A Look Behind and a Look Forward!
2018 was a difficult year for North Arlington with the passing of former Mayor Joseph Bianchi, a popular local businessman and life-long resident just weeks before Election Day.
Democrats temporarily suspended their efforts while local Republicans went to court to have Councilman Dan Pronti take his place on the ballot.
The Court ruled in favor of a replacement candidate and the popular retired police officer and real estate agent defeating Councilman Mark Yampaglia, a life-long resident, attorney and ranking member of the Borough Council.
The Governing Body will remain in the favor of Republicans 4-2 with Pronti presiding as the new mayor.
Under state law the Republican County Committee of North Arlington will offer three names for appointment to the unexpired term and some say former GOP council candidate Kirk Del Russo will serve the remainder of the term.
That means three council seats will be up in November, two Democrats and one Republican.
Should Republicans win again in 2019 the entire Governing Body will be all-Republican and that would eliminate responsible two-party government, a Democratic victory would split council evenly between Democrats and Republicans with Pronti casting any tie-breaking votes.
2018 saw a female candidate run for the first time for mayor and ran a very respectable race.
Lillian Saldanha should be congratulated for her efforts. Hopefully she will run again in the future, perhaps as a Democrat knowing now a third-party candidacy is fruitless and unwinnable.
The fourth candidate for mayor spent his time placing signs in Lyndhurst that still remain posted, an insight into that futile effort that resulted in a last place finish.
Councilman Mark Yampaglia ran an issue-oriented effort under difficult conditions.
He should be admired for being a gracious candidate and gentleman.
He suspended his campaign in lieu of Mayor Bianchi’s death and made some great suggestions for the community such as a walking and biking path along River Road and renovating the Senior Center.
He offered some bipartisan solutions Mayor-elect Dan Pronti should consider in 2019.
Pronti is a popular local official who has the time and energy to govern well.
His victory while inverted to the wins by Democrats at the county, state and federal levels leaves him a bit isolated politically speaking and working with Democrats would be a wise course of action on some issues moving forward.
Local Democrats have an opportunity to rebound in 2019 with three seats available and it will be interesting to see who they nominate.
2018 council candidate Josie Papile ran a strong race and should stay involved in local government as well in some capacity if not as a candidate.
The community needs individuals like Josie Papile.
Former councilman, mayor and current BCUA Commissioner Peter Massa should also be recognized for decades of public service.
A former school trustee elected in 1990 and reelected in 1993, Massa was elected to the council in 2004 and elected mayor in 2006 and reelected in 2010.
We’re glad to see he will continue to serve the public as a BCUA Commissioner.
Now the election is over the time to govern is upon North Arlington.
What will become of the dormant QPHS property?
What about the construction of single-family homes versus the proliferation of apartments and multiple dwellings?
These are issues that transcend petty politics and rhetoric and policies that reduce spending and expenditures need to be considered as long as two-thirds of the community cannot generate revenue of any kind (Holy Cross Cemetery)
North Arlington is a great community and Mayor-elect Dan Pronti has many challenges before him.
A detailed blue-print as to what he intends to do now that the election is behind him will assure residents that the future will be bright.
His campaign was light on details and now the residents need to know his plans for NA.
Leadership matters and a plan for the future counts!
We want to wish North Arlington a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Year’s for 2019.