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Sanity prevails – Ridgewood Village Council drops plan to ban signs from meetings

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the staff of The Ridgewood Blog

Ridgewood NJ, Plans to enact a ban on the display of signs during public meetings of the Ridgewood Village Council are no longer in play. This was confirmed on Thursday night by Village Attorney Matthew Rogers.

Continue reading Sanity prevails – Ridgewood Village Council drops plan to ban signs from meetings

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Ridgewood Village Council Seeks to Impose 11:00 PM meeting Curfew

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, citing the tremendous workload imposed upon him and other members of the Ridgewood Village Council, Mayor Paul Vagianos announced his desire to impose an 11:00 PM “waivable” meeting curfew on all future Council meetings.

Continue reading Ridgewood Village Council Seeks to Impose 11:00 PM meeting Curfew

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The Ridgewood Village Council Meetings now have a Hybrid Format

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Village Council Meetings now have a hybrid format, with participants at remote locations, connecting to conferencing software provided by zoom.us or by telephone.  Members of the public are invited to view meetings live using Zoom, which also allows them to “raise a hand” and contribute with voice and video when they are invited to do so during Public Comments, as well as during Public Hearings, during the meeting.

Continue reading The Ridgewood Village Council Meetings now have a Hybrid Format

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Village of Ridgewood up-dates for January 1st 2022

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Village of Ridgewood up-dates for January 1st 2022:

Beginning January 1, 2022, each household is limited to putting out a maximum of 7 items on bulk pickup day. This will reduce the amount of bulk refuse being put into the landfills, which will save the Village money.  We request that you consider donating useable items to a non-profit or charity.  One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.  If you have more than 7 items to be picked up, you may request a special pick up from the Village, by calling 201-670-5579.  An extra fee will be charged for the special pick up, per Village ordinance.

Continue reading Village of Ridgewood up-dates for January 1st 2022

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Village of Ridgewood Offices will be closed on December 31, 2021 in observance of the New Year’s Holiday

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, all Village offices will be closed on December 31, 2021 in observance of the New Year’s Holiday and the  Recycling Center will also be closed on December 31st, January 1st, and January 2nd.

Continue reading Village of Ridgewood Offices will be closed on December 31, 2021 in observance of the New Year’s Holiday

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Village of Ridgewood Council Meeting Schedule

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file photo by Boyd Loving

the staff of the Ridgewood blog


Ridgewood NJ, The upcoming Village Council meetings are on the following dates/times:

            September 4, 2019 – Work Session – 7:30 p.m.
            September 11, 2019 – Public Meeting – 8:00 p.m.
            September 25, 2019 – Work Session – 7:30 p.m.

The Village Council meetings are open to the public, with Public Comments at both the beginning and the end of every meeting.  They are broadcast live on both Optimum (Channel 77) and Fios (Channel 34), can be viewed as a livestream on the Village website, and can also be viewed after the meeting on YouTube (connect through the Village website). 

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Supreme Court: Bloomfield cameras exempt from OPRA

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file photo Village Council Meeting altercation

 

Erin M Roll , NorthJersey5:27 p.m. EST November 29, 2016

A Bloomfield resident’s search for township security camera footage has encountered a roadblock at the state Supreme Court.

The court overturned a prior Appellate Division ruling that said that Patricia Gilleran had the right, under the state’s Open Public Records Act, to view footage taken by the security cameras on the exterior of the Municipal Building.

The court’s Nov. 22 decision ruled that the security footage was not open to general public access under the state’s public records laws.

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/essex/bloomfield/2016/11/29/supreme-court-bloomfield-cameras-exempt-opra/94611110/?utm_campaign=Observer_NJ_Politics&utm_content=New%20Campaign&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=New%20Jersey%20Politics

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The Importance of Public Comment at Village Council Meetings

New Ridgewood Village Council

Dear Village Officials and Citizens,

Having been around forever and remembering all the long battles to increase opportunities for public comment both at the council level and at the Board of Education, I would like to make an observation .  Public comment only becomes a bit unwieldy when there are hot button issues.  Years can go by when the only people at the mic are the regulars. I can’t remember a time like these last several months when there were so many controversial issues on the agenda at the same time:  housing density ordinances, Schedler, Parking Garage, Habernickel Park to name a few.  Everyone and there brother had an opinion and felt the necessity to voice it.  Limiting public comment in situations like this only leaves people more frustrated and when that happens the tone of a meeting can alter.  It was like ” The Perfect Storm”.

