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MANVILLE: Candidates make their closing statements
Six running for two Borough Council seats invited to sum up
The signs, the mailers, the campaigning ... it’ll all be over soon. Tuesday is Election Day, with polls open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
By Gene Robbins, Managing Editor
Published on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 5:05 PM EDT

In the last week before Tuesday’s election the six candidates for three Borough Council seats were invited to make their cases to the voters.

They were asked to talk about their backgrounds, their platforms or their experiences.

Their full responses can be found on the www.ManvilleNews.com website.

Lou Petzinger, running as an independent, said he has “worked tirelessly” in his initial term as councilman to move Manville in a positive direction.

He cited examples in economic development, technology, the library and the recreation department.

He said he organized, with Mayor Lillian Zusa’s backing, the Economic Development Roundtable, “which brought together business and planning professionals, along with the Rustic Mall owners to focus on the redevelopment of Manville business district.””He said he was a member of the Technology Committee that will soon announce a new borough website design, and will soon see a new borough phone system that “will enhance the communication channels throughout the borough.”

He said he was a member of the library transition team, and worked in the effort to join the county library system.

He said he “worked hard to make sure I made an informed decision to support the move to the county dispatch system.”Frank Jurewicz, a Democratic candidate, said he was a lifelong resident and over the past 30 years or so had been involved in community activities from coaching, Boy Scouts, recreation, church groups, to borough positions.

He did so with one goal, he said: “To improve things in Manville and make it a better place to live.”

”I have ‘blue and gold’ running through my veins...” he said.

He said it will take “cooperation, not obstruction, to see all good ideas reach fruition,” adding he felt he had a proven record of being able to work with all representatives, regardless of political affiliation, to reach solutions.

  

Susan Asher, a Republican incumbent, restated her opposition to shifting to county dispatching of local police calls, questioning if it will bring a tax savings. She said it would mean pulling in police officers from the street to respond to the public coming at off-hours to headquarters to provide the services a dispatcher could have handled.She said she shared information four months ago with the mayor and council with demolition and revitalizing abandoned homes.’

”We need help from the state and federal government to resolve flooding issues,” she said. “You need to vote for the candidates who are willing to push to get results. ‘We are working on it’ is an ongoing, false statement. We need to take a strong stand with the developers and start developing Rustic Mall now for the much-needed ratables.”

  Democratic candidate Harry Bugal Jr. said his experience as a 15-year police officer for Clinton Township and had taken on training and supervisory roles “to develop myself as a professional.”

”I have seen areas of our town where the safety and well-being of our residents has been compromised,” he said. “My goal is not only to assist with getting our police force back to the proper manpower that is needed to safeguard our community, but to also support our emergency medical service members and firefighters.”

The main issues he said he would strive to directly impact are the flooding in town, redeveloping the Rustic Mall and public safety.

He said he had faith in the current Flood Commission and knew that it was making progress. The redevelopment question of the Rustic Mall is “long overdue,” he said, and said “it will be accomplished if I am given the chance to serve on Council.” If he had to, he said, “I would push to condemn the property and declare the property in need of redevelopment.”

Moving to the county dispatch service was long overdue, he said.

Richard Onderko, a Republican and former councilman, said he would work on improving Manville’s image and fight for a balanced budget. He said Republicans favored retaining borough-employed police dispatchers to keep the station open around the clock, “putting everyone’s safety first.”He said he would seek state transitional aid to help balance the budget and resolve flooding problems.

He said Republicans would demand immediate action on remedying the number of flood-ravaged abandoned homes.

”They spot blight our neighborhoods and can lead to more crime,” he said. “Republicans support the state-sponsored strategy plan to revitalize our neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for our residents,” he said.Mr. Onderko said he would favor immediate river dredging and levee construction to reduce flood waters, more buyouts dollars for anyone who had repeated water on their first floors and continue to voice concerns against the existing threat of the higher Zarephath levee system, “which now clearly defines the need for a corresponding levee on our side of the river,” he said.

Sherri Lynn, a former councilwoman running as an independent, cited her community and humanitarian service to Manville and beyond. She said she had served on the Manville Rescue Squad as treasurer, vice president and president. She said she currently served on the Board of Health, Raritan & Millstone Rivers Flood Commission; Recreation, Technology and Progress and Development committees; Somerset County Library Commission, and the Somerset County Animal Response Team.

She said she took an early retirement from Somerset County government at age 48. Her job as a county systems engineer, responsible for providing information technology services for 1,700 users, gave her training in as project lead for several high-level projects, some of which involved multiple agencies and disciplines.”My ability to retire at such a young age involved sound planning and financial restraint. Both are essential skills in today’s economy,” she said.

She said she took the lead in making sure residents in low-lying areas received reverse 9-1-1 phone calls prior to Hurricane Irene. She said she personally worked with county communications and GIS personnel to create the template for who was to receive those calls.

She said she was the chairperson for the committees that led to “right moves” to join the county library system and county dispatch.

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