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2016 Year End: the Village of Ridgewood’s Biggest Winners

Ridgewood's La Bella Pizza destroyed by Sunday Fire

file photo by Boyd Loving

December 31,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the staff of the Ridgewood blog has assembled the biggest winners and the biggest losers in Ridgewood for 2016.Now for the Village winners;

The biggest winner this year was the Village of Ridgewood’s new Mayor Susan Knudsen and Deputy Mayor Mike Sedon. After years of constant abuse from the “3 amigos”, the two came out victorious with the sweeping victory of Jeffrey Voigt, Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh and Ramon M Hache in the Village Municipal elections. While Jeff Voigt has so far been a bit of a disappointment the new council has full plate attempting to fix the mess of the previous administration.

The other major winner this year were the Village residents who put together the petitions to stop and shut down Garagezilla . The residents mobilized when their voices were ignored and took back the town. As we have learned since motivations for building Garagezilla had little to do with parking for shop owners in the CBD but more for housing development, commuter parking, certain restaurants, schools and of course an “arts center”.

The Ridgewood School system was a big winner with its much pushed for Full-day Kindergarten referendum. While the merits for children remain dubious, it certainly takes a lot of pressure off parents with more convenient hours.

We couldn’t finish the list without this one; Doug Bunza, a 22-year-old village resident who set up a go fund me page to help when his favorite Pizza place La Bella Pizza when it burned down. To the Ridgewood blog thats what Ridgewood is all about ,neighbors stepping up and taking charge. I know this is not the only good deed for the year but this one stuck out in everyone’s minds. It showed us that anyone can make a difference and we all make a difference to someone .

Our final pick this year for the biggest winner is a bit unorthodox, we decided to give it Village employees.Despite turmoil with Village leadership Village employees did a pretty good job at whatever they were doing, I don’t remember the last time no one complained about the police or fire departments for a whole year? We seemed to have no major scandal ie the meter thief and when services were not up to par it was always a management issue.

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Landslide Victory Signifies Major Shift in Village of Ridgewood Politics

village Council Elections
photo courtesy of Melanie McWilliams
May 11,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood
Ridgewood NJ, the victory for Ramon Hache, Jeff Voigt and Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh it was nothing more than a total reject of Mayor Paul Aronsohn’s entire agenda . The new trio will begin their four year terms on July 1, joining Susan Knudsen and Michael Sedon.

Now the hard work has to be done restoring the luster to the tarnished reputation of the Village and building on the unique nature of the Village of Ridgewood and moving forward.

Congratulations to Ramon Hache, Jeff Voigt and Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh and all there supporters and all the volunteers who put in countless hours and faced down both threats , physical and personal attacks to do the right thing .

The Ridgewood blog would like to say thank you. Now lets move forward and build a positive future .

2016 MUNICIPAL ELECTION RESULTS – UNOFFICIAL

FOR COUNCIL

Jeffrey Voigt – 3839 – 67.37%

Janice M Willett – 1803 – 31.64%

Evan Weitz – 1736 – 30.47%

Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh – 3611 – 63.37%

Richard S Brooks – 1656 – 29.06%

Ramon M Hache – 3867 – 67.87%

Total Registration – 16,740
Votes Cast – 5,698
Percentage – 34.04%

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I am voting for Jeffrey Voigt, Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh, and Ramon M. Hache they will exercise independent judgement in the best interest of Village residents

Vote Ridgewood

To the Editor:

I was relieved when three members of our Village Council decided not to run for another term, hoping that we would finally see a change from the consistent voting bloc and divisiveness that has occurred for the past four years within the Council.  Now we have six new candidates, but three are already calling themselves “a team”.  Should we be encouraged to vote for them and endure another 4 years of sniping within our council? Are we continuing the pattern of “our side vs. theirs?”

I am voting for Jeffrey Voigt, Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh, and Ramon M. Hache.  They are NOT a team, but rather will exercise independent judgement always in the best interest of Village residents.  They probably will not agree on every issue, but they are dedicated to community engagement that allows residents a voice in their future.  And most critically, these candidates share the concerns of many Village residents that growth and progress be balanced with preserving the character, size and scale of our Village.

The election is May 10…every vote makes a difference!

Carrie Giordano
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Village of Ridgewood candidates Willett, Weitz,and Brooks Continue to Push the Exclusionary Divisive Politics of the Current Council Majority

Ken Smith Ridgewood

file photo by Boyd LOving

May 1st 2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The progress Ridgewood group has an ad in the paper saying those are the 3 that will be at the candidates forum at Park West Loft on May 2nd. You can only go, if you signed the pledge, so i guess that means they signed it. Nice to know that 3 ( Janice M. Willett, Evan Weitz,and Richard S. Brooks )of the candidates have already decided to be exclusionary, and not listen to others that may have a different opinion then them.
At the candidates debate, all 6 candidates said the current council has been too divisive. Some of the language from the 3 that signed the pledge said “all groups need to be included and involved”, “the council works for everybody. Everybody needs to be informed”, “lead by example”, “public discourse needs to be lifter to a higher level”, “inclusiveness, solutions, and a united approach to figuring out where we’re going, and how to get there”.