I think the council does a great job in allowing multiple opportunities to speak.  I would hate to see that change because of the past several months. The council can always allow for more public comment or curtail it due to the late hour or hold special meetings when necessary.If someone becomes somewhat contentious or too personal, that person can be asked to refrain from that behavior.  Last, Marcia Ringle made a great point regarding the location of the speakers podium.  Many of us have commented that having it directly in the center aisle makes it difficult for those attending the meeting to hear and also for the home viewers.  That simple change to place it back on the side wouldn’t cost a penny. How  rare! A cheap fix!  Thank you to all for your service both at the dais and attendance at meetings.
Sincerely,

Linda McNamara

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Free Speech is a Live and Well at Village of Ridgewood Council Meetings

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file photo by Boyd Loving
July 26,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, as previously reported on this blog the new Council has lead to more positive environment at council meetings. A reader said it best ,”it’s amazing to watch the new council meetings. Respect for all those who ask questions. Even questions that are asked are answered or will be researched and followed up on. Keep up the good work.”

In an article in the Hoboken/Weehawken, News by John Heinis July 25, 2016 , Hennis reports on why a Federal Judge denied Hoboken’s motion to dismiss freedom of speech violation suit.

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file photo by Boyd Loving of the 3 amigos 

Its seems that speech can not restricted during public comment at a council meeting . The previous mayor Paul Aronsohn and his administration tried many times either through rules, ordinances ,intimidation or silly anti free speech committees like the “Civility  Committee”.

“A federal court judge in Newark denied the dismissal of a freedom of speech violation lawsuit filed by a political operative against the City of Hoboken after he was ejected from the October 21 city council meeting.

On July 21, Judge Kevin McNulty denied two motions filed by the city to dismiss the complaint, writing that “the same issues of factual interpretation bar dismissal on grounds of qualified immunity.”

In the 11-page ruling, McNulty earlier noted that “qualified immunity issues (such as whether a violation was ‘objectively apparent’ under the circumstances at the time) may often require the kind of factual context that is only available on summary judgement or a trial.”

McNulty also states that although it is not proven that Liebler’s First Amendment rights were violated, “if it happened as plaintiff claims, then a First Amendment violation would have been apparent to a reasonable official in these Council members’ positions.”

https://hudsoncountyview.com/judge-denies-hobokens-motion-to-dismiss-freedom-of-speech-violation-suit/

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Why Can’t People Disagree Without Taking Things So Damn Personally?

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file photo by Boyd Loving

A not-so-obvious reason is the relativism of modern moral discourse, best expressed in the theory known as “emotivism.”
Daniel Lattier | October 28, 2015

Many in our audience express dismay about people not being able to discuss hot-button issues – politics, religion, race, sexuality – without it devolving into anger and name-calling.

Why is it that people can’t have a disagreement without taking things so damn personally?

Well, one obvious reason is human nature. Our positions on controversial topics are usually the manifestations of some of our most deeply held principles. It can take years of education and growth to meet disagreements with these with magnanimity.

But I think a not-so-obvious reason is the relativism of modern moral discourse, best expressed in the theory known as “emotivism.”

In After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre wrote that “emotivism has become embodied in our culture.”

He defined it as “… the doctrine that all evaluative judgments and more specifically all moral judgments are nothing but expressions of preference, expressions of attitude or feeling.” In other words, emotivism holds that there can be no way of rationally justifying one’s claims about those controversial issues mentioned above.

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/why-can%E2%80%99t-people-disagree-without-taking-things-so-damn-personally

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Village Council : And you wonder why “our public gets so frustrated?”

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file photo by Boyd Loving
November 23,2015

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, as an observer of council meetings for well over 25 years, talk of transparency is missing the point.  The problem is we don’t have transparency and that is why in this time of many issues( Valley, CBD Development, Habernickle, Schedler, Parking Garage, Garber Square, Coin Gate ,recent hirings and council majority treatment of the minority in the past several years) the public is frustrated and is demanding to be heard.While public comment is allowed , answers are not always forth coming and sometimes not at all. It is clear that separate meetings should be held when the topic of interest is so controversial.  To try to hold a regular business meeting at the same time is really not possible.  Everyone is short changed.

Certain council members have stated that the meetings do not begin until after the public comments have concluded . This suggests that public comments are not a valuable part of the meeting. This is extraordinarily disrespectful to those who come to speak.

At each of the recent very long meetings, both Council women Gwen Hauk and Council member  Albert Puccarelli have made derogatory comments about the length of time that the public comments consumed.  It is very clear to all of the residents that although you claim to love public input, in fact you find it to be a time-consuming annoyance that delays the start of the “real meeting.”The Fact that so many people are upset and speaking out should be an indicator that something is wrong with the process.  Many residents have been trying to say this for months but to no avail.

And we all know village employees are not always in a position to speak freely to the public.  They have concerns about their jobs.  That is the case every where.  I am deeply concerned about our village committees and feel they may be compromised because of the active participation of some of our professionals.  It is beginning to feel like that some of the committees are extensions of the Village Council snd not necessarily representing public opinion.

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Flags Lowered in Village to Honor Victims in Paris Attacks – Village Council Meetings

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Flags Lowered in Village to Honor Victims in Paris Attacks

Following the President’s proclamation on Sunday, Ridgewood has lowered flags to honor the victims of the tragic attacks in Paris.

