RED BANK: Q&A WITH PASQUALE MENNA

Election_2014_QApasquale menna 102814 2Pasquale Menna, a Democrat, was elected mayor in 2006 after 18 years on the borough council. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

In Tuesday’s election, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna is running unopposed for a third four-year-term.Here are his answers to questions sent to all borough candidates by redbankgreen.

Name: Pasquale Menna

Age: 60

Where did you grow up? Italy, Montreal, Canada and Red Bank.

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Since 1964.

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RED BANK: Q&A WITH LINDA SCHWABENBAUER

Election_2014_QAschwabenbauer 102814Republican council candidate Linda Schwabenbauer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Schwabenbauer’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates by redbankgreen.

Name: Linda Schwabenbauer

Age: 49

Where did you grow up? Downingtown, PA

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Since May of 2005 – just shy of 10 years

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RED BANK: Q&A WITH ED ZIPPRICH

Election_2014_QA zipprich 011111Democrat Ed Zipprich has been on the council since 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Zipprich’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates by redbankgreen.

Name: Edward Zipprich

Age: 54

Where did you grow up? In a small town similar to Red Bank in Staten Island, NY

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? 17.5 years

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RED BANK: GOP CALLS FOR TELE-DEBATE

Election_2014_wDebatesrb candidates 102814 3Republicans Linda Schwabenbauer and Sean Di Somma had a full-house audience at River Street Commons to themselves Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The two Red Bank council candidates challenged the Democratic incumbents to a debate Wednesday, one day after a meet-the-candidates event at which the Dems were no-shows.

GOP contender Sean Di Somma called the absence of Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich “sad and shameful,” adding that they’d “pulled a fast one on Red Bank residents” by canceling at the last minute.

Zipprich told redbankgreen earlier on Tuesday that he was attending to a family medical issue, and Lewis told the Westside Community Group that she couldn’t make their Tuesday event because she was “pulled away on business,” said event moderator Amy Goldsmith.

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RED BANK: NO DEBATE AS DEMS ARE NO-SHOWS

Election_2014_wDebatesrb candidates 102814 1The River Street Commons had a full house for the event, hosted by the Westside Community Group. Alecia Wilkerson, below, asked a question from the audience. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb candidates 102814 2The two Republican candidates for Red Bank council in next week’s election had an open field as neither of their opponents showed up for a debate Tuesday night.

Incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich was out of town on a family medical issue, and fellow incumbent Democrat Juanita Lewis was “called away on business,”  Westside Community Group president and event moderator Amy Goldsmith said the candidates told her.

That gave Republican challengers Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer control of the floor at the 18th annual candidates’ night, held as always at the River Street Commons. Di Somma made frequent reference to the absences, and at one point gave away their chairs to audience members who had packed the former school gym.

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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: ZIPPRICH ARREST VIDEO POSTED

zipprich 110607Councilman Ed Zipprich, left, at Democratic HQ on election night in 2007. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02A video showing Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich under arrest for driving while intoxicated in 2011 is “making its rounds among Monmouth County’s politically connected,” the Asbury Park Press reported Friday.

On its website, the newspaper includes a link to the video on YouTube, but YouTube shows the video as having been removed by the user, who is not identified.

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RED BANK: SCHWABENBAUER TO FILL GOP SLOT

linda schwabenbauer 082714Linda Schwabenbauer outside borough hall, where she hopes to win a council seat. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Republicans may not have a mayoral candidate, but they appear to have filled the empty slot on the November ballot for two council seats.

Three months after the shortlived candidacy of Brian Hanlon ended over objections by his employer, political newcomer Linda Schwabenbauer is expected to join local party chair Sean Di Somma in his second consecutive run for council.

Nominally, at least.

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RED BANK: CRITICS HOSE SPRAYGROUND PLAN

gasienica 081314Kathleen Gasienica, an environmentalist and next-door neighbor to the nature area, brought a boatload of visuals to bolster her critique of the plan. Borough Engineer Christine Ballard showed a photo of a similar sprayground in Middlesex County.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb spray park 081314A steady stream of critics blasted a plan for a sprayground at Red Bank’s Bellhaven Nature Area Wednesday night, citing environmental, economic and safety issues.

The controversial project, in the works for nearly three years, divided backers and opponents along familiar lines at a bimonthly borough council meeting, where Engineer Christine Ballard unveiled the most detailed plan yet for the Locust Avenue facility.

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN PLAN TO GET AIRING

Bellhaven Wetland Map 1Bellhaven is located on the Swimming River, at the western terminus of Locust Avenue.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03After several months of quiet, a controversial project originally proposed as a children’s “sprayground” returns to the  Red Bank borough council Wednesday night.

