RED BANK: GOP TO RUN MAYORAL CANDIDATE

Pearl Lee at the Bank Street block party earlier this month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Her name has appeared on campaign lawn signs for weeks, but on Tuesday, a Red Bank political neophyte made it official: she’s running for mayor.

Pearl Lee, a retiree and singer from Alston Court, will top the Republican ticket ballot in November’s election. She’ll also be the first GOP opponent of Democratic incumbent Mayor Pasquale Menna since he won the seat in 2006.

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RED BANK: GOP ATTACKS RIVAL OVER THREAT

Council candidate Michael Clancy at the Red Bank Classic race in June. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

In the first attack of Red Bank’s 2018 election season, the two Republican council candidates claimed they saw one of their Democratic opponents “cavort” with a man who had made “menacing and threatening gestures” toward one of them at a local government meeting.

 

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RUMSON: EKDAHL RETIRES AS MAYOR

 John Ekdahl, right, with former Red Bank Mayor Ed McKenna at the groundbreaking last September for an addition to the Count Basie Center for the Arts, where they serve on an advisory board.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After 14 years at the helm of Rumson’s municipal government, John Ekdahl retired as mayor last week.

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RED BANK: GOP CHAIR TO SEEK COUNCIL SEAT

GOP Chairman Michael Clancy at last October’s Halloween parade. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

With its two incumbents dropping out, the Red Bank Republican party on Thursday chose its chairman and a newcomer to run for borough council this year, redbankgreen has learned.

Party head Michael Clancy will be joined on the ticket by Bank Street resident Allison Gregory on a ticket in which the mayoral slot will be blank, Clancy said Friday.

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RED BANK: MENNA TOPS TICKET AGAIN

Mayor Pasquale Menna at Riverside Gardens Park in September. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Holding off a challenge by activist Ben Forest, Mayor Pasquale Menna secured the top spot on the Democratic ticket in the November election Sunday.

Menna, going for a fourth four-year term, will be joined by two council contenders seeking their first elective office.

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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.

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RED BANK: PARKING AGENDA IN TRANSITION

A builder may be chosen to redevelop the White Street lot this month, and a parking study could soon follow. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Amid recriminations and calls for a fresh start, Democrats began taking the wheel in the drive for a possible new parking structure in downtown Red Bank last week.

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RED BANK: AIM OF GOP PACT DISPUTED

Cindy Burnham says she agreed to the terms set above by her then-fellow Republican Linda Schwabenbauer in order to secure GOP support for her council presidency. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Former Red Bank Councilwoman Cindy Burnham got to be council president in 2016 only after agreeing to toe the line with her fellow Republicans, she claims.

Now, out of office for almost a year, Burnham is airing a backroom deal she entered with her party colleagues to attack onetime ally Linda Schwabenbauer over a purported lack of transparency.

But Schwabenbauer, seeking her second council term in Tuesday’s election, says the agreement isn’t the dirty laundry Burnham claims it to be.

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RED BANK: SQUEEZING IN NEW PARKING SPOTS

Following through on recent action by the borough council, a crew from Red Bank’s public utilities department created two new parking spots Wednesday on White Street in what was previously a loading zone in front of Sweetest Sin lingerie and other stores along the bottleneck into Broad Street.

Then, just minutes later… 

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RED BANK: BUILDERS BALK AT ‘NET 500’

Roger Mumford unveiled a new version of his development plan, one that calls for a park along Maple Avenue between White and Monmouth streets, seen at right in the rendering above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The two finalists vying for the right to redevelop Red Bank’s White Street parking lot both raised concerns about their ability to meet a non-negotiable condition set by downtown merchants: that a new garage add no fewer than 500 public parking spaces to the 273-already there.

Moreover, one of the builders insisted that a definitive study to determine the actual parking deficit downtown is needed, a claim that some business owners have dismissed as an unnecessary speed bump en route to what they contend is a decades-overdue parking solution.

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RED BANK: PARKING GETS TWO SPOTLIGHTS

An effort to redevelop Red Bank’s largest downtown parking lot — and, some would say, ensure the economic viability of the downtown as a whole — moves to a new stage Wednesday night.

Or, more precisely, it moves onto two stages.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S NEXT FOR PARKING?

The redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot is slated for recission next week, but will have to be redone at some point, says Councilman Mike Whelan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Now that Red Bank’s elected officials have agreed, unofficially, to restart a drive for a downtown parking solution, what happens next?

Two government meetings on one night, for starters.

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RED BANK: POLS PULL U-TURN ON PARKING

The redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot, outlined in red above, will be rescinded in an effort to end a lawsuit and address concerns about building size, borough officials said. (Image by Google Maps. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s search for a downtown parking solution took a U-turn Wednesday night, when the borough council put in motion a plan to derail a pending lawsuit by former councilwoman Cindy Burnham that members say has impeded progress.

In what was also described as a “compromise” between Republicans and Democrats over proposed building sizes , the council agreed to scrap a contentious nine-month-old redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot.

At the same time, it knocked out, without much explanation, three of the five developers vying to build a parking deck, and more, on the 2.3-acre site.

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RED BANK: PARKING GARAGE HEARING SLATED

The council will hold a public forum on proposals for the White Street parking site later this month, says Councilman Mike Whelan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Almost six months after they were submitted and three months after they were the subject of hasty presentations, five proposed plans for the redevelopment of Red Bank’s main downtown parking lot will finally get a public hearing, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: GARAGE BACKERS AIM AT LOGJAM

Roger Mumford, seen here in 2015, has offered a new plan for the White Street parking lot site that garage backers hope will dissolve political opposition to development. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

One of the five would-be builders of a downtown parking garage has told Red Bank officials he’s willing to build a 773-space parking garage on White Street in exchange for the right to erect 100 homes next door.

Garage advocates touted the informal proposal Wednesday night in the hopes of busting through a political logjam, one they believe has been erected by the three Democrats on the six-member borough council.

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RED BANK: POSTMASTER’S POSTS DRAW FIRE

An status update on the Facebook page of postmaster Michael Angelo Ciano, below, showed an assault rifle with the comment, “Anti-muslim vaccinations.” (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s postmaster has attracted the attention of human rights activists over what they call “vile” Facebook posts promoting racism, misogyny and apparent endorsements of violence against liberals and other groups, redbankgreen has learned.

A United States Postal Service spokesman confirmed that the agency is looking into complaints about photos and comments posted by postmaster Michael Angelo Ciano on his personal page.

“Imagine the work environment in that post office for any employees that are other than white men,” one woman wrote.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH ZAPPED ON ‘ORAL’ TWEET

ed zipprich 081215Councilman Ed Zipprich said there was “no sexual innuendo” in his tweet Trump running mate Pence. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainRed Bank Republicans on Wednesday accused Democratic councilman and party chairman Ed Zipprich of making a not-so-veiled and “bigoted” reference to oral sex about GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence last month.

During the October 4 vice presidential debate between Pence and Democratic nominee Tim Kaine, Zipprich asked on Twitter, “did #mikepence just say he spends time on his knees every day?”

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RED BANK: STEIN TO LEAD RALLY HERE

jill-stein-091516Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is scheduled to participate in a march and rally for environmental justice in Red Bank Saturday.

“Our objective is to bring people together who can lead a pivotal grassroots movement towards better environmental policy, preparation for climate change, and relief for those adversely affected by pollution, climate effects and other environmentally destructive scenarios,” Julie Saporito-Acuña, chair of the Green Party of New Jersey, said in a press release. 

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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.

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RED BANK: DuPONT LOSES BELMAR JOB

dupont-010111Red Bank Councilman Mike DuPont was squeezed out of his post as Belmar’s borough attorney Tuesday, four days after a court ruling found shortcomings in his handling of a ballot question there, APP.com reported Tuesday.

The website of the Asbury Park Press reported that DuPont resigned at the request of Mayor Matthew Doherty, “after a Superior Court judge ruled that the borough didn’t properly vote on placing an explanatory statement for a bond question on the Nov. 3 ballot.”

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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.

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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.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM WINS ZONING CASE

cindy burnham 121814Cindy Burnham with her attorney, Ron Gasiorowski, at Thursday night’s zoning board hearing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The fix wasn’t in – not this time at least.

Cindy Burnham, the lone Republican on the Red Bank council who often lambastes the Democratic majority for what she contends are back-room  development deals, went before the zoning board Thursday night seeking an OK for a new garage and back porch for her home at 71 Wallace Street.

She came loaded for bear.

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