street homeless Shelter.

Oh, and I don't consider the Charlmaree Bar and the rest of the run-down inner city Anderson business district to be in the Fairmount Section of Hackensack.  Fairmount, I would say, means everything from the Holy Trinity Church northwards.  I would count all of Hamilton Place as "Fairmount", as well. But definately nothing south of Passaic Street.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Hackensack Real Estate News Thread
« on: August 19, 2007, 12:45:28 pm »
Now that it is public knowledge that the real estate market is FIRMLY down, I wonder how many of the approved projects will get built ???

Looking at the previous posts, I see that includes Linden Street near Anderson (cleared, but no new construction), Second & Berry Street (cleared, but no new construction), and Jackson & Frederick (cleared, but no new construction), First Street near Essex (vacant foundation from the 1980's, recently approved for condos, but no construction), and several condo projects on River Street. Right now, nothing residential is getting built except the 17 units on Myer Street.

It looks like real estate runs in a 17 year cycle.  It was hottest in 2004, then previously in 1987, then 1971, and then 1954.  The mid-1950's brought us hundreds of suburban houses and hundreds of garden apartments, 1971 and 1972 brought us half of the high-rises on Prospect and Overlook Avenues, and who could forget the boom of the mid-80's, which culminated in 1987 and 1988.

let's see, what happened last time real estate tanked. Well, the boom peaked in 1987, and by late 1989 the boom was clearly over. There were condo projects planned for River Street, and they were never built. By 1994, real estate was deader than dead. Houses in Hackensack lost 40% of their 1987 value, and condo's averaged 60% down. If a single house was built, that was big news. it was so bad that people thought that multi-unit building would NEVER again be built in Hackensack. By 1997, it was warming slightly, and plots of land that were vacant for 10 years and previously approved for multi-unit were instead being built for one and two family houses (Ross & Linden, Passaic & Clarendon).  In 1998, someone decided to build two 4-unit condos not far from the Fairmount School, and it was a giant shock that anyone would build multi-unit in Hackensack.

Well, if the real estate cycle holds to form, real estate will again be deader than dead in 2011, and we'll again have the problem of vacant development sites. It may begin building up again by 2014, and be red-hot by 2021.  Now, if I can beg, borrow, plunder, embezzle, and steal enough money by 2011, I'll be in the right position to buy real estate !!!!

And what about that 300-unit Transit Village proposed for Zabriskie Street.  Well, at the rate the County is progressing with moving the County Police to South River Street, the Transit Village won't break ground for another 10 years. So they might as well proceed with the project. The market will be starting to heat up by then.

Oh no, we have a new liquor store in the neighborhood, the Deli Mart on Main Street near Spring Valley Ave.  For decades, Hackensack has had a policy against allowing new package liquor stores to open up in neighborhood settings. They've denied all liquor license requests to sell package liquor in neighborhoods. The last one was Simon Sez at State & Clay Streets around 1975.

Simon Sez caused a nearly continuous parade of liquor-buying pedestrians walking east down Clay Street from beyond Park Street. These pedestrians were littering, cursing, fighting, pushing drugs, prostituting, panhandling, blasting music, and generally being a nuisance and a drain on the police. Locals called it the "Clay Street Parade". It had severe consequences on the neighborhood.  At one point there was an organized effort by the police to repeatedly bust Simon Sez for liquor sales to minors, so that their license would be permanently stripped (the effort failed in court). 

The Simon Sez problem was so bad that the city decided not to allow any new liquor stores in any neighborhood. Liquor sales was deamed to be incompatible with the residential quality of life. They draw in drunks and homeless people as walk-in customers, and they encourage loitering and panhandling.  More liquor just means more problems. Ever since the Simoz Sez disaster, they have simply been denying the liquor license requests.  Only along the highways, including River Street/Hackensack Ave have new licenses been granted.

Both the Cerbo and Zisa administrations refused to allow any increase in package liquor sales in the neighborhoods.  The new administration apparently knows nothing about this tradition, or has other ideas of what kinds of businesses belong in our neighborhoods.  I'd like to know who was in favor of this change, and why.  But I don't expect any response to be posted.

We don't yet have inner city problems in the Fairmount part of the city, but who knows what the future holds. The Deli Mart's new liquor license is PERMANENT. 10, 20, and 50 years from now that store, or its successor, will be selling liquor. It is now OPEN SEASON on all our neighborhoods.  Every little convenience store and bodega is going to want the right to sell liquor. Yes, they'll have to get liquor licenses, but they can cry discrimination because the Deli Mart was given the right. The city is defenseless and can no longer say that the policy has been continuous since 1975.