DSCF3238

3 amigos or Council majority
Nice to know that the 3 have already shown us that their words don’t mean much, since their actions have proven to be the opposite.
If you want your village government to be exclusionary, then you know who to vote for.
If you want your village government to be individually thinking people, with varying backgrounds, who are willing to discuss the issues with anyone, you need to vote for Voigt, Hache and Walsh.

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The Preserve Graydon Coalition endorses Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh Ramon M. Hache Jeffrey Voigt for Ridgewood Village Council

graydon-opening-day-2010-small

The Preserve Graydon Coalition endorses

Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh

Ramon M. Hache

Jeffrey Voigt

 

for Ridgewood Village Council

We believe that Bernadette (Bernie) Coghlan-Walsh, Ramon Hache (pronounced Ra-MONE Ha-SHAY), and Jeffrey (Jeff) Voigt are the candidates most likely to heed residents’ concerns about our village’s morphing into the type of urban environment that many moved here to escape.

Bernie, Ramon, and Jeff have been endorsed by other grassroots groups in town, including Concerned Residents of Ridgewood (CRR), protesting the near-doubling in size desired by Valley Hospital; Citizens for a Better Ridgewood (CBR), concerned about the results of proposed high-density housing downtown; and the Schedler neighborhood, working to preserve the woods and historic house just east of Route 17. We believe that those who favor what we love about the village would be the most likely to preserve Graydon as well.

Jeff, Ramon, and Bernie are not running as a team, nor do they agree on every issue. They would cooperate to resolve issues without falling into lockstep. Independent thinking from the dais is much missed and sorely needed.

In contrast, the other three candidates have clearly been working in sync, prematurely speaking as “we,” and have been publicly endorsed by the “council majority” (mayor’s voting bloc), who have installed their campaign signs on their front lawns. In addition, the mayor has placed placards for two of these candidates on the rear deck of his car.

Of the candidates favored by the mayor, one, who moved here a few years ago, said at Candidates Night* that his long working hours and family obligations prevented him from attending past council meetings. Another would welcome the larger school population resulting from the high-density housing she supports. The third faces potential conflicts of interest as the husband of the longtime attorney for our Planning Board.

* Video: Candidates Debate, League of Women Voters, April 20, 2016 (2 hr 10 min):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0poCGnAET0

Bernie, Ramon, and Jeff would seek “more pragmatic and sensible development,” as Voigt describes his goals in a video on his website. Hache said at the League of Women Voters’ Candidates Debate that his vision included “a town with officials protecting their community from the wrong type of development.” None would override valid resident concerns to push preconceived agendas.

Our group’s name contains the key word “preserve.” We wish to preserve not only our natural, historic swimming amenity but also the small-town ambience that we moved here to enjoy. Conserving and increasing unbuilt, truly open space must be a priority of those we endorse for Village Council.

We were gratified by the warm feelings for Graydon expressed by all the candidates. We hope and anticipate that whoever is elected will remain a strong advocate for preserving Graydon and enhancing its natural beauty.

Our choices on election day will affect Ridgewood for decades to come. We urge all residents to encourage friends, neighbors, and children ages 18+ to vote in the municipal election on Tuesday, May 10. Polls will be open from 6 AM to 8 PM.

Four years ago, a handful of votes locked in the current “council majority” that has controlled the village agenda. Every vote counts.

To have a lawn sign delivered to your door or to offer to help, contact:

Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh
website: bernadettewalsh2016.com      email: walsh4ridgewood@gmail.com

Ramon Hache
website: ramonhache.com                       email: ramon@ramonhache.com

Jeffrey Voigt
website: voigtforourvillage.com             email: meddevconsultant@aol.com

Please vote on May 10.

Swimmingly,
Marcia Ringel and Alan Seiden
Co-Chairs, The Preserve Graydon Coalition, Inc., a nonprofit corporation

“It’s clear—we love Graydon!”

info@PreserveGraydon.org    PreserveGraydon.org

 

https://tinyurl.com/councilendorsements2016

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Preserve Graydon Coalition Asks Village of Ridgewood Council Candidates About Garydon Pool

Graydon Pool Can you say HAPPY-

file photo by Boyd Loving

by Marcia Ringel and Alan Seiden
Co-Chairs, The Preserve Graydon Coalition, Inc

Ridgewood Nj, With the spring comes our biannual Village Council election. On May 10, or (more accurately) when sworn in on July 1, three new council members will take the seats occupied by Paul Aronsohn, Gwenn Hauck, and Albert Pucciarelli since 2012.
The candidates are Richard (Rich) Brooks, Bernadette (Bernie) Coghlan-Walsh, Ramon Hache, Jeffrey (Jeff) Voigt, Evan Weitz, and Janice Willett. We asked them to share their views on Graydon, environmental preservation, open space, and more, including the future of the Schedler property. Their full, unedited written replies appear in alphabetical order under each question, below.

