Past Newsletters

Some Updates – Schools, Lackawanna, Leaf Blowers

Happy Memorial Day and Taylor Swift Mania Weekend! No, Ben and I are not going unless by some miracle, prices come down below the cost of a Toyota Corolla. So anyway… back to work. This is not a Friday news dump. It’s just been a week.

Thank you to the over 1,200 of you who watched my announcement video for my run for Mayor of Montclair. If you haven’t had a chance, here is is again (bloopers coming soon too).

In this 5 minute video, Peter talks about his reason for running for Mayor.

Thank you also to the 60 residents who contributed within the first 24 hours. Your support means a lot! If you’re interested in supporting the launch of my campaign, you can:

Make a Contribution

Contributions can also be made by check.

Checks can be made out to: Peter for Montclair and mailed to:

Peter for Montclair
41 Watchung Plaza, Suite 318
Montclair, NJ 07042

Add The Date – Montclair Election Day – May 14th 2024 – To Your Calendar!

Click your preferred digital calendar icon to save the 2024 Montclair Municipal Election to your calendar.

Office 365

First Fundraiser as a Candidate for Mayor

We’re also hosting my first fundraiser as a mayoral candidate, next Tuesday, May 30th. Please join if you can. 

If you want to host a fundraiser or just a regular living room or backyard meet and greet, please reach out by replying to this email. I’m working on scheduling events like this for the balance of the year!

Essex Pool Opens this Weekend!

All pools will open on Friday, June 23rd. Yes, all three! But Essex Pool next to the ice rink opens tomorrow. We will be doing light improvements to Essex and Nishuane Pools in the fall and then the same on Mountainside in 2024. 

Click here for detailed information on pool hours, policies and fees. We are looking at bringing in more generous subsidies for 2024. I think anyone who lives in Montclair should be able to access the pools regardless of income. 

Help Me Adopt-A-Mountie

We’re just $1,300 shy of our goal. 

Please consider a contribution to help us “Adopt A Mountie” and send them off to college with dorm essentials.

You can contribute here:…

Learn more here:…/

These were not easy high school years for these kids. But they did it and got into college on top of it. So let’s set them up for success by making sure they have basic form essentials.

School Budget Thoughts (I have a lot to say)

I’m not going to be the government person who tells you wrong place, go down the hall. I care about public education in this town and fully believe that the fate of the Township is linked to the fate of the school district. That is why I pushed for an elected school board and that is why I pushed for the bond to improve the buildings.

But I do want to make sure that everyone in Montclair understands that the Township Council has zero jurisdiction over the schools or their budget. It’s a fully separate government with its own elections, credit rating and data servers. We don’t appoint anyone, we don’t oversee anything, we don’t approve anything. The Mayor and Council’s responsibility is land use, law-making, law enforcement and funding/administering all non education services like water, refuse and roads. Your recourse for making your voice heard regarding school funding, programming and oversight is emailing your representatives on the school board and choosing your representatives each November in school board elections.

We have to be invited or welcomed to help. To that end, we have offered our highly qualified finance team to help the district, should they want it. Internally we’ve discussed the school budget and have some serious questions about it. My personal view is that real money was left on the table for one reason or another. I have offered to host a meeting with top school officials and our Finance team next week. I hope we can make that happen.

At this moment, the Township does not have funds to give the district. And I wouldn’t support that right now given what I’ve seen from our own quick internal review and the questions I have. I’m disappointed in the District’s decision to not exercise the healthcare exemption to the property tax cap, which would have been meaningful; as well as the decision not to put the budget to a referendum, which would have given all of you the power to decide if they could exceed the cap or not. I also do believe that some cuts and program changes are necessary given the significant enrollment reduction (9%). 

I am in agreement that we should revisit the Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) that the previous Councils negotiated to look at covering the costs of any students living in those developments, attending public schools. I also believe the model for these has to change going forward, starting with Lackawanna Plaza, to ensure the District receives their fair share. I also am open to revisiting some of our own department budgets to find savings, keeping in mind that many constituencies are counting on things that we’ve promised. Lastly, I want new cannabis tax revenue to go to the public school system. I would have these funds go to community Pre-K and then any savings there the district can recoup and re-purpose. I have a fundamental belief that universal pre-k, beyond even what the state is going to cover, is a right for all families and is the single best investment we can make for our future as a society. I intend to work with Council Member Robin Schlager to introduce a Resolution on June 13th to require the Township to do this.

This vicious cycle of giving teachers and paraprofessionals notice and then ultimately clawing most of them back, is just plain stupid and inhumane. The Governance around this needs to be cleaned up so that we’re not creating panic, insecurity and instability each year to check some requirement box that doesn’t make sense.

Lastly, I think your elected state representatives need to hear from you on all of this. Too often Montclair is short-changed on school funding by the state and some of these state level rules, including the 2% property tax cap truly don’t make sense (vs. something variable tied to the consumer price index). Please consider contacting your reps and let them know how you stand and what you want them to advocate for, on our behalf in Trenton. You can send one email to all three of them here:

(Make sure to check the box for each of the three)

Lackawanna Plaza

The idea is for the Council to introduce the revised version of the Lackawanna Redevelopment plan on Tuesday, June 13th. If the Council votes to introduce the plan, at the same time a public hearing and final vote on the plan would likely be scheduled for July 18th.

We’ve taken in bulk, we’ve reduced height and we’ve cut the number of units while preserving the majority of public benefits presented originally. I truly believe that the difference between a vacant lot and a beautiful thing in the next few years is this plan. I also believe that if this plan doesn’t go through, that this property will be sold and we run the risk of a big company coming in, buying it and building an as-of-right project without our guidance. This would be a tragedy.

I’m going to ask again for civility. The doom and gloom predictions, lies, fears, mischaracterizations and attacks need to stop. Reasonable people can disagree and believe different things.

Leaf Blowers

As of May 15th, gas-powered leaf blowers are not allowed to be used in Montclair. If you observe a company using them, please report it to Code Enforcement immediately at: 973.509.5703. You can also email Code Enforcement here. However, calling will provide a higher likelihood that they can dispatch someone quickly. This is the second year of this law in effect and these companies have all been provided with ample communication around this policy (image above). 

I’m also continuing to work with advocates and speaking with our staff, my colleagues and some lawn care companies about permanent changes to the law, when we might make those and when they would take effect.

Thank you. Enjoy the beautiful weather!


Our mailing address is:
41 Watchung Plaza, Suite 318
Montclair, NJ 07042