* "The people did not realize
that they were merely recovering
a portion of their own property,
and that their ruler (mayor)
could not have given them
what they were receiving
without first having taken it
from them in taxes."
Translated from the Latin -
Decimus Junius Juvenalis
a.k.a. Juvenal c.100 AD
This is what the Mayor HAS or HAS NOT done for
I have to give the Mayor credit when credit is
due. An article from The Alternative Press (written by Connie
Jackson, East Orange Public Information Officer and strangely NOT
published either on the city's own Web site nor on the city's
Facebook page) reports that three East Orange Restaurants were
closed because of health or building code violations. The article
ends with this quote from the Mayor: A healthy community is
a clean community. This is a Quality of Life issue and East
Orange residents deserve and expect better, said Mayor
Lester E. Taylor III. Our Quality of Life Task Force, with
tips from residents and business owners, is strategically
cleaning up the city and making it a safer place to live.
If the Mayor is listening to residents and
business owners and acting on the information given him to at
least investigate and then produce a positive action, this is a
good sign and I hope it continues. If it is just for show, we'll
soon know, but for now I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt
and a PLUS (+)to
his goal of making the city a safer place to live.
NOW, if the Mayor will only publish the health
and building codes, along with all the other city ordinances,
ON-LINE so that anyone with a computer can read them and know
what they are IN ADVANCE of being shut down or ordered to comply,
then he will really be doing something that will be open and
transparent and make our city a safer place to live. This will do
much more than just give "lip service" to the term
"Quality of Life." Get your "Task Force" to
take on a real "Task."
I have to print a retraction and give my
apologies to the mayor and third ward councilpersons Ted Green
and Quilla Talmadge for thinking the errors in the advertisement
posted in Local Talk News had anything to do with them.
My first mistake was in reading the name Elwood
Park and simply thinking that someone had misspelled ELMwood
park. The Park on Summer Avenue Between ELwood Avenue and ELwood
Place is NOT called ELwood Park, but Phillips Park. If the
advertisers had added one word - Newark - after the name, that
would have kept me from mistaking it for ELMwood Park in East
Orange. So it is the people responsible for the advertisement
that caused the mix-up, but I apologize for not reading the sign
correctly and looking it up on the MAP before I started scolding everyone.
Yet Another Way to Waste Taxpayer Money! Raise
the Budget Again, Mr. mayor!
Posted on the City Facebook Page:
Did you know motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause
of death for children 14 years of age and younger? To crack down
on speeding, the City of East Orange has placed 'Drive Like
Your Kids Live Here' signs throughout the city to remind
drivers to slow down. If you see a sign in your neighborhood,
take a picture next to it and email it to us at email@example.com . Well post it on the Citys Facebook page
to show your support!
Lester Taylor has been telling me to "Sit
Down and Shut Up" since he first banned me
from commenting on his Campaign for Mayor Facebook Page in 2013.
Now he has a NEW Facebook page in which he wants to challenge
Chris Christie for the privilege of telling EVERYONE to "Sit
Down and Shut Up" as Governor of New Jersey. The first thing
a politician thinks about upon being elected to office is being
elected again, either to the same office or to a higher office.
That's what all the photos with kids and seniors has been about
since the day he got elected. He's already thinking about moving
up the ladder and will have less and less time to spend on little
old East Orange as he drools about what he could do if he got his
hands on the tax money of everyone in the State of New Jersey.
Dono Nuthin, Director of the Department of
Stupidity for the City of East Orange, has agreed to vote for him
providing the Guv, as he is being called around the office behind
his back, opens up a State Department of Stupidity so Dono
continues to have a job in 2017.
On November 10, the mayor will appear on Comcast
Newsmakers to talk to Jill Horner about public safety and
community policing strategies that have made East Orange the
safest it has been in almost 50 years. The segment will air on
Comcast On Demand on Nov. 10, which means no one who has Dish or
Direct TV or Verizon FIOS will get to see it.
I hope the mayor will explain how all the
following events described in past news articles show evidence of
just how safe we are in East Orange.
Problems Facing East Orange Safety in 2014
Dono Nuthin will be on the broadcast as well,
but you won't see him because he will be
"blue-screened" out of the picture. Instead, the mayor
will take his part and say all his lines for him.
What the mayor talked about: It was pretty much
the same head-in-the-sand "mayor-speak" that was in his
October 2014 MESSage.
5% reduction in violent crime
Shooting incidents down 80%
Perception that the city is unsafe.
Make people "feel" a sense of community.
"Drive like your kid lives here" signs.
30% lower crime rate than neighbors.
The caption on the City Facebook
Page reads: "On behalf of the City of East Orange, Mayor
Taylor accepts $150,000 from Essex County Executive Joseph
DiVincenzo for renovations to the tennis courts at Soveral (SIC) Park." No thanks is
given to the taxpayers who provided the money on which that check
is written. Everyone in that crowd thinks of that money as
"theirs" and not "ours." Many
taxpayers viewing this scene believe that they gave that
money to the county in taxes. No, the county TOOK the money from
you in taxes. You had no choice in the matter, and if you think
you did, try not paying your taxes for a year or two and see how
things really are in the real world of politics from your jail
The mayor is collecting hundreds of these photo
opportunity shots with our senior citizens, but look at them
closely and you always see the mayor talking/preaching to them,
but rarely is he sitting down and listening to them. If
he did, he might be able to provide them with what they really
need, like legal and financial counseling to keep them from
getting fleeced by people like George Vaugnn (inset), who recently pleaded guilty
to conning his 90-year-old dementia-stricken neighbor in the
senior citizen home out of $50,000. The mayor has three years
before he has to go around campaigning for re-election and
collecting senior votes; right now he should be doing what he
promised he would do for them, which is to provide them with adequate
City Council versus the City of East Orange -
wins with a score of 10 (plus 8 busy-bodies) to 65,000.
Dono Nuthin in the background doesn't count ... he only voted to
change the sign on the gate to read
"Please Turn Off All Brains."
The game is over, the fix is in, and now
businesses in East Orange have been handed the mandate that all
their employees MUST receive sick-leave pay. The council didn't
vote to put this choice on the November ballot or the 65,000 East
Orange residents might have had a chance to decide something
which affects the entire city, not just businesses. It would have
been easy enough to do that, but it would have set a bad
precedent for the Lester Taylor administration if he started
letting citizens vote on matters affecting the entire community.
I'm sure if it had been put on the ballot, it would have passed
overwhelmingly because everyone is in favor of making those evil
employers who have the temerity to hire help to be allowed to
make business decisions for themselves, but that's not the point.
The point is now the city rulers have proof positive that no one
will dispute their right to rule and their demands to be treated
like royalty will be taken seriously instead of getting them
laughed out of office.
In Local Talk Weekly dated from 9/04/14, Mayor
Lester Taylor was interviewed by editor Dhiren Shah, for which see the full interview HERE. I call your
attention to excerpts in which the mayor revealed his true
intentions and plans beneath the "show plans" that he
presents for public deception.
"Another thing I'm happy about is our
quality of life task force ... a multi-departmental initiative
... to educate the community about the standards and expectations
per our municipal code and/or state
laws regarding maintenance of their property. "
I highlighted one phrase in red. Regarding our municipal code, one of my first requests to the much heralded office
of constituent services was to get the East Orange Municipal Code
on-line so that we citizens can see what it is. We can't find it
in print in the public library, and if you ask to see it in city
hall, no one seems to have a copy that you can sit down and read.
Yet, one of the first actions of his administration was to send
out code enforcement "officers" to enforce codes that
are not available for the public to see until a ticket or a
summons is written.
