UPDATED 2011: I started this blog when I ran as an independent candidate for town council in Oakland, NJ. I resurrected it in 2011 for the campaign season.
Now it’s just evolved into a personal blog about living in the jungle of suburban New Jersey.
I’ve been living in Oakland for over six years now and have been publisher of TheOaklandJournal.com for the last two years. I also publish TheWyckoffJournal.com and TheFranklinLakesJournal.com.
Over the course of the last two years, I have gone to innumerable council meetings in all three towns. I have also gone to many commission meetings, board of ed meetings, and a litany of public events. This, along with my own research conducted while writing articles, has left me both well informed on subjects and discouraged by inaction….but let’s talk more about me.
A New Jersey native born in New Milford, I lived for a long time after college in New York City. Most of my time in the city was devoted to social work as a program director, supervisor, counselor and teacher.
I worked in Manhattan’s Alphabet City as a GED instructor to high school dropouts and succeeded in getting 50% of my students into college; I also supervised an at-risk youth center and increased daily attendance by over 100%. Other duties during this tenure of my life included running after-school and summer day-camp programs with over 70 children and 15 counselors under my responsibility.
I had no formal training for any of these positions, but with passion, founded on values instilled by my own parents, I was able to make a significant difference in the lives of many people.
After quite a few years, I decided to make a career change. The impetus for this was pretty simple, I was losing my sense of humor. I had an opportunity to work in the technology field, and was fortunate enough to work with people who shared their knowledge and expertise so that I could learn new skills. This led to a variety of consulting positions with such companies as Cablevision and The Bank of New York where I assumed project management responsibilities.
My contract with the Bank of New York extended over 3 years and included responding to the 9/11 crisis which severely damaged our corporate headquarters. My position in the Business Planning Division required re-connecting scores of financial institutions with the Bank, and re-connecting thousands of displaced workers spread over the tri-state region. In addition to dealing with the horror of the situation, there was also a real threat to our economy when billions of dollars suddenly stopped moving.
I came of age living in New York City working in two completely unrelated fields: social services in the NYC housing projects and technology in the banking industry. Both experiences taught me different skills and processes, but 9/11 taught me the most. I learned over the weeks that followed our capacity as human beings, our capacity for compassion, our ability to rise above, our natural willingness to help.
My future wife, Caron Cicero McCormick, and I married two months later. We had a couple of fun years to ourselves, and then came our daughter. It was soon after this that we moved to Oakland, NJ. A couple of years after the girl came the boy, and so it was back to square one with sleepless nights and endless diapers.
Today Caron and I operate Cicero Designs, publish The Oakland Journal, volunteer on different organizations, and do our best to raise our kids to be decent, fair and honest. I continue to take consulting positions when they become available, and worked on the Chris Daggett campaign for governor of NJ.
My political sensibilities are this: Taxes are too high in Oakland and New Jersey, and any tax increase is unacceptable – taxes should be decreasing. We must either change how government works to deliver more for less…or we must shrink it down.
As I mentioned, I enjoy my sense of humor and will often use humor to make a point, as did Henry David Thoreau when he said, When I meet a government which says to me, “Your money or your life,” why should I be in haste to give it my money?
Contact Charlie at: firstname.lastname@example.org