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Fair Lawn Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Council consists of five members with each serving a term of 4 years. In 2017 two members will be elected to the Fair Lawn Council. The five members will select one of its members to serve a two-year term as Mayor.
  • Candidate picture

    Amy Lefkowitz (Rep) Attorney

  • Candidate picture

    Josh Reinitz (Dem) Attorney

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    Gail Friedberg Rottenstrich (Dem) Business Executive

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    Marc Zharnest (Rep) Director of Sales Operations Centers Health Care

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

Do you think our political party-based system of government is too polarizing? If so, what can we do about it?

With the amount of development in this community, has there been enough thought given to the impact on the school system, traffic and pedestrian safety?

What kind of new businesses would you like to see occupy our empty stores and what new untried ideas do you have to attract them?

Current Elected Position Deputy Mayor
Education J.D., Fordham University School of Law
Years in Fair Lawn I have lived in Fair Lawn for over 8 years.
My experience in politics is limited to my service on the Fair Lawn Council, and since I was elected as part of the Cosgrove Team, this Council has worked together and made decisions based on the needs of our community. I cannot think of any instance in which my position or vote was influenced by politics. Despite ‎the Council being composed of both R’s and D’s, almost every decision has been bipartisan in nature. Although everyone doesn't always agree, disagreement and debate are healthy components of the decision making process. In Fair Lawn, I have not witnessed the division and partisanship that exists in higher levels of government. This must be attributed to the character of our elected officials and the leadership of Mayor Cosgrove. There is no R or D way to collect garbage or plow snow, and our residents rightfully demand that we work for them as opposed to party bosses or special interests. I serve as Deputy Mayor solely to help our residents and improve our community.
This was a top priority when I first ran for Council, and I can proudly report that we followed through on our promises. Regarding pedestrian safety, we implemented a "no turn on red" traffic sign at Saddle River Road; fought for and obtained the installation of a traffic light near the Broadway train station; and secured the funding for pedestrian safety bollards on Fair Lawn Avenue. Each time a resident, employee, or Council member has raised a concern about a potential issue, our Traffic Safety Division investigates the concern. Regarding development, we have been mindful of the impacts on our school district and our community. I have worked with the bipartisan Planning Board to develop and implement a Master Plan that established a plan that encourages smart, responsible growth. Other than Daly Field, the only other major developments that have been approved by the Planning Board are age restricted, ensuring that there will be no impact on our school district enrollment.
I am proud that Fair Lawn has been named a #1 town to live and raise a family. This administration restored funding to the Economic ‎Development Corporation (EDC), which had been defunded by the prior administration. The EDC assists in establishing a business friendly environment, and attracting new employers. Businesses look for a thriving and successful town with stable taxes and a well-maintained infrastructure, which Fair Lawn offers. Receiving Moody's best bond rating in Fair Lawn history is further proof of our economic success. Fair Lawn is attractive to businesses and families across the metropolitan region which is why we have high property values and a thriving business community. Residents will determine which businesses come and go, but my job is to ensure that the town continues to offer quality services in an efficient manner so both people and businesses view Fair Lawn as the place to be.
Campaign Email
Current Elected Position None
Education Rutgers College, Rutgers University B.S. Administration of Justice 1999 Rutgers School of Law, Juris Doctor, 2003
Years in Fair Lawn 5
I choose to be optimistic, pragmatic and hopeful. The system itself is not too polarizing. Polarization exists because of the failure of leadership in our society. True leadership exists when those in positions of trust put their constituents needs over partisan success. We all win when our leaders seek compromises that improve the lives of the people they represent. Good government is certainly possible when leaders listen to each other and work together to solve problems. If the party system becomes too polarizing there is a simple but effective solution, elect new leadership that will place people before party.

The failures of the past lie in developing projects that benefit sectors of the town without meeting the needs of the entire town. In my time on the Zoning Board I have seen firsthand the potential pitfalls of ill-conceived development plans and the stress that these have put on the schools, town services and safety. I believe there should be more direct consultation with the Board of Education when the Zoning and Planning Boards are considering large scale projects.

Going forward we must seek out development that allows the town to grow in ways that improve the quality of life we in Fair Lawn have come to expect. The fact that we have developers vying for the opportunity to build in Fair Lawn is a great position for the town and we must not squander it by failing to properly evaluate the impact of the project.
I would like to see Fair Lawn become a beacon for entrepreneurs seeking to open and grow businesses. We should actively seek out new, unique businesses and do everything in our power to help them succeed. I would reach out to local small business incubators to pitch Fair Lawn as a prime destination for emerging companies.

