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Former Council Candidate Evan Weitz Defends Past Unethical Behavior of Former Mayor and Village Manager


December 12,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood Blog

Ridgewood NJ, In a letter to the editor : A lack of civility in Ridgewood, former council candidate Evan Weitz sticks up for ethically challenged former Ridgewood Mayor Paul Aronsohn , and former breath of fresh air Village Manager Roberta Sonnefeld .

Wietz like may New Jersey politicians supports the philosophy that the rules are only for the little people and politicians and their flunkies are always above reproach ,they are here for self promotion, self aggrandizement and personal gain at your expense .

The boiler plate letter is almost believable except that it defends a group of people and their supporters who called residents “terrorist” , “grandstanders” , physically attacking legal petitioners in the central business district , mocked people who lived on the far east side of Ridgewood, hosted efforts to silence dissent , attacked businesses that didn’t go along with their schemes and egregious mishandled almost ever public forum they held.

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Judge rules no conflict for ex-Ridgewood councilman

Ridgewood 3 amigos

file photo by Boyd Loving

Nicholas Katzban, Staff Writer, @NicholasKatzban Published 7:38 p.m. ET Aug. 29, 2017 | Updated 8:41 p.m. ET Aug. 29, 2017

A Superior Court judge in Bergen County ruled Tuesday that a former Ridgewood councilman was not in conflict when he voted to rezone areas of downtown for multifamily homes, a council move that caught the ire of some residents who decried the push toward higher densities in their sleepy bedroom community.

Following four major amendments to the village’s master plan in 2015 that nearly tripled the allowable density in certain municipal zones, a group calling itself Ridgewood Citizens for Reasonable Development sued the Village Council, looking to block the ordinances that codified those amendments.

The group alleged that then-Mayor Paul Aronsohn and Councilman Albert Pucciarelli had discussed and approved the ordinances despite two separate conflicts of interest.

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Former Mayor Paul Aronsohn is back in the running

May 5,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj, residents who recieved their absentee ballots for June’s primary noticed former Mayor Paul Aronsohn’s name on the ballot as one of five out of five candidates running for Bergen County Democratic Committee. Some people will never lean ?

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“Fact Check” Only Applies When You Oppose the Over Development and Destruction of the Village of Ridgewood


March 3, 2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the so-called  “fact checking” of letters to the editor of the Ridgewood news seemed to be inconsistently applied over the years .

Reader says , “over the years I have submitted many letters to the editor of the Ridgewood News (various editors). Any statement not clearly phrased as an opinion was fact checked, often more than I personally considered necessary. I had to supply documentation, explain, etc. Sometimes a letter was edited (always with my approval) and sometimes not printed at all. No newspaper is obligated to publish any letter to the editor in whole or in part. To publish outright lies as flat statements that could easily have been checked was journalistically and ethically unacceptable. This letter was full of them, including the implication that the mayor can fire anybody at will. We have checks and balances; that could never have happened, and in fact did not.”

Yes the practice of “fact checking” was particularly noticeable if your letter was not supportive of the latest scheme to pave over Graydon, build Garagezilla, load the CBD with high density housing, create bike lanes to nowhere , put turf fields in flood plains, let Valley build on its site at the density of the world trade center, build unusable ramps for the disabled at Graydon when far better solutions existed and of course rebuild toilets at Vets field for a cost of 1/2 a million dollars .

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N.J. bill would fund sanctuary cities denied federal dollars by Trump


James — you should post this and then seek comment from the progressive Clinton/Gottheimer fans. How much are they willing to pay Hudson County over and beyond the Abbott money already going there?

By Steve Strunsky | NJ Advance Media for
on February 07, 2017 at 8:06 PM, updated February 08, 2017 at 9:27 AM

UNION CITY — New Jersey lawmakers from immigrant-rich Hudson County on Tuesday announced a bill that would provide state aid to sanctuary cities denied federal funds for failing to comply with immigration rules.

