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Leonia Mayor Judah Zeigler.

Zeigler wins gets nomination over Makroulakis

Incumbent councilman fails to unseat mayor

By Nikita Biryukov, June 04 2019 9:12 pm

Leonia Mayor Judah Zeigler won renomination over Councilman Greg Makroulakis in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Zeigler won by 418 votes, 887 to 469 — a 65%-35% margin.

Incumbents Bernadette Flaim and William Ziegler were unopposed.

Zeigler first won election in 2016

Leonia is heavily Democratic and hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since Arthur Jones in the early 1980s.

No Republican filed for the post this year.

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7 thoughts on “Zeigler wins gets nomination over Makroulakis

  1. As a longtime Leonian, I can say that we are “heavily Democratic” in the way that I often pretend to be a pirate for my kids. Many GOP register as Independent or Dem to get elected, or these days, not be embarrassed. Either way, this victory ensures that Leonia will remain frozen in time and continue to scare off any new potential business and multi-unit residential tax base. Existing residents are now paying more than 90% of the property tax dollars, as Mayor Z pushes for $2 million dollar soccer field & no plan for increasing corporate rateables. Maintaining the status quo risks us being absorbed by neighboring towns, because it is unsustainable. This after months of embarrassing our town with his “traffic sign scandal (Google it) by making us look like a snobby gated community, and then stubbornly doubling down, resulting in a town with hundreds of signs with Hefty garbage bags covering them.

    This was a campaign ran on fear –scaring the voters into believing that multiple “developers” would come in and “destroy the character” of our town by building things. Those same “scared” folks can now go back to complaining how high their residential property taxes are as they walk by all of the vacant stores and lots in town.

    But, hey — we saved the beloved sculpture garden after spending tens of thousands on planning for municipal (non-taxable) construction in that space! I guess that those architects and developers were okay and not frightening.

    1. Hello Jane,
      Did you attend the event last Thursday at the middle school, hosted by the LAA?

      There are some substantial plans to increase rateables in the coming years through targeted development.

      Check it out, there is a recording floating around.

      Take care!

      1. Mr. Vito – Respectfully, three sentences about Willow Tree Road, and apartments that will not generate students to the school district, repeated over and over is far from a plan. He talks of transparency, but only answers the calls of friends of his. Where is the plan, either on paper or a link that can be posted on the borough website (another of his disasters) ??? There is nothing on paper with any developers about moving forward with Willow Tree Road residential or commercial development, but those three sentences sounded good. If I am incorrect, please point me to the plan to which you describe. Also why Willow Tree Road? A section of our town which will keep residents distant from the larger community and be an obvious tax grab, which might be fine if it weren’t on a flood plain with no serious commercial plans pending in that area because of Mayor Z’s botched attempt at eminent domain. Either way, why is development under Mayor Z okay, but wouldn’t have been ok with his opponent? Regards, JQ

  2. There was no “fear campaign,” just a presentation of the facts related to campaign donations like the Fort Lee Action Committee (a PAC that the candidate called a “personal friend”). The campaign presented solid, well thought out recommendations for future expansion not a broad statement of inclusivity with no plan or content behind it. And, in order to do what Leonians want, the Mayor and Council agreed to change the tentative plans they presented for feedback at the town meeting, to save the sculpture garden and Annex. And, if you read any of the literature that Judah distributed and didn’t write return to sender on it you would see a far more concrete plan presented than a statement that “we would all decide this together but it will take time.” And personally, since I live on a well trafficked street, I want my traffic sign back!

  3. The Annex wasn’t “saved.” Along with other successful grants received by the young administrator who suddenly left, the grant for the annex now limits how we can use it, causing us to now pay Fort Lee to use their municipal court. Another shell game. And over two million dollars for a sport field when we’re on the brink of another recession. Our priorities are upside down

  4. Ms. Davis:

    A couple of points of inaccurate information:

    – “Mayor Z’s botched attempt at eminent domain” – Please review the relevant meeting videos; you’ll find that the Council (including Councilman M) voted unanimously to create the condemnation study area. There was never an “attempt at eminent domain.” Communication was not handled well – something for which Mayor Z accepted responsibility, time and again, during the campaign. The only vote that was taken that would have resulted in eminent domain showed Councilman M voting in favor, and Mayor Z expressing concern.

    – “The grant for the annex now limits how we can use it.” This is false. The grant creates a new space for Leonia’s senior citizens – and when they’re not using it, it will be used by other community groups, just like the way in which the current annex basement is utilized. The only difference – Leonia is now treating its seniors with respect!

    – “causing us to now pay Fort Lee to utilize their municipal court.” This was going to be the case with any plan, because prior administrations neglected the fact that Leonia was out of compliance with security standards, so the annex could no longer be used for court. Proof of this was given at the Town Hall meeting last year. Once the municipal building is finished, Leonia’s court will move back to Leonia – but again, its temporary relocation has NOTHING to do with the municipal building.

    – Economic development plan – Details were provided in a letter that Mayor Z mailed to every Leonian. It was very specific, as opposed to “let’s talk to everyone, and take awhile to do anything regarding economic development.”

    You are correct in one respect – this was a campaign based on fear. Councilman M. proved that when he brought the landlord of many Leonia businesses into their locations, demanding that they put his sign in their windows. Leonians were also afraid that he’d take more actions like supporting the original Woodland Place development – a plan that required nine variances for approval, AND that was approved over the objections of hundreds of Leonia residents.

    Leonians clearly showed on Tuesday who they trust to lead them into the future; why don’t you reach out to Mayor Z and offer to assist in moving some of his initiatives forward? He’s said he wants to get everyone engaged – so take him up on it? I’ve never heard of him only taking the calls of his friends; have you ever tried to call him? Try – or email him, and ask him to call you.

    Don’t believe everything people tell you – take the time to get all the facts. You might be pleasantly surprised, or not – but it’s worth a shot.

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