Search Results for: kathy horgan

COUNCIL STILL DUG IN AGAINST GARDEN SPOT

cg-sickelsCommunity garden proponents talk to borough Administrator Stanley Sickels about their proposal after Wednesday night’s council meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The borough council Wednesday night unanimously adopted a resolution supporting a community garden in Red Bank.

Great, some said.

But when it came down to where the council might allow that garden to sprout, the council maintained a hard position that while it supports a community garden, it doesn’t support one where a group at least 40 strong want it: at a piece of borough property next to the library.

The clash between impassioned members of a community garden group and the council continued Wednesday night, without agreement, and none in sight, on its location.

It was more like a talking-to than a talking-with, as the council offered little feedback to a long line of speakers serving up suggestions, implicating political motives and asking questions that they feel still haven’t been answered.

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RAISES APPROVED FOR RED BANK EMPLOYEES

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By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Raises are going out at Red Bank Borough Hall, but stopping at the dais.

After two years of austerity, the borough council approved two-percent raises across the board for non-unionized employees last week. But the governing body kept its own pay flat.

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MULCH ADO ABOUT MAPLE COVE, AGAIN

11A request for mulch at Maple Cove digressed into a clash between Cindy Burnham and council members Tuesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When Cindy Burnham and other volunteers, part of the ad hoc Friends of Maple Cove group, ended a yearlong spat with the Borough of Red Bank and secured a deal to designate a one-acre patch at the foot of the Navesink River on Maple Avenue as a natural area with waterfront access, the understanding was that Burnham and company would maintain the parcel.

So says the town council.

Burnham maintains a different recollection.

“The only reason the Friends of Maple Cove came out to do anything was because you guys wouldn’t,” Burnham told the council Tuesday, following a request that the borough donate a half-truckload of mulch to the site.

The request triggered a kerfuffle between Burnham and the governing body over who should take care of the property, a question that never was answered.

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NO-SHOWS NIX RED BANK COUNCIL SESSION

rb-quorumThe council couldn’t hold its regular meeting Wednesday night because of a lack of a quorum. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s regular council meeting Wednesday night was, in the words of Mayor Pasquale Menna, a “legal nullity,” which is just a fancy way to say there would be no meeting at all.

Councilman Ed Zipprich is out of the country. So is Councilwoman Kathy Horgan. Councilwoman Sharon Lee was out of the state. And Councilwoman Juanita Lewis was stuck in Piscataway.

“So, consequently we cannot open this meeting,” Menna said.

Not that the governing body was going to do much anyway.

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LOCATION AN ISSUE FOR COMMUNITY GARDEN

sharon-lee-031611Councilwoman Sharon Lee details her objections to a request to create a community garden at the Red Bank Public Library. (Click to enlarge)

A push for the creation of a community garden at the Red Bank Public Library ran into some mud Wednesday.

Big question: whether that’s the best place for it.

Smaller question: how much will it cost to install a dedicated water line, and who will pick up the tab in these cash-starved times?

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RED BANK, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL

lib-bulkheadThe American Littoral Society would like to replace this old wooden bulkhead with a graded, natural one to help preserve wildlife. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The bulkhead — a battered wooden wall meant to protect the Red Bank Public Library‘s backyard from the Navesink River — is, without question, in need of repair.

What the fix should be is the question.

The American Littoral Society has a suggestion: tear it down and put in a more natural bulkhead, one that will better serve the shorehline ecosystem.

The environmental group earlier this week pitched the idea, which hasn’t been tried in this area, to the borough council.

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A THANKSGIVING BREAK

lunch-breakLunch Break fed more than 125 people on Thanksgiving. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Just a half a mile from the railroad track, you can get anything you want at Lunch Break.

Food, a football game, a smile.

On Thanksgiving, it was all of the above at Red Bank’s charitable mainstay.

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MIZZI: ‘I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE’

gopGOP candidates Rob Lombardi and Joe Mizzi, center, react to poll results at Anna Little’s campaign headquarters on Bridge Avenue Tuesday night. (Click to enlarge)

Joe Mizzi was excited Tuesday night, thinking this might be the one.

As treasurer of the local GOP for the past four years, and one of its two candidates for Red Bank council, he said he felt he and running mate Rob Lombardi had a good shot at displacing one or both Democratic incumbents on the ballot, Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee.

It boded well that voter turnout appeared to have been “suprisingly strong,” he told redbankgreen shortly after polls closed, and he’d heard positive feedback from those who’d cast ballots.