These comments are also available from a link on the home page of preservegraydon.org.
To receive future mailings:preservegraydon.org/join

If the Coalition decides to endorse candidates, we will announce them soon. Meanwhile, if you would you like to share any thoughts about that, you may write to:info@preservegraydon.org or reply to this message. To ensure authenticity, please sign your email message with your name. Comments will be confidential and not shared or published.

1. Have you or your family been Graydon members in the past? If so, please describe a memory of the park and lake.

Brooks: Yes.  We were seasonal members for many years when our kids were younger and used the pool on an almost daily basis when it was open.  My son was a guard at Graydon while he was still in school.  My daughter and my nephew, who was living with us at the time, attended Graydon Camp, had wonderful times, and met their friends at Graydon all the time.  Our memories of Graydon are great.  We love the sandy beach, cool water, being with our neighbors, etc.

Coghlan-Walsh: My family has been a member of Graydon since 1998.  One of my most vivid memories of Graydon is of my now 12 year old son Emmett when he was 2.   His siblings were in the 4 foot dock area on Linwood and I was with a friend who was helping me watch my children.  She was on one side of the dock I was on the other and she was holding Emmett.  She let him stand on the dock and told him to go to me.  To all of our surprise he ran in the complete opposite direction and leapt off the dock with a huge smile on his face!  We all hurried to that side and when he surfaced he was swimming and laughing.  Now he does that same smile from the high dive!

Hache: Some of my fondest memories are of my brothers and I spending entire summer days at Graydon. We would stay in the water until our fingers looked like prunes. To us, it was more of a lake than just a pool. We would save up our money to buy ice cream from the ice cream truck that would pull up on the Maple Avenue entrance.

Voigt: Patty and I joined Graydon years ago, when our kids were just tykes. We’d come from Minnesota, the land of lakes, and found Graydon not only a reminder of that, but also a great place to meet other young families.  And that was before the Pavilion—which has enhanced it.

Weitz: Yes, my family has been a member of Graydon every year since we moved to Ridgewood several years ago.  My wife is a teacher and she and my children spend at least 4 days a week at Graydon during the summer.  Graydon was amongst one of the reasons we moved to Ridgewood and is one of my family’s favorite places in Ridgewood.
My favorite memory of Graydon is watching my now 6 year old daughter learn to swim at Graydon and then seeing her jump into the water for the first time without a life vest.

Willett: When my parents first moved the family to Ridgewood in the summer of 1966, we joined Graydon immediately and spent many wonderful afternoons there—it was the best possible introduction to Ridgewood. The big slides (now long gone, of course) were a particular highlight. When my children were little, we joined Graydon every summer and spent many equally wonderful afternoons and evenings at the pool. I generally packed a lunch, and on really hot days I would pack dinner as well (or have pizza delivered to Graydon!) and stay till closing time. When my children were in elementary school, I would often pick them up from school at lunchtime on hot days in June and take them to Graydon for a picnic lunch and a quick swim to cool off.
I re-joined Graydon again a few years ago when I stopped working full-time and I go almost every day on my bike for at least a couple of hours—it’s heavenly to sit with my feet in the sand and relax with a book, and I can do my half-mile swim either in the lanes or across the length of the deep end. I’ve already renewed my membership for this summer! Whenever anyone in my family suggests going somewhere on vacation in the summer, I always think in terms of how many Graydon days I’ll have to give up and whether or not it’s worth it, and I usually decide that I’d rather just stay in Ridgewood. I look forward to opening day, and I mourn the end of the season. Graydon is truly my “happy place”—we are so fortunate to have such a wonderful facility right in the middle of town!

2. Where does environmental preservation rank among your personal priorities?

Brooks: Top of the list.  I’ve been a member of the Parks, Recreation and Conservation Board for the last six years; Chairman for the last three.  I’m totally committed to making Ridgewood clean, green and accessible to all who live here.

Coghlan-Walsh: I have been involved in environmental activities most of my life.  My family owned a nursery and I believe our parents instilled in us all the need to be environmentally aware.  We live near Twinney Park and I work with my family and our neighbors to help keep it clean and in winter shovel the pond for skating.  I work for a company that works on sustainability efforts worldwide and I’m proud to be a partner in their endeavors.  I believe it is important for people to always maintain a positive attitude towards the environment and fit into their life the things that they deem important.

Hache: Environmental preservation is very important to me. I personally contribute to both national and state conservationist organizations. Our available open spaces are quickly disappearing. I fear that, at the current pace, my children and their children, will not be able to enjoy as many open spaces as I did as a kid.

Voigt: It’s a plank of my campaign, actually. And it goes beyond preservation. We actually have to clean up toxic sites and make our water safer. You’ve heard there’s lead in our water already. But did you know there’s PFOA too? It’s been linked to cancer, and yet, have you heard one word from the Council on it, ever? So, preservation isn’t enough, in my view.

