RED BANK: MURPHY TOUTS ‘SENSE’ ON GUNS

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, with Brett Sabo of Moms Demand Action at right, in Riverside Gardens Park Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At a no-surprises event held in Red Bank, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy picked up an endorsement from a group pushing for “common sense gun laws” Friday.

Addressing a clutch of supporters and at least two local GOP officials in Riverside Gardens Park, Murphy pledged to reject an “us versus them” approach to dealing with gun-rights advocates while pressing for ways to reduce firearms violence in New Jersey.

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RED BANK: STEIN TO LEAD RALLY HERE

jill-stein-091516Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is scheduled to participate in a march and rally for environmental justice in Red Bank Saturday.

“Our objective is to bring people together who can lead a pivotal grassroots movement towards better environmental policy, preparation for climate change, and relief for those adversely affected by pollution, climate effects and other environmentally destructive scenarios,” Julie Saporito-Acuña, chair of the Green Party of New Jersey, said in a press release. 

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REPORT: BON JOVI STIFFED M’TOWN ON O.T.

bon jovi 101911Bon Jovi, seen above in Red Bank in 2011. Below, a gate to his home. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

bon jovi house 2008A campaign fundraiser at which pop star Jon Bon Jovi “serenaded” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was held in Red Bank Monday night because Middletown balked at providing police protection for the event at the pop star’s mansion, according to a report.

The conservative Washington Free Beacon claimed Wednesday that the township refused to staff the event at Bon Jovi’s Navesink River Road home because he hasn’t ponied up for $14,000 in police overtime expenses still owed for security provided for a 2008 fundraiser held there for then-Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama.

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RED BANK: BON JOVI “SERENADES” CLINTON

bon-jovi-101911Bon Jovi, seen here at the opening of Red Bank’s JBJ Soul Kitchen in 2011, was back in town to host the former first lady and secretary of state Monday night. Below, an uncredited photo of Clinton posted on the Twitter feed of former New York Governor David Paterson. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Hillary Clinton 062915Jon Bon Jovi “serenaded” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a $1,000-a-head campaign fundraiser in Red Bank Monday night, according to PolitickerNJ.

Actually, the report says pop-rocker, who has a home on the Navesink River in Middletown, “serenely serenaded” Clinton at the no-media-allowed event, held at the riverfront Molly Pitcher Inn.

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RED BANK: DEMS GET PRICKLY OVER BALLOONS

rb gop balloons 101914Legos with legs were among the parade participants who accepted GOP balloons from candidate Linda Schwabenbauer, below. (Photo above by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

schwabenbauer 101914A Menna Administration official and a Republican council candidate clashed at Sunday’s Red Bank Halloween Parade over campaign balloons.

GOP contender Linda Schwabenbauer said she believed she was exercising a First Amendment right and had borough authorization when she gave away about 200 balloons bearing her name and that of running mate Sean Di Somma to children and adults before the start of the parade.

But Parks and Recrecreation department director Memone Crystian told her to stop, threatening to call the police if she continued, she said.

Administration officials dispute the claim that they’d OK’d a balloon distribution, and contend they have the law on their side in asking Schwabenbauer to stop.

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RED BANK: PAY-TO-PLAY RULES IN PLAY

money-full-columnElected officials would be permitted to vote on applications by their campaign contributors under a law change that’s up for a vote in Red Bank this week.

And the upper limits on what contributors can give politicians would soar to more than six times the current cap.

That’s according to an article in Saturday’s Asbury Park Press.

The proposed changes have baffled state Senator Jen Beck, a former Red Bank who favored an ordinance that went into effect after her tenure. That law would be gutted if the proposed changes are approved, she said.

“This only opens the borough to political influence and corruption,” Beck told Press reporter Larry Higgs. “It’s unclear to me why [Mayor Pasquale Menna] would move in that direction, when he supported” the existing ordinance.

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RED BANK: DI SOMMA TO FILL OUT GOP BALLOT

By JOHN T. WARD

The man behind an eleventh-hour robocalling campaign about a Red Bank bond issue last week is running for borough council, he tells redbankgreen.

Sean Di Somma, right, said local Republican officials plan to file paperwork with the Monmouth County Clerk Thursday making his candidacy official.

The move would again give the GOP two candidates as it tries to break the Democrats’ lock on the governing body, following the sudden departure from the race last month by Republican Suzanne Viscomi.

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MENNA CHALLENGES RED BANK TO GET FIT

Mayor Menna’s Wellness Challenge kicked off Tuesday with free screenings in the municipal courtroom. (Photo by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

As part of a statewide campaign to promote healthier lifestyles, Mayor Pasquale Menna is getting Red Bank involved in an ongoing project to keep his administration and borough residents fit and feelin’ good.

The Mayor’s Wellness Campaign, an initiative of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, is partnered with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. It works to “equip mayors with the tools to develop and implement active-living initiatives in their communities with the ultimate goal of improving health and reducing the skyrocketing health care costs that come with the obesity problem in New Jersey,” according to the website.

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RED BANK GOP CANDIDATE NOW RUNS SOLO

Council candidate Suzanne Viscomi, left, joined by state Senator Jen Beck, center, and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, answers questions during a presser in her driveway Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Already a little-known, thinly financed newcomer taking on established incumbents, Red Bank council candidate Suzanne Viscomi will go the rest of the campaign without a running mate.

Viscomi announced Monday that ticket mate and fellow borough board of ed member Allen Palma has had to withdraw from the race for personal reasons.

At an open-air press conference outside her home Monday, Viscomi said the vacancy on the ballot was unlikely to be filled, and that she would run solo. But she didn’t see that as a hinderance in her effort to unseat either Art Murphy or Mike DuPont.

“We only need one voice” to counter that of the all-Democratic mayor and council, she said.

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T&M TOPS CONTRACTOR DONOR LIST

money-full-columnMiddletown-based civil engineering firm T&M Associates was the state’s biggest contributor to political campaigns among businesses that contract with local and state government in New Jersey, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The state Election Law Enforcement Commission reported that for the fifth straight year, T&M — which holds contracts with both Middletown and Red Bank — topped the list of donor/contractor firms disclosing contributions under so-called ‘pay-to-play’ laws.

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