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Reader complained about these and other sidewalk barriers several years ago at a Ridgewood council meeting


I complained about these and other barriers several years ago at a council meeting. Several sets of them are fastened to the sidewalks in violation of the ordinance allowing them. In my opinion the ordinance should be rewritten to require them to be similar to the ones in front of the Tappas restaurant by Wilsey Square, a light metal frame with cloth filler and that they be removed in winter when the outdoor seating isn’t available. The restaurant , Steel Wheels, at the train station also has barriers blocking the sidewalks aimed at pedestrians. That setup makes me feel like I am trespassing although I am on public property. I understand the rationale of allowing outdoor seating and don’t disagree with the concept but I feel it’s current application interferes too much with the publics ability to walk around the business district.

Here are some examples of the situation:

Please note that the area in front of “It’s Greek to Me” appears to be a no parking area as shown by the yellow line so although I don’t like those barriers, I think singling them out is more about the owners politics. The ones on West Ridgewood Ave. by the pizza/Italian restaurant are basically the same. Also note the white latticework barriers are screwed down to the sidewalk, which is specifically prohibited.

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Financial Advisory Committee Pushes Increased Fee Structure for EMS at Ridgewood Council Meeting


May 25,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, At Wednesday night council meeting, councilman Voigt proposed Financial Advisory Committee recommendations to increase the EMS service fee structure that our village charges. Like the parking fees the FAC finds an opportunity there to make money. Councilmen Voigt said there was, “an opportunity to raise fees significantly  “Under the plan Ambulance fees would increase and fees for things such as Oxygen.

On the positive it was pointed out that the Village contract with the Valley Hospital EMS was out of date and needed to be renegotiated as well as there was $70,000 owned to the Village in past due services.
During the the question and answer period the FAC was once again challenged and its recommendations were looked at with suspicion . Readers will remember that the FAC recommended even high parking fees and when the current ones were enacted by the council ,the FAC immediately began attacking and undermining the mayor  over the parking fees.
Residents seemed to be finally getting fed up with all the fee increases and thought it showed poor judgement,making the Village look like it was trying to milk the sick.
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Ridgewood Council Meeting , Halaby blames New Council for Past Failures , Guild President says he is uninformed , Master plan for trees , Uber moves forward and Cubs win!

village Council
file photo by Boyd Loving
November 3,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, We had the rare treat at last night’s council meeting , hearing from Rurik Halaby not once but twice in one evening.  In opening comments he expressed dismay with all the legal fees this council is incurring (thank you Paul Aronsohn), the “secret” search for a new manager who will most likely be a friend of a current council member (as opposed to a friend of Paul Aronsohn ) and that too much is being done in closed session.

Cathy Quinn spoke in defense of maintaining the no parking on Pomander Walk. lo and behold she is an Episcopal minister at Gwenn Hauck’s church, St. Elizabeth in Ridgewood.  Many remember that Gwenn pushed and pushed for the “no parking” zone on Pomander and now we know why.

Later in the evening, Mr Halaby was in fine form as he praised former mayor Paul Aronsohn for his lovely column in The Ridgewood News and then said that Susan should be doing the same as the “public” (the six people who still like Paul Aronsohn)  is in the dark with this new council.

Thankfully, Anne Loving stepped up to the mic to say that Paul’s self-serving column gave little information and The Ridgewood News was doing a great job with weekly articles dedicated to the council meetings.

Rurik went on to make some muddled comments about a puppet council who in some ways was like or not like Donald Trump based on some notion of over regulation. He also blamed the recent vacancies on some of the boards and committees on the community’s dissatisfaction with the council ( not the removal of incompetent political hacks hired by Paul Aronsohn).  Thankfully, his 5 minutes were up.

His wife, the acerbic Cynthia Halaby of daffodil fame, had admonished the council earlier for the condition of the trees and for making references to Summit, NJ in the Uber discussion when Summit is nothing like Ridgewood.

Mike Sedon gave a praise worthy report on the new Five Year Forestry Management Plan which will allow for numerous grant opportunities and training for village employees and Shade Tree Commission volunteers to address our dwindling stock.

