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Missing Sample Ballot Spurs Resident Action

Peter Bradley calls the lack of information for fields referendum deliberate and accuses the BOE of lacking 'managerial courage.'

The Parsippany Board of Education's $7.7 million athletic fields referendum is scheduled for Tuesday. And with one day prior to the special election, many residents say they still have not received sample ballots in the mail. One township man decided to take action to ensure that people can make an informed decision at the polls.

Peter Bradley created a flyer that he distributed to his neighbors over the past weekend. He said concern over the lack of information moved him to act—and he accused the school board of being deliberately slow in getting information to voters.

"I’m convinced the BOE believes the referendum would fail if more people knew the full story," he charged. "I’d prefer a fair vote and let the results be what they may be. I don’t think we will have a fair vote on Tuesday. The date is very unusual; most people would not expect to vote on anything in January. The BOE sent a flyer with bias and incomplete information, and some of the residents will not have received sample ballots. I didn’t get one."

Bradley's flyer offers information that he said has been obscured by the school board, details that have led him toward voting no.

"$7.7M is just way too much to get our fields into playing condition," he said. "We could turf the fields and replace the tracks for a lot less. We don’t need lights, or bathrooms. The BOE has done very little to explore less expensive options."

"I find that very disappointing."

He accused the board of not addressing citizen questions and concerns regarding added operating expenses, parking, noise, security at night or lights.

"My feeling is these are tough issues, and the BOE would rather not engage with homeowners," Bradley said, calling the situation proof of what he called the board's "lack of managerial courage."

And he offered a message to those who support the plan, saying students at Parsippany and Parsippany Hills high schools need improved fields now.

"The Hills football team seems to be doing well with the field as it is," alluding to the Vikings' ascension to the state sectional championship semifinals in 2012. "The field is not perfect, but it’s a football field, for goodness' sake.  Plenty could be done to improve things today, fences could be repaired. The track at PHHS is fine, as are the bleachers. We’ve been doing just fine without [80-foot] lights, we don’t need them."

He suggested the board deal with improvements "based on specific needs by each school."

"A lot of what is being proposed are 'nice to have' things," said Bradley. The 'Turf our Fields' group started with the presumption that our fields are terrible and embarrassing. Rather than just address the field conditions, the BOE expanded the scope and added huge costs.

"We need to ask ourselves, can we afford this?"

And he said he worries as well for what he called the school board's "dysfunction."

"I see a lot of bickering, finger pointing and lack of trust among the board," said Bradley. "The superintendent compensation debacle still lingers and makes the BOE look very bad."

And while Bradley's flyer makes the fields proposal look very bad, he insisted that the primary goal of his personal effort was to convince residents to vote, even if they support the school board plan.

"I’d prefer a fair vote," he said. "Let the results be what they may be."

The referendum is slated for Tuesday from 2-9 p.m. at nine polling sites in the township. 

