Riddle of the day: Can a Montclair-related marketing campaign be too slick and well-funded for its own good?

Ad Nauseam

Not sure that question is a riddle, but I’ll still answer it with the help of a slick and well-funded multimedia presentation that includes a clip of Edgemont Park’s geese doing the Rumba.

Riddle or not, the Montclair Property Owners Association is saturating local media with ads, sending out tons of texts, and using a PR firm to try to kill rent control it claims would financially hurt many property owners. But doesn’t spending lots of money on marketing make that hurt-financially claim less credible?

Never-Ending Spending

Especially when compared to the situation of many tenants struggling to pay Montclair rents. In short, the over-the-top MPOA campaign is tone-deaf — even as the dance moves of the aforementioned geese are surprisingly fluid.

Do Edgemont’s waterfowl sing “HONK-y Tonk Women” when they dance?

Ruby Thursday

Note to MPOA: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Sheesh — three Rolling Stones song references and you’re not even a fan of the band. Moving to another topic, your reaction to the launch of the Quiet Montclair group that’s trying to reduce the use of gas-powered leaf blowers?

Angie and Angie

Thrilled! Those leaf blowers are noisy and polluting, and rakes are so much better. Plus if your rake loses any teeth, Montclair has a number of expert dentists taking all COVID precautions.

What do you think of the Board of Education taking on a student representative?

Bea O. Eeeh

Great idea, and great that impressive Montclair High senior Genesis Whitlock was named to that BOE position. She coincidentally has the same name as our school district’s online portal, through which I traveled back to 1486 to see the middle-school grades of Ponce de Leon.

Reminds me of Ponce’s contemporary Christopher Columbus, and the fact that Montclair will now mark October 12 as Indigenous Peoples Day rather than Columbus Day. Another great idea?

Santa Maria Is Coming to Town

Yes! CC was a brutal bigot. Heck, I feel uneasy when at Montclair’s intersection of Christopher and Columbus. Maybe because I shouldn’t stand in the middle of the street.

Speaking of holidays, our district will mark Juneteenth — which commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. — with a day off on the school calendar. A third great idea?

Party Like It’s 1865

Absolutely. “Juneteenth” is also the name of a posthumous novel by renowned “Invisible Man” author Ralph Ellison, who I honor by not standing at Montclair’s intersection of Ralph and Ellison because there is no such intersection.

Is it a fourth great idea that our district plans to have in-school “days of action” related to Black Lives Matter in early February?

First-Rate Second Month

Yes! February is already an important month for three of these four reasons: 1) Rosa Parks’ birthday. 2) Langston Hughes’ birthday. 3) Nina Simone’s birthday. 4) Being peak time for creating snowballs in the shape of SpongeBob SquarePants.

And last Saturday, September 26, how welcome was that Suburban Moms Against Reelecting Trump rally in Montclair?

The SMART of the Deal

Very welcome. It would be terrific next year to no longer have MPOA — the Montclair Property Owners Association or the Miserable President of America.



Dave Astor, author, is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.



16 replies on “MontClairVoyant: MPOA’s Marketing Saturation Strains Our Toleration”

  1. I do giggle so over the current Quiet Montclair phraseology making the distinction between noise & pollution.

    Each usage prompts my brain to hear Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk & Pollution. Kinda of a sweet & sour combo or a yin-yang thing (& making a Montclair Connection)

    PS: ‘SMART of the Deal’ was good

  2. Thank you for the comment, Frank.

    Well, I guess there’s noise pollution and what I consider “pollution pollution” — the bad air and such that gas-powered leaf blowers contribute to.

    Funny/clever second paragraph by you, and I appreciate the PS. (Which I assume doesn’t stand for “Pollution Stuff.” 🙂 )

  3. Exactly!
    There is noise pollution – at best, on a really bad day (by a Redevelopment Area construction site), that rises as high as #4 on the top threats. And seriously, we have nothing but New Yorkers moving here who desperately want to recreate their former urban living. We have reduced our property setbacks to ‘Pass The Grey Poupon’ distances. We sell ourselves as kid-friendly. We have 95 miles pf roadway overlayed with the constant hum of tires against asphalt. And we are going for a QuietMontclair? As a constitutional right? Wow. Wow & wow.

    Light pollution is much, much more pervasive. But, we like light. Light = safety. Light is vibrant. Light stimulates. Light is just darn illuminating. Dark is bad. Shadows are bad.

    But, pollution-pollution is the real threat.

    So, ignore all of the above. I have no idea why QuietMontclair is not advocating eliminating gas-powered mowers, too. They are omnipresent pollution-pollution threat (outside of the proposed rent-controlled, redlined parts of town).

  4. I forgot. This Council & County paves the roads…and then within 90 days some utility is ripping a trench to do something or other. The latest (Bill Hurlock take note) is Upper Mountain. Like many streets in the neighborhood, we have ongoing gas leaks. Ongoing is measured in years. PSE&G has sophisticate trucks that stop and measure the gas levels (w/o the driver having to get out) and soon after some other employee comes around to mark the test holes with paint. OK, but the good part is the County is going make an attempt to make some costly improvements to Upper Mountain where the is leaking. They put up signs heralding their coming efforts! The County is being truly serious. Yes, if this was further down the street we would all suspect it was good-natured, yet sharp Colbert-esque joke on us. But, this is Upper Montclair. We’re a little bit behind the times. Anyway, my point – after all that – is the the-thump of cars passing over the many roadway patches is something we just live with.

