Continuing a tradition now in its 23rd year, the candidates on the November 5 ballot for two three-year terms on the Red Bank council are scheduled to face off and answer audience audience questions Thursday night.
Democrat Michael Ballard, left, with Republicans Mark Taylor and Michael Whelan with moderator Amy Goldsmith before the forum. Below, resident Jean Cash asks a question. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
With the possibility of their party taking control of the Red Bank council for the first time in a generation, the two Republican candidates said they’ll bring fresh thinking Thursday night.
“For 25 years, Red Bank has been subject to one voice, one leadership,” Michael Whelan said at the annual West Side Community Group candidates’ night, held at River Street Commons. “When someone has been in power for 25 years, it breeds complacency. What is the incentive to lower property taxes if you’re going to win year after year?”
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
With 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.
Santa Claus and friends attempted to find some shelter from the rain as Red Bankers gathered for the annual West Side Tree Lighting at the pocket park on Shrewsbury Avenue Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Ben Forest. Click to enlarge)
Chief-elect Joe Lauterwasser, right arrives at the First Aid building Tuesday night with his prospective first deputy, Chris Soden, left, and second deputy Pete DeFazio, center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
That was evident on Tuesday night, when the 143-year-old department’s annual election night celebration was dominated by names and faces that would have been familiar to attendees generations ago.
“We’re based on tradition,” said ex-chief George Lauterwasser (2002) as he awaited the arrival of the chief-elect, his 30-year-old son, Joe, at the First Aid building on Spring Street with dozens of other volunteers. “We keep it up with the kids. We’re old school.”
Councilmembers Ed Zipprich, center, and Juanita Lewis with former Councilman Ivan Polonsky, right, at Democratic HQ Tuesday night. Linda Schwabenbauer, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Linda Schwabenbauer only got into the Red Bank council race in August, and didn’t start campaigning until mid-September.
Though she’s lived in town for 10 years, the Republican also had the handicap of being an unknown political entity.
“I’d never heard of her,” said former mayor and local Democratic party sage Ed McKenna, “and I don’t know anyone who had.”
And yet, even as her opponents – and perhaps some supporters – struggled to pronounce her name, Schwabenbauer came away as the leading vote-getter in Tuesday’s election, edging incumbent Ed Zipprich by nine votes and knocking out incumbent Democrat Juanita Lewis, according to the GOP.
Republican Linda Schwabenbauer, left, with state Senator Jennifer Beck and running mate Sean Di Somma, far right, as returns were tallied Tuesday night. Below, Ed Zipprich, seen at right through a ladder at Democratic headquarters with his husband, J.P. Nicolaides and former Mayor Ed McKenna, at left. (Photo above by John T. Ward, below by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
One year after narrowly regaining a toehold on Red Bank government, Republicans will soon have a second representative on the six-member council.
Or so it appeared late Tuesday night.
GOP newcomer Linda Schwabenbauer and Democratic incumbent Ed Zipprich were neck-and-neck in the race for two council seats. And though the two parties differed on vote totals, both candidates appeared to have outpolled Zipprich running mate Juanita Lewis by about two dozen votes.
The clear loser, for the second year in a row, was Republican Sean Di Somma, who conceded defeat early in the evening.
Mayor Pasquale Menna, a Democrat, was elected to a third four-year term. He was unopposed on the ballot.
Beginning shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, NJ Spotlight and NJ News Commons will begin posting results for congressional races across the state. For up-to-the minute results, click on a district; you can zoom in and move the map around.
These results are preliminary as precincts report. The colors on the map indicate which party is leading by district: red for Republicans and blue for Democrats. An asterisk (*) indicates an incumbent.
Republican council candidate Sean Di Somma. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Di Somma’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Sean Patrick Di Somma
Where did you grow up? Bergen County, NJ
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Almost 3 years
Democrat Juanita Lewis has been on the council since 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Lewis’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Juanita Lewis
Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Red Bank.
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? All of my life, except when I went to college, graduate school and when I worked overseas for one year.
Republican council candidate Linda Schwabenbauer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Schwabenbauer’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Linda Schwabenbauer
Where did you grow up? Downingtown, PA
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Since May of 2005 – just shy of 10 years
Democrat Ed Zipprich has been on the council since 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Zipprich’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Edward Zipprich
Where did you grow up? In a small town similar to Red Bank in Staten Island, NY
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? 17.5 years
Republicans Linda Schwabenbauer and Sean Di Somma had a full-house audience at River Street Commons to themselves Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The two Red Bank council candidates challenged the Democratic incumbents to a debate Wednesday, one day after a meet-the-candidates event at which the Dems were no-shows.
GOP contender Sean Di Somma called the absence of Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich “sad and shameful,” adding that they’d “pulled a fast one on Red Bank residents” by canceling at the last minute.
Zipprich told redbankgreen earlier on Tuesday that he was attending to a family medical issue, and Lewis told the Westside Community Group that she couldn’t make their Tuesday event because she was “pulled away on business,” said event moderator Amy Goldsmith.
The River Street Commons had a full house for the event, hosted by the Westside Community Group. Alecia Wilkerson, below, asked a question from the audience. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The two Republican candidates for Red Bank council in next week’s election had an open field as neither of their opponents showed up for a debate Tuesday night.
Incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich was out of town on a family medical issue, and fellow incumbent Democrat Juanita Lewis was “called away on business,” Westside Community Group president and event moderator Amy Goldsmith said the candidates told her.
That gave Republican challengers Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer control of the floor at the 18th annual candidates’ night, held as always at the River Street Commons. Di Somma made frequent reference to the absences, and at one point gave away their chairs to audience members who had packed the former school gym.
California Cheesesteak at Strokers Westside Pizza and Subs. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)
By JIM WILLIS
Strokers Westside Pizza and Subs on Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank is an outpost of the original Strokers Deli located across from the Grove in Shrewsbury. As a rule, PieHole tries to avoid our area’s Mecca of Materialism, and so when we found ourselves hankering for a California cheesesteak, we headed to the West Side location for lunch.
We easily found parking on Chestnut Street and walked a few steps to the deli on the corner of Locust and Shrewsbury avenues.
Tommy Welsh arrives at the Westside Hose Company following his election as Red Bank fire chief last week. Below, the borough-owned Liberty Hose firehouse is in the process of being vacated because it needs upgrades the town cannot afford. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
A new, million-dollar ladder truck, firehouse consolidation and pervasive manpowwer issues are on the table as Red Bank’s next fire chief takes the helm on January 1.
For chief-elect Tommy Welsh, it’s the second time around as head of of the all-volunteer department, having served as chief in 1996. This time, however, the department is on the apron to some of its biggest changes in a generation.
“We’re in the middle of some history here,” he told redbankgreen at a party to celebrate his election last week.