RARE DEMS SHOW THEIR FACES IN RUMSON
Last November, redbankgreen ran a feature on the paucity of Democrats in Rumson, where no member of the party is believed to have won elective office in the borough’s 101-year history.
Now, two examples of “the rarest of species, which hasn’t been seen here for 25 years,” have been sighted amid the borough’s chateaux and luxe lawns, today’s Asbury Park Press reports. And they’re seeking office on a platform that for too many years, the town’s governing body has spoken with a single voice.
From the Press:
The Rumson Democrat has resurfaced in the form of two council candidates, Michael Steinhorn and Fred Blumberg, who say their mission is to bring a bipartisan presence to what they contend is a government locked up by one party. They face incumbent Republicans Shaun Broderick and Robert Kammerer, who counter that current council members are independent thinkers acting for the good of the borough.
“We’re starting with the bipartisan issue,” said Steinhorn, 60. “We’re looking for a sense of fairness, a sense of democracy, inclusion as opposed to exclusion. I think a lot of people feel excluded.”
They say a glass ceiling exists for anyone who is not part of the GOP not only in getting appointed to decision-making boards such as the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment, but something as apolitical as the historic commission.
Steinhorn questions how that can be in a borough where independents make up 58 percent of the registered voters, while Republicans make up 30 percent.
“In my own case, I wanted to serve on a particular board, and I was never considered,” Steinhorn said. “I find a lot of people are denied an opportunity to participate if they’re not in that party.”
The Republicans dispute that partisanship plays a role in appointments. Mayor John Ekdahl makes the nominations, and…
“We don’t ask what the persons’ parties are when we put them on a committee,” said Kammerer, who has served for five years. “We don’t look at (political) parties.”
Kammerer said he wasn’t on the council when Steinhorn sought a post on the budget committee but said any decision not to seat him was based on qualifications and not party.
“I don’t think that the Rumson council is a partisan council, it’s seven members interested in the best for the borough,” he said. “There is no party behind the council. We are a fine-tuned team of representatives working for the citizens.”