RED BANK: LONG APART, SENIORS MEET ANEW

Dottie Ferris, at right, greeting friends at the event Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Apart for months, Red Bank seniors enjoyed a pandemic-era get-together outside the temporary home of the borough Senior Center Thursday.

“It’s so nice to see everyone and talk, even if you don’t know everyone,” said 92-year-old Dottie Ferris, a resident of the Wesleyan Arms senior apartments on Wall Street, as she sat at a table outdoors. At home, “all I do is watch TV and eat,” she said.

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RED BANK: CHARTER REVIEW VOTE SLATED

Authorization of the charter study, and all five seats on it, would be on the November ballot if the council follows through on Wednesday’s informal vote. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[Updated to include borough attorney memo on charter review timeline.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s council informally agreed Wednesday night to have voters decide whether the borough’s form of government should be reviewed for possible overhaul.

The unanimous action by the council, all Democrats, could eventually lead to nonpartisan elections, watering down the party’s long dominance of municipal government.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

The council meets via Zoom due to pandemic restrictions. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe creation of a commission to examine Red Bank’s century-old government structure is on the table when the council holds its monthly workshop session Wednesday night.

So are renovations to the mothballed Senior Center and the swan song of Business Administrator Ziad Shehady.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL INITIATES REBUILD

The Senior Center occupies a stand-alone building on Shrewsbury Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council moved to jumpstart repairs to water-damaged Senior Center Wednesday night, one day after a recommendation by the Redevelopment Agency that it do so.

But even enroute to a unanimous vote, the measure churned up bitterness among the all-Democratic governing body.

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RED BANK: SENIOR CENTER FIX-UP ADVANCES

The backyard of the mothballed Senior Center overlooking the upper Navesink River. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA proposal to repair Red Bank’s mothballed Senior Center without adding any new facilities won a Redevelopment Agency endorsement Tuesday evening.

The action could defuse one of the hottest issues in a contested Democratic race for two council seats just six weeks before a primary vote.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL TO HIRE SEARCH FIRM

Borough hall remains closed due to the pandemic, so the council will meet again via Zoom. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council will officially start the search for a new borough administrator when it meets this week.

Not on the agenda: a measure to authorize a charter study to review the form of government in place here since 1908.

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RED BANK: EMAIL LEAK OPINION EXPECTED

Councilman Ed Zipprich in 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

Eight months after a leak of explosive emails, the Red Bank council is expected to finally get some guidance on how to proceed later this month.

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RED BANK: DEMS’ INFIGHTING ESCALATES

Ed Zipprich, left, with husband J.P. Nicolaides holding a Bible, recites the oath of office in January, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

With nine weeks to go in a rare primary race for Red Bank council, a civil war within the Democratic party intensified this week. Read More »

RED BANK: DEMS CALL FOR CHARTER STUDY

Kathy Horgan with fellow Democrats and council members Ed Zipprich, center, and Michael Ballard in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Again taking aim at their own party’s chairman, four Red Bank council members and Mayor Pasquale Menna have called for a charter study to review the borough’s form of government – and possibly, change the electoral process.

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RED BANK: STILL NO MOVEMENT ON REFORM

Mayor Pasquale Menna speaking with activist Ben Forest in 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

Nearly three years after they briefly moved to the fore, calls to reform Red Bank’s government and electoral process have yet to yield noticeable results.

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RED BANK: GOP ‘PLACEHOLDERS’ ON BALLOT

jonathan maciel penney 102419Jonathan Maciel Penney speaking as a candidate at the West Side Community Group forum in 2019. (Photo by Ben Forest. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Republicans announced two “placeholder” candidates for borough council in the November election Monday.

Party Chairman Jonathan Maciel Penney said he had filed campaign papers for himself and Christine Stout.

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RED BANK: DEMS SWAP IN NEW CANDIDATE

By JOHN T. WARD

Trying to unseat its own incumbents in a primary contest, the Red Bank Democratic party has replaced one of two candidates for borough council seats, the organization announced Monday.

