The final installment of our three-part Q&A with the mayoral candidates has the scholarly Pasquale Menna invoking the Ostrogoths and the combative John Curley backing away from use of the term “flunkies.”
Oh, and we also find out why they want the job that’s been held for the past 16 years by retiring Mayor Ed McKenna, and what they consider Red Bank’s most pressing issue.
Check back at redbankgreen this weekend for our profiles of the candidates.
Why do you want to be mayor?I think that Ive contributed a substantial part of my life and devoted a good deal of my adult life at least to public service. Ive served on the council for 18 years, and I think Ive done so with a degree of dignity not only for the position but also for the constituents.
The changeover from council to mayor would, hopefully, be a logical progression. It would in my opinion enable me to continue a number of ideas and programs that we have formulated for Red Bank for the past 18 years. Most of them have seen fruition. However, a great deal needs to be done, and it provides me the opportunity to do that
On the council, youre one of six people. As mayor, you can set the tone for the ideas that I think that Ive to at least start in my time on the council but yet, our mayor has led the discussion on.
Also, I would like, frankly, to be the first Italian-born mayor of Red Bank. Not that I think the Italians are any better, but we have a different way of doing things. We survived the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths and are still there.
Is there one issue facing Red Bank that you think stands out above all the rest?
Yes. I think Red Bank is facing the pressures of competition from the regional area in terms of maintaining our pre-eminent position as the commercial heart of Monmouth County. I think we have to be competitive, we have to recycle ourselves even more, we have to redevelop what were best at, which is some of our commercial districts and the enhancements of the commercial districts, because that results in a stabilization of taxes. And ultimately it will result in lower taxes for all property owners.
The examples are the Hovnanian building and the PRC building, which will stabilize taxes and hopefully even reduce them once the final numbers are in. The same thing with the expansion of the business district to include Shrewsbury Avenue.
Why do you want to be mayor?
I would like to be mayor because I have seen what I perceive to be the inequities and injustices in the community. I find it very disturbing when I look at the political climate in the state of New Jersey, when I see land use attorneys join with developers, and just this constant perpetuation of development that takes place that leads me to believe that theres something under the covers. And I want to end that in the community. I dont want to be involved in it.
What do you think is the most important issue facing Red Bank right now?I think the most important issue facing not only Red Bank but everybody in the state of New Jersey is affordability and taxation. First and foremost, the state Legislature has to do their job in financing the public schools in New Jersey. I think that the mayor and councilwhich is in charge of about 23 percent of the check thats sent to 90 Monmouth Streetneeds to create more streamlined and efficient services. Weve outgrown what we have downtown; its the proverbial candy store approach.
The affordability issue in New Jersey is horrific. I want to look at some reorganization of departments. I want to get professionals to run each department. Not political appointees. Im not going to refer to them as flunkies’but not political appointees.