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Evan Weitz for Village Council Welcomes You to Hackensack

welcome to hackensackjpg 57ac95460fc95b711

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, it didn’t take long but another pro-development , pro high density housing Evan Weitz is running again for Village of Ridgewood council . Like Siobhan Winograd ,Evan Weitz is supported by Developer John Saraceno, who has targeted Ridgewood to be the next Hackensack .

Continue reading Evan Weitz for Village Council Welcomes You to Hackensack

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Reader says A true Financial Advisory Committee with only members who have real financial backgrounds would have been a big help in the past

Michael Milken

A true Financial Advisory Committee with only members who have real financial backgrounds would have been a big help in the past. They would,hopefully, have been able to predict the absolute boondoggle that the Health Barn has become and prevented that massive give-a-way from happening. They might have also had the forethought and financial ability to show the Council that just because it is old, it is not historic, and prevented the preservation of the piece of junk that is called the Schedler house. Unfortunately it became a private kitty for its’ members desires and not for the good of the Village. Accepting the help of the resident who volunteered could be a good start, along with others of similar mindset. Our council members individually are each great in what they offer–but there is an extreme lack of a well rounded body of people. A true FAC should certainly help.

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Councilmen Jeff Voigt defends the CRAB


January 11,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, in the what many residents describe as the ultimate irony Councilmen Jeff Voigt when to the defense of the CRAB or Community Relations Advisory Board in a letter to the editor .In Defending CRAB meetings in Ridgewood ( ) Councilmen Jeff Voigt attempted to lend his support to an organization and its leader that is not without controversy .

While I am not going to argue the merits of the organization , Voigt went on to complement its leader Jan Phillips , saying “Jan Philips has done over the years in making CRAB inclusive; as a vehicle for educating residents; and in pushing forward issues that make us consider what is right and wrong in how we treat others. We need more “Jans” in Ridgewood “., yea mean like calling residents “grandstanders ” in a Village Council meeting or dismissing Mayor Susan Knudsen by telling people Paul Aronsohn still runs this town? No we defiantly don’t need more “Jans” and of coarse attempting to bully the mayor and the Village council over the “gay pride” flag.

Voigt wasted no time going to the time honored track of attacking “anonymous posters” on the Ridgewood blog . Perhaps if he read posts more carefully and he would see that most of the “nasty” comments are from his and Paul Aronsohn’s supporters, and former members of the FAC . While I am not going to rattle off names at this time , a quick peek at some comments and they read surprisingly similar to things said on several Facebook group pages and of coarse said at Village Council meetings . I also seem to remember several incidents where the councilmen himself used some “nasty comments” , toward several residents ,several council members and the current mayor.

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Former Village Manager Takes the Heat for One Sided ParkMobile Contract in Ridgewood

Roberta Sonenfeld

file photo by Boyd Loving

December 16,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The Village Council voted to terminate its contract with Parkmobile this week, after it was discovered that the Village had incurred huge service fees with the parking app they have used since 2015.

park mobile

The Fee issue was first raised publicly during an October meeting when CFO Robert Rooney told the council that the parking utility loses about 30 cents on the dollar every time the smartphone app is used. He said that since signing its contract with Parkmobile in February 2015, the village has paid $140,000 in service fees to the company.

Resolution 15-52 , the resolutions granting ParkMobile a 2 year contract ,clearly states that the Village will incur no additional service fees or contract fees .

Most of the blame has fallen on Roberta Sonenfeld who was the Village Manager, although she thought she was an elected official. The fact is she should never EVER have signed that contract when she was only authorized by resolution to sign a contract with NO ADDITIONAL FEES.

Reader stated , “that She bragged about her business prowess and being a Six Sigma expert. Based on her acrimonious, arrogant and ignorant behavior, she proved to be a Five Phi Failure!”


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Unnamed Village Official Signed Parkmobile Contact Granting a 21% Fee For Use of the Parking App


December 7,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewod NJ, at last nights council meet the Village of Ridgewood Mayor Susan Knudsen revealed that the previous council never authorized payments to Parkmobile USA above the .35 cent user paid convenience fee .

The Village of Ridgewood now pays Parkmobile  21% of each parking transaction that involves the use of the Parkmobile APP . This was the direct result of a contract signed by an unnamed Village official .