The Uber discussion actually went quite well and it looks as though we will do a 6-month pilot program starting in January.  A resolution is on the table for next week’s meeting and the village CFO will run some projections on expected revenues taking into consideration subsidies and the gain or loss of premium parking passes.

Ridgewood Guild president and town whiner, Tony Damiano spoke way too long on why isn’t he being informed on a regular basis about every project sanctioned by the village.  Susan tried to address his concerns but he was too busy complaining to hear her.Perhaps the Ridgewood Guild needs better more informed leadership?

Boyd Loving once again was great addressing leaf issues with very good suggestions about how we should inform the landscapers of changes in our policies, Village regulation changes and pick up schedule . He also suggested a listing on the village website of the registered landscapers so that residents can make more informed choices , The registered list would also make enforcement easier.

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Attention : Rurik Halaby will be unable to attend the Ridgewood Council meeting he will be on a business trip

Rurik Halaby

photo by Boyd Loving of Rurik Halaby the “William Jennings Bryan” of Ridgewood 

this was posted on Facebook early this morning

A letter I emailed this morning to the Village Council re this evening’s VC meeting.

Dear All:

I will be unable to attend as I will be on a business trip.

Two comments I would have made:

1. Shedler: I would not spend a penny on the place until you have put together a Committee that includes some hard-nosed non-romantics who would include at least one expert restoration consultant. I would determine the following:
Restore the house to what and as what
Cost of “restoration”
Use following such action
Cost of operation and maintenance
Whatever you do, Mayor Knudsen should recuse herself from any and all deliberations. Her father lives across the street from the property creating a conflict of interest.

2. Replacing Roberta
The silence as to how you are going about replacing Roberta is deafening. Knowing a thing or two about human nature, I say something is afoot. The new VC has been miserably opaque in its deliberation. Something I do not like at all. Have you hired a search firm or are you going to appoint one of your “friends?”

With kind regards,

Rurik Halaby

Sent from my iPad

and a follow up :

Open letter to the Village Council re E&K vs. Uber

A couple of thoughts on the subject.

1. The lack of interest in taxi companies bidding for the business may be indicative of the reputation the town is acquiring as a place that is impossible to do business in.
2. I would keep E&K but also encourage Uber to be more active. Nothing better than competition.
3. My only ax to grind is that I use E&K to transport me back and forth to the airport and I am very pleased with their service.
4. Along with the pathetic discussion you had a couple of meetings ago re parking meter pricing, the Uber discussion is all part of a barrage of red herrings all intended to divert people’s attention from the real problem in Ridgewood. We need a garage, and no sleight of hand by or Mayor will make up for that.

Thank you,

Rurik Halaby

Sent from my iPad


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Reader Gives Synopsis of Last nights Ridgewood Council Meeting

Ridgewood Village Council

A few high points:

Rurik Halaby called Schedler a DUMP, said any plan to spend money there is STUPID, And with his penchant for big fancy words and historical accuracy, he still cannot pronounce the Mayor’s name. Rurik, it is not KAH-nudsen. It is a silent K. You KAH-now how the silent K works, dontcha?

Tony Damiano made a fool of himself and the entire Ridgewood Guild. First he gets all huffy that his name was put on a committee. Seems he is unwilling to serve on any committee unless he knows all the members beforehand, because, well, he wants TOTAL CONTROL. Then he whines and whines about his mom and pop store and how his 8-hour employee has to lock the store and drive around for 20 minutes after four hours in order to find another parking space to cover the next four hours. Ummm …..start at Cottage Place before your work day begins, park there all day, you never need to leave. It is so simple. Damiano LIED when he said there is nowhere for his employee to park. He just doesn’t want his employee to walk a couple of blocks from the always empty Cottage lot. Duh.

The owner of Roots restaurant mentioned that “Roberta” is a bad word that he hesitates to use in the council chambers.

On a very sad note, Mayor Knudsen acknowledged the passing of Meegan Shevlin, who lost her battle with breast cancer last week. Whether you agreed with Meegan or not, hers was always a lively, passionate, and informed voice on various subjects. She was a wonderful person and a fine example of citizen participation in local issues.

