SEA BRIGHT CANDIDATES SPEAK, MOST OF ‘EM

election_2011_wcandidatesBelow are the responses to questionnaires sent to the three mayoral and four council candidates (for two available seats) on the November 8 ballot in Sea Bright. Candidates were asked to limit their answers to 100 words.

long-leckstein-signDina Long
Democrat
Running for Mayor

Please tell us about your background: where you’re from, where you went to school, how long you’ve lived in Sea Bright and what you do for a living.

I’m a Monmouth county native and a Rutgers graduate. My husband and I have lived in Sea Bright almost 10 years, and I work as an Assistant Professor at Brookdale Community College. I was elected to my first term on the Council in 2003, and was re-elected in 2006 and 2009. I served as Council President and have chaired Public Safety, Finance, and the Beach, Education & Environment Council Committees. I’ve gained a thorough understanding of all aspects of the Borough government, especially our finances, and have good working relationships with officials on the local, state and federal levels.

What do you see as the most pressing issues in town?

Sea Bright’s next Mayor must resolve the lack of cell service and oversee the replacement of the dilapidated public facilities at the beach, without burdening taxpayers. Continuing the on-going fight for long-term solutions to unfair school taxes and persistent downtown flooding is just as important. I don’t believe Sea Bright should buy into the “bigger is better” idea behind town consolidation and sharing of services. We need to be thoughtful about where it actually makes sense to do so. Hurricane Irene was a powerful reminder of this. Instead, I’d like more prudent use of the resources we do have.

What if any specific initiatives do you plan to push for if elected, and how will you go about putting them into effect?

As Mayor, I will personally address the priority items stated above, as well as: increasing efficiency within our local government and communication with residents-especially emergency communications, obtaining street-scaping for Route 36, improving pedestrian safety and beach access, and working with the existing business community to strengthen our local economy year-round. I will go about these initiatives the same way I have addressed all the others, by listening to the residents and learning from the past, having sound principles and using them to make decisions, and bringing an old fashioned, roll-up-your sleeves work ethic to getting things done.

Why should voters elect you on November 8?

Sea Bright voters should elect me if they want progress and action. My record on the Council for the past eight years shows that I have the ability to work in partnership with other elected officials to move ideas and proposals past talk and into results. Republican, Democrat, Independent-it doesn’t matter when you are all working toward the same goal. Because of my experience, I also have a thorough understanding of our town’s finances and its ability to provide services, making me the candidate who is best positioned to understand the impact on Sea Bright from changes in Trenton.

sandel-signChris Sandel
Running for mayor
Independent

Please tell us about your background: where you’re from, where you went to school, how long you’ve lived in Sea Bright and what you do for a living.

I am a 50 year old, always registered Independent from Staten Island. I am the son of a retired NYC Police Sargent and WWII Veteran and a family and values oriented Mother who taught me right from wrong and the need to be and do good.  I am a graduate of St. John’s University with a Business management degree which prepared me for a 25 plus year career in Financial Services.  I have lived full time in Sea Bright for 7 years and rented as a second home for 7 years before that. I am driven by success and results.

What do you see as the most pressing issues in town?

Communication is paramount.  We must do better as a borough to keep our residents and businesses informed especially during severe weather and emergencies. Shared services and Town consolidation need to be vetted to form a “Sea Bright” position in advance of a mandate coming down from Trenton that we are forced to live with.  We should be proactive to insure our residents voice is heard on these topics. Flooding, Cell tower, Smart Growth, Parking, Speeding and School Tax all need to be focused on and remedies implemented…these issues have gone too long without resolution. We need Action, not Rhetoric!

What if any specific initiatives do you plan to push for if elected, and how will you go about putting them into effect?

I WILL host Meet the Mayor sessions to give the residents and business owners direct and personal access to me. These sessions will be in addition to the Council meetings.  I WILL begin a Sea Bright CARES program to enable our residents to give back to our community.  Initial focus will be on our Seniors and their well being.  I WILL expand support of our EMT’s, Fire and Police.  I WILL search for Public/Private partnerships to enhance the Sea Bright Experience in a cost effective fashion.  I WILL put Sea Bright First and demand solutions be enacted.

Why should voters elect you on November 8?

I am running for Mayor because I Love Sea Bright and it has changed my life so much for the better that I want to serve the community as a way of “paying it forward”.  I possess the credentials and passion to make a positive difference for Sea Bright. I am a first time office seeker who will not have all the answers if elected but I Promise will work tirelessly until solutions for our issues are identified and results achieved.  I am modestly self-financing my campaign to convey my commitment to serve with a Sea Bright First mandate.

long-leckstein-signMarc Leckstein
Running for council
Democrat

Please tell us about your background: where you’re from, where you went to school, how long you’ve lived in Sea Bright and what you do for a living.

I am 38 years old and was born and raised in Little Silver before moving to Sea Bright in April of 2000.  I graduated from Red Bank Regional in 1991, Monmouth University in 1995 and Penn State Law in 1998.  Since graduating from law school, my legal practice has focused upon the areas of municipal zoning and condominium association representation. I have also had the pleasure of serving as President of my own condominium association, The Fountains At Sea Bright, since September of 2000 and have served as a member of the Sea Bright Planning Board since January of 2010.

