Kurt Peluso, Democratic Candidate for Borough Council
The Fair Lawn Borough Council election is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Get to Know a Candidate -- Fast Facts
Family: Wife, Linda LaMadrid; Two sons, Austin, 4, and Dean, 9 months
Ties to Fair Lawn: Lifelong Fair Lawn resident, currently raising a fourth generation Fair Lawn family
Favorite Movie: Lawrence of Arabia
Favorite Author: David McCullough
Favorite Book: "Profiles in Courage" by John F. Kennedy
Favorite Musical Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Favorite Album: Greetings from Asbury Park
Favorite Fair Lawn Restaurant: Giovanni's Deli
Favorite Desintation: Cayman Islands or really, anywhere warm with a beach
Activities & Organizations (past and present): Senior Center, Volunteer; Fair Lawn All-Sports Association, Volunteer; Open Space Committee; Green Team; Planning Board, Fair Lawn Democratic Organization, President
Hobbies: Anything outdoors -- hiking, fishing, a day at the beach. "Get me outdoors and I’m a happy person."
Most Surprised to Know: He took first place at a craftsmen fair and is good at working with table saws and wood. "Mr Newsum, best woodshop teacher, Fair Lawn High School."
Message: “I'm really stressing the young families in Fair Lawn, they need a voice. They need representation on the council and I want to be that representation. I feel like my ticket is really the ticket for the future for Fair Lawn. Swain, Cutrone Peluso, we all have ideas to lead Fair Lawn ahead. We really think Fair Lawn’s best days are ahead of us and we feel like we have the solutions that we need to succeed.”
Council Candidate Forum Responses:
Thirty percent of our residents are raising a family with kids under the age of 18. I will represent these people. I'm currently raising two young boys. I want to be the voice for our whole community, for young families, middle-aged folks and senior citizens. Looking forward to making Fair Lawn thrive.
If elected, what physical improvement and service improvement would you make in FL?
Where I live, by Gregory Park, we have speed tables, not speed bumps. I want to see more of these installed. Also want to look at Memorial Pool. Attendance has dipped significantly in the past 10 years. A lot of teenagers don't visit anymore. I want to get more people to volunteer and make it deeper. We need more social services for high school students to get them active in the community again.
How would you seek to improve relations between the Police Department and the governing body?
We need to improve communication. If we can't meet with Chief of Police and PBA rep David Boone, that's a problem we need to think about changing.
Overbuilding. Concern of new apartment units and lack of open space. Would you seek to change zoning processes and regulations? If so, how?
We have 11,00 residential properties and 2,000 commercial properties. Must maintain this balance. If we kick out businesses, your property taxes will go up. We have to keep our businesses here. Would love to turn it back to where it was 10-20 years ago, but that would require property tax increase. Must make sure all dilapidated buildings are re-developed.
What should we do with Memorial Pool?
I have spoken to the residents. It's about a 50/50 split. Some people like the pool as the status quo, some want minor improvements and some want a cement pool. We need to get this to the residents on the ballot. A pool serves the community but we should revisit the question discussed a number of years ago.
How do party politics affect Fair Lawn council and should they matter?
Very proud of Fair Lawn's record with bipartisanship. Zoning and Planning Boards are bipartisan. Democrats appointed Republican Pam Coles to Open Space Committee. I want to continue having people from both parties serving on the council.
How would you be accessible to residents as a council member?
I have made myself available and will continue to. Our campaign materials have our addresses, emails on them. We're coming to speak to you even if you don't want to speak with us. People in Fair Lawn have different issues and we must come to people to see what those issues are. That's what we have been doing, and we won't stop once we're elected. Will continue coming door to door.
What can the council do to maintain quality of school and keep town affordable for residents?
Difficult question. What we can do is communicate and look at shared services. Definitely a way to drive property taxes down. Look at shared services both inside and outside of Fair Lawn.
Several towns including Lodi, Saddle Brook, Maywood and Rochelle Park formed a group to work on flooding of Saddle River. Why isnt there a Fair Lawn rep on this coalition? (Ed. Note: Fair Lawn actually does have a rep on the coalition, Albee Palmieri)
We should have someone in Saddle River coalition and if one doesn't exist, we should form a Passaic River coalition as well. We must worry about people who have suffered already. I will continue fighting for people to make sure funds they deserve are received.
What type of recreational and social programs woud you like to see for people with disabilties and how can we better include people with disabilities in our community?
As a former teacher who worked with students with autism this is dear to me. Fair Lawn does a lot already. The Rec Center hosts dances for individuals. We do a lot but we can always do more. Why not sponsor Olympics here in Fair Lawn for those with disabilities?
Define your vision for progress for Fair Lawn in the 21st century?
The number of young children has dropped off in Ridgewood and Glen Rock 20-plus percent. In Fair Lawn, we've had an increase. I want to maintain this diversity that we have here, with young and old. We have a great balance here and I want to continue that for the future. Would provide affordable housing for senior citizens and young families.
Specific proposals to keep taxes under control to make FL affordable for young families and seniors?
We really have to look at ways to stabilize taxes through shared services. We're a large community surrounded by smaller communities. We should act as the big brother. Let's provide services to these communities. We have a lot here. We don't want to risk losing what we have, so let's keep what we have here but share with others around us.
Name one shared service you'd like to introduce or investigate
Ron Conte and his team have always been one step ahead of our county and state. We have one of the strongest recycling departments and should share it with other towns. I want to utilize biofuels, like Westwood has done. In my job, I form partnerships with southern Bergen County. We look for voids in community and fill voids they need.
Since only one council meeting a month is taped, how many work sessions have you attended in the last six months?
Have not attended any work sessions in past six months. I've been too busy meeting all of you. We do read work session minutes though. I never miss a meeting on the Planning Board.
We have the social services that attract young families here -- the increase in young families and children in town show that. We have great facilities and services for our residents that attracts people from all around Bergen County. Our best days are not behind us, our best days are going forward.