Weitz: Environmental preservation is amongst my highest priorities.  One of the things that makes Ridgewood special is our green spaces, especially those spaces set aside for family activities like Graydon.  I cannot imagine a Ridgewood that does not value our green space and if elected I will ensure that Ridgewood remains just as beautiful tomorrow as it is today.

Willett: Environmental preservation is one of the most serious obligations of anyone in municipal government—or government at any level, for that matter. As a Councilperson, however, I would always want to weigh the benefits of preservation against the costs, in the interest of fiscal prudence and in order to make the best use of our resources.

3. Could residents who love Graydon Park, with its sandy-bottom, partly spring-fed swimming pond surrounded by a beach, rely on you, as a Council member, to work to preserve it? What does “preserve Graydon” mean to you? What kinds of physical changes, if any, would you support?

Brooks: The Village of Ridgewood, specifically the Parks and Recreation Department, has implemented many capital upgrades and improvements at Graydon over the past several years.  New water diffusers, new pumping systems, the new deck with enhanced food service areas are three examples that provide additional margins of health, safety and comfort for all Graydon patrons.  In the future, the focus must be on enhancements that provide a better Graydon experience, while maintaining safety.  For example, renovating restrooms and changing areas, making the entire park more accessible for residents with special needs, and adding Wi-Fi that can be accessed easily are things that are being considered.

Coghlan-Walsh: I have been a proud supporter of Graydon since we moved to Ridgewood.  And we’ve been active members since!  I supported Graydon during my tenure on the Village Council from 2010-2014.   Preserve to me is simple, make sure the water filling Graydon is always clean and fresh, the sand clean of debris, the filters working properly to maintain the water balance and the buildings including the bathrooms are maintained for use.   I believe Graydon is a treasure and should remain “simple”.   I did support the installation of the ramp into the pool.  It has given access to those with some difficulty.  I’ve watched the use of this ramp and am quite surprised at the number of senior that use it.  Other than making sure the playground is maintained, the benches, etc.  I don’t believe any new physical changes are needed.

Hache: I enjoy taking my children to Graydon.  I want them to enjoy the park just as I did as a kid. Actually, the facilities today are much better than they were when I was growing up, particularly the dining area.  Although at times it may not be self-sustaining, we should preserve it as it not only offers recreation in the summer, but it also helps with flooding issues right next to a brook that floods often. To me, “preserve Graydon” means protecting one of our valuable landmarks that is unique to Ridgewood. It is an intricate part of our historic Village landscape.

Voigt: Graydon is wonderfully different, isn’t it? A real fixture of Village life. Why change it? There are however, more important priorities for the Council, such as the cleanup issues I just mentioned. That said, as you can see from my record on the zoning board, I don’t support changes out of character with the town.

Weitz: Yes, you can absolutely depend on me to preserve Graydon. Preserving Graydon to me means keeping Graydon unique and special.  In terms of physical change, I am open to looking at some of the facilities around Graydon that could be upgraded while preserving the historical character and profile of Graydon – which must include keeping the sandy-bottom, partly spring-fed swimming pond and beach.

Willett: I can assure you that I would be the strongest possible advocate for Graydon. Preserving Graydon means keeping the sandy bottom, holding chemicals to a minimum, and keeping the beach sand clean and the water skimmed—and I would love to see new bathrooms, a new bike rack, and maybe a general sprucing up, such as a new coat of paint on the railings around the entrance. Mainly, though, I want to keep Graydon open and adequately staffed.

4. In some years, opening hours at Graydon have been cut back. (Historically, Graydon closed at sunset.) How do you view such reductions in opening hours? Would it be appropriate to use municipal funds to maintain full operating hours of this Village amenity throughout the swimming season?

Brooks: The primary objective for any entity that provides a water recreation area like a pool, lakefront beach or an ocean beach must be the safety of its patrons with absolutely no compromises made.  Staffing at Graydon is directly related to an available labor pool of people who have the appropriate lifeguarding certifications, training and availability at any given moment.  Staffing at Graydon is only indirectly related to any budgetary considerations, so I think accessing alternate funding centers misses the real challenge.  If we don’t have enough of the properly certified guards to maintain safety at Graydon, and we cannot guarantee the safety of every patron, of every age, we cannot open.  Simply put, the Village cannot allow safety to be compromised at Graydon—ever.

Coghlan-Walsh: My view from when I was on the Village Council has not changed; I believe Graydon should remain open until sunset.  Many families like ours, have both parents working and often the only time spent as a family at Graydon is in the evening and on weekends.  This is a taxpayer funded entity and all taxpayers should be able to use and enjoy the pool.  I would support using municipal funds to keep it open.

Hache: It would be appropriate to use municipal funds to maintain full operating hours. My concern is not only for the hours of operation but also for the season schedule. We must ensure Graydon is on a consistent and full schedule from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Failure to do so would undermine sales of season passes. Ultimately, Graydon should not be viewed as a for profit venture. However, it is worth noting that it is the only revenue-generating recreational amenity of the Village.

