RED BANK: ZIPPRICH Q&A

Ed Zipprich. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are Zipprich’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

Name: Ed Zipprich

Age: 57

Address: River Road, Red Bank

Where did you grow up? Great Kills, SI, NY

Where did you go to high school? Msgr. Farrell HS

Did you graduate from college?  Yes

If so, which school, with what degree?

SUNY Brockport, BS

Have your served in the military? If so, which branch and when? No

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? 21 years

Do you own real estate in town? Yes

What do you do for a living? Retired – Law Firm Administration & Facilities Management

Please tell us a little bit about your community involvement efforts, if any.

Founding member of the Red Bank Borough Education Foundation; Served on the Red Bank Vision Committee; Founding member of the NJ State LGBT Caucus; Parks and Recreation Committee; Planning Board Member; Historic Preservation Commission; Monmouth County Transportation Commission;

Party affiliation:  Democrat

How important is party affiliation to you? What does it mean to you to be a member of your party?

I serve as Chairman of the Red Bank Democratic Party, and have been an active Democrat since I registered to vote at 18.  To me, my activism is rooted in the Democratic Party’s inclusive platform and core beliefs in caring for the well-being of our neighbors, providing services to our community and ensuring there are safety nets to protect society’s most vulnerable.

Do you have a role model in public life? Who and why?

My late father was my role model. He was engaged in the community, was a small business owner, a devoutly religious man, family oriented and well respected by his peers.

Why are you running for Red Bank council?

I have dedicated myself to serving this town and its residents for the past 12 years. I am running for another term to be the voice of the people and fight for the quality of life that so many of my friends and neighbors have come to enjoy in this ‘cool little town’ – I want to continue to help preserve and protect our historic character and charm; improve our efficiency through advancing technology and continue to advocate for our seniors and children.  Having spent 9 years shepherding Red Bank through the economic downturn after the 2008 crash and the aftermaths of Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, I feel that we’ve turned a corner and it’s now time to take decisive actions to move Red Bank forward into a new prosperous era.  In short, I love this town and want to continue to fight for affordability, sustainability and government efficiency in Red Bank.

What are the most pressing issues facing the town, and how do you plan to address them?

Upgrading our aging roads and infrastructure on a budget-conscious, but continuous basis to head off more expensive deferred maintenance issues in the future; Protecting our remaining open spaces and creating more through brownfield restoration; and Historic preservation.

What if any specific initiatives can voters expect from you if you are elected?

Parkland expansion and infrastructure improvements. My record speaks for itself as my team is paving roads, improving our water treatment and delivery system and keeping our parks and facilities in good order.

Does Red Bank need a downtown parking garage?

We need a parking study to determine what we need. I have been calling for a data driven analysis since the Republican plan came out and before their plan landed us in an unnecessarily expensive litigation.  Earlier this year, I think some people misunderstood my position.  I am not against a garage; I’ve only ever been against a process that presumes its result, which in this case, resulted in an enormous redevelopment plan passed on a partisan vote that ended up being challenged in court.  I feel that we’re on a much better track now, but I would like to see us do more to obtain objective data to make such an important decision.

Should the borough-owned White Street parking lot be made available for private development? Why or why not?

Maybe, but it depends on numerous factors – many of which are currently unknown, which is why I’d like a parking study of the whole town.  Personally, and perhaps this is where my conflict with my Republican counterparts arises, I think it’s clumsy and half-baked public policy to turn over the Borough’s most valuable asset to private developers without any parking data collected in the last decade “because we know we need more parking” or “it’ll make a dent in whatever parking deficit we have”.  Frankly, that’s scary policy-making.  It’s like playing darts blindfolded because, well, I know the bullseye is somewhere out there in front of me.  I’m open to making any decision that enhances commerce and property values in Red Bank, and Councilman Yngstrom, Councilwoman Horgan and I couldn’t have been more transparent about our thoughts – we publicly released a multi-step plan for making this decision – one that included the possibility of a referendum to give the residents a direct say in this vitally important decision.

Is the former incinerator site on West Sunset Avenue a good location on which to build a new park?

Yes, it is comprised of 8+ acres of riverfront land that the community can and should repurpose as an open recreational area with NJ DEP oversight for remediation and adaptive reuse.  Opening up this type of river access to our residents enhances property values in the surrounding neighborhood and this large parcel of new recreational area could be a terrific counterbalance to the previously discussed potential downtown redevelopment.

Is there a better alternative for providing outdoor recreation for residents, particularly those who live on the West Side?

I think there are other places that outdoor recreation can be developed on the West Side, like Bellhaven, but the size of the property, the wildlife living there, and the riverfront access make the former incinerator site difficult to duplicate elsewhere.

Is Red Bank doing all it can to keep the municipal portion of the tax rate in check? If not, what more might be done?

I think that, through modernization and increased efficiency, we can do more to streamline operations.  During my tenure, the privatization of sanitation provides one example of how there is always a better way of doing things.  While Red Bank has traditionally been a leader in shared services and employee cross-training (one need only see Stanley Sickels’ multiple hats), I think that signing up to be a councilperson is also signing up for the perpetual battle against the tide of complacency and unfunded state mandates to continue to keep the tax rate in check.

Find the ballot here. And below are the locations of polling places by district.

1 Hook and Ladder Fire House 7 Mechanic Street
2 Red Bank Middle School 101 Harding Road
3 United Methodist Church 247 Broad Street
4 United Methodist Church 247 Broad Street
5 Trinity Episcopal Church 65 West Front Street
6 Calvary Baptist Church 23 River Street
7 Red Bank Middle School 101 Harding Road
8 Red Bank Senior Center 80 Shrewsbury Avenue
9 Red Bank Housing Authority 189-195 Drs James Parker Blvd.