RED BANK: PORTMAN READY FOR MAYOR’S MIC

Billy Portman in a scene from the 1994 short film ‘No Time,’ directed by Darren Aronofsky. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After his mic-drop win in the Red Bank Democratic primary last month, Billy Portman enters the general election campaign as – in all likelihood – the first mayoral candidate in borough history with an IMDB listing and a “filthy” rap record on his résumé.

It turns out the 53-year-old building contractor/cover-band singer has had a long involvement in comedy and films, too.

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RED BANK: SCOTUS DECISION DRAWS PROTEST

About 150 supporters of women’s reproductive rights gathered in downtown Red Bank for a “community speak-out” on the the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade Friday evening.

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RED BANK: NONPARTISAN ELECTIONS ADVANCE

Ben Forest outside Sickles Market last September. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njLamenting the “unpleasantness” of Red Bank politics in recent years, Charter Study Commission member Ben Forest made a tearful plea for nonpartisan elections Wednesday.

The commission’s other four members informally agreed. They also began sorting through alternatives to the borough form of government in use since the town was carved out of then-sprawling Shrewsbury Township in 1908.

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RED BANK: STURDIVANT DROPS MAYORAL BID

Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant at the council’s May 25 meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Less than a week after it began, Jacqueline Sturdivant‘s controversial bid for Red Bank mayor ended Monday.

The first-term council member and Democrat dropped her bid after a challenge by the Monmouth County Democratic organization said it identified 29 ineligible signatories to her petition to run in the November election – as an independent.

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RED BANK: COUNTY DEMS IMPEDE STURDIVANT

Councilmen Ed Zipprich, left, and Michael Ballard at last year’s September 11 memorial service. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Monmouth County Democratic organization challenged the legitimacy of Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant‘s bid for Red Bank mayor Monday, redbankgreen has learned.

The move, announced in a blistering press release, bares yet another rift between the county and municipal arms of the party that has dominated Red Bank politics for three decades.

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RED BANK: PORTMAN MOCKS BALLARD CLAIMS

Billy Portman at home on John Street Sunday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Why did Red Bank mayoral candidate Michael Ballard sign a petition for a candidate who would oppose him if he won last week’s Democratic primary?

To counter “secret deal-making” engineered by opponent Billy Portman, Ballard told redbankgreen Friday night.

In response, Portman mocked the allegation as “business as usual” from a “dying machine.”

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RED BANK: STURDIVANT TO RUN FOR MAYOR

Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant attending her first in-person meeting of the governing body May 25, seated beside interim Business Administrator Darren McConnell. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Hours before Billy Portman pulled off the biggest political upset in memory in the Red Bank Democratic primary Tuesday, another candidate slipped into the race for mayor.

Though elected to the council last November as a Democrat, and an avowed member of defeated mayoral candidate Michael Ballard‘s Democratic “team,” Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant filed to run in the general election as an independent, she confirmed Wednesday.

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RED BANK: PORTMAN CLAIMS LANDSLIDE WIN

Billy Portman at Red Rock Tap + Grill Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Political neophyte Billy Portman claimed a landslide victory in Red Bank Democrats’ mayoral primary Tuesday night.

At the same time, enough members of an 18-candidate reform slate for the party’s county committee appeared to win races to ensure a change at the top of an organization Portman had criticized for “machine politics.”

 

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RED BANK: PORTMAN SEES INTERIM ROLE

Billy Portman addressing supporters at a fundraiser held at Tino’s Restaurant in late April. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank mayoral contender Billy Portman is “not looking for a lifetime in politics,” he says.

In fact, if all goes according to plan, he’ll be able to hand the reins to his successor just five months after being sworn in, he says.

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RED BANK: BALLARD TOUTS ‘TEAM’ GOALS

Michael Ballard at Sickles Market in Red Bank in May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Unlike his opponent in the June 7 Red Bank Democratic primary, Michael Ballard says he’s in it for the long haul.

“I am running to be the mayor of Red Bank for the next four years,” Ballard told redbankgreen last month. And with his “team,” he vows to return the governing body “to a pre-2018 council that was not at each others throats.”

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RED BANK: BALLARD AND PORTMAN TO FACE OFF

 

The two contenders for mayor in Red Bank’s June 7 Democratic primary have agreed to a virtual debate.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI CHALLENGE DROPPED

Councilman Ed Zipprich attaches a borough pin to the jacket of Angela Mirandi after her swearing-in ceremony February 11. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicA legal challenge to Angela Mirandi‘s appointment to the Red Bank council earlier this year has been dropped, redbankgreen has learned.