Voigt: It’s not an issue right now. What will always be an issue, however, is taxes, and whether the Village would support an increase just to extend hours? I would rather not. We have to be creative, turn to solutions that don’t always come back to taxes, or to tapping into the municipal budget. Let’s see if we can’t make Graydon self-sustaining.

Weitz: I would like to keep Graydon open as long in the season as possible and as late as possible.  However, I prefer not use municipal funds but rather to focus on ways of making Graydon more financially sustainable so that it can support additional services without using municipal funds.
I believe that Graydon is a special place.  However, seasonal membership has been declining while daily passes have been increasing.  We need to better understand that trend.  We also need to look at fees we charge vendors to provide services as Graydon to make sure that we are being as fiscally responsible to the people of Ridgewood as possible.

Willett: I am always a little sad when Graydon closes at 7:30pm—it’s so lovely to be there at sunset, although we do get to enjoy that at the end of the season when the days get shorter—but I also understand the constraints on municipal spending. I was aghast last year when there was discussion of closing for the week leading up to Labor Day, but that ultimately didn’t happen. I was also not a fan when Graydon didn’t open till noon—it just looks so forlorn sitting there unused. Frankly, I don’t even like it when sections of the pool are closed due to insufficient staffing, but I’ve learned to live with it. Right now, Graydon more than covers its direct expenses—but there is a lot of pressure on the overall budget because of our contractual obligations, and I am concerned about various services having to be reduced as a result. This is one of the reasons I am running for Village Council.

5.  What are your views regarding the impact on Ridgewood of New Jersey state law on open space?

Brooks: If the current Governor’s plan is to alter how Open Space funds approved by a majority of state residents in the most recent election, he is making an unforgiveable error in judgment.  Ridgewood will be shortchanged of valuable opportunities to purchase an ever decreasing inventory of available open space, and this is truly unfortunate.  All local government officials should lobby their state government representatives, as well as the Governor’s office, to try and make sure this bait-and-switch does not occur.

Coghlan-Walsh: First, Ridgewood has a dwindling amount of open space.  That is a fact that can’t be denied.  We have only a few properties left that are considered “open”.    I believe any progress in Ridgewood should be the decision of the residents not the State.

Hache: New Jersey’s open space law has aided in adding a few acres of parks and recreational fields to Ridgewood, as well as allowing the Village to accumulate more than $670,000 through the open space tax of half a cent per $100 of valuation on taxable real property in the Village.

Voigt: I’m not a tree hugger–even though I went to UVM undergrad. But, I am for the environment writ large, our quality of life here, and open spaces. I wish we didn’t have such limited resources, or so much utilized space. We have to enhance what we have. And so my commitment is to work with others to do just that.

Weitz: I think it’s critical to honor both the letter and spirit of state law requiring us to have open space.  However, I see the legal requirements in this area as a floor, not a ceiling.  If elected, I will ensure that open space is a priority for Ridgewood.

Willett: Certainly, more open space is always a desirable goal—but again, fiscal prudence must be a consideration.

6. If high-density housing came to town, how should the Council ensure adequate open space for all residents?

Brooks: A discussion of Open Space needs in the Village needs to be a fundamental part of any development discussion in the Village.  We have strong Open Space advocates in place (but we need more volunteers) and they are actively involved in the discussion.

Coghlan-Walsh: High density it appears is coming to town.  The Council has final review but it will be imperative for the Planning Board and Zoning Board to ensure adequate green space is included in each and every development.  They have the ability to demand enough green space to be adequate for their new population of residents.

Hache: These issues are not directly related but the Village should continue to look to add acreage to its open space inventory, when and where appropriate since the Village is currently in a deficit of open space for its residents.

Voigt: Well, you can’t just make space where there isn’t any. And, there isn’t really any here. Now, you may know there’s an open space budget surplus. So we could look into acquiring more land, and enhancing what we have– enough to accommodate modest growth. But high density? Really? It will just put more pressure on our already crowded spaces and town resources.

Weitz: Even independent of high-density housing, I think Ridgewood should strive to have as much open and green space as possible.  I strongly encourage the development of new green and open spaces.  Additionally, I support ensuring that all site plans submitted for any of the locations now being looked at for residential development include provision for new green and open spaces and fully take into account the impact those developments will have on the community.

Willett: Whether or not high-density housing comes to town, we should regularly assess our open space availability and the need—and means—to create additional open space.

7. What’s your feeling about the role of the Village Council to limit or reduce the amount of impermeable surface in town, especially in the floodplain, which includes Graydon, Vets Field, and more?

Brooks: The Village must always consider the needs of all it residents whenever development is considered, but especially our fellow residents who are most vulnerable because of a disability.  Public facilities, like Graydon or any other park in town, should be more accessible for all, not less.  This is what a truly caring community, like Ridgewood, does to help those in need.

