Cindy 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
Activist 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.
A “capias warrant” for the arrest of Sean Di Somma was issued and is still in effect, a spokesman for the city of Dallas told redbankgreen late Friday afternoon, adding another twist to a bitter back-and-forth between rival Red Bank council candidacies.
City public information officer Jose Luis Torres said Di Somma’s check to pay a fine for running a stop sign in January, 2011 was returned for insufficient funds a year later, and the warrant was issued, he said in an email.
“Mr. DiSomma is currently in capias warrant status,” Torres wrote.
Di Somma called the latest twist in the controversy part of a “bureaucratic nightmare.”
Sean Di Somma at the NAACP candidates’ forum Thursday night. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Keeping alive a controversy that ignited Thursday, the head of Monmouth County’s Democratic party released a snippet of audio Friday as purported proof that Red Bank council candidate Sean Di Somma is a wanted man in Texas.
In a statement, party chairman Vin Gopal describes the 25-second recording – made earlier in the day of an automated response from the Dallas Municipal Court – as confirming that an “alias warrant” remains outstanding against the GOP newcomer.
Councilman Ed Zipprich, seen at the Red Bank NAACP candidates’ forum at Calvary Baptist Church Thursday night, acknowledged he set up a website that now attacks Republican candidates. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich has admitted having connections to an apparent ‘astroturf‘ website that slams Republican politicians and has boosted his own candidacy for state Assembly.
In response to questions from redbankgreen Friday morning, Zipprich acknowledged that he owns the domain name SayWhatNJ.com and is a former owner of an active website at that address. The site bills itself as a watchdog of “policy makers and the people who influence them.”
Among the site’s activities was a comment posted on redbankgreen Friday morning to bolster a claim by Monmouth County Democrats that GOP council candidate Sean Di Somma was the subject of a three-year-old arrest warrant in Dallas. Di Somma calls the allegation a lie; police in Dallas were not immediately reachable for comment.
Di Somma calls SayWhatNJ’s latest action “a straight-up violation” of state election laws.
Red Bank council candidate Sean Di Somma tells redbankgreen that no warrant was ever issued for his arrest for running a stop sign in Dallas almost three years ago, contrary to an assertion by the Monmouth County Democrats.
Di Somma, a Republican, said he confirmed that there was no warrant with the Dallas police Thursday night, hours after Democratic party head Vin Gopal issued an unsigned press release claiming that “an active warrant has been issued for his arrest since 2011 in the State of Texas for a speeding issue.”
“There is no warrant,” Di Somma said Friday morning. “Dallas police verbally confirmed to me that there is no warrant.”
A long-dormant Red Bank election season erupted in finger-pointing Thursday as Democrats accused Republican newcomer Sean DiSomma of ducking an arrest warrant over a traffic violation in Texas two years ago.
DiSomma, right, called the airing of the matter “dirty politics from dirty politicians.”
The crumbling library bulkhead, above right, abuts that of the Corinthian Cove condos, at left. Below, resident Tom Labetti of Elm Place makes a point during the public hearing. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By SARAH KLEPNER
The tide turned abruptly on the Red Bank Eisner Memorial Library bulkhead issue Wednesday.
A $600,000 bond ordinance to pay for a new bulkhead at the site, and one at another Navesink River property, was tabled at the eleventh hour, after having appeared headed to certain approval.
The tabling followed defections by two councilmembers, Kathy Horgan and Ed Zipprich, who said they would side with environmentalists and residents who called for a “living,” or structure-free, shoreline.
“I think we need to explore the issue more,” Horgan said. “During the superstorm, any living shoreline had very little damage and self-repaired itself very quickly.” She also noted that the Stevens Institute of Technology and the American Littoral Society had previously offered to create the natural shoreline, at no cost to the borough.
With organizer Cindy Burnham holding up a photo, Annie Jones argues for allowing residents to garden a 900-square-foot strip of borough property at Maple Cove. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Community garden proponents assailed the Red Bank council Wednesday night for what they termed its “because-I-said-so” opposition to the creation of a farm plot at a borough-owned Navesink River site.
Revisiting the council’s 2011 rejection of a proposal for a pilot garden behind the borough library parking lot on West Front Street, residents challenged elected officials to articulate their opposition to the plan, and left as frustrated as they were going in.
“What we have a hard time understanding is that we haven’t really heard a good reason why not,” Locust Avenue’s Kathleen Gasenica told the governing body.
“It’s very simple,” replied borough Administrator Stanley Sickels. “The council doesn’t share your vision for a garden there.”
“That doesn’t really answer the question,” Gasenica said.
Horgan has been a member of the Red Bank Council since 2008. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Monmouth County Democrats selected Red Bank Councilwoman Kathy Horgan Wednesday night to fill the ballot vacancy created a week ago when Asbury Park restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach bailed out of the race for one of two District 11 state Assembly seats.
The selection, at a meeting of Monmouth County Dems in Asbury Park, puts two Red Bankers in the running for district seats in Trenton, though in different chambers of the Legislature. Heading up the GOP’s 11-district ticket is incumbent state Senator Jennifer Beck, herself a former borough council member who still lives in town.
GOP candidates Rob Lombardi and Joe Mizzi, center, react to poll results at Anna Little’s campaign headquarters on Bridge Avenue Tuesday night. (Click to enlarge)
Joe Mizzi was excited Tuesday night, thinking this might be the one.
As treasurer of the local GOP for the past four years, and one of its two candidates for Red Bank council, he said he felt he and running mate Rob Lombardi had a good shot at displacing one or both Democratic incumbents on the ballot, Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee.
It boded well that voter turnout appeared to have been “suprisingly strong,” he told redbankgreen shortly after polls closed, and he’d heard positive feedback from those who’d cast ballots.