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Reader says Roberta decided that she could take what was discussed and turn it in to a contract that is in direct violation with what the council had voted on


There was no consensus, no vote, no amendment to the resolution following discussion about fees that Park mobile wanted to charge us. It was discussion at a work session and nothing was agreed to or decided upon. But big-ego Roberta decided that she could take what was discussed and turn it in to a contract that is in direct violation with what the council had voted on. There was also no discussion or vote to have the contract go for three years when the resolution was for two years. An amendment to the resolution would have to have been introduced and passed, but no, Roberta was larger than the law and did whatever the hell she wanted. You are aware, aren’t you, that she has been found GUILTY of an ethics violation by an independent group, the Local Finance Board? Consider the source when you read her lie-filled letter.
In addition, do not blame Heather Mailander for that resolution. She drafted it according to what the five elected officials voted on and it was signed before the March discussion at which Roberta decided to tell everyone that major fees were going to be coming. You should get your facts straight, but you are a Roberta supporter so obviously you come from the school in which facts are not needed in order to make strong statements.

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Reader says to deposit the RBSA check or not ,that is the question?


there’s a running theme on this blog of having people minimize the significance of an event to try to make the conversation stop. (It seems to have the opposite effect.) Here’s a scenario that did NOT go down. A fervent resident presses a literally-pay-to-play-baseball check upon an official, who smiles, hands it back, and says, “We know how much you want this mondo field that the Schedler neighbors have good arguments against. If we go with it, believe me, we’ll come to you for a big donation. Until the council has voted to proceed, however, naturally you can see that we can’t accept any money. Think how that would look! And of course we wouldn’t be allowed to let it sit around without cashing it–there’s an ordinance against that–yet cashing it prematurely would give the wrong message about how the council makes its decisions. opening village government to valid criticism and potential lawsuits. That wouldn’t be good! See you at the Daily Treat!”

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Reader asks the Ridgewood village manager is announcing what a tenant has spent for their own personal gain at a public meeting?


file photo by Boyd Loving

It doesn’t make sense that a village manager is announcing what a tenant has spent for their own personal gain at a public meeting? And then when the village manager is asked to provide facts about the information she put out there she is unable. How can a town like Ridgewood let this manager get away with this. If the information is said at a meeting then it should be available to the public at that moment. What is this healthbarn and what does it have to do with Ridgewood and the village manager? Seems a lot of time is spent on the subject. And a lot of the tax payers dollars are being used to help a business. I heard on one hand it is a partnership but then I heard that all Ridgewood is collecting is the same rent the tenant before paid. Any info is welcome

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Time for the Ridgewood Council to disband the Unproductive Financial Advisory Committee


July 17,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, a reader said the ,Financial Advisory Committee was created by the mayor solely as a breeding ground for future council members willing to live in his shadow and image. It didn’t work. Disband it!

The new council need a clean sweep of Village Hall and the Financial Advisory Committee which has added little to no input to Village budgeting should be eliminated.

The Financial Advisory Committee was created on April 24th 2013, resolution 14-171. The leadership of Financial Advisory Committee is there just to stamp the Village Manager’s decisions. So she can say ‘an expert panel has looked at it and they agree with my approach”. She comes from the corporate world and knows how to put everything on outside ‘consultants’.

What is the purpose of the Financial Advisory Committee? They were cheerleaders for the three council members? Populated by partisan Bergen Leeds people ,they should be neutral. So, they are not a financial advisory committee, they are nothing more than a political action committee.

The Financial Advisory Committee has been populated with political hacks and friends of the former mayor and supporters of the Village manager with their own agenda’s leaving out Village tax payers .

The Financial Advisory Committee does not even have bylaws or keep meeting minutes .Lets face it , it was beyond funny that the Chairman of FAC, was a candidate for the council election, and Weitz is not even a finance guy.

The new Council needs to be prudent but decisive in their actions. Let’s not replicate the mistakes of the past

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PSE&G work Creates Major Traffic Snarl in Ridgewood Central Business District

garber square LED sign
file photo by Boyd Loving
July 13,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, PSE&G work in Ridgewood is causing major traffic impact for the Ridgewood and makes the central business district almost inaccessible.

13592429 1155760547820310 7417988335858200060 n

As previously posted on this blog a Traffic Alert “beginning Friday 7/8/16 W.Glen Ave will be closed between Oak Street and Upper Boulevard while PSE&G continues their gas main replacement project from 7am to 4pm Monday through Friday for approximately 2 weeks as the crew works through the train trestle. This will have an impact on traffic traveling west and east through Ridgewood. Traffic will be diverted to the Franklin Ave Underpass for cars. Trucks will be diverted to Wyckoff Ave in Waldwick due to height restrictions. Officers will be deployed to critical intersections to assist the traffic flow. Please plan an alternate route if possible.”

