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Fort Lee GOP Council Candidate Calls on Opponents Not to Use Signs

Thomas A. Bennett, who’s running with Peter B. “Mack” Campbell against incumbents Harvey Sohmer and Joseph Cervieri, says campaign signs tarnish the landscape and don’t get candidates elected anyway.

One of the two Republican candidates for Fort Lee Borough Council announced recently that he would not be putting up any political advertising signs, and he also called upon his Democratic opponents to follow suit.

“I am not a big believer of decorating the landscape with graffiti,” said Thomas A. Bennett in a statement. “I remember seeing Route 4 with signs from Fort Lee to Fair Lawn, NJ, and it looked horrible.”

Contending that the signs are a waste of money and pointing out that some people and business owners are “bullied” into putting signs up and that the borough’s sign and façade and beautification committees are likely to find the signs “unattractive,” Bennett said simply, “Signs don’t get you elected; that’s my philosophy.”

“I’m not trying to stop anybody’s First Amendment rights,” Bennett told Patch. “I’d just like them to momentarily not put up signs because they’re so ugly.”

He added, “[The Democrats] have been in office for 17 years. They don’t need signs to get elected if people want to elect them.”

Bennett said his running mate, Peter B. “Mack” Campbell, who has assured him that he’s “totally committed to running and getting elected” in spite of questions early on as to , is joining him in not putting up campaign signage.

Asked how he does plan to win the election in November without using signs, Bennett said “by meeting people” and attending candidates’ debates, such as the one on Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at .

He’ll also attend as many community gatherings as possible, including the upcoming senior picnic and health fair, and stand outside the post office on Main Street on Saturdays and maybe on Sundays.

“I ask my Democratic counterparts to join me in not using political signs,” Bennett concluded in his statement. “I am sure that they will agree that the landscape will look much better without those unattractive signs.”

However Bennett’s Democratic counterparts, incumbent Councilmen Harvey Sohmer and Joseph Cervieri, said Thursday they’ve already ordered their signs, and that they’re going to use them.

“We believe that the public has a right to know who’s running, and those who do not get newspapers and do not watch TV or have access to the Internet, would see through the traditional methods who is running,” Cervieri said, noting that their lawn signs will be red, white and blue. “As such, we will continue our long tradition of having tasteful signs that will located in appropriate areas, and lawn signs will only be on lawns of people who would request them to be on their property.”

Cervieri said the Democrats won’t put signs in the public right-of-way and emphasized that they don’t put lawn signs on properties without getting permission.

Sohmer also pointed out that Fort Lee residents are going to see plenty of signs for candidates running for the Fort Lee Board of Education as well, now that that election also takes place in November.

“We put them up and take them down at the appropriate time,” Sohmer said.

