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NJ State Legislature 1999

1999 VOTERS GUIDE

NON-PARTISAN ELECTION INFORMATION

Vote Tuesday, November 2, 1999

CANDIDATES FOR STATE LEGISLATURE
(14th, 15th, and 16th Districts)

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area is a nonpartisan, non-profit volunteer organization which works to promote active, informed participation of all citizens in their government. The League provide nonpartisan information on public issues, and takes action on issues after member study and consensus. In publishing this material, the League neither endorses nor rejects the views of any candidate quoted.

All candidate information in this guide was compiled from candidates' responses to questionnaires. Replies are printed in the candidates' own words, without editing or verification. Due to space limitation, the candidates were given a word limit for replies. Words in excess of the limit are deleted and indicated by a bullet (O). Incumbents are indicated by an asterisk (*).

Reprinting of this guide in part or in whole is not permissible without written permission of the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area.

Copyright 1999 by the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area submitted the following three questions to all candidates for state legislature:

1. The New Jersey Supreme Court Mount Laurel decision requires each of the 566 municipalities in the state to establish a realistic opportunity for the provision of low and moderate income housing, generally through land use and zoning powers. What should the state legislature do to promote the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing in suburban areas?

2. What do you think should be done to reduce disparity among school districts? Do you support the idea of alternate funding for schools instead of property taxes? Please be specific

3. Approximately 17% of New Jersey residents do not have health insurance. Reforms have made coverage available but not affordable. How would you address this issue?

 

CANDIDATES FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY
(14th DISTRICT)

Vote for TwoTerm: 2 yearsSalary: $35,000

LINDA R. GREENSTEIN
Party: Democrat
Age: 49
Address: 16 Krebs Road, Plainsboro, NJ 08536

Education: B.A., Vassar College; M.A.. Johns Hopkins Univ.; J.D., Georgetown Univ. Law School

Occupation: Attorney

Community Activities: Current Elected Member, Plainsboro Township Committee; former elected member, West Windsor-Plainsboro School Board; Vice President for Legislation, Mercer County School Boards Association; National Women's Political Caucus.

Answers:
1. The state legislature should provide tax credits and other financial incentives to encourage the private sector to invest in affordable housing. My research tells me that $10 million in state tax credits would leverage $30 million in additional investment. The legislature should also support changes to the Municipal Land Use Law that promote good land use practices. Providing financial incentives to the voluntary state planning process should encourage the construction of affordable housing. The legislature can also insure that all communities fully address their affordable housing obligations by adding positive incentives for compliance.

2. Yes, I support the idea of alternate funding for schools instead of property taxes. A firm state commitment to educational funding would help to reduce the disparity among school districts, and ease the property tax crunch.

3. As a legislator, I will fight to ensure that there is health care coverage for all, and that it is affordable. The 17% who do not have health insurance must now depend on charity care, and we need a stable source of funding for this program.

 

GARY L. GUEAR
Party: Democrat
Age: 47
Address: 185 Quimby Ave., Hamilton, NJ 08610

Education: Graduate of Hamilton High School West

Occupation: Police Officer

Community Activities: Member, Hamilton Elks; Member, Italian American Hall of Fame; Member, Italian American Police Society of New Jersey; Baseball coach; Hamilton Township Democratic Club

Answers:
1. Rather than institute strict mandates, I believe the state legislature should offer incentives, such as tax credits for municipal investment, to stimulate investment in affordable housing. Research suggests that offering $10 million in tax credits can generate an additional $30 million in investments. Moreover, we should look at incorporating good land use provisions into the Municipal Land Use Law and offering municipalities incentives to construct and/or rehabilitate affordable housing.

2. I believe that we should move away from a property tax-reliant structure for school funding and seek new, alternative means of funding the public education system. Use of property taxes only perpetuates a system in which less is spent educating children in poorer communities than children in better off communities.

3. Its vital that all New Jersey residents have access to affordable quality health care. This is an awesome task to accomplish, but the first two steps I would take are to increase the income level of KidCare, so more children receive the coverage they need and deserve, and to pass legislation preventing a reoccurrence of a HIP-size crisis.