On Tuesday afternoon traffic is backed up on Oak Street in front of the “Y”, Franklin ave , West Ridgewood Ave and Godwin.
Clearly in case of an emergency valuable time would be lost with the trestle being impassable . Perhaps its time to reopen the “traffic easing ” and face facts that the idea was an ill conceived total failure because in the best of circumstances it blocks off the CBD, ties up traffic at the trestle, and backs traffic up West Ridgewood all the way to Midland Park , All because of  a “suicide” bike lane installed  for people with death wishes.
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Ridgewood Water violation enforcement only on Ridgewood

ridgewood water
June 24,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Ridgewood blog asks , How many tickets were given out last year to Ridgewood residents last year for water irrigation violations ?

Just wondering if any other towns that Ridgewood water supplies were issued tickets for the same violations?

Our newly hired code violation enforcement person does not have jurisdiction in those towns to issue tickets . So in a nut shell the Village Manager Roberta hired and employee with taxpayer money to issue tickets only to Ridgewood residents .Other towns that are supplied by Ridgewood Water do not have a dedicate employee for that service.

Do you really think they were issued the same amount of violations?

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I think we need to vote NO, I personally don’t trust what is going on regarding the Ridgewood garage project

3 amigos

file photo by Boyd Loving, the 3 amigos

I think we need to vote NO, I personally don’t trust what is going on regarding the garage project. I think we need to have the incoming council with the help of our residents and town professionals ie engineer and superintendent take a step back and come up with a plan that is acceptable to our residents. The vote that elected new council members basically was an outcry from our residents that enough is enough and we need a council that works together.

I went to many town council meeting over the last year and could not believe how Susan and Michael were not given information regarding the Garage. If they were given info it was hours before the meeting while the 3 amigos had all the information way ahead of the meetings. IT is apparent by the 2015 vote for a new garage our town wants additional parking, I say let’s let the new Council resolve this issue. I have lived in this town 26 years and can wait another 6 months to resolve this problem.

Charlie Nowinski

Ridgewood Nj
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Ridgewood Mayor Desperate for a “YES” vote to spring trap for incoming Council

Vote No Ridgewood

A review of Village Council Resolutions and related contract documents expose the plan

June 17,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Mayor Paul Aronsohn and Village Manager Roberta Sonnenfeld may be so desperate for a yes vote because, despite their promises to turn all design decisions over to the incoming Council, they have figured out a way to control those decisions from beyond their political graves. Most upsetting is that this comes on the heels of a carefully choreographed set of theatrical performances at the last Village Council meeting designed to give the impression that the outgoing Council was going to take a hands off approach. Of course, the very next morning the Mayor launched his illegal media blitz, which has already drawn an official ethics complaint and a lawsuit. Hardly an act of graceful stewardship on his way out. More like giving the new Council the back of his hand for delivering an election thrashing to his hand picked slate of successors.

The Council has hired an Agent, Barr & Barr, in a no-bid process as their representative to solicit bids from construction firms to build the garage. Further, they recently spent $ 20,000 more dollars asking for a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract, which not only is not the norm in NJ municipal construction (by the Village Engineer’s own admission), by its very definition it is only possible when the construction documents are at least 70% complete. So clearly in the minds of the lame duck Council Majority they are committing additional money to make sure Design D is built.

Finally, in the Mayor’s illegal propaganda video, created at taxpayer expense, Tim Tracy of the garage design contractor, Desman, indicates there is a 12% contingency fee to account for design changes. A cozy interesting side note is that Barr and Barr was referred in by Desman and the Village Manager indicated at a Council meeting that the Village did not even interview any construction firms that were not referred to them by Desman.

That’s right, we turned our largest construction sourcing decision in years over to an outside contractor in a no-bid process based only on the Village Manager’s undocumented opinion and her cozy relationship with Desman. The same Village Manager who has expended over $500,000 creating multiple sets of construction plans before a design is even finalized. The first set was commissioned even before an initial design was vetted with the Public. One of the plums falling from the taxpayer tree was a $295,000 contract with Desman that ballooned again when virtually every one who saw Garage Design A threw up on the idea as a grotesque monstrosity jutting 12 feet out into the street. To this day the Council Majority says that if it was up them they would have built Design A. I know the local architect had an unreasonable client, but he couldn’t have been happy designing what essentially looked like an upscale jail right in the middle of the CBD.