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Former Bergen County Executive Fights Internet Defamation Suit

Bergen County Executive Democrat Dennis McNerney

November 11,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Hackensack NJ, Public Relations Executive Alan Marcus is suing former Bergen County Executive Democrat Dennis McNerney for $16 million alleging defamation, invasion of privacy and false light, punitive damages and computer related offenses

The lawsuit alleges that McNerney and his wife, Cathy, used 27 internet aliases to post 88 comments under articles that alleged that Marcus committed bribery, fraud, blackmail and exchanged county contracts for sex.

This is the same type of strategy used on this blog by certain elements of Ridgewood and was orchestrated against former Mayor Kieth Killion and Ken Gabbert  and is currently being used to undermine our current mayor Susan Knudsen .

Attorneys for McNerney claim that the comments were fair comment on political issues of public importance. Marcus was a campaign manager, headed the transition team and was an unpaid advisor for Kathe Donovan, who succeeded McNerney as County Executive.

An attorney for McNerney says that during Donovan’s tenure, Marcus was investigated by federal prosecutors who subpoenaed documents concerning his public relations contract with Bergen Community College. Marcus withdrew from the gig when it received public criticism. Marcus was also the spokeman for Triple Five the latest developer for the American Dream Meadowlands project, formerly known as Xanadu.

Marcus’ attorney, Joseph B. Fiorenzo  said that McNerney had admitted in an emailed document that his intent was to “scandalize … Alan Marcus.” and went on ,”Rarely has a defendant’s actual malice been set forth so plainly and clearly,”

The plan worked, Marcus’ attorney said, by abusing the anonymity of the internet McNerney “created an army of fictitious users from all walks of life; Republicans, Democrats, men, women and people from all of Bergen County to interact and conspire to level specious claims of criminality against Marcus and convince others of the truth of the allegations.”

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Ridgewood Village Council Dissolves Financial Advisory Committee


August 12,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  the Ridgewood Village Council on Wednesday nights council meeting finally approved the dissolution of the Financial Advisory Committee in favor of a “Special Projects Task Force”.

The council voted 4-1 with Jeff Voigt the only dissenter, for what the mayor called a  “rebranding” of the current committee, and assured the public that the change was met with the committee’s favor.

Financial Advisory Committee was nothing but controversial from the get go. Spearheaded by former Mayor Paul Aronsohn when he was in the council the committee was often used to attack Aronsohn opponents and his plans to Urbanize Ridgewood .
The Hudson County Democrat came to the village with the full intention of turning the Village into the next Hoboken , with many critics of the former mayor thought the next Bayonne was a more fitting description of the direction.

The Financial Advisory Committee was used effectively to attack former mayor Kieth Killion and Village Manager Ken Gabbert  over his $12,000 deferred pay raise, while the same committee hardly ever mentioned a word at any of the multitude of Village over spending .

In a town that spent $500,000 for a toilet , a $12,000 pay raise hardly seems worthy merit.

After a massive defeat of the Aronsohn backed slate in the previous election , the hiring of a highly qualified Robert G. Rooney as Chief Finance Officer the Financial Advisory Committee seemed a bit of a rudderless ship.

They focused their attacks on the Mayor Kundsen  joined by many Aronsohn holdovers , but failed to make their case often looking out of touch and way off base.
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One Year Later same people/groups that spoon fed and pushed personal agendas are still at it in Ridgewood

Vote Ridgewood NJ

file photo by Dana Glazer

June 16,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog with a little help from our friends

Ridgewood NJ, a reader wrote us and said ,”I was cleaning up my posts and came across this Facebook thread from last year. It’s amazing that the same people/group that spoon fed and pushed personal agendas are still at it. Our current Mayor and Deputy Mayor remain under attack; false accusations, lies published in the local newspaper, public opinion letters etc.

Why would they still be at it? Answer: We have an election coming up next year. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s positions become available. Exactly two seats are needed for this group to resume block voting and to pick up where they left off. They are also desperately fighting the Council’s effort to review and restructure committees, which were previously formed and by them. Why? Answer: Establishing and enforcing committee Bylaws would greatly restrict pushing personal agendas and members would be appointed to these committees in a fair, term restricted, manner. Imagine the use of checks and balances, which doesn’t exist today. Their biggest threat, is loosing their self appointed positions or that these committees be dismantled. Why? Answer: They would loose their last public platform. Meaning, they would no longer have the same clout, wide reach or public accessibility. Note how every one of their publications lists their titles and positions served. Why? Because an official title or experience gives more weight.

Like Derek Schnure said, “the little guy is now able to counter the misinformation and party politics.” Residents beware and stay informed.

