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Ridgewood News Purposeful Misrepresentations ?

>Submitted to The Ridgewood News

To the editor:

While it is fair to say that most editors save their opinion for the
editorial pages, clearly some do not. Your article on a recently
filed civil rights lawsuit to stem the purposeful discrimination that
was proliferated against our then 12-year old daughter lacked
credibility. It provided far too many errors, of omission and
commission, which, despite efforts to suppress them, nonetheless rose
to the surface as misrepresented facts collided uncomfortably with
uninformed opinion.

This begs the question: how many times is the editor of the Ridgewood
News allowed to bend the truth without having her credibility broken?
One, five, nine? In the above mentioned article, no less than seven
errors emanated from the first few paragraphs of a hate-filled rant
against our efforts to protect rights to which all are entitled.

Some of these falsehoods even prompted one letter writer to shrill
shamelessly that we should “move” out of town, a town to which I first
moved in 1969. Since when is defending a civil right the source of
such pointed venom? Or are the “rules” just different in Ridgewood?

What concerns me, however, is that the nature and subjectivity of
these errors appear designed to be purposefully mean-spirited. One is
left to wonder at the editor’s true purpose in making them. Take for
instance the following (for clarification, I use italics for what was
stated in the original article):

“…Caitlin Alvaro had asked to play on her brother’s fifth and sixth
grade recreation-league team..”

Our daughter never asked to be on her brother’s team. She asked to be
included in the draft of boys for her grade’s recreation basketball
league, to be drafted for any team like any other player. Though she
completed the evaluation, she was later denied participation and was
removed from the draft by the Biddy organization. After the New
Jersey Division of Civil Rights became involved, Biddy eventually
assigned her to the team on which our son also played, though they
continued to deny her permission to play.

“Despite what her father said was a skillful performance in her

Caitlin’s father never said such a thing. It was merely noted in the
complaint that she had successfully sunk all five of the required
baskets during that particular evaluation. It is solely the editor’s
opinion that this constituted a “skillful performance.”

“…two sides reached a settlement requiring Ridgewood Biddy

There was not a settlement, monetary or otherwise, but an agreement by
Biddy to obey the law. This took place between the NJDCR and the
Ridgewood Biddy Inc. The Alvaro’s were neither present nor asked to
participate in this conference. The Ridgewood School district, a
party to the complaint, did not attend, thereby maintaining an active complaint
against them with the NJDCR. Biddy honored this agreement and so is not
a party named in this lawsuit. They allowed Caitlin to play in the
boy’s league the next two years. Her team reached the championship
game the first year, and she was honored by her teammates with the
selection to play on the all-star team this year. Teammates and other
players were always exemplary in their manner towards her.

“…Alvaro is seeking unspecified monetary compensation…pain and
suffering, while watching those games from the bench.”

Having a player sit on the bench is not against the law, nor is it a
reason for seeking compensation. That the editor would make such a
statement is totally ludicrous and misleading.

“…a history of adversarial relations with the school district.”

This characterization by the editor is selectively pejorative. It is
possible to disagree and not be adversarial; only the ignorant to presume
otherwise. District and Village officials have always and continue to
extend the utmost courtesy to our family. We return this treatment

“…taking legal action against the board for sponsoring what they
felt was an invasive survey.”

Though later “clarified” by the editor, the purpose of this knowingly
false statement was reprehensible. Seven parents filed complaints
against the school board for the survey and three filed a federal lawsuit. Were
they also “adversarial?” My contribution was to work tirelessly toward
getting a law passed in New Jersey to prevent such an encroachment on
parental rights. The far superior and more appropriate “norms” survey
recently given in the High School was a welcome result of such

“…include resistance to renovations at Orchard Elementary School.”

Also knowingly untrue. Our disagreement was not with renovations,
which we welcomed, but with the building of a new addition on top of
the basketball courts which parents had recently provided for our
children with money from their own pockets. What the editor did not
reveal to her readers was that I sat in her office and she looked over
our 200 signatures from parents who signed a petition asking to change
the addition’s location. She knew this was a majority position– two hundred
signatures from a population of fewer than 350 students. Her efforts to
mislead and characterize this as “adversarial” by means of singular
intent are shockingly dishonest.

So, how many times may an editor bend the truth before her
credibility is broken? Only her publisher knows.

Frances Edwards

13 thoughts on “Ridgewood News Purposeful Misrepresentations ?

  1. >The editor, Susan, is mean spirited and the details are usually off completely. Thats why I no longer by the “Ridgewood Rag”.

  2. >Oh, yay! The only thing we can count on more than the groundhog seeking his shadow or the cicadas coming out of their 17-year hiberation is the every-few-years return of Frances Edwards and her assault on Ridgewood, especially the schools. How many times may a woman bully her neighbors in order to (in order to what? Make up for attention she lacked as a child? I have no idea what motivates this woman)… How many times will the Edwards/Alvaro steamroller try to flatten Ridgewood? I fear there will be many, many more times. We are in a war of wills with this family and it is disgusting to the point of comedy. Mrs. Edwards, I believe YOU are shockingly dishonest, although I will say you are skilled at taking statements and words out of context and twisting them to your own SELFISH needs. You are also very good at faking disingenuous claims of just trying to do the right thing. You are the very epitome of what I teach my children NOT to become. A hater and a bully. In fact, maybe I should thank you for another teaching moment with my kids tonight. “Look, children, here’s a perfect example of how NOT to get things done in society…of how NOT to work together with your neighbors for the common good. This is an example of take-no-prisoners, gimme-what’s-mine-and-to-hell-with-everyone-else (and make sure we get our name in the paper, too –maybe they’ll spell it wrong and we can accuse them of willful discrimination).” I’m so very very tired of you, but I can fight as long as you can. And I’ll fight mean-spirited, time-wasting, money-wasting pettiness any day, lady!

  3. >Adjective: litigious

    1. of or relating to litigation
    2. inclined to engage in lawsuits
    3. argumentative or combative


    Imagine if this energy was directed for the greater good of the Village? The definition of a village includes the word “community”. People have to realize that this requires sucking it up and accepting the actions of others that they may not agree with. This is for the greater good of the community.

    To get along we all need to just relax and accept the fact that people are going to do things we don’t agree with.

    If you can’t do that, you need to move to a place where no one disagrees with you…

  4. >Sharpton and Francie Edwards…ain’t no difference.

  5. >The real tragedy? The kids are great kids. But they are overshadowed and bogged down by all the manure that mom and dad spread around town. The b-ball playing daughter is very skilled and accomplished. A joy to watch. Had the ‘rents simply looked for a more competitive team within the system, like travel team Ridgewood Hoops basketball instead of less skilled rec Biddy, all of this heartburn could have been avoided. And if they were really interested in a hyper-competitive b-ball experience, there are plenty of AAU teams in Bergen County where the young lady could have played and maybe even thrived. Alas…

  6. >Immaculate Heart HS will have their hands full next year…

  7. >Frances,

    You and the Alvaros take comfort in describing yourselves as the misunderstood and persecuted righteous defenders of Ridgewood residents’ civil liberties. But, those of us who know you, understand the truth. Your actions have not protected anyone or corrected any great injustice. Rather, it is you who have have wronged an entire community of unselfish volunteers, whose only desire is to make Ridgewood a more enjoyable place for our children.

    The Alvaro’s frivolous actions against Biddy Basketball were selfish and inappropriate. Your description/characterization of the events is disingenuous and misleading. The result is that youth sport groups in town now feel compelled to assume a politically correct and legally defensive posture, which hinders these organizations.

    My comments are not hateful and I don’t insist that you leave Ridgewood. I just wish you would stop wasting everyone’s time. Stop pretending that you are something you are not, and let our children be children.

  8. >It is intersting that all but one of the comments are of the same mind-set: don’t speak out or rock the boat.

    Ms. Edwards got a law passed to protect the privacy rights of all students and their parents. Of course, for some, that is perceived to be causing trouble. Yes, she took on the BOE and WON. And the sycophants in this village can’t stand it. They just lick their wounds and slink away when an injustice is done to their family, afraid to speak up. God forbid they don’t get invited to the next cocktail party.

    Too many people in this Village are gutless, comfortable in their affluence and unwilling to risk public opinion that may go against the friends and factions that run our youth sports and government.

    It is amazing that those who see themselves as “progressive” in this town are the ones who, for all their pretentions of being PC, are totalitarian when it comes to dissent.

    Good government does not come from “getting along.” It comes from the conflict of ideas. Only in Ridgewood could some one say with a straight face, “This is for the greater good of the community.” Read Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”

    We are a country founded on individual rights, not group rights. When has it become a waste of time to defend an individual’s rights.

    To any of the Alvaro’s critics, name one instance when they were wrong according to our laws. There isn’t one. Not one.

    Just because one may be an “unselfish volunteer,” it doesn’t give an organization to which they volunteer the right to BREAK THE LAW.

    Our hats are off to the Alvaro/Edwards family. There is a silent majority who wishes you well. Your critics are jealous of your strength of character and your willingness to take on the powers that be. Go get ’em.

  9. >The Ridgewood News has egg on its face. But that doesn’t surprise me. They seem to exist for only one purpose, to make the ruling class think that they’re still in charge.

    There is a deep sickness in a town government that believes it’s entitled to rule without the cleansing elixer of dissent. Kudos to the Alvaros for showing us that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

  10. >”The Alvaro’s frivolous actions against Biddy Basketball were selfish and inappropriate.”

    When is it inappropriate, selfish and frivolous to take action against an organization which acted inappropriately by discriminating, selfish by denying a girl a whole season of play and frivolous by ignoring the law?

  11. >Anonymous wrote, “The Alvaro’s frivolous actions against Biddy Basketball were selfish and inappropriate.”

    What was “frivolous” was Biddy’s “selfish” belief that it could defying the law by “innappropriately” discriminating against a girl.

  12. >”The Alvaro’s frivolous actions against Biddy Basketball were selfish and inappropriate.” Wow, that is rich.

    What was frivolous was the belief by Biddy that they were above the law. What was selfish was the way Biddy trustees put their own egos ahead of well being of a 12 year-old girl. And what was inappropriate was the discrimination she suffered.

  13. >BBWOOL, you are a classless boob. I suppose you too, would watch as people were herded onto to trains.

    Ms. Edwards has more intellectual honesty in her little finger than you do in your jar-head brain.

    One wouldn’t want to cause waves would we. Oh yea, I forgot the BOE is perfect.

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