Search Results for: ed mckenna

FARM MARKET CULTIVATES A RELAXED VIBE

Artist Matthew Becker comes to town each Sunday to sell his paintings. Below, mushrooms from ‘the Mushroom Capital of the World.’ (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI

A mushroom buffet, freshly picked callaloo and a vegan lunch truck: all are staples for Red Bank Farmers Market customers, many of whom trek dozens of miles week for these delicacies, as well as clothing and art.

Everything, it seems, is homemade, handcrafted, passed down for generations or grown on a farm owned by someone who spent his life savings to buy it. Everything has a story.

Matthew Becker, an artist whose full-time job is running a karma yoga practice, comes every Sunday from Point Pleasant, even though he doesn’t do a tremendous amount of business selling his work. He uses the time to paint and to soak in the market atmosphere.

“I like to spread good vibes around for people,” he said, pointing out the “chill-out trance music” playing from his speakers in the parking lot of the Galleria at Red Bank. “It’s my most relaxing day of the week.”

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RED BANKS: DEMS HOLD COUNCIL

rb-votes-110811District 2 voters entering the Independent Engine Company house on Mechanic Street Tuesday morning. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

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Red Bank’s Democrats maintained their lock on the borough’s governing body with two decisive wins for council Tuesday.

Juanita Lewis and local party chairman Ed Zipprich defeated Republicans Grace Cangemi and Joe Mizzi, whose campaign lite strategy had opponents and some voters scratching their heads about their whereabouts in the race.

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RED BANK COUNCIL CHANGES MEETING NIGHTS

rb-council-chambersCouncil meetings will now be held on Wednesday nights. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Got a concern, request or gripe of a municipal nature? Don’t bring it to Red Bank borough hall on a Monday night and expect to air it out anymore.

The governing body is moving its meeting dates over to hump day.

The council voted unanimously Monday night to accommodate an absent Councilman Mike DuPont’s new work schedule — he was recently appointed borough attorney in Sayreville, where the council also meets Mondays — and reschedule its meetings to the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month.

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McKENNA RETURNS TO RIVERCENTER

ed-mckennaFormer Mayor Ed Mckenna at his Broad Street law office Wednesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Amid a tough times for retail and changes to how it does business, Red Bank RiverCenter has enlisted one of its founding fathers to help fulfill its mission.

Political magnate and former mayor Ed McKenna was named to the independent agency’s board earlier this month.

It was a sensible move, as the agency is focusing more heavily this year on attracting shoppers and businesses to move into town, all while trying to help established merchants succeed in this sludgy economy, said Nancy Adams, Rivercenter’s executive director.

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SENKELESKI CONCEDES SHE HASN’T CONCEDED

kim-senkeleskiKim Senkeleski: provisionally waiting.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Prior statements by the candidate aside, it’s possible Tuesday night’s borough council election results didn’t spell the end of campaign ’09 for Republican Kim Senkeleski after all.

Early Tuesday night, Senkeleski conceded to incumbent Democrats Art Murphy and top vote-getter Mike DuPont.

But the Asbury Park Press reported later in the evening that Senkeleski was considering a ballot recount because she had narrowed the gap.

Senkeleski denied that report when contacted by redbankgreen later that night.

But she changed her tune when she posted a comment yesterday on redbankgreen‘s election story, writing that because provisional ballots have yet to be counted, she will not admit defeat.

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DEMS: CORZINE NEARLY DRAGGED US UNDER

dupont-murphyThough close, the outcome was worth a shared high-five between running mates Art Murphy, right, and Mike DuPont, with back to camera. (Click to enlarge)

The Democratic faithful who gathered in a failed West Front Street spa on election night were so subdued they might as well have had cucumber slices on their eyes.

Results from eight of Red Bank’s nine polling districts were in, and incumbent councilmen Art Murphy and Mike DuPont were trailing a pair of Republican unknowns by about 50 votes.

But former Mayor Ed McKenna was unfazed. He guesstimated that absentee ballots would break in the Democrats favor enough to put them slightly ahead, and that the tallies from the ninth — the area west of Shrewsbury Avenue and south of River Street — would ensure a comfortable win.

