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>Reader Calls Fly "out on the Carpet "….

>Hey Fly..it is great to see so many people finally calling you out on the carpet. The SD recommendations will almost certainly involve recommendation for substantial renovations to BOE properties.

It is typical of you to try an find some conspiracy in any village process. The fact is that the SD recommendations are focused on all recreational resources in town. Because Ridgewood does not have adequate facilities for the BOE and all the youth programs in town to each have their own dedicated facilities, they must share facilities. Unfortunately, the RHS stadium is not in the mix of “shared” facilities. It is, by far, the most underutilized facility in town. Therefore, it may be the most costly to maintain on an annual $/usage basis. This places considerable (and unacceptable) burden on other BOE and village-owned fields in town.

If the RHS stadium and Stevens fields can be rennovated with a sythetic surface, it will be the equivalent of adding a totally new field in Ridgewood. That is how the cost/benefit ratio of such a project must be rationalized.

The promised benefits of the renovations at Maple Field have been realized beyond the most optimistic expectations. Even ardent naysayers from a year ago have acknowledged the positive impact of the Maple Field renovation. The issues that the SD recommendations will try to address MUST include BOE properties.

This is not a debate about academic vs. non-adademic plans. The SD recommendations have noting to do with the BOE academic mission. Their mandate was to evaluate and offer a proposal for long-term planning of Ridgewood active and passive RECREATIONAL resources. That’s it!

I know that you don’t think it is important to have all the facts before you rush to judgment. But, perhaps you can try…just this once…to get all the facts first, without distorting the truth.

And the Fly Strikes back…..
I know that you don’t think it is important to have all the facts before you rush to judgment. But, perhaps you can try…just this once…to get all the facts first, without distorting the truth.

FACT: SD’s study was TAXPAYER funded by a “Special Emergency Appropriation” in the amount of $42,194 approved by Village Council members on 7/19/2006.

FACT: SD’s report was received by Village Parks & Recreation Department on 2/23/07.

FACT: It is now 4/15/07. Despite repeated requests, including submission of an offical OPRA form to the Village Clerk’s office as requested by Village Attorney Matthew S. Rogers, recommendations contained in the TAXPAYER FUNDED SD report are NOT being made available for review by either the press or members of the public.

What facts am I missing?

12 thoughts on “>Reader Calls Fly "out on the Carpet "….

  1. >I know that you don’t think it is important to have all the facts before you rush to judgment. But, perhaps you can try…just this once…to get all the facts first, without distorting the truth.

    FACT: SD’s study was TAXPAYER funded by a “Special Emergency Appropriation” in the amount of $42,194 approved by Village Council members on 7/19/2006.

    FACT: SD’s report was received by Village Parks & Recreation Department on 2/23/07.

    FACT: It is now 4/15/07. Despite repeated requests, including submission of an offical OPRA form to the Village Clerk’s office as requested by Village Attorney Matthew S. Rogers, recommendations contained in the TAXPAYER FUNDED SD report are NOT being made available for review by either the press or members of the public.

    What facts am I missing?

  2. >I thought we already established this…the FACT is, it would not be wise to release the report just prior to the school election because A) the resulting discussion could influence the school vote, and B) the school vote could prevent a calm and objective analysis and discussion of the study results. Several of us have already explained this to you. No one is denying that the public paid for the study, no one disputes that it was turned in on 2/23…but I really do think it will be better for EVERYONE if we can deal with the study AFTER the election.

    Our recreation space situation has existed for a long, long time. It’s not going anywhere…we can wait a while longer.

  3. >Fly…the facts that you DON’T have relate to your SPECULATION about what the SD recommendations focus on and why the report has not been available to the public yet. I copied your comments below, in case your selective memory strikes again.

    “A very reliable source has reported that many of the Schoor DePalma recommendations are related to Board of Education (BOE) owned properties. Reportedly, a major overall of athletic facilities at Ridgewood High School is the number one recommendation. Estimated costs to implement all recommendations at RHS, including artificial turf and a totally renovated stadium, would total well into six figures. The Fly on the Wall believes Schoor DePalma’s recommendations are intentionally being kept under wraps until after the school budget election. It would be politically unwise to unveil a six-figure non academic related plan just prior to a school budget election.”

    You state that the #1 recommendation is a renovation of the RHS stadium, which is estimated to be in the high 6-figures. Claiming that you have a “reliable source” does not make them FACTS.

    You also state that the recommendation would be politically unwise prior to the BOE budget election. Thus, you charge that the delay in making the report public is politically motivated. You have no FACTUAL basis to make such an inflamatory claim.

    But, most disturbing to me is your attempt to frame this recommendation (if it exists) as a BOE related issue, somehow dismissing it as “non-adacemic”. As I said before, the SD recommendations are intended to address issues related to ALL recreational facilities in the community. Because all recreational facilities must be shared between the village and the BOE, regardless of who owns them, the point that this would be a “non-academic” plan is irrelevant.

