Outgoing Sea Bright Mayor Maria Fernandes is proud of her 18 years of service to the borough and numbers among her accomplishments securing a $1.5 million grant for the rehabilitation of the borough’s sewer infrastructure and helping to secure $1 million in funding for streetscape enhancements and road repairs.SEA BRIGHT — For 18 years there has been a constant in the borough as Maria Fernandes held forth in her different roles, on the Planning Board, Borough Council and then as mayor for four years. But with the installation of the new mayor, Fernandes is stepping back.Last year, following a series of health problems, Fernandes, 59, decided not to seek re-election as mayor.“When the time came for campaigning,” for the 2011 mayoral race, she explained in an interview with The Two River Times on Wednesday, “I said I would definitely run again. But then I thought maybe it’s time to hang my hat up and let someone else do it.”That someone else, it turned out was fellow Democrat Dina Long, a borough council member, who was elected to the mayoral office in November.Deciding to retire is bittersweet for Fernandes, who acknowledged she had come to really enjoy the nuts and bolts of government work and its final results, which is to help people and solve problems.“I was doing things (based on) what was best for the borough,” she said.Fernandes, who is from Elizabeth, moved to Sea Bright with her family back in 1958, when her parents bought their first of two Ocean Avenue properties. As an adult she worked for a steamship company in Newark, where she was in charge of its international shipping, and later worked as a middle manager for a Holmdel-based dental manufacturing company.Her career in public service began back in 1994 when then-Mayor Charles Rooney asked her first to run for borough council (which she turned down at the time, thinking she had no taste for politics) and then to take a seat on the planning board. She found that she actually liked working on the board. “I always liked helping people and I wanted to explain the process,’ she said of her early days, noting she developed an appreciation for the work of architects and engineers in the process, as well. “You learned a lot of things,” she said.She rarely missed board meetings and went to all of the borough council meetings. She then worked on the council campaign for Democratic candidate Elizabeth Smith. She eventually conceded to Rooney’s request to run for council, winning pretty decisively in 1996.The major issue then was the sewer/sanitary system, as the governing body decided to enact a separate utility and a corresponding bill, much to the outrage of residents, she recalled.As a council member upgrading the sewer system remained a top priority for her.“I guess my mind was in the gutter,” she kidded. But stressed it was and is an important issue for the small beachfront community.She lobbied local Assembly people and helped secure $1.5 million in state grants for the rehabilitation work on the system and pump stations. “That was very fulfilling,” she said of that accomplishment.Later she helped usher in the Downtown Infrastructure Improvement Project, winning about $1 million in grant money, allowing the borough to repave and redo roadway and sidewalks on a number of side streets.Recently, she had been working with U.S. Representative Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) on getting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding to replace some bulkheading and pumping equipment to address the long standing flooding problem. “We’ve made very good headway,” she said.“So, I guess I’m glad I had my head in the gutter,” she said.“I was never political. I’m not political now,” she stressed. “I never had any political aspirations.” But in the aftermath of Rooney’s death, she charged, the borough council became so mired in partisan bickering it was at a stalemate.“What always bothered me was the time wasted on politics.” So, she decided to run for mayor, winning the office.“I think name recognition is good,” and may have contributed to her victory then. But more importantly for the voters, she suspected, “I was a working council member.”Looking back on her time in office, Fernandes conceded that she would have like to have made greater strides in the per pupil cost borough property owners have been saddled with over the years to send local students out of district for schooling, long a bane to local taxpayers and officials (costing upwards of more than $90,000 per year, per student). “I wish we had the opportunity to sit down with the commissioner [of education] or the governor himself,” she said. “But we did make inroads.”She has been responsive to the needs of her constituents, helping where she can or finding out where help can be obtained. “I am not shy about getting back to everybody,” she said.Last year, Fernandes suffered a mild stroke, affecting her speech and movement on her right side. She also had her right leg amputated due to circulatory problems, which led to her decision to retire.But it may not be the last voters hear from her, she hinted. “These challenges have a way of winding up in my lap,” she said, with a smile.“I may look to come back to the council. You never know.”
