Our town’s firefighters overwhelmingly voted “no confidence” in their chief. Are you glad they did?


Not a Kansas City Chief

Very glad. Many Montclair residents also have “no confidence” in the fire chief, so there is as much agreement about that as there is about three-wheeled fire trucks being fire tricycles.


I have “no confidence” in that metaphor or analogy or whatever the heck that was. Can you give three of the various reasons why there are few fans of the chief’s tenure?


Popularity Disparity

1) Allegations of racism and nepotism connected with the firefighter promotion exam. 2) Other allegations of racism. 3) Glen Ridge fleecing Montclair in the renewed fire-services deal like Dutch settlers fleeced Native Americans when buying a Manhattan isle shaped like Glen Ridge.


Yes, both land masses are long and thin, though one lacks Times Square. What’s the solution to the situation of the fire chief — who is a co-defendant in an April lawsuit rightly filed by two Black firefighters?


Daze of Future Passed

Pretty simple — appoint a different chief. That’s the second-easiest question I’ve ever been asked, topped only by “What gets wetter the more it dries?” The answer: “A towel used at a Montclair pool.”


Speaking of municipal officials, the Township Council is meeting this Tuesday, July 18. Is Lackawanna Plaza on the agenda?


A Site for Sore Ayes

It’s anyone’s guess (at press time, the agenda was not yet posted on the Township website). Hoping that redevelopment will be smaller than first proposed. Before, it looked so steroidal that one of the suggested buildings kept hitting mammoth home runs.


I have no idea what you’re talking about. Also, the Council this Tuesday might finally introduce a complete ban on gas-powered leaf blowers after much admirable public pressure. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?


Noises Off

Yes! At least four of the seven councilors are reportedly on board. According to my math, that’s a majority — unless Franklin Roosevelt “packs” Montclair’s governing body to expand it to nine members.


Three days before the Council meeting, there’s a fishing derby scheduled at Edgemont Pond. Thoughts about that Saturday, July 15, event?


A Fin-Fin Situation

I feel bad for the fish. The pond will apparently be stocked with more than 300 of them despite every one of those harassed sea creatures voting “no confidence” in the derby.


Meanwhile, Bloomfield College became part of Montclair State University this month. Your reaction?


Getting Together in Warmer Weather

I’m usually not a fan of mergers, but that college seems to have needed it to survive as an institution that serves many students of color. I look forward to the blimp service connecting the two campuses.


There will be no blimp service connecting the two campuses!


Transportation 101

Gee, you don’t have to be so dismissive of non-rigid airships. What about a Blimp outlet for hungry students?



That’s BlimpIE! Which reminds me: If Glen Ridge is shaped like Manhattan, why doesn’t it have a Subway?


Train in Vain

Now I have “no confidence” that this column will avoid mentioning Quiznos sandwiches, too.



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.



10 replies on “MontClairVoyant: Vote of ‘No Confidence’ in Fire Chief Is No Longer Confidential”

  1. Dave,
    I am surprised. You never circled back to the IT systems breach last May with a humorous take on the extent of the data issue. I guess you resolved your trust issues with this Council.

    I want to be happy for you. I just can’t. But, it is a burden I will carry without complaint.

  2. Thank you for the comment, Frank, including its partly droll aspects. “I guess you resolved your trust issues with this Council,” you said. I certainly have not. 🙂

  3. Frank has a point. However, that has nothing to do with the Council. IT Department falls under the Manager. Looks like the Town coughed up $459K in order to the bad actors. Look at the bill list.

    Interestingly, Town staff are still saying they don’t have access to their files. Manager and IT have to explain this delay. It has been over 6 weeks since the system were hacked. I would think they would at least work from their backup files.

  4. Thank you for the comment, Jonathan. You and Frank are right — I should have commented on the cyber attack. Rarely a dull moment when it comes to Montclair news and the town’s “interesting” municipal leadership.

  5. @JM,

    Good bark, wrong tree. U.S. Homeland. Maybe the 3rd Ward can help us out with a phone number.

  6. My recommendation to anyone that pulled a Twnshp Building Dept permit….be careful about your electronic traffic until the Township can “read us in”.

    Dave, I love the self-importance of that phrase. Do you think anyone in government still uses it? You gotta work that phrase into this week’s column..

  7. I don’t understand the logic in your support of this leaf blower ordinance and its Red Flag respiratory action days section. The ordinance prescribes that only one of their tools of the trade, used by the the same minority workers, in the same truck, at the same property, at the same time stay in the truck for the duration of their visit. All remaining gas power tools on the truck can be used, including generators, as long as they don’t connect it to a working leaf blower. So, a question, or two, to you is if this strikes you as an environmental Sophie’s choice? Or is this more a contemporary version of the Judgement of Solomon? I was wondering.

    I was concerned over Maplewood’s embedding a Severability clause…in an ordinance that has only 3 other clauses. I admit the Severability clauses in theirs/ours code baffle me as we both have stand-alone Severability master clauses in our respective Code and Ordinances. Both towns are making severability-themed, legal Matryoshka dolls. Reliance on such makes me wonder. You?

  8. Frank, when I was a Montclair homeowner, I used a push mower, old-fashioned clippers, and a rake rather than a leaf blower. Nothing gas-powered. I proudly had the most mediocre-looking lawn on the block — 🙂 — but didn’t bother my neighbors with noise or pollution. That said, I realize a town can’t realistically ban all gas-powered equipment. I’m thrilled that at least gas-powered leaf blowers will not be allowed.

  9. You and others keep making any future plaintiff’s argument. Mow, trim and clean up property – all fundamental & accepted essentials to fulfilling muni code to maintain one’s property.

    The town is not only creating a property maintenance conflict, but I think they are cracking a door open to a larger zoning infringement of private property rights.

    Ask any of these advocates if their endgame is a ban on blowers of all types. And God bless them if they say yes. But, they then won’t say don’t over-invest in electric because a total ban is coming next. I don’t feel these are straight-up people so I have little use for them.

    As an aside, wander through our muni code and see how grass lawns & the like are codified intro property standards. Even better, have a conceptual discussion of our fixation on pretty front yards (with the restrictions creating underutilization and a loss of value) AND how they align with our climate change and housing goals. And why do we have these land use contradictions? You can guess the big reasons.

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