Lakewood Briefs

Isaias Brings Long Lasting Power Outages

Prolonged power outages left in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias had many in Lakewood and surrounding areas still waiting for the electricity to return to their homes and businesses for several days.

The storm passed through New Jersey and much of the northeast Tuesday morning and early afternoon. Though heavy rains and winds only lasted for a few hours, streets were left littered with downed trees and branches. Some of these brought down powerlines causing blackouts that initially left over 15,000 in Lakewood and 150,000 in Ocean County without power.

Crews began working almost immediately after the storm subsided and thousands had their power back on by that night, but outages were still widespread in Lakewood, Jackson, and Toms River through Wednesday.

By Thursday, many more areas had been turned back up, but scattered areas had not yet been repaired leaving thousands without power.

Effects ranged from the inconvenience of dark and hot nights to some serious medical issues among elderly or ill residents. Lakewood Township and several local chessed organizations helped to provide generators and food for those in need.

As the outage wore on, food spoilage became a problem for many families and businesses. Some managed to save some perishables by moving them to locations were power was never lost or had been restored, but much was lost.

By Thursday, widely circulated images showed several groceries and supermarkets having to dispose of large amounts of merchandise.

In an interview with Hamodia, Lakewood Mayor Raymond Coles was critical of JCP&L’s response.

“I think that state government has to take a good hard look at JCP&L,” he said. “It’s fine and dandy for them to maintain a small workforce, but they are a very big company, and this is not the first time they haven’t had the staff they need to address their customer’s needs.”

Mayor Coles said that the cause for delays were squarely rooted in staff shortages. Since transmission lines and substations were also damaged in the storm, those had to be repaired before individual power lines could be addressed. While multiple crews were ready to begin clearing fallen trees and utility poles shortly after the storm, they were held back from doing so by a lack of JCP&L linemen needed to remove or neutralize any potentially dangerous wires.

“As long as we are going to have infrastructure above ground, things can’t be perfect and there will be kinks,” said Mayor Coles. “It could be that they were not expecting this storm to do the damage it did, but I think it should be up to JCP&L to take the worst possible scenario into account.”

This brief was adapted from an article in Hamodia’s Friday edition

Jackson to Vote on Tax Hike

Jackson residents are set to vote on a measure that would increase their open space taxes in what town officials say is an effort to curb overdevelopment.

The question that will be put to voters is whether they agree to raise takes to purchase open spaces by 3 cents per every $100 of assessed value of homes according to a report by the Asbury Park Press.

“It is our intent to continue, in a big way, our open space policy to protect Jackson’s unique environment while simultaneously protecting against overdevelopment,” Council Vice President Andrew Kern was quoted as saying by the Asbury Park Press. “It’s the council’s intent to show residents, between now and November, how we’ll spend the open space funds and properties we’re already working on.”

Jackson is a large, but in general sparsely populated town. In recent years, development and an influx of Orthodox Jews to the area have placed the issue of development in the spotlight.

The ballot question will be voted on this coming Election Day on November 3.

Rep. Kim and Richter Rack up Endorsements

Democratic Rep. Andy Kim and GOP challenger continued to rack up endorsements as they head towards what is expected to be one of the nation’s most competitive congressional races.

Notably, but not surprisingly, Rep. Kim was on a list of candidates backed by former President Barak Obama. Before his run for congress, Rep. Kim served as a security advisor in the Obama administration.

“Serving under President Obama at the White House National Security Council, I saw firsthand what it takes to lead our nation in times of crisis. In Congress, I’ve done everything I can to continue to lead by putting facts before politics, working for people instead of corporate special interests, and delivering real results for our community,” said Rep. Kim.

He was also won the endorsement of New Jersey’s powerful teachers union, which typically lends its support to Democratic candidates.

The same week, Mr. Richter was endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the nation’s largest small business organization-which historically has conservative leanings.

“Thanks to his background in business, David Richter deeply understands the challenges our members are facing,” said Eileen Kean, NFIB’s New Jersey State Director. “We know that he will be a proud supporter of the issues our members are concerned with, such as taxes, labor, and regulations.”

Mr. Richter also picked up support from former Congressman Tom MacArthur who Rep. Kim unseated in 2018.

“David has the private-sector leadership experience that the residents of the Third District deserve from their Representative,” said Mr. MacArthur. “As both a former business owner and a former Member of Congress, I know that David understands what needs to be done in order to rebuild our economy, create jobs and get the residents of the Third District back to work.”