Cranford

Township committee

Two will serve three-year terms.

Patrick Giblin (D) — 4,157

Jean-Albert Maisonneuve (D) — 3,728

Andis Kalnins (R) — 3,452

Richard Buontempo (R) — 3,435

Board of education

Three will serve three-year terms. 

Rita Della Valle — 2,491

Lisa A. Carbone — 3,634

Kristen Mallon — 2,737

Kurt T. Petschow, Jr. — 2,995

One will serve a one-year unexpired term. 

Daniel DeMarco — 3,204

http://www.nj.com/union/index.ssf/2017/11/nj_general_elections_2017_union_county.html#incart_river_index

 

The Dem death grip on the Union County Freeholders continues, as it does with Sheriff.

And the winner of the Governor’s race is Jon Corzine’s Legacy.

 

 

 

Advertisements

I am mystified as to how Moran stays employed. Well, not that mystified, it is the Star Ledger that employs him and I wouldn’t call them the “smart money”. Here’s his 5 Reasons to Vote for Murphy. And it contains a whole lot of stupid.

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/11/five_reasons_why_murphy_deserves_new_jerseys_vote.html

Let’s look at the top five reasons voters ought to get out and pull the lever for Murphy.

1. Start with President Trump. In the final stretch of the 2016 campaign, Guadagno recorded a mass-distribution phone call urging voters to support Trump, and she is now spreading the same kind of bile on immigration. As governor, we could expect her to make common cause with him on big issues like taxes and health care. No, thanks.

Republicans in Congress are watching this race, one of just two off-year elections in the country. A sharp rejection of Guadagno, with a heavy turnout, would make it crystal clear that their alliance with Trump puts their careers at risk. In this dangerous moment of our history, that alone is a compelling reason not just to vote, but to rent a bus, and drive all your friends to the polls as well.

So, a participating in a robocall supporting the national party nominee is enough to damn Guadagno. Okay.  But I doubt Republican Congressmen are paying much mind to a non-congressional race in a hopelessly corrupt state where Republican emigration has been occurring for years. Someone also needs to remind Tom that gerrymandering is a thing and most congress members will get reelected.

2. Remember the Christie baggage. Guadagno has been 100 percent loyal to Gov. Chris Christie, even his cuts to Planned Parenthood and his veto of sensible gun-control bills.

Lieutenant, Schmeutenant, she should have gone rogue and rebelled. That would have been rewarded. Granted, Christie has been a disappointment. To me mostly because of how little he did. He talked a lot, but little has changed. Plus NJ gun laws are insane. Cross a bridge from PA doing something completely legal and poof, you’re in deep. Just ask Josh Huff.

Read this paragraph twice and tell me where it’s logical. I’ll wait:

3. Murphy is better on property taxes. Yes, Guadagno based her campaign on this issue until her recent lurch towards Trump. But her convoluted plan to pay a portion of property taxes for middle-class families is a fake. At a cost $1.5 billion, it is the most expensive promise made by either candidate during this fiscal crisis, and Guadagno offers no credible way to cover the costs. Wasn’t Murphy supposed to be the reckless one?

Murphy offers tangible help. He wants to increase aid to public schools after years of frozen funding, a boost he would finance with a modest increase on incomes over $1 million. School costs account for the biggest chunk of property tax bills, by far, so boosting state aid should help contain future increases.

You see, increasing aid to public schools fixes property taxes! By increasing state taxes! On the evil corporations and rich people who have the means and ability to flee the state! This is the opposite way to fix the problem, which is reducing costs and waste if you didn’t realize that already. A side question, which schools would get even more aid? Think Cranford will get anything significant? Ha.

Here’s the next one:

4. Corporate tax loopholes. Murphy would stop the outrageous giveaways to big corporations. That starts by closing a tax loophole, known as combined reporting, that allows New Jersey companies to shift profits to paper entities in lower-tax states, costing the treasury about $300 million a year.

Why does NJ need corporate tax subsidies? Because the normal tax structure is not competitive and companies will leave. Eliminating subsidies will increase the incentive to bail from the state. Subsidies with jobs in the state is better than no jobs in the state because everybody left.

I have said previously, I am not enamored by any candidate, but does this sound like a convincing case?

So, blah blah blah on marijuana… and here’s the big close:

There is more. Murphy would rejoin the regional pact to fight climate change by reducing emissions from power plants. He’d also stop pilfering funds dedicated to restoring toxic sites and green energy.

He has a more ambitious list of liberal goals, like free community college, subsidies for day-care, and tax breaks for the working poor. But he admits all that is contingent on a burst of economic growth, a tacit admission that we can’t afford it all unless circumstances change.