The bill was introduced in both houses of the legislature on Tuesday by State Sen. Brian Stack, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji and Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, all Democrats from the 33rd District.

The three held a press conference in the garage at City Hall in Union City, where Stack is also the mayor.

“Union City, technically, has always been a sanctuary city,” said Stack. “We have never turned away anybody, documented or undocumented, when they come in looking for help.”

The difference now is that President Donald Trump issued a Jan. 25 executive order intended to, “ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law,” specifically targeting sanctuary cities and states.

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2016 Year End : the Village of Ridgewood’s Biggest Losers

3 amigos in action Ridgewood NJ

file photo by Boyd Loving

December 31,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj, the staff of the Ridgewood blog has assembled the biggest winners and the biggest losers in Ridgewood for 2016.First the Village losers;

Far and away the biggest loser was former Mayor Paul Aronsohn, voters rejected not only his future vision of Ridgewood, voters also rejected everything about it from staffing, political appointments, planning and anyone who supported and promoted him. The only upside was that he united the Village against him and his triad of power mad ill-mannered and deceitful proponents. For many, the Aronsohn Mayorship was a huge step backward and marked the low water point for the entire history of the town. Voters rejected Aronsohn by giving his opponents a landslide victory over his chosen Village council slate.

Garagezilla; according to proponents for 80 years the Village has needed parking, looks like it might be another 80. Garagezilla was the victim of an ill-conceived design, dubious motivations and extremely poor execution. What ever happened to Municipal planning?

Other major losers this year were Valley Hospital for their continued failed vision of expansion. Valley’s self-absorbed blindness has also guaranteed it once again the “poor neighbor award”. Valley may someday get their way but they are also assured to be a victim of own arrogance opening the door for a huge property tax assessment.

Ridgewood developers were also big losers, first and foremost by supporting the failed regime of Paul Aronsohn, secondly, by being so ill informed thinking Ridgewood wanted to become Union City. A misplaced support for the former mayor has left Village developers under a cloud of suspicion, tarnishing their names and reputations and failing in their business endeavors.

And finally, the Village Financial Advisory Committee, formed by former Mayor Aronsohn to help push his pet projects through, sabotage opponents, and create a pool of like-minded power made self-absorbed flunkies. Every single FAC recommendation has gone up in flames and now their new attention is set on attacking the new Mayor Susan Knudsen . The attacks follow the same ill-mannered , innuendo driven , and sexist rants that have and continue to make fools of the all the wannabes on the FAC .

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Former Ridgewood Mayor Aronsohn Desperately Trying to Stay Relevant?

Paul_Aronsohn_theridgewood blog

time to hit the BBQ

July 20,2016

PJ Blogger and the Staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Is there some reason that Paul Aronsohn and Gwenn Hauck both continue to maintain their respective ego driven, pretentious, outdated web sites?

In his recent article in the always Democratic machine friendly Bergen Record former Ridgewood Mayor Paul Aronsohn  engages in what can only be categorized as an attempt to set the stage for a political comeback though historical revisionism ,blatant dishonesty and a subtle attempt to undermine the current council.

The former mayor clearly still does not understand Ridgewood ,where it has always been considered very bad form for previous council members to criticize current new council members before they get a chance to get their seats warm.

Aronsohn’s term as mayor can be best described as contentious ,dishonest, controversial and to many the worst and most ineffective mayor in recent history. Rivaling the darkest days of Jane Reilly and the abject stupidity of the Village Hall reconstruction.

Aronsohn needs to face facts that Hudson County Machine Politics do not belong or according to the last election will be tolerated the Village of Ridgewood .

As we read through Aronsohn’s opinion piece it felt like we had heard all this before. Phases like “Ridgewood at a crossroads “, “Progress and Tradition “, “Kick the can down the road “and “Need to move forward ” all sounded eerily familiar. And yes they are these very words are the words of Councilmen Ramon Hache in the Ridgewood blog on March 9th  (

So it seems the the former Mayor found in necessary to praise himself while plagiarizing from Councilmen Hache’s campaign.

