By DONALD WITTKOWSKIWith some laughter, a few tears and plenty of hugs, City Council said an emotional goodbye Thursday night to Tony Wilson during his last meeting with the governing body that he served on for nine years.The Council meeting was the first one in three months that included members of the public sitting in the audience. Since April, the meetings had been held online and by teleconference during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in New Jersey.With Gov. Phil Murphy easing some of the state’s coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings, Council was able to welcome an in-person audience for Thursday’s meeting at the Stainton Senior Center.Chairs were spaced far apart to observe social distancing and most people wore a face covering. The meeting was held at the Stainton Senior Center because it offered more room than the relatively small confines of the Council chambers at City Hall.The meeting included the adoption of the 2020 municipal budget and final approval of a nearly $16 million bond ordinance to finance an array of public projects, but Council’s final farewell to Wilson dominated the proceedings.Wilson, who had represented the Third Ward since 2011, lost his re-election bid in May to challenger Jody Levchuk, a Boardwalk businessman who will be sworn in on July 1 when Council reorganizes.“The long and short of it is, this has been a great ride,” Wilson said, summing up his tenure on the seven-member body.Holding back tears at times, Wilson thanked his two children, Tony Jr. and Julia, his parents, his fellow Council members and the city’s taxpayers for the support they have given him over the years.“The people I served with were such a blessing in my life,” he said.Members of Council applaud Wilson after a proclamation is read in his honor.The Council members spoke of their respect, admiration, friendship and love for Wilson. A proclamation was read by Council President Peter Madden in Wilson’s honor, praising him for his involvement with the city’s unprecedented levels of infrastructure improvements, flood-mitigation projects, the Boardwalk’s reconstruction and dredging programs.“His influence on this Council has been exceptional,” said Councilman Keith Hartzell, one of Wilson’s closest friends.First Legislative District Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, who served on Council before winning election in November to state office, also spoke of his deep friendship with Wilson. The two exchanged hugs after McClellan finished his remarks.“We had a great eight years,” McClellan told Wilson of their time together on Council. “We’re going to have a great 30, 40, 50 more.”McClellan’s former Second Ward seat on Council will be filled by Tom Rotondi, who ran unopposed in the May municipal election and will be sworn in July 1.Wilson, meanwhile, was known for combining a sense of humor with sharp negotiating skills to get things done on Council.“One of the things you learn up here is that you can have disagreements, but you first have to bury the hatchet,” Wilson said.Councilman Michael DeVlieger credited Wilson with reviving the city’s dredging program to clear out the shallow, sediment-choked lagoons along the back bays for boaters.“It was brutally needed and it wouldn’t have happened without you,” DeVlieger said to Wilson about the dredging program.In parting comments, Mayor Jay Gillian tells Wilson to “keep your head up high.”Councilman Bob Barr said Wilson was always able to make him laugh, but also noted that he was a “ruthless negotiator.”Alluding to some of the tough negotiations he had with Wilson, Mayor Jay Gillian spoke of the “spirited conversations” the two men had over the years.“It’s been a long journey. There’s always the good and the bad. Keep your head up high,” Gillian said to Wilson.In parting comments, Councilwoman Karen Bergman told Wilson, “We’re really, really going to be sorry to see you go.”Also Thursday, Council gave final approval to the $80.5 million municipal budget for 2020. The budget, which the mayor revised after the coronavirus outbreak struck, keeps local property taxes stable.Originally, there were plans for a half-penny increase in the tax rate, but Gillian had his administration revamp the spending plan to avoid any tax increase.Frank Donato, the city’s finance director, said Gillian did not want to cause any “undue burden” for taxpayers at a time when people may be struggling with their finances because of the pandemic.“I think we’ve got a good plan in place to take everything into consideration that we could,” Donato said of the budget.In other business, Council approved a $15.9 million bond ordinance to fund a series of municipal projects throughout town.Donato explained to Council that the bulk of the funding, or $11.5 million, will pay for road reconstruction, drainage upgrades and new pumping stations as part of the city’s flood-mitigation strategy.Chairs for the public are spaced apart in the Stainton Senior Center to maintain social distancing at the Council meeting. Councilman Tony Wilson, right, exchanges a hug with state Assemblyman Antwan McClellan.