“of Paris today, in the face of last night’s terror attacks. We will continue with our enhanced preparedness efforts in cooperation with local and regional partners to ensure the safety of our community and region.” Ridgewood Police Department

Village of Ridgewood Board and Council Meetings 

11/17/157:30PMPlanning Board Public Meeting – CANCELLED
11/22/157:30PMBoard of Adjustment Public Meeting
12/01/157:30PMPlanning Board Public Meeting
12/02/157:30PMVillage Council Public Work Session
12/08/157:30PMBoard of Adjustment Public Meeting
12/09/158:00PMVillage Council Public Meeting
12/15/157:30PMPlanning Board Public Meeting
12/22/157:30PMBoard of Adjustment Public Meeting

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Telephonic or electronic communication between or among Councilmembers or between a Councilmember and a member of the public during public meetings is prohibited

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file photo Boyd Loving 

Ridgewood NJ, Resolution 13-87 (April 24, 2013), item #4 reads as follows:

Telephonic or electronic communication between or among Councilmembers or between a Councilmember and a member of the public during public meetings is prohibited.

This Resolution was written by Pucciarelli and Walsh in 2013. Pucciarelli initiated writing it because his conduct had been questioned as a possible violation of The Sunshine Law. He felt that a road-map for proper conduct was needed for council members. It is entitled “Village Council Meetings and Communications Protocol.” It was voted in unanimously.

When a member of the public asked the Council, in October of 2014, whether they were complying with this particular line item, Pucciarelli, Hauck, and Aronsohn all admitted that they do have their phones on and they do receive communications. Sedon and Knudsen firmly stated that they do not. Hauck was outspokenly affronted that her integrity had been called into question. Pucciarelli went on a riff about emergencies and his family having to let him know what is going on. (note to Albert – the POLICE DEPARTMENT is in the building, they can run upstairs if one of his family members calls in an emergency). Aronsohn said his wife sends him little jokey texts (how cute). No matter whether it is a family member or anyone else, these are members of the public who are in touch with members of the Council during Public Meetings.

What is the point in having the Resolution if it is not respected? What is the point of having a Sunshine Law if quiet communications are taking place during public meetings?

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Reader suggests Bring a clock to Village Council Meetings and respectfully remind the chair and/or council that you entitled to your 5-minutes and to please not interrupt.

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file photo by Boyd Loving
Chapter 3. Administration of Government

Article II. Village Council

§ 3-19. Manner of addressing Council.

[Amended 1-11-1994 by Ord. No. 2442]
A.
Persons other than Council members may be permitted to address the Council in the proper order of business. A person present may, upon recognition by the Chair, be heard either upon ordinances upon second reading or at the time of petitions and oral communications from the public and at such other times as the Council may, by majority vote of those present, specifically permit. No person shall address any remark or question to any specific Council member, nor shall any person be permitted to address the Chair while a motion is pending. A Council member may, through the Chair, respond to any communication or address received pursuant to this section.
B.
Except upon consent of the Council, by the majority vote of those present, each person addressing the Council pursuant to this section shall be required to limit his remarks to five minutes and shall at no time engage in any personally offensive or abusive remarks. On a hearing on ordinances on second reading, a person who has previously addressed the Council on the issue may be permitted a period of no more than an additional five minutes, after all others desirous of speaking on the issue have had an opportunity to do so, provided the comments of the speaker are not repetitive. The Chair shall call any speaker to order who violates any provision of this section.

My suggestion would be to prepare a 5-minute comment and use the entire time allotted. Bring a clock and respectfully remind the chair and/or council that you entitled to your 5-minutes and to please not interrupt.

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Let’s set the record straight, Mayor Aronsohn

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file photo by Boyd Loving
June 11th 2015
Boyd A. Loving

Ridgewood NJ, During Wednesday evening’s Village Council meeting (06/10/2015), Mayor Paul Aronsohn boasted that he and other members the current Council were personally responsible for enhancing the public comment segment(s) of Village Council meetings by increasing the amount of speaking time allotted from 3 minutes to 5 minutes per individual speaker.

In reality, the 5 minute time limit per individual speaker was established by Ordinance 2442, which was adopted on January 11, 1994.  Neither Mr. Aronsohn, nor any other current Village Council member, served on the Council at that time.

On July 11, 2014, a resident became aware that the then in place 3 minute time limit per individual speaker was not consistent with what was established by Ordinance 2442 (a 5 minute time limit), and made Village Clerk Heather Mailander aware of the discrepancy.

Subsequent to receipt of this resident’s advisory, Ms. Mailander notified Mr. Aronsohn and other Council members of the issue and the time limit was adjusted to be consistent with the aforementioned ordinance.

I do so wish that Mr. Aronsohn would stop stretching the truth to bolster his political career.

Fortunately, some of us have been around long enough to remember things as they actually happened as opposed to the “world according to Paul Aronsohn.”