Well, he got the overall result correct, if not the details, if unofficial figures are reliable. They showed margins of just eight and 21 votes, respectively, for Murphy and DuPont over first-time Republican challenger Kim Senkeleski in what Mayor Pasquale Menna saw as a replay of former Gov. Jim Florio’s disastrous re-election try in 1992.

“There’s not much you can do at the bottom of the ticket when you have such an avalanche at the top,” Menna said, referring to GOP Chris Christie’s thrashing of incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine.

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BOROUGH DEMS SNUBBED ON OBAMA VISIT?

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A pair of Marine Corps helicopters rehearsed Tuesday at Holmdel High School for the arrival of President Obama on Thursday. The aircraft are designated as Marine One only when the president is aboard. (Photo courtesy of Manny Carabel)

Red Bank may be a shining beacon for Democrats in heavily Republican Monmouth County, but the party’s most faithful could be stuck at home watching President Obama on television when he appears less than a dozen miles away in Holmdel on Thursday.

redbankgreen has learned that arrangements for two busloads of local Dems who had hoped to be part of the Obama lovefest were canceled earlier this week by the re-election campaign of Gov. Jon Corzine.

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CHRISTINE McKENNA DIES AT 58

McKenna ChristineChristine McKenna with her daughter, Kayla, and Mayor-elect Pasquale Menna on election night 2006, at left; at right, with Kayla at a sendoff for her husband the following month.

Christine McKenna, the wife of former Red Bank Mayor Ed McKenna, died this morning after a long battle with cancer.

Her death, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, was confirmed by Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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O’HERN RECALLED AS AN EXTRAORDINARY “ORDINARY” SON OF RED BANK

Corzine o'hernGov. Jon Corzine presents the folded flag from the casket of former Daniel J. O’Hern to O’Hern’s widow, Barbara, as family and friends look on outside St. James Church on Saturday. (Click photos to enlarge)

Red Bank bid farewell to one of its most accomplished sons Saturday, when Gov. Jon Corzine and luminaries from the state’s legal system gathered for the funeral of former borough mayor and New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. O’Hern

O’Hern died of brain cancer on Wednesday at age 78 at his home in Little Silver — though reading those those words would likely have sent him around the bend, his son, John suggested.

“A few years ago, he grudgingly moved [from Caro Court, in Red Bank] less than a
mile away to Little Silver,” John O’Hern told a packed house at at St. James Church, where his father was a lifelong communicant. “The move about
killed him.”

He said his father made his mother promise at the time that his obituary would
still read, “Daniel O’Hern, of Red Bank, New Jersey.”

Crossing
The hearse bearing the O’Hern casket passes under the crossing of the ladders arranged by the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department.

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CEDAR CROSSING PLAN BREEZES TO OK

Cedar crossing plan Planner Paul Szymanski testifies on behalf of the developer about the proposed project at Thursday night’s zoning board meeting.

A 36-unit affordable housing project envisioned alongside a rail yard on Red Bank’s West Side sailed to unanimous approval by the borough zoning board in less than two hours last night.

The board had called a special meeting for the purpose of hearing the proposal because the non-profit developer, Red Bank Bank Affordable Housing Corp., was under the gun to enhance its chances of obtaining construction funding from a program administered by Monmouth County.

Despite deficiencies — such as a 13-space parking shortage and complete absence of recreation space — that have ensnared other applications, board members praised the plan for advancing the goal of home ownership for low-and-moderate income families who are otherwise priced out of town.

“It’s nice that finally somebody’s doing something for the people and not for their pocket,” said board member Chris Ferrigine.

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DEMS DRUB GOP IN RED BANK

LewiswinsJuanita Lewis embraces her campaign manager, Christine McKenna, after her win in Tuesday’s Red Bank Council election.

Red Bank voters skied straight down the Democratic column in Tuesday’s elections, hoping to elevate the first-ever African-American to the presidency and making the borough council into a solid, single-party affair for the first time in a decade.

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Knocked aside in the process were incumbent Councilwoman Grace Cangemi, seeking her first full council term, and her running mate, John Tyler Jr.

