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Testimonials

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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Monday, June 26, 2017

Yitzchak Gershner (for the Jewish Voice) Thank you for your time.

Avraham Sharaby My pleasure!

YG Please give the reader some background.

AS I was born in Brooklyn N.Y. At age 9 I was fortunate that my family was able to move to Yerusholayim ir hakodeh, where I went to a Cheder Hamesorah situated in the Geulah neighborhood of Yerusholayim. At that time it was one of the largest Chadorim in Yerusholayim. Later I was fortunate to be a student of Rabbi Yonasan David Shlit”a of Mesivta Zerah Yitzchok. For Beis Medrash, I studied at Yeshivas Beis Shmuel, called after the late Matesdorfer Rov Zt”l, and was led by his grandson. I was also fortunate to hear shiurim from Hageoinim Harabonim Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel Zt”l, and yblct”a Rav Osher Arieli Shlit”a and Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel Shlit”a.

YG How did you get involved in politics?

AS Like many, I came to Lakewood to learn in BMG. After I got married, I remained here so I can live in this wonderful community to raise my children. I have been involved in the political arena on the local and state level. In the last few years, working closely with politicians and other groups, we have successfully fought against legislation that would harm the sanctity of marriage and permit assisted suicide. These efforts to protect traditional values have borne great results and have had a tremendous impact.

Just this week our governor, Governor Christie, vetoed a bill that would have banned marriage in NJ for those under 18 which would be of great concern to Hasidic and Sephardic communities. Our grassroots efforts played no small role in preventing an unacceptable infringement on religious rights. We are very thankful to the Governor and the other politicians that were helpful in this.

YG What made you decide to run for Township Committee?

AS As a Lakewood resident, I have felt the quality of life deteriorating.

Over-development has placed a tremendous strain on roads with traffic nightmares now a daily fact of life. Roads that were built maybe a hundred years ago with several thousand people in mind must now deal with tens of thousands of cars!

Although, mismanagement of public resources is probably the biggest problem. Recently there was a much-publicized proposal to build a mall near a residential area which led to a severe public outcry. Part of the outrage was that the township was providing land worth a hundred million dollars to developers at absolutely no cost, shortchanging the taxpayers. Also, imagine a mall complete with a movie theater and its 9PM and you’re trying to put your kids to bed. There would be honking and traffic as if it’s the middle of the day. Or let’s say you have a boutique store in downtown Lakewood and suddenly stores come in with an unfair advantage because they are subsidized by the low cost of the mall and you can’t compete. Thankfully, due to harsh criticism from the community, it was suspended.

YG What do you believe should be done differently that would improve people’s quality of life?

AS A lot! First, we should be working to decrease traffic instead of exacerbating the problem. Talks with the state to widen Route 9 on the southern side of Lakewood have gone nowhere. Even if we do add additional lanes to Route 9, it won’t solve the problem, unless an overall effort is made to contain the out of control development. There are other roads that could also serve as an alternative north-south road that would alleviate some of the stress on Route 9.

Solving the traffic problems is also a safety matter. Route 9 is a hazard for pedestrians and drivers alike. Unfortunately, there have been many accidents with injured victims and worse R”L.

YG How would you like to present your agenda to our readers?

AS Our agenda can be categorized into four general issues; controlling overdevelopment & traffic, lowering taxes, management of the townships resources, and increasing transparency and accountability.

I question the tax credits being given for certain developments when they are putting a severe strain on services throughout the town. I opine that developers should be contributing more for the financial burden they place on everyone else.

YG What would you do regarding mismanagement?

AS I would suggest all engineering and attorney services should be tendered to the lowest bidder, ensuring no conflict of interests. A full audit is needed to weed out wasteful spending and non-essential services, and there needs to be complete transparency to all township activities.

When it comes to concern for the taxpayer, we must rethink how township business is done, and we should not allow sweetheart deals or favoritism in contracts that hurt taxpayers. For example, the Blue Claws Stadium should be made profitable for the township. We need to renegotiate the contract. The Strand Theater is another case of mismanagement that has cost the already overtaxed residents dearly.

There is mismanagement in other areas as well. I feel we need to end spot zoning. We should also advocate for federal and state grants to repair infrastructure in areas in need of revitalization.

YG Any other ideas that you would promote?

AS I think it would be wise to encourage Board of Education members to identify waste in the educational system. The township committee cannot excuse itself from BOE matters when the BOE is spending township tax dollars. Working with the league of municipalities to push Trenton to change the school funding formula would be a great idea in alleviating some of the tax burden from Lakewood property owners.

YG In conclusion what message do you want to give to Lakewood residents?

AS I cherish the many positive aspects of living in my town and would like to ensure that we head in the right direction. I’m hopeful I will be given the opportunity to represent the people of Lakewood.

By: Yitzchak Gershner