Meet the Candidates: Cherry Hill Council

It’s nearly time for Cherry Hill residents to cast their votes. If you’re still unsure who will get your vote for council, here’s some background on the candidates running:

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Name: Brian Bauerle

Age: 44

Occupation: Non-Profit Executive

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Cherry Hill Democratic Committee and Club, Cherry Hill Soccer Club Board Member, Cherry Valley Swim Club, Cherry Hill High School West Booster Club, Carusi Middle School PTA

As a resident, a father of three daughters attending Cherry Hill schools and a youth sports coach, my wife and I live in Cherry Hill for all it has to offer, and we could not imagine raising our family anywhere else. I am seeking re-election to Cherry Hill Township Council because I want to continue to play an active role in making sure Cherry Hill remains a great place to buy your first home, to raise a family and to grow old.

I am excited about the future of Cherry Hill, and I am proud to have been a part of a council that prioritized residents and neighborhoods, above all else. Thanks to the strong leadership of mayor and council, municipal taxes have not increased in eight straight years. If I am re-elected to council, I will continue to make sure that we do all that we can to control municipal property taxes, without compromising investments into roads, parks, trails, historic sites, public safety and recreational programming. I will continue to build upon the success we have had with keeping taxes down and identifying cost savings without jeopardizing the high-level services that our residents deserve and expect.

The heart of our town is our strong, vibrant and diverse neighborhoods and as a council member, that will continue to be my main focus. With a commitment to community service, I want to use my experience in community development to be a champion for our neighborhoods and a resource for our residents. I want to continue my promise to be an advocate and voice for civic associations, youth sports programs, swim clubs and other community-based organizations that are the fabric of our great town.

New businesses continue to come to Cherry Hill, existing businesses are improving their facilities, underutilized sites are seeing reinvestment and our commercial ratable base continues to grow — all supporting the economic health of our town. Strengthening our residential neighborhoods, maintaining a thriving commercial base and making Cherry Hill an attractive destination for new families and business is working.

I am running for re-election to build upon all that has been accomplished and continue the momentum that is moving our town forward. I would be honored for the opportunity to continue to serve the residents of this great town, give back to the community I call home and be a voice for all neighborhoods.

Name: Jennifer Apell

Age: 51

Occupation: Wills, estates, tax and small business planning attorney

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Planned Parenthood, Moms Demand Action, Burlington County Bar Association

As a lifelong resident of Cherry Hill, I am running for township council so that I can be an advocate for the residents of Cherry Hill and ensure that the decisions made on the local level continue to live up to the democratic ideals that make our town a warm, welcoming and forward-thinking community.

I care deeply about the future of Cherry Hill. I have lived here my entire life. I grew up in the Brandywoods section of town and graduated from Cherry Hill High School West. My husband and I live in Woodcrest with our three boys; one currently attends Cherry Hill High School East and two are away at college. I feel truly privileged to have grown up in Cherry Hill and to be able to raise my family here. I want to do my part to keep Cherry Hill a place that attracts young families and remains an open-minded, progressive community that values diversity, the environment, justice and programs for individuals and families in need.

I have a passion for volunteering and committing my time and energy to causes that help our community’s most vulnerable members. I have spent significant time volunteering with Planned Parenthood, Habitat for Humanity and Moms Demand Action, a group advocating for sensible gun control. I also often cook meals for people in need.

I have volunteered my professional expertise to a variety of causes, including South Jersey Legal Services and Jewish Children and Family Services. I am a past co-chair of the Burlington County Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. Most recently, I co-chaired the Middle East Institute for the Jewish Community Relations Council and was a member of the Cherry Hill Township Zoning Board.

I am running for council so that I can put my personal and professional experience to work for the residents of Cherry Hill. I want to make sure that the democratic progressive ideals that I believe in — and that make Cherry Hill such a wonderful place to live and raise a family — are not trampled on. I want to make sure Cherry Hill runs a transparent and accountable government and that the decisions made at the local level are ones that protect the residents of this great town.

Name: Mary Ellen Litton

Age: 70

Occupation: Retired Project Manager

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Cherry Hill Republican Org., Deacon, Trinity Presbyterian Church.

I have lived in the Barclay neighborhood of Cherry Hill for over 26 years with my husband, Jonn. I have seen many changes in Cherry Hill and feel I need to become more involved in helping the community regain preeminence as a sought after place to live in South Jersey.