Freshman quarterback JT Daniels left the Utah game with a possible concussion. (Josh Dunst | Daily Trojan)As regular readers of “Keith’s Keys” know, I often write ledes that are flowery and somewhat clever (at least I’d like to think so). It might involve a long-winded story or metaphor about golfing or baseball, or some other sport that has nothing to do with the column I’m writing. But this time, I am going to be blunt and get straight to the point: It’s time to realize that the JT Daniels experiment is over. Former quarterback Sam Darnold was that Trojans’ Superman in the past two seasons. Super Sam’s late game heroics and unbelievable playmaking ability saved USC time and time again. But unlike his predecessor, the primary similarity I see between Daniels and Darnold is their tragic knack for inaccurate passes and turnovers. Yes, Darnold threw interceptions and fumbled the ball more than Michael Turner running down a hallway of Peanut Tillmans. He was, by no means, perfect. But, even with redshirt sophomore quarterback Matt Fink and other quarterbacks on the squad, there was no doubt that he was the right man for the job.As much as I am hopeful and willing to give people the benefit of the doubt: I cannot be confident that the raw talent of Daniels is going to come through. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that this kid just turned 18 and that he is supposed to be a high school senior right now. And I know that comparing Daniels to Darnold is like comparing rookie Peyton Manning — who threw 28 interceptions in 1998 — to present day Tom Brady. Daniels hasn’t developed into the poised and precise starting quarterback that he needs to be, and that’s okay. Everyone understood that when head coach Clay Helton brought in a young kid that he was going to take some time to develop. But what’s not okay is to keep using a quarterback who has now completed just 47 percent (24-for-51) of his passes, thrown four interceptions and consistently missed down-the-field throws.If USC even wants a chance to sniff the beautiful air of Levi’s Stadium in December, Daniels needs to hit his receivers in stride. Junior wide receiver Michael Pittman should not be relied upon every week to make touchdown catches where he comes back 10 yards to the ball. When you first think about Daniels’ age, it is pretty exciting and amazing to think that an 18-year-old could lead one of the most distinguished football programs on the West Coast. But on second thought, it seems more foolish on the part of the USC coaching staff for putting so much trust into such a young player. While I am not necessarily advocating for an injured Fink or redshirt freshman Jack Sears to start, there is definitely reason to believe that someone else could be more capable of putting USC in the best position to win. However, I will say that Fink has shown that he has the tools to be a good quarterback in ways that Daniels has not. Unlike Daniels, who constantly underthrows streaking receivers and misses wide-open crossing patterns, Fink has an absolute cannon of an arm and an electric pair of legs that kept USC’s late drives alive against Utah. Although he might not be a Darnold through the air in terms of accuracy, Fink is better than Darnold on the ground and could give USC an added dimension that the pocket-passing, octogenarian-running Daniels simply cannot give. We are at the halfway point of this season. The team is now 4-3 and looking to just make a bowl game at this point, with the easiest part of USC’s schedule is coming up with teams like Arizona State, Oregon State, Cal and UCLA.If there is any time to look towards rebuilding, it is now. Daniels had his opportunity to shine, but unfortunately, he has not showed that he can live up to the potential and the expectations of being a starting USC quarterback. Keith Demolder is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. His column, “Keith’s Keys,” runs every other Tuesday.
Syracuse sophomore Lysianne Proulx started her first game in net on Sunday afternoon, but her offense failed to produce and the Orange fell, 3-1, to Colgate. Although SU (3-4) outshot Colgate (2-2-2) and controlled most of the possession, the Raiders were able to capitalize on their quality chances to beat in-state opposition in Hamilton.Colgate’s defense remained stout throughout the game and limited the Orange to eight shots on goal on 17 total shots. Colgate converted three goals on five shots on net.In the 40th minute, Colgate drew a foul in the box and elected Abby Sotomayor to take the penalty kick. She drilled a shot on the ground to the bottom left corner, opposite of where Proulx guessed. The PK gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead.In the 49th minute, Colgate’s Sage DiGiulio launched a shot from 25 yards out, which floated over Proulx’s fingertips for a 2-0 advantage.Sotomayor was not content with just the penalty kick goal. In the 76th minute, she lasered a long ball off her right foot into the upper right corner to put the Raiders up 3-0.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse answered a minute later with a Kate Hostage penalty kick, which she drilled into the top right corner. Hostage’s goal was not enough for SU to mount a true comeback effort, though.Proulx registered two saves, and none of the three goals were preventable. It is unclear whether her performance earned her the full-time job, as head coach Phil Wheddon has kept his options open. The team returns to SU Soccer Stadium for the first time in September for a Thursday matchup versus Kent State. Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 9, 2018 at 3:25 pm Contact Danny: [email protected] | @DannyEmerman Comments