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RED BANK: WITH LEE’S RETURN, WOMEN RULE

sharon lee 090915Sharon Lee, flanked by Mayor Pasquale Menna and former Councilwoman Juanita Lewis, gets ready to swear the oath of office while Councilman Mike DuPont takes a photo. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03For the first time in Red Bank’s 107-year history, women now outnumber men on the borough council.

Former Councilwoman Sharon Lee returned to the dais Wednesday night, following unanimous approval by the governing body to complete the three-plus months remaining in the term of former Council President Art Murphy, who resigned last month.

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RED BANK: FOUR MAYORS… AND SOME FRIENDS

lee kuo 050115lock menna 050115The first-ever Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball brought together three ex-mayors, the current one and some 250 of their friends at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Among those in attendance: former Councilwoman Sharon Lee and restaurateur Victor Kuo, above, and Pastor John Lock, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, at right.

Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the Red Bank Public Library and the Parker Family Health Center.

redbankgreen grabbed dozens of photos during the cocktail hour overlooking our beautiful Navesink River. Click the “read more” to see who else was there. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: SCHWABENBAUER TO FILL GOP SLOT

linda schwabenbauer 082714Linda Schwabenbauer outside borough hall, where she hopes to win a council seat. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Republicans may not have a mayoral candidate, but they appear to have filled the empty slot on the November ballot for two council seats.

Three months after the shortlived candidacy of Brian Hanlon ended over objections by his employer, political newcomer Linda Schwabenbauer is expected to join local party chair Sean Di Somma in his second consecutive run for council.

Nominally, at least.

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RED BANK: MINTON RESIGNS, HANLON BAILS

burnham di somma 110513Sean Di Somma, above at lower right, on election night last November. Below, Jack Minton, center, with candidate Joe Mizzi and then-Councilwoman Grace Cangemi in 2010. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

minton 110210Once again, a Red Bank Republican council candidate is in the market for a running mate.

This time, though, Sean Di Somma will also have the title of local party chairman as he goes about finding a replacement.

Fellow candidate Brian Hanlon has dropped out of this year’s race against Democratic incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, he told redbankgreen Wednesday, because his employer, Oppenheimer, objected.

And party chair Jack Minton is stepping down, in all likelihood to be succeeded by Di Somma when the the party faithful meet for their annual reorganization meeting this weekend.

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RED BANK: Di SOMMA TRIES AGAIN

di somma 2 102413Sean Di Somma has paired up with electoral politics newcomer Brian Hanlon for his second council try. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Republican Sean Di Somma is going to try again.

A political novice who last year found himself accused of being a fugitive over a traffic ticket, Di Somma tells redbankgreen he’s running for council again this year.

He’s pairing up with Brian Hanlon to try to take out Democratic incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich in November’s election.

The Di Somma/Hanlon ticket, though, won’t have a mayoral candidate to oppose Mayor Pasquale Menna, who tells redbankgreen he’s going for a third four-year term.

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RED BANK: SEEKING EQUALITY, THEN AND NOW

rb equality 021014 2On the panel were longtime housing advocate Flo Apy, at left above; former borough Councilwoman Sharon Lee; and Monmouth University history professor Walter Greason. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

rb equality 021014 1Dozens of listeners turned out at the Bates Lodge in Red Bank Monday night for a panel discussion on the continuing struggle for racial equality in America.

With its mixed neighborhoods and ownership of businesses by African-Americans, “Red Bank in the 1950s was a hallmark of what was possible in terms of integration,” said Monmouth University history professor Walter Greason, one of three panelists.

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ELKS HOST TRTC’s ‘EXPLORATION OF JUSTICE’

GreasonSharonGildaMonmouth University professor Walter D. Greason, former Red Bank council member Sharon Lee, and Frank Talk’s Gilda Rogers are among the guest panelists discussing “The Fight for Equality in Red Bank in the 1950s and Today,” during a February 10 event at the Red Bank Elks Lodge.

Press release from Two River Theater Company

“The Fight for Equality in Red Bank in the 1950s — and Today” is the topic of a free panel discussion event on Monday, February 10, presented by Two River Theater Company and hosted at the Red Bank Elks Lodge #233, 40 West Front Street.

The 7 pm panel is the first in a series of Inside Two River humanities programs that will focus on race, the Civil Rights movement, and evolving issues of equality under the umbrella title Exploration of Justice. Panels will take place monthly in connection with Two River Theater’s production of Trouble in Mind, written by Alice Childress —the first African-American woman to have a play professionally produced in New York City. The play, directed by Jade King Carroll, will run April 5 through 24.

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RED BANK: LEE BOWS OUT

sharon lee 121813Sharon Lee at her final council meeting Wednesday night, above, and below with her son, Devon Ramsay, on election night. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

sharon lee 110513Sharon Lee was three years old when her family moved from its longtime home in Red Bank to Germany. Six years later, when the family was abuzz with talk about “going home,” she was confused, she said. She couldn’t remember any other home.

“I finally understood when I got here,” the borough native said Wednesday night, in her final session as a borough council member.

