The following news release is from Democratic Madison Borough Council candidate Jeff Gertler, who is running with Maureen Byrne for the two council seats up for vote in November. Incumbent Councilman Robert Catalanello and his running mate, Board of Education Vice President Pat Rowe, are the Republican candidates.
In a prepared statement, long time Planning Board member, Jeff Gertler applauds the sense of volunteerism in Madison and how it has motivated him to run for Borough Council.
Gertler said: “I can distinctly remember more than 15 years ago our looking down from our window in lower Manhattan at the moving truck on the street below. Blessed with great neighbors, friends, school system and overall quality of life, my wife, Olympic skater JoJo Starbuck, and I have not, for one day, ever taken for granted how fortunate we were to have found a home in Madison and had the opportunity to raise our family here.
I recognize that our good fortune would not have been possible if not for the many residents who donate their time and energy to make Madison such a wonderful place. It’s the dedicated volunteerism that has encouraged me to always do more, and it is what motivated me to run for Borough Council. I want to ensure that we maintain what we already have in our town and will strive to make it an even better place to live and work in the future.”
Gertler observed that that is why he was so delighted when former Mayor Jack Dunne asked him to join the Planning Board. “I eagerly accepted his offer and those of Mayors Kerkeslager, Holden and Conley when they asked me to continue. I serve with common sense, professional rigor, and I hope compassion – the same principles I will bring to Borough Council. I know what an impact our decisions have on our neighbors and businesses. Now more than ever we need a strong and vibrant downtown,” he said.
When the Board of Education requested the Borough Council to manage the disposition of the underutilized Green Village Road School property, the Planning Board was asked to study the existing zoning and allowable uses and to develop strategies that would maximize the full potential of the property. This task was assigned to a sub-committee led by Town Planner Susan Blickstein, that included board members: Gertler, Astri Baillie and Peter Fleming.
Gertler stated that “Together, we explored density options, height alternatives, site coverage percentages, development incentives, access to the site, required set backs from neighbors, etc. I personally developed a ‘section’ drawing that allowed us to envision what someone would see if they were standing on Kings Road and looking up at proposed buildings on the site. This was such an effective tool that it became part of the bid documents for potential developers.
Our recommendations were successfully submitted to and approved by the Planning Board and Borough Council and became the basis for the final bid documents.”
Gertler added, “I want strong businesses downtown, great ball fields on which our children can become stars, and great open space for enjoyment of your choice. We are capable of achieving all of this without serious sacrifice. Utilizing common sense strategies is how we begin the process and cooperation among all constituent parties is how we will complete our goals. We are all members of the Madison community with many more similarities than differences. We need to work more closely together to accomplish our shared goals.
Service on the Madison Environmental Commission has given me the opportunity to experience the town from a vantage point of both protection and public awareness of our valuable resources. I am very proud to have been on the original group that started the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Advisory Committee. Having acquired and preserved valuable land and historic properties in Madison, and now in the position to help the Madison Recreational Complex, this committee has proven its great value to the community.”
Jeff Gertler has degrees in Civil Engineering and Economics from Rutgers University and a degree in architecture from CCNY. He formed the architectural firm of Gertler & Wente Architects in 1985 and grew the firm to 30 people, doing work nationwide for institutional, health-care, commercial, industrial, residential and retail clients.
Gertler observed that “Running a business for over 25 years in New York City has allowed me to sharpen my business, marketing, and human resource skills; skills that I will use to serve the citizens of Madison if elected to Borough Council.”