Here are the latest political developments for other upcoming municipal elections in West Hudson:
In Kearny, longtime Town Council incumbent Laura Cifelli-Pettigrew, a Democrat, will be calling it quits when her term expires on Dec. 31. Running in her stead for a Second Ward council seat is newcomer Jonathan Giordano, a local businessman and a member of the Kearny Planning Board.
Giordano will be on the same Democratic ticket as Town Council incumbents Albino Cardoso (First Ward), Eileen Eckel (Third Ward) and Susan McCurrie (Fourth Ward). All are running under the banner Regular Democratic Organization of Kearny.
No Republicans filed nominating petitions to run. Independents, if any, don’t file until Primary Day, June 3. Mayor Alberto Santos, a Democrat, won’t be up for reelection until 2017.
Asked why she chose not to run again, Cifelli-Pettigrew, a teacher at Harrison’s Washington Middle School, said: “I’m just done. Fourteen years on the council, and before that, four years on the school board, and prior to that, several years at St. Cecilia on the parish council, school board and food pantry. I’m done with meetings. I was fully extended. And now, my son and his wife just had twins, my daughter bought a new home. I’m going to stay home and cook and be happy.
Cifelli-Pettigrew, who has been in the classroom 25 years, said she plans to “continuing teaching a few more years.” And she plans to continue attending Board of Education meetings but she says there’s “no truth to the rumors about me running for school board.” Looking back on her council tenure, she said she takes pride in playing a role in returning control of the previously outsourced water department to Kearny and persuading Rich Ferraioli to come back from the private sector and run it. Her biggest disappointment is not seeing development of a train station off Bergen Ave. which, she said, could have resulted in an influx of new residents to Kearny.
Giordano, a lifelong Kearny resident, is owner/operator of a family carpentry business on Arlington Ave., has served on the Planning Board for the past five years.
“The mayor had asked me to consider running a few years ago,” Giordano said, “and I respectfully declined. This time it’s after the [Sandy-triggered] flood, I’m trying to rebuild my shop and I figured I could probably manage that. I have no plans of leaving this town. I want to see what I can do to try and make it better and inject the opinion of the business owner.”
Santos said that Giordano “is very aware of the core issues involving the Second Ward,” and, in particular, the problem of flooding.
A year ago, Giordano’s business was approved for a loan from the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone Corp. for improvements related to a proposed conversion of a vacant property to accommodate an indoor gun range but the loan application has since been amended to fund a reconstruction of a portion of Arlington Ave. owned by the business, according to Santos.
If Giordano is elected, and “should any matter relating to his business come before the council for deliberation, [Giordano] would recuse himself from voting,” Santos said.
In East Newark, political newcomers Gianni Donates and Michael Magliotti, who are aligned under the slogan, “Put East Newark First,” will be opposing incumbents Hans Peter Lucas and Jeanne Zincavage for Borough Council seats in the June Democratic Primary.
Zincavage has been on the council since 2001 while Lucas served initially from January 1983 to December 1985 and was re-elected in November 1993. They are running under the banner of the Hudson County Regular Democratic Organization.
Magliotti, who has owned and operated a local contracting business for the past four years, said he and Donates, a CPA, aim to cut “wasteful spending” by the borough and provide more transparency.
“The borough website isn’t updated, there are lawsuits by former police officers suing over money owed them, we had to pay outside contractors for snow removal this winter, there’s no recreation for our kids and what little play area we have gets too crowded, our kids are not prepared to go into high school, and yet we’re facing a 7% [municipal] tax increase,” Magliotti said.
– Ron Leir