What the plan calls for and might cost, however, is known only to a small circle of people. Mayor Pasquale Menna said Monday that even he had not gotten a peek at the revised proposal, which is slated to to be outlined at the council’s the regular bimonthly meeting.

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RED BANK: SIGN CRACKDOWN SPARKS IRE

RB signs 061214 1Neon signs in store windows at the City Centre strip mall on White Street. Cluck U Chicken, above left, got a warning, but Psychic Advisor Gina on Monmouth Street, below, did not, according to borough records. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb neon 061714A recent crackdown on neon and other illuminated signs that lit up the business community with outrage prompted Red Bank officials to pull the plug on enforcement Wednesday night.

The blitz came to light at the bimonthly meeting of the mayor and council, when Councilman Mike DuPont said he had been besieged with complaints by merchants and restaurateurs over warning letters for signs some of them have had in their windows for decades.

“Many of the restaurants I visited complained bitterly,” said DuPont. “I heard all about it.”

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SEA BRIGHT: MURPHY QUITS COUNCIL

READ MURPHY 102512Read Murphy with television reporters shortly before Hurricane Sandy hit Sea Bright. He’s expected to be succeeded by John Lamia, below, who outpolled him in last month’s GOP primary. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

john lamia 061814A month after coming in tied for second in the Sea Bright Republican primary, incumbent Councilman Read Murphy has resigned, according to a published report.

After about 25 non-continuous years on the governing body, “stick a fork in me. I am done,” Murphy told redbankgreen Thursday afternoon.

He said friction with the rest of the council over both his “unilateral” approach to serving and his request to be hired as the town’s beach manager had taken the “fun” out of the job.

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RED BANK: MINTON RESIGNS, HANLON BAILS

burnham di somma 110513Sean Di Somma, above at lower right, on election night last November. Below, Jack Minton, center, with candidate Joe Mizzi and then-Councilwoman Grace Cangemi in 2010. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

minton 110210Once again, a Red Bank Republican council candidate is in the market for a running mate.

This time, though, Sean Di Somma will also have the title of local party chairman as he goes about finding a replacement.

Fellow candidate Brian Hanlon has dropped out of this year’s race against Democratic incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, he told redbankgreen Wednesday, because his employer, Oppenheimer, objected.

And party chair Jack Minton is stepping down, in all likelihood to be succeeded by Di Somma when the the party faithful meet for their annual reorganization meeting this weekend.

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RED BANK: TENNIS, TRESTLE, PARKING & DOGS

rb tennis 102912The Red Bank clay courts during Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012, above. Below, a truck stuck under the West Front Street railroad trestle last week. (Photos by Peter Lindner and Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb stuck truck 052314 2Tennis enthusiasts pelted the Red Bank council over the lack of progress on rebuilding the town’s cherished clay courts Wednesday night.

At its bimonthly meeting – conducted over the loud hum of temporary air conditioners while the borough hall HVAC system gets an upgrade – the governing body also took up issues ranging from the vexing train trestle on West Front Street to beagle rights.

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RED BANK: BULKHEAD, BELLHAVEN DEBATED

rb bulkhead 041314The council approved a bond to pay for a bulkhead to halt erosion at North Prospect Avenue, above. A change to another bond, for a possible spray park at Bellhaven Natural Area, below, drew criticism. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

bellhaven-parkNot for the first time and almost certainly not for the last, Red Bankers picked over a pair of big-ticket projects at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

One was a bond ordinance council members were in a hurry to approve in order to save two Navesink River yards from severe erosion.

The other: A possible spray park at Bellhaven Natural Area that has pitted environmental activists against West Siders desperate for a playground.

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RED BANK CUTTING FARM VENDOR FEE

RB farm mkt 1 051213Red Bank officials introduced an ordinance amendment this week that will allow food vendors at the Farmers’ Market to obtain yearlong health department licenses for $350, instead of paying $50 per week. A vote on the measure, which Mayor Pasquale Menna said would also reduce paperwork at borough hall, was scheduled for April 23. Here’s the amendment: RB 2014-10

The Farmers’ Market, based in the Galleria parking lot, returns on Mother’s Day, May 11, and runs into mid-November.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: SPRAYGROUND RETURNS

Critics contend the sprayground would be built in an environmentally sensitive wetland.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A proposed children’s “sprayground” installation that environmentalists say would encroach on wetlands and a bald-eagle foraging area could get a double green light from the Red Bank borough council Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: Di SOMMA TRIES AGAIN

di somma 2 102413Sean Di Somma has paired up with electoral politics newcomer Brian Hanlon for his second council try. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Republican Sean Di Somma is going to try again.

A political novice who last year found himself accused of being a fugitive over a traffic ticket, Di Somma tells redbankgreen he’s running for council again this year.

He’s pairing up with Brian Hanlon to try to take out Democratic incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich in November’s election.

