65° Mostly Cloudy

RED BANK: GOP INCUMBENTS WON’T RUN

Mike Whelan, left, and Mark Taylor kicking off their campaign in 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s two remaining Republican council members won’t run for re-election this year, they said late Thursday night.

The bombshell news from first-termers Mark Taylor and Mike Whelan would appear to end a chapter of brief resurgence for the local GOP after having been frozen out of power for a generation.

Read More »

RED BANK: FOREST LAUNCHES MAYORAL BID

Ben Forest, above, hopes to unseat three-term Mayor Pasquale Menna, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The 2018 race for Red Bank mayor got underway Wednesday with the announcement by West Side activist Ben Forest that he would challenge incumbent Pasquale Menna for the Democratic party’s endorsement.

Read More »

RED BANK: WHELAN RUNNING FOR ASSEMBLY

Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan and Ocean Township Deputy Mayor Robert Accera Sr. will anchor a ticket headed by state Senator Jen Beck. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After just 14 months on the Red Bank borough council, Mike Whelan is taking aim at Trenton.

The 25-year-old Republican plans to mount a bid to recapture an 11th-District Assembly seat for his party from first-term incumbents Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling, he told attendees at the GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner in Freehold Friday.

Read More »

RED BANK: TENNIS FANS MUSTER FOR COURTS

rb tennis 111015 2The tennis courts, overgrown with weeds since being swamped by Hurricane Sandy three years ago, got a sprucing-up from the borough last week. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03As expected, the Red Bank council derailed an ambitious plan for $3.5 million worth of private development on the site of the borough-owned red clay tennis courts in Marine Park Monday night.

Still, a roomful of frustrated tennis enthusiasts packed the council chambers, many of them holding paper signs urging the council to now restore the hurricane-damaged riverfront courts to playability.

Read More »

RED BANK: MARINE PARK PROJECTS NIXED

rb tennis 081915 2The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen in August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03All three private-sector proposals for the future of Red Bank’s hurricane-damaged Marine Park clay tennis courts should be rejected, a triumverate of borough council members is expected to say in a report next week.

The recommendation to the full council is being made in spite of the fact that one pitch, by startup Jetsun Enterprises, was far and away the winner on paper. But in the court of public opinion, it was over the line, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer told redbankgreen on Monday.

Read More »

RED BANK: ZIPPRICH ZAPPED ON ‘PLAGIARISM’

ballard zipprich 101815Councilman and Democratic party chair Ed Zipprich, right, with Democratic council candidate Michael Ballard at the borough Halloween parade last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election 2015 graphic[SEE UPDATE BELOW ]

An eleventh-hour election email purportedly sent by Red Bank Democratic Party chairman and Councilman Ed Zipprich has drawn fire from Republicans both for its content, which they allege was “word-for-word” plagiarized, and for the method by which it was distributed.

Republican chairman Sean DiSomma and Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer both said Zipprich took an email that Schwabenbauer sent out Monday afternoon in support of the two Republican council candidates and tweaked it into an endorsement of the two Democratic candidates.

Then Zipprich sent his version out to recipients whose addresses he improperly obtained from the borough parks and recreation department, said Di Somma, who called for an investigation by state election authorities.

Read More »

RED BANK COUNCIL Q&A: MICHAEL BALLARD

michael ballard 090915 1Michael Ballard, Democrat. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Election 2015 graphic

The balance of political power is at play in the November 3 election in Red Bank, which features four candidates for two three-year seats on the borough council. All four have indicated they’ll participate in the West Side Community Group’s annual candidates’ forum at the River Street Commons at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 1. For more information about the event, take it here.

To help voters compare the contenders in terms of personal background and positions on key issues, redbankgreen emailed them identical sets of questions late last week. Here’s what Michael Ballard had to say in response.

Read More »

RED BANK COUNCIL Q&A: MARK TAYLOR

mark taylor 033015Mark Taylor, Republican. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Election 2015 graphic

The balance of political power is at stake in the November 3 election in Red Bank, which features four candidates for two three-year seats on the borough council. All four have indicated they’ll participate in the West Side Community Group’s annual candidates’ forum at the River Street Commons at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 1. For more information about the event, take it here.

To help voters compare the contenders in terms of personal background and positions on key issues, redbankgreen emailed them identical sets of questions late last week. Here’s what Mark Taylor had to say in response.