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RED BANK: DEMS SWEEP

demsRed Bank Democrats celebrating at campaign headquarters on West Front Street Tuesday night. (Click to enlarge)

Democratic incumbents Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee coasted to victory in the Red Bank council race Tuesday, extending the party’s domination of the governing body for at least another year.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, who ran unopposed for a second term, capped the slate’s box-out of GOP challengers Rob Lombardi making his second bid for council in two years, and GOP treasurer Joe Mizzi.

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ROOM FOR DEBATE, AND A COUPLE OF LAUGHS

debate3The Westside Community Group held its fourteenth annual council candidates’ debate Wednesday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It was a tame affair, one that started and ended with smiles and handshakes, with serious debate and a few zingers in between.

The crowd of a couple dozen at Wednesday night’s debate of Red Bank’s council candidates was also a bit subdued, but asked about all the hot topics in town: taxes, pedestrian safety and the local economy.

It opened up with quips from Mayor Pasquale Menna, who thanked the crowd for coming to Sharon Lee’s birthday party — she turned 55 yesterday — and said Republican candidate Joe Mizzi, who sports a shaved pate and spontaneously threw out the opening remarks he prepared a month ago, had a full head of hair before he finished writing his beginning statement.

Then it got serious.

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CANDIDATES’ FORUM RETURNS

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Will this year’s sleepy election contest for Red Bank mayor and two council seats finally stir to life?

It will get its best chance Wednesday night, when the West Side Community Group holds its fourteenth annual candidates’ night at River Street Commons.

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LOANS TARGETED TO BUYERS WHO WORK HERE

live-rb1Tony Marchetta, executive director of the state Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, introduced the Live Where You Work Program in Red Bank Friday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna says all too often people hear that residents that are fleeing New Jersey for cheaper places to live. He doesn’t necessarily buy it, and suggests those reports be taken with a grain of salt.

At the same time, though, he said he understands the state needs to move on a different, more sustainable course, particularly in the housing market, which has been shaky at best the last few years.

“Municipalities need to change. Red Bank needs to change,” Menna said.

Part of that change began Friday, he said, when the borough became the fifth municipality in Monmouth County, and the 34th in the state, to join a statewide program to help make employees residents of the towns they work in.

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STRIKING A POLITICAL POSE

menna-broad-stEven though he’s running unopposed this year, Mayor Pasquale Menna is still doing a little campaign work. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

Mayor Pasquale Menna, along with councilwomen Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee, who are up for re-election, posed for the camera in downtown Red Bank Wednesday afternoon.

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GETTING SCHOOLED ON CYBERBULLYING

cyberbully1Kevin Clark, who runs Monmouth County’s computer crimes unit, gave a presentation on computer safety at Frank Talk on Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The message Kevin Clark wants to deliver can’t be spread fast enough.

“Think before you click,” says Clark, director of the Monmouth County prosecutor’s computer crimes unit.

On the ‘duh’ scale, Clark’s maxim may be high up there. But when you get into the online world, the advice is still news to a lot of people, especially children and teenagers, he said.

That’s why Clark used the phrase several times throughout his presentation about cyberbullying and Internet safety to a small group of Red Bank dignitaries (and one curious teacher) on Saturday, with the goal of raising awareness to a new-ish brand of schoolyard teasing that has risen to new, dangerous heights in recent years.

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COUNCIL WANTS MORE INFO ON RBR CUTS

rbr-signRBR will likely have more layoffs and program cuts since its budget failed last month, officials warn. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Red Bank Borough Council wants more specifics before it votes on a resolution that would call for additional layoffs and program cuts at Red Bank Regional.

Voter rejection last month of the high school’s $24 million budget has already resulted in layoff notices to 70 employees, according to one report. But faced with approving an additional $270,500 in reductions on Monday night, the council held off, members said, because there wasn’t enough information from school officials on how that figure was reached.

“Where’s the $270,000 from? What number is that?” a visibly peeved Council President Art Murphy asked Councilman Michael DuPont, who heads the borough finance committee. “That’s what I want to know.”

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WHO’S RUNNING, AND WHO ISN’T

menna-052609-2The path to a second term appears unobstructed for Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Mayors Pasquale Menna and Mike Halfacre, of Red Bank and Fair Haven, respectively, don’t appear to have any competition in their re-election bids this year.

Both men filed petition paperwork on Monday, the state deadline, to run for re-election. No one else filed for their seats.

But they could face competition if independents write-in for the June 8 primary and November 2 general election ballots.