Yes, he has deep flaws, he’ll have to learn the job on the fly, and he may even be a complete flop. His alliance with public worker unions is toxic. It helps explains his backward attitude on charter schools in poor cities, his resistance to the cuts in platinum health benefits for public workers, especially for teachers, and his refusal, at least for now, to embrace the 2 percent cap on salary boosts for cops and firefighters.

With Murphy we’ll have more expensive electricity, or we’ll have to get it from PA, as power plants would likely scale back or close. But we’ll still be good with the grid and that big uptick in economic growth!

And even with a huuuuuuuge public pension gap we’ll still get free community college and more government handouts.  Where will that money come from? Where will the economic growth come from? The Amazon warehouses by the turnpike?

Here is the best sentence of the whole piece: “His alliance with public worker unions is toxic.” This was a trait that Corzine had that baffled me. He loved (literally, it turned out) the public sector unions. He didn’t need their money or was beholden to them to get elected. And he was so awful that a Republican beat him after only one term. In the private sector, a union unchecked can either drive their employer to bankruptcy or make them retreat to a friendlier business environment. With a public sector union, we are the employer. They will push until we are bankrupt or we leave for a friendlier environment.

So after Murphy’s carpetbombing of the Star Ledger with advertisements for over a year, I guess Moran felt indebted to write something nice.

We’re in for a long four years.

I’m rooting for gridlock.

 

A judge threw out the lawsuit filed by the purchasers of the Westfield house claiming that “The Watcher” letters scared them half to death and the sellers should be liable.

http://www.nj.com/union/index.ssf/2017/10/judge_rules_on_njs_infamous_watcher_house_lawsuit.html#incart_river_home

And I think that’s good.

Either it’s the silliest piece of low-grade stalking ever or it was an addle-minded hoax. I have long thought the latter.

With the suit ending, I don’t see any book or movie rights either. That is also good. It would make the Amityville Horror look like a cinematic masterpiece in comparison:

Scene:

House Foyer, Twilight. Wife in business attire is sorting through the day’s mail. Menacing music as she goes past the gas bill, the electric bill and the ValPak(tm) coupons (gotta get the product placement in). Zoom in on hands and opener as they open the individual envelopes. Show the Watcher letter making its way to the top of the pile. Unsettling music becomes more frenetic. Wife opens the letter. Reads it. Zoom in on face as her eyes widen. Close up as she sets other mail on hall cabinet. She audibly exhales.

Wife: Great. Another letter from that dumbass weirdo.

End Scene.

In the name of public service, if you want to scam your sellers, start the threatening letters before you even make your offer. Make an at-the-asking or slightly above asking offer. Then do a few more letters before suing. Some minor physical property damage would be a plus to make it more convincing.

But even if you do that, I think you’ll still lose.

I have a minor interest in knowing what the Broaddus’ were thinking. I don’t think I would get a straight answer though. Only their lawyer would know for sure.

So long, Watcher.

“The Watcher” 1905?-2017

I was in the city the other day and walked through the PATH station on my way to what I know as the World Financial Center.

And I walked past all of the top drawer stores, and I was thinking about the plaza level of the old World Trade. The Duane Reade, the Tie Rack; stores like you would see now at Port Authority.

I am okay with change, and I understand that the demographic that works there now has different tastes (and budgets) than when I worked around there.

But I will remember picking out ties there, and buying toothpaste. And then it wasn’t there.

p91100131

From My NYC Apartment Window

Yep. 10 years of this. Granted, 4 posts a year does not a decent blog make, but we’re still here, and the archives have some less cringe-worthy things. Thank you for reading and for your comments over the years.

In the years we’ve been here in Cranford, we’ve made some great friends and have enjoyed ourselves. The quality of life definitely has been more than acceptable.

We’ve had fun at the rubber duck races, the Memorial Day Parade (if it isn’t rained out), the 4th of July festivities, National Night Out, the Street Fairs, some of the Car Shows (they get old after a while), Float Night at the pools, Hanson Park Halloween, Santa by the Gazebo and checking out the Christmas lights where some blocks go all-out. And there are the smaller group activities, the barbecues, and the quiet evening with the firepit in the backyard.

It has not been perfect, but anyplace that seems like it is, is most definitely not. The struggles with big developers, the COAH nonsense and the corruption and inefficiency of Union County are issues that we have to deal with often. The slow pace of implementing flood control and the trials many on the north side have dealt with since Hurricane Irene have made some people anxious.

But overall, I think we’re better here than we would be in most places. I have enjoyed meeting the unpretentious and helpful people that are here, and there are plenty of them.

Will we still be here in 10 years? Maybe, but we’ll see if jobs and the property taxes necessitate a move. Cranford is still in New Jersey, which has all of its problems. But it’s a nice island to be on.

 

 

A study has shown that Millennials are leaving NJ at a higher than expected rate.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-jersey-has-a-millennials-problem-1501426802

But I don’t really agree with the premise. Gen Xers did the same thing just that a higher proportion were able to live on their own. And they went to NYC or Hoboken (like I did) or Jersey City.