Read More »

RED BANK COUNCIL Q&A: MICHAEL DUPONT

dupontMichael DuPont, Democrat. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Election 2015 graphic

The balance of political power is at stake in the November 3 election in Red Bank, which features four candidates for two three-year seats on the borough council. All four have indicated they’ll participate in the West Side Community Group’s annual candidates’ forum at the River Street Commons at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 1. For more information about the event, take it here.

To help voters compare the contenders in terms of personal background and positions on key issues, redbankgreen emailed them identical sets of questions late last week. Here’s what Michael DuPont, the sole incumbent in the race, had to say in response.

Read More »

RED BANK COUNCIL Q&A: MICHAEL WHELAN

mike whelan 033015Michael Whelan, Republican. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Election 2015 graphic

The balance of political power is at stake in the November 3 election in Red Bank, which features four candidates for two three-year seats on the borough council. All four have indicated they’ll participate in the West Side Community Group’s annual candidates’ forum at the River Street Commons at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 1. For more information about the event, take it here.

To help voters compare the contenders in terms of personal background and positions on key issues, redbankgreen emailed them identical sets of questions late last week. Here’s what Michael Whelan had to say in response.

Read More »

RED BANK: BURNHAM BLASTS PARK DELAY

rb tennis 081915 2The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Five months after three proposals were submitted, the Red Bank council has yet to receive a recommendation on the future of the hurricane-damaged Marine Park clay tennis courts, and may not get one before election day.

That has Republican Councilwoman Cindy Burnham — who redbankgreen has learned was chastised behind closed doors by her colleagues for saying too much about the issue — ramping up her complaints that there’s something “fishy” going on.

Read More »

RED BANK: CANDIDATES’ FORUM SET

From left at top: Democrats Michael Ballard and Michael DuPont square off against Republicans Mark Taylor and Michael Whelan at the annual Candidates’ Night on October 1. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election 2015 graphicWith the balance of power at stake, election season for two open seats on the Red Bank council kicks into high gear on October 1.

That’s when the West Side Community Group is scheduled to host its 19th annual Candidates’ Night.

Read More »

RED BANK: COUNCIL GIRDS FOR POSSIBLE SUIT

rb tennis 081915 1The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen last month, above. Below, an architect’s depiction of the proposed Red Bank Harbor plan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank harbor 3 041515Red Bank’s mayor and council held a closed-door meeting Wednesday night to discuss potential litigation over the process that could lead to a makeover of the hurricane-damaged clay tennis courts in Marine Park.

Mayor Pasquale Menna told redbankgreen shortly beforehand that the topics to be discussed by the governing body in executive session included “possible litigation” concerning the tennis court site, though he declined to be more specific.

Read More »

RED BANK: SWITCH ADDS COLLECTION DAYS

delisa 090315HOT-TOPIC_03With the switch to private cartage last week, all homes in Red Bank have now had at least one pickup by DeLisa Demolition of Tinton Falls, which won a three-year, $1.49 million contract for collection of trash, recyclables and household bulk waste last month.

The change, borough officials said in advance, would have been all but unnoticed by residents. But there’s a perk or two, including — as some perplexed residents may have noticed on Labor Day holiday pickups.

Read More »

RED BANK: TRASH PICKUP TO GO PRIVATE

rb trash 092414 1Two of the borough’s four garbage trucks will be sold, and the other two kept for leaf and snow removal, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank is getting out of the garbage business.

By a 4-0 vote at a special, single-issue meeting Monday night, the borough council approved a three-year, $1.49 million contract for collection of trash, recyclables and household bulk waste with a private hauler, Delisa Demolition of Tinton Falls.

But the change, effective September 1, will be all but unnoticeable to residents and small-business owners, town officials said. And it should generate “significant” savings, they contend.

Read More »

RED BANK: PRIVATE TRASH PICKUP NEARS

rb trash 092414 2No borough employees will lose jobs or benefits in the switch, Mayor Pasquale Menna said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The end of public-sector trash collection in Red Bank could come as soon as September 1, under the terms of a contract that the borough council body discussed in private Wednesday night.

Still not quite at the end of a process it began 18 months ago, the council scheduled a special meeting for next Monday night solely to vote on the deal.

Read More »

RED BANK: JETSUN DEFENDS PROPOSAL

red bank harbor 1 041515A rendering by architect Mike Simpson of the Red Bank Harbor proposal, as seen from the horseshoe marina at Marine Park. Below, Jetsun principals Doug Booton, Michael Hernandez and Anthony Jude Setaro at the Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball in May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

jetsuns 050115Jetsun Enterprises is not proposing a “Coney Island” in Marine Park, the startup developer said Tuesday night, in response to criticism by Red Bank Councilman Mike DuPont and comments posted on redbankgreen.