"There's no intention
on my part to sell the water commission or privatize it."
It took long enough to get him to make this
statement public. You may recall I challenged him to answer this
rumor on May 10th, 2014 and put it to
rest back then. Not that it helps much, because the mayor broke
his campaign promises to lower taxes, so this one should be easy
to by-pass when he feels like it. But look at what he says next:
"My intention is to maximize the
productivity of that municipally owned and operated entity to
maximize its potential to service other customers so that we can in turn increase water rates,
provide safe drinking water, and create jobs and experiential
learning opportunities for young people."
Surely he meant DECREASE
water rates, which OUGHT to be the
goal of any REAL business that is
involved in maximizing productivity.
But no, he plainly states his plan to increase
the water rates, and as proof of that, has already raised the rates by 5%.
So not only is he moving forward with his plan to increase
property tax rates, we have his word that he will continue to
increase water rates as a direct result of "maximizing productivity" in the water
business. He makes it obvious that he has no idea how to run a
business. Also, recall that the whole idea of East Orange owning its own water works from 1881
until 2013 was to reduce property taxes and save money on
"We're having strategic conversations on
how we can help the school district apply to and/or lobby the
school development authority to build a new school in the 5th
Ward that does not have a school there."
The outcome will be that
we, the taxpayers, will pay for the mismanagement at the EOWC
with higher taxes and higher water rates. The EOWC will continue
to be run by a committee of so-called "commissioners"
who are used to spending other people's money to solve their
problems. This will be known as "fixing the problem".
In the above prediction, I
was 100% correct. What I failed to predict was that the mayor
would focus on the safety of the water, which was never in
question. It is trusting the mayor to speak the truth that
is in question. That's what we, the voters, mean by
"Transparency." The mayor thinks
"transparency" is just a political term he can toss out
to conceal the fact that he is hiding information and misdeeds
from the voters.
The reason I now call them the Silly Lazy
Alternative Press (SLAP) is because the TAP Into East
Orange Staff (as they refer to whomever wrote the article)
stated that this forum was being held "as part of (the
mayor's) election promise to maintain transparency." The
mayor never began talking about transparency until after he was
elected and it was becoming obvious that he was NOT being
transparent about anything that he suddenly began spouting the
campaign slogans of "transparency and accountability."
But those are part of his campaign for re-election to a
second term as mayor.
SLAP also said the mayor "addressed a
sizable audience." If every single person the mayor has
hired since he was elected attended the meeting, they would not
have had enough room anywhere in the library to hold the meeting.
If you include all the city hall workers that kept their jobs
after the mayor was elected, it would have been a mob scene. So I
am not impressed by their "sizable audience" statement
since no one bothered to count the number of attendees present.
SLAP also suggested that the purpose of the
forum was "to discuss the embattled Water Department amid
indictments, rumors of contaminated water and privatization
of the department." Wow! They let that last bit leak
out like a spurt of dirty water, didn't they? Yet nowhere do they
mention what the mayor responded to a "charge" of
privatization of the water department. I'd like some follow-up on
that tidbit of news. The fact that they even mentioned it means
someone at city hall has been talking about it.
The last SLAP in the face is the final
paragraph: "The consensus of the attendees interviewed by TAP
into East Orange seemed to suggest that the residents were
inclined to give Taylor and his staff an opportunity to get
things on track before passing judgement." How about the
time-honored method of writing down the interviews and
letting US, the READERS discover the inclinations of those being
interviewed? That's where the LAZY part of their new name comes
An article in NJ.COM today emphasizes the trouble the Newark
Watershed Conservation and Development Corp. has been having,
which is similar in many ways to the problems of the East Orange
Water Commission. It's what happens when you try to run a
business by a committee, especially by a committee controlled by
politicians. That's what our Water Commission is - a committee
controlled by politicians. The mayor is the ringleader
politician, who appoints the commissioners. The city council
provides more elected politicians who are supposed to be
providing oversight of the commissioners. You can see how well
that worked out for us in 2013, and how well it is working for
Newark this year. And yet we are back to restoring the same
political system with oversight by the same council politicians
who failed us in 2013. Those who don't learn from history are
doomed to keep repeating the mistakes history was supposed to
have taught us to avoid. Apparently, we, as a city, have learned
Now that councilpersons Alicia Holman and Lonnie
P. Hughes have not only passed the budget, but spoken out in
complete agreement of it because it gives them more of our money
to mismanage and waste on activities like the recent Fifth Ward
community day at Columbian Park, I have decided to include them
on this same page with their ringleader, the mayor.
Dono Nuthin (second from the right, thanks for asking) enjoys a
day in the park with his mentors who are teaching him how to
game the system and take money from taxpayers while making them
THINK all this stuff is FREE! What fun!
The Silly Lazy Alternative Press (SLAP) formerly known
as The Alternative Press (TAP) has pronounced the Fifth Ward
Family Day a "success" because no one guessed that the
money being spent had been taken from the taxpayers of East
Orange when they raised property taxes last year. The
increased taxes for this year will be spent next
year, and with any luck they can get away with it again without
riots and cries for recall of the wasteful spenders at city hall.
Well done, and the summer spending isn't over yet! Don't mention
that the money used on this day of frivolity, along with the
money for throwing parties in all the other city parks, could
have been applied to reduce the deficit in order to lower
taxes. Lonnie P. Hughes, chairman of the East Orange City
Councils Finance Committee, didn't know this? And you
elected him again?
Citizens and residents of East Orange: Your time
has come. The mayor and his council have decided that YOU shall bear the full burden
of their incompetence to balance the budget by cutting real
expenses, and therefore YOU must pay higher taxes.
Now we await with breathless anticipation for
the mayor to tell us how he will "fix" the deficit of
the East Orange Water Commission, which, we have been told by City Council President Quilla Talmadge,
has its own separate budget and the two deficits are not
connected in any way whatsoever. The meeting on 8/26/14 is
described as a "Community Forum" and a
"discussion" by the mayor, but he will do all the
talking and no more listening than he has done in the past.
The outcome will be (in case you don't plan to
attend) that we, the taxpayers, will pay for the mismanagement at
the EOWC with higher taxes and higher water rates. The EOWC will
continue to be run by a committee of so-called
"commissioners" who are used to spending other people's
money to solve their problems. This will be known as "fixing
the problem". Any questions? Ask Dono Nuthin.
Posted in The Essex News Daily today (8/10/14) was
a piece about a meeting that was held on Tuesday, July 29th, with
two of the former East Orange Water Commissioners, Darryl C.
Walls (suspended) and R. Greg Ward (resigned). It seems reporter
Chris Sykes was not at the meeting, because all of the
information in the article he wrote is third party
"hear-say" reporting. There are NO QUOTATIONS from
either of the two former commissioners who held the event.
Instead there were comments like these from people who attended
the meeting: As Patricia Braxton, a resident of Hoffman
Boulevard, was quoted as saying: "... we need the current
people here, as well as the mayor, since its his
administration that is responsible for whats going on now;
right now... Our council people need to be at this meeting. I
applaud the courageous actions of the people that called this
meeting. But I would hope that it would grow and that more
responsible people that are currently in city government would
attend. Lets get some transparency. We do not have
Carol Clark, who held her
own press conference earlier, continued to brag about what
she has done, as if she were still campaigning for mayor (and
perhaps she is) : I live in the 5th Ward. I served as the
5th Ward councilperson for eight years. I sat on joint meetings;
chaired the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee; and I also
chaired Law and Legislation. Before I became a council person, I
was the chairperson of the Golf Course Advisory Committee. I was
the liaison to the Water Commission for two to three years. So I
understand what has gone on over there and its not
right. But with all that foreknowledge and hindsight, she
still does not say what she knew and when she knew it and exactly
what is not right about it. Nor does she say why she did
not speak up about it during her recent campaign for mayor.
