3rd mayoral candidate surfaces

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


When North Arlington residents go to the polls Nov. 4, they can choose one of three candidates for mayor but they’ll find only two on the ballot.

Mayor Peter Massa is the Democratic nominee seeking re-election for a third consecutive term and Councilman Joseph Bianchi is opposing him as the GOP representative.

But also vying for the borough’s top elective office is newcomer Anthony Baez, a registered Republican who is running as a write-in candidate under the slogan, “A Brighter Future for North Arlington.”

Baez, 44, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier assigned to Kearny who has lived in North Arlington for the past five years, said he missed the deadline for filing nominating petitions to get his name on the election ballot so he decided to promote himself as a write-in.

“I figured, ‘Why not take the shot?’ ” he said.

Since he was away on vacation during the June primary balloting, Baez didn’t get to square off against Bianchi for the party’s nomination.

As a sort of dry run, he got a set of petitions and began asking people for their signatures “and I got 200 to sign and I thought that was a pretty good response,” Baez said. Since then, he said he’s been “going door to door” and using social media to introduce himself and hand out fliers to residents.

“I’m running because I don’t like what’s going on here,” Baez said. “When people go to mayor/council meetings, they don’t get responses from the people representing them.”

Asked for examples of nonresponsiveness, Baez – who served in the U.S. military from 1989 to 2001 in Germany and Texas – said, “It’s inexcusable that our 9/11 memorial is still sitting in the public works garage. That irks me. 9/11 was a war with terrorists so the memorial needs to be on a veterans’ plateau, in front of our VFW/American Legion hall on River Road.”

Around North Arlington, Baez said, “There’s a feeling that the town has been forgotten. There’s no July 4 fireworks. No pride in our community.”

If he’s voted in as mayor, Baez said he’d give away his salary as charitable donations to various community organizations. “I’d give $1,000 to each organization, like the Knights of Columbus, the Elks, the Woman’s Club, the veterans’ groups, plus the Fire Department, Police Department and the Board of Education.

“Money isn’t the importance of being mayor – it’s being the voice of the people,” he said.

Local government’s inability to agree on a municipal budget is a disgrace, Baez said. “We all have to come up with a budget to run our home.”

To get more revenues, North Arlington should “promote the use of the baler” by other communities and should do more to attract “franchises” and other tenants for the industrial park in the meadows behind Saw Mill Creek, he said.

Baez grew up in Newark where he attended St. Lucy’s Grammar School and Essex County Vocational High School. He took college classes while stationed in Germany with the military. After his Army service, he was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.

He has served with the USPS for 12 years and has been a shop steward with the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Branch 38 for Kearny and North Arlington.

In North Arlington, he is service officer for the American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37 and senior vice commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Carlos Sass Post 4697. During his time with the veterans’ groups, Baez has chaired the local Boys’ State, Patriots Pen and Voice of Democracy programs, helped organize the Memorial Day Parade, family food drive, dinner program for veterans at the V.A. Hospital in East Orange and the burning of worn U.S. flags and supported the campaign to rename the Passaic River bridge for the late Marine Lance Cpl. Osmany Montes deOca. This year, he was nominated by the Legion for the Veteran of the Year award.

He is also a member of the Liquid Church in Nutley.

Baez, who lives on Roosevelt St., has two daughters, Amanda, 17, and Monica, 16.

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