    Your reliable source may be accurate. And I hope he/she is. Because, this would be a recommendation worth considering. After the rain ends, wait 5-6 hours and drive around town. Notice whether Maple, Vets, Brookside, Stevens or the stadium field could be used for any sports activities. Do the same thing in 2 days. My guess is that the only usable field in both cases will be Maple. Therein lies the value of such a recommendation. Frankly, I don’t think the BOE should be allowed to treat the stadium field as a sacred cow any more. It is time for that field to be utilized much more cost efficiently to benefit the larger community. If that means that it must get turf…so be it.

  4. >What law permits Village officals to ignore legitimate OPRA requests and fail to provide a valid reason, in writing, why these requests are being ingnored?

    It’s only speculation that the report will be released post school board election; there has been no official word thus far as to why the report is being kept under wraps (other than “it’s still being studied”).

  5. >Why does every issue on this blog come down to a question of legality? Is your name Alvaro or Edwards? Everything the Village Council does is taxpayer-funded. That doesn’t give taxpayers a right to demand that the Village Council act on their command or according to a time table that suits you. I am not aware of any law that requires the Village Council to release a commissioned study within a specified period of time.

    They are entitled to time to digest and discuss the recommendations of the report. Perhaps they have questions for SD, which until addressed make the report unsuitable for public release. As BBWOOL said, this issue isn’t going anywhere. Relax! You’ll have your chance to comment on it soon enough.

  6. >Members of the public are hereby advised that the provisions of the New Jersey Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, et. seq., allow for public access to government records with several exceptions listed below.

    Exceptions to Public Access to Government Records
    • Privileged or Protected Category Authority
    • Autopsy Reports, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Child abuse or sex assault victim name or address, N.J.S.A. 2A:82-46b
    • Court records sealed, Executive Order 69
    • Computer security information, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Criminal investigatory records, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Credit Card Numbers, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Grand Jury testimony, information,Court Rule 3:6-7
    • Grievance information with public employer, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Domestic Violence data, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-33
    • Drivers’ license numbers, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • DYFS information, N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10
    • Electronic Surveillance Materials, N.J.S.A. 2A:156A-19
    • Emergency or security information or procedures, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Employee sexual harassment complaints N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Fingerprint cards, Executive Order 69
    • Inter-agency or intra agency advisory communications, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Juvenile records, N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-60
    • Labor Negotiation information, strategy or positions, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Medical Examiner Photographs, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Otherwise inappropriate material, Executive Order 69
    • Pension and personnel records, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Photographs, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.; Exec. Order 69
    • Pre Sentence Investigations, State v. DeGeorge, 113 N.J. Super.542 (App. Div. 1971)
    • Public Agency insurance communications, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Safety of persons or public, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.;Exec. Order 69
    • Security measures and surveillance techniques, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Social Security Numbers, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Unlisted Telephone Numbers, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Victim locations (Domestic Violence), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-26c.
    • Victim records, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq.
    • Record has been destroyed/not retained pursuant to: Records Retention and Disposition Schedule (NJ Dept. of State, Div. of Archives Mgmt.)

    So what exception are you claiming this information qualifies under?

  7. >Hey Fly… No one said that the records shouldn’t be made public. But, where do the statutes specify a deadline to do so. Give it rest!

  8. >Responses are required by law within 7 days of a formal request.

  9. >I’m pretty sure they gave a response — which was “we’re not releasing the info yet.” (to paraphrase). That’s a response. And why didn’t you copy and paste the 7-day thing so we could read the actual wording of the statute? And, finally, there is probably some legal interpretation as to whether this particular study results document falls into the “government record” category…

  10. >REQUEST FOR PUBLIC RECORDS (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, et seq.)

    A request for Public Records must be submitted on this form. If your request is approved, it will take some time to compile the records and make the copies requested, but they will normally be available within seven business days pursuant to statute. If a document or copy which has been requested is not a public record pursuant to statute or if it can not be provided within seven business days, you will be provided with a response with that information within the seven business days.

  11. >The answer to this seemingly reasonable question lies in the definition of public record. I say “seemingly” because what SD presented was a working draft, which not accepted for a variety of reasons. Substantial portions of the report contained errors or were not practical/feasible and are being revised. Until a final revision is “accepted” it will not be a matter of public record and will, therefore, not be available to the public.

    Personally, given the problems with the first effort, I am glad that it was not made public, so I don’t have to read the asinine comments that would have unnecessarily filled this blog for weeks.

    Boyd, I am sure they will let you know as soon as an acceptable report is available.

  12. >”Substantial portions of the report contained errors or were not practical/feasible and are being revised.”

    So we paid $42,194 for a piece of crap that we’re going to wind up re-doing ourselves. Only in Ridgewood . . .

    Nice going Charlie.

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