And according to local party Chairman and Councilman Ed Zipprich, the names of all four will be listed in the same column on the June 8 ballot, giving them all perceived equal footing.

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RED BANK: BALLARD SEEKS PROTOCOL FIX

Councilman Michael Ballard said his proposal would encourage exchanges between officials and residents that clarify information. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank council meeting attendees would regain their ability to ask follow-up questions of officials under proposed changes slated for discussion Wednesday evening.

The revisions to the council’s often derided question-and-comment protocol were announced by Councilman Michael Ballard on Facebook Tuesday afternoon.

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RED BANK: LOCAL DEMOCRATS RUPTURE

Then-candidates Kate Triggiano and Hazim Yassin at the Mayor’s Ball in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

Already showing cracks, the Red Bank Democratic party’s facade ruptured Monday night with the announcement that political newcomers will challenge two incumbents for their council seats.

Days after holding a virtual re-election fundraiser attended by Governor Phil Murphy, Kate Triggiano and Hazim Yassin opted to bypass the local party nomination process controlled by Councilman Ed Zipprich as they seek second terms, saying he’s on a vendetta that “reeks of boss politics.”

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RED BANK: DEMOCRATS FORM BLACK CAUCUS

Fortune Cultural Center co-founder Gilda Rogers, left, and Councilman Michael Ballard. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Red Bank’s Democrats have formed a Black caucus to “bring forward future civic leaders.”

The party announced the group’s formation on Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

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FAIR HAVEN: BOROUGH ATTORNEY REPLACED

Greg Cannon, Fair Haven’s new borough attorney, at a Red Bank council meeting in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njNow in the majority, Fair Haven’s Democrats swapped out the longtime borough attorney Monday night.

On a bipartisan vote at the annual municipal reorganization meeting, conducted via Zoom, the council replaced Sal Alfieri with Greg Cannon, who also serves as borough attorney in neighboring Red Bank.

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RED BANK: YASSIN MOVES TO COUNCIL FORE

Councilman Hazim Yassin at a council meeting in February, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAfter a year of butting heads with most of his fellow Democrats, Red Bank Councilman Michael Ballard lost his seat on the budget-shaping finance committee Friday.

He was displaced by first-term Councilman Hazim Yassin at the borough government’s annual New Year’s Day reorganization meeting. Read More »

RED BANK: TRASH PACT, LEAK REPORT OK’D

DeLisa Demolition won the bidding to haul the borough’s trash and recycling for another five years. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicMonths later than expected, Red Bank officials agreed this week to enter a new five-year contract for private trash hauling, one that will increase the frequency of recycling pickups.

They also agreed to hire an outside attorney to look into disputed emails about the bid specifications.

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FAIR HAVEN: COUNCIL SPLITS ON FUNDING

Councilwoman Susan Sorensen working a booth at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair in 2013. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A divided council cleared financing to advance plans for new police and public works facilities in Fair Haven Monday night.

At its final session of 2020, the council also extended the employment of Theresa Casagrande as borough administrator and bid goodbye to Councilwoman Susan Sorensen.

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LITTLE SILVER: PANDEMIC BONUSES ON DECK

little silver bob neffLittle Silver Mayor Bob Neff alone in the council chamber for the governing body’s first virtual meeting in April. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Little Silver plans to thank public employees for their extra efforts in the COVID-19 pandemic with $500 bonuses.

The payments, as well as new police salaries, are up for consideration by the borough council at its virtual meeting Monday night.

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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER CHANGES RIPPED

RED BAN RIVERCENTER LAURA KIRKPATRICK 030420RiverCenter Executive Director Laura Kirkpatrick speaks at a council session in March as Business Administrator Ziad Shehady and Councilman Michael Ballard listen. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna ripped a proposed overhaul of the bylaws of downtown promotion agency RiverCenter Wednesday night.

With two council members joining his critique, Menna said several of the changes would reduce council and public oversight of the agency, which he called “repugnant.”

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