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: MERCHANTS BLAST FEE HIKE

Red Tank Brewing owner John Arcara speaking at Wednesday’s council session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council voted Wednesday to boost the fees charged to restaurants to maintain tables in parking spaces converted to streateries.

The action followed claims by two business owners that the hike was onerous.

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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: STREATERIES ON HOLD

red bank parkletBorough workers created a streatery outside Bombay River and Tacoholics restaurants on Broad Street in July, 2020. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAt the Red Bank council’s first in-person session in more than two years last week, a lone member failed to advance a pandemic-era fix said to be favored by two merchant organizations: street eateries.

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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: 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: ‘CORRECTIVE ACTIONS’ ON AGENDA

The council has not yet resumed in-person meetings; Wednesday’s session will again be held via Zoom. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Corrective actions” to address deficiencies identified in an audit are on the Red Bank council’s agenda for Wednesday night.

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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: MIRANDI KEEPS SEAT, FOR NOW

Angela Mirandi, in black mask, as she was sworn to office by Congressman Frank Pallone outside borough hall February 11. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicA Monmouth County court denied a request Monday that Angela Mirandi be temporarily removed from her seat as an appointed member of the Red Bank council.

Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman instead ruled that Mirandi can continue in the post at least until April 8.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL PICKS O’HERN

Attorney Dan O’Hern with Councilwoman Kathy Horgan at the Mayor’s Ball in 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicReduced by conflicts of interest to half-power, the Red Bank council hired attorney Dan O’Hern Jr. to defend the borough against a lawsuit Friday afternoon.

The selection was formalized at a special council session called in advance of a Monday morning hearing at which a Superior Court judge could oust one council member at the behest of another.

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RED BANK: WHO’S THE ‘BOROUGH’ IN LAWSUIT?

A view of a closed-door Red Bank council executive session in 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicWith one Red Bank council member suing two others and the municipal government itself, who gets to be the “borough” in attorney-client discussions?

It’s complicated.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI DECISION POSTPONED

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

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicA Monmouth County judge postponed a decision Wednesday on whether Angela Mirandi can retain her seat as an appointed member of the Red Bank council.

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RED BANK: SIDES CLASH OVER COUNCIL SEAT

Angela Mirandi at her February 11 swearing-in ceremony, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, center, and Councilman Ed Zipprich at right. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank’s establishment Democrats have “admitted” in a court filing that last month’s appointment of Angela Mirandi to the borough council was tainted, challengers contended Tuesday.

Two party dissidents said in their own court filing that the purported admission bolsters their argument that Mirandi should be swiftly removed from the governing body.

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RED BANK: PARTY DEFENDS APPOINTMENT

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

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank’s establishment Democrats contend that their own failure to meet a deadline means the appointment of Angela Mirandi to the council should stand.

The unexpected argument was made in a letter filed in Superior Court Monday in a response to a lawsuit filed last week by Councilwoman Kathy Horgan and Charter Study Commission member Kate Okeson.

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RED BANK: CENTER FIXES OK’D, RE-ARGUED

Angela Mirandi, in second pane from left in the top row, attended her first session as a council member. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See CORRECTION below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThree years after a fire suppression system leak forced a shutdown of Red Bank’s Senior Center, the borough council approved nearly $2 million in financing for repairs Wednesday.

As in the past, members clashed over the reasons for the time elapsed and cost. Added to the acrimony was a new element: blame for failure to identify money recently found sitting idle in old accounts and now earmarked for repairs.

Unmentioned during the virtual meeting was a lawsuit, announced hours earlier, that seeks to remove Angela Mirandi, who attended for the first time as a council member.

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RED BANK: DEMS SUE DEMS TO OUST MIRANDI

Councilman and Democratic party Chairman Ed Zipprich attaches a borough pin to Angela Mirandi’s lapel after her February 11 swearing-in. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicThe civil war among Red Bank Democrats shifted to the courts Wednesday, as two local party committee members announced they sued to have newly-sworn council member Angela Mirandi removed from office.

The Superior Court lawsuit against party Chairman Ed Zipprich and others alleges he illegally froze out committee members Kathy Horgan and Kate Okeson in filling a council vacancy earlier this month.

News of the lawsuit broke just hours before Mirandi was expected to attend her first council session as a member.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI ZOOMS INTO OFFICE

Angela Mirandi, center, prior to her swearing-in. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bankers were finally able to put a face to the name as Angela Mirandi completed her swift transformation from commenter to council member Friday evening.

The corporate accountant, whose voice became familiar to other attendees of Zoom-hosted council meetings during the pandemic, was sworn to office in a brief ceremony outside borough hall, less than 48 hours after a divided council selected her to fill a vacancy.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI VOTED TO COUNCIL SEAT

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank’s governing council is about to get a new member: Angela Mirandi, a corporate-numbers professional who would immediately have a spot on the powerful budget oversight committee.

But Mirandi’s selection Wednesday night followed a dramatic few minutes in which the chairman of the Democratic party declined to endorse one of the other two residents whose names he had forwarded as contenders.

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