The Ridgewood Village Council Candidate’s Debate closed with a split from to a “like-minded” trio in one corner, a battling mayor and planning board upstart in the other, and a fiery budget officer seemingly on the outside looking in.
The debate, hosted by the League of Women Voters on Monday night, ended with a .
Insiders say ’s been cozying up with , a stay-at-home mom and consummate volunteer, and , a pilot and lawyer, and the move didn’t exactly come out of left field.
At the end of the day, it’s about simple math. To effect the change he says the village needs, Aronsohn needs two other votes and he simply doesn’t have them with the current set of faces on the dais.
But with Hauck and Pucciarelli in tow, those close to the trio say the plan is to end what they call a tax-and-spend mentality that’s forgotten about the needs and wishes of its citizenship. A proactive, responsible council will take shape if the three are voted in, they say.
Others say Aronsohn threw Mayor Keith Killion under the proverbial bus in his quest to become mayor, a calculated power play to overtake Killion, and oust , whom they say he’s obsessed with.
It’s simple politics, not about good governance but ego, detractors of Aronsohn’s Monday endorsement say. They privately wonder why he brought up a two months before an election when he’s had years to suggest it and didn't, and also question his resolve on keeping a large expansion effort at bay.
One thing’s for sure – with his endorsement of , including one who has publicly supported previous expansion efforts, Aronsohn’s risk throws the election into a state of unknowns.
Aronsohn has said he's been the strongest opponent of Valley's expansion plans and is the only member publicly calling for the planning board amendment to be rescinded.
[Update at 2:00 p.m. Thursday – the organization and have reportedly not told members to 'bullet vote' just Shinozuka and Killion.]
Pete McKenna, the , was angered by what he said was an unexpected, "explicit" public endorsement.
"As an individual, if he sees this as a way to govern, I'm not sure I even want him back on the council, no less [as] mayor," McKenna said shortly after the debate, adding Aronsohn has a "right to align himself with whoever he thinks will further his political ambition."
But does CRR still have the turnout muscle? Has the grassroots organization been victims of their own success? It’s possible the has caused interest to wane, though no one will know for sure until after the polls close on Tuesday.
If past tradition is an indicator, we’re likely to see a new mayor in July either way May 8 shakes out. Should Killion and/or Shinozuka be elected, it’s likely the new public face of the village is named Tom Riche or Bernadette Walsh.
With Pucciarelli and Hauck on the council, Aronsohn would be a virtual lock to be crowned mayor, insiders say.
While candidate Russell Forenza may not have any endorsements from other candidates or grassroots groups, the budget officer in Paterson was the and could capture some votes in the recent shakeup.
The political intrigue and permutations of who gets in and who’s left out in the cold are truly numerous.
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