Council Candidate Selma Avdicevic: Town Is Living On Credit Card Debt

This is an occasional column that takes a look at the various candidates running for office in May's nonpartisan election

Selma Avdicevic, a founder of Woolly Boo—which sells natural, chemical-free bedding for children—has announced she is running for the 2nd ward councilor position in May's local election.

In an email Friday, she said she has not joined any slate as she "personally believes them to be beauty contests. Should there, however, be a slate with candidates that have same interests at heart for the Montclair and all its residents as myself, I will gladly join it. I am nothing if not a team player. In the mean time, I will try to bring forward the issues that have been plaguing us all, AND TRY TO FIND THE SOLUTIONS. Those issues are:

"1. Stop the tax increases!
1a—Deal with the crushing municipal debt.
1b—Create efficiencies of scale in the Municipal Office. It is time they enter the 21st Century.

"2. Help the town recruit and hire a new superintendent of schools.
2a—Create economies of scale in the main office. It is time they enter the 21st Century as well.
2b—Improve test scores.
2c—Improve graduation rates and college admissions.
2d—Close the achievement gap.
2e—Resolve Montclair Community Pre-K funding.

"3. Save things that make Montclair what it is:
3d—First Night/May in Montclair
3e—Public spaces

"4. Bring commercial tenants to the shopping areas.
4a—Help the Montclair Center Business Improvement District promote Shop Locally initiative.

"Now, before we start a debate about the issues outlined above, I just wanted to let you know that I do believe that these things can be achieved by living within our means. The current Council, the Mayor, and the Town Manager have a tendency to announce and talk about these grand ideas, like carbon footprint, and bike lanes, yet we still have issues with garbage pickup and potholes that are not being addressed. Our town lives on what can easily be described as credit card debt that is being shuffled from one credit card company to another, but everyone cries foul when municipal and BOE jobs need to be cut.

"I can't promise you that any of these things will be accomplished, but I do promise to work very hard with all the members of the Council, the Mayor, and the Town Manager, as well as all volunteer commissions, groups, committees which as a goal have best interests of Montclair and its residents.

"If you agree with these points, and are a 2nd Ward resident, I urge you to sign my Petition of Nomination. I will be available in public to talk about these issues, and listen to any concerns my future constituents might have:

"On Saturday, February 25 on Watchung Plaza, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
On Monday, February 27 on Watchung Plaza, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, February 27 at the Watchung train station, MSU bound side, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
On Saturday, March 3 in front of the Learning Express toy store in Upper Montclair.

"If more dates are requested by the public, they will be posted.

"In addition, for this purpose, the following Facebook page has been created. Please "like" and share with your friends and neighbors not on this mailing list: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Selma-Avdicevic/199186090182653?sk=info

For those using Twitter, you can find me at @selma_avdicevic.





El Kabong February 26, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Ira, believe it or not, that isn't the headquarters of J. P. Morgan Chase on Valley Rd. Your master plan to levy taxes on banks, or other merchants, that you perceive to have too much cash on hand would have one predictable result; that is, they would close their doors and move out of town. This is America, not a banana republic dictatorship governed by the fiat of imbeciles. Oh, wait...
Craig February 29, 2012 at 02:34 PM
continued....Looking to share fire services with neighboring towns - we provide services to Bloomfield. We should be looking at a district fire dept incorporating several towns with firehouses in neighborhoods but administration at a central location. This is not that large of an area and every town does not need a chief and other higher-ups. we should also add a volunteer element to work alongside the professionals we have. Many towns use volunteer FDs successfully - we should be incorporating both. And that is really the central theme - posts like those from Ira Shore expect the town to raise the citizens. Cut taxes the world ends according to him. How about private citizens pitching in to fund and promote 1st night (businesses benefit from that), how about a town dump you bring bulk waste to instead of them coming to you to get it? How about volunteer parents being more involved in the schools rather than teachers aids? A highly taxes town allows people to sit back and say - I pay for this, they should do it. A lower taxed town fosters more a community because people should feel that the community needs to be involved for this to be a community that functions.
Craig February 29, 2012 at 02:38 PM
At least Selma is specifically identifying the problems as problems and not talking in generalities like the slates. When recession hit in 2008 my business operated lean for 4 years (we are now increasing the staff by around 25%) - people pitched in, worked hard and we got through it. Why it is unreasonable for the town of Montclair to operate the same way? I never had teacher aids in my classrooms outside of kindergarten growing up in a very good Monmouth Country school district (one ranked well below Montclair in the NJ Monthly rankings) and the classrooms had 20-25 kids. We all lived and most of the kids went on to college, grad school and judging from Facebook and the last reunion, most seem to be happy and doing well. The town should be a responsible employer but does not have a responsibility to be an employer. The first things we should be doing are: Outsourcing sanitation and other services that can take the longer-term pension and benefits costs off our books. Driving the cost per pupil down in Montclair. If Ira Shore is right and we have a student population of 5,700 and a school budget of $114MM that's $20k per child which seems really high. If the district has a large surplus (and they found it by properly planning and operating lean - no kids were harmed in 2011 things went on as usual) the BOE needs to figure a way to make due at the 2012 budget and push some of that surplus back to the taxpayers in the form of a reduction in property taxes.
Craig February 29, 2012 at 02:40 PM
sorry for the typos! hope you get the gist.
Stuart Weissman February 29, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Craig. Take a look at Florham Park's budget. What you are advocating can be done. But not with the last 12 years of spineless jellyfish sitting on the council.


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