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Readers Point to the”Green Bike Lane” as a Major Safety Issue for Ridgewood Motorist

bike path way ridgewood train station
Yes, get rid of the green bike lanes and restore the crucial car lanes we lost between the Franklin Avenue underpass and West Ridgewood Avenue. Ridgewood went soft-headed in the recent past, which included getting caught up in the so-called “traffic calming” trend. What was this, an effort to reduce traffic “incivility?” We need to sharpen our thinking again and start doing what’s right for Ridgewood residents.

If the traffic is backed up all the way to Lincoln, adding another lane for three hundred feet isn’t going to solve the problem.

One of the things I like about Ridgewood is that there are no street level railroad crossings like Glen Rick has. The trains have no impact on traffic. As a trade off, there are only three crossings: Ackerman, Franklin and Glen. When one is closed off, it is a major inconvenience. Unfortunately, we’ll have to deal with it.

That underpass needs to be re-opened, the safety committee wiped clean, and we need a real safety/speed czar.

The worst “traffic calming” device of all has been to close major arteries and create gridlock at many intersections in town. That only leads “road rage”: more speeders, this time on cut through/side streets and more dangerous road conditions. There are simultaneous posts on Facebook right now about speeders on side streets and gridlock in town…this is not a coincidence people!

Lastly, look at towns suck as Westwood, Waldwick and kenilworth nj. The police presence is so great, and ticket writing so frequent that drivers brake as they enter town. Our PD, or citizens if need be, should study and employ their practices here because road safety is a major issue for everybody.

If the traffic is backed up all the way to Lincoln, adding another lane for three hundred feet isn’t going to solve the problem.

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Village Manager Admits Ridgewood Has a Parking Surplus

Village_Manager_Roberta_Sonenfeld_theridgewoodblog

 

June 19,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood bog

Ridgewood Nj, In this VoR clip from April 6, 2016, at the 1:14:00 mark, you see the village manager admit we have a parking surplus, not crisis: http://www.tubechop.com/watch/8113003 .

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Ridgewood Mayor and Village Manager Accused of Violating Local Government Ethics Law

Mayor_theridgewoodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving
Following is a complaint filed with the New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Open Government Advocacy Project with the Local Finance Board–the agency that enforces the Local Government Ethics Law.

June 13, 2016

Patricia Parkin McNamara
Local Finance Board
101 S Broad St – PO Box 803
Trenton, NJ 08625-0803
(via e-mail only to [email protected])

Dear Ms. McNamara:

We intend this e-mail to be our complaint against Paul Aronsohn, Mayor, and Roberta Sonenfeld, Manager, of the Village of Ridgewood (Bergen County).

In accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:35-1.1(b), following are the required elements of the complaint:

1. State the point of the Local Government Ethics Law alleged to be violated.

N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.5(c), which prohibits a local government officers from “us[ing” or attempting to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others.”

2. State the name(s) and title(s) of the parties involved in the action and against whom the complaint is filed.

New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Open Government Advocacy Project, John Paff (Project Chairman), Paul Aronsohn, (Ridgewood Mayor) and Roberta Sonenfeld (Ridgewood Manager).

3. Set forth in detail the pertinent facts surrounding the alleged violative action.

Mayor Aronsohn and Manager Sonenfeld appear in a video that exhorts citizens to vote “yes” on a June 21, 2016 referendum question which will, if passed, cause the issuance of $11,500,000 in bonds or notes to finance the cost of constructing a new parking deck.

Notwithstanding Mayor Aronsohn’s statement in the video that its purpose is to educate and inform the public about this issue, the video goes well beyond providing neutral facts.  Rather, the video is clearly an advocacy piece intended to persuade Village residents to vote “yes” on the proposal. For example Mayor Aronsohn made the following statements at the noted times in the video:

  • 00:20 “This is an opportunity for us to come out again as a community to show our support for our parking deck, something that most of us believe that we desperately need here in Ridgewood.”
  • 01:43 “The reason we really need a parking deck is three-fold” followed by: a) “a real quality of life imperative,” b) anger over a lack of parking creates a “real public safety concern” and c) lack of parking imperils the “survival of our downtown.”
  • 3:20 “For [the three reasons stated above] we really need a parking deck.”
  • 10:37 “There’s going to be one question on the ballot that day: ‘Do you support this parking deck’ and I hope you vote ‘yes’ because it’s so important for our community.”

Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld also stated at 01:35 that “As the Village Manager, I realize it’s a parking crisis.  Yes, a crisis.  A crisis which will get worse if we do nothing about it.”

