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RED BANK COUNCIL Q&A: MICHAEL WHELAN

mike whelan 033015Michael Whelan, Republican. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Election 2015 graphic

The balance of political power is at stake in the November 3 election in Red Bank, which features four candidates for two three-year seats on the borough council. All four have indicated they’ll participate in the West Side Community Group’s annual candidates’ forum at the River Street Commons at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 1. For more information about the event, take it here.

To help voters compare the contenders in terms of personal background and positions on key issues, redbankgreen emailed them identical sets of questions late last week. Here’s what Michael Whelan had to say in response.

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RED BANK: PARKING SYSTEM FOUND ‘BROKEN’

Carrie Krasnow, with study co-author Brian Bartholomew looking on, addresses the audience at the Red Bank Primary School Thursday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank might soon need another 220 or so parking spaces downtown, but it doesn’t need a parking garage just yet, a pair of experts say in a long-awaited study unwrapped Thursday night.

Instead, local officials first have to fix a “broken” parking management system, they said.

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RED BANK: DEMS OUST POULOS AS CFO

eugenia poulous red bank njCFO Eugenia Poulos at a council meeting in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njBorough hall may have been closed for New Year’s Eve, but the Red Bank council had one, last-minute bit of business to take care of Monday.

After a brief closed-door meeting, the governing body voted, 4-1, to fire the chief financial officer, just hours before she would have attained tenure.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL SAYS ‘BYE-BYE, 2018’

red bank nj councilman mark taylor cole At his last meeting as a councilman, Mark Taylor posed with his infant son, Cole, as his wife, Ashley, took their photo. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank council wrapped up 2018 last week with swan songs for two one-term members of the governing body, one of whom was the youngest ever elected in the borough’s history.

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RED BANK: FINAL COUNCIL AGENDA OF 2018

red bank, nj, borough hall, 90 monmouth st.The council will hold its final session of 2018 Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s political plates begin shifting once again Wednesday night, the last council meeting for the governing body’s only two Republicans.

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RED BANK: HIGHER VNA SITE DENSITY URGED

red bank, nj, vna, saxum, 176 riverside aveThe site, at 176 Riverside Avenue, is seen as integral to the borough’s efforts to provide affordable housing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council took steps Wednesday to allow as many as 90 housing units per acre on a key redevelopment site.

But the proposed rezoning of the former Visiting Nurse Association headquarters site would negate a compromise recommendation made by the planning board just last week.

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RED BANK: HUNT FOR GRANTS CONTINUES

red bank, nj, broad streetA grant seeking $821,000 for improvements to Broad Street is among the nearly three dozen applications pending, according to a report. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Six months after hiring a professional contractor to seek out grant funds, the Red Bank council is hopeful that a cash pump has been primed.

Business Administrator Ziad Shehady told the council last week that while no grants have yet been secured under the contract with Millennium Strategies, there is now “several million dollars” worth of potential funding “in the pipeline.”

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RED BANK: DEMS ROMP TO FULL CONTROL

red bank nj YASSIN TRIGGIANOCouncilmembers-elect Kate Triggiano and Hazim Yassin embrace on news of their victories Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank, nj election 2018Red Bank’s Democrats regained full control of borough government in an election rout for incumbent Mayor Pasquale Menna and two first-time council candidates in Tuesday’s election.

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RED BANK: PASQUALE MENNA Q&A

red bank nj mayor pasquale mennaPasquale Menna is seeking his fourth term as mayor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

red bank, nj, election, q&A,

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

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 Menna’s written responses to questions posed to all candidates recently by redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: GOP QUESTIONS YASSIN’S RISE

red bank nj hazim yassinHazim Yassin, with running mate Kate Triggiano, at the West Side Community Group candidates’ forum Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

One day after a low-friction debate, Red Bank Republicans went on the attack against a Democratic opponent Wednesday.

The GOP, chaired by council candidate Michael Clancy, posted on Facebook a press release titled “Who is Hazim Yassin?” questioning Yassin’s rapid ascent within the local Democratic party and accusing him of “fraud” on either investors or voters.

Yassin dismissed the attack, telling redbankgreen it was “littered with fabrications.”

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RED BANK: REPORT DOMINATES FACE-OFF

red bank nj council candidates 2018From left, council candidates Kate Triggiano, Hazim Yassin, Sue Viscomi, Michael Clancy and Allison Gregory at the West Side Community Group’s forum Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank, nj, election 2018A management study that found widespread “dysfunction” in Red Bank’s government provided fodder for contenders at the annual Candidates’ Night hosted by the West Side Community Group Tuesday night.

In the case of Pearl Lee, the first Republican to challenge Mayor Pasquale Menna since 2006, it provided the spark for her to run, she said. For Menna, it’s a document he accepts “ownership” of. And all five council candidates alluded to it.

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RED BANK: NONPARTISAN ELECTIONS? NOT YET.