    There is no solution.
    It is what it is.

  5. Thank you for the follow-up comment, Frank. Many good points, and I loved the Grey Poupon quip. 🙂

    Light pollution is definitely a thing, though I have more mixed feelings about it than air pollution and noise pollution. Lots of light, while using lots of eco-harming energy, can indeed be comforting, etc.

    And, as you allude to, dense overdevelopment with little open space is for the most part not eco-friendly — more cars on the road, for instance, even as apartments tend to be more energy-efficient than individual houses.

    So, given all that, I realize gas-powered leaf blowers are sort of a drop in the bucket. But not a tiny drop; they clearly contribute to air and noise pollution. I’m glad Quiet Montclair was formed.

    As for trying to also reduce the use of gas-powered mowers? Not a bad idea. But one step at a time, I guess.

  6. Frank, my 7:21 am comment above was a reply to your 6:06 pm comment. Here is my reply to your 6:29 pm comment:

    Yes, not always adequate coordination between utilities and governments, unfortunately. Speaking of dug-up/badly patched roads, my wife and I last night were driving our daughter back from a travel-softball game in South Orange. On Scotland Road north of South Orange Avenue, there was a bumpy stretch for at least a half mile that was worse than anything I’ve ever driven on in Montclair. So there’s that…

  7. Yes, QuietMontclair hasn’t thought that last, ‘one step at a time’ approach through either.

    Have to agree…light pollution only exists out on Route 46, Route 3. It is also not like light is a real pollutant (as in harmful). As you said, light is comforting. We only are exposed to it for no more than half the hours in a day – at most. And it’s better to err on too much light versus too little. And with LEDs, we are becoming much more efficient.

    QuietMontclair used every justification they could find and showed they didn’t fully understand a bunch of what they were using as supporting evidence, e.g. acoustics. They also used the pandemic as a justification for an ordinance. That wasn’t too bright.

    Overall, their name says “we’re all hanging around the home more” and wow, it’s is a lot louder than I thought. That I get. I agree, short term let’s all try and cut back on the noise. A little courtesy. A little cooperation.

    And QuietMontclair can work on credibility.

  8. Out Grove St, in Clifton, the street patches have swallowed the bike sharing sharrows like some Pac Man game…a game the utilities appear to be winning.

  9. Frank, I was driving on Grove in Clifton last Friday, but must have missed the roughest parts of that street. “Street Patch Dodging” as the next Olympic sport?

    Route 46 is an assault on the senses in all kinds of ways — light, traffic, commercial density…

    An excellent point that the increased number of people working at home, or unemployed at home, during the pandemic makes the din of gas-powered leaf blowers even more annoying for more people.

  10. It’s fairly bad in my neighborhood. My immediate neighbors have their landscapers come once a week and, and not counting the mowing noise, the leaf blowers go for a solid 20 minutes. It will only get worse as the decaying leaves fall faster…they will blow them for 30, maybe even 35 minutes. Thankfully, quite a few neighbors have decided they want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, and just cut down almost all their trees. OK, they skipped the permit process, but we are a town that believes the ends justifies the means. So, no harm, no foul in the 043.

  11. Sorry you have to deal with that leaf-blower noise, Frank. And the mower noise. I used a manual “push” mower when I was a Montclair homeowner. Cute contraption.

    Re what you describe in the latter part of your comment, drolly put. 🙂 But using rakes is of course a better solution than cutting down trees. Ents from “The Lord of the Rings” agree…

  12. Sorry, don’t follow L/Rings.

    The noise is not as bad as it used to be. The not-so-new thing is converting front yards to parking. The Montclair Zoning & Planning Boards now favor front yard parking. I’m not yet on board with them.

    There are all these half-circle drives and car patios. One front yard car patio near me is made of cobblestone with impressive, human scale planters.

    I’m waiting for the resurgence of 1950’s car ports. The first one just went in at Watchung Plaza behind Bluestone Coffee. I think it is made of aluminum. (To our foreign born residents, aluminium).

    The design is clearly a tribute to the approaching demolition of the Lackawanna Plaza train sheds. Or, it could be someone having good fun with our Planning Board’s approval. Either way, you can be sure I will nominate this shed for one of the Historic Preservation Commission’s 2021 Awards.

  13. Ents are the tree-like beings in J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy. 🙂

    Front-yard parking, car ports, a to-be-nominated-for-an-award shed (ha!)…as long as the UPS Store doesn’t turn its mailboxes into mini-garages…

  14. Maybe I’m out of character in my harshness. If you have a chance to walk over and look at 18/10 aluminum car port I would be interested to hear your honest opinion. I am what architects call design challenged so I lack confidence in my assessment.

    PS: Watchung Plaza is technically a locally designated historic district. I personally did not think The Plaza was worthy of designation at the time, but that is water over the dam. It is probably, aesthetically, the most overrated Neighborhood Commercial Zone in Montclair – hence, why this structure was approved. Watchung Plaza has always giveth and taketh. This is a case of the latter while Sionas’ The Westerly is a case of the former.

  15. Thank you, Frank. I’ll take a look at the car port the next time I walk to Watchung Plaza.

    I think WP deserves whatever historic designation it might have. Not sure how old the majority of its buildings are, but WP has a mostly nice look — with some exceptions.

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