But one of the worst landowner situations I can think of is to own space on an office campus. Driving around, the main common attribute is a big AVAILABLE sign.

It’s not an attracting millennials problem, it attracting business in general.

How many pharmas have we chased? Dozens of companies have left for North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, you name it.

Another trend that I think is being overlooked is that people avoid going to the office as much as they can. And in the white collar world, working from home is easier than ever, with remote printing, VPNs, fiber to the home enabling video conferencing with ease, and global teams where it doesn’t matter where you are physically.

Yes, a great many firms still want their people in the office (a friend at JPMChase says that in their department, the credo is “we’re paying you NYC money, you come to the NYC office”).

But for millennials to want work in the Cranford Business Park, or in Roseland, or in South Plainfield, it will take healthy companies that can offer more than a ping pong table and a coffee bar.

Unfortunately I could not attend the Community Center meeting last night. From the sounds of things I would not have gotten in anyway.

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/cranford/articles/cranford-residents-organize-to-resist-750-walnut

For non-Cranford readers, a large parcel near the southern border of town was an office / warehouse park that is owned by Hartz Mountain, the flea collar people. The anchor tenant recently left / was kicked out and they want to rezone for over 900 rental units.

http://www.goleader.com/news/docs/2017-06-05-CF-Hartz/Hartz_Site_Plans.pdf

This did not sit well with thousands of Cranford residents.

Understandably. That’s a lot of units.

Being a southsider, I drive on Walnut Avenue daily. I have an incentive to have traffic be metered or  be not much worse that it is today. It does get busy several times per day already. (An aside: I have long been in favor of a weight-sensitive light with left turn signals on Walnut northbound for those turning left on Chester Lang, but more for cars wanting to turn from Chester Lang to Walnut Ave northbound. They can sit there waiting for quite a while and with these units that wait will be longer.)

With people leaving for work, coming home and driving to stores and activities, this would add thousands of vehicle trips on Walnut per day. You think the backlog at Lincoln is bad now….

Plus I agree that a large residential development (which would add about 10% more households to the town) is likely to stress the schools (I could go on a rant on how the schools probably could do more with less, but that would be every rant ever). It would heavily affect Walnut Ave, Livingston Ave, and Hillside Ave schools since all of those students would be assigned to those schools. Or they’d need to be bused to the northside schools. THAT would go over with the northsiders…

Yes, the development would be paying taxes, but the schools may be at a point of capacity where they cannot accommodate the number of children physically in the space with the additional influx. With capital projects being ludicrously expensive due to inefficiency, paying union prevailing wages, and overruns, any increase in school tax revenue would be heavily offset by the increased costs. Most likely resulting in more bond debt.

Hartz is entitled to see what they can do with the property that would create the most value and generate the most cash. Unfortunately the NJ economy limits the potential uses due to obscene tax rates and regulation. Also, retailing has overcapacity, office space has overcapacity, and residents would be fighting even harder against any heavy or potentially polluting industry so close to homes.

So that leaves residential, nursing homes, and not much else, (I don’t think a hospital could work with one in Rahway so close).

Another issue with residential is that it is very tough for the land use to change once it is residential. Rental units would require eviction and some legal battles before buildings could be razed. A very hard bell to unring. Business buildings are much easier to change and reconfigure (kicking out 5 tenants is easier than 900). So if Hartz gets their wish, we’d have to live with it for many, many years.

I’d be interested to see if any leeching of any materials from the adjacent site (a former GM ball bearing plant that is now Hyatt Hills) is in ground samples of the Hartz site, and there may be contamination from Hartz’s activities from back in the day.

So, in my opinion, pretty much the citizen’s best shot at stopping this is to make it so the numbers could not work for Hartz. Demand that they build a school or expand the current schools. Demand widened roads and traffic signals that are timed to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety up and down Walnut (maybe even at Lincoln, maybe even up to North), perhaps even purchasing additional property to accommodate the widening. Demand traffic management by Walnut Avenue School with a parking turnout for people’s safety. Insist they test the living heck out of the soil. They need obstacles. Bad press is not enough.

That would be tough to do…Renting 905 units is going to be pretty stinking profitable. Lets say they have a 10% vacancy rate and rent them out at an average of $2,000 per month (that includes the cheap COAH units). Assuming 815 units are rented, that’s $1.6 million in revenue per month. Or almost $20 million a year. We’ll have to come up with a LOT of obstacles.

But, if the expenses to get it built and rented impact the numbers so badly it hurts the potential profitability for the next 10 years, they will look at another use.

But that means we as residents have to permit another use. Hartz owns the property and is entitled to do something with it. If we are against every last thing we’re just NIMBY idiots that show that Cranford is hostile to all business, and that is not a reputation you want to have.