In Citizens to Protect Pub. Funds v. Board of Educ. of Parsippany-Troy Hills, 13 N.J. 172 (1953), then New Jersey Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. (who later became a Justice of the United State Supreme Court) ruled that school boards could use public funds to educate the voters on ballot initiatives provided that they didn’t cross the line into advocating for or against the measure.

The same principle applies in this case.  While Mayor Aronsohn and Manager Sonenfeld may certainly inform and educate voters on the pros and cons of the parking deck proposal, they are not allowed to use public resources (e.g. the Village website) to persuade voters.  Government officials’ use of public resources to persuade voters is unfair because referendum opponents do not have access to those resources and have to use private resources to distribute their message.

We assert that Mayor Aronsohn and Manager Sonenfeld violated N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.5(c), because they used or attempted to use their official positions to create and appear in a video which is intended to secure an electoral advantage for proponents of the public question and impose an electoral disadvantage upon the proposal’s opponents.

4. Indicate whether the complaint concerns the complainant in any way and what, if any, relationship the complainant has to the subject of the complaint.

Complainant has no interest in or relationship to this complaint greater than any other citizen or organization who wishes for all government officers and employees to comply fully with the Local Government Ethics Law.

5. Indicate any other action previously taken in an attempt to resolve the issue and indicate whether the issue is the subject of pending litigation elsewhere.

No other action has been taken previously in an attempt to resolve this issue and this issue is not the subject of any pending litigation.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I ask that you please acknowledge your receipt of this complaint within 30 days.

Sincerely,

/s/ John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party’s
Open Government Advocacy Project

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Meet the Village of Ridgewood Manager on Saturday morning

Village_Manager_Roberta_Sonenfeld_theridgewoodblog

May 12,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, “Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld will be available for her monthly ‘Meet the Manager’ session in the Village Hall Court Room on Saturday, May 14th from 9am to 12 Noon. You may make an appointment  by calling 201/670-5500 x203.”

Anybody who works in H.R. could give her some tips on job hunting. Is it too soon for a farewell party?

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Ridgewood Mayor Aronsohn Attempting to Divert attention from the Real Issues

ridgewood village manager

Paul,

It has been a while since this group has communicated – I hope everyone is doing well.  I received your email below and wanted to respond.

I respect Roberta. I think she has done a great job overall managing this Village.  It’s not an easy job by any means.  I personally know Roberta…she is a good neighbor and I like to consider her as a friend.  She is smart, quick, effective – I respect her and admire her and from what I have heard she has done a better job of executing than previous VMs.  However, I was shocked to see the full page ad in the news.  I was even more shocked when I read your email and was targeted with a mass email chain from someone in my neighborhood (how she got my personal email is quite a mystery).  I guess I am confused…why are we making this election about her or any village staff? Shouldn’t the election be about the issues at hand – high density housing, doubling the size of Valley hospital in the middle of a residential area? When did we turn this election into village hall staffing?  You work for a corporation so you know very well that a new boss is entitled to evaluate the existing talent pool. So why is this even a concern? No company will hesitate to bring in the right boss for fear of cleaning up the existing talent pool.  We shouldn’t either.

We have to remember, this election isn’t about any Village Hall staff.  It’s about whether we trust the people we elect to represent the town fairly and responsibly.  It’s about where they stand on the issues that we each find important to our families, to our property values, to our future, to our way of life.

It saddens me that you are trying to turn this campaign around and divert the attention away from the true issues.  Not to mention make up deceitful lies.  Not one candidate has made any statement about Roberta and her role.  It’s simply not part of this election, nor should it be.  It’s a non issue.  It saddens me that we are not able to campaign with dignity and respect for one another.  I hope that changes.

Respectfully,

Bonita Shimpfky

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Paul Aronsohn <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, May 6, 2016, 9:04 PM
Subject: Vote for Brooks, Weitz and Willett
To: <[email protected]>

Dear Neighbor,

Last week, I endorsed council candidates Rich Brooks, Evan Weitz and Janice Willett in a letter-to-the-editor, noting that they have solid experience, uncompromising integrity/ethics and a proven commitment to Ridgewood.  I also noted that they are right on issues important to me, such as the budget, the parking deck, the special needs community and the Village Manager.

This week, several additional community leaders – past and present – have also endorsed Rich, Evan and Janice – community leaders who have helped shape Ridgewood’s traditions, while moving Ridgewood forward.  And importantly, a group of residents took out a full-page ad in the Ridgewood News today, noting that “only 3 candidates are committed to keeping Roberta Sonenfeld as Village Manager – Rich Brooks, Evan Weitz and Janice Willett.”

Please see the attached list of endorsements and the full-page ad.

