LITTLE SILVER: LAWMAKERS ADDRESS FUNDING

Local residents and school officials, including state Senator Declan O’Scanlon, below, turned out for the event at the Markham Place School. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Dozens of taxpayers and school administrators from the Greater Red Bank Green packed a Little Silver auditorium Wednesday night to press legislators for help with education costs.

 

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STATEHOUSE: GOPAL, O’SCANLON SCORE WINS


 Vin Gopal and his 11th-district running mates staked out an island of Democratic blue in a sea of GOP red. (Map by NJSpotlight.com.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Middletown resident Phil Murphy was the clear winner in the 2017 New Jersey gubernatorial race Tuesday, in spite of a chilly reception from his home county.

Meanwhile, Republican state Senator Jen Beck of Red Bank lost her 11th-district statehouse seat to Democrat Vin Gopal, and first-term Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan came up short in his bid for an Assembly seat on Beck’s ticket.

Former Little Silver Councilman Declan O’Scanlon, a Republican, held off a challenge to his 13th-district state Senate seat by Middletown Democrat Sean Byrnes, according to results posted by the Monmouth County Clerk.

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RED BANK: O’SCANLON, HANDLIN TO FACE OFF

o'scanlon 031316nj-districtsAssemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, seen here at Rumson’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade last March, announced plans Friday to run for the 13th-District state Senate seat being vacated by Joe Kyrillos.

O’Scanlon’s announcement sets up a Republican primary battle with his 13th-District colleague and fellow Republican Assemblywoman Amy Handlin of Lincroft, who told the Asbury Park Press on Thursday that she is seeking Kyrillo’s spot.

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RED BANK: O’SCANLON OPPOSES CHARTER PLAN

rbcs 021016O’Scanlon says underfunding of the local school district should be “preemptively disqualifying” of the proposed charter school expansion. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02New Jersey Assemblyman and self-described school-choice supporter Declan O’Scanlon calls the proposed expansion of the Red Bank Charter School “ill-informed” and says it should be rejected.

In what he calls a “data-driven” analysis of the plan, O’Scanlon calls on state Education Commissioner David Hespe to deny the request, and adds that he would “question” the merits of the proposal even if, as other critics have demanded, the state fully funds the local school district from which the charter school sprang 17 years ago.

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RED BANK: O’SCANLON BEATS RED-LIGHT CAMS

declan o'scanlon 111714 1 Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon in his Red Bank office Monday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

declan o'scanlon 111714 4After five years of pedal-to-the-floor critiques, Red Bank-area state legislator Declan O’Scanlon appears about to beat a ticket.

Or, to be more precise, the 13th-District Assembly member from Little Silver is on the verge of killing automated red-light ticketing of motorists, a system for which he holds back almost nothing in the way of condemnation.

“Sanctioned theft” he calls the system. “Robbery.” “Injustice.” And no, he’s never gotten one of the tickets, he tells redbankgreen.

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SEA BRIGHT: PROPOSED TOWER ON THE MOVE

sea-bright-boro-hallThe town’s first cell tower would now be sited east of borough hall, against the sea wall under a plan approved Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A years-overdue cellphone tower contemplated for the Sea Bright municipal parking lot will now probably go elsewhere.

The borough council, acting under the threat of unilateral action on the siting issue from Verizon, authorized telecom consultant Declan O’Scanlon to work with the phone giant to get the tower approved and built on the ocean side of borough hall Tuesday night.

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PRESS: MEDICAL MARIJUANA CASE POSTPONED

The marijuana possession case against former Fair Haven resident Eric Hafner was postponed two weeks by a Middletown judge Monday, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Hafner, 20, was the subject of a redbankgreen article in January. He claims he has a constitutional right to use marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder, even though a two-year-old state law allowing medical marijuana possession and use does not include PSTD.

Hafner, who now lives in California, vows to go to jail rather than plead guilty.

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FAIR HAVEN MAN VOWS FIGHT OVER POT BUST

“I’m not going to stop doing what I’m doing,” says medical marijuana advocate Eric Hafner. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Among those cheering at the Statehouse when New Jersey’s law allowing medical marijuana passed in January, 2010 was Eric Hafner, an 18-year-old who found in cannabis what he did not in prescription drugs: relief from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) brought on by a “traumatic, horrifying” incident two years earlier.

Two years later, however, the law has yet to be implemented, and Hafner is a facing a charge of possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana as a result of an early-morning traffic stop in Middletown in late November.

But even though the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act as written would not have protected him from prosecution had it been put into effect, Hafner says he will not plead guilty, as is customary in hundreds of such busts that go through the municipal court each year. Instead, he says, he’s prepared to go to jail to protest what he believes are the law’s shortcomings and to assert what he says is a constitutional right.

“I’m not going to plead guilty to using my medicine,” he says.

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O’SCANLON SEES RED OVER RED-LIGHT CAMS

A video posted on YouTube last month by a red-light-camera vendor has drawn fire from a local legislator.

By JOHN T. WARD

Does the above video support the need for red-light cameras?

Posted by camera systems vendor American Traffic Solutions on YouTube in late December, the video is apparently meant to suggest the need for traffic-signal cameras to prevent accidents, though it makes no mention of such systems.

But state 12th-district Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon of Little Silver says the only thing the video compilation proves is that video-monitoring systems at traffic signals are “about the money, not safety.”

O’Scanlon calls the revenue from such systems “ill-gotten gains.”

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