Another point of view January 21, 2013 at 04:06 PM
I received my sample ballot and another mailer from the BOE last week. My friends and neighbors received theirs too. I was at a football playoff party last night with 5 other familes and they all received thier ballots as well. I watched the video that was posted to this story. I can not believe how bad the situation is with the field, fences, parking lot, etc. Everyone.... look at the video and the pictures. We need to vote yes! I
Citizen Jane January 21, 2013 at 04:26 PM
I too am conflicted about the decision, the fields are in terrible shape and everyone forgets how much the community really uses these fields - we run/walk at the PHS track and there are tons of seniors who walk in the evening, plus the PE classes and the marching band use these fields and they get covered in mud, and this is where our kids graduation ceremony is, which is just embarrassing. A lot of grandparents can't climb the bleachers and little kids get scared on them, they don't even feel safe. I cannot believe they are not included! For me, the cost and the lack of bleachers being included are a big problem, otherwise I wouldn't hesitate to vote yes.
Beth Bluj January 21, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Parhome - check out the BOE website - it explains in better detail exactly what the plan includes and also includes the cost breakdowns.
Beth Bluj January 21, 2013 at 04:59 PM
This response is taken directly from the BOE website: "Add barrier free accessibility to the field and grandstands. This will require the creation of new paved barrier free parking stalls adjacent to field level and the creation of a paved barrier free route from the stalls to field." "What is meant by "addition barrier free parking stalls" and where will they be located? • Additional parking spaces will be provided that are closer to the fields then the existing handicapped parking spaces. The BOE has updated their Q&A section as of 1/18/13. To help avoid any confusion - grandstands is another word for bleachers.
Beth Bluj January 21, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Steve - the bonding company gave a presentation and recommended to do the ballot in one question. The BOE did their due dligence by asking questions in regards to having more than one question, allowed the public to comment, and then made a decision to do it in one question.
Carol M. January 21, 2013 at 07:49 PM
It just dawned on me that these mimic posts really do hurt the no vote cause; they reek of desperation and deflate any valid concerns you may have. The mimic posts are a display of immature behavior and cause one to question the source and validity of any information supplied by those who make it clear they plan to vote no on the referendum...keep up the good work mimic; you are championing the yes vote cause for us.
clyde donovan January 21, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Some people should go to prison for taking taxpayers' money intended for capital improvements and not using some of it to maintain these fields. The whole $7.7 million proposal is another huge scam.
clyde donovan January 21, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Why don't you start a non-profit organization and raise the money for these fields, or is it easier to rape the taxpayers?
joe raich January 21, 2013 at 08:48 PM
We have laws governing when sample ballots are mailed, when and how literature and signs can be distributed, leafleting near a polling booth, and the management at the polls themselves. The fields question ought to be liable to class action legally determining how our elections are conducted. Faulting the BOE, the Morris County Board of elections, and US Postal service should place question to its results.
g January 21, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Did you know that an opposing team arrived at PHS for a soccer game this year, saw the conditions of our fields and got right back on their bus? There was NO "Pride in Parsippany" that day. This is a an absolute prevarication. Are you saying that the school doesn't maintain the field? If they are not then fire the bums and get our money back. HOW WILL THE SCHOOLS MAINTAIN THE NEW ARTIFICIAL TURF FIELDS IF THEY DON'T MAINTAIN THE CURRENT GRASS FIELDS?
parhome January 21, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Off topic, but what ever happened to the plans to have the public get to the gym at the Hills in a way other than thru the loading dock in the rear (if you park in that area)?
Natalie Davis (Editor) January 21, 2013 at 11:57 PM