Perhaps former mayor Aronsohn’s time would be better spent gracefully retiring to a life of gardening and back yard barbecues.


Planning a comeback maybe?


Aronsohn: Ridgewood at the crossroads


THE VILLAGE of Ridgewood is at a crossroads. For the first time in recent memory, our community has been discussing, debating and even deciding some of the big issues that have long simmered just beneath the surface — issues such as taxes and government services, multifamily housing, parking and, of course, the Valley Hospital. Rather than play it safe and continue to “kick the can down the road,” we have sought to resolve issues that have long eluded us.

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Reader says Like most actions by the former mayor, the Financial Advisory Committee was created for his personal purposes


Like most actions by the former mayor, this group was created for his personal purposes, in this case at least two: to rubber-stamp his decisions with a faux economic rationale (e.g., the largest garage drawing) and as a feeder group to provide a credential for placing people loyal to him in various positions that he intended to fill with sycophants (village manager, two council candidates). We have a highly paid CFO who should be doing all this work and making these recommendations. (We also have a well-paid planner, but he’s useless and should be replaced.) The two defeated council candidates, with unknown continuing ties to the outgoing council members who endorsed them, remain on the committee; disbanding it would remove them from an advisory position to the council without having to “fire” them individually. And by the way, the FAC was originally going to be a board, not a committee, which would have had more clout; the other boards are Planning and Zoning. When establishing this group was under discussion, then-councilman Tom Riche voted against it, stating that the requirements for disclosure of potential conflicts of interest were insufficient. He was right. In addition, giving a bunch of barely vetted residents access to confidential financial and other information that only the council should see just because they work in banking or whatever is another creepy-crawly. Just dump it.

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Reader says Sour grapes much? Bu-Bye Mr Mayor


First, there is not a parking problem anywhere near the magnitude described by the Mayor and the garage’s half dozen other supporters. There is a periodic parking inconvenience on weekends and a slight deficit of commuter parking for some Ridgewood residents that need to get to New York City after 7:00 am. The need has never been believably shown for a garage the size of the one proposed by the outgoing Council majority and their developer partners. Unless of course you want to build huge apartment buildings right? Hmmm, maybe this wasn’t about parking after all.

Second, ignoring the Mt. Carmel community in their rush to get the garage built was either a massive oversight or gross miscalculation by the Mayor and his outgoing running mates. You think after the beating their platform took on May 10 that there may have been an olive branch or two extended afterward but no. Anyone, including the Church, that didn’t see things their way was branded as ignorant, obstructionist and all of the other condescending epithets that have been hurled at us for the past 4 years.

Sour grapes much? Bu-Bye

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Borg and Aronsohn’s current disingenuous hand-wringing over Civility in Ridgewood

Ridgewood 3 amigos


June 28,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood

Ridgewood NJ, An editorial by Paul Greenberg, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, entitled “The roots of restlessness, How to restore civility” was published on September 30, 1994. Greenberg’s distaste for burgeoning talk radio success is clear. But so is his impatience with those of his editorial colleages who ignore the root causes of public revulsion with bad actors in electoral politics. Here’s the money quote:
“Year after year, all of us editorial writers have written dutiful editorials, denouncing public apathy. So when the people take an interest in their affairs, and rise up roaring like a great beast, what do we do? We wring our hands over the decline of civility in public discourse.
“The best way to restore civility would be to address the causes of its decline. If the natives grow restless, they may just have something to be restless about.”

So, nearly 22 years ago, we already had a perfect answer for Borg and Aronsohn’s current disingenuous hand-wringing, pearl-clutching, and fainting couch swooning over citizens speaking their minds in unvarnished ways over matters of public interest.

