Lakewood Briefs

GOP Primary Candidates for 3rd District Profiled on Israel and Jewish Issues

A recent article by the Jewish Insider asked candidates vying for the Republican nomination to take on Rep. Andy Kim in upcoming elections about their positions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American anti-Semitism.

David Richter, who has the official endorsement of the district’s Republican parties, said he would support an approach that gives Israel a great deal of leeway in potential negotiations and security concerns.

“It’s not my land. It’s not my country. I think we have to leave that up to the two sides to determine,” he said. “I totally believe that Israel wants peace. I think the Palestinian people want peace. I think the Palestinian leadership, however, doesn’t always necessarily want that.”

Kate Gibbs, said that she supports the concept of a two-state solution, and that American foreign policy should move Israel toward that goal. She also voiced strong support for Israel calling it “a pillar of civilization” and “a strategic ally” of the United States. Mrs. Gibbs expressed skepticism over the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to the peace process implying they had failed to act in “good faith.”

The report said that Mr. Richter found a bland House motion that condemned undefined hatreds as “insufficient” in addressing the anti-Semitic comments of Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar and felt accusations of racism within the GOP were unfounded.

“I think it’s absolutely propaganda that Republicans are white supremacists, and racist and other things,” he said. “At some point, you throw the word racist around to everybody that disagrees with you, it then starts to lack all meaning. And I think that’s where we are today.”

The report said that both Mr. Richter and Mrs. Gibbs held the Democratic Party’s “left flank” partially responsible for the national rise in anti-Semitism.

Their race for GOP ticket in New Jersey’s 3rd district is being closely watched as the seat which has traditionally been held by Republicans was won in 2018 by Democrat Andy Kim by a very slim margin. As such, party leaders see it as ripe to flip back to GOP control.

Mr. Richter comes with an impressive resume having served as CEO of a global construction company and worked for Weil, Gotshal & Manges, a prestigious law firm. He also holds degrees from University of Pennsylvania, Oxford and Harvard, and was the editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, an official publication of the Federalist Society.

Mrs. Gibbs is a former Burlington County Freeholder who works for an organization that seeks to create jobs for unionized engineers has touted herself as a grassroots candidate and was on track to secure party endorsement until her past criminal record including convictions for shoplifting and possession of illegal substances was revealed. Her campaign has been set back further by recent reports of federal investigations into irregularities into her campaign financing.

Toms River Makes Zoning Change to Settle Lawsuit with Private Developer

Toms River’s town council approved a zoning change that settles a pending lawsuit and allow for development to begin on a lot in the North Dover section, according to a report by the Asbury Park Press.

The council initiated a zoning change in 2018, which placed strict limits on the amount of residential development that could be built in the area. North Dover which borders Lakewood has seen a significant influx of Orthodox Jews in recent years. Harvey York, an attorney who represented a private developer in the suit said the move was “anti-Semitic to the core,” and was motivated by a desire to limit the Orthodox community’s growth.

The council members, which at the time included “Mo” Hill who now serves as mayor, denied their motivations were anti-Semitic and said the move was an attempt to preserve the character of the area.

Mr. York said that without the original zoning change, up to 80 houses could have been built on the property and according to the present agreement, he estimated that 48 could be constructed and called the arrangement “fair.”

Freeholders Announce COVID Grants for Non-Profits

Ocean County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders touted a grant program to assist non-profit organizations who play a role in preventing, preparing, or responding to the COVID pandemic.

The Ocean County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program is funded by the federal government as part of congress’s coronavirus stimulus plan. This program is administered by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which has allocated $820,810 to Ocean County.

Grant recipient can include those providing services to seniors or working with food provision, emergency assistance, homelessness prevention, childcare, health, substance abuse or domestic violence services. Those involved in providing public facilities or materials to address the pandemic are also eligible.

“Non-profit agencies have extended a lifeline to many of our residents, especially our most frail and vulnerable senior and disabled residents during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who is Chairman of Senior Services. “I am pleased we can assist in administering these grant funds. The many services that can be funded make an important difference for so many of our citizens.”

Applications are available through the County government’s website and are due by Friday July 10.