Information I've learned says that much of that money went to the direct education of students after state aid vanished a few years ago. I have no answer to this or an opinion, but I ask you, Chris P. Jim Donavan Bacon: What would you have done? Education isn't a worthy expense?
Nicholas Robert Homyak January 22, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Too much too do about sports in this land; rather than civics or social responsibility; "artificial turf" why does that have to be included with some upgrade of "playing fields". Would not it be better to run on earth; dirt; grass? Its a plot to cut back on Municipal Government for privatization of School sports. Vote NO
Candice Aloisio January 22, 2013 at 02:13 AM
no Scott, that's not what I'm saying. I am frustrated that people cry foul when the truth is they show absolutely no interest in keeping up with what is going on in town. The BOE and the Town Council cannot force people to pay attention, but its not fair to whine that they "didn't know" when they choose to ignore it.
Analli Citall January 22, 2013 at 02:38 AM
Candice, the BOE has an obligation through the County Elections to make sure everyone is aware there is an upcoming vote. It is not correct to just say that people should know the vote is happening and it is to bad if they don't.
Candice Aloisio January 22, 2013 at 02:43 AM
I'd like to know who posted a comment at 11:49am using my name? I did not apologize to Mr. Bradley. I stand by my comments. The BOE has no say in the PROCESS of the vote. Wording is not process, its content. The Superintendent specifically told me and approximately 50 other people in the room that the referendum went "well in advance of the deadline". I choose to believe his enthusiastic remark. Did the BOE set the deadline? No, the County Clerks office did. Yet, you are holding the BOE responsible for the failure of the USPS and the Clerks office. I suggest the false poster have the integrity to speak with their own voice in the future. You are a coward. Natalie, how is it that someone can post using my name when we all have to login? It really calls the integrity of the Patch into question. Would appreciate a response.
Candice Aloisio January 22, 2013 at 03:23 AM
to the poster vote no: Where in the sample ballot does it say extra money can be used on other projects? I don't see that verbiage anywhere but I can see how it could be interpreted incorrectly. I see it says that amount may be "transferred between the projects ...funded with the bonds". I believe my understanding of the statement may actually have been improved because I specifically asked the BOE attendees at a meeting this month about the estimate and what happens to the money if the bids come in under budget. The answer I received was that "it is illegal for the BOE to use the money on any other project, that it MUST be returned to the taxpayers". Further, the example was provided that if the total cost was only $7M, then $733,000 would be returned to the taxpayers. There was no waffling nor room for misunderstanding in Dr Seitz's response. Also, bids cannot go out to contractors to get better prices until the BOE has the authority to request bids, meaning they have to be ready to accept a bid and begin the projects within a reasonable amount of time - otherwise they are wasting contractors' time and money. So we can't do that without having the money appropriated. Please reconsider your position and go with your first thought - the kids (now and future) deserve better fields.
Hank Heller January 22, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Glad you have asked the question, Natalie. Education is very important to all of us, but words telling us after the fact are often just empty words. The past BOE majority and Administration have never been very forthcoming to the taxpayers of Parsippany. Just because you have been told something does not mean it is true. We have been often blackjacked by the very question you propose..."Information I've learned says that much of that money went to the direct education of students after state aid vanished a few years ago. I have no answer to this or an opinion, but I ask you, Chris P. Jim Donavan Bacon: What would you have done? Education isn't a worthy expense? And my answer is...if the money went where you were told it went, please provide the paper trail. If the need to continue programs were real, what else could have been done to economize. In a budget of $131 mm and growing, surely there are opportunities to save somewhere. Remember, we have been told that our facilities have not been cared for in years. I think that is true. Note: please see our athletic fields, fencing, bleachers, shower rooms for students etc. If there is not enough money to care for the facilities AND to properly educate our children, perhaps we have the wrong Administrators at the helm.