Menna told redbankgreen that the absence of an opponent “doesn’t mean anything. ” He said he’s only concerned with his role the next four years as the borough’s top executive.

“I can only keep on doing what I’ve been doing and do it the best I can,” he said.

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Y ZONE CHANGE QUASHED BY COUNCIL

rb-councilCongregation Beth Shalom Secretary Sara Breslow speaks against a proposed zoning ordinance at Monday’s council meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s borough council voted 4-1 against a contentious ordinance amendment that would have made the Community YMCA a permitted use at its longtime location Monday night, effectively ending the organization’s recent bid to expand the Maple Avenue facility.

It very well may be the council’s most expensive vote this year, according to Mayor Pasquale Menna.

“My only admonition is that it’s going to be really costly for the borough. I can’t guarantee what happens,” he said.

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WAR OF WORDS: RED BANK DEMS v. BECK & CO.

beck-010310-41dupont-election2009-2State Senator Jennifer Beck’s refusal to back Red Bank’s request for special treatment in Trenton has drawn fire from local Democrats led by Councilman Mike Dupont.

Red Bank’s all-Democrat council wanted local legislators in their corner recently when they appealed to new Governor Chris Christie for special consideration as he sharpened his budget-cutting knives.

But state Senator Jennifer Beck and her two 12th-district Assembly colleagues, Caroline Casagrande and Declan O’Scanlon, all Republicans like Christie, said quite publicly that borough officials haven’t done enough to merit special treatment in Trenton.

That did not sit well at borough hall. Yesterday, the council Dems (not including Mayor Pasquale Menna) went on the offensive with a letter sent to the GOP three and circulated to reporters.

“You refuse to advocate for the residents of Red Bank with the newly elected Governor to mitigate the hardship Red Bank is experiencing due to the high number of non-profit and tax exempt organizations in our Borough,” says the letter, signed by Councilman Mike DuPont, with apparent endorsement (but no signatures) of councilmembers Art Murphy, Sharon Lee, Kathy Horgan, Juania Lewis and Ed Zipprich.

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SPLITTING THE TIME DIFFERENCE

rb-council-chambers2Two meetings per month at 6:30p would replace one at 5:30 and another at 7:30.

Once again, it’s time for the time issue.

Red Bank’s governing body is set to change the start times of its bimonthly meetings for the second time in five years. Only this time around, the one-party borough council finds itself in unanimous agreement on the proposal.

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RED BANK COUNCIL RUNDOWN

SovereignSovereign Bancorp’s Broad Street branch got a reduction in its tax bill.

Assorted items and actions from Monday night’s Red Bank Council meeting:

• The council approved a tax appeal settlement that reduced the assessment on the Sovereign Bank property at Broad Street and East Bergen Place by almost $189,000, to $1.799 million, for tax years 2007 and 2008.

Also approved was a settlement regarding Sutton Commons apartments on Branch Avenue, which will see a $338,000 drop in assessed value, to $3.69 million.

Here are the resolutions: Download 09-62
and Download 09-63

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COUNCIL WEB DEAL ‘STILL IN DISCUSSION’

BoroughwebsiteThe homepage of the borough website.

The Red Bank government's plan to hire web design and management firm C3 Citizen Communication Center for $2,000 a month appears to be in slow-download mode following a second round of criticism.

At the borough council's bimonthly meeting last night, information technology specialist Jim Willis of Harrison Avenue characterized the model used by C3 as a "roach motel for data," in which information such as council agendas is entered but can't be shared across new technologies, such as Google calendar and news sources such as redbankgreen.

[Disclosure: Willis provides tech services to redbankgreen and its companion site, Red Bank oRBit.]

Willis said the deal would also shackle the borough to a vendor for the term of a contract and force it to build its website anew if the contract isn't extended.

"Proprietary software is synonymous with vendor lock-in," Willis said. Under the proposed deal, the borough wouldn't own the software but have a license to use it, and "if the borough wants to change vendors in the future, we will be right back where we are today, except we'll be tens of thousands of dollars poorer."

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RED BANK COUNCIL Q&A: YNGSTROM

erik yngstrom 031716Erik Yngstrom, Democrat. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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One year after Republicans narrowly displaced Democrats as the controlling party in Red Bank government, ending a 25-year reign, voters return to the polls on November 8 with five candidates to choose from for two council seats: one now held by a Democrat, the other by a former Republican-turned-independent.

All five candidates 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 Tuesday, October 18. 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 Erik Yngstrom had to say in response.

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