Apparently no one from East Orange attended who
had a pencil and pad of paper on which to take copious notes, nor
a voice recorder nor a camcorder, nor any way to ask questions
and record the exact answers. We not only do NOT have
transparency from our city administration, we have incompetency
and lack of transparency from the local media as well.
The mayor's TRUE message to East Orange
taxpayers for August 2014 is PAY UP! With the skill of a true
con artist, the mayor distracted the residents of East Orange
with Bread and Circuses, while he got his council
"ducks" all lined up to pass the most controversial
budget of our time, raising our taxes to pay for council
mismanagement of the money that they had already TAKEN from us in
the previous years of the Bowser administration, and asking us to
PAY for their crimes with a huge INCREASE in taxes for this year.
Instead of firing those responsible, trimming the salaries of
those overpaid miscreants at city hall, scaling back his
grandiose plans to spend more money he doesn't have, or finding
new sources of revenue for the city as he promised he would do in
all his campaign messages, the mayor will simply TAKE our money
by making it law that WE HAVE TO PAY MORE TAXES.
On 8/21/14, this article regarding this August 4th meeting was
published in the Essex News Daily. It doesn't add much that
is new, but it is interesting to note that the city council was
focused on cutting THINGS and PROJECTS from the budget, and not
overpaid PEOPLE and SALARIES. The distain which Fifth Ward
Councilman and chairman of the East Orange City Councils
Finance Committee, Lonnie P. Hughes, has for the taxpayers who
pay HIS salary is revealed in this quotation from the END
article: We had several meetings with the acting business
administrator and the chief financial officer, Hughes said
on Monday, Aug. 11. We had to sit down two and three times
and go back and forth and we all had to agree to the amount that
we were going to cut. We cut the appropriations in the budget by
$997,000. We only missed by $3,000, but thats a million
dollars in my book.
The mismanagement of the budget under the Bowser
Administration happened on the watch of these Council Members, who knew all about the
budget problems in 2013 and did not deal with them or make any
problems publicly known before the election in November of 2013:
First Ward - Andrea D. McPhatter, Second Ward - Jacquelyn E.
Johnson, Third Ward - Council Chairwoman Quilla E. Talmadge and
Ted. R. Green, Fourth Ward - Sharon Fields, Fifth Ward - Alicia
Holman and Lonnie
And here they all are mismanaging the budget again to make the
taxpayers PAY for their incompetence by simply requiring us to
sit still while they apply their financial enema solution to a
problem THEY helped cause.
Carol Clark Chimes In on EOWC. Guess who is
getting ready for a new run for mayor in the next election? But
her closing words in the recent Essex News Daily article show us
how out of touch politicians become when they are used to
spending other people's money as if it was their own:
Whats the remedy? Clark asked. You
pleaded guilty, now what? How are the city of East Orange and the
citizens and taxpayers to be made whole in this? Not only was
there a life, health and safety issue, there is also a financial
Well, Carol, we already know what that financial
implication is, since the cost of water to residents began to
rise with a 5% increase this month. The implication is that we,
the taxpayers, will pay for it and our elected officials will
make us do so by "putting it in the budget."
The East Orange Water Commission continues and
nothing much has changed except the people in the commission.
According to the mayor in a recent article published in the Essex News Daily,
"Id like to ensure [sic]
our residents and surrounding municipalities that the water
quality in the city of East Orange is safe, and I am working
collaboratively with the East Orange Water commissioners to
ensure that our most important asset is properly managed and back
on the road to financial stability. Yet the mayor does not
see that the problem IS the East Orange Water
Commission, a bureaucracy of appointed "know-it-alls"
who get high salaries and who apparently can't be fired, even
though they were appointed to the position. The fact that the two
perpetrators of mismanagement were shielded by the commissioners
in 2013 would make any intelligent person realize that the system
doesn't work; it hasn't worked for some time and we are just now
finding that out. Telling appointees to resign and having them
refuse to do so ought to make that very clear. It doesn't take
five people sitting around a table and meeting once a month to
manage a simple operation like the East Orange Water Works. I may
never trust the drinking water in East Orange again as long as
this clown and pony show is allowed to continue. My solution is below, dated 07/17/14. I know the mayor
doesn't listen to me. His phoney department of "constituent
services" no longer responds to my complaints. His "HootSuite" flappers who now operate the city Facebook
Pages, regularly erase my comments and only allow "happy
news" that they have decided is good enough for the
citizens and residents of East Orange to stay on our city's
public web page. How can you trust an elected public servant who
shuts people out and who won't listen to the people who got him
Our Original Parody Photo shows Department of Stupidity Dono
Nuthin standing at the mayor's right, where he belongs. The photo released by The Alternative Press has
tried to photoshop someone else into the picture, but we all know
Instead of highlighting coordinated efforts of
the mayor and the chamber of commerce to provide meaningful
summer employment for youths residing in the city, the photos
released show not a single unemployed youth being helped (they
don't hire East Orange youth at these fancy out-of-town
restaurants). In fact, any place that serves lunch and calls it
"luncheon" is too swanky and high priced for all but
the city's elite who are shown in the photos above and below.
Not a "youth" in sight. Did you get an invitation to
attend this "luncheon"? The venue was "Bella
Italia" in Orange.
We'll expect to see an accounting of the funds
raised by this "luncheon" and what it cost the city and
chamber to host it (as usual) outside the city where they can
bolster the economy of Orange, West Orange or Parsippany (but not
East Orange). And why are any funds at all required to help the
Chambers Summer Youth Employment Program? Does the Chamber
need to bribe East Orange businesses to hire East Orange youth at
"make-work" summer jobs?
Speaking of Transparency and Accountability, this press release regarding the mayor's appointment
of four new water commissioners, dated July 15th, actually
occurred on July 3rd according to the announcement and did not
show up on the city web site until today, 7/17/14. Thus it took
14 days for it to finally end up on the city's own Web site. So
much for the efficiency of the Mayors Office of Public
Information in getting out the news.
Now let's look at those appointments. Chris
Coke, the current Director of Public Works for the City of East
Orange was appointed to Acting Interim Executive Director of the
EOWC. That appointment makes sense. Chris Coke actually knows
something about the EOWC and has been doing parallel work for the
city in managing the water once it arrives in our pipes.
The rest of the appointments are pure fluff. None of the others
knows anything about running the Water Works except for turning
on the faucets in their own homes.
I submit that the entire concept of the East Orange Water
Commission is purely political in nature and that is how it got
into trouble last year. Politicians do not make good managers, as
currently demonstrated by our own mayor who is only good for
photo ops and who knows nothing about running the city beyond
spending taxpaper money he doesn't yet have. It is also obvious
when the mayor is quoted saying, "the new commissioners will
return the East Orange Water Commission to functioning and
operating properly in the best interest of the residents,
that he doesn't have a clue about what needs fixing.
It is not the East Orange Water Commission that needs fixing. It
is the East Orange Water Works that needs to be properly
supervised and managed. That's what we need to have functioning
and operating properly. That is what is in the best interests of
the residents of East Orange and the other towns that buy our
water. The Water Works needs to be treated like a business. We
sell water, residents and others buy the water. It is the job of
the Water Works to test the water, make sure it is safe and meets
all standards for clean water, then deliver it to the customers
for distribution. It's a business.
My suggestion is to abolish the Water Commission, put Chris Coke
in charge of straightening out the operations at the Water Works
and give him a free hand (with oversight from the council members
of each of the five wards) to get the business running again.