And then there was the continuing revelation that the mystery of the concrete which was illegally dumped at Kings Pond last year remains, well, it remains a MYSTERY. Boyd Loving has attempted to learn what contractor did this dumping, who from the Village enabled it, all with the goal of making sure that such an EPA violation never happens again. And to make sure that this contractor is never hired again. And to make sure that anyone on the inside who enabled this illegal action gets called on the carpet.

The meeting was smooth, efficient, and wow, just amazing how Roberta’s absence is a beautiful presence…..or you might say it is the PRESENT that just keeps on giving.

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Ridgewood Council Meeting : More Turf Talk About Maple Field

September 15,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, last night council meeting saw Rurik Halaby in fine form, pronouncing Mayor Susan Knudsen’s name wrong once again and ranting  that Schedler was a dump filled with broken glass,plastic bottles and god knows what else.  He further claimed the house was a junk heap and there were no endangered species there  claiming that Eagles don’t hang out near highways.

Anne Loving remedied the situation, durring the public comment she asked Susan about the pronounciation of her name so that all would hear. Don’t know if Rurik or it was past his bed time but it will be in the minutes.

Deputy Mayor Michael Sedon is planning to request municipal funds to be used to upgrade the tree replacement program which is practically non existent except for volunteer efforts. We have been losing trees due to age, sidewalk replacement, storms and neglect. At one time Ridgewood had nine employees in the Shade Tree Division now we have three.

But the big news I heard is that the sports groups/ field committee are looking to replace the turf at Maple Field. Councilmen Ramon Hache said that it is so hard and damaged that it is unsafe to play on. Artificial turf in a flood plain well here we go again. A little snippet from the Ridgewood blog in 2007 ; Reader says, “All you “fiscally responsible” folks — artificial turf, like that at Maple, is the way to go”

Parking came up as usual and there is concern that it is now on the back burner but the council is currently looking at all their options and revisiting the Hudson Street Garage.

Heather Mailander was very competent and managerial.  What a pleasure and such a change from our previous manager who talked more than the whole council put together.
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Members of the Ridgewood Councils Opposition engage in Rumor and Innuendo at Ridgewood Council Meeting

Rurik Halaby
file photo of Mr. Halaby
September 9th 2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, several readers have asked “What we’re all these comments in the council meeting about a raffle at Mt Carmel with a $25k prize. Those comments were perplexing.

It seemed to be implied by Mr. Halaby that there was a fix in and that is why the Mayor won the raffle.

The fact is the church was in Glen Rock, not Mt. Carmel. And the suggestion by Mr. Halaby that the raffle was rigged was pathetic and highly insulting to the church. What by the way did that have to do with anything? Just reaching for something ridiculous to attack the Mayor, and attack the church while he was at it.

Perhaps the opposition should take there own advice and behave civilly or maybe the council should morve to ban several residents from speaking at Village council meetings for “trolling”.
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Central Business District Signs, amended minutes and Schedler Park dominate Ridgewood Council Meeting

Village Council Meeting
photo by Boyd Loving
May 5,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the May 4th work session Gary Cirillo of Project Pride proposed an idea for an ordinance that would keep campaign signs 15-25 feet from the curb and out of the planters:  if the village owns the property, you can’t use it in the CBD.  Aronsohn supporter Jim Griffith said,” signs are an inexpensive expression of our rights.”  They don’t crush flowers in planters when there are no flowers planted.”

A special public work session was called to discuss minute changes in closed session meetings that Ms. Knuden felt were important to better address some statements that didn’t fully express the intended sentiment. This all came up due to an OPRA request. Albert recused himself, and so Paul and Gwenn tried to make an issue out of it. In the end the vote was 2to2 as was expected and it was up to Matt Rogers who advised the council to allow the amended minutes to be released as the unofficial minutes.  The vote this time was 3 to 1 with Paul being the dissenting vote.

