Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fort Lee Council Duo Stand on Their Record

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fort Lee Council Duo Stand on Their Record

Article excerpt

FORT LEE -- Two council members seeking reelection are touting their roles in moving the borough toward a "renaissance" of economic growth and their commitment to open governance, while their challengers criticize their actions as unfriendly toward small businesses and not always transparent.

Jan Goldberg, a two-term incumbent, Ila Kasofsky, a four-term councilwoman, and challengers Ron Bar-Nadav and Gary Schwartz are facing off on the Nov. 5 ballot.

They argued their positions at a candidates forum Thursday, during which the Republican challengers pushed for bipartisanship on the all-Democrat governing body and called for an end to what they characterized as excess spending.

"I'm hoping to achieve ultimately a more balanced government in Fort Lee. We've swung pretty much Democratic about 20 years," said Bar-Nadav, who added that he believes in term limits: "If you ran and you won, I'm happy for you," he said. "But I think after 12 years, it's someone else's turn."

Both incumbents said they were proud to have been part of a governing body that has reduced the borough's bond debt, approved a major downtown project and launched discussions about a special improvement district.

Redevelopment Area 5 is a 16-acre mixed-use project headlined by two 47-story residential towers -- which would be the tallest structures in Bergen County -- along with about 165,000 square feet of retail and dining, plus a 1.75-acre park. The land has remained undeveloped for nearly 50 years, but officials believe the project will generate more than $10 million annually in revenues for Fort Lee.

Borough leaders also are discussing the possibility of forming a district to tax Main Street business owners. The money from a 3 percent surcharge would help beautify and improve the downtown area and spur revitalization, officials said.

"I am proud to be part of the team that is bringing a renaissance and rebirth to Fort Lee," Kasofsky said.

Both challengers, meanwhile, said the 47-story skyscrapers would be an "eyesore."

"Some renaissance," Schwartz said. "It's like a grotesque park they've created."

He also blasted the current administration for approving a project that is projected to put hundreds more cars on borough roads, and he cited negative health impacts associated with air pollution. …

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