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vote no on garage
June 19,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, As you can see from the reports prepared by the Village’s own expert’s parking rates are going sky high, hours are getting longer, enforcement is going to get tougher and shop owners more than a few blocks from GarageMahal will actually see business decrease because of the steps needed to subsidize the massive garage the Mayor wants to bond on June 21.
So it not hard to see why landlords who own properties and businesses right next to the Garage are working so hard and stooping so low to get the “YES “ vote out.  It’s worth a ton of money to them in increased rents and property values.  For example, Paul Vagianos, who controls the Pearl Restaurant building directly adjacent to the Hudson St lot, runs It’s greek to me less than a block away and now has an interest in FISH, also immediately adjacent, was handing out flyers to morning commuters yesterday that used snippets of conversations with Incoming Council Members, taken out context, to falsely imply the incoming Council was endorsing a “Yes” vote, when he knows this is not true.  Lass week in a Letter to the Editor of Ridgewood News incoming Councilman Jeff Vioght clearly laid out his own reasons why he is voting “No” on Tuesday.  For others to imply he supports a “yes” vote is wrong, but large amounts of money will make some people do unsavory things
This is financial analysis data is all drawn directly from reports on the Village Website
Here is what rates to subsidize the Mayor’s Design will look like (they might move around by street or lot or hour but its a zero sum game, the cost of the garage is what it is and the money is going to be found from taxpayer’s pocket either when they are shopping/dining or when they are paying
their mortgage)
Here is what enforcement is going to look like and if your business if too far away to benefit you are
Don’t let anyone tell you that bigger garages are always more economical than smaller garages
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Mayor and Progress Ridgewood riling up shoppers and diners when 80% of new spots benefit developers and politicians

Parking 2/8/16
All this propaganda for less than 50 spots targeted to dining and shopping ? Let’s talk about the real agenda
June 18,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The Mayor and his cronies are playing fast and loose with the truth and the rank and file doing their bidding may not understand the real plot.  Stooping so low as to grab out dated of context quotes to imply that the 5 members of the incoming Council endorse a YES vote is essentially manufacturing a lie but trying to wipe off your fingerprints of the tools of deceit.  The incoming Council DOES NOT endorse a Yes vote and if you doubt me, just ask them, they are all available on email.  They are trying to stay on the high road, which the Village Manager couldn’t find with a map, but they are livid at the bald attempt to attach their names to Paul and Roberta’s desperate attempt to deceive.

They don’t want or need any “help” from the outgoing Council who are leaving their post with as little grace and professionalism as you would expect from observing  the last 4 years

The Walker study (attached ) makes clear that of the 250 incremental spots created the vast, vast majority (191 of 250 or 76 %) of the spots created will be monthly spots.  The 126 hourly spots is less than 50 more than what exists in lot now  (76 spots ) when you consider the destruction of on-street parking Garagzilla requires.

So wait …We spend $ 11.5 MM to get essentially less than 2 levels of shopping/dining parking and 3+ levels of monthly parking to warehouse extra cars for the high density residents and serve out of town commuters? That makes sense how?????

Who benefits from monthly spots ?  High density developers who have too many cars and out of town commuters.
Who benefits from 50 subsidized hourly spots being created in a $ 11.5 MM boondoggle?  Local Landlords looking to raise rents on small business tenants.

Who benefits from developers, out of town commuters and local landlords being happy?  Politicians who need money and allies to run for office.

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Reader says the Council Majority has ignored, ridiculed and threatened anyone who has presented an opposing point of view

3 amigos in action Ridgewood NJ

file photo by Boyd Loving

First, the referendum in the Fall was non binding. Second, the Council majority has apparently spent over HALF A MILLION DOLLARS on a design the may very well be voted down next week. And you gripe about $45K? For the past 4 years, these 3 individuals, emboldened by a 3/5 majority on the Council which they won by 8 votes, have acted as though they know what’s best for the rest of us and had a mandate to do whatever they wanted.