Next on the agenda was a request from members of the Chamber of Commerce to allow A Frame signs in front of businesses. Ed Sullivan, past president of the Chamber of Commerce and present member of board of trustees stood in front of the Council tonight and made his pitch of A frame signs or billboard to be allowed in the CBD Although there is a long standing ordinance on the books preventing them, enforcement seemed to begin as of April 1st.  There is a good case for their value in attracting walking shoppers to come into the stores which is good for business. The council is currently looking at a Princeton ordinance and it was decided that at the next public meeting, enforcement would be rescinded for a period of time while the council discussed a new ordinance and businesses could continue the practice of A Frame signs for advertisement. It seems an easy way to help our CBD.

The down side is now not only do he have signs post on ever corner with the stores name we have vote for the parking garage , political signs and  A-frame  signs in front of the stores. Will the sidewalks in the Central Business District now be turned into a obstacle course. Is this ABA complaint ? Will the Village be liable if some should fall into one of these signs because it is the Village right of way. People can just about walk on the sidewalk now with all the tables and let not forget the Greek to Me planters.What is the right balance between promoting access and quality of life? Residents remain skeptical this council majority can come a proper resolution.

For many, the most interesting part of the meeting came in closing Public Comment when resident Jackie Hone came to the mic to state all the inconsistencies in Roberta Sonenfeld’s manager’s report regarding Schedler Park.  Jackie spoke of all the emails many of which were published on this blog that she has sent to the council and village manager to discuss her findings that went unanswered. Roberta’s recollection of recent meetings with the Bergen County Trust Fund Staff were a bit misleading. The council majority may not have been required to take action, and by not they are clearing hindering the process of historical preservation. One can obey the law and still not do the right thing. Case in point: the Bergen County Historic Preservation Society has stated that the Schedler/ Zabriskie house is eligible for registry but no steps have been made by the village to request the forms to register the house.

Infrastructure was next and there were a few water facility expenses reported on and about a disintegrating pipe on Dayton Street which was releasing sludge.

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Village of Ridgewood Council Pushes Tax Increase :Civility Absent from Mr. Hallaby’s Comments

Rkidgewood Village Council Meeting

file photo by Boyd Loving

April 14,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj ,The Village Council introduced a $47.7 million budget Wednesday, which according to the PATCH would result in the average homeowner’s municipal tax bill going up $67.40, or 1.6 percent, if the $31.8 million tax levy is approved. Whats happened to the 0% ??

The Village council meeting on April 13th produced several proclamations .Of the several proclamations this evening, two are of interest.

April is Tree Planting Month in the Village. There was no mention of any plantings by the village, just that residents should consider planting a tree. Also that we should be mindful of our wooded areas. No mention of clear cutting the Schedler woods which would be a great place to begin.

May 1-7 is Drinking Water Week.Once again no mention of the contaminated sites which should have been remediation 8 years ago.

The Budget Presentation:  We will have a Qualified Purchasing Agent on the payroll. No mention of how this job has been handled in the past and what the salary will be. There will be a tax increase of 1.6 percent ( I believe that is correct) and a budget hearing in May.

Public comment: Ellen McNamara spoke to the democratic process and the success of the petitions that have postponed the garage project with the possibility of reducing its size.  Lorraine Reynolds brought up how the petitioners were maligned and treated as malcontents when in actuality they were able to inform us all about the 12-18 foot encroachment on Hudson Street and other details that would have made the garage a huge disaster for the area/ CBD not to mention that they have saved us money! Rurik Halaby chastised the petitioners as liars and against any parking garage what so ever.  He prattled on and on Boyd Loving said,” Enough is enough!). As usual Mr. Hallaby’s entire statement was full of hyperbole, inaccuracies and untruths.

And of course Ordinance 3523 ( Albert’s ordinance regarding video taping at public meetings) brought about some  discussion as the proper wording and ordinance # was not available to the public.  Ellie Gruber stated in Public Comment that she was against the ordinance in general as it is not enforceable and it addresses a non issue since all public meetings are in the public domain and can be shared on social media, etc.

