Taxes keep rising in town. I would work to cut the wasteful spending and government inefficiencies. Keeping Re Bank affordable is extremely important.
Another big issue is parking. There are many parking lots that I feel we could utilize after 5:00. Working with these companies to create a shared services agreement.
Working to finish projects around town that are yet to be completed. One example is East Side Park. Right now there is an eye sore with a half completed job.
I am a realtor for Resources Real Estate. I was the #1 buyers agent in Red Banks in 2017 and the #1 agent overall in 2018. Being named the top agent 2 years in a row, I feel my knowledge of this town has grown, I am excited to sell where I live and educate families on all the great things Red Bank has to offer. Until a few months ago our office was located in downtown Red Bank. Now I am in the Shrewsbury corporate office. I am a mom of 2 girls, hardworking, not afraid to speak up and will fight for a better Red Bank. I feel I bring many qualities to the table that will help to make Red Bank even better and more affordable. Most recently my husband and I opened a community garden for all to partake in at our home, we continue to enjoy the children utilize Todd’s Break that we added in 2017 on the corner of our property and in October we will be hosting our 2nd annual Bank Street Block Party. Building a sense of community is important and I am proud to continue to grow this in the coming years.
I feel it’s important to keep our town safe, our streets clean and keeping our town affordable. Working with the River Center, our DPW department and the governing body to continue to make Red Bank a great place to live, work and play. Right now there are many street lights out in town and crosswalks faded. Working to get these fixed for the safety of all is key. The Red Bank Senior Center is currently undergoing renovations including an updated fire suppression system. Ensuring that this work is completed in a timely fashion so our seniors can go back to their building. Right now they are in a temporary location.
Property taxes, redevelopment, pedestrian safety.
The most significant issue facing Red Bank is our residents’ property taxes, and maintaining the affordability of Red Bank for seniors as well as ensuring that our next generation can continue to afford to live here. I have taken specific steps to help address this issue. I voted to commission a Management Enhancement Analysis of the Borough’s operations during my last term, which has already resulted in operational savings. I voted to hire a new CFO and a new Administrator to change how the Borough does business. Finally, I also voted to hire a grant consultant, who has brought over $1M to Red Bank to invest in local infrastructure projects and programs. I want to continue the changes that are taking place in the Borough’s redevelopment process. This past year, I voted to create the Red Bank Redevelopment Agency, which appointed residents to make these decisions. The Agency is comprised of long-time Red Bank residents who know our town best. These individuals will vet all redevelopment projects before they enter the formal land use process at the Borough. Pedestrian safety is a quality of life issue and paramount to maintaining walkability in Red Bank. To this end, the Borough has secured $1M in grants to improve pedestrian safety along Shrewsbury Avenue and in the vicinity of our train station. Our Police and Public Utility departments are continually working on improving traffic flow and pedestrian safety measures.
When I moved to Red Bank 20 years ago, I knew it would be my forever home. So personally I have a vested interest in this community and want to make Red Bank the best that it can be for those who live in, own a business in or visit our town. Professionally I have served on the Red Bank Council for 12 of those 20 years so I have a profound understanding of how local government works. I have served on every borough committee, the Zoning Board and currently serve or have served as Council Liaison to the Eisner Memorial Library Board, the Rent Leveling (Control) Board, the Environmental Commission, and the Human Relations Advisory Committee. I happily devote endless hours to my community. I get the work done. I am proud of my accomplishments. Intervening to save our library from bankruptcy and closure. Succeeding in keeping the tenants of a rent-controlled apartment building in their homes when an unscrupulous developer from North Jersey tried to convert the apartments into condos without first registering with the State or the Borough as he was supposed to do. Taking the gutsy step to commission the Management Enhancement Study two years ago, knowing full well that we would open ourselves to scathing criticism and now implementing many of the Study's recommendations. Resurrecting the Red Bank Borough Education Foundation and serving as its first President because I am committed to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to receive the best education that they can.
pedestrian safety, parks, education. I've already addressed pedestrian safety above and what I am doing to improve it. Creating, improving and maintaining our parks system in Red Bank is an essential quality of life factor. Green space contributes to improving a balanced life style where everyone, no matter their age, can meditate, exercise, and play. Work is beginning on the Bellhaven Nature Preserve, and East Side Park -- although we have had a few setbacks -- will soon be completed. I also want to see plans for Marine Park and Sunset Park moved forward. We already have a schematic to improve the layout of Marine Park accomplished with input from all stakeholders and a conservation foundation is interested in contributing funding for the creation of Sunset Park. Our children are our most important asset and they are our future. Every child deserves a quality education, which can be found in our award-winning primary and middle schools. As I said above, I am committed to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to receive the best education that they can. To this end, I serve on the Executive Board of the Red Bank Borough Education Foundation, which awards grants to teachers of the primary and middle schools to provide additional financial support to enhance the educational experience of all of its students. These grants have been especially useful as the schools continue to be underfunded by the state of NJ.
There are so many issues that face any municipality, especially one that is as diverse as Red Bank, that it's difficult to know where to begin. I will focus on a couple of the issues that are dearest to me.