 

PAUL KRAMER*
Party: Republican*
No response received

 

BARBARA WRIGHT 
Party: Republican
No response received

 

CANDIDATES FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY
(15th DISTRICT)

Vote for TwoTerm: 2 yearsSalary: $35,000

SIDNEY J. GOLDFARB, M.D.
Party: Republican
Age: 48
Address: 419 North Harrison St, Suite 206, Princeton, N.J. 08540

Education: Bronx H.S. of Science, Bronx N.Y. 1969; New York University B.A. magna cum laude 1972; Albert Einstein College of Medicine 1975

Occupation: Physician-Urologist

Community Activities: Board of American Red Cross and Chair of Blood services committee; Chair, Doctor's Division, United Way

Answers: 1. Continue with the expansion of affordable housing stock in the state, emphasizing affordable housing for young families near schools, and for seniors, near services and shopping areas and medical care. communities should be allowed to pool requirements to more efficiently apportion needs.

2. We need to reduce the level of bureaucracy and supervision to free more money for teaching. This should be done at the federal and state level as well. An income tax may need to become either a partial supplement to school funding or the new alternative.

3. We need to prevent more people from losing insurance coverage by letting the person own their own policy. people would not be prevented from moving or changing jobs therefore. Medical savings accounts would help make insurance more affordable and get people out of HMO's. CEO's of a company should have the same insurance as the rank and file employee. Tax incentives to employers to give their employees insurance coverage.

 

REED GUSCIORA*
Party: Democrat
Address: 166 Nassau St., Princeton, NJ 08540

Education: The Catholic University of America; B.A. Political Science, 1982; Seton Hall University School of Law; J.D., 1988

Occupation: Attorney

Community Activities: Board Member, United Progress Inc., Trenton; Mercer County HIV Consortium; and Magnet Theatre.

Answers:
1. The State should expand low income tax credit programs for individuals seeking affordable housing. In addition, we should provide long term tax abatements and other incentives for builders willing to construct affordable housing.

2. We need to fully implement recent court decisions on quality education, such as universal preschool programs and full day kindergarten for urban students. The state also should provide incentives to attract qualified teachers to urban municipalities and lessen the bureaucratic red tape to give administrators the flexibility to achieve ways to keep kids in school.

Reliance on property taxes to fund schools only push out seniors and working families from their homes as well as provides a poor base of funding schools in the cities. There should be a greater role for State funding of schools to lessen the reliance upon property taxes.

3. Too many people who live and work in our State are without affordable health care. We need to continue to expand our "Kids Care" programs until all children under age 18 are provided coverage in the State. Tax incentives should be given to employers willing to expand coverage to workers who are in positions of less than full time employment. Funding should be available under the Tobacco settlement monies granted our State.


LEN GRZYWACZ
Party: Conservative
No response received.

  

SHELDON LEITNER
Party: Republican
Age: 66
Address: 63 Stony Brook Lane, Princeton, New Jersey

Education: 2 years C.C.N.Y.

Occupation: Retired

Community Activities: Princeton Arts Council; Contributor to Rivington St. Temple Restoration

Answers:
1. Housing for low and moderate income families must be a priority in the coming years. But rather than the construction of new housing, a faster and much more cost efficient method would be the rehabilitation of existing buildings. Tax breaks over a period of years should be made available to developers willing to undertake such projects.

2. I do not believe in school busing, but rather, I am a proponent of neighborhood schools that service those families that live in surrounding areas. I do believe that funds must be made available to schools in underperforming school districts to purchase the latest equipment such as books and computers. These monies can be found by the careful scrutiny of all state expenditures and the elimination of any that are not absolutely necessary.

3. All HMO's that do business in New Jersey should be assessed a special tax of l/2 of 1% of pre-tax profits to pay for those people, who after investigation, are found to be truly unable to pay for their own health insurance.

 

BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN*
Party: Democrat 
Age: 54
Address: 180 Upland Ave., Ewing, NJ 08638

Education: Graduate of Thomas Edison State College, Trenton, NJ

Occupation: Business Owner

Answers:
1. The Mt. Laurel decision provides an incentive for municipalities to provide affordable housing. The State Legislature must create both incentives and penalties to inspire suburban municipalities to comply with the intent of Mt. Laurel decision. In addition, we must fight vigorously against any legislative attempts to weaken the Mt. Laurel requirements.

2. Property Taxes continue to place a strangle hold on taxpayers in New Jersey. While I support exploring alternative funding for our schools, providing a globally competitive education for all of the children of our State must be our first priority.