“Comparing our proposal to any large theme park such as Coney Island or Seaside is both illogical and irresponsible,” Jetsun said in a press release. “We are offering small recreational activities for families, not building rollercoasters and ferris wheels. We are extending the existing promenade, not constructing a boardwalk.” Read More »

RED BANK: GOP KICKS OFF EARLY CAMPAIGN

whelan taylor 052715Mark Taylor, right, and running mate Mike Whelan were joined by GOP bigwigs for a campaign kickoff on Monmouth Street Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a quarter-century in the minority, will Red Bank Republicans be able to harness their momentum of the last two elections to take control of the borough government?

Getting an early jump on this year’s race for two council seats, the local GOP trotted out some big local names for a kickoff event Wednesday night.

And they held it out on Monmouth Street, just feet away from both borough hall and new parking kiosks they believe symbolize the “arrogance” of Democrats, who now hold a 4-2 majority on the council as well as the mayoralty.

Read More »

RED BANK: NO TAX INCREASE

dupontCouncilman Mike DuPont credited borough employees for financial sacrifices that helped keep taxes level with last year. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank property owners won’t be getting a 3.1-percent local property tax for 2015, as previously expected.

In fact, there will be no increase at all under a municipal budget adopted by the borough council Wednesday night.

Read More »

RED BANK: GOP TAPS NEWCOMERS FOR RACE

taylor whelan 033015 1Mark Taylor, left, and Mike Whelan, center, with GOP Chairman Sean Di Somma outside borough hall Monday night. Democrats Mike DuPont and Art Murphy, below, on election night 2012. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

dupont murphy 110612Red Bank Republicans, hoping to leverage gains in the last two municipal elections, have set their sights on control of the borough council for the first time in 25 years.

And as in the last election, when all-but-unknown Linda Schwabenbauer emerged as the top vote-getter in a field of four candidates, they’re putting their bets on political newcomers.

Read More »

RED BANK: PREMATURE ON PAID PARKING?

bridge ave 012915Visitors to Bridge Avenue shops, above, and the western stretch of Monmouth Street may soon have to pay to park. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03After the Red Bank borough council passed a resolution last month authorizing the purchase of pay stations for parking along Monmouth Street and Bridge Avenue, redbankgreen asked: Why? Parking is free there.

No ordinance amendment had ever been passed or even introduced allowing the town to charge for parking outside the central business district. There had been no public debate on whether it should even happen.

That’s all coming, says business Administrator Stanley Sickels.

So why spend $135,308 for 13 kiosks that haven’t been authorized?

Read More »

RED BANK: WATER METER FAQ POSTED

rb water meter 120414 1The project would replace more than 3,800 residential water meters by the end of 2015, officials have said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank officials have responded to a demand for transparency into a proposed $2.2 million water meter replacement program by posting a list of frequently-asked-questions on the borough website.

At the December 3 meeting of the council, Mayor Pasquale Menna instructed Administrator Stanley Sickels to post “whatever information” he had on the topic by noon Friday after complaints that the borough was rushing the matter through to a vote.

Read More »

RED BANK: BOND INTRO LEGIT, O’HERN SAYS

menna o'hern seal 010114Borough Attorney Dan O’Hern, right, with Mayor Pasquale Menna earlier this year. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A push by Red Bank’s Democrat-controlled council to pass a $2.2 million water-meter-replacement bond by the end of the year can move forward, according to borough Attorney Dan O’Hern.

O’Hern tells redbankgreen that Mayor Pasquale Menna’s belated “tiebreaker” vote to introduce the bond last week was permissible, even though the mayor is allowed under state law to vote only in the event of a council tie. The council vote was two in favor and one opposed, with one abstention.

But the abstention, by soon-to-depart Councilwoman Juanita Lewis, was tantamount to a “no,” O’Hern said Monday, citing recent cases involving Newark and Hoboken.

Read More »

RED BANK: METER BOND INTRODUCED… MAYBE

rb water meter 120414 2New metering technology would use telemetry, replacing the current system, which requires a borough employee to touch a reading device to puck-shaped interface. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank’s council barely mustered enough votes to introduce an ordinance for a $2.2 million bond to pay for new water meters throughout town Wednesday night.

Or did it?

Read More »