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RED BANK: ANTI-KAVANAUGH RALLY SLATED

brett kavanaugh, scotus, red bank nj, greater red bank women's initiativeOpponents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the United States Supreme Court plan to rally in Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park as part of a “walk-out” movement Thursday afternoon, redbankgreen has learned.

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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: 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: BRIDGE RENAMED FOR KYRILLOS

State Senator Joe Kyrillos at the opening of the new bridge in May, 2015. Freehold John Curley is at left. Below, a Google Satellite view of the bridge. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

For who knows how long, the West Front Front Street bridge connecting Red Bank and Middletown has been colloquially known as “Hubbard’s Bridge.” To Monmouth County, which owns the span and replaced it three years ago, it’s “S-17.”

As of Thursday, though, the 488-foot connector over the upper Navesink River has a new name: the “Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos Bridge.”

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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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ON THE GREEN: PRIMARY RESULTS

By JOHN T. WARD

Only eleven percent of Monmouth County’s registered voters participated in Tuesday’s Democratic and Republic primaries, with surprise outcomes hard to find on the Greater Red Bank Green.

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RUMSON: EKDAHL RETIRES AS MAYOR

 John Ekdahl, right, with former Red Bank Mayor Ed McKenna at the groundbreaking last September for an addition to the Count Basie Center for the Arts, where they serve on an advisory board.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After 14 years at the helm of Rumson’s municipal government, John Ekdahl retired as mayor last week.

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RED BANK: ADMINISTRATOR ‘Z,’ ON NEW JOB

Ziad Andrew Shehady in his Springfield office with his dog, Sheeba, in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Ziad Andrew Shehady. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Ziad Andrew Shehady, the incoming borough administrator of Red Bank, has a vision: local government done right, so that it’s viewed as “head and shoulders above” the norm, “like Amazon and Microsoft.

“New York is a great city to go to, and Red Bank is a great town to go to, but nobody looks at the municipal government and says, ‘wow, that is a municipality that is really doing government well,'” Shehady said in a telephone interview with redbankgreen Tuesday afternoon.

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RED BANK: NEW ADMINISTRATOR NAMED

Ziad Andrew Shehady reading to young students in Springfield last month. (Photo courtesy of Ziad Andrew Shehady. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank council approved the hiring Wednesday night of a new borough administrator, giving the town’s most powerful unelected job to an Army veteran who became the mayor of a Union County town at the age of 25.

And his salary will be triple that of his predecessor.

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RED BANK: GOP CHAIR TO SEEK COUNCIL SEAT

GOP Chairman Michael Clancy at last October’s Halloween parade. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

With its two incumbents dropping out, the Red Bank Republican party on Thursday chose its chairman and a newcomer to run for borough council this year, redbankgreen has learned.

Party head Michael Clancy will be joined on the ticket by Bank Street resident Allison Gregory on a ticket in which the mayoral slot will be blank, Clancy said Friday.

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RED BANK: GOP INCUMBENTS WON’T RUN

Mike Whelan, left, and Mark Taylor kicking off their campaign in 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s two remaining Republican council members won’t run for re-election this year, they said late Thursday night.

The bombshell news from first-termers Mark Taylor and Mike Whelan would appear to end a chapter of brief resurgence for the local GOP after having been frozen out of power for a generation.

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RED BANK: VISCOMI ADDS WILD CARD TO RACE

Viscomi serves on the board of ed, where she leads the finance committee, and is on a number of borough committees. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The 2018 race for two Red Bank council seats looks like it will have a wild card.

Sue Viscomi, a board of education member and former Republican stalwart who has expressed increasing antipathy in recent years to the local arm of the party, has started gathering signatures for a run as an independent in the November election, she told redbankgreen on Monday.

Her entry would appear to add to the challenge for the two presumptive Republican candidates, already facing the prospect of an anti-Trump backlash in a majority Democrat town, and could eat into support for the two Democrats in the race, both newcomers to elective politics.

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RED BANK: MENNA TOPS TICKET AGAIN

Mayor Pasquale Menna at Riverside Gardens Park in September. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Holding off a challenge by activist Ben Forest, Mayor Pasquale Menna secured the top spot on the Democratic ticket in the November election Sunday.

Menna, going for a fourth four-year term, will be joined by two council contenders seeking their first elective office.

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RED BANK: PARKING STUDY GETS IN GEAR

Officials hope visitors will find parking more readily with the relocation of permit spaces from the White Street lot to the east side lots. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a reset triggered by last November’s election, Red Bank’s majority Democrats took their first concrete step toward a possible large-scale parking solution downtown this week.

Meantime, an adjustment in the allocation of permitted parking was completed recently, opening up more visitor spaces in the town’s largest lot, officials said.

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RED BANK: FOREST LAUNCHES MAYORAL BID

Ben Forest, above, hopes to unseat three-term Mayor Pasquale Menna, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The 2018 race for Red Bank mayor got underway Wednesday with the announcement by West Side activist Ben Forest that he would challenge incumbent Pasquale Menna for the Democratic party’s endorsement.

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RED BANK: UNITY RALLY DRAWS A MURPHY

Tammy Murphy reacts as her husband, Governor-elect Phil Murphy, calls her while she’s delivering a speech at Saturday’s Unity Rally in Red Bank. The event drew a full house to Pilgrim Baptist Church, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Ignoring biting cold, dozens of Red Bank-area residents participated in a “unity” march and rally Saturday in honor of two civil rights champions: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and journalist T. Thomas Fortune.

Anchored at Pilgrim Baptist Church, the event featured a cameo appearance by the spouse of Governor-elect Phil Murphy as part of a whirlwind, pre-inaugural tour of New Jersey.

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RED BANK: DEMS TO SEEK PARKING STUDY

Councilman Erik Yngstrom now heads the all-Democrat parking committee.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a post-election lull, Red Bank Democrats plan to bring in a parking consultant to offer guidance on how to fix parking issues downtown, Councilman Erik Yngstrom said Wednesday.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM DISHES AND… OOPS!

Councilman Mike Whelan with Tiffanie Borges at the 2016 Mayor’s Ball, above. Below, then-Councilwoman Cindy Burnham at the same event with Industry magazine’s Anthony Barbera. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s semimonthly council meeting veered into Page Six territory Wednesday night when former Councilwoman Cindy Burnham suggested Councilman Mike Whelan was dating someone other than his longtime girlfriend.

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LITTLE SILVER: OATHS AND ‘BAD POETRY’

Chris Healy, above, and Mike Holzapfel, below, were joined by their wives and sons as they were sworn in as council members. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Delayed a few days by last week’s snowstorm, Little Silver residents turned out on an icy night for the annual government reorganization Monday.

For their trouble, they were treated to Mayor Bob Neff’s state-of-the borough message delivered, as is his custom, in verse.

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