The first is better incorporation of Red Bank's minority community into the fabric of Red Bank. Red Bank is approximately 35% Hispanic and 12% African-American. I am very proud to be Red Bank's first Mexican-American council candidate. It frustrates me to see the Council does not make the Hispanic residents of our town feel welcome at Council meetings by the inability to provide interpreters for public comment. Neither does the council publish minutes in Spanish. I was also disappointed the Council did not schedule any events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month.
I also have to add that my running mate Allison lives in a part of town with a lot of diversity and I can’t say enough how impressed I am to see how she interacts with her neighbors. Together, I know she and I will help to close the cultural divide between the East and West sides of town.
My second issue is, whose interests are the Council taking into account? Red Bank is and always will be a regional business hub and entertainment destination, but that doesn't mean that residents shouldn't come first. There's a delicate balance and I think the Council has lost its way. When I am elected, anytime something is before the council I will ask this one simple question: "Does this benefit the Residents of Red Bank?"
As an attorney, I am confident in my ability to go about the business of governing Red Bank. Too often people run for office without the requisite skill to manage the government, but I am someone that wants to look under the hood, roll up his sleeves, and make sure that the budget and town services are optimally run for the benefit of Red Bank residents.
On a personal level, I think my natural intellectual curiosity will serve me well. My first instinct is to always ask questions. The second politicians stop asking questions, they get complacent. And when politicians get complacent things go wrong for residents, and it’s usually the most vulnerable that take the brunt of that. I want to change the way the Council interacts with residents, even the ones that can’t vote. While the current Council is happy to operate with minimal interaction from the public, it will be my duty as council member to ensure that the residents always feel as if the council is accessible. Aside from the earlier recommendations to interact better with the Hispanic community, I will also push for Council meetings to be live streamed on the town website for more transparency.
My second instinct is to speak with people. I like the idea of being someone people can come to for help. Again, I want the residents to always feel as if the Council and its members are people who they can turn to for help.
And again, as a Mexican-American I hope engage the Mexican-American population like never before.
Quality of life in a suburban town like Red Bank has to be the number one priority. One way to go about that is to ensure property taxes are low and to eliminate government waste. While it’s easy to write off property taxes as a “wealthy people problem,” the truth is when a town has high property taxes it ensures that the only people who can afford property are the wealthy and landlords. This creates a big divide between the “haves & have-nots.” I want Red Bank to be a town where people from all backgrounds and economic classes can invest and set down roots.
As for government waste, most towns in Monmouth County share services. Red Bank does not. As a result, we spend a lot more money on services that most towns. We are not members of the County Library System, the County emergency dispatch service, and Long Branch just broke off our housing authority partnership because the Council was too difficult to deal with. We also provide our own water treatment services at high expense.
And one last thing I want to do when I am on counsel is to make sure that I am doing everything within my power to promote the town’s public school system and its two schools. Some people have tried to tell me that the Council isn't in charge of the schools. But I hate that explanation. I think Council members have to be leaders. And they should use every tool at their disposal to help ensure that the school system has all the money, resources, and promotion it needs to properly educate our children.
Some major challenges facing Red Bank are taxes, pedestrian safety, improving our park system and cleaning the Navesink River. If I am reelected, I will work with our Administration to scrutinize expenditures and make sure that our tax dollars are being spent to benefit the Red Bank residents. We have commissioned the help of a grant writing company to assist the Borough in obtaining grants which we have never received before. To date, this company has brought in over $1,000,000 in grants that will go to improve the quality of life of our residents and the infrastructure of Red Bank. Specifically, we will received a $1,000,000 for Shrewsbury Avenue which will go towards improving infrastructure and pedestrian safety. Pedestrian safety is an issue throughout town. If reelected, I will work towards implementing more traffic calming measures on busy streets and intersections and work with the Police Department on increased enforcement. If reelected, I will continue to move the Marine Park and Sunset Park projects forward. In the last three years, I have worked with multiple stakeholders to come to an agreement on Bellhaven Nature Preserve and the Marine Park concept plan. The next step in our park system will be to implement the Marine Park improvements. Finally, if reelected, I will continue to improve our storm water management system and reduce the impervious surfaces in Red Bank in efforts to clean up the Navesink River.
I believe I am qualified for this position as I have the experience of being on the Council for the last three years and spent this year as the Council President. I am a hard worker and willing to listen to everyone before coming to a decision. I take my time in deciding critical issues and make sure I have all the facts before rendering that decision. Ultimately, I believe I am qualified to be reelected to the Council because with every vote I make, I am trying to do the right thing for all Red Bank residents.
Factors which are critical to the quality of life in our community are pedestrian safety, having a great downtown area and a great Parks & Recreation department. My plan to improve pedestrian safety is noted in the first question. Presently, I believe we have a great downtown business district. This is important to the quality of life of our residents as they have great restaurants and businesses to go to locally. These businesses give back to the town and host great events for our residents to attend. Having events like the Red Bank Oyster Festival or the Red Bank Classic 5K in our town makes it a great destination for people to come to and gives our residents events to take pride in our town. Finally, our Parks & Recreation Department is one of the best in the State, if not the best. They are always thinking of different and new programs for our residents, specifically the Red Bank kids. I will do my best to preserve the events and programs that the Red Bank Parks & Recreation Department currently offers and push the department to come up with new and innovative programs to benefit our residents.