Slated to join the council on January 1 are Ed Zipprich and Juanita Lewis, who styled themselves as “progressive Democrats” in the mold of Howard Dean.

But unlike squeakers of recent years, this race wasn’t even close. Zipprich racked up 2,343 votes and Lewis, 2,322 in an unofficial tally. Cangemi netted 1,813 and Tyler, 1,625.

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CURLEY v. McKENNA: THE SEQUEL

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In a reprise of one of his nastiest fights as a member of the Red Bank Council, John Curley says that “scumbags” and “vermin” associated with former Mayor Ed McKenna are trying to undermine his candidacy for Monmouth County Freeholder with misrepresentations.

In a story on PolitickerNJ.com, Curley says a flier sent to voters in recent days that blames him for a $400,000 increase in taxes in 2006 is the work of a McKenna-led political action committee.

From the report:

“Some people believe what they read in a political flyer, but this only goes to show what kind of scumbags we’re dealing with when it comes to (former Red Bank Mayor) Ed McKenna and his Monmouth County Mayors Leadership PAC.

“They are vermin,” Curley added of the former mayor’s fundraising arm. “They are a bunch of dirtbag skeeves, and you can quote me on that.”

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CURLEY ‘DISAPPOINTED’ IN BURRY’S VOTE

CurleyburryDriving Mrs. Burry: John Curley and his running mate, as seen at Red Bank’s Centennial Parade in May.

For years, former Red Bank Councilman John Curley has railed against what he’s called a “good old boys” way in which the Monmouth County Freeholders parcel out legal work, and in particular against the award of work to the firm of his longtime nemesis, former borough Mayor Ed McKenna.

So it must have been particularly nettlesome for Curley last week when McKenna, DuPont, Higgins & Stone was again appointed — this time with Curley’s running mate for Freeholder voting to affirm the work.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that incumbent Lillian Burry “broke a promise” to Curley not to renew McKenna’s appointment as assistant county counsel at a rate of $155 an hour.

“I am just deeply disappointed over how the vote played out,” Curley told the Press, according to the report.

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RED BANK DEMS: ‘COULDA LOST BUT DIDN’T’

Horganwins1

Red Bank Democrats appear to have held their 4-2 council majority with narrow wins Tuesday by Council President Sharon Lee, who bagged a second term, and Zoning Board member Kathleen Horgan.

But Democratic newcomer Ed Zipprich apparently didn’t have enough juice to nudge Grace Cangemi from the seat she’s held as an appointee since March. Uncertified figures have Cangemi beating Zipprich by 59 votes for the right to finish out the term begun by Kaye Ernst, who resigned and moved out of state in January.

The closeness of the race was reminiscent of last year’s finale for mayor and council, in which Cangemi was bested by Mike DuPont by absentee ballots. A recurrence of that seemed unlikely this morning.

“Last year, it swung by 20 votes,” Cangemi said as she awaited the arrival of Jennifer Beck, upset winner in the 12th district Senate race, at the Dublin House early today. “I can’t imagine it swinging by 60 votes this time. We just don’t cast that many absentee votes in Red Bank.”

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RED BANK BUDGET: TOO TIRED TO ARGUE?

Taxes

A year after Democrats predicted Red Bank taxes would go down in 2007, the Borough Council last night finalized this year’s budget.

Taxes went up.

As the Borough Council majority sees it, though, the local bite was made as painless as possible. The average homeowner’s local-purposes tax bill — the first installment of which is due today — is up $57 for the year. Last year, it was up $87, according to CFO Frank Mason.

To Republican Councilman John Curley, the $20.23 million spending plan, which includes $8.6 million to be raised locally, would have benefited from a tougher budgeting process, outsourcing of some services and other approaches he said the majority had rejected.

To River Street resident Gary Morris, the plan was tainted by a “shameful” continuation of free healthcare insurance coverage for elected officials.

All of those arguments, though, have been made many times this year by those same parties. So by last night, with the budget’s adoption a mere formality, the combatants went a it with all the vigor of football players in the fourth quarter of a pro-bowl rout.