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Rurik Halaby Continues to Promote CRAB(Community Relations Advisory Board) and FAC (Finance Advisory Committee) at Wednesdays Council Meeting

Rurik Halaby

file photo by Boyd Loving

I made the following comments at last night’s Village Council meeting re the Mayor’s plan to turn CRAB (Community Relations Advisory Board) and FAC (Finance Advisory Committee) to ad hoc committees:

I will address three points, Ad Hoc Committees, CRAB and FAC.
The Mayor misuses the term Ad Hoc. An Ad Hoc Committee is by definition one that is created to serve a specific function for a limited period of time.

By their sheer function, CRAB and FAC cannot be Ad Hoc Committees.
Regarding CRAB, I have lived in the is country since 1958, and I have never seen the country so divided on so many issues. We are polarized along political, religious, social, economic, religious and gender lines.

 We need CRAB as we have never needed before, to help bring people together. And for CRAB to work it has to be populated by smart, strong, independently thinking individuals.

Regarding FAC, it is ironic that the reason we have a strong CFO is thanks to FAC and Roberta Sonenfeld. And let’s not forget that under Roberta’s predecessor, 16 tons of change flew out of the Village coffers.

And having a strong and active FAC is not a reflection on Bob Rooney’s capabilities. In fact, he should be the first to insist on a strong, independently minded FAC that will help him manage the financial affairs of the Village. We have a budget of some $50 million and if we were a corporation the CFO would work under the guidance of the Board’s finance committee.

I am tempted to comment on the Mayor’s motives in looking to neuter these two critically important committees but I will desist.
Thank you.Rurik Halaby

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Reader says Ridgewood used to be a nice place to live where you could peacefully go about your lives

CBD ridgewood ArtChick

file photo by ArtChick

Ridgewood used to be a nice place to live where you could peacefully go about your lives. Now these intruders are led by the Record editor & championed by a councilman & a developer (gigantic flag ruining the view of downtown) who is trying to change the face of the whole town. Zero interest in anything except that of the self centered kind. Why have these towns become targets of intrusion where previously there was none? This thing of theirs has gotten the village on edge where previousy there was none.

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Sunlight is the best Disinfectant in Ridgewood Politics or Anywhere

June 8,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, in a recent letter to the editor (Letter: Ridgewood Council politics extends to residents ) Evan Weitz Chairmen of the Financial Advisory Committee voiced his concerns over some of his emails being caught up in the recent so called Village OPRA -gate.

In the letter Mr Weitz once again demonstrated the lack of professionalism that permeates the Financial Advisory Committee or FAC. If Mr Weitz or any other members of the FAC had ever had a job in Finance he would understand that every single communication is monitored by corporate compliance department.

In the late 90’s I was working for a firm called Dean Witter and in the coarse of business each week you would make hundreds of phone calls . One month I was called into compliance who promptly showed me a printout of phone numbers I had called that month ,yes everyone and singled out a certain number I had called once everyday . The number was my grandmother’s who was dying and I would just check in on her. The compliance officer  simply apologized and added  the number to the OK to call list .

Mr Weitz goes on to say ,”Shortly thereafter, the Deputy Mayor filed an open record request for any email Voigt received that contained my last name. Even more disturbing, several private individuals filed open records requests for any emails sent from my private email address to Voigt.”

Mr.Weitz that statement alone disqualifies you from serving on any financial board or being involved in any Municipal business . Any professional would know that there is no such thing as “private emails” in finance and no such thing as private emails doing the peoples business in politics .
OPRA requests are a legitimate part of Municipal operations. Questioning OPRA’s leaves many to question validity of committees like the FAC and raises further questions as to the motivations of certain politicians.
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Reader says The FAC has an ugly history of suggesting new fees with no benefit to residents as we see with the 25% increase for commuter parking

Ridgewood Trainstation_theridgewoodblog

The FAC has an ugly history of suggesting new fees with no benefit to residents as we see with the 25% increase for commuter parking. It takes taxes to run a village and if those taxes can’t cover the bill, then we have a spending problem. If additional services are added, fees can support them. No where was the FAC suggesting new services, just that our fees were too low. If regulation requires oversight like in the restaurants, then cost recovery is the perfect model. When those fees are silly like landscaping [whch Summitt doesn’t charge for] then kill the fee. An overall cost recovery model on all fees only invites the expansion of fees as a revenue generator. Put a tax on what you wish to limit, suppress or regulate and eliminate the rest. Also, we have a CFO, why is there even still a FAC?

