Tuesday, May 27, 2014

3-June-2014 Primary Election


On Tuesday 3- June -2014 the Borough of Bogota will hold their Primary elections.
 The Republican  ticket will go unchallenged with current Bogota Councilman Chris Keleman running for Mayor. Along with Daniele Fede and Donald Hunter being the two candidate for Borough Council.
 There are two groups running  in this year Primary to represent the Democratic Party in the General Elections in November. They are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot.  One is the “Bogota Democrats for Reform”. They are George Silos for Mayor , Councilman Evaristo Burdiez Jr.  and Tina Trotta for Borough Council. The other group is the “Real Bogota Democrats”  they are Mayor Tito Jackson, Councilwoman Lisa Kohles and Ingrid Brito .
  The Candidates for Mayor:
- George Silos: In 2005 Mr. Silos was elected to Bogota Borough Council as a Republican, then in June of his first year in  office changed parties to become a member of the Democratic party.  After a little more of a year in office he resigned his seat on the Borough Council after a number of disagreements with then Mayor Steve Lonegan.
- Tito Jackson Current Mayor of Bogota.  Mr Jackson was elected to Borough Council in 2008.  In 2013 Mr. Jackson  was named Acting Mayor when former Mayor Pat McHale resigned. Mr.  Jackson then assumed the Office of Mayor in  November of 2013.
  The Candidates for Borough Council:
-Evaristo Burdiez Jr: Currently  severing his first full term as a Member of Bogota Council when being elected in 2011. He was first appoint to Borough Council to replace Tara Sharp who resigned from Office in August of 2011.
- Tina Trotta: Was a candidate for Borough Council in 2012 running on the Republican ticket.
- Lisa Kohles: Current Councilwoman, was appointed to Council in 2013 to fill the seat vacated by Tito Jackson when he became Mayor of Bogota.
-Ingrid Brito: Was a Candidate for a seat on the Board of Education in 2013.
 Other local elections will be for County Committee  positions they are:
Luchy Jackson & Michelle Rupar and Santiago De La Cruz & Robert Ferro  one Female and Male candidate needs to be chosen.

There will also be two candidates running for the Nomination  the U.S. House of Representative: they are  Roy Cho and Diane Sarie
The following is the Platform of the two democratic groups running in the primary. The statements  have not been edited, and they are in the Candidates own words.
From the Democrats for reform:
Bogota’s Financial Challenge -- Since I am a “numbers” man let me share a couple of statistics with you. The general property tax rate is the sum of the county, school and municipal tax rates as a percentage of “appraised” value.  Another statistic is the effective property tax rate, which better enables comparisons across municipalities because it assumes all municipalities are at 100% valuation. 

According to the website of the NJ Division of Taxation, in 2013 the Bogota effective property tax rate was 3.19%, the highest in Bergen County! In 2008 the Bogota effective tax rate was 2.07% -- so the increase between 2008 and 2013 was 54.1%, also the highest in Bergen County! These numbers indicate that taxes are rising and the values of our homes are falling faster than in any of the 70 municipalities in Bergen County.

I do not believe my opponent in this election has a personal or financial track record that compares to my own. I have been fortunate enough to be continuously employed for the past 32-years as an actuary and financial analyst. I have managed my personal finances in a prudent manner, saving for a home, retirement and college tuition. I have always paid my mortgage bill on time and I have never declared personal bankruptcy ever, especially not in the past four years. I do not believe my opponent  can  truthfully make similar statements.

Platform – My running mates are Tina Trotta and Evaristo “Junior” Burdiez. We are the Democrats for Reform team. Our slogan is “Putting Taxpayers First”. All three of us have substantial private sector financial backgrounds. Our team name and our slogan describe our platform in a nutshell. We want to reform our governing body and we would like to put the interest of taxpayers first. We believe in true Democratic Party values – like working for the middle class and not special interests.

Budget Crisis  – Stop the reckless spending. Use best practice processes to control utility expenses and spending on financial and general administration. Work on lowering effective property tax rates by expanding the tax base. Encourage commercial development. Stop courting and giving multi-million dollar tax breaks for builders of large housing projects such as the one planned for 297 Palisades Ave. Putting taxpayers first means even outside housing project developers should pay their fair share of property taxes. 

Invest in government services responsibly – In order to preserve public health, I think it is critical to continue twice a week garbage collection during the summer months. The borough should consider investing in financial technology that will limit the potential for waste, fraud and abuse.

End Government Gridlock – I have attended half a dozen council meetings in the past few months as a private citizen. In my opinion the meetings are a war zone where the mayor uses tea-party style obstruction tactics to filibuster and prevent the governing body from having free and fair debates. One of the most important responsibilities of the mayor is to preside over the meetings in a non-bullying manner. I have seen many citizens walk out of these meetings in disgust, and who can blame them. If I am elected mayor, I will responsibly listen and encourage debate and idea generation among the council members, administrator, attorney and borough clerk.