Coghlan-Walsh: The velocity flood plain is from just east of Graydon at the Hohokus border to the bottom part of the brook near Brookside field.  History has proven through several floods that this area will flood continually.  The DEP limits some of the construction in the Flood Plain but it is important for the Village Council to work with the Parks & Rec department to ensure no further construction.

Hache: The Village recently added a rain garden which replaced impermeable surface with native plants on the edge of the Graydon Pool parking lot, right next to the brook. We should continue to leverage the resources in our engineering department to identify opportunities where we could continue this practice in our flood plain. It is incumbent upon our Village Council to ensure that those impermeable surfaces are limited to ensure that we mitigate future flooding issues. This can be effectively achieved by setting guidelines that the Village would be compelled to follow.

Voigt: On the zoning board, I vote every chance I get against new impermeable surfaces. If the Council didn’t bypass the zoning board to approve one big development after another, we’d have a lot fewer of these surfaces, too.

Weitz: The use of space along the HoHoKus brook requires balancing many factors.  The creek will flood regularly.  We must balance environmental impact, projected flooding impacts on neighbors including those downstream, sports needs, the ultimate cost to maintain fields (including repairs after floods) and the need for cooling grass/dirt.  I will seek to find ways to balance these concerns and any decisions I make would weigh all of these factors.

Willett: The Village Council should have a voice in every decision affecting Ridgewood. In general, I prefer natural to artificial surfaces—but I would want to evaluate on a case-by-case basis and have conversations with people on both sides of the issue before making decisions in specific instances.

8. Would you approve the construction of a 90-foot baseball diamond on the Schedler property? Why or why not?

Brooks: I cannot predict whether or not we will have a vote for such a project.  I do think the development of the Schedler property needs to be considered carefully with all stakeholders and Ridgewood residents having the option of taking part in the discussion.  If this means taking a step back and re-thinking some decisions that have already been made, by previous administrations, I would support that step.

Coghlan-Walsh: I have never been nor will I ever be in favor of a 90 foot baseball field on the Schedler property.  The dangers of those balls going into the highway far outweigh the need for another baseball field.

Hache: As a father of three small children, I have serious concerns regarding the safety of a 90-foot baseball diamond on Schedler. We also have to consider the adverse impact on noise levels the clearing of the trees would have on nearby residences.  Although I would prefer to have a passive park area on the site, I am willing to support the 60-foot diamond as proposed by Schedler residents. I would also support directing part of the $670,000 accumulated through the open space tax to repair and preserve the Schedler house. It could perhaps be used as a facility for community programs and activities, similar to how The Stable has been used next to Graydon.

Voigt: No. And you’d say no, too, if you realized that the only way a 90-foot diamond gets built there is if home plate is on Route 17. But more to the point is that all of this has an impact on the people who live there. We’re really a Village of neighborhoods and; respecting those neighborhoods and the people in them is important.

Weitz: While I strongly believe in developing the Schedler property into green and open space, I have some concerns about that location for a 90-foot baseball diamond.  Currently studies are under way to assess the feasibility of the Schedler property for the 90-foot baseball diamond and other uses.  I believe the prudent decision is to wait on the results of those studies before making a final judgment.

Willett: I’ve walked the Schedler property and have some concerns about fitting a 90-foot baseball diamond there, but I am in favor of some sort of mixed active-passive refurbishment of that property.

9. Have you ever found yourself thinking, in any context in Ridgewood, “They knew it was there when they moved there”?

Brooks: No.  I live on East Ridgewood Avenue, where the NJ Transit buses and my neighbors from town routinely travel at speeds that are twice the posted limit.  I knew that problem was a potential issue when I moved here, but I love my home.  Some consideration from the offending drivers, however, would be nice, but I’m enough of a realist to manage my expectations.

Coghlan-Walsh: No.  That is a very close minded statement.

Hache: I do not find myself thinking in that context. Ridgewood is made up of a lot of different neighborhoods and many of those neighborhoods are in the proximity of schools, hospitals, and businesses. That kind of thinking is insensitive and can undermine the fact that, significant changes in the intensity of use would adversely impact our residents, their quality of life, health, safety and well-being.  If you move next to a hospital that is 40’ tall, is it ok for that hospital to then be 80’ tall and adversely impact property values?

Voigt: I think we’re all attracted to this Village for what it is already, if that’s the question. It’s not that we can’t grow reasonably/enhance what we have. We have to. It’s how.  I am just not into Supersizing our town and believe we need to treat people with respect—i.e. as if they were our neighbors.

Weitz: No.

Willett: Yes, but only in very specific cases—such as when someone who lives next to a school complains about the traffic on the street at dropoff and pickup times. I’m not sympathetic in those cases.

10. Optional: any additional comments related to Graydon, preservation of a natural environment, open space, clean water, or other environmental issues and how you envision your role to support them as an elected official.