Instead of monthly meetings, Chris Coke can see to it that
everything he does is posted on the EOWC Web site, on a monthly
basis, the way it used to be posted before the water
commissioners got their sticky little hands on it. It's not
rocket science. Do the job, report to your boss - who is not the
mayor or the council, but the people of East Orange, the real
boss. If Chris Coke is not up to the responsibility, then fire
him and find someone else who can do the job, but not a
politician- someone with real experience in running a public
utility. However, I am sure Chris will do a fine job if the mayor
lets him. The one good thing the mayor did was to appoint him
Executive Director. Don't spoil it by sending him to meetings
On the down side, we need to remember Chris Coke's background with the city of Paterson.
He resigned there in May, 2014 and was quickly hired in East
Orange without much public fanfare or public knowledge. I hope he
was at least thoroughly vetted by the mayor, especially regarding
the Paterson scandals in which he was implicated. It
doesn't mean Coke won't do a capable job here, but I'd appreciate
a little more transparency and accountability from our mayor
regarding his new hires for the city.
On this Independence Day, we examine the Shell
Game being played by the Mayor and City Council regarding
Public Meetings for budget amendments.
Click on any "SHELL" to enlarge the
There are generally three roles to be played in
this con game. The OPERATOR is the one who puts a pea under a
shell and then shuffles the shells around. SHILLS surround the
OPERATOR and encourage the MARK to place a bet on the location of
the pea. The MARK always loses that bet.
I'm not sure who is the OPERATOR in this game of
Budget Meetings. The one who has signed her name to each of the
Public Notices is City Council Chairwoman Quilla E. Talmadge. But
the one who has the most "skin" in the game is the
One thing is certain, we know who the MARK is in
this game- it is US- WE the Taxpayers. We have the most to lose:
an average of $455 per property owner.
The SHILLS are most certainly the other council
members as well as certain other members of the mayor's
administrative "team". The SHILLS act as lookouts for
the law; they also serve as "muscle" to intimidate
MARKS who become unruly. Some SHILLS pretend to play the game,
and entice the MARK into betting. They crowd around to protect
the OPERATOR and other SHILLS from any incriminating photographs
being taken of the act. The OPERATOR and the SHILLS try to get
the MARK into a heightened state of anger or greed. Once this is
accomplished, one SHILL will pretend to disclose a winning
strategy to the MARK. It is all a ruse to get the MARK to place a
large bet and to make sure that the MARK loses every time.
Notice that NOTHING has been written down
regarding the Budget Meetings. There is NO PUBLIC AGENDA which
contains the wording of any actual "budget amendments."
The one Public Meeting which occurs on July 21st right AFTER the
5:00 PM Budget Meeting does have wording about "improvements
and enhancements designed to increase recreational benefits in
(Elmwood) park to benefit the residents of East Orange."
That's what shell game operators call a DISTRACTOR or
MISDIRECTION, to get the MARK to look away while the OPERATOR
puts the pea under a different shell.
East Orange has given up
control of its Facebook Pages to a Social Media
Management Company called Hootsuite. As mentioned before, the old
and new city Facebook pages once were
the only places where a resident could openly confront the mayor
about what is happening, and both were examples of the standard
"democratic machine" technique of concealing problems
by distracting the voters with "bread and circuses." Now that's all you will see on those pages -
provided by Hootsuite, news about events all around East Orange,
but not necessarily including any East Orange events. As patrons
of the Facebook pages have already discovered, most of the
announcements about events come too late to be useful and, of
course, they stay up forever, filling the pages with outdated
advertisements for any group that Hootsuite selects to place
there. Hootsuite is being paid to be the mayor's on-line "flappers."
The pages can still be used by
residents to communicate with one another about what is happening
in East Orange, since no one from the city will be actively
monitoring what is posted. Just go to the latest announcement
from Hootsuite and post your concerns as usual. The only ones who
will see it and respond will be concerned city residents like
We should have known that the
mayor and his administrative robots would soon drop out of
communicating with constituents from the way the city's own official Web page
is filled with out-dated announcements and propaganda for the
media. We can only expect to see "happy news" coming
from city hall. For the REAL news and the TRUE news, we'll have
to dig for ourselves.
06/28/14The East Orange City Council Spoke Publicly about
the East Orange Water Commission in this article from the Essex
News Daily (END). I guess it is time for me to speak publicly
about members of the Council and try to hold them accountable for
their statements as well as the mayor. First, let me put down
this direct quote from the article attributed to the mayor: In previous years the Water Commission
generated revenue for the citys budget, Taylor said
when he introduced his budget to the City Council (on April 14th,
2014). The administration met with the state Department of
Community Affairs, Division of Local Government Services, to
discuss potential ways to improve the fiscal state of the Water
Commission. Due to these significant financial challenges a
property tax increase of $455 a year equaling $113.77 per
quarter has been proposed for the average home valued at
$175,000. I put this in red because the mayor's
words are going to put us all in the red if he gets his way.
Now let us look at the contradictory remarks of
City Council President Quilla Talmadge in answer to this question
from END: "...how do the issues at the citys water
utility impact the larger municipal financial situation and the
ongoing Calendar Year 2014 city budget process in East
Orange?" According to Chris Sykes, her curt answer was:
"Not at all." The longer quote is:"The Water
Commission has the Water Commission budget and they are separate
from the city budget, Talmadge said on Tuesday, June 24.
Here's the contradiction: If "In
previous years the Water Commission generated revenue for the
citys budget" and this
year the EOWC has a 3 million dollar deficit, then they won't be
adding any revenue to the East Orange Budget for this year or for
some years to come. They are NOT as Talmadge suggests, separate from the
Another point of
contradiction: Question #1 - Where does the city get the money it
uses to spend on things, such as salaries of council members and
city administrators and the mayor, money for running its various
departments, money for all these little building projects the
mayor is looking forward to? Answer: from the taxpayers of East
Orange, mostly from property owners and businesses.
Question #2- Where does
the Water Commission get the money it uses to spend on things
like salaries of commissioners and workers, money for running its
daily operations, money for paying its bills, money it owes the
state in fines for mismanagement? Answer: from the residents of
East Orange and South Orange who buy the free water that rained
down on the watershed lands and which got polluted with
contaminents through their greed and mismanagement. Who else
could take something they get absolutely free and pure from the
heavens and muck it up so badly that no one wants to buy it any
more? So our taxes are going to rise, and the price of water is
going to rise at the same time, and only council members and the
mayor don't see any problem with that.
According to the END
article, Council Finance Committee Chairman Lonny P. Hughes
agreed with Talmadge that the issues going on over at the EOWC
should not have any effect at all on the CY 2014 city budget.
She was absolutely right, Hughes said. In the
past they had made some contributions to the East Orange budget.
But this year they were not in a position to do it. I dont
think that they were in a position to do it last year
They can't have it both
ways. If the money from the EOWC in the past was used as revenue
to keep our taxes low (and our taxes have been rising steadily
over the years - never decreasing- thanks to the money hungry
mayors and council members of the past who wanted to spend it on
their favorite little projects), and now we no longer have that
revenue, then they are both wrong and the "issues going on
over at the EOWC" WILL have an
effect CY 2014 city budget. Am I the
only person in East Orange who can do math?
06/27/14 The Mayor is Accused by Rucks and Ward. I am no longer so alone in feeling that mayor Lester
Taylor is making "backroom deals" and is NOT the least
bit "transparent" or willing to be held
"accountable" as his speeches have declared. The old
and new city Facebook pages are the
only places where a resident can openly confront the mayor about
what is happening, and are both examples of the standard
"democratic machine" technique of concealing problems
by distracting the voters with "bread and circuses." The city's
own official Website is only used to
report "happy news" as if the mayor were still
campaigning instead of in over his head as an incompetent city
administrator. The truth about him and his "cronies" is
only beginning to come out, and even then most of the East Orange
residents are in denial about what is happening. Since the budget hearing of 6/18/14 there has been no public word from anyone who attended
the meeting about any "budget amendments" or any
movement to avoid having East Orange property owners pay for the
six million dollar deficit with their property taxes.
Fifth Ward Councilman Lonnie P. Hughes, chairman of the City
Council Finance Committee, which deals with all aspects of East
Oranges municipal finances, was quoted in the same Essex News
as saying: We dont have all of the amendments yet,
because there was some movement of
personnel before the introduction of the budget.Those amendments should have
been made before they introduced the budget, but they didnt
do it. So the finance director and business administrator have to
make some adjustments. The council has some amendments that we
want to make, but we want to make sure that they adjust the
budget before we sit down and make our cuts. So there it is
stated plainly - there ARE NO amendments, at least none that
anyone wishes to talk about in public.
Here is the List of those Council Members who knew all about the
budget problems in 2013 and did not deal with them or make any
problems publicly known before the election in November of 2013:
First Ward - Andrea D. McPhatter, Second Ward - Jacquelyn E.
Johnson, Third Ward - Council Chairwoman Quilla E. Talmadge and
Ted. R. Green, Fourth Ward - Sharon Fields, Fifth Ward - Alicia
Holman and Lonnie P. Hughes. Shouldn't they, like the Water
Commissioners, be asked to resign or be "removed for
cause" with new elections called to elect NEW council
members in all five wards?
06/14/14 The Mayor has
asked four of the five Water Commissioners to resign, according
to the article in the Newark Star Ledger today. The
four being asked to resign include Roger R. Rucks, President, R.
Greg Ward, Vice President, Darryl C. Walls, Secretary, and Khalid
Wright, Commissioner. If they don't resign willingly, they will
be "removed for cause." I wonder which choice affects
any pension plans they may have. I also wonder why Commissioner
Michele Antley was spared.
It is the last paragraph of the article that
causes concern for me: "On Wednesday (6/11/14), the
states Local Finance Board approved a $3.2 million city
bond to plug a deficit in the commissions budget in
addition to $1 million the city loaned the semi-autonomous board
last year, Taylor said. But he said an additional $10 million to
$20 million would be required to repair all the problems."
Maybe this is not important to the very rich, or
for those who get money by taxes, but there is a huge difference
between ten million and twenty million dollars. We have already
been threatened with a tax increase of an average of $455 per
property owner, and that was based on a deficit of six million
dollars and change (a $3.1 million deficit in the Water
Commissions budget, and a 3.2
million dollar city deficit mentioned in his "State
of the City Address" that had to
have been well known to every one of the city council members who
were part of the Bowser administration, and which could only have
occurred with their participation in voting to approve the debts
and keeping quiet about it in 2013 - Question to self : Does this mean more resignations or
"removal for cause" in the near future?)
My concern is this, based on not
having received any response from the mayor concerning the rumor
I first published on this Web site on May 10, 2014. I suspect this
new "crisis" is a "set-up." Mayor Lester
Taylor has known about the water commission since January when he
started attending their meetings and signing off on their
resolutions. If he did any studying at all before he became
Mayor, he also knew about the mismanagement, the law suits, and
everything that had been made public in February of 2013. There
has been a rumor traveling about the city that the Mayor wants to
make a "back room deal" with Joe DiVincenzo to sell off
the East Orange watershed and wells to Essex County. I'm sure Joe
would love to have a golf course to continue the "bread and
circuses" routine he has honed to perfection on the South
Mountain property of Orange and West Orange. I can see this whole
thing as a "set-up" to resolve the made-up crisis of 20
Million Dollars...or is it 10 Million... we're not yet sure.
"No good crisis should go to waste," as Rahm Emanuel
likes to say. This would be a good time for mayor Lester Taylor
to promise the residents and taxpayers of East Orange that he
will not sell off our most valued property, the water shed that
for years helped balance our budget and was called "the wealth of the city" by all previous mayors.
06/01/14 The Mayor enjoys a day off from worrying about how he
is going to pay off a six million dollar deficit without raising
the funds on the backs of East Orange property owners to the tune
of $455 average in higher property taxes this year, and who knows
how long that tax increase will continue? He is doing his
worrying while attending the MetLife Summer Jam at the MetLife
Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on Sunday, 6/1/14. Incidentally, I
got the above photo from the East Orange City Hall Facebook Page. As soon as I commented about how the mayor was
spending his time NOT worrying about the deficit and the tax
increases, and linked to this page so those who wondered what I
was writing about could see for themselves, guess what? That's
right, the photo and my comments were deleted. This is what the
mayor calls "transparency" and "a culture of
accountability and performance." Remember that the next time
he makes a flowery speech.
05/12/14Three City Administrators have
resigned recently, including the
mayors appointed city administrator, Stephanie Bush-Basket,
as of April 25; Andrew Edelson, the mayors spokesman and
public information officer Friday, May 2; and Public Works
Director Michael Johnson, as of Friday, May 9. I'd like to suggest that the positions
be terminated and the salaries attached to those position be used
to offset the $6 Million in total deficits reported by the mayor
in his State of the City Address ($3.2 million from the city
administration and $3 million from the Water Commission). I'd
like to make a modest proposal that additional terminations of
administrative positions begin at once in all departments across
the city and including the entire board of Water Commissioners
who were obviously incompetent in allowing that deficit to happen
on their watch. Reducing the total amount budgeted for salaries
and wages for fiscal year 2014 by six million dollars
($60,894,330 - 6,000,000 = $54,894,330) pays off the deficits and
erases the need for increasing property taxes, and still leaves
enough people who actually know how to run the city and who have
been doing the actual work of running the city, providing they
continue doing the jobs they were hired to do.
Let's look at this like a
business. Suppose you hire someone to be the head of a department
in your private business- let's say the department in charge of
building widgets, whatever they may be. Suppose you hire a
complete nincompoop, for $100,000 per year who has absolutely no
experience in making widgets, and, like us, has no idea what a
widget is, much less how to make one. So the new department
head's first move is to begin hiring other people who do have
experience and knowledge of how to make widgets. He hires people
who know all about widgets and love making the little things. He
promises each person he hires $100,000 per year, and there are
six of them because he has created new departments and new
offices for each of them, and each one has a secretary at $50,000
per year. All of these highly paid people are doing the exact
same job that you hired the first nincompoop to do, making the
widgets that he is incapable of making. How long would a private
sector business last with that kind of hiring philosophy?
So now we have hired (by
election) a mayor who has no experience in running a city and no
idea how to run a city. He needs to hire a city administrator who
actually has some experience in running a city. Although he is a
lawyer and a good speaker (that's how he talked himself into the
job), he needs to hire a "spokesman and public information
officer" who can speak for him, and if the mayor tells the
spokesman to say something that his bosses, the taxpayers, don't
like, he can fire the "spokesman" instead of getting
fired himself. What? You didn't know that was the reason for
having a spokesman? He also hires department heads who sit at
desks and order around squads of people who actually do the real
work, like filling in potholes (have you seen any being filled in
lately?), and so on. Get the picture? So what's the difference
between a mayor and a private sector nincompoop? The main
difference is that the private sector nincompoop will be fired
very quickly, because the company is losing revenue created by
the decreased sales of widgets. The mayor gets money simply by
raising the budget and demanding it (by law) from the taxpayers
to pay for all the people he has hired to do the job that he is
incapable of doing. The process for firing the mayor is a long
drawn-out process that involves new elections, and he has a
thousand voters built into his job that can insure that it
probably won't even get that far (remember that bragging in his
State of the City Address about "one thousand plus"
city employees who all depend on the mayor for their jobs and
05/10/14 I'm tracking down a rumor. I don't like rumors because
they usually turn out to be untrue, and I want to only publish
the truth in the East Orange True News. The rumor is
that there is a "back room deal" between Mayor Lester
Taylor and Essex County Executive Director Joe DiVincenzo, to
sell off the East Orange land containing our water wells and golf
course to Essex County.
To answer that question, I have
contacted the Mayor's Office of Constituent Services with a
direct question, to which I expect a direct answer in a timely
response: "Do Harry L. Mansmann, of Lawrenceville, former
executive director of the EOWC, and William Mowell, of Wyckoff,
the former assistant executive director and engineer for the EOWC
still work in any capacity for the East Orange Water Commission?
If not, on what date were they terminated as employees?" -
Complaint 261 sent to the Mayor's Office of Constituent Services
on 5/10/14. (Follow-Up:
5/13/14 - No Timely Response yet! 5/15/14 - Ditto. 5/17/14 Ditto.
5/30/14 Ditto. 6/5/14 Ditto. 6/11/14 Ditto.)
But there is another question
that needs to be asked directly of the mayor. "How and when
did you first learn of the three million dollar deficit of the
East Orange Water Commission? Do any of the on-line agendas of the EOWC reveal that deficit, and if so, which ones?"
The mayor could also immediately
dispel the rumor that has surfaced by publicly stating that he
has no intention of selling off any part or parcel of the East
Orange land to Essex County or any other public or private
entity. (Follow-Up: 5/13/14
- No rumor denial yet! 5/15/14 - Ditto. 5/17/14 Ditto. 5/30/14
Ditto. 6/5/14 Ditto. 6/11/14 Ditto.)
I noted that the reporter, Chris
Sykes, got his "well-received" headline impression from
being included in the City Hall Chambers, where you could hear
applause every time the mayor turned a page in his speech, right
on cue (check the video below). Sykes
only interviewed people from that room, all of whom had been
invited by special invitation from the R.S.V.P. list.
Outside City Chambers, crowded
into the hallways to sit on folding chairs or to stand, were the
ordinary taxpayers who were paying for the event. None of them
were interviewed as to what they might have thought about the
mayor running a campaign on lowering property taxes, and then,
six months into his administration, suddenly announcing an
unprecedented raising of taxes to the tune of $455 average per
property owner in one year (on top of an announced $65 tax
increase from Essex County's Joe DiVincenzo - and who-knows-what surprises yet in store from the
State of New Jersey).
The mayor is counting on us to
accept his "spin" on how he had taken "difficult
but necessary steps" when, back in January, he had suddenly
learned that the previous administration had somehow secretly
handed him a 3.2 million dollar deficit that had to have been
well known to every one of the city council members who were part
of the Bowser administration, and which could only have occurred
with their participation in voting to approve the debts and
keeping quiet about it in 2013. The mayor can't fire elected city
council members, but he could at least have pointed out those at
fault and how they accomplished this "secret" deficit
that only became known when he became mayor. But, no, they are a
part of his TEAM EO, which seems to be a team financed by the
taxpayers and playing against the taxpayers to force us
to pay for their deceptions, then and now.
The "difficult but necessary
steps" he should have taken immediately on learning of this
bad news ought to have included informing the public of the bad
news immediately, instead of waiting until he had a chance to put
a cheerful "spin" on it with his visions of
Instead of taking the
"difficult but necessary step" of getting rid of every
public employee who was part of running up this deficit and
keeping quiet about it so the taxpayers would not hear about it
until they got the bill, he not only kept all 974 employees from
2013, but increased them to 982 for 2014,
and in his State of the City Address refers to a "thousand
plus city employees." Divide the number of employees by the
$60,894,330 budgeted for them in salaries and wages - that's
$60,894 per employee per year (with a guaranteed raise each year
on into the future). How many taxpayers earn $60,000 per year
working in the private sector? Keep in mind that most of the
city's public employees earn less than that in order to give the
big bosses much more than that, but apparently it's a job with a
future and a guarantee against being fired, because not one of
them was terminated for either causing or knowing about this $3.2
million deficit and not speaking up.
We have clearly not elected a
business-minded mayor who can be trusted to make business
decisions for the city. Instead, we have elected a lawyer who
operates on spin and deception while calmly smiling at the camera
and making pleasant speeches.
Follow-up: More of the same drivel from Chris Sykes of the East
Orange Record/ Essex News Daily was
published again on 5/12/14. It sounds like they are all getting
ready to hold hands and have a sing-along in praise of the mayor
instead of holding him accountable. It is part of the Democratic
strategy of "if you keep saying the same thing over and over
again for a long enough time, people will start to believe it's
true." I'm glad we have the Internet and don't have to rely
on Chris Sykes to tell us what we are supposed to be thinking. I
hope no one relies on me to tell them what to think when I've
gone to all the trouble to link to the original sources so
citizens have the freedom to think for themselves and decide what
is true and what is not.
However, the mayor's opening
words are clear enough to catch him in a deception. He states:
"When I took office a few months ago, I made two promises
and only two promises. Number one was that my administration
would work hard, that we would be transparent, that we would work
cooperatively with (garbled). Those are the only two promises
that I made."
#1) "I do
solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United
States and the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, and that
I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and to the
Governments established in the United States and in this State,
under the authority of the people."
further solemnly swear that I will faithfully, impartially, and
justly perform the duties of the office of mayor of the city of
East Orange according to the best of my abilities. So help me
But before you
were elected mayor, you also made certain promises publicly,
which are recorded and printed up on your own campaign posters
and literature. They are listed at the very top of this page, and
the promise that was always first and foremost on every list was
the promise to "reduce property taxes by cutting government
waste and increasing revenue through development."
On April 15th of
this year, without any warning, you publicly went back on that
promise, and quickly began making a series of excuses for
negating that contract. That shows me that you did not work hard
on finding a solution, and you certainly did not work
transparently, since you gave no hint of what was about to take
The mayor is directly quoted as
having said: "I have created a culture of
accountability and performance in City government where we are
focused on results and every employee shares in the
responsibility of providing high quality services. Through
my Office of Constituent Service and the Quality of Life Task
Force we have initiated, staff will focus on the issues that
affect residents every day directly at their front door." As
the above Accountability Chart has been showing since January
First, when the mayor took office, this is clearly not true. The
mayor has made only token progress, thanks to the work of others
outside of his administration. His office of constituent
services, which began by being responsive to residents, has
stopped communicating with entirely, based on my own experience
with them. The mayor has yet to define what he means by
"Quality of Life" so we have no means to judge whether
he has had any affect on it or not.
Regarding public safety, the mayor was directly
quoted as having said: East Orange is statistically safe,
but public perception of safety and the fear of crime can derail
any attempts to bring economic development and improve the
quality of life experienced by residents and stakeholders.
Community interaction and communication are the keys to
equalizing statistics and the feelings of safety. If that
is true, then by his recent actions, he is his own worst enemy.
He stated on April 15th, according to the Newark Star Ledger, that he had
"cleaned up a dumping spot in the citys Third
Ward", which photographic
evidence shows to be untrue. This is the property that the
mayor told WMBC in a television interview, had been cited
by "police, fire, health department and property maintenence
department" and "cleaned up within two days." When
I confronted the Mayor's Office of Constituent Services with this
photograph evidence, they stopped all communication with me as a
result. It seems what the mayor is really saying in his State
of the City Address, is that he intends to talk his way out
of all problems instead of actually solving them. As long as we
have a "public perception of safety," that's good
enough for him to merely be "equalizing statistics
and the feelings of safety."
According to the "East
Orange Public Information Office", apparently no one
attending the State of the City Address made any
comments or challenged the mayor to back up his statements with
proof. If you look at both the old
and new city Facebook pages, you will see that I am
the only East Orange resident challenging the mayor to make good
on his campaign promises instead of going around the city making
appearances for photo opportunities which allow him to pretend to
be concerned and pretend to be taking action.
05/05/14 The mayor's State of the City Address was given at city
hall to an overflow crowd who sat or stood in the halls watching
the mayor's speech on a television monitor. The good news is that
if it was televised, it was being recorded and we should soon
have access to that recording for those of us who were not able
to attend in person. My analysis was that the reason the mayor
gave this address only six months into his first term instead of
waiting for the traditional twelve months was so that he could
"sell" taxpayers (the bosses who pay his salary) on the
idea of accepting his $455 average tax increase as well as
accepting his big spending projects as being
"necessary" for the "quality of our lives."
That analysis seems to be correct. If a written transcript of the
speech is released, I will link to it here. If the video is
released without a written transcript, I will attempt to provide
one. If nothing is released and each person has to depend on his
own memory of the words spoken, that will be reported here as
04/23/14 Summer Youth Employment Kickoff. This can be credited to one of the mayor's Ebony
Magazine promises: "To Improve the City's Unemployment
Rate," although it is only applicable to East Orange
Students ages 14 -18.
04/22/14 - City Budget Posted as Promised by Mayor's Office of Constituent Services. Calling all
concerned taxpayers! Form a study group to pour through the
budget and find ways to cut spending and reduce taxes since the
mayor obviously did not do that on our behalf. On Sheet 2 of the
Budget it states: A hearing
on the Budget and Tax Resolution will be held at the East Orange
City Hall on Monday, May 19, 2014, at 6:30 PM at which time and
place objections to said Budget and Tax Resolution for 2014 may
be presented by taxpayers or other interested persons. Show up at the meeting on May 19th, not just with
objections, but also with real, practical and possible solutions
for each objection.
EO Codes to Be Enforced BEFORE Being
Posted According to this news article
in the Essex News Daily, the mayor has established a code
enforcement department and already begun enforcing city codes
BEFORE there is even a way for ordinary residents and businesses
to be able to find out what those codes are. I have been
requesting for a long time that the municipal ordinances, city
codes, and agendas of city council be put on line for everyone to
be able to access freely and easily. As it now stands, the new
code enforcement director and his deputies can issue tickets and
summonses based on code violations you didn't even know existed
and have no way to look up on your own.
04/19/14 According to the Essex News Daily, reporting on
one of the mayor's forums held on March 11th, the mayor said
this: We need to upscale some of our development. We have a
lot of leakage people that live in East Orange, but shop
outside of our city. The mayor said the only way to stop
this leakage was to bring (in) businesses that
you want to shop in. He said his administration plans to do
this by revitalizing and redeveloping the
Lower Main Street area to transform it into a destination
for local shoppers as well as those from surrounding areas.
Id like to see, when you think of Caribbean food, you
think of East Orange, said Taylor. Like the Newark
Ironbound section is known for Portuguese food. Were going to partner with organized labor
to make that happen.
I think that, if we had a section of East
Orange that we could do that, it would probably be a good thing,
because we do have a lot of Caribbean people here in the
city, East Orange City Council President Quilla Talmadge
said on April 8.
I think that would be a good thing. And if
he is thinking about doing that around the Main Street area, it
would definitely help bring that part of the community back. I
think it would be a positive thing.
The two sections I marked
in red show why this is going to be a costly venture for
the taxpayers of East Orange.
04/16/14 In answer to my request for an on-line
budget, the Mayor's Office of Constituent Services promised
me that the city budget for Fiscal Year 2014 would be posted on
April 22, 2014 on the City Web site. I hope they do a better job
of posting it than the East Orange Water Commission did when
attempting to post the past agendas and resolutions for January
and February of this year. When one clicks on the links, one gets
this message : "The resource you are looking for has been
removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily
04/15/14 Tax Day ... No
Surprise! Mayor Lester Taylor is planning to raise our taxes to
pay for all his expansive administrative potitions and
"incentives." Read it and weep! Then get ready to fight him
every step of the way! If we let him get away with this (it's not
a done deal...yet!) we can only expect tax increases to continue
next year and the following year, and so on. He has no clue about
how to raise city revenue without taking it from those who own
property in the city. Talking about not increasing taxes while
privately planning to increase taxes in the budget, and taking
people's money by the force of government taxation (what I call
Lying and Stealing) goes directly against what he said in the
Comcast Interview on March 10th: "I think public service is
an honor, but I think that it is important that all individuals
who work for city government understand and be held to the
highest standards of ethical integrity and accountability."
We need Kevin Taylor's help to organize East
Orange residents against Lester Taylor's tax increases. Please go
to Kevin Taylor's FACEBOOK page and ask him to get
active. If he waits until the next mayoral race (2017) it will be
04/04/14 Once again, the
Village of South Orange issued a water quality report on the
water that it gets from the East Orange Wells. Meanwhile, the
East Orange Water Commission has failed to update its web site
with news since 2010, and has not updated its agendas and resolutions since Mayor Lester
Taylor took office. Currently, the only way East Orange residents
are getting reports on water safety is through the regular
testing reports coming from our neighbor, South Orange. At the
same time, Mayor Lester Taylor is talking about "making this
safe community safer." I, for one, would feel safer if he
spent some time convincing the Water Commissioners to do their
jobs and keep East Orange up-to-date with current information on
water safety posted on their own Web site. We know they are capable of
changing the Web Site because the president of the EOWC just
added a notification that:
East Orange Water Commission Special Call Meeting for
March 27th, 2014 at 5:00 P.M. at 99 South Grove Street,
East Orange, N.J. has been CANCELLED. Our next Scheduled
Meeting is Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 at 5:00 P.M.
BY ORDER OF ROGER RUCKS PRESIDENT, EAST ORANGE WATER
If he can make that announcement on-line, Roger Rucks can
certainly update the agendas and resolutions of previous meetings
for 2014, and keep them updated for the remainder of the year.
"We are working to stabilize and reduce
taxes, while at the same time we are working on strategic
partnerships with organized labor and business to improve the
city's unemployment rate which is 45-50 percent higher than the
"We need to create livable wage jobs for
our people and use organized labor programs so we can train
people and expose them to these career options."
"We need more educational opportunities in
a free public education setting in order to prepare our students
for college and career. And that doesn't necessarily mean only
college because college isn't for everyone."
03/22/14 According to Essex News Daily's staff
writer Chris Sykes, the mayors community forums prove popular.
That's easy to write or say, but no evidence of popularity is
provided. Instead, we are only told what the mayor said at one
particular forum, and not told what questions those in attendance
asked, nor has any video of the forums been provided to date.
03/19/14 Under one of his photos of the community forum held at
Norman Towers on 3/18/14, photographer John Henry wrote:
"There is a scripture that says 'above all my brethren, get
understanding.' Talking to one another is a good start."
I responded: "There are two definitions of the word 'Forum.'
# 1 - A place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a
particular issue can be exchanged. #2 - A court or tribunal.
"The photos seem to show a tribunal in progress; the person
with the microphone stands in front of the room and the people
sitting down without microphones get to listen. I certainly hope
that is not what is going on at these community forums, but
without a video (including audio) posted on-line, those of us
unable to come out at night to these forums will never know if
ordinary citizens are being allowed to question those who hold
the microphones or not, or if there is any exchange of views and
ideas as in definition #1. If anyone IS making videos of the
forums, so far they have not made them available to the public. I
agree that talking to one another is a good start, but
that is not what I see in the photos you have taken."
On 03/20/14 I added to the above: The mayor made two campaign
promises that he has not yet addressed since he came into office:
to "create good jobs for our residents and create a 'better'
educational system." Our high schools have TV and Film
departments which ought to jump at the chance to teach students
how to video record these community forums and put them on-line
for Internet users and on the local TV channel 34 (which Comcast
users in our community can view but not Dish or Direct TV users).
That would address two campaign promises by making better use of
the educational system we have already had for years (but rarely
used) as well as train the students for future jobs in video, TV
and the Internet. I should also note that
this would cost the taxpayers nothing to implement immediately.
03/17/14 Yet another photo session with the
mayor, this time with the 6th-8th Grade East Orange All Stars
Basketball team celebrating their recent championship win. When I
get more information on this championship game or the team, I
will link to it here. Creating Recreational opportunities for our
young people is one of his campaign goals, but I can't give him
credit for a photo opportunity unless he did something to create
the opportunity for the team. Did he?
03/17/14 - The Village of South Orange, which
shares water from the East Orange Artesian Wells through a
contract with the East Orange Water Commission (EOWC), has
decided to continue this arrangement through 2016, but it
is interesting to note that they no longer trust the Commission
to test the water for impurities and do the testing themselves.
It is also interesting to note that there has been no updates of news on the EOWC Web site since 2010 -
before the 2013 State Grand Jury indictments of Harry L.
Mansmann, of Lawrenceville, executive director of the EOWC, and
William Mowell, of Wyckoff, the assistant executive director and
engineer for the EOWC, with conspiracy (2nd degree), multiple
counts of official misconduct (2nd degree), pattern of official
misconduct (2nd degree), unlawful release of a toxic pollutant
(2nd degree), multiple counts of violating the New Jersey Safe
Drinking Water Act (3rd degree), violating the New Jersey Water
Pollution Control Act (3rd degree), and tampering with public
records or information (3rd degree). The recent article in the Essex News Daily simply
states, "The two men no longer oversee water testing for the
EOWC." Is that it? They weren't fired or fined or
imprisoned? The mayor meets with the Water Commission on a
regular basis, when he is not busy with photo op sessions or
parties. It would be nice to get an update of the status of that
indictment from our own East Orange mayor or from the EOWC Web
site, rather than have to depend on Essex Daily News from the
Village of South Orange.
03/10/14 - Mayor Taylor was interviewed on Comcast Newsmakers. He talks about delivering
"high quality" services to constituents, residents and
businesses that he serves. He states: "All individuals who
work for city government should be held to the highest standards
of ethical integrity and accountability." Finally he states,
"We want to create jobs in our community." These are
all campaign promises listed in the "Stated Campaign Goals
NOT YET Addressed" box above. What he does not talk
about are any details as to how that will be accomplished and
what it will cost us in terms of taxes.
03/08/14 It's called the First Annual Mayoral Ball which implies that
there are to be others that will follow. Naturally, the mayor of
East Orange can't have a ball in East Orange, so this was held in
Parsippany at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel. I don't know who
paid the bill for this extravagance, but I suspect taxpayers were
among the largest "contributors" without being invited
to join all the "dignitaries" who actually showed up.
Didn't you get your invitation?
03/03/14 The February 2014 Calendar never did
get posted, but the March 2014 Calendar was posted late on the
3rd day of March.
02/27/14 There is one day left
for the City Calendar of Events for February
2014 to be posted on the city's Web
Site. Not the recreation department's calendar that no one pays
attention to because it never changes, but the pdf file calendar
that actually USED to list coming events for the month. In the
Bowser administration, it was always posted late- 10 to 15 days
past the first of the month. This is a new record for lateness.
No one at City Hall seems to care.
02/14/14 - Mayor Lester Taylor and Councilwomen
Quilla Talmadge and Sharon Fields joined seniors in celebrating
Valentine's Day at the East Orange Senior Center's Young Hearts
Luncheon & Dance. Congratulations to the "Young
Hearts" who were honored at the event and thanks to the
taxpayers who paid the bill.
02/04/14 - CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH --
Visit City Hall this upcoming week, Feb. 3rd - 7th, for a special
Black History Month display featuring photographs of East
Orange's own African American icons. Mayor Lester E. Taylor, III
will provide opening remarks on Monday, February 3rd at 10 AM.
The display is hosted by The City of East Orange and the Historical Society
of East Orange, Inc.
01/29/14 One of the
Mayor's stated goals (CTS
Debate on 5/15/13 - Question #6) in Education was: "I
look forward to establishing strategic relationships with
businesses to establish internship and job opportunities to teach
our young people about business plans, about accounting, about
how to be an entrepreneur." An Internship Program was held on 1/29/14,
presented by the EO Chamber of Commerce and the EO School
District. No report of the results or outcome has been made to
date. Still, this is positive action on one of his campaign
01/28/14 - In honor of the late Joyce Alexander
Walker, an East Orange native and the first ever African American
to be elected to the Cherry Hill township Council, Mayor Lester
E. Taylor, III presented a proclamation announcing January 28th
as "Joyce Alexander Walker Day" in the City of East
Orange to Walker's mother, Edna Alexander, and friends of the
Walker family at City Hall on Tuesday.
01/15/14 - The City of East Orange wishes a
happy 104th birthday to noted resident Jim Clark, a member of the
Professional Caddies Association Hall of Fame. Mayor Lester
Taylor and Councilwoman Andrea McPhatter joined Clark and other
residents for a celebration.
01/08/14 - Mayor Lester Taylor and Council
Chairwoman Quilla Talmadge met with seniors at the Senior Center
01/06/14 Staying Connected Bulletin. Click HERE or on the above picture to
Dear East Orange residents,
It has been an eventful first few days as your mayor.
Wednesday was an exciting day for myself, my family and
our city as I was sworn in along with the five Council
members elected this November. Thank you to everyone who
joined us at the inauguration ceremony.
Not long after the celebration, Mother Nature put our
administration to an early test. In the interest of the
safety and security of our residents and City employees
we felt it was necessary to declare a snow emergency
Thursday evening and made the call to close government
offices on Friday.
The snow, ice and freezing cold temperatures present
several challenges for our city, such as clearing snow
from streets and sidewalks, making sure seniors have heat
and hot water and keeping everyone informed with timely
I spent yesterday riding along with individuals from the
Department of Public Works and Office of Emergency
Management. I would like to thank all employees from
these departments for doing an excellent job preparing
for the storm, clearing our roads and responding to the
needs of our families throughout the day. Thank you also
to our men and women in the police and fire departments
for keeping our city safe at this time.
While this is the first storm of my administration, it
will likely not be the last. That is why I want to hear
from you. We know that we can always do better. Let us
know how were doing, so that we can improve all
that we do during these winter months.
Please leave your thoughts and suggestions in the
Mayor Lester E. Taylor, III
Next East Orange
Time for a clean sweep of the East Orange
Council Chairwoman Third Ward - Quilla E.
Four terms in office, since 1990.
Council Member - Andrea D. McPhatter
Two terms in office, since 2008
Council Member - Jacquelyn E. Johnson
Four terms in office, since 2000
Council Member - Sharon Fields
Two terms in office, since 2005
Council Member - Lonnie Hughes
Two terms in office, since 2007