Do Not Engage in Legal Harassment of Bogota  Private Citizens – A few weeks ago the Bogota council voted 5-1 on a bipartisan basis (with all of the elected members voting in favor) to support Bogota private citizens who are in my view suffering harassment by the 297 Palisades Ave. developer. I believe this vote will enable the Borough to more successfully combat the legal actions being brought against the Borough by the housing project developer. Bogota citizens should be able to associate freely and speak their opinions without suffering legal harassment.

I think this developer has too cozy relationship with our mayor and town administrator. If the project proceeds – it will be a 30-year monument to bad decision making that will in my view cost the Borough $4.4 million dollars increased expenses and lost revenue. Although the Borough negotiated a very bad deal with this developer, even a bad deal is a deal, and the project should proceed – if the developer complies with all terms of the agreement.

Some private citizens, are Borough employees. Our leaders should keep the employees accountable, while treating them with encouragement and respect. My view is that our town leadership has not treated some employees, such as our long serving Borough Clerk, with the respect they deserve.

From the Real Bogota Democrats:
 Protecting Taxpayer Dollars

The issue at the heart of the fight for Bogota’s future is fairly straightforward: protecting taxpayer dollars is priority #1.

For Tito, Lisa and Ingrid that fight is real and best represented by their battle over professional service fees.  From legally challenging inflated attorney retainers to openly criticizing double-billing practices to refusing to pay professionals who misappropriate taxpayer dollars, Tito, Lisa and Ingrid have put taxpayers first at every turn.

It doesn’t stop there, though.  Speaking out isn’t enough.  Casting a single vote isn’t enough.  We must and we can do more.  That’s why Tito, Lisa and Ingrid want to take it one step further by replacing all of the town’s existing professionals – whether it be attorneys, engineers or other municipal professionals – who have put their financial interests ahead of the taxpayers. 

The Real Bogota Democrats believe that putting taxpayers first means that even our professionals must be good stewards of government – not political pawns to the council majority.  

Transparency In Government

Shining a spotlight on municipal government means making it truly transparent.  

Transparency in government is far more than just a sound bite, it’s a way of thinking, a mindset on how government should operate.  That’s why Tito, Lisa and Ingrid want to essentially make OPRA or the Open Public Records Act moot.  Here’s how: the Real Bogota Democrats want to put every budget, invoice, resolution, minutes and government transaction on-line and at your disposal.  

In order for taxpayers to be truly informed about how they’re government is running, they must have unfiltered access to government records.  With technology evolving on a daily basis, we must leverage and utilize it to give taxpayers the tools they need to make informed decisions, to participate in the conversation – and do it without having to face red tape at Borough Hall.

If elected, Tito, Lisa and Ingrid will hire a vendor to digitize all of the borough’s municipal documents and put them directly on-line and at your fingertips.  However, they don’t just want to put information at your fingertips, they also want to put it in your living rooms.

Tito, Lisa and Ingrid want to televise all council meetings, giving residents a birds eye view on what’s taking place in town.  That’s real change.  That’s real transparency in government  – and that’s what the Real Bogota Democrats plan on delivering. 

Smart Redevelopment

Almost all of us have heard the term “smart growth.”  How about the term “smart redevelopment?”  That’s ok.  However, that’s exactly what we’re doing right here in Bogota.  

Tito, Lisa and Ingrid are turning blighted, non-revenue producing parcels of real estate and turning them into pristine, revenue generating properties.  

With Bogota being landlocked and without any remaining undevelopable space, the future of our community is smart redevelopment.  This is what’s going to sustain and continue to make our community thrive.

The perfect example of the smart redevelopment approach is the project on 297 Palisades Avenue.   Despite the spin, lies and fabrications being tossed around by the council majority, the project on 297 Palisades Avenue is going to improve the appeal of our community and produce real tax revenue.

In it’s first year on the tax maps, this site will produce more than $88,000 in new revenue or $2.6 million for the borough over the next 30 years.  That’s why Tito, Lisa and Ingrid support the project. 

The  primary election will be on Tuesday 3- June with the polls opening at 6:00a and remain open until 8:00p.

Polls are located at the at :
-- For Districts 1& 6 it is the Bogota Recreation Center at 162 W. Main St.
   Districts 1&6 is that part of the Borough located West of the Railroad tracks.

-- For Districts 2&3 it is the Gym of  Bogota High School at 1 Henry Luthin Pl.  please use the door towards the back of the building on the North side of the Building.
  Districts 2& 3  is that part of the Borough located East of the Railroad tracks & North of Beechwood Ave

--  For Districts 4&5 it is  in the Gym of the Roy Bixby School at Maplewood & Fischer Aves.
     Districts 4 &5  is that part of the Borough located East of the Railroad tracks & South of Beechwood Ave.

Ward Dist. Address
1 Bogota Recreation Center - 162 West Main Street
2 Bogota High School Gym - One Henry Luthin Pl. (Left Rear of Bldg)
3 Bogota High School Gym - One Henry Luthin Pl. (Left Rear of Bldg)
4 E. Roy Bixby School Gym. Maplewood& Fischer Aves
5 E. Roy Bixby School Gym. Maplewood & Fischer Aves.
6 Bogota Recreation Center-162 West Main St.

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