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Valley lawyer uses Sheila Brogan’s testimony of 2013- 2014 to contradict the statements made by the people regarding construction hazards at Ridgewood Council Meeting

valley construction
photo by Dana Glazer
April 7,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Rather a quiet meeting but we did get a bit of a lecture from our council pilot, Albert.  Residents both in Ridgewood and surrounding towns are concerned about the change in flight routes in and out of Teterboro that will increase the number of planes flying over our area and will bring increased noise.  Albert who loves planes explained how this change was for the greater good and well, planes make noise.

It looks as though the council is due in court on May 9th as they were also sued by Valley along with the Planning Board.  The PB settled as per the vote on Tuesday.  A trial is expected to last anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks. Not sure this is this another chance to stop Valley?

It is interesting that a new council will be elected on May 10th.  Also, we will be going to trial against Wyckoff, Glen Rock and Midland Park for improper use of funds by Ridgewood Water.  That case should be decided in the next week or so.  Nothing was mentioned at the meeting.  In all, nothing of consequence was mentioned.

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Regarding the Valley Hearings, the lawyer for Valley, Mr. Drill, used Sheila Brogan’s testimony of 2013- 2014 to contradict the statements made by the people regarding construction hazards for several years in the area when she said that she saw no problems because they have had construction projects at several of the schools in the past and all was manageable.  People were so upset when she said this because it was like comparing apples and oranges.  But her cavalier statement became a big part of Valley’s deflection of any concerns about its close proximity to Benjamin Franklin.
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March 23rd Ridgewood Council Meeting ,Village of Ridgewood to become City of Ridgewood ?

3 amigos in action Ridgewood NJ
file photo by Boyd Loving
March 14,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Ridgewood high density housing issue is upon us again. The Village Council will be meeting at the Campus Center of the Ridgewood High School.

The Village Council Meetings of March 23rd ,Work Session meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m.During the Work Session there will be a Special Public Meeting for the Public Hearings and vote on the multi-family housing ordinances as well as a public hearing and vote on the bond ordinance to appropriate money for the Hudson Street parking deck.

The meetings will be filmed and available both on YouTube and the Village Public Access Channel (Cablevision 77; Fios 37) the following day. According to a March 10th update “streaming on YouTube from this location on March 9th proved successful and will be again be done for the March 23rd meeting.

According to the previous meeting the high density housing will have “No impact” on traffic, schools, water ,sewers in the Village .
The current council majority know on this blog as the three amigos , have all declined to run for reelection for various reasons , so the fate of the Village of Ridgewood will be settled by parties who are no longer vested in the Village.
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Stay tuned for tonight’s Ridgewood Council meeting

garage new design


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Village Hall meeting at 8pm, during the first public statement there will be an announcement about what actions you can take if the Village Council votes in favor of bonding the proposed garage through the County. So, whether you can come out to the meeting or watch at home – stay tuned.

For those who are just getting up to speed, here’s what’s happening:
The attached new garage proposal diagram just appeared in the lobby of Village Hall. I don’t know about you, but I never imagined it would be this HUGE, let alone that, even with all the prior resident outrage, it still does not fit the municipal lot size.
Tonight our Village Council will be voting on going to the County for a $12,300,000 bond. This is going to take away our control of the process. It is going to cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars more to do this than to bond ourselves. Bonding through the County stipulates the same parking rates for everyone using it. Because of this, it will become a commuter garage for other towns to use and fill up.
Personally, I am not against a parking garage. Our town needs more parking solutions. Bonding through the County, unfortunately, isn’t the way to go.
Let’s keep in control of our wonderful town. Stay tuned for tonight’s meeting.


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Ridgewood council weighs costs of turf versus grass


file photo Boyd Loving

Ridgewood council weighs costs of turf versus grass

AUGUST 14, 2014    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, AUGUST 14, 2014, 3:48 PM

Artificial turf appears to cost less to maintain than grass, at least on Maple Field.

According to Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld, an estimated $121,500 was spent maintaining the turf on Maple Field during an eight-year period from 2006 to 2014.

– See more at:

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Turf king endorses Aronsohn, Hauck and Puciarell criticizes police and firemen, attacking salary and benefits


Turf king endorses Aronsohn, Hauck and Puciarell criticizes police and firemen, attacking salary and benefits

TAKEN FROM THE RIDGEWOOD BLOG (Archived ) You should read the whole article.

