Six candidates have filed to run for the Bayonne City Council seat that was vacated by Anthony Chiappone last May. They are: Postmaster Terrance Ruane, who was named by the City Council to fill the seat until the election; former mayoral candidate Leonard Kantor, Rent Control Board Chairperson Debra Noble, rent control board member and businessman Ramon Veloz, activist and finance specialist Stan Marko, and real estate agent John R. Cupo. The special election is scheduled for Nov. 3.
Ruane was named to the seat in May and kicked off his campaign this week.
Six candidates have filed to run for the Bayonne City Council seat vacated by Anthony Chiappone last May.
The winner of the November special election will take office immediately after the results are verified, and will remain as councilperson until July 1, 2010, when the winner of the regular municipal election is sworn in.
Ramon Veloz’s signs began going up a few days before the Bayonne Hispanic Day Parade, popping up in store windows and houses on Broadway, suggesting that Veloz is a very serious candidate.
The first Hispanic member of the Bayonne Rent Control Board, Veloz said he comes from a strong political tradition in his native Dominican Republican and would like to join the growing number of Dominican-Americans who are serving in elected office throughout the state.
Veloz came to Bayonne from the Dominican Republic slightly over 14 years ago, and was appointed to the Rent Control Board last year under Interim Mayor Terrence Malloy.
Veloz, 58, married with three children ages 9, 12 and 14, is the owner of the Hispano-American Travel Agency, at Broadway and 18th Street.
He served as on the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Board of Directors, and as vice president on the not for profit Hudson County Latino Coalition.
Veloz said he is seeking the seat partly because he sees the county in an “era of change” that was propelled by the election of Barack Obama last year.
As a councilman, he says, he takes the next step in his ability to serve the people of Bayonne. He said his believes elected officials need to listen more to people and avoid the top-down approach to government of the past.
If he had a philosophy, he said, it is to treat everyone with honesty and respect.
A businessman who has worked on nearly every level from corporate to retail, he has been an active member of the local business community and involved with the Urban Enterprise Zone, and has the goal of helping to revive the Broadway shopping district.
“In the past every time we’ve done something on MOTBY (the former Military Ocean Terminal), things have gotten worse on Broadway,” he said, suggesting that the city needs to do a survey and get input from the people of Bayonne.
Although he is one of the candidates running against Ruane – who is supported by Mayor Mark Smith – Veloz believes he can work with the mayor and the other members of the City Council for the benefit of the people.
“I’m very open minded and believe I can work side by side with them to serve the people of Bayonne,” he said.
Some of his past work experience include in the banking industry, the garment industry, data processing and other national companies. He is a graduate of St. Peter’s College.
Postmaster Ruane, 55, began his career in the U.S. Postal Service as a letter carrier in 1975. He served as a letter carrier in Bayonne for 12 years, and was vice president of the union local of the National Association of Letter Carriers. In 1987, Ruane was promoted to supervisor of delivery and collection at the Bayonne Post Office, and held that position for three years. In 1990, Ruane became tour supervisor at the Bayonne Post Office and served in that role for seven years. He was vice president of the Hudson County Postal Supervisors from 1988 to 1995. In 1997 and 1998, Ruane was officer in charge of the Avenel Post Office. Ruane also served as officer in charge at post offices in Rahway, Parsippany-Troy Hills, Plainfield, Jersey City, and Maplewood. Since 2002, he has held the rank of postmaster in Avenel, Linden, and Bayonne. Out of his 35-year postal career, Ruane has spent 25 years in Bayonne.
Ruane is a graduate of Marist High School, where he was vice president of the Student Council. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology at Jersey City State College (now New Jersey City University). He volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army in 1971. Ruane spent most of his time in the Army in Europe, working with the public information office, taking military pictures and writing for Army publications.
Marko makes his move
Although Stan Marko has become something of a fixture at public meetings, he said he was motivated after a confrontation between then Mayor Joseph Doria and Councilman Anthony Chiappone in 1997.
While politics pushed Marko into getting involved, he said the last two years has been a learning process in which he began to question how government operated and how taxpayer money is being used. It is an odyssey that had led him to finally decide to run for office.
Born and raised in Bayonne, Marko has a hard time describing exactly what he does for a living, since he has done so many things over his 25 year stint with a small New York firm.
“I’m a numbers guy,” he said, describing some of his duties as managing accounts.
This involvement with numbers and finance is part of his motivation for running for office. He wants to know just how the city of Bayonne can spend as much as $30 million more than it collects in revenue each year.
“We have to do better than that,” he said.
Leonard Kantor last ran office in 2006 when he ran for mayor.
Kantor has been a fixture in City Hall for years, although not one many city officials are happy with.
A self-declared fiscal watchdog, Kantor has frequently criticized city operations, grilling city officials as to why they did things, how much things cost, and whether other ways of doing things might benefit the taxpayers more.
A life long residents of Bayonne, Kantor attended local schools, entering the United States Air Force after his graduation from Bayonne High School. He served from 1951 to 1953 and volunteered to serve in the Korean War.
A security specialist at the port of Newark for almost 25 years, Kantor is a retired Bayonne police officer who served from 1961 to 1980.
Kantor has been an outspoken critic of administration policies for more than 35 years, and he has run for city council, once against Incumbent Anthony Chiappone.
Kantor said taxpayers have seen a tax increase every year in Bayonne for the last 32 years.
Kantor also said the city should be trimming costs of its spending by reducing the municipal payroll.
"The city payroll is just too high," he said.
Debra Noble actually submitted her resume for the position after Chiappone resigned, and said it appeared to have been ignored.
Noble, an assistant controller for a company in Secaucus since 2000, brings to her campaign a wealth of accounting knowledge needed to help deal with some of the fiscal woes Bayonne faces today.
But her principle reason for running, she said, is to give residents a better opportunity to be involved in government.
A lifelong resident from Bayonne, Noble served as state president of The American Legion Auxiliary from 2005-2006 and as a national executive committeewoman from the American Legion Auxiliary from 2006-2007. She has been a member of the Bayonne American Legion Auxiliary since 1968, even serving as its president five times and as the American Legion Auxiliary president four times.
She has served on the Bayonne Rent Control Board since 1995 and as its chairperson since 2006.
Although she has not held political office, she did serve as a committeewoman from 1995 to 1996. She is also the co founder and ex-chief of the Bayonne Fire Canteen, a volunteer group that aids firefighters and fire victims.
John R. Cupo
Saying that he believes he can bring accountability to the City Council, John Cupo, a longtime resident of Bayonne, launched his bid for at-large council seat.
Cupo, a resident of Bayonne since 1969, is the first candidate to officially announce his running for the seat.
While the election is non-partisan, Cupo hopes to capitalize on the fact that he is a registered Republican and has already received the endorsement of the county and state Republican chairmen.
This is the first time he is running for public office – although he previously served as a commissioner on the Jersey City Zoning Board of Adjustment and has been a real estate instructor at St. Peter’s College.
Among the issues he is most concerned about are development and business.
One area that he is very concerned about is the red tape associated with development. He said many companies are reluctant to come to Bayonne because it takes too long to get approvals, and projects are often delayed because of unnecessarily.