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McKENNA’S NEXT ACT?

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After a continuous, 18-year slog of borough council meetings, planning board sessions and rubber-chicken dinners from here to Trenton, departing Mayor Ed McKenna is about to find some gaping holes in his schedule.

More fundamentally, at age 56, he may also find himself pondering the question, ‘What do I really want to do now?’

Sure, he can golf from LaJolla to Lahinch until he’s red in the face. But really, is that a meaningful way for a man at the peak of his strengths to spend his time?

Yes, he’s got a successful law practice, but he’s been grinding on that wheel, too, for many years. Besides, would the credit union industry really miss one drop-out attorney?

This is the era of self-reinvention, and the possibilities for a person of McKenna’s skills and experience are almost limitless. Radio call-in host. Lobbyist. No Joe’s barista.

There’s almost too much to choose from. But fortunately for McKenna, the readers of redbankgreen are standing by, ready to offer guidance on his next move.

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BEST LIQUORS TRIAL POSTPONED

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The Borough Council’s trial-like hearing on a series of seven allegations against the liquor license of Best Liquors has been postponed for a month, according to today’s Asbury Park Press.

The reason: store owner Sunny Sharma’s hiring of a new lawyer, Mitchell Ansell. Word of the new counsel reached borough officials Monday, and they agreed that Ansell should have time to prepare his defense against the allegations, which include five counts of selling liquor to minors.

From the article:

“The party in the case just reached us and asked us for an adjournment,” Mayor Edward J. McKenna Jr. said. “I’d ask we grant that adjournment so we can afford him due process.”

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A HALF-ASPHALTED JOB?

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What’s with the partial pave jobs on Hudson Avenue and East Bergen Place?

Almost two weeks ago, paving contractors laid down a 10-foot wide strip of steamy new asphalt along the north side of East Bergen. At the same time, they paved exactly half of Hudson—the western half of the north-south thoroughfare. Then the contractors packed up and left.

What gives?

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RIVERCENTER HONORS MCKENNA

At the annual meeting of RiverCenter on Monday night, Ingeborg Perndorfer of The Language School passed around photos of downtown planters spilling over with colorful flowers. Architect Stephen Raciti emceed a series of awards for downtown building improvements.

Rivercenter

And departing Mayor Ed McKenna, beginning a farewell tour after 16 years in the job, collected a plaque that named him this year’s ‘Red Bank Ambassador’ for his role in the creation of the downtown Special Improvement District in 1989 and of RiverCenter, which manages the district, two years later.

Before there were flower pots and award-winning facades, the downtown had the appearance of ghost town, with high vacancies rates at street level and nearly 100-percent vacancies in offices on second floors and higher.

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BACKPEDALING FROM DUBIOUS ADS

Democratic mayoral candidate Pasquale Menna has acknowledged that mailed campaign literature used to attack his opponent, John Curley, contained made-up newspaper excerpts, according to today’s Asbury Park Press.

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“It was an error on the campaign’s part. We didn’t do it maliciously, and I’ve apologized on behalf of the campaign,” Menna told the Press’ Larry Higgs. “It should have been put together better.”

But the consultant whose firm designed the ad, Ross Oster of the Oster Group, told the Press that he properly sourced the original Press article, an assertion disputed by an editor at the Press.

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CURLEY FRIED

Councilman and mayoral wannabe John P. Curley was booted from his post overseeing the borough’s finance department last night, according to Larry Higgs in today’s Asbury Park Press.

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Mayor Ed McKenna initiated the ouster, repeating his claim that lax oversight of now-departed borough CFO Terence Whalen by Curley forced the council to raise property taxes.

The vote to kick Curley to the curb went along party lines, with the four Democrats, including mayoral contender Pat Menna, voting in favor. Curley and fellow Republican Kaye Ernst voted against it, the Press reports.

“Why don’t you just take me down to Broad Street and hang me?” Curley is reported have said.

He defended his role in monitoring the finance department, saying…

that until the 2005 audit, which was delivered this summer, other reports from the auditor revealed no problems in the finance department.