Mike Whelan, center, and Mark Taylor, seen here on the night of their election to the Red Bank council in 2015, spearheaded the referendum effort.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank voters eager to eliminate partisanship from local elections and governance won’t get their wish this year.

A referendum initiative calling for non-partisan elections and a change to the form of local government lost steam over the summer and won’t be on November’s ballot. But its foremost advocates say they’re not giving up.

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RED BANK: GOP TO RUN MAYORAL CANDIDATE

Pearl Lee at the Bank Street block party earlier this month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Her name has appeared on campaign lawn signs for weeks, but on Tuesday, a Red Bank political neophyte made it official: she’s running for mayor.

Pearl Lee, a retiree and singer from Alston Court, will top the Republican ticket ballot in November’s election. She’ll also be the first GOP opponent of Democratic incumbent Mayor Pasquale Menna since he won the seat in 2006.

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RED BANK: FIRST WORKSHOP’S A MARATHON

Instead of taking their usual places on the dais, the mayor and council members sat around a large conference table for the meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank council’s first-ever workshop-only meeting proved to be a marathon of matters large and small Wednesday night.

Among the topics discussed at the three-and-a-half-hour session: ways to “deal with the issue” of vehicles parked indefinitely outside the home of an unspecified Bank Street resident, though it was widely understood who that was.

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RED BANK: REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY ON TABLE

Seen here at a council meeting in April, Ken DeRoberts, left, and Joe Hartnett of Government Strategy Group managed borough operations on an interim basis earlier this year. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The authors of a report that called for the creation of a redevelopment agency for downtown Red Bank appear to be on their way to getting a contract to make it happen.

Government Strategy Group would lead the way toward the creation of the agency, chief executive officer Ken DeRoberts said in a presentation at the borough council’s first-ever workshop-only meeting Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: WHELAN FACING ASSAULT CHARGE

Councilman Mike Whelan on his first day on the dais in 2016. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan was charged with assault following an incident in the Hamptons last month, redbankgreen has learned.

The charge stems from a confrontation in which Whelan, 27, claims he was attacked in the men’s room of an oceanfront resort in the upscale town of Montauk.

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RED BANK: GOP ATTACKS RIVAL OVER THREAT

Council candidate Michael Clancy at the Red Bank Classic race in June. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

In the first attack of Red Bank’s 2018 election season, the two Republican council candidates claimed they saw one of their Democratic opponents “cavort” with a man who had made “menacing and threatening gestures” toward one of them at a local government meeting.

 

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RED BANK: WHELAN CLAIMS HAMPTONS ATTACK

Councilman Mike Whelan, right, with Congressman Chris Smith in Red Bank last September. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan was involved an altercation in the Hamptons over the weekend in which he says he was attacked, redbankgreen has learned.

Whelan, 27, who serves as Red Bank’s police commissioner, said he was assaulted in a hotel men’s room by a belligerent stranger, and is confident the case against him will be dropped.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL ADDS MONTHLY MEETING

The workshop sessions will be held in the council chambers. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s local-government groupies and gadflies will have another municipal meeting to add to their calendars starting next month.

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RED BANK: PUPPY MILL LAW WITHDRAWN

The owner of Bark Avenue Puppies on West Front Street had threatened to sue the borough if it enacted the proposed ban on dogs supplied by breeders. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After seven months of controversy, Red Bank’s proposed ban on the sale of “puppy mill” pets was withdrawn over a failure to win council backing Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: AFTER SCATHING REPORT, WHAT?

Business Administrator Ziad Shehady in front of the large-screen monitor he uses in staff meetings to track projects. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Now that a scathing review of municipal operations has landed on their desks, what will Red Bank’s leaders do with it?

It won’t go into a drawer to be forgotten, says the newly hired official charged with implementing most of its recommendations. In fact, he says, change is already underway.

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RED BANK: REPORT RIPS TOWN OPERATIONS

A management review found that “at least 12” full-time positions could be eliminated from borough government. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Citing numerous examples of “dysfunctionality,” an unsparing review of Red Bank’s management recommends widespread overhauls, from a new form of government to improved courtroom security.

The Management Enhancement Report, commissioned last October and posted on the borough website Friday, includes insider comments highly critical of the way things work, or don’t work, at borough hall.

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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER KICKS IN ON PARKING

The borough council is expected to choose a consultant next week to assess parking needs in downtown Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Stalled since the November election, an effort to address parking issues in downtown Red Bank appears about to get back on track next week.

That’s when the borough council is expected to designate a parking consultant, to be paid for in part with funds from Red Bank RiverCenter.

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RED BANK: NONPARTISAN DRIVE UNDERWAY

Council members Mike Whelan, in white shirt, and Mark Taylor at the Red Bank First kickoff Tuesday night at Red Rock Tap + Grill.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Hoping to bust through what they see as political gridlock, two lame-duck Red Bank council members kicked off a petition effort Tuesday night to change both the borough’s form of government and the way in which its officials are elected.

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