Kevin M January 22, 2013 at 08:51 PM
I'm with Parhome. Par-Troy residents/parents/taxpayers need to raise their standards and demand more from its BOE leaders in the form of disclosure, accountability, due diligence and fiscal responsibility. My yes vote turned into a NO vote because $7.7 million should include new bleachers (not just ADA "outfitted" bleachers-Come on Beth,who do you think you're selling on that one) and a track that won't be obsolete the minute it's installed. Our kids deserve better than that, and I will fork out the money when this new BOE gets back to the drawing board and DOES IT RIGHT! NJ Families today are learning how to get more, do more and accomplish more with less money in these times. This BOE and Par-Troy's Town Hall better start incorporating this practice and be increasingly responsive and accountable to the growing amount of financially-drained, beleagured residents who have had enough with blind spending, lack of accountability and forethought, and operational inefficiencies or face a mass exodus of taxpayers. And if you think I am just blowing smoke, think again and look at Bergen/Passaic County. Just ask NJ Congressman Steve Rothman why he is out of his DC job this afternoon--because NJ is loosing congressional seats to other less expensive, more efficiently run and more aesthetic states. On another topic, I am in District 22--no sample ballot, that in itself should stink enough to wake up some people to the shady practices of the past BOE and administrators.
Hank Heller January 22, 2013 at 09:35 PM
I AM TRULY UPSET WITH THE PROPONENTS OF THE THE FIELDS REFERENDUM. THE COMMENTS LISTED ABOVE POSTING AT 4:03 PM AND 4:05 PM WERE NOT WRITTEN BY ME!!!! i HAVE WORKED HARD TO BE FAIR AND HONORABLE IN THIS DISCUSSION AND I HUGELY DISRESPECT THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE THE CHARACTER TO SIGN THEIR OWN NAMES, PURLOIN OTHER PEOPLE'S NAMES AND TRY TO FOOL THEIR FELLOW TAXPAYERS IN ORDER TO HAVE THEIR DISHONEST, DISRESPECTFUL AND DISGUSTING WAY! YOU HAVE MADE SURE TO HAVE MANY INTERESTED VOTERS NOT GET THEIR LAW GIVEN RIGHTS TO BALLOTS AND DISCRIPTIVE INFORMATION. NOW YOU TAKE THE SLEAZY OPPORTUNITY TO STEAL THE REFERENDUM! WHOMEVER IS PARTY TO THIS DISHONESTY NEEDS TO BE PUNISHED BY THE COURTS AND SHOULD BE SHUNNED BY THE CITIZENS OF PARSIPPANY. WITH DEEP DISRESPECT, HANK HELLER
Robyn M. January 22, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Who is the horrible person who is commenting and pretending to be other people? You can tell from the condescending language that it is a troll. There are too many people in this town who do not want to hear any opinion, except for their own. Too bad, if you don't like people asking questions! Too bad if you don't like comments! We live in a country where we can be free to express our opinions and the nasty responses, as well as this underhanded name-stealing needs to stop. I hope Natalie can figure out a way to move this up the Patch ranks, so that each name must be unique.
Hank Heller January 22, 2013 at 09:43 PM
THE TWO DISHONEST POSTS FALSELY ATTRIBUTED TO ME NOTED THAT I RECOGNIZED THE FOOLISHNESS OF HAVING MULTIPLE FIRMS PRESENT PLANS TO THE BOE. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS NOT SO. THE ONLY WAY FOR CITIZENS TO FEEL THAT THEY ARE GETTING GOOD THINKING AND GOOD PRICING IS FOR THE WORK TO BE PUT OUT COMPETITIVELY! THIS HAS NOT BEEN DONE. ADDITIONALLY, THE DISHONEST POSTS NOTE THAT I SAID THAT I HAD BEEN REMINDED THAT TWO YEARS AGO, ON THE ADVICE OF DR. SEITZ, $2.5 MM WAS RETURNED TO THE TAXPAYERS. THIS IS ALSO NOT SO. IT DID NOT HAPPEN! FURTHER, POST 1 SAID THAT I UNDERSTAND THE ACCOUNTING OF THE $5 MM IN EXCESS FUNDS OF SEVERAL YEARS AGO. THE EXPLANATION WAS OFFERED BUT NEVER BACKED UP BY WRITTEN DOCUMENTS AND THE MONEY DID DISAPPEAR INTO THE MORASS OF THE NEXT YEARS BUDGET. I DID NOT UNDERSTAND IT THEN AND I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE EXPLANATION NOW. HANK HELLER
Natalie Davis (Editor) January 22, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Mr. Heller learned of the craven, immoral act perpetrated by someone using the screen name "iliveinparsip"after I read those two fraudulent postings and knew instantly that they did not come from him. This needs to stop now. This sort of thing tarnishes the very integrity of the election result. The idea is that voters tell us what THEY want. They should not be manipulated into taking points of view based on lies, deception, masquerades, etc. Stop it now. I have seen this man and other posters—and myself—have identities hijacked this way. It is painful and it is wrong. Stop it. If your view cannot win an election through an honest vote, it is because your fellow citizens disagree. That's how the democratic process is supposed to work, not through chicanery.