They have ignored, ridiculed and threatened anyone who has presented an opposing point of view. Having done this to as many of their constituents as they have, they are now dealing with the backlash. While the backlash has not been kind, it has been more than deserved.

The past 4 years should be presented as a civics course at Ridgewood High School. This is why you vote, this is what happens when you vote for the wrong people, this is what happens when elected officials misuse their authority, this is what happens when you get caught insulting your political adversaries anonymously on social media, this is what happens when the tax payers revolt and take back their government. This petition and special election are a perfect example of what the People are capable of when they band together. Vote NO on June 21.

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Reader says the entire Hudson Street Garage process in Ridgewood is tainted

pro garage 2

“Residents will have to pay for the Mayor and Village Managers legal fees.” TRUE. Which begs the question, why would Roberta, Paul et. al do something so blatantly out of step with the law so as to cause taxpayers to spend money to fight them legally, in addition to taxpayers footing any legal bills they have? Additionally, where is Matt Rogers? The bond counsel has been providing legal advice on these matters to date…why has he not weighed in?

This is a horrible precedent to set for our Village…I would think residents would be outraged if the Village was promoting one presidential candidate over another on the website. Thank you to Gail, Lorraine and everyone else involved with these efforts. It is sad it came to this, there was no need for Paul, Roberta etc to go this far as they had a lot of support on their side, but now everything is tainted.

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BREAKING : Ridgewood Residents file lawsuit against Village

Village of Ridgewood

June 15, 2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Hackensack NJ, A group of Ridgewood residents filed a lawsuit in Superior Court today, challenging a decision by the Bergen County town to place a political propaganda video and written propaganda on the municipal website “expressly advocating a “yes” vote on a bond referendum to finance a parking deck, which is slated to go before Ridgewood voters on June 21, 2016, and have urged voters to view this one-sided presentation. This action is brought to redress these violations of law.”

The filing comes less than a week after Ridgewood officials began distributing an 11-minute political video and four-page parking referendum guide, via the Village of Ridgewood website, urging voters to support an $11.5 million bond issue to build a parking deck on Hudson Street. The town’s mayor, manager, CFO, and engineer, along with the architect and contractor hired to design the garage. All appear in the video.

Ridgewood voters will go to the polls on June 21 to decide whether or not to adopt an ordinance that would allow Ridgewood to bond 11.5 million for a parking garage at Hudson Street. The $11.5 million is associated with what is known as Design D- 325 spaces, 4 stories, 5 levels, 5 ft over the footprint of the existing lot.

Ever since a 1953 ruling issued by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice and New Jersey Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, it has been illegal for local governments in New Jersey to use public resources to influence voters on a local election. While towns are allowed to send evenhanded factual material to voters, the ruling says it is “outside the pale” and “not lawful” for towns to spend money on political materials urging voters to pass or reject referendums.

According to the lawsuit, the video and the 4 page parking referendum guide on the village website, are “propaganda” that contains a “one-sided, slanted and unjust presentation” of the parking vote. Using “extravagant and dramatic language,” the ads argue in favor of the referendum’s passage, while disparaging the referendum’s opponents.

“The use of Ridgewood’s municipal funds to pay for political marketing is unconscionable,” said resident Gail McCarthy..

The lawsuit comes two days after Ridgewood’s mayor, Paul Aronsohn and village manager, Roberta Sonenfeld, were accused, by the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government, of state ethics law violations for their roles in the political video.“Aronsohn and Sonenfeld are certainly entitled to their own opinions about the referendum, but they are not entitled to use taxpayer dollars to aggressively promote a one sided opinion to the public,” added resident Lorraine Reynolds.

The lawsuit asks for an injunction declaring the advertising illegal, and asks for a formal accounting of all public money and time spent promoting the referendum. If the referendum succeeds, the suit also serves notice that the voters will seek to have the election set aside as being based on “payments and expenditures that are contrary to law, and not authorized by the election or other laws” of the State.