Archive for November, 2007|Monthly archive page

Three Village Council Seats Up for Grabs in Next Election – Several Rumored As Likely Candidates Updated List

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2007 at 2:33 pm

Frank DelVecchio – Deputy Police Chief, Fairview PD; Walthery Avenue resident
Frank Giordano – Maple Park Fundraising Chairman; Spring Avenue resident
Eleanor Gruber – Environmental Activist; South Irving Street resident
Jacques Harlow – Incumbent Councilman; Oak Street resident
Joseph Hovan – Retired Ridgewood School Teacher; Claremont Road resident
Keith Killion – Captain of Detectives, Ridgewood PD; Willow Court resident
Kim Ringler-Shagin – Incumbent Councilwoman; Walthery Avenue resident
Thomas Riche – Former Ridgewood Councilman, Sterling Place resident
Betty Wiest – Incumbent Deputy Mayor; North Walnut Street resident

and just added:

And Roy Simpadian – Computer Consultant, Amsterdam Avenue Resident 27 years old, lifetime Ridgewood Resident. Website to follow

The Ridgewood Blog would like to extend and invitation to anyone looking to run for the Village Council to send us a statement announcing your candidacy and a brief out line of your platform.

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Readers debate public input at BOE meetings

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2007 at 8:08 pm

1:14, I think I agree that the occasional instances of name calling are discouraging, at best, and at worst, defeat the purpose of offering opinions (i.e., persuasion, rather than battering).

I also think I understand your point about anonymity, since in the normal course, the BOE is under no obligation to consider feedback from non-residents. The strict anonymity a blog like this offers to its posters prevents the BOE (playing devil’s advocate here) from confirming that the person behind the feedback has the “standing” to merit board consideration of their feedback. For what it’s worth, however, anonymous views are good persuaders of undecided but interested third parties, particularly to the extent they are articulated well, and make sense based on the facts at hand.

Here’s the real problem (from one resident’s perspective). Many residents have forsworn the idea of providing the BOE with traditional feedback. The reason for this is probably because they have seen and read enough to conclude that all of the present trustees the BOE are in agreement that most or all of the speakers are all wet. The (the BOE trustees) have grown tired of listening to adverse opinions that stand no chance of causing them to even begin to question their own personal views.

The best evidence seems to show that there is exactly no diversity of opinion with respect to any subject of importance among the individual trustees of the BOE or among the administrators presently employed by the Ridgewood district. So there is no price to pay (at least socially) in essentially ignoring dissenting opinions.

Another reason for reticense on the part of people who might otherwise tend to speak up at BOE meetings is the desire to avoid being pigeonholed or labeled (or worse) based on their stated views and beliefs. Making public statements at BOE meetings would seem to invite this kind of treatment.

I’ve heard it said that Ms. Brogan considers it a break with protocol for members of the public to offer opinions that question BOE decisions or established policies. To me this means that Ms. Brogan considers public comment to be appropriate only when offered as praise or warm and fawning support for actions that the BOE has already taken, or for policies that are either already in place, or are known to be favored by the Board.

In order for the BOE to make the case for sharply curtailing or eliminating unsolicited direct public participation in BOE meetings, there would have to be an immense improvement in transparency and straightforward accountability on the part of the BOE with respect to the actions that it takes, and the reasons for those actions.

In the meantime, I am happy that the meetings are now being videotaped for later inspection, dissection, and commentary by interested members of the public via YouTube and other sites like this one.

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Three Village Council Seats Up for Grabs in Next Election – Several Rumored As Likely Candidates

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2007 at 7:53 pm

The terms of three Village Council members will expire on June 30, 2008, and potential contenders seem to be already in the process of positioning themselves for election bids.

The Fly has learned that the following individuals may seriously be considering candidacy:

Frank DelVecchio – Deputy Police Chief, Fairview PD; Walthery Avenue resident
Frank Giordano – Maple Park Fundraising Chairman; Spring Avenue resident
Eleanor Gruber – Environmental Activist; South Irving Street resident
Jacques Harlow – Incumbent Councilman; Oak Street resident
Joseph Hovan – Retired Ridgewood School Teacher; Claremont Road resident
Keith Killion – Captain of Detectives, Ridgewood PD; Willow Court resident
Kim Ringler-Shagin – Incumbent Councilwoman; Walthery Avenue resident
Betty Wiest – Incumbent Deputy Mayor; North Walnut Street resident

Best of luck to all!

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Harlow tells PSE&G: “Too little, too late!” – Harlow demands PSE&G repay Village $250K – PSE&G reveals plan to upgrade ALL streetlights in Village

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Obviously fed up by the numerous complaints directed to them regarding inoperative streetlights throughout Ridgewood, Village Council members showed no mercy toward PSE&G representative Richard Dwyer, who had the courage to appear alone before them at last night’s Village Council Public Meeting.

