"A private association is essential. To be effective, such an organization should include in its membership all families of the community."--Radburn Designer Clarence Stein, from the "Radburn" chapter in his classic book Toward New Towns For America.

 

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Previous Newsletters: June, 2005 | September, 2005, | October, 2005 | November, 2005

THE RADBURN CITIZENS’ ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER
June Meyerson, President

December 7, 2005 Issue #8

Dear Friends and Neighbors of the Radburn Community:

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 and camaraderie!

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 regarding PREDFA.

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 time.

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 Meetings

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 Incorrect Statements

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 group.”

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 letter.
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.

Sincerely,

JUNE MEYERSON, President, Radburn Citizens’ Association

 





 

   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radburn Citizens' Association | Fair Lawn, NJ 07410