3. There remains no more basic need for individuals than affordable, accessible and quality health care. I will continue to fight to ensure that the people of our state have access to increase the number of people in our state who have access to primary and preventive care.

 

CANDIDATES FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY
(16th DISTRICT)

Vote for TwoTerm: 2 yearsSalary: $35,000

MIKE ALPER
Party: Democratic
Age: 45
Address: 127 Tulip Lane, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Education: Graduate of Rutgers College and Antioch School of Law

Occupation: Immigration Attorney

Community Activities: Democratic Municipal Chair in three towns, Springfield, Bradley Beach, and until this year Bernards Township; Union County Commission on Aging; the Union County Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Safety Board; the NJ Commission to Deter Criminal Activity; Member of the Chamber of Commerce; Member, Kiwanis Club

Answers:
1. Of the 80,000 affordable units studies say are needed in the NJ market, only 21,000 have been built. We must develop policies and better monetary incentives for builders and municipalities to meet their affordable housing obligations. Let's find a workable formula for developers whereby for example for every 4 market-rate homes constructed, one "affordable" is built. With this "Formula for the Future" we can make affordable housing a reality for more of our citizens and young families. This same "Formula for the Future" approach can also be applied to our ever-growing need for senior housing of all types as well. Multifamily Housing tax credits are also a good idea.

2. For too long NJ has relied solely on property taxes to fund public schools. This is unfair for the following reasons: It creates a two-tiered world of public education haves and have-nots; it pits poor cities against comparatively wealthy suburbs; fixed-income seniors against young families, and most importantly the needs of the students against the increasingly pressing need to keep property tax rates affordable for the next generation of homeowners, who by and large are young working families. We can begin to de-politicize this issue and introduce fairness into the school funding system by looking into a plan whereby some of the school funding burden is shifted away from property taxes and toward sales and other consumer taxes. Let's look at what other states such as Michigan have done to successfully address this issue, and then craft some of these proven ideas to fit the specifics of New Jersey's situation.

3. We believe that National Health Insurance is inevitable as the numbers of uninsured working people continues to grow. In the interim we support full funding for hospitals that care for large numbers of "emergency" cases, and will introduce a "NJ Patient's Bill of Rights" upon entering the Assembly. For full details check our web site at www.dnet.org/NJ and click on district16.

 

DONALD A. RUDY
Party: Democratic
Age: 63
Address: 5 Barton Way, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Education: 1969 Ph.D. Solid State Physics, Washington University, St. Louis, MO; 1965 MA Biophysics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; 1962 BA Physics, Reed College, Portland, OR Occupation: 7/1969 - 7/1999 Lucent Technologies, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Title, Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, retired July 1999

Community Activities: 9/1954-8/1958 U.S. Navy - Honorable Discharge (1961); 8/1990-6/1992 AT&T Visiting Professor, School of Electrical Engineering, Tuskegee University

Answers:
1. Most simple proposals have already been tried with, at best, limited success. I would recommend both direct State funding and tax reduction incentives to promote intermunicipal development of mutual sites especially those located on the boundaries of adjacent municipalities. Stricter enforcement of the existing requirements before authorizing further development is needed.

2. There is no single nor simple solution to this problem. Specific State level programs for the more poorly funded districts coupled with expanded headstart-like programs to get beginning students up to speed are a necessity. Charter schools also offer a way to improve the more poorly funded districts but external financial assistance will probably still be needed. Smaller classes with more teacher-pupil contact is important in almost all districts. Without alternate funding sources it is practically impossible to significantly improve educational performance. I would also involve the commercial and industrial community in work-study-like programs and in contributing direct involvement of employees in the classroom.

3. a). I would consider imposing the same restriction on the medical insurance industry that exists in the auto insurance industry in order to do business at all in New Jersey, insurance must be made available to all residents. b). HMOs and other health care providers must provide a measure of low and intermediate cost service (similar to the Mt. Laurel decree in housing). c). A medical care provider can NOT drop a covered individual if payment is available (even if less than wanted) . e.g. Medicare/Medicaid patients. I would work with the federal government to institute a national health care system.

 

 

CHRISTOPHER (KIP) BATEMAN*
Party: Republican
No response received

 

PETER BIONDI*
Party: Republican
(no response received)