Labrosse heads anti-establishment ticket in Hackensack

Hackensack Councilman John Labrosse is heading a council ticket for the May election that has pledged to clean up corruption and insider dealing that has marred Hackensack.

Running an anti-establishment slate in the aftermath of former Police Chief Ken Zisa’s sentencing on corruption charges, the Citizens for Change Ticket vows to create more “open and transparent government.”

“The same people have been running this town the last 20 years and they have run it as if the town belonged to them,” said Labrosse. “It’s time for a change of leadership with new people who have a new way of getting things done.”  

Labrosse said budgetary issues are a top priority for his team.

“Public money is being misspent and wasted and that must end,” said the councilman. “We will end it.” 

Another major issue for the “Change” ticket is to get more openness and public participation in local government. 

Kathleen Canestrino, a member of the Change ticket who previously ran for council, said: “We want to bring more openness to local government, so people know about the decisions that are being made that impact their lives. We want people to have access to public documents and we want council meetings televised. These are not difficult things to do, all it takes is the commitment from the governing body to run an open government.” 

Leo Battaglia, a third Change ticket member, said his team will encourage more public input in local government. “We need to get the public involved in government decision-making, but to do that we have to create an atmosphere where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”

“There has been a culture of intimidation and hostility coming from city hall that has lasted for decades in this town. We want people to come to the city council and express their ideas and their complaints without fear,” said Battaglia.

Rose Greenman and David Earl Sims, who round out the Citizens for Change ticket, said their goal as council people will be to get people involved in their own government.

Greenman, who lived under the repression of the former Soviet Union, said, “the  government here doesn’t belong to me, or a group of insiders; it belongs to the people and they have a right to shape their government and be part of its decisions and it’s a right that a lot of people in the world do not have.”  

Sims echoed the theme, saying: “The deep-rooted changes that need to be made in how Hackensack is governed need to come from the people. My running mates and I will create an atmosphere that encourages people to bring their ideas to the council where they will be given honest consideration.”   

THE CITIZENS FOR CHANGE TICKET

John Labrosse, 58, councilman seeking re-election, resident 33 years, married, with two sons; employed at Hackensack University Medical Center, in the plant operations department. 

Kathleen Canestrino, 63. Married to Emil, bachelor’s degree in mathematics, master’s degree in computer science; a 20-year career in aerospace engineering at Honeywell Engineering, where she oversaw multimillion-dollar budgets.

Leo Battaglia, 65, Resident of Hackensack since 1978; Electrical and Electronic Degrees; Retired Local Business Owner.  Served on Hackensack Recreation Board in 1995; Created the Hackensack Junior Soccer Program in 1986,  and has coached recreation teams and travel teams until now.  He is married, with two children and five grandchildren.

David Earl Sims, 50, a lifelong resident of Hackensack; a graduate of the Hackensack Public School System, where he lettered in two sports, baseball and basketball. He has a degree in Automotive Technology from Lincoln Technical Institute. David worked in the automotive industry for over 20 years.  Currently, David serves as a Para-Professional for the Hackensack Board of Education.

Rose Greenman, 59, attorney in her own practice in Hackensack, concentrates on consumer protection, sitting on consumer law committee of the N.J. Bar Association. Lived in Hackensack since 2000, two grown boys, one is an attorney, the other a teacher. Emigrated from the former Soviet Union.  Graduated Montclair State University and Seton Hall Law School.

"I’m an undertaker by trade, so when I bury somebody, they don’t come back."
—Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato