Four Candidates to Vie for Three Council Seats in Long Beach Township
Candidates for the three Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners seats to be filled in the Nov. 6 general election include current Mayor Joseph Mancini, current Commissioners Ralph Bayard and Joseph Lattanzi, and challenger Greg Kopenhaver.
Ralph Bayard: “The People’s Choice – Again”
“The primary reason I’m running is because with the state of the economy, I think the township is going to be challenged in the next few years,” said Bayard, “and my eight years of experience can benefit the municipality.”
Bayard, a resident of Brant Beach, was first elected commissioner in May 2004. From 2004 until 2007, he was director of revenue and finance. He has served as director of public works, parks and property since 2007, and has administered the Public Works Department since 2008.
During his years in office, Bayard pointed out, he has facilitated, among other projects: the repaving of numerous roads and the replacement of nearly a dozen street end bulkheads; the creation of an aggressive stormwater management program; the expansion and improvement of facilities at Bayview Park in Brant Beach; the installation of $150,000 in energy conservation upgrades in town hall and the public works garage, all financed by grants; and the development of a new recycling drop-off center at the public works garage.
He has also overseen the implementation of a five-year plan, begun in 2009, to upgrade water and sewer mains throughout the municipality. “I would like to see that through to completion,” said Bayard, as well as help to create a new plan for additional improvements to the infrastructure.
Bayard’s vision for the future of the township also includes installing bulkheading around the public works property to prevent erosion, building a salt dome to store road salt in the winter and street sweepings the rest of the year, and painting the water towers in Brant Beach and Holgate.
In addition, he wants to continue support for beach replenishment, explore even more shared services between towns, persist in seeking tax alternatives for school funding, expand the current recycling program in the township, and continue to emphasize open space planning.
Bayard, a resident of the township for 52 years – 18 year ’round – earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Rutgers University, and was in the military active reserves. He retired after 35 years with Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Bayard is a member of the Brant Beach Homeowners Association, the township land use board and the Southern Regional School District Strategic Planning Council.
Greg Kopenhaver: “Your Partner for Our Future.”
Kopenhaver, of Brant Beach, is running for a spot on the township council for the first time, and, as he underscores for voters, “I will be available.”
In addition, “I will always be proactive to get input from as many people as possible.”
To introduce himself to residents, Kopenhaver personally hand-delivered his campaign pamphlets to every home in the township. “The response has been great. Everyone is very nice.”
Forty-three years ago, Kopenhaver and his wife, Trudy, spent their honeymoon at his father’s house on LBI, just a few blocks from where the couple now resides. The Kopenhavers have owned property on the Island since 1979. Their two children now also own homes in the township, and their son resides here year ’round with his wife and two children.
In 1988, Kopenhaver retired from the Philadelphia Police Department. He also has operated a successful contracting business for more than 30 years.
He is an active member of the Island community who has attended all Friday commission meetings in the township for the past five years. He was also on the township’s Shared Services Committee and has served on the Brant Beach Townwatch and the board of the Brant Beach Homeowners Association.
In his spare time, Kopenhaver fishes with his son on their boat, giving him “a true appreciation of the diversity of our local fisheries and wildlife as well as just how unique and special our island is to so many people.”
If elected, Kopenhaver wants to work with the other Island municipalities to consolidate and improve services, thus improving efficiency, increasing opportunities and reducing taxes. He would also like to work toward introducing the option to purchase a universal beach badge for access to all LBI beaches, as well as improve water quality, promote a business-friendly environment and amplify beautification efforts in the municipality.
“I am running for commissioner because I truly understand the importance of the Island in the lives of its residents and visitors. The memories that are made here last a lifetime. I would like to make sure these traditions continue while at the same time improving the experience for future generations.”
Dr. Joseph Lattanzi: “The RX for Professional Community Leadership.”
Lattanzi, a radiation oncologist who resides in Haven Beach, was sworn in as a township commissioner last December following Bill Knarre’s resignation from that role.
Since taking office, Lattanzi – who oversees revenue and finance – points out that he has effectively managed the budget to further reduce local taxes, promoted local businesses, continued to support the beach replenishment project, facilitated the shared-services initiative on LBI and helped increase the number of EMT-certified police officers in the municipality.
“The management and vision of the township continues to become more complex and difficult,” Lattanzi noted. “I am seeking to retain the office as I have a proven track record of management experience at the highest levels and an excellent working relationship with the mayor. These relationships are rooted in community service to LBI but extend to Trenton and Washington, D.C. It is these attributes that result in lower taxes, prosperous businesses and a greater return of our money from state and federal agencies.
“I would ask the voters to consider if they want to continue on this proven path of fiscal responsibility and prosperity or risk our future to well-meaning but inexperienced challengers. The ‘Joe Team’ is the right choice to retain the ‘LBI culture’ while ensuring our long-term success.”
Lattanzi is a graduate of Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and completed his radiation oncology residency at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
He and his wife, Dr. Kimberly Hogan, have two children, Jake and Olivia.
Currently, Lattanzi serves as chairman of the department of radiation oncology and is president of medical staff at Southern Ocean County Medical Center. Previously, he served as the treasurer and vice president of the SOMC staff.
He is also is on the board of trustees of Meridian Health System and a board member of the Southern Ocean County Foundation, the SOMC Lighthouse Society and Care to Be Aware Vascular Foundation.
In the community, Lattanzi takes part annually in the St. Francis Community Center Thanksgiving Program and supports the Southern Regional Wrestling Booster Club.
Joseph Mancini: “A Name You Can Trust.”
“Our township has been moving at an incredible clip these last four years,” said Mancini, a resident of Beach Haven Terrace. “I think the existing team has really worked well together.
“What we have achieved has truly been remarkable. We have put sand on the beach, we have cut taxes, we have increased the number of EMT-certified police officers” and, he added, the township leads all Southern Ocean County municipalities in shared-services income. “And I’m working to increase that.”
He wants to continue the professionalism and harmony he sees within the municipality’s current government and emphasizes that “long-term planning is a must for Long Beach Township.”
Mancini, an Island resident for more than 58 years, was voted in as mayor in May 2008, and serves as director of public affairs and safety in the municipality.
He attended the Ethel A. Jacobsen School, the LBI Grade School and Southern Regional High School, and subsequently graduated from Villanova University. He is a licensed real estate broker, property casualty and health insurance broker and builder in New Jersey, and is president of both Mancini Realty Co. and Mancini Custom Homes.
Mancini, who believes that a township council member should have an extensive community service background in the local area, serves on the Meridian Hospitals Corp. Board of Trustees and the Jersey Shore Partnership Foundation Board of Trustees, and as vice chairman of the Southern Ocean Medical Center Board of Trustees and chairman of the SOMC Emergency Department Capital Campaign. He is also an annual provider of college scholarships to LBI students, a former district chairman of the Boy Scouts of America and a past-president of the Beach Haven Exchange Club.
The mayor remarked, “I would ask the voters to support the incumbent commissioners” to take on the challenge of the next four years, in which he plans, for example, to continue to negotiate for funding from the federal government to save Barnegat Bay and the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Holgate, to persist with beach replenishment, to work to see the Causeway bridge project started, to continue budget cutting and tax reduction, and to help the business community.
— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch