Newsletters: June, 2005
| September, 2005, |
THE RADBURN CITIZENS’ ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER
June Meyerson, President
December 7, 2005 Issue #8
Dear Friends and Neighbors of the Radburn
The Holiday Soiree on December 3 provided
a wonderful time for all, with close to a hundred Radburnites
partying until midnight. Our DJ really knew how to get people
out on the floor, and the community displayed its dancing
skills in all styles, expert and otherwise. The food was
superb and the community feeling generated was exhilarating.
It was an evening that will be long remembered for its warmth
Special thanks for her extraordinary efforts
go to Zdena Nemeckova, who, with the aid of Larry Koplik,
Bob Gulack, Mike Roney, and Barbara Gremillot, transformed
the gym into a twinkling candlelit winter wonderland, illuminated
by an astonishing curtain of glowing icicles. I would like
to thank Linda Coll for helping to coordinate the event,
and Maureen Moriarty and May Hayden for their assistance.
Last but not least, thanks must go to our clean-up committee,
Ron and Linda Coll, Larry Koplik, Kathy Moore, Zdena Nemeckova,
and Mike Roney.
Steve Rothman Calls for Free Elections;
Koplik, Moore Denied Seats on Board of Trustees
The democracy movement in Radburn now enjoys the support
of our Congressman. See Steve Rothman’s letter in
the insert to this newsletter. We have also succeeded in
winning the latest election for the Radburn Board of Trustees,
even though the candidates selected in the first-ever Radburn
Trustee primary had to run as write-in candidates. Kathy
Moore and Felice Koplik each received 199 votes as write-ins.
Behind them in the count were Jeff DeVries (132 votes) and
Lou Weiss (120 votes). Unfortunately, Radburn’s current
leadership has chosen to ignore the write-in votes, as is
reported in the Bergen Record article reprinted in the insert
to this newsletter. The Trustees are constantly describing
the Radburn Association as a nonprofit corporation, but
they pay no attention to the law requiring the counting
of write-in votes by New Jersey nonprofit corporations unless
“fair and reasonable” procedures were available
to gain a place on the ballot (N.J.S.A. 15A:5-20(e)). As
the democratically elected President of your Citizens’
Association, I will continue to advocate for open elections.
I believe the citizens are capable of choosing candidates
that will serve in the best interests of Radburn.
Radburn’s Sky-High Legal Fees
We all received the Radburn Manager’s
Dec. 2, 2005 message attempting to justify large legal fees
in resistance to Radburn’s conforming to the requirements
of state law.
Here’s a little history: After researching
the applicability of PREDFA to the Radburn community, and
securing advice from a New Jersey attorney expert in this
area, it was clear to me that PREDFA did apply to Radburn.
I went in confidence to my fellow Trustees, and informed
them in writing, requesting them to obey the statute. It
was not necessary for them to spend a dime on legal matters.
If they had simply chosen to obey the law, the matter would
have ended there. They chose, instead, to continue to ignore
the law. As a responsible Trustee with a duty to make sure
our organization obeys the law, I was thus forced to file
a formal complaint. Even in August, when the government
of New Jersey wrote to the Trustees explaining that PREDFA
applied to Radburn, my fellow Trustees chose to go on spending
our money in a vain attempt to defy the law on this issue.
It is now four months later, and the Radburn Manager can
only tell you that Radburn is having “an ongoing dialogue
with the DCA.” It is time to stop having a dialogue,
and start obeying the statute. The Trustees have no right
to go on spending our money to defend their position in
direct opposition to the will of the majority of our community.
The Manager continues to repeat that PREDFA
does not apply to Radburn. The fact that PREDFA applies
to Radburn is now the announced position of the New Jersey
state government. It is based on the position taken by the
New Jersey state attorney general. It is consistent with
the position taken by the only New Jersey court ever to
rule on the issue. All this was explained to the Radburn
Board months ago by the responsible New Jersey government
lawyer, in a letter reprinted in this newsletter. But my
fellow Trustees still say they don’t “believe”
it. If the Trustees would simply acknowledge that PREDFA
applies, and allow this community to nominate and elect
its own Trustees, there would be no further dispute whatsoever
The Manager argues that it is somehow the
“fiduciary responsibility” of the current Trustees
to defend their position. This, of course, is nonsense.
The Radburn Association is under no such obligation, and
the democratic Citizens’ Association passed a motion
requesting the Radburn Association not to waste our money
on such efforts.
The Manager argues that the Citizens’
Association forced the Trustees to incur additional legal
expenses by involving “governmental officials and
the press.” We here in Radburn have the same right
as anyone else represented by Congressman Steve Rothman
to ask for Mr. Rothman’s help. In fact, Mr. Rothman,
as a staunch supporter of democracy, proved anxious to help
us bring self-government to our community. It is not necessary
for the Trustees to consult their attorney and spend more
of our money every time Cong. Rothman calls for democracy
or the Bergen Record chooses to cover this story. There
was nothing in Cong. Rothman’s comments or the Bergen
Record stories that required a word of legal advice.
What Has Mr. Ferro Actually Done for
Two Months’ Pay?