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It Takes Fees to Run the Village of Ridgewood

village of Ridgewood Fees

May 26,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, at Wednesday night meeting the Financial Advisory Committee (FAC)  presented a review of the fees. This is to be a context for fee reviews in various departments . This blog has never been a friend of the FAC , but we are a fan of stream lining fees, eliminating out dated fees and fees that cost more to collect than the Village earns .

The focus of the FAC report was three major issues :

majority of fees are outdated
sample fees were below comparable towns
Village can improve the bottom line , some fee cost more to collect than they take in

The FAC presentation focused on , process enhancement , review of the fees that matter , cost recovery , regulate activities , market approach compare  to neighboring towns

The FAC report suggested to eliminate fees that are gratuitous or inconsequential  and create a process to update or review fees.

According to the FAC most fees were set in the 90’s . Often the cost of collection out weights fees themselves . Some fees could also be paid on line like the garage sale fee

There are over 600 line items of various fees , the FAC just looked at the fees that the Village Council can do something about ,the FAC focused on significant fees that matter.

The FAC mentioned that fees a remarkable lack on uniformity , comparing against Redbank, Monclair and Summitt . Council is looking for comparisons with more local town.

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New Ridgewood Village Council


MAY 24, 2017

7:30 P.M.

1. Call to Order – Mayor

2. Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meeting Act MAYOR: “Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided by a posting on the bulletin board in Village Hall, by mail to the Ridgewood News, The Record, and by submission to all persons entitled to same as provided by law of a schedule including the date and time of  this meeting.”

3.  Roll Call



17-56 Award Professional Services Contract – Professional Historic Architectural Consultant – Zabriskie-Schedler House Stabilization Project (Phase I)(NTE $50,000) –

This resolution authorizes the hiring of Connolly & Hickey Historical Architects to document the current conditions of the site, restore and stabilize roof, prepare and present nomination to New Jersey and National Register Nomination, and provide assistance for preparation of 2017 Bergen County HPTF Application.

5. Adjournment


MAY 24, 2017

7:30 P.M.

7:30 pm – Call to Order – Mayor
Statement of Compliance with Open Public Meeting Act Mayor: “Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided by a posting on the bulletin    board in Village Hall, by mail to the Ridgewood News, The Record, and by submission      to all persons entitled to same as provided by law of a schedule including the date and time of this meeting.”
Roll Call – Village Clerk
Flag Salute/Moment of Silence
Public Comments (Not to Exceed 3 Minutes per Person – 40 Minutes in Total)
Motion to Suspend Work Session and Convene Special Public Meeting
Special Public Meeting – See Attached Agenda
Motion to Adjourn Special Public Meeting and Reconvene Work Session
a. FAC – Amend Various Fees and Fines
a. Ridgewood Water
b. Parking
1. Discussion of Proposed Parking Garage
2. Train Station – New Parking
c. Budget
1. 2017 Estimated Tax Rate
2. Hardware for E-Ticketing Software
3. Award Second Year of Contract – Crossing Guard Services
d. Policy
1. Boards and Committees – Structures and By-laws
e. Operations
1. Request for Resource Room at Gatehouse – Women Gardeners of Ridgewood
2. Proposed Stop Signs – Upper Boulevard and Glenwood Road
3. Kings Pond Area Cleaning Program – Ridgewood Wildscape Assoc. & Partners
4. Renew Agreement for Community Development Block Grant Program & Other Grants
5. NJDOT Request for Additional Bus Stop – State Highway 17 at Race Track Road
Manager’s Report
Council Reports
Public Comments (Not to Exceed 5 Minutes per Person)
Resolution to go into Closed Session
Closed Session
A. Legal – Partial Divestiture of Ridgewood Water, COAH; Valley Hospital; HealthBarn
B. Contracts/Negotiations – Barrington Road
C. Personnel – Appointments to Boards and Committees

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Reader says Roberta’s Letter is part of a much larger scheme to discredit Mayor Susan Knudsen

3 amigos

Roberta is, was and will always be Paul Aronsohn’s puppet. This move is part of a much larger scheme to discredit Susan Knudsen. Why? Because they are gearing up for the next election. The dark side has to win the two opening spots so they can regain the voting block. Jeff Voight is holding their third spot. Salivating for 2018. They have a lot of shady agendas waiting to push through.