It cost big bucks for a liquor license, but makes sense economically to invest in one.  Next will be the Central Mini-Mart at Central Ave & First Street, then
"In & Out" on Union & Atlantic Streets (they already want to do it), and how about a few more in the Anderson Business District and on Hudson Street.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Waterloo Sue's to close
« on: August 06, 2007, 08:14:39 am »
I never thought I'd be so happy about a business going under.  But Waterloo Sue's is GONE, so let's break out the Champaigne !!!!

I used to patronize Corky's Corner, but I refused to ever give one dime to Waterloo Sue's. Why ???  Because they painted the entire building, trim and all, in ONE COLOR. It happens to be pink, but it doesn't matter what the color is --- that building had a lot of architectural trim, and everything shouldn't all be all one color.  It's ugly, it's downright hideous.  That painting scheme been a disgrace to the character of the neighborhood for the last 14 years. 

It's a visual disgrace second only to the ugly red of the Hackensack Market.  And does anyone remember the ghetto street scene that was once deliberately painted by a professional artist onto the side of the building at the south corner of Main & Linden. It was repainted by popular demand about 5 years later, and a carpet store owned it for many years.  A few months ago, the entire building was rehabilitated into a Sports Injury Physicial Therapy business. They even carved out some really nice windows along the large cement wall facing Main Street

Hopefully the new owners will repaint Waterloo Sue's, and transform it back into a normal-looking building.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Flood
« on: July 17, 2007, 07:26:07 pm »
Yes, the Hackensack River is at sea level in Hackensack.

But if anyone thinks that sea level rise from global warming is going to put the riverfront and the whole surrounding area underwater, guess again. There is no way that public policy makers are going to let that happen.  In 50 or 100 years, they will be building a dike across the base of the Meadowlands, and water will be pumped over as needed, just like in Holland.

Environmentalists might not like seeing the end of the daily tides in the Meadowlands and a transition to a freshwater ecology, but that's just too bad. Billions of dollars of real estate in North Jersey aren't going to be under the sea, when all that is needed is a good strong dike. In fact, there are already dikes in the Meadowlands.  Take a look at the dike on Berry's Creek at high tide. It's downright scary, but it works.  It's behind a warehouse somewhere in Moonachie or Carlstadt.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Redevelopment Projects
« on: July 17, 2007, 07:16:01 pm »
This is sad turn of events. 

I have always thought that Tucci needed a little prodding to move ahead with his project. Even if the city made the project an official redevelopment, Tucci himself could have been selected as the developer by the city, to build HIS OWN PROPERTY.  But that way, the city would have been in the drivers seat, and totally in control of what is built, and when it is built.  The city council might not prefer a hotel,  maybe the council would have rather had a mixed use project.  I donít know.

Peter Tucci  doesnít like that scenario, he wants to be in control. But as far as Iím concerned, thatís what he gets for sitting on all that land for too long.
The judgeís ruling seems to mean that Tucci can move ahead independently with his hotel project, at his own pace. And thatís the problem. Even if it is approved by a city board, if it was a 100% private sector project, Tucci would have the right to shelve the project and not build it. Thatís not acceptable. That property MUST be redeveloped. It looks hideous, itís the southern gateway to the city, and itís a waste of potentially needed ratables.

Iím also interested in seeing the area between Tucciís holding and Moonachie Road to be redeveloped by eminent domain. The city has already outlined an area, without any residential houses, to be redeveloped.  It is along and near Moonachie Road where there are lots of small land holdings and a fragmented land use pattern. This is great case calling for eminent domain, even more so than Tucciís larger land holding to the south. It would be a shame if the city was prevented from moving forwards on that one. 

That whole strip from the Little Ferry border up to the Record Campus will someday be the next Edgewater. Itíll be a mixed use area of retail strip centers with upscale townhouses and larger residential buildings.  And if the city has to nudge and prod land owners to move ahead, Iíll support that 100%.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Education/Charter Schools/Testing
« on: July 05, 2007, 03:14:48 pm »
Let's hope the Charter School is not taking the best and brightest only.  This could really become a brain-drain on the student body. If so, the result would be declining standardized test scores. And of course in the future, some people would blame any test score decline on the school system, and not acknowledge loss of the top students to a charter system.  I like the suggestion that entire school systems be converted to the Charter School system.

If someone has the data, I'd love to know which elementary schools lost students, and how many were lost. 

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