Councilman Jacques Harlow was the most vocal, telling Dwyer that PSE&G’s recent response to the seemingly endless problem related to streetlights was “too little, too late!” Harlow also indicated that he was willing to take up the issue before the State of NJ Board of Public Utilities, and demanded that Dwyer’s firm repay the Village $250K for services “paid for, but not provided.”

It was also revealed that PSE&G plans to upgrade ALL streetlights in the Village, including those in residential neighborhoods. This would require the replacement of many fixtures to facilitate use of brighter and longer lasting mercury vapor, sodium vapor, or metal halide bulbs. It is not known when this project will begin.

Chamber of Commerce President Edward Sullivan was the lone speaker in support of PSE&G’s efforts, praising the company for working to ensure that all streetlights in the Village’s Central Business District would be operational in time for the upcoming “Downtown for the Holidays” celebration.

The Fly wonders how Ridgewood’s notoriously fussy residents will react once those brighter streetlights start being installed close to their homes.

To report a streetlight out in your neighborhood, use this link:


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Ridgewood gets it wrong again.

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2007 at 12:41 pm

It seems that when it comes to math, Ridgewood does everything half-a**ed. Even when they choose questionable programs like middle school CMP 2, other districts know to supplement. Check out this letter from March 2007 to the Olympia School District Board of Directors, from the Executive Director, K-12 Teaching & Learning :


And here’s a pithy little excerpt from it:

“The Olympia School District administration will present a recommendation to adopt CMP2 as the core math program at the middle school level, to utilize our current Glencoe math textbooks and a classroom set of Prentice-Hall’s Middle School Mathematics textbooks as supplements to the CMP2 program, and to continue offering an algebra and geometry option.

“Prentice Hall, the vendor for CMP2, has offered, at no cost, to provide a classroom set of their traditional mathematics workbook which provides a cross-reference to their traditional lessons aligned with CMP2. This will provide additional support to ensure basic skill and math fluency development. “

Did Prentice Hall do this for Ridgewood? Did Ridgewood even ask? It sure looks like Prentice Hall knows their own materials’ deficiencies better than Ridgewood does. What is Ridgewood doing to “ensure basic skill and math fluency development” for their middle school students? If they’re doing something, why aren’t they telling us? I’d venture to say because they’re buffoons, that’s why.

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It is important to know when Bernardsville and Westfield switched over to reform math.

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2007 at 12:36 pm

Don’t you get it? If they switched after the 2003 S&P report, they achieved their high ranking without the ‘benefit’ of reform math, and were subsequently hoodwinked by slick publishing marketing techniques into making a change for change’s sake. This means that those districts are nothing but high-class suckers now, just like Ridgewood.

If you don’t like the word “disingenuous”, then how about “sociopathic”?

If you seek to defend reform math, then defend reform math! Don’t try to convince us that reform math is preferable simply by dropping the names of presumptively high achieving districts that foolishly bought into this social engineering experiment wrapped in the skin of a math curriculum.

Show us why reform math isn’t as pathetic as we all think it is compared to other math curriculums currently on the market. Show us why, despite what we have all seen with our respective two eyes, reform math isn’t devoid of critical math fact and math algorithm content.

Is it because we don’t live in Missouri that you don’t feel obligated to “show me”?

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there is no need for the public to attend or comment during BOE meetings

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2007 at 12:48 am

Sadly, the BOE meetings do not, as you and many people seem to think, exist for your heckling pleasure. The Sunshine Laws that mandated that gatherings of 3 or more BOE members be open to the public have, in my opinion, impede the effective funtionality and openness of most BOE meetings. Before these laws, members actually put their heads together and got things done. The BOE generally attracted highly qualified members and the result was a much better functioning school district in Ridgewood. Unless invited to do so, . All that should really be required is that the discussion points and actions taken be disclosed to the public.

Unfortunately, those days are gone and we are left with the unintended consequences of social gadflies, who had the public’s interests at heart, but did not have the fosight to realize that the public’s responsibility is to elect the best candidates and then let them do the job, for which we elected them, without incessant henpecking. On the other hand, this blog is a perfect venue for your incessant henpecking…so peck away.

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The real BOE meetings

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2007 at 12:14 am

The real BOE meetings, including the truly valuable exchanges of opinions and ideas about issues of concern to Ridgewood district students, take place almost continuously, right here in the postings and comments of PJ’s blog.
More than likely, the two Ridgewood residents who will be elected to the BOE next year to replace Mr. Bombace and Ms. Brogan are already regular visitors to this site.

