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“Holiday Tree” Debacle Continues

In Anne Zusy, Holiday Tree Debacle, Home for the Holidays, Ridgewood New Jersey on January 8, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce President Doug Seiferling got his two cents in about the much maligned Village “Holiday Tree” during last night’s Village Council Work Session.

Speaking publicly at the meeting room podium, Mr. Seiferling revealed that the December 6, 2008 “Downtown for the Holidays” event was sponsored and paid for entirely by the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce.

Total related expenses incurred by the Chamber this past season were $15K, according to Seiferling, who also stated that there were approximately 4,000 people in attendance.

Even though the holiday season event was sponsored and totally paid for by Chamber of Commerce members, Seiferling alleged that his organization was not given an opportunity to provide any input whatsoever into the contentious Village “Holiday Tree” decoration project.

The Chamber’s president said that he recalled being summoned to a hastily called meeting in Village Manager Jim Ten Hoeve’s office, during which Ten Hoeve and Councilwoman Anne Zusy informed him of how the tree was going to be decorated, and told him in no uncertain terms: “this is the way it’s going to be, period.”

It is rumored that many Chamber of Commerce members are so upset over the way in which this season’s event was conducted, that consideration is being given to the Chamber pulling their sponsorship from any future winter holiday function.

How to not win friends and influence people in the worst way – nice job Village Council.

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  1. I hope they do pull their sponsorship away from this event – maybe that’s the only way the VC will get the hint.

  2. Clearly the Chamber was royally screwed as was every citizen of Ridgewood this year. Perhaps they will fight to bring back our wonderful celebration: donated tree with red bows at the top of E.Ridgewood Ave. and closed off streets for Downtown for the Holidays.

    Zusy and Killian need to admit that their little experiment failed and more ways that I can count. Let’s leave it behind us and move on.

    Chamber members, we are all counting on you to help us get our Christmas and Hannukah celebration back!

  3. For the record, the two new live trees were paid for by taxpayers, not by Chamber members.

    So since Zusy’s constituents paid for the trees, shouldn’t it have been okay that she called the shots on how they were to be decorated?

  4. Its a real shame that the Village Council did not cooperate in better fashion with The Chamber of Commerce on Downtown For The Holidays. Council members: “YOU can do alot better in the future.”
    What happened to all the good speeches and promises of cooperation and openness during the recent campaign for these new council seats/members.

    *The one thing that I applaud about Doug Sierfering, President of the Chamber….”he tells it like it is and shoots it straight.”. In addition, he and his colleagues at the Chamber have worked with enormus committment and hundreds of hours to make Ridgewood a better place for business’s and its citizens.

  5. “So since Zusy’s constituents paid for the trees, shouldn’t it have been okay that she called the shots on how they were to be decorated?”

    Sure, if she wants to dictate that our Christmas Trees are to be decorated with garbage, then she gets all the blame for doing so.

    However, to be fair to Anne, she did not do this in a vacuum. She had the public support of Killian and the tactic support of the other 3 VC members. Not to mention the instigator of all this, our defacto mayor, JTH. It was his initiative. JTH wanted to save the money it costs to erect a donated tree at Broad Street and East Ridgewood Ave.

    One must keep in mind, it does not matter to JTH about our traditions. He has no stake in them for he does not reside in Ridgewood, he is hired help that lives elsewhere.

    I blame Killian for buying into this scheme in his zeal to save money. He refused to understand that he was doing so at the expense of tradition. As for Zusy, she is forever buying into every loopy PC fad that comes along. The other 3 VC members share the blame for allowing JTH to run our village willie-nilly as he sees fit.

  6. Chamber members, we are all counting on you to help us get our Christmas and Hannukah celebration back!

    Wait a second — what’s all this talk abou “Hannukah”?

    Some people around here will inform you that this is a Christian Nation. The Village Christmas tree — however gets decorated — is about keeping Christ in Christmas. Period.

  7. JTH doesn’t live in Ridgewood? I guess I’ve heard that somewhere but forgot. Does anyone know what town he lives in?

  8. After being elected and depending on the Ridgewood Chamber of commerce’s members for tax income, it’s only logical for Ten Hoeve and Zussy to play little dictators to the Chamber of Commerce: Take their money, and throw it in the garbage. Isn’t this what power means?

    But if we’re to have an effective government and be pro-active, the Chamber of Commerce and whoever was against it should have said something when it happened.

    I know, I know in this day and age, when budgets are slashed, and localities’ credit ratings are in play, the mayor and others have better things to do than worry about decorations, but the Chamber of Commerce should have said: ” If you’re going to decorate in this way, use your money, not ours. ” I’m sure that the merchants and other ChoC members have worked hard for that money? Don’t let yourself be bullied! Let the bullies know that you will not be intimidated, and you will call them on it publicly!

    You’re not uncouth, unfair, etc. if you tell a politician that HE can’t make a mockery of YOUR hard-earned money (in general) or cherished tradition that have great meaning to all, in this particular case. And if you don’t see the charm of garbage-on-a-string, then you, the payer should get what YOU want.

    Also, do it when it happens, not a month later: If you paid for a new car (and with $15,000 you can buy a new car) and they gave you a banged-up car full of garbage would you ever drive the thing off the lot and complain a month later? I don’t think so, so don’t do it again! They (despot-politicians) take this as a sign of weakness.

    Nothing scares misbehaving policians more than the public space and the light of day, so call them on it, and if they don’t stop, SHOUT!

  9. He lives in Hawthorne.

  10. RE: “I hope they do pull their sponsorship away from this event – maybe that’s the only way the VC will get the hint.”

    Excellent…

    My plan is working perfectly.

    Let’s get rid of those pesky Chamber of Commerce folks and take full ownership of the event.
    Then we will raise taxes to cover the costs and decorate the Christmas Tree any way we’d like and call it anything we want.

    Excellent…

    Love,

    The VC

  11. Hawthorne has traditional math. You think he could help us, here

  12. 10:42, who are the other 3 members who OK’d that abomination and then called it a Christmas tree?

  13. Aaronshon, Mancuso & Pfund.

  14. Aronsohn came out from under his desk to vote on this?

    Not surprising.

    This guy’ll do anything to torpedo his own political “career” (such as it is).

  15. You know what scares me? Why aren’t these people all on the same page? The Chamber of Commerce pays for the celebration, but is told how the tree is to be decorated. Shouldn’t this be a collective effort? If not, why not?!

    I’m not disrespecting the kids efforts, but one has to admit that their art could have been showcased in a more appropriate venue. It wasn’t offense, in my opinion, but it was a gross error in judgement.

    The blue lights on the tree, now that’s offensive!

  16. many merchants were quite pissed off by the garbage bush …yes i remember when ridgewood used to be a nice town ..now hey all we need is drug dealers on street corners and a few drive bys ..and hey we can be just like newark…

  17. Anonymous said…
    many merchants were quite pissed off by the garbage bush …yes i remember when ridgewood used to be a nice town ..now hey all we need is drug dealers on street corners and a few drive bys ..and hey we can be just like newark…

    Be careful what ya wish for! We’ve already had an attempted home invasion and I recently received an email warning of someone in a car approaching children in the Somerville School area. It’s getting pretty scary!

  18. The tree did not look like a Christmas tree at all. Maybe that is what they wanted.

    Last year’s tree has normal color lights and decorations. I will be happy when it is undecorated and blends back into nature.

  19. Isn’t there an ordinance about leaving garbage in the park. Sure the police can charge the VC with leaving garbage all over the tree.

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