EDITORIAL ENDORSEMENT: Why Bergen County needs Steve Tanelli on the Board of Chosen Freeholders.
As the campaign for two seats on the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders comes to a close, one thing has become painfully obvious and that is the need to elect Councilman Steve Tanelli to this seven-member board.
Independent, experienced and ready to serve, Councilman Tanelli is North Arlington's longest serving elected official and one of the most popular elected officials in borough history.
A four-term councilman who has served as both council president and acting mayor, Steve Tanelli's long roots in the recreation, education and religious communities of North Arlington as well as Lyndhurst have earned him the opportunity to serve at the county level.
A senior art director with a leading watch manufacturer in Paramus, Tanelli's strong opposition to the failed EnCap housing scheme is hard proof of his willingness to fight members of his own party to do what was right for North Arlington. While area elected officials in Lyndhurst, North Arlington and Rutherford coddled the project, one by one they were defeated for reelection because voters wanted no part of a housing scheme that included high density properties coupled with low income units made possible through the process of eminent domain seizure.
Tanelli authored the successful referendum that vastly curbed that usage in the borough with the question receiving nearly 85% of the vote. From that point forward the project lost traction because voters were allowed to offer their opinion in the face of massive political support from bureaucracies like the NJMC and elected officials from the county and state level.
It was through the efforts of Tanelli and others that special legislation signed into law took place right in North Arlington so that no community would have to absorb the pain of another failed redevelopment scheme the public did not want!
A fiscal conservative who puts taxpayers first, Tanelli has voted against three straight GOP tax hikes in the worst of economic times.
While his chief opponent in this race Rob Hermansen rummages through Tanelli's record, it's clear such negative campaigning by this failed incumbent will not work.
Embraced by the likes of embattled incumbent Chris Johnson who many believe to be an anchor on the efforts of the local Republicans to maintain control of the Mayor & Council, Hermansen can't even get along with his own running-mate Peg Watkins much less lead from the head of the line!
Geographically speaking, Bergen residents south of Route 4 could use some representation on that seven-member board.
Tanelli has stated he'll take a special interest in the concerns of communities such as Garfield, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Cliffside Park, East Rutherford, Rutherford and North Arlington and rightly so. These communities and many others have been ignored as recreational open space concerns go unanswered especially at Riverside County Park in Lyndhurst where calls for new ball fields have been placed on the proverbial back burner of county government!
With the cost of county government at an estimated $1.3 million per day and $57,000 dollars per hour, Tanelli wants to consolidate and share service wherever feasible and possible. A tough on crime Democrat, Tanelli has served as liaison to the North Arlington Police Department and believes consolidating the County Police and Sheriff's Department makes sense for taxpayers as well as the safety and security of all.
Tanelli, who has three adult sons is a believer in education. A college student himself at night completing his BA requirements at Montclair State University, the North Arlington councilman wants to see an expansion of the Lyndhurst campus for Bergen Community College in the face of rising tuition costs for private colleges and universities here in New Jersey.
But most importantly Steve Tanelli has the temperament and personality to work in a bipartisan manner.
Councilman Tanelli looks forward to working with County Executive Kathy Donovan (R), who's originally from neighboring Lyndhurst and a Queen of Peace HS graduate. He believes as most people do that good ideas are not the monopoly of any political party, but of like-minded individuals who want to solve the problems of government in a way that builds community first.
Unfortunately, Bergen Republicans can't seem to get along with each other as lawsuits and litigation have replaced responsible leadership and thoughtful public policy. Councilman Tanelli along with his running-mate Tracy Zur can form a new coalition with Republicans as well as incumbent Democrats David Ganz and Joan Voss to move county government forward.
North Arlington has a unique opportunity for the first time in 25 years to have a seat at the table of county government. Tanelli would become the first Democrat and just the third North Arlington resident to ever serve on the Board of Chosen Freeholders and that's a good thing for all residents regardless of political identification.
On Tuesday November 6th Bergen County has a real choice for freeholder.
North Arlington Councilman is clearly the better choice of the two Republicans of which Hermansen can only be regarded as a failed incumbent with no record to talk about.
Voters would be wise to elect Mr. Tanelli along with former municipal judge and Hoboken Prosecutor Tracy Zur of Franklin Lakes.