The Di Somma/Hanlon ticket, though, won’t have a mayoral candidate to oppose Mayor Pasquale Menna, who tells redbankgreen he’s going for a third four-year term.

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RED BANK: DUPONT TO MAN TOLLBOOTH

dupont“I’ll take your offer. You tell me the time and place,” DuPont told a rep for the tolltakers’ union, which is fighting a move to privatize collections. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Red Bank commuters may encounter a familiar face as they slow to pay a toll on the New Jersey Turnpike one day soon.

Borough Councilman Mike DuPont could be in the tollbooth, making change.

The Asbury Park Press reports that DuPont, a lawyer who wears a third hat as a New Jersey Turnpike Authority commissioner, has accepted a challenge by the tolltaker’s union to walk – or stand still – a mile in their shoes.

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JOURNO’S RED BANK HOME IN SPOTLIGHT

rb fortune house 3 061213T. Thomas Fortune, below, will get a month of honor in February. Meantime, efforts to save his home on Doctors Parker Boulevard continue. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

T. Thomas FortuneNo sharp elbows were thrown. The words ‘Maple Cove‘ weren’t even mentioned.

In her first working session as a member of Red Bank’s otherwise all-Democrat borough council Wednesday night, Republican Cindy Burnham‘s debut act was to introduce a resolution designating February as T. Thomas Fortune Month in the borough.

The anondyne measure won unanimous approval, and opened up a discussion of where things stand with the house that Fortune lived in a century ago.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM, NEW CFO TAKE OFFICE

burnham 2 010114Cindy Burnham recites the oath of office as Red Bank council member as her daughters Emily, Samantha and Kate look on. Below, Tommy Welsh was greeted by Councilman Mike DuPont after being sworn as fire chief for the second time. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

tommy welsh 010114Cindy Burnham officially ended the four-year lock by Democrat’s on the town’s governing body when she was sworn in as councilwoman Wednesday.

Burnham, 58, becomes the first non-Democrat to serve on the governing body since the departure of Grace Cangemi and interim Councilman Jim Giannell at the end of 2008.

The event attracted some GOP power hitters to borough, but the atmosphere at the borough government reorganization was collegial.

“My hope is that we can all work together to tackle the problems that are plaguing the people of Red Bank,” Burnham said in brief remarks after being sworn in by state Senator and former councilmember Jen Beck.

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RED BANK: FIXX GETS 20-DAY SHUTDOWN

fixx 102113The settlement of charges calls for the West Front Street bar to meet a list of conditions involving security. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank nightclub Fixx, the scene of two sprawling street melees earlier this year, will close for 20 days next month under a deal approved by the borough council Wednesday night.

When it reopens, on or after January 21, the West Front Street bar will have to beef up security, report monthly to the police chief and hand over a list of the names of banned or ejected patrons, among other measures, Mayor Pasquale Menna said shortly before the council unanimously approved the deal.

“This demonstrates the seriousness, the severity and, pardon the pun, the sobriety with which the council is looking at this,” Menna said.

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RED BANK: McCONNELL TO BE NAMED CHIEF

darren mcconnell 081612Captain Darren McConnell is expected to be named chief of the Red Bank police department at Wednesday night’s borough council meeting, redbankgreen has learned. McConnell has been the officer in charge of the department since the September 23 death of Chief Steve McCarthy. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: FIXX LICENSE HEARING POSTPONED

fixx 2 102113A pair of melees involving Fixx patrons prompted a borough move to suspend its liquor license. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Troubled Red Bank nightclub Fixx has bought itself a little more time to work on a legal strategy to prevent a suspension of its liquor license.

Borough attorney Dan O’Hern tells redbankgreen that the bar’s lawyer has requested and been given a postponement of a hearing, originally scheduled for Wednesday night, at which the town council is to conduct a trial over charges related to a pair of closing-time melees in September and October involving the club’s patrons.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM BREAKS DEMS’ ‘HOLD’

Election_2013_Plainburnham di somma 110513Cindy Burnham,left, and Sean Di Somma, right, awaiting returns in a downtown office Tuesday night. Below, incumbent Democrat Kathy Horgan, who won another three-year term. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

kathy horgan 110513Activist Cindy Burnham scored an upset victory, emerging as the top vote-getter by a single vote in Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council.

“I’m shocked,” Burnham said at a small gathering of partisans in an office above the Bistro restaurant on Broad Street. “But I’m very happy that we can break the Democrats’ hold” on the governing body, she told redbankgreen.

Incumbent Democrat Kathy Horgan finished second, retaining her seat, while three-termer Sharon Lee lost hers, trailing Horgan by 24 votes, and brash Republican newcomer Sean Di Somma finished fourth.

Mayor Pasquale Menna said that Democrats would ask for a recount because of the close results.

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