So the Watcher House people look like they are trying to resurrect their legend, I am assuming, in order to get that elusive book or movie deal:

“There’s a natural tendency to say, ‘I’ve lived here for 35 years; nothing’s happened to me,’ ” Derek said. “What happened to my family is an affront to their contention that they’re safe, that there’s no such thing as mental illness in their community. People don’t want to believe this could happen in Westfield.”

The couple still has no idea who was behind the letters, but cops have suspected it was someone within a 300-yard range of the house, now home to a new tenant.

I think the cops are being extraordinarily kind to set the radius at 300 yards.

I think it’s much closer to zero.

Update 12/7/18: Ugh. And it worked. They got their movie. How lame. I suggest their Westfield neighbors sue them like crazy for defamation as well as pain and suffering. I can’t even conceptualize how it could be scary. A jump scare from the mailman? A spider in the kitchen?



Menendez makes a note to himself: He can pretty much commit murder and still get re-elected.

Leonard Lance is done. So much for bi-partisanship and a willingness to work across the aisle. Will Malinowski bring any pork home? We’ll see.

Locally, the Freeholders are all Dems. No surprise there.


three seats open
3-year term


Candidate Party Votes Pct
Alexander Mirabella D 92,743
Andrea F. Staten D 91,113
Kimberly Mouded D 89,962
Patricia Quattrocchi R 42,823
Joseph R. Sarno III R 42,877
Peter G. Kane R 43,059


one seat open


Candidate Party Votes Pct
Rebecca L. Williams D 92,575
Peter B. Lijoi R 41,525
And another 3 year term for Da Mayor:

Township Committee

one seat open
3-year term


Candidate Party Votes Pct
✔ Thomas H. Hannen, Jr. D 5,861
Richard Buontempo R 3,793

And the cartel for the Board of Ed got more than one vote, so everyone is in:

Board of Education

three seats open
3-year term


Candidate Votes Pct
✔ William Hulse 3,812
✔ Maria Loikith 3,878
✔ Terry Darling 4,547

Board of Education

one seat open
one year unexpired


Candidate Votes Pct
✔ Brian T. McCarthy 4,726

May all of these people serve their constituents fairly and honestly.



Some local Girl Scouts took it upon themselves to redraw the bike routes through town. For the past several months, Bernie Wagenblast of Cranford Radio has been doing a great job of throwing tidbits of local history on the CranfordTalks Facebook pages. He did a feature on the creation of the local bike routes and included a picture of the bike route map – which was pretty illegible.

So the map has been fixed. The link to it is in the sidebar and here are the links to the story.

Posted by Cranford Police Department on Thursday, September 13, 2018


The other day I was in a meeting at the World Financial Center. The Winter Garden is essentially back to what it was, and one could argue that the new PATH station and underground passage is much nicer than the old enclosed pedestrian bridges that were destroyed.

The meeting room overlooked the old WTC plaza and I stole a minute to look out without disrupting the discussions.

It feels longer ago now. But we cannot forget.


From my NYC Apartment Window

I saw this on the Cranford Families Facebook page this evening. The Zerbini Circus, a small family outfit that has the animal equivalent of a petting zoo (a camel being the largest) is now no longer welcomed at the Hillside Avenue School grounds due to “Public Pressure” to “protect the animals”.


A video is posted of a handler with an elephant.

The Zerbini Circus doesn’t have elephants. Elephants cost a fortune to feed, and the Zerbini outfit wouldn’t have the means to transport them anyway. They rely on vehicles and trailers. The Ringling Bros. could do the elephants because they traveled by rail.

This whole thing is stupid.

And no, I am not pro-animal cruelty.

But I am not okay with Raymond Lesniak, who could probably be accused of political cruelty for his decades of misrepresenting the needs of his constituents and wasting our money while enriching himself and his friends, telling us who we can and can’t have performing in our town.

He is not the arbiter of what is proper and improper.

Raymond Lesniak is ANTI-PETTING ZOO.

His phone call should not be euphemistically called “public pressure”.

Interested, I looked at the Zerbini Circus website. To see if they had a gap during the last week in June when historically, they would come to Cranford.

They don’t.

They will be performing in Fonda, NY.

You can see for yourself.

Coincidentally, I know Fonda, NY. It is about an hour west of Albany and they have a popular fairgrounds and dirt race track that is often busy. They also do things like demolition derbies.

And every August they have a huge fair that includes many things Mr. Lesniak would find reprehensible.

Like the judging of rabbits, pigs, cows and chickens of local 4H member children. The animals are kept in pens, cages and stalls for the duration of the fair so people can look at them and judge them for themselves (what this does for the animal’s self-esteem must be beyond psychologically damaging).

Racing piglets around a track.

Equestrian events including jumping.

Rodeo events, including calf roping.

If he got worked up about the Zerbini Circus, he’d have an absolute episode if he saw this.

Or what rural upstate New Yorkers would call it, “normal”.

So I am trying to reconcile this. The whole late June period the Zerbinis will be performing in upstate New York. I’ve never paid much attention to their schedule in the past, I would just notice when they would be setting up at Hillside. I’ve gone a few times and found it harmless and somewhat kitschy; and appropriate for little kids. In our travels, I have seen their ads elsewhere for local shows. One time I noticed one in Shippensburg, PA only a day or two before they came to Cranford. So they get around.

Did someone tell them they weren’t welcome anywhere in NJ?

And obviously, New York does not seem to think that they are brutal masters of their animals.

So we continue here in NJ with meddlesome and worthless politicians who are anti-fun, and come up with thin reasons for being that way.

I will remember this: If the wind was right in the evening, we could hear the ringmaster announce “Annnnd may all your daaaaysss be circusss daaaaays” from our back porch which was a considerable distance from Hillside.


You know they won’t. Not now. The state is too broke and Murphy would never push for it.

But Phil, we’re better than this, remember?

There was a fatality today at the Union toll plaza, a place many of us go through quite often.

More than a decade ago, Acting Governor Codey had the plazas limited to one way and the tolls doubled. Union plaza northbound survived so it could capture all of the people getting on 78 East, and several years later, 78 West. Too much money to pass up to leave the toll plaza only for southbound drivers coming off of 78.

It is horribly engineered. The northbound GSP from 138 to the plaza has some badly designed exits. The short, sharp ramp at 138. The disaster merge for 22 then the loss of a lane just before the rest stop. Next you have the confused tourists coming out of the rest stop and getting rattled at the mouth of the toll plaza because only the right four booths can get you onto 78 East, and the split there often freezes drivers. The crossing over between lanes 3 and 6 is maddening because people are trying to figure out how to get to 78 but all of a sudden realize they don’t (no wait, they do!) have EZ Pass.

The poor signage, poor design and high speed of the locals who know where they’re going make a dangerous mix for the unfamiliar driver.

Like many taxes in New Jersey, tolls were often supposed to be temporary. The temporary income tax started by Brendan Byrne is another example.

As PA has gone to high speed interchanges, perhaps NJ can move to them too. We can rip out the booths, fix the signage and lives will be saved.

Because you know fixing a toll is better than removing them.




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


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.