The changes that concern me most include less transparency in local government and the frequent use of PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) in new development. This program allows developers to pay money to the township that is below the market value of the development. This means that money goes to the local government but not to schools. This money can be used in many ways but is not necessarily accounted for in the annual budget. The ranking of our schools has declined in the last 15 years. We need to work with the school board to help address this issue. Traffic on our streets and in our neighborhoods has increased with drivers speeding through neighborhoods to avoid major roads. This puts our children at risk when playing outside, and impacts our sense of safety in our neighborhoods.

I am running to support rational and cost effective solutions to changes impacting our community. Cherry Hill needs to have an active citizenry to solve these issues.

Please support our team in Column 2 for a better Cherry Hill.

Name: Michele Golkow

Age: 56

Occupation: Attorney

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Organizations: Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Southern New Jersey Advisory Council, Temple Beth Sholom Board of Directors, Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Moms Demand Action, Friends of the Cherry Hill Library, Friends of Cherry Hill Barclay Farmstead

Cherry Hill has been a special place to raise my family, put down roots and build a life centered around community. Serving on Cherry Hill Township Council is my way of giving back to the community that has given so much to me and my family. It’s my privilege to continue to make Cherry Hill a welcoming township where families can live, work, learn and thrive. My two decades of leadership experience serving on various non-profit boards guide me in my collaborative and inclusive approach to governing — listening carefully to others with diverse opinions and striving to build consensus to solve problems. My experience working in social services has made me a more compassionate person and taught me the value and responsibility of empowering individuals to be their best selves, whether it be seniors, students, individuals with special needs or others. I am committed to making government work to protect and improve the lives of all Cherry Hill residents.

For many years, I have heard the concerns of my neighbors and friends about the high taxes in Cherry Hill. I am proud that for the eighth consecutive year, my fellow council members and I just approved a budget for the coming year with no increase in municipal taxes. If re-elected to council, I will remain committed to fiscal responsibility and holding the line on taxes to make Cherry Hill an affordable place to live. As a parent who raised two children that attended Cherry Hill Public Schools, I believe in the value of public education and will work collaboratively with our schools to ensure the continued standard of excellence, as well as the un-compromised safety of our children attending the schools, that has existed for decades.

My experience as an attorney with a national law practice has taught me valuable skills that I bring to township council – analyzing complicated matters, advocating for creative solutions and, most important, asking tough questions to get to the heart of an issue. I believe that government works best when it is open and accessible to all. I will work diligently to promote a transparent and accountable government, advocating to make sure things are done right and in the best interests of our community. My goal will always be to represent Cherry Hill with integrity, honesty and openness, coupled with compassion for others and respect for the opinions of all.

 

Name: Richard G. Bowen, Jr.

Age: 60

Occupation: Sole Proprietor Certified Public Accountant

Political Affiliation: Libertarian

Clubs/Organizations:

  1. Treasurer, New Jersey Libertarian Party
  2. Treasurer, Libertarian Party Mises Caucus
  3. Member, Libertarian National Committee’s Audit Sub-Committee

I’ve heard from many residents in the last few years that it has become too expensive to live in Cherry Hill. Others worry that they will never be able to retire here. I agree.

I realized that someone needs to represent their voices on Town Council.

Cherry Hill needs a town council member who will bring to light all the secrecy, cronyism, rubber-stamping and wasteful spending that pervades the current town council.

I advocate a message of limited, more efficient, more transparent and more accountable local government. Local Democrats and Republicans are more beholden to their county and state political apparatus than to the residents of Cherry Hill. I will be beholden to no one except the residents of Cherry Hill.

In December 2018, I assisted residents and civic groups to successfully oppose an unpopular school bond issue that would have increased property taxes without any concessions from the Board of Education. In addition, last year I was asked by Erlton residents to represent them in a parking dispute with Tesla, who had just moved into a property on Route 70 adjacent to the neighborhood. Tesla employees were parking on Erlton side streets. I worked with the mayor’s office, police department and planning office in forcing Tesla to cease parking on the streets.

I grew up in the Erlton section of Cherry Hill and still reside there today. I graduated from Cherry Hill High School West in 1977. I graduated from Rutgers University — Camden with a bachelor of arts in accounting (1981) and an M.B.A. in business administration (1988). I am a sole proprietor Certified Public Accountant that specializes in partnership tax preparation.

