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Secaucus mayor opposes moving school board election to November
Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli announced his opposition to moving the annual school board election from its current date in April to November in a press statement issued Tuesday. His response comes after Gov. Christopher Christie signed a law earlier this month that permits a local Board of Education, the mayor and council, or voters by referendum to move the election to the date of the November general election.
“Having the non-partisan school election on the same ballot with the political offices will not only be confusing, but could lead to political involvement in our schools,” Gonnelli said. “Our community is blessed with a great educational system which attracts families to Secaucus and keeps our property values high. We should do everything we can to preserve this high standing and work to make Secaucus even better.”
He also said that the change would mean that candidates filing for election on the school board must do so with the county clerk by the June primary election date, which gives it the potential to become a five-month political campaign, instead of the traditional seven week campaign.
“Candidates would have to raise and spend considerably more campaign funds to get his or her message to the voters due to other offices being contested at the same time. For example, headline news stories and advertisements will be dominated by the race for President, U.S. Senator, and Congress this year. Our school board election is very important to the residents of the community as history has proven. It is important to keep that electoral process clear,” said Gonnelli.
Proponents of the move to November say that it will save the money it costs to run an extra election, and will greatly increase voter turnout. Turnout in Secaucus, Hoboken, and other towns for school board elections has consistently been low.
Gonnelli said he also opposes the change because he prefers to have the community vote on the school budget. “First of all, there would be no budget vote if it calls for less than a 2 percent increase. This action would eliminate public input on school spending.”
All six Secaucus council members as well as the nine board of education members oppose moving the elections to November, according to an informal poll conducted by the mayor.
The deadline to change the election date to November is Feb. 17. The school board has scheduled a special meeting on Thursday, Feb. 9.
“I hope the board members in attendance share the same opinion and choose to leave the election where it is in April to remove any fear of politics being involved,” said Gonnelli.
Guma Foundation hosts 8th annual Casino Night fundraiser
The Guma Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money to support children suffering from brain tumors, will host their annual Casino Night on Mar. 10 at 7 p.m. at LaReggia’s Restaurant, in Secaucus. Tickets are $125 per person and include casino-style gaming, casino chips, open bar and buffet, prizes and live music. The proceeds will benefit The Tomorrow Children’s Fund and children with brain tumors. For more info, visit: www.gumafoundationinc.org. Tickets can be purchased online.
Library to close early for staff instruction
The Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center will be closed from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Feb. 9 for a staff professional development meeting.
February movies at the Secaucus Public Library
Free movies for Secaucus’ adult residents are shown at the Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center on most Tuesdays, beginning at 1 p.m. The movies are selected by Richard Gantzhorn, library technical clerk, and are shown on a large screen television in the second floor Panasonic Room. Light refreshments are also served.
The movies to be shown in February are Feb. 7, “Killer Elite,” an R-rated action drama starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert DeNiro, 117 minutes; Feb.14, “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” a PG-13 rated romantic comedy starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear, 90 minutes; Feb. 21, “Midnight in Paris,” a PG-13 rated romance starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, 94 minutes; and Feb. 28, “Contagion,” a PG-13 rated drama starring Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet and Matt Damon, 106 minutes.
NASA Finds 2011 ninth-warmest year on record
Could the area’s mild winter weather be any indication of another year of increasing surface temperatures? NASA scientists reported Jan. 19 that the global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880. The finding continues a trend in which nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000, NASA reports. 2011 was a year of constant rainfall throughout the region, which caused the water tables to rise, and significant flooding.
Weather reports indicate that temperatures last week were near 60 degrees – not typical for Hudson County in January.
“We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting,” said GISS Director James E. Hansen. “So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Niña influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record.”
NASA attributes the higher temperatures to increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, which is released by vehicles, energy production, and industry. These gases absorb infrared radiation emitted by Earth and release that energy into the atmosphere rather than allowing it to escape to space. As their atmospheric concentration has increased, the amount of energy “trapped” by these gases has led to higher temperatures.
To watch a NASA video of the shift in above average temperatures since 1884, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2011-temps.html.