From 2009-2010 Brian Abdoo repeatedly endorsed the multi-million dollar controversial turf projects at Stadium and Stevens fields. As we all know the turf has been an unmitigated disaster resulting in Ridgewood Taxpayers incurring the burden of costly repairs

Found it! Posted May 7, 2012.

Turf king endorses Aronsohn, Hauck and Puciarell criticizes police and firemen, attacking salary and benefits

Moments ago, after a long day at work I sat down to review my personal emails, check school info and sports emails, kids schedule, etc. In the mix was an email from Brian Abdoo who I know from a number of sports programs my kids are involved in. I began reading the Abdoo’s endorsement of candidates, Aronsohn, Hauck and Puciarelli. The more I read the sicker I became. Abdoo has thoroughly disgusted me with his hypocritical rhetoric.

From 2009-2010 Brian Abdoo repeatedly endorsed the multi-million dollar controversial turf projects at Stadium and Stevens fields. As we all know the turf has been an unmitigated disaster resulting in Ridgewood Taxpayers incurring the burden of costly repairs.

Now, this same Brian Abdoo wants to express concern over taxes? He attempts to peddle Paul Aronsohn’s gimmicky zero based budgeting. Even my 6th grader understands built-in inherent cost increases. Abdoo states he wants more transparency and Village Council should “open the books”. The fact that Brian Abdoo is ignorant should not persuade anyone to his argument. Brian, the books are open. They are a matter of public record and are available for anyone to review. Brian, feel free to visit APP DataUniverse if there is anything you need to know. However, Mr. Abdoo, while doing your research you likely will not find the value of your candidate Aronsohn’s health care costs, at village taxpayer expense, for the past four years. Mr. Abdoo, while Mr. Aronsohn is busy telling you he wants to help Ridgewood Taxpayers, he has been busy helping himself for four years
Brian Abdoo proceeds to attack our police and firemen, attacking their salary and benefits. If this is such a concern why on earth would he support Aronsohn who voted for each and every raise, and contract , pertaining to the police & fire department. Maybe he prefers regionalized police and fire departments like Hauck and Puciarelli. Hauck announced the savings for each village taxpayer during the debate: a whopping $ 285 each! For that money I will sleep better at night with Village police and firemen.

Abdoo professes the revitalization of Ridgewood downtown and how committed each of his threesome is to this goal. Mr. Abdoo, Paul Aronsohn is the Council liaison to the Chamber of Commerce. What has he been doing for the past four years? Shopping at the mall? And Hauck and Puciarelli prefer a more urbanized Ridgewood. If they want urbanization let them move to Hoboken.

Best for last, Abdoo states each of these candidates is committed to helping Valley and residents to negotiate a compromise to allow for expansion. For goodness sake, Brian, where has Al Puciarelli been? He has been a member of the planning board forever. Hauck didn’t speak of compromise when she endorsed the massive expansion, as is, over and over again. Valley Hospital is not interested in compromise. The only time that was suggested by Valley was at the last Village Council hearing. Audrey Meyers, seeing the writing on the wall, begged council to hold off their vote so Valley could develop a compromise. Seriously, where was the compromise for six years?

Mr. Abdoo, reconsider and bullet for Killion and Shinizuka before we are in another turf-like drowning mess attributable to the likes of you.

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Reader says it only fair that the Sports Groups step up and contribute to maintenance and depreciation of the turf fields


file photo Boyd Loving

Reader says it only fair that the Sports Groups step up and contribute to maintenance and depreciation of the turf fields 

If the sports clubs have gotten so much value out of the fields, I would think it only fair that they step up and contribute to maintenance and depreciation. It shouldn’t always be the VC or BOE (the rest of us). Given that maintenance seems to be running about $100K year and depreciation another $200K for $1.5M to replace the carpets after a flood-shortened 7 year life, the sports clubs should be contributing on the order of $100K.

Raise dues if you have to — it’s part of the true cost of doing business.

And did they ever contribute everything they had promised for the lights?

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