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RED BANK: NONPARTISAN ELECTIONS? NOT YET.

Mike Whelan, center, and Mark Taylor, seen here on the night of their election to the Red Bank council in 2015, spearheaded the referendum effort.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank voters eager to eliminate partisanship from local elections and governance won’t get their wish this year.

A referendum initiative calling for non-partisan elections and a change to the form of local government lost steam over the summer and won’t be on November’s ballot. But its foremost advocates say they’re not giving up.

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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: NONPARTISAN DRIVE UNDERWAY

Council members Mike Whelan, in white shirt, and Mark Taylor at the Red Bank First kickoff Tuesday night at Red Rock Tap + Grill.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Hoping to bust through what they see as political gridlock, two lame-duck Red Bank council members kicked off a petition effort Tuesday night to change both the borough’s form of government and the way in which its officials are elected.

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RED BANK: NONPARTISAN DRIVE TO KICK OFF

Red Bank’s ballots would be free of party lines if a push for nonpartisan elections succeeds.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

To spark debate over whether to make Red Bank’s elections nonpartisan, two lame-duck council members have slated a public-welcome event at a downtown bar next week.

On the agenda: policy discussion, a petition, plus complimentary food and drink.

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RED BANK: VISCOMI ADDS WILD CARD TO RACE

Viscomi serves on the board of ed, where she leads the finance committee, and is on a number of borough committees. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The 2018 race for two Red Bank council seats looks like it will have a wild card.

Sue Viscomi, a board of education member and former Republican stalwart who has expressed increasing antipathy in recent years to the local arm of the party, has started gathering signatures for a run as an independent in the November election, she told redbankgreen on Monday.

Her entry would appear to add to the challenge for the two presumptive Republican candidates, already facing the prospect of an anti-Trump backlash in a majority Democrat town, and could eat into support for the two Democrats in the race, both newcomers to elective politics.

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RED BANK: GOP ‘CANDIDATE’ BLASTS… GOP

irwin katz 040307.jpgCamera-shy then as now, Irwin Katz hides behind a sign at his short-lived Monmouth Street store in 2007. Below is the August 10 GOP Facebook post that angered Katz. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

RB GOP school board post 081015One of three candidates on a Republican-recruited slate for the Red Bank school board tells redbankgreen he wants nothing to do with party, whose officials he calls “a bunch of liars, gangsters and thieves.”

Irwin Katz said he was talked into running without any mention of the GOP’s involvement, which he said he resents in a race that he believes should be non-partisan. But now that he’s on the November 3 ballot, he’ll stand as an independent, as intended, he said Wednesday.

“I’m going forward, for hell or high water,” Katz said. “Now my Irish is up.”

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RED BANK: SCHOOL TAX UP NEARLY 7 PERCENT

suzanne viscomi 042815Suzanne Viscomi, of the board’s finance committee, speaking at Tuesday night’s meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The typical Red Bank homeowner will pay $100 more this year to support the borough school district, following the board of education’s adoption of the 2015-’16 budget Tuesday night.

The $24.85-million spending plan, which one board member opposed, calls for a 6.95-percent local tax increase.

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RED BANK: CANDIDATES DIFFER ON FINANCES

GOP challenger Suzanne Viscomi speaks at Wednesday night’s candidates’ forum as incumbents Mike DuPont, left, and Art Murphy listen. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

The lone GOP challenger for one of two Red Bank council seats open in the November 6 election squared off against two incumbents in a lively forum at the River Street Commons Wednesday night.

Newcomer Suzanne Viscomi, of Allen Place, is taking on Democrats Mike DuPont of South Street and Art Murphy of Prospect Avenue, hoping to end their party’s five-year monopoly on the governing body.

“Let your vote allow me to be your voice,” Viscomi asked the audience of about 75.

Murphy, though, disputed the notion of groupthink on the governing body.

“I don’t agree with Ms. Viscomi as far as when she says we are all one-sided up on the council,” he said in his closing statement. “We have our differences.”

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