“I got the reports from the auditor, and the reports were everything was fine,” he said. “I am not the CFO or the auditor. I can only go by the reports.”

Curley also reminded McKenna that he has appointed him to consecutive terms as finance chairman.

McKenna, though, compared Curley’s handling of the assignment to that of his three predecessors, and found Curley’s actions wanting, to say the least. Unlike Curley, the previous overseers of the department met regularly with the CFO and provided updates to the council, McKenna said.

From the story:

“There is nothing personal or political about what I will propose here. This is strictly business,” McKenna told the council. “In any other business, if a department chairman or head had $400,000 in losses, they would be fired.”

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MORE CURLEY v. McKENNA

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The acrimony between departing Mayor Ed McKenna and mayoral candidate John Curley spilled over into the business of the Monmouth County Freeholders last night.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that Curley and other Republicans were, um, displeased with the Freeholders’ hiring of law firms.

McKenna’s firm—McKenna, Dupont, Higgins & Stone—was named as a special counsel. The Freeholders also re-appointed, by a 3-2 vote, Malcolm V. Carton as county counsel, re-upping Carton in a post he’s held since 1985.

Carton’s lock on the job had appeared in danger amid rising concern about the size of his bills and his naked fundraising for Republican candidates.

But under new rules adopted by the Freeholders, the county counsel will be prohibited from making any political contributions to candidates for county office, and is now barred from hosting fundraisers for the freeholders, sheriff, county clerk or county surrogate.

The Freeholders also brought in six new law firms, including McKenna’s, with both Democratic and Republican affiliations.

Not good enough, according to Curley and other critics who took a throw-the-bums-out approach.

From the story:

“It is a night of shame for the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders,” Curley said. “The county is not moving to clean itself up. They appoint the same cronies…the same old boys club.”

OK, so that was arguably a broad-brush attack not necessarily aimed solely at McKenna. But it makes for a tidy entry in the back-and-forth between McKenna, who ran on the same ticket as Curley in 2002, and Curley, who later switched parties, from Democratic to Republican.

A week ago, McKenna blamed Curley for the 4-cents-per-$100-assessment increase approved by the borough council.

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McKENNA: IT’S CURLEY’S FAULT

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The buck for the latest increase in Red Bank property taxes stops at the far right end of the Borough Council dais, where John P. Curley sits, according to Mayor Ed McKenna.

McKenna blamed Curley for the 4-cents-per-$100-assessment increase approved by the council yesterday. In McKenna’s view, Curley failed to exercise proper oversight of former borough chief financial officer Terence Whalen, who quit in June, shortly before the release of an audit that found his department rife with mismanagement that will set the town back $400,000. No fraud was alleged.

According to Larry Higgs’ account in the Asbury Park Press, McKenna accused Curley, the council’s finance committee chairman, for failing to monitor Whalen.

“The taxpayers of this borough should hold you accountable for four cents of the tax increase,” McKenna said.

McKenna said the borough tax rate would be flat if not for the problems in the finance office.

“We have an excellent budget. I wish it was better, but due to negligence in one department, it cost us $400,000,” McKenna said.

Curley said it isn’t his job to monitor full-time employees. That is the job of full-time borough employees, he said.

“I’m not the CFO or the auditor,” he replied.

Other finance committee chairmen met with the CFO during the week and got updates on whether the borough was under or over budget, McKenna said.

“That’s what you should have been doing,” McKenna said. “You knew we had a new CFO and should have been monitoring him on a microscopic basis.”

McKenna’s accusation followed criticism by Curley of the council’s failure to slash the budget across all departments by five percent from last year’s spending, as Curley had proposed.

The new spending plan calls for $16.27 million, with the local portion of property taxes pegged at $8.32 per $1,000 of assessed value. For the average home, assessed at $179,000, that means a bill of $1,489, up $75 from the previous budget.

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A ROOMFUL OF MAYORS

Img_4995Former Mayor Ben Nicosia was among the spotlight guests at a cocktail party Tuesday night at the Molly Pitcher Inn, where he and three other former Red Bank mayors — Dan O’Hern, Mike Arnone and Ed McKenna — were honored by Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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