The Radburn Manager has claimed the Radburn
attorney only charges Radburn $200 an hour, even though
his regular rate is said to be about twice as much. If,
as the Manager reports, the Radburn attorney’s firm
has so far billed $62,000 on the PREDFA issue, that works
out to 310 hours of work – almost two months of legal
time. Attorneys practicing in New Jersey have confirmed
for me that preparing a legal memo on this simple law, and
preparing for a single visit to Trenton to talk to DCA,
should not involve nearly two months of an expert lawyer’s
What all this boils down to is that, in my
judgment, the Radburn Manager and the Radburn Association
Trustees have been wasting tens of thousands of our dollars
in a vain and un-American attempt to postpone the day when
we enjoy our democratic rights. What is more, I am afraid
that they are prepared to continue this irresponsible spending
in order to achieve their ends, while blaming your democratic
Citizens’ Association for these expenditures. They
are attempting to intimidate and frighten us in order to
prevent us from securing our rights as citizens.
Residents Continue to Be Turned Away from Trustee
About twenty Radburn residents showed up
to attend the last meeting of our Board of Trustees on November
30. The group was sent away by the President of the Radburn
Association with the promise that no binding votes would
be taken, and that there was therefore no legal requirement
that the community be allowed in the door. One has to wonder
how President Matule knew, in advance, that no binding votes
would be taken. Wasn’t it at least possible that the
Trustees attending this regularly scheduled meeting might
have wanted to vote on something? Will everything be arranged
from now on so that the Trustees never actually have to
vote on anything?
President Matule’s Factually
On November 21, 2005, Robert Matule, the
President of the Radburn Association, wrote to Charles Richman,
the Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of
Community Affairs. This letter was cc’d to Cong. Rothman,
whose office has graciously provided me with a copy. In
this letter, Mr. Matule chose to describe Radburn’s
Trustee primary in this manner:
“[I]n the recent Citizens’ ‘primary’,
the candidates were residents proposed by the dissident
Mr. Matule also chose to describe the selection
of candidates for our primary as resulting from “one
Board Member submitting only her candidates for a ‘primary’.”
Both of these statements by Mr. Matule were
incorrect, and Mr. Matule had every reason to know they
were incorrect when he made them.
1. The Radburn Manager was present at the
October 19, 2005 Citizens’ Association meeting where
the primary procedures were discussed. It was decided by
a formal vote at that meeting that participation in the
primary should be offered to each and every one of the twenty
people whose names had been considered by the Radburn Trustees.
Minutes were kept of this formal vote. The Minutes recorded
the motion was made by Joan Goldstein, seconded by Walter
Weglein, and carried by a majority vote. Any of the 20 original
candidates who wanted to be on the primary ballot were placed
on the primary ballot. I called each one of them personally.
We attempted to include each and every person that had previously
sought nomination in this year’s election process.
There was absolutely no selection of candidates by a “Board
Member” or a “dissident group” or anyone
else. The winnowing from the 20 original candidates to the
seven candidates on the primary ballot was done by the candidates
themselves. The process was absolutely open, and Mr. Matule
should not have told DCA otherwise.
2. The Oct. 19 Minutes were distributed at the Nov. 16 Citizens’
Association meeting, prior to Mr. Matule’s Nov. 21
3. These Minutes were posted Nov. 17 on the Radburn Citizens’
Association website, where they remain today.
4. The primary process was spelled out, in writing, in the
Primary Ballot Flyer that was distributed to the whole community
by November 1 (again, well before Mr. Matule’s letter).
The Primary Flyer states: “All 20 of the original
candidates for the Board of Trustees were asked if they
wished to be considered in this primary process.”
5. The primary process was spelled out, in writing, in my
November 6, 2005 newsletter, which was delivered throughout
Radburn by November 13 (a week before Mr. Matule wrote his
letter). My newsletter stated: “All 20 of the original
candidates for the Board of Trustees were asked if they
wished to be considered in this primary process. Seven candidates
agreed to be included. (The four candidates nominated by
the sitting Trustees did not agree to run in the primary.)”
All the Trustees received a copy of this November newsletter,
including Mr. Matule.
I find it very difficult to understand why
Mr. Matule failed to check his facts against any of these
obvious public sources before sending these factually incorrect
written statements to DCA. I call on Mr. Matule to withdraw
these statements in writing, sending a copy to Mr. Richman
at DCA, and to all those cc’d on the original letter:
Cong. Rothman, Sen. Corzine, Assemblyman Gordon, Assemblywoman
Voss, and State Senator Coniglio. In my judgment, Mr. Matule
owes all these people, and this community, an apology for
saying these things.
On the same day, November 21, Mr. Matule
also wrote directly to Sen. Corzine, making the same factually
incorrect statements, virtually word-for-word. This letter,
too, was cc’d to Cong. Rothman, whose office graciously
provided me with a copy. This letter was also cc’d
to Gordon, Voss, and Coniglio. I call on Mr. Matule to withdraw,
in writing, the representations concerning the primary made
by Mr. Matule in this second letter, sending a copy to all
recipients of the letter to Sen. Corzine.
Key Events for Your Calendar
The Annual Budget Hearing of The Radburn
Association will be held Tuesday, December 13 at 7:30 PM
in the Clubroom of the Grange. Please plan to attend, and
press the Trustees for details as to the legal expenses
already discussed in the newsletter, as well as any other
matters that concern you. I look forward to this meeting,
which represents the first time in 2005 that the Trustees
have met with the Radburn community.
Our next Citizens’ Association meeting
will be held the next day, Dec. 14, also at 7:30 PM in the
Clubroom. We look forward to discussing Radburn’s
budget among many other issues.
I wish you all a joyous holiday season, and
a happy and healthy New Year.
JUNE MEYERSON, President, Radburn Citizens’