Brooks: Graydon is Ridgewood’s jewel and its amenities and character should be supported and, when possible, preserved so that they reflect the original intent of its founders.  As technologies develop, such as better ways to maintain water quality, and/or customer safety and health, they should be evaluated and adopted, if appropriate.  In addition, special needs users should be accommodated and encouraged to use Graydon easily and without stigma, and we as a Village should support this use though tangible means.
It’s difficult to imagine how an elected official would meander through some of these Graydon issues, because they have not been examined in recent years, and there always seem to be more pressing issues to consider besides a swimming facility that only a relative fraction of residents use.  This is unfortunate, and I hope to get some of these issues back into the discussion.  Graydon is a great asset for the Village.

Coghlan-Walsh: I have always believed that Graydon has not been used to its fullest potential.  After dark events, community parties, etc will bring new people to Graydon that are not as familiar with Graydon as they should be.   It is also a way of finding more volunteers to help with the maintenance of the facility through community organized activities thereby reducing the operating costs.   I’m still hoping to organize a traditional clam bake party!  Perhaps project one of a new term on Council for me!!

Hache: I envision my role as an elected official serving on the Village Council as a steward of the future. I am referring to the future of our children and of future generations. My legacy, I hope, is that I hand over to our future residents a beautiful, unique, and historic Ridgewood.

Voigt: All of these questions come down to one thing: change. How’s it managed? How do we honor our traditions and yet still move ahead? My answers come from leadership experiences with many organizations in times of change, whether as President of the Wharton Healthcare Alumni Association, or as a small business owner right here in town, or as a 5-year member of the Ridgewood zoning board, or simply, as a Ridgewood family man. These answers are to foster give and take, to keep digging until there’s a mutually acceptable answer, and to shine a light on the unintended consequences of a decision––before it is made. Vote for me, and you will be voting for these kinds of answers.

Weitz: I currently serve as the Chairperson of the Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) – an organization charged with advising Village officials on the full range of budget and management issues. In that role, I have had a real insight into exactly how our Village is managed on a daily basis that has prepared me to lead on the Village Council.  While on the FAC, I have taken a real interest in Graydon.
Last season, Graydon essentially broke even financially.   I feel strongly that we need to make Graydon financially sustainable by ensuring that Graydon has a capital improvement fund that is funded from Graydon revenue.  Additionally, the number of seasonal passes has declined while the number of daily passes has gone up. I think we need to understand this trend and make sure that newer families to Ridgewood understand the value of Graydon and just how special a place it is.
As I mentioned above, my family has been seasonal members of Graydon every year since we moved to Ridgewood.  On so many occasions, I have watched my children play in the sand at Graydon and enjoyed all that Graydon has to offer.  I am dedicated to making sure that continues for generations to come.

Willett: In general, I feel strongly that one of the most important responsibilities of an elected official is to make sure that anything that is a common good—open space, clean water, clean air, etc.—receives proper oversight and resources.

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League of Women Voters Village of Ridgewood Candidates night format and questions have been sent to the candidates

Lincoln&Douglas

FORMAT AND QUESTIONS FOR THE VILLAGE COUNCIL CANDIDATES NIGHT,

WEDNESDAY,APRIL 20 7:30-9:30 PM AT VILLAGE HALL COURT ROOM

SPONSORED BY THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF RIDGEWOOD

April 12,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,the Ridgewood blog has procured information on the League of Women Voters Village of Ridgewood Candidates night on April 20th at the Village Hall.

Please take these events serious only a few votes in 2012 launched the Village into this disastrous mess.

2012 Ridgewood Election Results
Albert J. Pucciarelli – 2078

Keith Killion – 1711

Rissell R Forenza – 817

Paul Aronsohn – 2479

Mary Jane Shinozuka – 1484

Gwenn H Hauck – 1727

Final voting registration for the May 10th Municipal Election is April 19th.  To register to vote, individuals may register in the Village Clerk’s office from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM or in the Ridgewood Library Lobby on April 19th from 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM.

Please get informed and vote responsible as many have now learned the consequences can be dire to yourself and your family.

The Women Voters Village of Ridgewood Candidates night format for the evening will include welcome from the president, flag salute, and an introduction of our esteemed moderator and the candidates. The moderator will then take over.

Opening statements 11/2minutes each

Questions # 1 2 3 1 1/2 minutes each question

Cross talk on each question 5 minutes in total each question

Questions from the public 40 minutes

Closing statements 1/1/2 minutes each

1. During the recent budget proceedings, Ridgewood Water outlined a six year, approximately 40 million dollar capital plan to
update the facility which serves not only Ridgewood but also Glen Rock, Midland Park and Wyckoff. Should the town invest the money
to update the facility or should we consider selling the utility and why?

2. We are looking at potential new development in Ridgewood , in the downtown area and the Central Business District (garage and
multi family housing at several locations). What measures would you propose to minimize disruption to traffic flow, local businesses and home owners and to ensure pedestrian safety?