Why attend the BOE meetings in person when, as we can see via YouTube videos, nothing happens but lame posturing by the trustees, worthless presentations by bored administrators going through the motions, fruitless attempts at mollifying enraged taxpayers, and heartfelt comments by parents of affected students and other concerned residents falling on ears that have been stone deaf for more than a decade.

Now if the public were promised some sort of spectacle or multimedia extravaganza, preferably during which the rotten apples in the Ridgewood district’s administration finally get what’s coming to them, perhaps then you’d get a fair number of in-person attendees. I for one would go to the last meeting before Bombace and Brogan are ousted, provided a a New Orleans brass band is hired to play some slow-fast funeral dirges to commemorate the event.


Public Hearing Tonight: Ordinance #3087 – Authorize Expenditure of $80K

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Installation of High Water Barriers on Village Hall Doors

Ironically, on the heels of receiving news that architect Barry Poskanzer won an award for his “flood-proof” design of the Ridgewood Village Hall renovation and expansion project, Village Council members will vote this evening on a plan to install removable “door dams” in front of all exterior doors on the lower level of Village Hall. Estimated total cost for the project is $80K.

Ridgewood Fire Headquarters, on East Glen Avenue and also in an identified “high risk” flood hazard zone, is equipped with similar devices.

See what a “door dam” looks like here:


Today’s NY Post-Fuzzy Math isn’t cuddly by Michelle Malkin

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2007 at 4:40 pm

November 28, 2007 — DO you know what math curriculum your child is being taught? Are you worried that your third- grader hasn’t learned simple multiplication yet? Have you been befuddled by educational jargon such as “spiraling,” which is used to explain why your kid keeps bringing home the same insipid busywork of cutting, gluing and drawing? And are you alarmed by teachers who emphasize “self-confidence” over proficiency while their students fall further and further behind? Join the club.

From New York City to Seattle, parents are wising up to math fads like “Everyday Math.” Sounds harmless enough, right? It’s cleverly marketed as a “University of Chicago” program. Impressive, right? But then you start to sense something’s not adding up when your kid starts second grade and comes home with the same kindergarten-level addition and subtraction problems – for the second year in a row.

Then your child keeps telling you that the teacher isn’t really teaching anything, just handing out useless worksheets – some of which make no sense to parents with business degrees, medical degrees and PhDs in economics. Then you notice that it’s the University of Chicago education department, not the mathematics department, that’s behind this nonsense.

Then you Google “Everyday Math” and discover that countless moms and dads just like you – and a few brave teachers with their heads screwed on straight – have had similarly horrifying experiences.

Like the Illinois mom who found these “math” problems in the fifth-grade “Everyday Math” textbook:

A. If math were a color, it would be -, because -.

B. If it were a food, it would be -, because -.

C. If it were weather, it would be -, because -.

Then you realize your child has become a victim of “Fuzzy Math” – the “New New Math,” the dumbed-down, politically correct, euphemism-filled edu-folly corrupting schools nationwide. And then you feel like the subject of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” as you take on the seemingly futile task of waking up other parents and fighting the edu-cracy to restore a rigorous curriculum in your child’s classroom.

New York City teacher Matthew Clavel described his frustration with “Everyday Math” in a 2003 City Journal article: “The curriculum’s failure was undeniable: Not one of my students knew his or her times tables, and few had mastered even the most basic operations; knowledge of multiplication and division was abysmal . . . what would you do, if you discovered that none of your fourth-graders could correctly tell you the answer to four times eight?”

But don’t give up and don’t give in. While New York City remains wedded to “Everyday Math” (which became the mandated standard in 2003), Texas just voted to drop the University of Chicago textbooks for third- graders. School-board members lambasted the math program for failing to prepare students for college. It’s an important salvo in the math wars because Texas is one of the biggest markets for school textbooks.

Meanwhile, grass-roots groups such as Mathematically Correct (mathematicallycorrect.com) and Where’s The Math? (wheresthemath.com) are alerting parents to how their children are being used as educational guinea pigs. And teachers and math professionals who haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid are exposing the ruse. Nick Diaz, a Maryland educator, wrote a letter to his local paper:

“The proponents of fuzzy math claim that the new approach provides a ‘deep conceptual understanding.’ Those words, however, hide the truth. Students today are not expected to master basic addition, subtraction and multiplication. These fundamental skills are necessary for a truly deep understanding of math, but fuzzy math advocates are masters at using vocabulary that sounds good to parents, but means something different to educators.”

If Fuzzy Math were a color, it would be neon green like those Mr. Yuk labels warning children not to ingest poison. Do not swallow