Needless to say, many of us believe that this year’s election is especially important, and as explained by the Ridgewood News Editorial Board, every vote matters.  Remember, in 2012, there was a difference of only 15 votes between the 3rd and 4th placed candidates.

If you have any questions, about this year’s election, please feel free to email me.  If you want to learn more about Rich, Evan and Janice — and their positive, inclusive vision for Ridgewood — please visit their website – www.Ridgewood2020.com.

Thank you for your consideration.  Thank you for voting on Tuesday.

Best,
Paul

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Why is the Mayor and his 3 Candidates fighting so hard to keep the Village Manager?

Village_Manager_Roberta_Sonenfeld_theridgewoodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving

May 6th 2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Why is the Mayor and his 3 Candidates fighting so hard to keep the Village Manager. Why are they getting so involved with this when the entire council Majority is not running for reelection. . Reminds me of the following definition :

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks” is a quotation from the 1599/ 1600 play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It has been used as a figure of speech, in various phrasings, to describe someone’s too frequent and vehement attempts to convince others of some matter of which the opposite is true, thereby making themselves appear defensive, and insincere.

In rhetorical terms, the phrase can be thought of as indicating an unintentional apophasis—where the speaker who “protests too much” in favor of some assertion puts into others’ minds the idea that the assertion is false, something that they may not have considered before.

The Village Manager has no contact and serves at the pleasure of the Council. If the 3 amigos wanted to keep her so bad then maybe they should have run for re election.

In the Village Hall it was observed Roberta proudly displaying the full page advertisement that appears on page A-11 (about retaining her) of Fridays Ridgewood News to staff members gathered in the waiting area outside of her office.

How inappropriate was it of her to conduct a forced discussion about politics with her people who report to her.

By the way, that ad was paid for by the following families:

Richard & Carla Fels, 227 Sunset
Michael & Amy Greenstone, 122 Sunset
Sommer (first names & address unknown)
Taylor (first names & address unknown)
Peter & Allison Von Halle, 48 Clinton

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Village Council Candidate Ramon Hache Responds to Village Manager Rumors

Roberta
file photo of Village Manager, Roberta Sonenfeld interfering with petitioners in the CBD
May 6,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Ridgewood blog has uncovered an email going around from a resident named Cornelie Ladd regarding the retention of the Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld , It seems the Brooks, Willlett, and Weitz is already conceding defeat and are making one last desperate plea to maintain the mayors ie..developers power grip on the Village of Ridgewood .  The May 10 election is about candidates and the candidates vision for future direction of Ridgewood .

 

the email :

Dear neighbors, friends, and friends of neighbors,Without wishing to interrupt dinner / game / bath time, it’s time to find a moment to contemplate the electoral landscape ahead of the impending municipal elections next Tuesday, May 10th.

As many among us are probably aware, although elections for Village Council in Ridgewood are non-partisan by tradition and by nature, it is becoming increasingly apparent that, not unlike our national politics, this year’s elections have become polarized to a rather exponential degree.

As a consequence, although typically individual candidates are running for individual seats, this year’s candidates have coagulated into two slates of three:  Brooks, Willlett, and Weitz versus Hache, Voigt, and Walsh.

I am writing to urge you to consider that, beyond the hot-button issues, there is only one slate, the one of Brooks, Weitz, and Willis, that will offer steady support to the excellent work of our Village Manager, Roberta Sonenfeld. If you value the labors of a responsive, responsible and accountable Village Manager, I ask that you support her by voting Brooks, Weitz, and Willis. You will find the positions of Brooks, Weitz, and WIllis articulated on Ridgewood2020.com.

According to the grapevine (which never lies … !) the other slate will seek to replace the Village Manager.

If, after having done your due diligence, you find that you subscribe to the views of this message, please share the gist of it among your friends and neighbors (and encourage them to go to the polls!).

Thank you for your consideration,
with best wishes for a vibrant Ridgewood,
Cornelie Ladd

Village Council Candidate Ramon Hache Responds

Hi All,

Thank you for sharing this.  I did see the Mayor’s letter to the editor. Based on the email from your neighbor, it seems that Mayor Aronsohn is now pushing this idea through residents as well. There really is no basis. Neither Jeff, Bernie nor I have ever gone on the record to say that we have any plans of replacing the Village Manager.  I have now attended a few “coffees” with Bernie and Jeff, including the one on Wednesday night (coincidentally next door to Ms. Sonenfeld’s home) and there was no mention by us of Ms. Sonenfeld in a negative light.I will share my personal view. I have an enormous amount of respect for the position of Village Manager. It is a very demanding job. The Village Manager is under constant scrutiny while dealing with a wide range of issues on a daily basis. I see the Village Manager as a direct extension of the Council. If I am elected, I plan on sitting down with key Village employees, including the Village Manager, to evaluate them in their current role. This is no different than what a new CEO would do at a company in the private sector.  As with the way I have always treated my employees, I plan on conducting a fair and objective review. It is incumbent upon the Council to ensure that key positions in our Village, paid for by your tax dollars, are filled with the most competent and qualified people available to us. I do not know Ms. Sonenfeld personally. I think for any candidate to make a determination regarding her retention, whether pro or against, is extremely premature at this time. That would not be fair to either the Village Manager nor residents.