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RED BANK CANDIDATE: CINDY BURNHAM

Election_2013_QA

CBURNHAMOne of four Q&As with the candidates for two, three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council in next weeks election. Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee, both Democrats, are the incumbents; Cindy Burnham and Sean Di Somma, Republicans, are the challengers. Their answers to redbankgreen‘s questions are unedited.

Name: Cynthia (cindy) Burnham, age 58, grew up in Colts Neck

Age/DOB:

Where did you grow up?

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank?

I lived in RB from 1979 to 1993.  In 1993, I moved to Harrison Ave, which is half RB & half Fair Haven. While I resided in Fair Haven,  I continued to own investment property in RB and persisted in my civic involvement in RB.  Last year, I moved into my investment property that I have owned for 27yrs on Wallace St. and next month will be moving my daughters in who are now in college.

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RED BANK CANDIDATE: SEAN DI SOMMA

Election_2013_QA

SDSOMMAOne of four Q&As with the candidates for two, three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council in next week’s election. Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee, both Democrats, are the incumbents; Cindy Burnham and Sean Di Somma, Republicans, are the challengers. Their answers to redbankgreen‘s questions are unedited; the links below were provided by Di Somma.

Name: Sean Patrick Di Somma

Age/DOB: 3/3/1982

Where did you grow up? Bergen County, NJ

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank?

Roughly a year and a half. When I moved here, I was appalled at the misinformation and ineptitude of the council. I began speaking out and was recruited to run for this office when there was vacancy.

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RED BANK CANDIDATE: KATHY HORGAN

Election_2013_QA

KHORGANOne of four Q&As with the candidates for two, three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council in next weeks election. Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee, both Democrats, are the incumbents; Cindy Burnham and Sean Di Somma, Republicans, are the challengers. Their answers to redbankgreen‘s questions are unedited.

Name: Kathleen Horgan

Age: 68

Where did you grow up: Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank: 14  years

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RED BANK CANDIDATE: SHARON LEE

Election_2013_QA

SLEEOne of four Q&As with the candidates for two, three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council in next week’s election. Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee, both Democrats, are the incumbents; Cindy Burnham and Sean Di Somma, Republicans, are the challengers. Their answers to redbankgreen‘s questions are unedited.

Name: Sharon Lee

Age/DOB: 58

Where did you grow up? Germany, Red Bank

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank?

Life long! With brief absences, being a military dependent (army), college and a beach hideaway 58 years. Red bank has been my address.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH OWNS ‘ASTROTURF’ URL

zipprich 102413Councilman Ed Zipprich, seen at the Red Bank NAACP candidates’ forum at Calvary Baptist Church Thursday night, acknowledged he set up a website that now attacks Republican candidates. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich has admitted having connections to an apparent ‘astroturf‘ website that slams Republican politicians and has boosted his own candidacy for state Assembly.

In response to questions from redbankgreen Friday morning, Zipprich acknowledged that he owns the domain name SayWhatNJ.com and is a former owner of an active website at that address. The site bills itself as a watchdog of “policy makers and the people who influence them.”

Among the site’s activities was a comment posted on redbankgreen Friday morning to bolster a claim by Monmouth County Democrats that GOP council candidate Sean Di Somma was the subject of a three-year-old arrest warrant in Dallas. Di Somma calls the allegation a lie; police in Dallas were not immediately reachable for comment.

Di Somma calls SayWhatNJ’s latest action “a straight-up violation” of state election laws.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL CONTENDERS FACE OFF

council candidates 2 101713Cindy Burnham, left, addresses the audience as Sean Di Somma, Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee listen at the Westside Community Group’s annual candidate’s forum Thursday night. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2013_wDebatesThe question of whether to keep or sell Red Bank’s municipal water utility was among a handful of issues that split the four candidates for borough council at a debate Thursday night.

Republican newcomer Sean Di Somma said he’d sell it, one of several moves he’d make to “bring the council into the 21st century” and end the “fuzzy math” surrounding local taxes.

Incumbent Democrats Sharon Lee and Kathy Horgan contended the water system wouldn’t find a buyer willing to take on the debt and expense of upgrading a system, parts of which are 100 years old, and that Red Bank was better off keeping it anyway.

Cindy Burnham, the environmental activist who shares the GOP ticket with Di Somma, suggested that “the water utility could be a moneymaker’ for the town, but what really hits homeowners in the wallet is the sewer portion of their bills.

Differences over that issue, taxes and the fate or a piece of borough-owned waterfront property dominated the 17th annual candidates forum organized by the Westside Community Group at River Street Commons Thursday night.

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RED BANK: TRAYVON MARTIN VIGIL SLATED

Councilwoman Sharon Lee, wearing a hoodie in memory of Trayvon Martin, talks with Mayor Pasquale Menna before Wednesday night’s council meeting. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Three Red Bank council members wore hooded garments to Wednesday night’s bimonthly meeting as a local group put out word of a silent vigil next week in memory of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

A poster for the event, called “We Are Trayvon Martin,” encourages attendees to wear hoodies, the type of sweatshirt that Martin was wearing when he was killed in an encounter with a gun-toting resident of Sanford, Florida a month ago.

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