But while the lawsuit filed by Councilwoman Kathy Horgan and Democratic party secretary Kate Okeson failed to dislodge Mirandi, it shone a harsh light into the workings of the local party under Councilman Ed Zipprich, whose leadership faces an historic challenge next month.

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RED BANK: TURNOUT LIGHT FOR FORUM

A screengrab of Wednesday’s meeting, held via Zoom. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

An online public forum held Wednesday night by Red Bank’s  Charter Study Commission was brief, as only two residents chimed in.

But more have weighed in by email, according several commission members. And one consistent theme is that residents don’t want an appointed mayor, they said.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH DEMANDS TOWN’S COSTS

Ed Zipprich, center, with council colleagues Kathy Horgan and Erik Yngstrom in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank councilman and Democratic party chairman Ed Zipprich issued a “demand” Tuesday that two party members who sued for the removal of Angela Mirandi from the council reimburse the borough for its legal expenses.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI RETAINS COUNCIL SEAT

Angela Mirandi at her swearing-in ceremony February 11. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicAngela Mirandi retained her seat on the Red Bank council after a judge rejected a motion calling for her temporary removal Tuesday.

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RED BANK: GOP TRIO TO TRY AGAIN

jonathan maciel penneyRepublican Chairman Jonathan Maciel Penney, seen here in 2019, will run for council in the June primary. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Republican Brian Irwin, who dropped out of a council race two years ago, will seek his party’s endorsement as mayoral candidate in the June primary.

In addition, GOP Chairman Jonathan Maciel Penney will make his fourth attempt in four years for a council seat, joined for the second year in a row by Christine Stout.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI DECISION AWAITED

Attorney Dan O’Hern, seen at right with Mayor Pasquale Menna in 2014, represents the borough in the lawsuit. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicA Superior Court judge deferred an immediate decision Friday morning on whether to temporarily remove Angela Mirandi from the Red Bank council, as demanded by a pending lawsuit.

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RED BANK: HORGAN BAILS; NEWCOMER RUNS

Councilwoman Kathy Horgan greets Mayor Pasquale Menna at the Mayor’s Ball in 2016. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Yet another Red Bank Democratic official is heading for the exit while decrying “divisiveness” stoked by party leadership.

Councilwoman Kathy Horgan told redbankgreen Tuesday that, “with a heavy heart,” she’s not seeking a sixth three-year term.

Meanwhile, a political newcomer has stepped forward hoping to succeed Pasquale Menna as mayor.

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RED BANK: MENNA WON’T SEEK RE-ELECTION

Mayor Pasquale Menna, left, with Councilman Michael Ballard on February 11. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

After 16 years in office, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna won’t seek  a fifth term, redbankgreen has learned.

Menna’s decision, and the absence of other contenders, clears a path for Councilman Michael Ballard to secure the Democratic party nomination without resistance by the incumbent in the June primary election.

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RED BANK: DEMS TO SHARE ‘COUNTY LINE’

Councilmen Ed Zipprich and Michael Ballard at last year’s September 11 memorial ceremony. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

In the rare Democratic primary race shaping up in Red Bank for June 7, all candidates from two opposing factions will share the coveted “party line,” redbankgreen has learned.

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman David G. Brown II has rejected a demand by borough party Chairman Ed Zipprich that only incumbents from the 18-member committee that runs the party be given the preferred ballot position.

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RED BANK: ‘FED UP’ SLATE AIMS FOR OVERHAUL

Among the slate’s members are, clockwise from top left: Wilson Beebe, Suellen Sims, Kate Triggiano, Nancy Facey-Blackwood, Ben Forest, Kathy Horgan, Boris Kofman and Frank Corrado. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Eighteen “fed up” Democratic party loyalists plan to take on what they call Red Bank’s “exclusionary party machine” in the June primary elections, they said in an announcement early Thursday.

Their goals, they said, are to “bring transparency and end divisiveness” within the organization – and unseat Ed Zipprich as chairman.

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RED BANK: DENHOLTZ PLANS MASSIVE PROJECT

Denholtz’s plan would cover several NJ Transit parking lots, as well as company-owned sites. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicDenholtz Properties is negotiating to create a massive new development at the Red Bank train station, redbankgreen has learned.

The company’s plan is dependent on the borough designating a swath of sites around the station as redevelopment area, CEO Steve Denholtz said in an interview this week.

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