On Nov. 4, Red Bank voters will have four ballot choices for two seats on the borough council, now composed of four Democrats and two Republicans.
Both open seats, by happenstance, are held by Republicans: Grace Cangemi, who is running for re-election, and James Giannell, who is not running; he’s serving out the tail end of the term from which freeholder candidate John Curley resigned in July.
This week, redbankgreen is posting interviews with each of the candidates. Instead of transcripts, we’ve got the complete audio. The interviews are between 22 and 33 minutes in length. [See the editor’s note at bottom of story.]
The interviews are not meant to be literal head-to-head comparisons. Rather, they cover some common issues including taxes, a community center and healthcare coverage for the mayor and council while exploring each candidate’s own experiences a bit in order to shed some light on who they are and how they think.
We’re running them in reverse alphabetical order; Democrat Ed Zipprich’s interview ran Monday, his running mate, Juanita Lewis, will be featured tomorrow, and we’ll wrap up with Cangemi on Thursday.
Today, we spotlight Republican John S. Tyler Jr.
To the extent that John Tyler has a public profile in Red Bank, it is as one of several Leighton Avenue residents who for more than two years have been tying to get Best Liquors shut down as a public nuisance. Frustrated by what he sees as foot-dragging by the governing body, Tyler is a regular at council meetings, where he presses for updates on the case. (A ruling is still pending at the state Alcoholic Beverage Control division.)
As a candidate for council for the second time in two years, Tyler says he’d like to have the town push for a “good neighbor” policy in which troublesome businesses agree to clean up their acts or suffer consequences. His broader agenda includes creating a police substation on the West Side to improve response times and pushing for a community center funded by grants and supported by volunteers.
“I just think it’s something everybody’s got to chip in” for, he says. “To have a community center maybe where the cost isn’t that much of a burden to the general public I think that would be great.”
Tyler is active in borough parks and recreation issues.
Here’s the full 33-minute conversation, held on the morning of October 6 at the home Tyler shares with his wife, Krishna, and two daughters. It begins with Tyler asking about an emergency incident on Central Avenue and Tyler telling his dog to lie down:[Editor’s note: When we interviewed the candidates, we did not plan to run the actual recordings; that decision came later. All candidates consented to being recorded, but at the time, they were told that “verbatim transcripts” of the interviews would appear.
One of the candidates has since expressed a concern about not having been aware that the full recording would run. For that, we apologize to all the candidates. But we’ll take our lumps for deciding after the fact to use the recordings. We think they reveal more, both positive and negative, about the candidates, than a transcript ever could, and are thus more valuable to voters.]