Hank Heller January 22, 2013 at 10:00 PM
REGARDING THE LIES IN POST1 1 AND 2, I KNOW THAT IF THE $7.7 MM IS NOT FULLY USED FOR THE PROJECT, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO RETURN THE MONEY TO THE BOND BUYERS. THE BOND BUYERS MUST BE PAID THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE BOND, WHICH IS $7.7 MM AND NOT A PENNY LESS. REGARDING MY COMMENTS ABOUT THE PRIOR BOE MAJORITY, I MAINTAIN THAT THE ENTIRE FIELDS CONCEPT WAS WORKED ON EARLY BY NEGLIA, MANCUSO, ORME AND CALABRIA AND PERHAPS OTHERS. THERE WERE SECRET MEETINGS THAT OTHER MEMBERS WERE NOT INVITED TO AND THERE WERE SECRET PLANNING SESSIONS THAT SEEKED TO PUT A PLAN TOGETHER THAT COULD POSSIBLY FLY BY THE TAXPAYERS. IT WAS ALSO AT THE LAST BOE MEETING THAT NEGLIA AND ORME ATTENDED AS SITTING MEMBERS OF THE BOE THAT I ASKED WHICH OF THE BOE MEMBERS ATTENDED THE LAST "FIELDS" MEETING THAT WE FOUND OUT WAS HELP IN SECRET. THE ANSWER AFTER SOME HEMMING AND HAWING WAS NEGLIA AND ORME. SO MUCH PRESSURE WAS PUT ON THE MEMBERS OF THE BOE THAT EVEN THOSE WHO HAD RESERVATIONS WERE SWEPT ALONG BY THE FORCE OF ACTION BY THE "FIELDS" PROPONENTS AND THEIR ALLIES ON THE BOE'S PRIOR MAJORITY. I THANK YOU FOR IS THE CLEAR INSIGHT THAT THIS HAS BEEN A DISHONEST RAILROADING OF PARSIPPANY'S TAXPAYERS FROM THE BEGINNING AND I AM SAD THAT SOME GOOD PEOPLE GOT CARRIED ALONG WITH THE UGLINESS OF A FEW (HOPEFULLY ONLY A FEW). BASED UPON THE BEHAVIOR OF THE GROUP WHO WERE WILLING TO ABUSE THE PUBLIC SO BADLY, THIS PROJECT REALLY SHOULD NOT PASS BECAUSE IT IS TAINTED IN EVERY WAY. THE REAL HANK HELLER
Beth Bluj January 22, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Hank - please don't think it's a proponent; the same thing happened to me last week. ~Beth
Hank Heller January 22, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Beth, I am sorry that you have some dogs with fleas in your group. All they have done is diminishe the value of what you and your decent associates have tried to do. It has been clear to me for a long time now that some of the people your proponents group have aligned yourselves with were rotten. This effort to steal the referendum by NOT delivering the ballots properly, Not delivering the explanation document properly, stealing names and positions of decent people and trying to misinform the public about the facts of the referendum is just disgusting. Please don't tell me it is not a proponent. It is a one-sided attack on truth and it fits the purpose of the "fields" folks. I am sick of this horrible behavior and I hope you and Tom can disavow and identify the culprits. You can't stay honorable if you ally yourselves with thieves. We seem to have a lot of them in this group proporting to love education, I am sorry to say. I will not be surprised when we learn who the gangsters are, I am sure. Hank
steve revette January 22, 2013 at 11:17 PM
Okay seriously who ever is doing that grow up. This is the real Steve Revette talking. I don't care whether you're in favor of the Yes or No vote its completely disrespectful. GROW UP!
Scott Dean January 22, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Ironically today there were hearings in the Seitz salary case in Newark.So it may be fair to eliminate some suspects due to their court appearance as alliby's. What ever happened to the secret meeting saga,How do big questions about ethics seem to dissapear in this town??
Maurice Saunders January 22, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Hank, I agree. This behavior has happened to opponents and proponent of this issue. It's not right that this individual or individuals has tainted our ability to agree to disagree in a civil open forum, It's a shame that this person has attempted to tarnish the reputation of honest opponents and proponents in community.
Hank Heller January 23, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Thank you, Maurice and Steve and the many other good people on both sides of the referendum. There is no place in this question for patent dishonesty. If the "bad actors" can be identified, I hope they will. In this way, perhaps many more of us on both sides of the question can get together to try to improve the problem of the fields in reasonable and honest ways. I wish us all good luck in that endeavor.

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