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Atlantic Highlands Borough Mayor

MAYOR – Full Term – Vote for OneAtlantic Highlands is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Atlantic Highlands is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.

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  • Loretta Gluckstein
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Rhonda Le Grice
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Joshua Leinsdorf
    (I)

Biographical Information

What are the major challenges facing the community/district and how would you propose to address them if elected?

What qualifies you for this position, both personally and professionally?

What factors are critical to the quality of life/education in your community and what would you do to improve or preserve them?

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The challenge of maintaining services while keeping property taxes from going up is common to every small town mayor. My priority has been securing the necessary funding to address previously overlooked repairs to an aging infrastructure. I was successful in getting the Council to recognize the need to incorporate ongoing funding to match grant monies we received. A targeted paving program began this summer, and will continue into this year and next-with Bayside Drive being the most in need of remediation. We added a new ordinance that requires any utilities that have to open our roads must re-pave the entire road, not just the trenches they created. No longer content to wait for the N.J. State legislators to pass a single use plastics ban, we successfully passed an ordinance to ban plastic straws, bags and the intentional release of balloons. As a waterfront community with one of the largest municipal marinas in the state, we see how this plastic litter impacts the marine life in our harbor, Sandy Hook Bay and beyond. I am proud to join the other Bayshore communities who’ve also made the commitment to reduce single-use plastics and recognize that we can no longer afford to be a throwaway society. .
Currently I am completing my first 4-year term as mayor. Prior to my retirement in 2004, I was a flight attendant for 32 years at American Airlines. My career taught me valuable conflict resolution skills, the flexibility to adapt to working with a constantly changing work crew, time management skills, first-aid and emergency preparedness, but most of all the ability to be a good listener. At the local level, residents can have a person-to-person exchange that allows them to interact directly with the people they elect.

When I attend conferences, and annual conventions, I actually enjoy the seminars and presentations. There is always something new to learn, and a wealth of information is available at these events. I’ve passed the Municipal Land Use exam that all Planning Board members must take, and have attended many specialized seminars on topics ranging from environmental issues, technology innovations, legalization of marijuana, ethics laws and emergency preparedness.

As a 30-year resident of Atlantic Highlands, I have been an active volunteer and supporter of many non-profit organizations and annual events. My commitment to being involved in my community came long before I decided to run for mayor in 2015, and will continue after I no longer hold this position.

For me, serving as mayor is not a stepping stone to a higher office-it is already the highest and only office I aspire to.

I have been successful in preserving our small town character while revitalizing our historic business district and attracting new businesses. I personally welcomed 18 new businesses to town during the last 4 years. Rarely does one see a vacancy sign, which was not the case 4 years ago. A thriving business district is critical to the success of our town, by providing a variety of services, employment, customers for other businesses, and tax revenue.

Former unsightly vacant lots along First Avenue are being replaced with new residential/commercial buildings, all of which contained affordable units. These and others that will break ground in the near future complied with our Fair Share Housing obligation, which the court approved in July of this year. A second Habitat for Humanity duplex will begin construction this fall.

While our real estate market for single-family homes is hot, it is important to provide affordable options for seniors who wish to age in place in our town. A former Catholic school that sits on 3.67 acres has been vacant since 2016. I am hopeful that the building can be converted into apartments for seniors, and talks with the Diocese of Trenton are ongoing.

Our elementary school belongs to the Tri-District School District that includes Highlands Elementary School and the Henry Hudson Regional School. Great strides have been made to improve the rankings of all three schools with STEAM/STEM curriculums which prepare our students with needed skills.
Decrease borough expenses by consolidating police department and Henry Hudson Regional School. Cut taxes by 6% and use the other 6% to fix the roads.
Elected to three terms on the Princeton Regional School Board. Served nine years on the Finance Committee, two as Chairman. Have run numerous independent campaigns for public office that were instrumental in achieving:the ferry to New York, Henry Hudson Trail bike path, raising standards for high school graduation, removing the asbestos ceiling in the Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch and consolidation of Princeton Borough with Princeton Township..
Atlantic Highlands needs better roads. Also, New Jersey needs a comprehensive, viable public transit system. Sidewalks should be built on both sides of every street with bus shelters and/or benches at all bus stops that should be clearly marked. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation. A usable public transit system would give it a competitive advantage in attracting new, high paying jobs because people would then be able to really live on the money they make. In the land of the free, where citizens are supposed to have choices, people should be able to decide whether to walk (which would help control their weight), ride their bikes, take the bus or train, or drive their cars. With student debt, later marriage, and fewer children, 30% of 19-year-olds already do not have drivers' licenses. Seventy-five percent of all college graduates are settling in 50 cities, which is why Hoboken and Jersey City are booming, while Atlantic Highlands and Middletown are shrinking. Also, as the population ages, people need an alternative to driving their cars..