What do you see as the most pressing issues in town?

I am extremely concerned about Borough plans to construct and manage a private beach club on the municipally owned Peninsula House lot.  Government should not be engaged in running a business, especially not one as risky as a beach club, which will cost the tax payers an unspecified amount of dollars to construct.  While my opponents are focused upon new developments, our existing infrastructure is being ignored. Our streets are in disrepair and the current council, even after years of promises, has been unable to bring proper cellular service to Sea Bright. This lack of proper oversight needs to end

What if any specific initiatives do you plan to push for if elected, and how will you go about putting them into effect?

I would work to stop the Borough from constructing a private beach club. Rather than asking tax payers to take on such a burden, Sea Bright should be reaching out to its existing business community for a partner in developing the vacant Peninsula House lot in a responsible fashion.  Most people agree the property should be developed.  If the Council would just begin talking to experienced business leaders in our community, we could arrive at a financially stable solution which could act as a revenue generator while allowing us to focus upon improving the public services the Borough actually needs.

Why should voters elect you on November 8?

If elected to council, I would be the only member with a professional background in municipal law and procedure. Having served as President of my own condominium, and represented other associations over the years, I would also be the only council member with an understanding of the type of issues small communities deal with on a daily basis.  My entire adult life has been dedicated to working with others to get things done.  I believe that experience will be extremely helpful in leading the Borough to where it will start dealing with the issues which really matter to its residents.

kalaka-murphy-sign

James LoBiondo
Republican
Running for Council

Please tell us about your background: where you’re from, where you went to school, how long you’ve lived in Sea Bright and what you do for a living.

Upon graduation from Villanova in 1997, I moved full time to Sea Bright and undertook the management of my family’s business, Surfrider Beach Club, where I worked during the summer for years in various capacities.  I am General Manager of the Surfrider Beach Club and operate the Windows on the Water catering facility on the premises. In addition, I am a real estate developer and licensed real estate agent.

I have been active in Sea Bright, offering services and volunteering in a number of capacities.  I became a member of the First Aid Squad and an EMT in 1998.  I have also been a member of the Sea Bright Business Alliance since its inception.  This summer I was pleased to provide use of the Surfrider pool and a lifeguard free of charge to our Recreation Department for swim lessons for Sea Bright children.

What do you see as the most pressing issues in town? What if any specific initiatives do you plan to push for if elected, and how will you go about putting them into effect?

[Combined answer] The major issue for Sea Bright is how to help our taxpayers in these difficult economic times.  The solution is finding ways to save money or the generating of revenue. In small towns the more successful route will be to sharing or consolidating of required government functions for cost efficiencies.  Our court services have recently been shared, and I pledge to continue to identify more avenues for Sea Bright to reduce its expenditures.

Why should voters elect you on November 8?

I am completing my first three year term on Council.  In addition to gaining government experience in leading committees related to Publics Works, Public Relations, Police and Emergency Management, I was able to immediately share my knowledge of beach operations. Both living and running a business in town has allowed me to be “hands on” on a day to day basis. The most memorable accomplishment is the recent determination by FEMA confirming its intent to fund a substantial project to replace failing bulkheads in five locations and for a submersible pump on Osborne Place for flood mitigation.  This funding will save the sea bright taxpayers over a million dollars.

I seek re-election based upon my qualifications to be a member of the Sea Bright Council:  the aggregate of my years of residing and operating businesses in Sea Bright, my additional experience as a real estate developer and my longstanding volunteer efforts coupled with the knowledge of municipal operations that I have gained these past three years.

long-leckstein-signDesiree Pierce
Democrat
Running for Council

Please tell us about your background: where you’re from, where you went to school, how long you’ve lived in Sea Bright and what you do for a living.

I have lived in Sea Bright my entire life, except for a brief time away when I was in college, and I am proud that I am one of the few remaining residents who can say they graduated from the Sea Bright Elementary School. I currently work in customer relations for JetBlue Airways at Newark Liberty Airport.

What do you see as the most pressing issues in town?

The Sea Bright School building, which has sat empty for decades now, is a perfect example of what’s wrong with Sea Bright. I want us to do more to clean up our town and foster a better sense of community, like it was in the past. Our Council, while they are nice people, just seem to talk and study and talk some more, while the citizens watch our beautiful town deteriorate before our eyes. To add insult to injury, we are the ones paying the bills, with higher and higher taxes.

What if any specific initiatives do you plan to push for if elected, and how will you go about putting them into effect?

If elected, I will make sure I question every expense, and if it does not improve our quality of life or our bottom line, I will not approve it. I am personally committeed to creating a more comprehensive recreation program and to controlling over development of our waterfronts.

Why should voters elect you on November 8?

Voters should elect me because I have the historical perspective on Sea Bright. I know where it’s been and what it’s capable of. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work with the rest of the team to make our community a better place.

kalaka-murphy-signJo-Ann Kalaka Adams
Republican
Running for Mayor

Read Murphy
Republican
Running for Council

Neither responded.