Thursday, July 13, 2017

Unions Can Have a Block Vote but Not Lakewood

Another article with factual errors blaming the Lakewood taxpayers bla..bla...
Lakewood's lesson on democracy: Don't waste your votes

The Vaad is the 11-member council of elders who interview political candidates and decide which way the Orthodox community will vote. Once the Vaad decides, the registered voters in the Orthodox community do as they say.

This makes Lakewood the most efficient political machine in America.

If you doubt that, consider what happened in 2013, when right-wing Republican Steve Lonegan ran against Democrat Cory Booker in that special election for the U.S. Senate seat.

The Vaad didn't like Booker's liberal positions on such issues as same-sex marriage, so they backed Lonegan. He carried Lakewood by more than 5,000 votes. One voting district went for him by an amazing 413-2 margin

This year, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno got the endorsement on the way to winning the Republican nomination for governor.

But will she get it in the general election?

Or will her Democratic opponent, Phil Murphy?

That decision, which won't be made for several months, is the single most important one in the race. The Orthodox vote is 8,000 -- and climbing rapidly as the Lakewood building boom continues. When you control 8,000-plus votes, the effect is a 16,000-vote swing.

Gubernatorial elections are often won by a similar margin, so the Vaad's voice is loud indeed.

And "you don't have to knock on a single door to get those votes. You don't have to take out advertisements and you don't have to send out mailers," as one politician told me -- on background of course.

One politician who will speak on the record is Singer. He said this decision by the Vaad will probably be close.

"They voted for Kim in the primary, but that was strictly a primary commitment," Singer said.

"Murphy has many, many ties in Lakewood. I don't know which way they're going to go, but he's no stranger here."

The impact is even stronger on local politics. The ultra-Orthodox control the Township Committee, the school board and the zoning board. This creates all sorts of problems for the residents who are not ultra-Orthodox.

The school board's first priority is not the public schools, but busing programs for the religious schools. The public schools are so broke that recently the high school ended the football program. It was saved only when the Township Committee chipped in $84,000 to keep it going.

Then there's the sprawl affecting the formerly rural township. With few zoning restrictions, the town is growing at a pace that has to be seen to be believed.

I drive over there frequently to go for a run in Ocean County Park, a 500-acre former Rockefeller estate that used to be surrounded by the pine trees for which the high school's sports teams, the Piners, are named.

A rainbow over the lake in the beautiful Ocean County Park in Lakewood. The high-school sports teams, the Piners, take their name from the town's many pine trees.
A rainbow over the lake in the beautiful Ocean County Park in Lakewood. The high-school sports teams, the Piners, take their name from the town's many pine trees. (Paul Mulshine)
Now the park is hemmed in by townhouses and McMansions.

But as the township grows, that's starting to change, Singer said. The long-time Orthodox residents are not necessarily in favor of newcomers building high-density housing and schools in their neighborhoods, he said.

"They're having the same problems about traffic, the same concerns of quality of life," he said. "If you go to the planning boards you see more and more Orthodox saying, 'No, not in my neighborhood.' "

When it comes to statewide contests, though, they speak with one voice.

And that voice will be very powerful in November.t


  1. wow. this guy might be dumbest writer ever. not one thing he tries to say even begins to make sense.

  2. Truth alert
    Weren't there signs up in BMG supporting Booker in the name of the vaad?