BGR March 20 Meeting 7:30 at the Ethical Culture Society,
Larch Avenue and North Street, Teaneck
At the next regular BGR Meeting, Anthony Cureton, President of the Bergen County NAACP, will initiate the session with a Presentation entitled: “From At-large to Good Governance in Bergen County”
Anthony Cureton has suggested that districts be defined so that all or a majority of the members of an enlarged nine-member Freeholders board actually represent distinct geographical areas in the County. He initiated this discussion with a statement made during the public portion of a Freeholder Public Session on Dec. 17, 2013. But it is now being discussed not only by the Freeholders themselves but by citizens throughout the County.
“…Cureton particularly notes that no one from
5 large and contiguous Bergen municipalities
(Hackensack, Teaneck, Englewood, Leonia
and Bergenfield) is on the current Board…..”
Such a change would, Cureton acknowledges, require several complicated steps by County entities and publics. He clearly states that his proposal is about the structure and not meant as criticism of any individual Freeholder. But Cureton particularly notes that no one from 5 large and contiguous Bergen municipalities (Hackensack, Teaneck, Englewood, Leonia and Bergenfield) is on the current Board and believes these areas and their demographics are regularly are not well represented.
On March 20, Cureton’s presentation will elaborate on this concept and will provide a catalyst for a BGR discussion of the advantages and logistics of any such change to the current 7-member Board all of whom are currently elected at-large. It is expected that at least several current Freeholders will attend the session. The precise format for discussion after the Cureton presentation is still being defined but ample time for questions/statements by members of the audience will be provided. A goal of the meeting will be to not only test the general participant sentiment for such a change but to have identified and clarified options within the general framework of the Cureton proposal.
Bergen Grassroots is hosting this important session as it raises important questions about what in the specific context of Bergen County constitutes effective democratic representation and specifically the advantages and disadvantages of at-large as compared to more specific elected official representation of specific geographical/demographic areas. The steering committee of BGR has currently not taken a position on the issue.
Anthony Cureton is a graduate of Jersey City College and has earned a Masters from Farleigh Dickenson University in addition to doing coursework in organizational management at Notre Dame. He is very recently retired from the Englewood police force and has held adjunct faculty roles at both FDU and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is currently in his first full term as head of the Bergen County NAACP.
The Record story on the initial Cureton presentation is on this website at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/236678071_NAACP_wants_freeholder_districts_in_Bergen_County_districts_is_floated.html
And there is a very recent 30 minute radio discussion of the concept between Cureton and Record reporter John Ensslin. It may be found at:
Remember: Health care insurance deadline
Do not forget to make sure that all of your acquaintances know that if they are planning to be covered by Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) insurance for 2014, they must complete their application by March 31, 2014. Among the several sources of information are these:
Let us hear from you:
Let us know if BGR should be addressing additional issues. Example, the regional planning challenges illustrated by the debate over the height of the LG headquarters building planned on the Palisades north of the GWB.
Leave us a comment on our ‘Comment’ page if you can’t come to our March 20 meeting or beyond. Thank you.