I have mixed feelings about proceeding with the election. On one hand, democracy marches on even through the severe disaster. On the other, attention is necessarily and emotionally diverted by the tragedy and pain in our communities. Those of us deeply engaged in the process wish we had more time to prepare as we usually do and would rather be directed towards helping folks in need these final days before the election. We have been very busy in the trauma unit at Jersey Shore University Medical Center with a seemingly endless barrage of seriously injured victims.
Many voters who wait until the last few weeks before the election to evaluate candidates may not have the same amount of time to spend making an informed decision as they typically do. I will make one last pitch for the “Balance for Holmdel” candidates Mark Levinson and Larry Luttrell located in column B.
First let me thank all four candidates for stepping up to serve their community. I know how much time is sacrificed from work and family for negligible pay. It is often difficult to find folks willing to do so who can make a difference in their towns. At the risk of offending my colleagues (well, myself included), I genuinely believe Levinson and Luttrell are the best candidates we have ever fielded. Better yet, they bring perfectly matched talents to the fore at the right time to deal with the two most important issues facing Holmdel: Lucent and budget.
Mark Levinson will be running against Joe Ponisi. Mr. Ponisi is an affable man with an expertise in municipal bonding. I wish he had had some input with the DiMaso administration to help prevent our bond rating being reduced from AAA to AA thereby costing taxpayers more. Mr. Ponisi has been a loyal vote for Mayor Impreveduto, and I do not believe his expertise can do much more in reducing bonding expenditures which have just been re-financed. That is a question I would have posed to him at a candidate forum or debate in which he and Mr. Critelli refused to participate.
It does not take long in talking with Mr. Levinson to realize his financial brilliance. He is a man who thinks outside the box, which is the kind of ingenuity you need when facing the kind of budgetary issues Holmdel has. Having done cost analysis for a major developer, he is the perfect person to have on board for the Lucent issue so Holmdel does not get snowed by the claim that the developer cannot make a profit on more limited development. The Holmdel governing body has NEVER had anyone serving possessing his skills, and we so desperately need them now.
Mr. Tom Critelli has been visible for many years serving the Holmdel community for HYAA. He has spoken publicly at town meetings in support of issues advocated by the governing majority but has not essentially advocated doing anything different. Both he and Mr. Ponisi support the current governing majority and would give them total control on the governing body with no dissenting voice. Those who complain about open government and accessibility would in the least get more of the same. One question I would have liked to ask Mr. Critelli at the candidate forum that he and Mr. Ponisi refused to participate in is this: since he advocated in the past for more ball fields being built at Cross Farm (and lights), would he continue to do so given the current budget problems?
Larry Luttrell is a legal dynamo with expertise in real estate law. His passion, energy and drive leave you no doubt how someone less than 6 foot and 200 pounds could have been an active football player on an NCAA Division I championship football team. Mr. Luttrell was also the legal equivalent of a pit bull on a pork chop vis-à-vis saving Sandy Hook from a very bad deal with Sandy Hook Partners (developer). You can imagine what he brings to the table with regard to the legal issues involving Lucent. In speaking with Mr. Luttrell you get the impression he is a person no developer will walk over.
Vote local first: vote the person, not the party. I hope Holmdel voters will not pass up the opportunity to vote for Mark Levinson and Larry Luttrell who will continue the fine tradition and work ethic of the retiring Larry Fink.
May God bless you and keep you safe in these difficult times.