Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The American way? Or the Ridgewood way?

Did anyone else notice the strange juxtaposition of stories in the Ridgewood News last Friday? On the one hand, we have been reading for weeks about the many Ridgewood commuters who are unhappy with parking at the train station. Specifically, the fact that it now takes 24 quarters every day to park your car and take the train to the city. The story in Friday's paper said that the Village Council was having a "change of heart" and was considering parking permits instead of quarters, as well as a reduction to $1,400/year for a permit (By the way, Summit, NJ, ranked one of the most expensive towns in America, charges its residents $420/year.) The parking problem has been going on for months, if not years. Residents have expressed their frustration, begged for a solution and otherwise communicated their feelings through letters. emails, blog posts and comments at Council meetings. All the progress we've made is raising meter rates (to pay the interest on the bond we took out to spend $3 million on studies for a parking garage) and generously lowering the commuter parking rate from $1,500 to $1,400 per year?

In the same issue of the newspaper was the article on the proposed cell tower on Lakeview Drive. Approximately 30 residents showed up at the Council meeting to protest the tower, which would generate about $100,000/year for the Village. So the Village Council rejected the cell tower. Three-quarters of the article was Council members patting themselves on the back for listening and responding to the neighbors' concerns. Mayor Pfund said, "Believe it or not, we do actually listen to people, and we try to make things right." My favorite was Pat Mancuso's comment: "For your planning, for your calls...for coming here tonight, this is the American way. Thank you."

All I can say is, really? This is the American way? 30 people can show up to a meeting, protest something that might be in the best interest of the village, and get their way? Why doesn't this "American way" work for the parking problems, for Graydon, for Valley? I realize these are more complex issues, but I just thought it was curious to see these two aspects of the "Ridgewood Way" side by side.

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