Fortunately, we have a very active Chamber of Commerce and a robust EDC and through partnerships with existing Fair Lawn businesses we should strive to build a supportive community with thriving local businesses. The Council should institute a buy local initiative and find ways to highlight local businesses through more township showcase events. I would like to see us develop more destination attractions like experiential retail and event spaces that will bring people to Fair Lawn and allow them to experience what we have to offer.
Campaign Email
Current Elected Position none
Education Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, State University of New York at Albany, Summa Cum Laude; Juris Doctor, George Washington University Law School, Cum Laude
Years in Fair Lawn 22
Ideally, political parties should generate and promote creative ideas to improve the lives of our residents. But too often, political party affiliation is used to divide us, rather than unite us. We need to elect people to local office who are committed to working together with all members of the community. We should be encouraging all of our residents to feel free to communicate their concerns to their elected representatives and to have confidence that their representatives will advocate for ideas that will move the community forward. I know that people can come together regardless of political party because I am seeing that happen in my campaign. So many people that I have known and worked with in town over the years, both in a business and in a volunteer capacity, who do not necessarily share my party affiliation, share my confidence that when people can come together and work for the common good we can make everyone’s lives better.
It is readily apparent that development in our community is going forward without enough regard and consideration for the impact it is having on the school system, traffic and pedestrian safety. We are now facing a crisis of overcrowding in our schools and yet new residential developments have been approved without proper analysis of how these developments will impact on our schools, the effect they will have on traffic in town or the danger the overdevelopment poses to pedestrian safety. Traffic has gotten demonstrably worse in Fair Lawn over the last five years and yet no thought has gone into how we can better plan and manage our growth. In the future, before any new development is started in town, there needs to be a comprehensive analysis of what type of development will improve our quality of life and fit within the goals of the Master Plan.
The types of businesses that I would like to see occupy the empty stores in Fair Lawn are those that will appeal to our busy, working community such as grocery stores selling high quality, minimally processed food, a diverse mix of restaurants, businesses that provide retail and experiential services and innovative office space that will encourage small businesses and entrepreneurs to locate here. If we are going to attract businesses to Fair Lawn, we need to create a "sense of place." Fair Lawn has a number of areas that are perfect for development with the creation of a sense of place, including Radburn, River Road and Maple Avenue. Fair Lawn needs to improve its messaging with our local community so that there is more emphasis on shopping local and keeping our business within our community both to help our current businesses and to attract potential business owners, letting them know that Fair Lawn is a supportive, welcoming and lucrative community with which to do business.
Campaign Email
Current Elected Position Fair Lawn Councilman
Education Masters of Health Care Administration-Seton Hall University
Years in Fair Lawn 30
Since I have only been involved at the local level that is the only level I can speak to. Although there are partisan elections in Fair Lawn, I have seen firsthand during my time on the Council and in the five prior years of the Cosgrove administration that almost every action taken is bipartisan. In fact, the Cosgrove Administration supported a democrat for a deputy mayor position and that is a clear example of how people come before a party. Personally, my political affiliation doesn’t influence how I govern. I evaluate every question before me and determine what is the best choice for all the residents and stakeholders in Fair Lawn. As long as we continue to elect leaders who govern in this manner we do not have to worry about political polarization. Qualified and capable leaders will ensure that their actions and decisions are in the best interests of the people they serve and not the party they ran with.
Yes, a tremendous amount of thought is given to the potential impacts a development may have on our schools, roads, safety, and environment. The Landmark at Daly field will have the biggest impact on our community, but the Borough fought this for years and unfortunately lost. However, the Borough, through its Planning Board, ensured that traffic calming measures were put in place on Plaza Road. Other recent developments aren’t going to have an impact on school enrollment or pedestrian safety. As for pedestrian safety, the Cosgrove Administration has overseen the installation of bollards at crosswalks on Fair Lawn Ave, a traffic light to assist in pedestrian crossing at the Broadway train station, and a “no right on red” at the intersection of Fair Lawn Ave and Saddle River Road. Regarding traffic flow, the intersections of River Rd and Morlot Ave and River Rd. and Maple Ave. have been improved. Any future projects will be in accordance with the well-thought-out Master Plan.
The Council should create a climate in Fair Lawn that is welcoming to businesses and enables them to thrive, rather than focusing on attracting one specific type of business. We are fortunate to have a thriving business community with a near capacity industrial park, successful retail stores, and restaurants and delis. The reasons for this are stable taxes, a well-maintained infrastructure, and Borough employees who work with businesses to help them expedite the various approval processes. Our business climate was aided when funding was restored to the Economic Development Corporation following Mayor Cosgrove’s election. We must continue to evaluate the future of commerce to determine what businesses are likely to experience growth, as well as how Fair Lawn can be even more attractive to businesses. We recently asked the Planning Board to review permitted uses in the Fair Lawn Industries property to ensure that the businesses of the future can find a home in Fair Lawn. logo


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