The Libertarian Party believes the two party system has failed us. The Libertarian Party believes voters should have more choices. As Libertarians, we advocate for the freedom to live your life so long as you don’t impose force or fraud on others. We oppose big government spending and regulation. We advocate for economic liberty and free trade. We oppose corporate welfare. We oppose eminent domain. We advocate for privacy and due process. We oppose warrantless spying. We advocate for an end to the drug war. We oppose civil asset forfeiture. We advocate for the right to protect yourself from others who would harm you. And we oppose foreign intervention and wars.

To contact the campaign, send email to BowenForCherryHill@comcast.net. For more information visit: www.facebook.com/BowenForCherryHill/

Name: Stephen R. Cohen

Age: 67

Occupation: Dentist/Prosthodontist

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations: American Dental Association, Southern Dental Association, NJ Section American College of Prosthodontics, Middle East Institute Committee member JCRC, Chabad Men’s Club.

Cherry Hill has been represented by and ruled by the Democrat Party for the 41 years I have been a resident. During that time, I have watched as the town transitioned from a somewhat rural area to a highly dense suburb. Now, I am watching as the neighborhood character of Cherry Hill is transitioning to a much more urban environment. When I moved in, as each neighborhood was developed, a neighborhood swim club became one center of communal cohesion. Now without much discussion and mostly behind closed doors, our leadership has given the developer who owns the Woodcrest Country Club $4 million to change the zoning to green acres. In exchange it would appear that the township has changed their master plan to include redevelopment areas that will change the character of our neighborhoods. This development will add multi-family dwellings to areas that now have only single-family homes. Also due to the “redevelopment” nature of the construction, the developers will pay “Payment in Liu of Taxes” or PILOT. They will not pay school taxes, pushing more of the burden on local families. Were we asked? Did we have a say? When the present mayor was asked about the number of car/deer strikes, we were told that the information was unavailable. Of course, when the police are queried, we are told that Cherry Hill Police are data-driven. If that is the case, why no data on the safety of our roads? Aren’t our families worth the data collection? The same for crime statistics, we are left in the dark without a voice.

If you think there are problems within our town and issues with our government and governance, then voting for the same team will not bring about any changes. I believe that the citizens of Cherry Hill need the information required to make sound judgments for the way forward and a government that is sensitive to the needs of the governed. It is us, the people of Cherry Hill, who should be the bosses, not someone who directs a political party and governs us. We are being treated as subjects, not citizens. It is time to take our town back. I am running for Cherry Hill Township Council to give the citizens a voice and make our government more transparent.

Name: Steven Lever

Age: 56

Occupation: Sales/Management

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: President, Cherry Hill Republican Club, Camden County Republican Committee, Cherry Hill Republican Organization

 

I am Steven Lever, 26-year-resident of the Woodcrest neighborhood, and I’m asking for your vote for myself and the Nancy O Team. I have raised three sons here. Two have graduated from Cherry Hill High School East, and the third is about to graduate. My wife has lived here all her life. I convinced her that Cherry Hill is where we should raise our family. Since becoming a resident, I have witnessed the decline of the quality of life — schools, roads, traffic, services and events — that made me want to live here for the rest of my life. Cherry Hill government is broken. Broken and corrupt.

We hear about the Cherry Hill “Master Plan.” Sounds like there is a plan of action that was/is designed to maintain what is good about Cherry Hill and make it better through zoning and careful consideration of the impact to our schools, roads and services for the benefit of our residents. So how can a project, any project, fit the “Master Plan” if it requires double-digit variances in order to become a part of our communities? It cannot. These situations illustrate the corruption that has become the norm. Our Master Plan appears to be for sale to the politically connected for their sole benefit.

Lord Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Decades of single party rule is absolute power and has corrupted absolutely. Why has there not been a single dissenting voice on council during this time? Because they would be ostracized by the political machine to which they are beholden for their power and all the benefits that come with it. This is absolute corruption. When the county bosses say jump, our township government says, “how high?”

I will be the voice on council that says, “Wait a minute, is this in the best interest of Cherry Hill, or is this for the benefit of the powerful and politically connected?”

As a council member, and part of the Nancy O administration, I will ensure that our township government is an advocate for our residents in dealings with the county and the state. You can vote to restore community events like the Cherry Blossom Parade and fireworks, and putting residents in charge of the future of Cherry Hill. You can vote for a better and improving Cherry Hill. Please vote for our team in Column 2 on Nov. 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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