3. Regarding the Town Garage location on Franklin Avenue and the adjacent municipal lots, the Department of Environmental Protection has cited these properties for remediation due to underground fuel tanks that are leaking diesel and hydraulic fuel into
the surrounding ground water. There has been talk of charging the cleanup to a potential developer or acquiring the garage site by
eminent domain and doing it ourselves. How do we address this problem in the most expedient manner so that no further
contamination occurs and serves the best interest of the village?

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League of Women Voters to Hold Village of Ridgewood Council Candidates Night

VOTE_theridgewoodblog
April 3,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, On Wednesday, April 20, the League of Women Voters of Ridgewood will hold a moderated forum for candidates who are running for Village Council in the May 10 Municipal Election. The forum will be held at Village Hall, 131 North Maple Avenue at 7:30.There are six challengers for three open seats on the Ridgewood Town Council: Richard Brooks, Ramon Hache, Jeffrey Voigt, Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh, Evan Weitz, and Janice Willett.

The candidates will each provide a background statement and will answer questions provided by the League. There will also be time for questions from the public.

Candidates Night will be televised live on Cablevision-Channel 77 and Fios-Channel 34.Ms Barbara King from the Fairlawn League of Women Voters will moderate the forum. If you have any questions about the forum or the League of Women Voters, please contact Joan Burns at 201-615-6614.

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Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh, former Ridgewood Councilwoman, announces her Candidacy for Village Council

Bernie Walsh

March 8,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh,   19 Year Ridgewood Resident, wife and mother of three has entered the race to reclaim a Council seat.

Coghlan-Walsh was first elected to the Ridgewood Village Council in 2010 and won in a landslide earning the top vote getter accolade.  She served with Distinction for four years and has remained involved in Village activities ever since.  “I’ve received overwhelming support on my new Council bid and want nothing more than to do what’s right for the Village.  Ridgewood needs honest, reliable citizens to serve on the Village Council and I believe I have proven my mettle over the years.”

Coghlan-Walsh is the Head of Global Workforce Mobility for Region Americas at Linde Gas and also manages their Non-commercial Fleet of over 250 vehicles.  Mrs. Coghlan-Walsh holds designations through Worldwide ERC signifying her mastery of Workforce Mobility both Domestic and International including Talent Management and Labor Relations.  She is poly-lingual and works daily on Immigration issues affecting employees throughout North, Central and South America.  Mrs. Coghlan-Walsh is also a State Licensed Residential Real Estate Appraiser inNew Jersey.

Bernadette currently serves on the Planning Committee of the New Jersey Relocation Council, a Girl Scout Leader for Troop 1326 in Ridgewood, Member of the Women’s Club of Ridgewood where she served as President of Juniors from 2009-2010 and an Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parishioner where she’s volunteered as CCD teacher and served on the MOMs Circle of Care.  An avid horseback rider she has the distinguished honor of being the Children’s Ambassador of the Garden State Horse Show for the past 4 years.

Her past experience within Ridgewood includes serving on the Ridgewood Planning Board, Historic Preservation Commission, Parks & Recreation Commission, Field Committee, Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Committee and the Bergen County League of Municipalities.

“Ridgewood is a vibrant, upbeat and friendly community.  I fully believe residents have become engaged in such large numbers recently because they don’t believe their voices are being heard nor understood by the current Council.   I believe any vote in May will be for a fresh perspective and return to civility for everyone on both sides of the aisle.  I’ll work tirelessly for Ridgewood, I only ask that residents support me and cast one of their votes for Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh”.

Bernadette will be listed on the upcoming Ballot in Row 4.

Contact information:  walsh4ridgewood@gmail.com

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The Ridgewood blog Suports Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh as a Candidate for the Republican Nomination for Bergen County Freeholder

WalshB

The Ridgewood blog Suports Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh as a Candidate for the Republican Nomination for Bergen County Freeholder
March 17,2014
PJ Blogger and the Staff of the Ridgewood blog

At this time the Ridgewood Blog wholeheartedly endorses Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh as a Candidate for the Republican Nomination for Bergen County Freeholder.

Bernie is uniquely qualified as a native of Bergen County and a sitting Councilwoman in the Village of Ridgewood to represent Bergen County as a Freeholder.

Bernie has extensive knowledge of the County and County operations and as a Council Person Bernie has balanced budgets, participated in Union Contract negotiations and is currently Chair our Safety Commission.

Bernie has proven herself to be an honest, reliable and a no holds barred advocate of Republican values.

Bernie has worked tirelessly on Republican campaigns over the years to ensure these values and views are heard throughout the County, State and beyond.

Bernie is a Corporate Relocation Consultant and Real Estate Appraiser and works throughout the County and State.

Bernie’s corporate experience comes in business of keeping people employed and making sure Bergen County is affordable and attainable at every level.

Because of this experience Bernie has tools to work within the County Government and to develop plans to lower taxes, strengthen property values and make Bergen County the pride of New Jersey.

Bernie and her husband Michael have been married for 21 years and they have resided in Ridgewood for the past 17 years.

Bernie is the mother of  three energetic, thoughtful and caring children ages 16, 14, and 10 and is raising them to be productive, respectful and fun kids.