The U.S. Commerce Department has announced new tariffs on Canadian softwood, the second set of duties imposed since April. The Hill reports that the preliminary anti-dumping duties are as much as 7.7%. This is in addition to the department’s imposition of countervailing duties of between 3% and 24% on Canadian lumber imports, announced in April.U.S. producers allege that Canadian softwood producers benefit from government subsidies. Canadian officials disagree.“These duties result from the trade action which is part of the continued attempt by the protectionist U.S. lumber lobby to constrain imports of high-quality Canadian lumber into the U.S. market and to drive up prices for their benefit,” said Susan Yurkovich, president of the BC Lumber Trade Council, in a statement.Some Canadian provinces are not included in the Commerce Department’s ongoing trade investigation. The department said that softwood lumber products produced in Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island should be excluded, The Hill reported. The announcement comes just two months before the U.S. and Canada are to begin talks on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement. About 80% of Canada’s softwood exports go to the U.S. The market was worth about $5.5 billion in 2016. Lumber Dispute Drives Up Construction Costs RELATED ARTICLES
Twitter/@TooMFCold4LNotre Dame quarterback Everett Golson is officially on the transfer market, and there are dozens of teams that could use him at quarterback for the upcoming season. The Georgia Bulldogs seem to fit the bill with the graduation of their 2014 starter Hutson Mason, and some fans are already trying to recruit him to [email protected]_Golson5 @FootballUGA choose the dawgs for one year. Take us to another level. We need a championship!!!— Phillip Coy (@TooMFCold4L) May 7, 2015Whoever runs Georgia football’s official Twitter account also seems to like the [email protected] @Everett_Golson5 tweeted this not even thinking it was possible. #EverettGolsonToGeorgia #dreamcometrue pic.twitter.com/JwvLsUJ1aj— Phillip Coy (@TooMFCold4L) May 7, 2015Unless Mark Richt is the man behind the Twitter, this probably means nothing, but “Golson Watch” should be a fun news story for the college football world over the next few weeks.
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), the National Organization for Women-New York (NOW-NY), and feminist author and leader Gloria Steinem held a press conference last week to highlight the detrimental impact the PornHub pop-up shop has on our culture and to call on elected officials to halt the expansion of more pop-ups in New York City.Joined by sex trade survivors, the group asserted that the physical presence of PornHub, an Internet warehouse of graphic, violent pornographic videos, promotes and normalizes sexual violence against women and girls.The groups were joined by supporters from around the city who are concerned about the proliferation and unchecked accessibility of pornography online that is contributing to boys’ and young people’s understanding of sexuality and to a broader rape culture that normalizes violence against women. The PornHub site’s titles include “Picking up a Schoolgirl for a Quick Drive Home,” “Jap Maid Serves the House Guest,” “Hot Innocent Teen Gives Grandpa a Blowjob.” Viewers pick the women by race or categories, like “stepdaughter,” “gangbang,” or “barely legal.”“At a time when we are beginning to dismantle the fear many sexual violence victims have from speaking out, the last thing our society needs is a storefront promoting violence against women,” said Sonia Ossorio, President of the National Organization for Women- New York (NOW-NY). “We are creating a dangerous precedent when we glorify this pop-up, even if on the surface it appears harmless, PornHub and similar sites are teaching young men that the violence they see is normal and accepted.”Protesters called out the way PornHub crosses the line on the exploitation of women, promoting racist language and stereotypes and selling violence against women and girls.“As long as porn is seen as synonymous with sex, people will defend it, but in fact, pornography is about power, not sex,” said Gloria Steinem. “We need to make the difference clear to save the lives and shared humanity of both men and women.”Studies have found that the consumption of pornography is associated with the perpetuation of male physical and psychological violence against women and rape myths.“Many survivors of the sex trade, including me, can testify that our pimps or traffickers have brought cameras into the room to get our rapes on film,” said Melanie Thompson, 21, who was trafficked in Queens at the age of 12. “You had to smile and submit, or face the consequences from your buyer and your pimp. You had to deal with it, whatever that was.”The website PornHub is just a parcel of the multi-billion dollar sex industry that profits from exploitation, dehumanization, and the sex trafficking of the most marginalized people. It opened its storefront in November 2017 and is planning to open additional storefronts throughout the city and across Europe.“PornHub is grooming the next generation of sexual predators,” said Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of CATW. “If New Yorkers want to honor the #MeToo movement and end sexual violence, we must make the connections and stop mainstreaming the sex trade.”