The net of all of this arrogance and gross mismanagement is that the new council may wake up theoretically owning the design decisions, but finding out the Mayor left them a contract that is booby-trapped with excessive design changes or cancellation penalties.

The ONLY way to derail this plan is to VOTE NO.

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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.

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Email Circulates Calling on Ridgewood News to Cover Ethics Complaint against Mayor and Village Manager

Village of Ridgewood

Dear Neighbor,

I’m writing about the upcoming garage election and specifically about something that has happened which now puts the whole process into question.

On June 9th, a ‘Vote yes’ video and other materials were posted on our Village website, along with an e-notice that was sent out by our Village Manager, which directed residents to this site. To use government funds to make such slanted materials and to post them on a government website goes beyond inappropriate.

NJ Fog, a government watch group, has filed a formal complaint against Mayor Aronsohn and Village Manager Sonenfeld, which can be viewed here.

It is imperative that every resident knows about the situation.

So, I am asking you to a) share this email with every resident that you know and b) contact the Ridgewood News at 201-612-5400 and ask for either Alexandra Hoey or Jaime Walters to request that this issue be given a front page article, which it deserves. Please call them this morning as they go to print shortly.

Thank you for doing your part to protect our Village.



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“Patch Says” Ridgewood Ethics Complaint filed by “Gadfly”

June 15,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Glen Rock Patch calls ethics complaint , “Gadfly Files Ethics Complaint Against Ridgewood Mayor, Manager” ( ) . Interesting choir of words , once again leading to the question why is the Patch always looking to protect Mayor Aronsohn ?

While the “Patch” came under heavy criticism for its coverage lapses during the Ridgewood Village Council election ,the above headline will do nothing but add fuel to the fire that the Patch continues to chose the Village Council Majority over Village of Ridgewood residents and taxpayers .

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Village of Ridgewood Illegal Election Propaganda

vote yes ridgewood garage

June 12,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj, Regarding the video on the Village website combined with this pdf posted under click here for  “Special Election Information” –

It is not legal to use public funds to urge people to vote one way or the other, or to send out materials that do not present the facts evenhandedly.
When Justice Brennan was on the NJ Supreme Court, he made this point in   Citizens to Protect Pub. Funds v. Bd. of Educ. of Parsippany-Troy Hills Twp., 13 N.J. 172 (1953),

Screenshot 2016 06 11 at 11.55.52 PM

Village Manager says Matt Jessup, bond attorney, gave the green light to repost.

Matt Jessup is a bond attorney who has a serious conflict of interest in weighing in here…this is a bond referendum, i.e. Matt Jessup stands to make a boatload of money depending on the outcome of this election.

And where is Matt Rogers? What does he think?


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Reader says green acre rules a FOR PROFIT / PRIVATE business just is not allowed at Habernickel in Ridgewood

Green Acres

Do people not understand that this is a green acre and open space funded park. In the green acre rules a FOR PROFIT / PRIVATE business just is not allowed. How on earth did this private business get the lease. And as far as usage, Habernickel fields are used everyday and all summer long by maroons soccer and Ridgewood baseball as they should be. The neighbors are not complaining about the traffic or noise from this usage. They are upset with a business in their neighborhood. People should know the facts before they comment. Also the name should be changed 100 percent. The land was purchased for millions not donated by any Habernickel.

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Ridgewood Village Mangers “Traffic Easing” still a total Unmitigated Disaster

welcome to ridgewood

April 25,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Almost two years later the “Traffic Easing “project continues to appear ,”very ill-conceived, and frankly, dangerous”. When this project was initially hatched a project no one in town including some very long term residents had ever heard of until ground was basically broken.

“The only time in recent memory that I almost got hit was in this intersection and that was after the bike lanes were added ,narrowing the driving lanes to one each way. Someone tried and succeeded to pass me on the left as I was heading from the west side under the bridge. Now people are so used to no bikes in the bike lanes that the cars are actually using them to some degree. I do feel the bike lanes are dangerous to bikers and have made navigating this area more difficult. So, I don!t blame anybody for this recent accident but I do think Garber Square is an “accident waiting to happen.”

The Village Manager created a far larger traffic head ache with her “very ill-conceived, and frankly, dangerous” design. To make matter worse the Village manger placed a Village Digital sign in the vicinity to further distract , distracted drivers .

The “traffic easing” has also limited access for Emergency services vehicles , now the potential may be made worse by an over sized garage on Hudson street  further restricting traffic patterns , What a mess Roberta !