What do you think of our school district’s hybrid compromise as the Omicron variant distressingly roars through Montclair and elsewhere?


Both Sides Now

Odd to teach some students as they sit in Toyota Prius seats and other students as they sprawl in that car’s hatchback area.


Sheesh — where do you get your facts? I meant hybrid as in giving students the post-winter-break option of in-school instruction or 10 days of remote instruction.


Both Sides Now and Again

Obviously an attempt to please everyone, but hard for already overworked teachers. I almost wish the district had gone totally remote for a week or two, confiscating everyone’s TV remote to create a pile taller than the Empire State Building — albeit with a smaller observation deck.


Speaking of school matters, any reaction to the info in Essex County’s recently mailed brochure about the March 8 election that will be one step toward the welcome switch of Montclair’s Board of Education from appointed to elected?


Not Quite in Middlemarch

People need to submit their candidacy petitions by January 17 — just 11 days from this week’s column date in a district with 11 public schools. Coincidence? Well, “coincidence” has 11 letters.


You’re boring me, but January 4’s Township Council meeting had some interesting developments. Are you happy that the temporary Skate Park at Rand Park could soon become permanent thanks to the efforts of Skate Essex, local officials, and others?



Yes! And better than Rand Park at Skate Park, because the Skate Park is smaller than Rand Park and thus the laws of physics would have to be suspended and it’s uncertain if the Council has that power under the Faulkner Act.


How did William Faulkner find the time to write that Act while authoring numerous novels — including “Light in August”?


The Sound and the Plymouth Fury

That was BAYARD Faulkner. And readers should avoid “Dim Bulb in January.”


The Council also authorized $10,000 to the admirable Toni’s Kitchen to partly fund emergency daytime respite services for the homeless. Thoughts?


Grand Grant

Certainly a humane, important move — especially during cold winter weather. When “patriots” crow about the U.S. being “number one,” this country sadly and scandalously contends for that spot in homelessness.


In other news, Councilor-at-Large Peter Yacobellis has announced a helpful January 26 virtual discussion called “Understanding Montclair’s Municipal Budget.” Do you have any advice?


A Zoom With a View

Save the date! It, along with the fig, is a tasty fruit.


Meanwhile, Montclair Property Owners Association members, local officials, and others have reportedly been negotiating over the Township Council’s 2020 rent control measure that the well-funded MPOA has stymied with legal actions and fought with many marketing dollars. Comment?


Rich R. Richer

The measure was already modest — allowing yearly rent increases, exempting smaller buildings, exempting newer buildings, etc. So, will the MPOA’s “anti” efforts sadly succeed in making the measure even weaker? Money talks — which explains why Andrew Jackson, Alexander Hamilton, and Abraham Lincoln are jabbering away in my wallet.


Are the three A’s — Andy (on the $20 bill), Alex ($10 bill), and Abe ($5 bill) — wearing masks these days?


Cache of Cash

I’ll check. Oops — the trio exited my wallet and are doing work for, um, AAA. Many Priuses are having issues after all those Montclair students crammed into them.



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.



14 replies on “MontClairVoyant: Hybrid Has Motored Back to Montclair”

  1. “In other news, Councilor-at-Large Peter Yacobellis has announced a helpful January 26 virtual discussion called “Understanding Montclair’s Municipal Budget.” Do you have any advice?”

    Yes, I do. Be very careful of out-of-towners bearing free gifts, especially a free education. They likely are hiding their agenda. Feel free to share your email address.

    Maybe if they have extra time they can give a tutorial on understanding an audit? I don’t care which to use an an example, library, town or, just for kicks, the 2020-2021 MPSD audit

  2. Frank, my understanding of an audit is that it’s an Audi with a T-bar driven by an accountant. I might be wrong…

  3. “Are you happy that the temporary Skate Park at Rand Park could soon become permanent thanks to the efforts of Skate Essex, local officials, and others?

    Yes, this is great news. And I totally support the Montclair Environmental Commissions synergistic recommendation to ‘daylight’ (uncover) Toney’s Brook, which runs under the basketball and skate park, as part of the revisioning of Rand Park. This visioning blows my doors off. It is a win-win for skateboarders, their progressive parents, and all the rest of the Montclairions who are not Republicans or many developers.

  4. The Board & MPL Foundation, Friends didn’t tell you?
    They fired the person driving the Audi w/ the T-bar.
    Why do they always leave the good parts out?
    Oh, right. It’s that’s illusive character chromosome.

    Seriously, though. The Montclair Pubic School District’s annual audit report will be a must-read for the candidates running for the open BoE position. I know this because the requirements for any candidate is they must be able to read.

  5. Frank, re your 8:14 pm comment: After seeing your quip about BOE candidates needing to be able to read, I suggest they peruse the Jack Kerouac-inspired “On the (22 Valley) Road.”

  6. How can I not be enthusiastic seeing tweens & the Enviro Commission walking the talk?

    I didn’t know Montclair’s children knew anything about daylighting streams. My bad. To unexpectedly see my favorite form of leadership (by example) here gives me hope for the next adult generation’s crusade against climate change. I can see a redeveloped Rand Park, with its daylit Toney’s Brook, being the nexus for the next MHS climate strike day.

  7. Frank, I’m also heartened by the views and actions of many young people in Montclair and elsewhere — including their strong concern about the existential crisis of climate change.

  8. I was kidding about daylighting Toney’s Brook. Did you think the ballers shooting their 3’s were going to take a foot bridge for their rebound? And please, skateboarders ever faced with a water hazard?

  9. Oops, sorry, Frank. Didn’t realize you were joking. A skate is a type of fish, so perhaps a skateboarding skate could face a water hazard in Rand Park…

  10. OK. Wouldn’t most of the fish be bluefish? And don’t forget the crustaceans. We should anticipate tennis playing lob-sters along with shrimpie skateboarders, right?

    I raised the ‘daylighting’ of Toneys Brook @ Rand to elevate awareness of this redevelopment concept that was advocated by the Montclair Environmental Commission. I suspect they have forever withdrawn their support of the concept in light (couldn’t help myself) of Rand’s reimagined sportsplex.

    Why? The MEC is actively advising the Council to 2 potential redevelopment projects involving Toneys Brook. It would be difficult to argue argue for the daylighting need within private, mixed use redevelopments along with a grocery store… while against daylighting a stream in the public parkland @ Rand.

    It was always a silly, unsubstantial environmental concept spawned by the urban center heat island theory. Daylighting was appropriately bastardized with asphalt pavement and steel fencing lining the water’s edge. Furthermore, as long-time Montclairions should have noticed by now, we are swapping out our passive recreational space for more intensive uses. The County is doing the same. Both have to. We are growing up, reaping the societal benefits of a well-executed Smart Growth development plan with he goal of urbanizing old suburbs.

    I think it is working well, don’t you?

  11. LOL, Frank! 😂 I can’t carp about your fish humor. 🙂

    I’d like to see the “daylighting” of Toney’s Brook on a Montclair site or two, but, as I think you’re saying, it ain’t gonna happen — not on public property and not on private property.

  12. Correct. Daylighting does not meet any “highest & best land use” standard under our Master Plan or Smart Growth principles. In fact, we will see the opposite – more concrete culverts. That we have not poured more concrete is because we don’t have our arms around our stormwater problem & costs. Our sentimentality has managed to protect some hydrological vignettes in our R-1 zones and Edgemont & Bonsai will remain our trophy parcels. Protecting the Amphitheater and Upper Rand will be the consolation prize the conservationists will win. That’s pretty much it for the live experience.

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