RED BANK: HAZIM YASSIN Q&A

red bank nj hazim yassinDemocrat Hazim Yassin is seeking a council seat. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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At stake in Red Bank’s November 6 election: the mayor’s post and two council seats.

On the ballot are: incumbent Mayor Pasquale Menna, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Pearl Lee; and council candidates Michael Clancy (R), Allison Gregory (R), Kate Triggiano (D), Sue Viscomi (I) and Hazim Yassin (D).

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

Name:  Hazim Yassin

Age: 29

Address: 203 Branch Ave.

Where did you grow up? Toms River, NJ

Where did you go to high school? Ranney School

Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree?  Kean University, Biology

Currently working on my MBA

Have you served in the military? If so, which branch and when?  N/A

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank?

Growing up next door, I’ve always loved Red Bank and wanted to live here, so I made the move in 2017.

Do you own real estate in town?  No.

What do you do for a living?  Financial Representative & Licensed Insurance Producer

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

Treasurer of the Red Bank Education Foundation, Red Bank Planning Board Member, Advisory Committee for the Code Blue Initiative, and Moderator and Speaker at Interfaith and Youth Events

Party affiliation:  Democratic Party.

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

Party affiliation is important to me, but doesn’t define me. I am a Democrat because the party most closely aligns with my values, including diversity, gender equality, freedom of religion & association, and community building.

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

One of my role models is the late boxing great, Muhammad Ali. The thing I admired most about him was, no matter what was going on in his life, he always had a smile on his face and felt it was his duty to give back to community.

Why are you running for Red Bank council?

I have always believed in civic engagement.  We can’t have a community if we don’t get involved and communicate with each other.  I see running for Council as a natural extension of my current civic engagement and involvement in the Red Bank community.

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

Having knocked on over 5000 doors in Red Bank, I believe I have a pretty good idea the most pressing issues that our residents feel we are facing.  The top three are taxes, streets and infrastructure, and parking. Regarding parking, I believe we need to wait for the data from parking study before any concrete decision is made. As far as our streets, I am glad the borough has taken to their complete streets initiative and plan to continue this plan. Finally, taxes are where I feel I can be most effective. With my business and financial experience, I believe bring a fresh perspective to balancing the budget, and if elected I plan on make this my top priority.

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

With the Management Enhancement Report in place it is the perfect opportunity for the Borough to seek ways to modernize operations while improving efficiency.  Dedication, respect, and the ability to work cooperatively with other members of the Council for a common stability.

What criteria should voters apply to your initiatives to determine if you’ve succeeded?

I think voters should look to see more community events, a vibrant downtown, and a renewed focus on balancing the budget.

What do you think of the Government Strategy Group’s  Management Enhancement Report issued in June?

I commend the current council in commissioning this report, and I feel like it provides a sustainable blueprint for the borough to clean up some of the issues in town and progress forward.

Should Red Bank embark on a charter study or take other steps toward a new form of government?

It is definitely something worth looking in to.

Should Red Bank switch to nonpartisan elections?

In general, I am not in favor of nonpartisan elections. From the research I’ve done, I believe nonpartisan elections tend to disenfranchise minority and low income voters, favor higher income candidates, and in general have lower voter turnout. This is not what I want to happen to Red Bank.

Does the borough need a parking authority? Why or why not?

Pending the results of the parking study, I would hold off on this.

Does Red Bank need a downtown parking garage?

I think the borough has taken the right step, having commissioned a parking study, and I’ll hold off until we receive the data from the study. You never want to go into a major decision having made up your mind before you have all the proper data.

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

I like the current use of the White Street parking lot, including the festivals and events we hold there. I would be hesitant to make it available for private development, but I am always willing to explore any options and ideas presented.

Is the borough becoming over-developed? Please explain.

I think we are dangerously close, if not already there, to becoming over-developed. We need to take a step back and develop where it is appropriate, rather than develop just for the sake of it.

Do you support the creation of a redevelopment agency? Why or why not?

I believe there are obvious benefits to creating a redevelopment agency in that you create a guiding force that will enact your vision. My only hesitations would be the costs associated with such an agency.

Should the borough water utility be privatized? Why or why not?

This is another hypothetical where until an offer is made and we have specific information, it would just be speculation on my part. I always believe that any meeting is worth taking, and any idea is worth exploring.

Is Red Bank business-friendly? Please explain your answer.

Having just been named one of the top 10 best downtowns in all of NJ, including our 250 businesses, I believe Red Bank has done a great job being business-friendly. That’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement, but I believe the current council has taken steps to improve their relations with the business community, and kept them better informed and more involved in the borough’s plans.

Is Red Bank resident-friendly? Please explain your answer.

I believe Red Bank has a lot to offer our residents. With the renewed focus on pedestrian and bike safety, open spaces and parks, top notch police department, excellent schools, vibrant downtown

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

I believe that we need to make use of what the best available options are to us. As long as it is deemed safe, I’m all for it.

We have an opportunity to turn around part of the past into a model for progress in the design and creation of public spaces.

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

At this moment, I do not believe so.

Is the borough doing enough to safeguard pedestrians and bicyclists? What additional measures, if any, do you think are needed?

I believe the borough has definitely made it a priority to safeguard pedestrians and bicyclists, and they’ve done a good job.

Does the borough do a good job using information technology in its interactions with taxpayers and others it does business with? What improvements would you like to see, if any?

Yes, I believe that they do.

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 the current council is on the right track, with recommendations from the management report, in implementing their 5 year fiscal plan. The tax rate is a top priority for the borough, and there is always room for improvement. From day 1 this will be my biggest focus, as I’ll look to draw from my background and experience to aid the council.

If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do so here:

[No answer.]

Find the ballot here, and your polling station below.

red bank voting district map 2018

District Location Address Room
1 Hook and Ladder Fire House 7 Mechanic Street
Red Bank, NJ
2 Red Bank Middle School 101 Harding Road
Red Bank, NJ
3 United Methodist Church 247 Broad Street
Red Bank, NJ
Rear Entrance
4 United Methodist Church 247 Broad Street
Red Bank, NJ
Rear Entrance
5 Red Bank Public Library 84 West Front Street
Red Bank, NJ
6 Calvary Baptist Church 23 River Street
Red Bank, NJ
7 Red Bank Middle School 101 Harding Road
Red Bank, NJ
8 Red Bank Senior Center 80 Shrewsbury Avenue
Red Bank, NJ
9 Red Bank Housing Authority 52 Evergreen Terrace
Red Bank, NJ