Maybe the District 4 Parking Plan wasn't such a bad idea after all.
Then again, maybe it was.
Point Beach Republican candidates Andy Cortes and Stephen Reid, who had always been staunchly against the overnight parking restrictions established this summer for non-residents in District 4, now say that maybe they're in favor of it.
If they're elected, would they vote for it next year? Maybe they would. But maybe they wouldn't.
The two said at Thursday night's council candidates forum that they've been doing a lot of walking door to door and talking with residents in District 4 and beyond. They said they're hearing a lot of reports that the parking plan helped cut down on noise and litter while it was in effect from early summer until Sept. 15.
So the two candidates elected to two, three year seats will have to decide whether to re-institute the parking plan for next summer and also how to contend with the related lawsuits.
The two council seats up for grabs are now held by Reid and Democrat Tim Lurie who is not running for reelection. Council members are paid a stipend of $4,500 annually.
The Republicans are challenged by Independent Tom Davis and Democrats Barry Moffett and Sharon Cadalzo. All five candidates were at the forum moderated by The League of Women Voters and hosted by the Woman's Club on St. Louis Avenue.
Cadalzo lives on Atlantic Avenue in District 3; Moffett lives on Ocean Avenue in District 3; Cortes lives on Washington Avenue in District 3; Reid lives on New Jersey Avenue in District 2; and Davis lives on Trenton Avenue in District 2.
Backing Into a Parking Plan
Watching the GOP backpedal halfway down the street on the matter of the parking plan was hardly a welcome spectacle for Martin "Red" Stillufsen, owner of Red's Lobster Pot on Inlet Drive. He and his family have made no secret of the fact that they have opposed the parking plan and the attempt to shut down bars at midnight.
"When are you going to decide if you're for the parking plan?" Stillufsen asked Reid.
Reid said again that he and Cortes are still walking and talking and trying to decide. After Stillufsen asked a couple more times, Reid finally said, "I'll have that for the next council meeting."
"Good man!" Stillufsen said. Reid added that perhaps parking restricions are not needed in the Inlet Drive area where Stillufsen's restaurant is located.
Kitty Stillufsen, Martin Stillufsen's daughter, said recently on the Point Pleasant Patch Facebook page that her family has the seasonal restaurant up for sale.
Cadalzo and Moffett said they are against the parking plan. Cadalzo said she would look at innovative ways to implement a paid parking plan that does not involve the posting of signs and meters which the public has not wanted.
Moffett said it has hurt local businesses and should not be implemented again.
Davis said he recognizes that many District 4 residents have said the restrictions helped cut down on noise in the wee hours of the morning, but he would like to analyze police data from this summer, compared to the past two years, to try to evaluate its effectiveness.
"We should have had a set of control measures in place so we can evaluate it," he said.
Reid said he is "angry" that a number of permanent residents received parking tickets when residents are supposed to be exempt from the parking plan. He said perhaps if the plan is re-established, there should be a sticker for cars instead of placards which sometimes got misplaced and weren't always hanging in residents' cars, leading to tickets.
A Flier, A Tongue-Lashing and Agendas
Another unexpected twist during the evening took place when Davis began saying something that sounded like it was going to be a challenge to Reid's recent campaign literature. However, Davis was out of time and never voiced it. All answers to questions were timed by Lois Jacobsen of the League.
But Reid then said, "Tom, I want to know where you stand on Mike Corbally's flier."
Moderator Gail Marsh Saxer said, "Mr. Reid, Mr. Reid," a few times and finally got Reid to stop questioning Davis, but not before Reid remarked that Davis was conducting "negative campaigning."
The contents or reason to question "Mike Corbally's flier" was never explained.
Afterwards, Saxer, who also moderated last year's council forum, said that in the format of the evening, candidates were not permitted to "denigrate, question or challenge each other," only to make opening and closing statements and to take questions from the audience.
In separate remarks, Davis emphasized that he is an "independent" in the truest sense, that the town's Independent party is not a force for furthering political careers but is, instead, an organization concerned about improving and protecting the rights of, and improving the quality of life for, residents.
"I don't have an agenda," Davis said, contrasting that to other candidates and parties that he said do have "agendas.
"We want a sustainable business community and stable taxes," he said. He said he thinks the most important issue the town faces is the need for a lot more long-term planning.
Kristin Hennessy, a New Jersey Avenue resident and former president of the local Republican Club, said she was concerned about Davis' statement about other candidates and political groups having "agendas."
"It's a little bit insulting," she said. "I would like to ask the other candidates, 'Do you have an agenda? If so, what is your agenda that you hope to accomplish?"
Cadalzo said, "I can tell you that the Democratic party does not have an agenda at all. We talk about what's been going on at the council meetings and then we move on."
A few minutes later, when it was his turn to answer, her running mate, Moffett, said, "I hate to contradict Sharon, but I do have an agenda. I think the pendulum has been going too far against businesses.
"I tried to open a pool hall and I was turned down for the most moronic reasons I ever heard," said Moffett, who had said he owns a number of companies and race horses. He said the town has to talk to and work with businesses to come up with better solutions for the town, businesses and residents.
Reid and Cortes said they have no agenda.
The election is Nov. 6.