Unfortunately, this ugly rumor seems to stem from some political angle. Unfounded rumors such as this one only add to the divisiveness in our community. It is very unfortunate.  Thank you for sharing your concern.  I will certainly pass it along to Jeff and Bernie for their views since I cannot speak on their behalf. I would be more than happy to speak to your neighbor and answer any of her questions.  Thank you also for your continued support.

Best
Ramon
201-960-4977

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Reader says Councilwoman Hauck, Mayor Aronsohn, Deputy Mayor Pucciarelli, and the Village Manager are behind this unfortunate development in Ridgewood

signs in Ridgewood

Political signs in the village-owned planters and in the sidewalk cutouts (for the shade trees) in the Central Business District were unheard of in Ridgewood until someone (as yet unidentified) paid to have the “Vote Yes” signs printed, assembled, and distributed around the Village last Fall in time to influence the Parking Garage vote. And now we are told that there is some kind of regulation in place for political signs that permitted these kinds of signs to be put up in this manner?

What is the text of that regulation as it appears today? How did it appear last fall when the “Vote Yes” signs were erected? What earlier iterations of that regulation existed by which these kinds of shenanigans were completely prevented in the past? Or are we just now seeing the results of a creative interpretation on an old, unchanged regulation by an enterprising new election lawyer or cynical political operator? If that regulation was changed in such a way as to permit or encourage this kind of nonsense, what was the “before” and “after” of this change, and exactly how and when did it occur?

The guiding hands of Councilwoman Hauck, Mayor Aronsohn, Deputy Mayor Pucciarelli, and the Village Manager so clearly appear to be behind this unfortunate development that nobody should ever accept an explanation that does not implicate them. If we want to revert back to a non-partisan form of local government, which we are supposed to be guranteed under the Faulkner Act, nobody that supported the Three Amigos in their misbehavior in recent years, or who is currently receiving political support from them, should ever be elected to Village Council, even by mistake.

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Ridgewood Council Candidate Ramon Hache Responds to the Village Removal of His Campaign Signs

Ramon Hache ridgewood NJ

April 13,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Village council candidate Ramon Hache responds to Ridgewood blog reports yesterday that the Village’s Streets and Parks Departments were ordered to remove any campaign signs, specifically those belonging to Ramon Hache, found erected on Village owned properties.

“I am very troubled by the decision of the Village to take down my campaign signs. It is my understanding that, as of last November, there is no ordinance that prohibits them from being on village-owned properties.  Although I didn’t personally place the signs at the locations in question, I understood that my supporters were not violating any local ordinances. It is very discouraging as a candidate, but especially as a resident, that a double standard has been applied when it comes to my signage. I guess my candidacy, unlike the “Vote Yes For Parking” initiative, is not in line with the Council’s agenda.”

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Ridgewood Petitioners : respond to village council regarding timing of referendum question

abraham godwin ridgewood

April 1, 2016

STATEMENT FROM PETITIONERS

Dear Village Council of Ridgewood-

From our attorneys regarding the referendum petition to repeal Ordinance #3521:

“We are confident that the bond counsel is wrong.  Bond ordinances are NOT controlled by the Faulkner Act or Walsh Act
or any other general act that gives NJ residents the right of referendum.  The right to repeal a bond is a right shared by ALL

New Jersey residents under the Local Home Rule Act, not just Faulkner Act towns.”

New Jersey Statutes Annotated. N.J.S.A. 40A:49-10 reads as follows:“Any proposition submitted to the voters of any municipality under the provisions of section 40:49-9 or of section 40:49-27 of this title shall be voted upon at the next general election held in

the municipality at least thirty days after the filing of the protest or protests herein provided for, unless the governing body thereof
shall call a special election therefor.”

If a special election is called, and $40-45,000.00 of municipal funds are used, that will be a choice that the Council alone makes, and for which
the Council alone will be held accountable.

Thank you.

Gail McCarthy & Lorraine Reynolds