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Toni M. September 15, 2012 at 05:09 AM
How can you not have political signs? Some of the older voters are not going to be on the internet, so unless you plan to go door to door, no signs is a very bad idea.
William Mays September 15, 2012 at 05:30 AM
Wow, I actually fully agree with you.
Toni M. September 15, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Well crap don't tell anyone!!
Thomas A Bennett September 15, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Toni M, I appreciate your opinions. While some seniors like myself are on the internet, it is not the majority of the older ones. I have attended almost every summer concert and have met many seniors there. I am a lifelong resident of Fort Lee and know many seniors for a long time. I readily admit I am an underdog, but I won a seat on the Fort Lee Board of Education and was President and didn't use signs..
Louis2 September 15, 2012 at 10:33 AM
Interesting that he says "I don't want to take away anyone's 1st Ammendment Rights" however, that's exactly just what he intends to do. One needs to look a little deeper into his entire "Platform for Fort Lee". As a lifer in his 60+ years what has he done to improve the schools or the town?
Al Norton September 15, 2012 at 01:22 PM
As I watch virtually every American embassy from the Mid East to India come under siege with our feckless Administration still touting blame on a 14 minute film, the only sign I want to see is "Dump Obama"
carol simon September 15, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Al Norton, The guy who ran for council? You should have won! Your words are a "sign" of courage.
carol simon September 15, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Hey there Billy Mays, "you seem normal"....you should think about a run for council or some type of public service. In fact you just may be "the new normal". ( I love reading your comments)
William Mays September 15, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I'd run for anything, but I have a job thats very time consuming.
Luca D. September 15, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I wish you much luck Mr. Bennett. To the poster that felt the need to question your background, might I suggest they ask you in person and tell them to bring a chair because your commitment to public service is extensive.
Jack B Goode September 16, 2012 at 11:24 PM
This being a Presidential election year,I think that Republicans should display their candidates, there are County ,State and Federal offices up for election also. Tom, If you can't afford signs, find out if the County BCRO will help. I know your Municipal Chair is useless.
Thomas A Bennett September 17, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Thank you to the people understand what we are trying to do. If my running mate and I wanted signs we would pay for them. We prefer not to have signs and we hoped our Democrat opponents would join us in not putting them up. By now everyone knows who the candidates are. Our opinions on signs are posted in the story above. If I posted our entire campaign platform here, no one would come to candidates night on Sept 27 at 7:30 PM. One board in our platform is: we will not be accepting campain contributions from any source. We want to represent the wishes of the voters and taxpayers not special interests.
CD Cantelli September 17, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Tom is your goal to kill the dems, because getting them to agree not to accept money from special interests would mean they are dead and buried. Details on Sept 27 please.
William Mays September 17, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Oh yes, Democrats are the ones who accept money from special interests. Cough* Sheldon Adelson* Cough*.
Jerry Wish September 18, 2012 at 04:09 PM
LET'S FACE IT THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES CANNOT RAISE $600 FOR LAWN SIGNS. IF YOU DON'T PUT UP A LAWN SIGN YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY NAME RECOGNITION AT ALL. PEOPLE IN TOWN BARELY KNOW JOE OR HARVEY. THEY DON'T HAVE KIDS IN THE SCHOOLS OR COACH SOCCER BASEBALL BASKETBALL OR ANY SPORT. GET YOUR SIGNS OUT
William Mays September 18, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Yeah its pretty sad that they really don't care about winning since they don't want to spend $600. I'm almost tempted to give it to them myself. I feel bad for them.
Dan Nelson September 18, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I think joe cervieri needs to go ..All he's done on the council is push the borough to buy and/or sell property through his real estate business while he gets the commissions..Should be criminal !! I look forward to Mr.Bennett and Mr. campbell to bring some integrity back to the office , and not appoint a brother and a business partner as two memebers of the fort lee ethics board like councilman cervieri did ..At best it looks bad !!
JJCREALTYINT'LINC September 19, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Dan your very misinformed and shame on you for spreading your uninformed opinion. Neither Joe nor JJC Realty,where Joe works, has never received any compensation for any transaction involving any purchase by the Borough of Fort Lee or any of its agencies. Joe's brother, Gregory, a registered and fanatical Republican, is Chairman of the Ethics Board of Bergen County and Vice Chariman of the Ethics Board of the Borough of Fort Lee. In neither case did Joe have any participation in Gregory's appointment. Joe does not, nor has he ever had any business partner other than his wife of 32 years. So Mr. Nelson get your facts straight before flinging your mud. It might end up requiring an apology or describing how you ended up with egg on your face. It's about time to lighten-up and put aside your personal animosity.
Dan Nelson September 19, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Oh so its just a coincidence that your brother happens to be on the ethics board in the same town you're a councilman in ?? How ironic !!! Yes your ''partner'' was also the chairman of the zoning board until he was forced to step down by mayor alter !! Egg on my face ?? I don't think so , but taking a look at you , it seems you've been having lots of eggs in your face lately ...instead of running for re election, you should be running to lose some weight !!!
Thomas A Bennett September 20, 2012 at 05:53 PM
This topic has now taken a life of it's own. I met Gregory at the Republican Club meeting. He is quite normal and I would not call him fanatical. He told me that his brother did not put him on the ethics board. My running mate Peter Campbell and I agreed not to put up campaign signs. Those worried about our finances don't fret, we turned down money from the Republican Club. We want to finance our own campaign without any one's money but our own. I have been passing out my orange and black (Fort Lee High Colors) pens that say' elect Thomas A Bennett to Council". Those of you concerned about signs can just consider them tiny campaign signs that you can write with. Gregory now has one of my pens.
Dan Nelson September 21, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I find it insulting that councilman cervieri comes on here to tell me to lighten up and that i'm full of animosity ..Is this how a man running for re election responds to the people in his community ?? Maybe someone should ask joe cervieri why he was thrown off the board of directors at the atrium, the high rise building where he used to live until more of shady dealings emerged ..I believe it had to do with a library being constructed, that he approved payments up to $1,000,000 to a contractor very close to him ..yes, another brother of councilman cervieri ..If he can't be trusted to be on a board of a high rise building, how can we trust him with being a councilman for the borough of fort lee ??
Al Norton September 21, 2012 at 05:09 PM
In response to Dan Nelson's comment, I have lived in the Atrium for 16 years,know Joe Cervieri fairly well and happen to be Republican. The assertion that Mr Cervieri approved payments of $1,000,000 is completely false. We have a beautiful library and our cost was a small fraction of that number. It's outrageous to state such unsubstantiated nonsense.
Zachary David September 21, 2012 at 05:35 PM
The truth of the matter is that there is little chance of a Republican winning a seat on the council because most voters vote strictly on their party line. We haven't had a Republican Mayor since Nicholas Corbiscello, and I wonder how he got elected back then. maybe if a charismatic Republican ran for mayor, some council seats might convert to Republican.
Quint September 21, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Wow, I am sort of new to town. We live in a co-op and have young kids, I have NO idea who is running for what and I am a registered voter, so if you think not having signs is a good thing I would ask you to think again.
William Mays September 22, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Yeah, don't know what the hell he was talking about. I lived in the Atrium for 8 years, have a lot of good memories from that place.
Joe Cervieri September 22, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Thank you Al for your response to Mr.Nelson's post concerning my service to The Atrium Palace as a member of it's Board of Directors. What Mr.Nelson also did not accurately report: The Atrium, under my direction as President of its Board enacted term limits whereby Directors were only permitted to serve for three consecutive two-year terms. My three consecutive 2 yr. terms were over and I did not nor could I run once my term expired. I did not look to change any by-laws and in fact was happy to be able to pick up some spare time after having served on the Board for over 15 years (14 as its President). If there was ANY impropriety or mishandling of my duties as a Fiduciary of my neighbor's interest at The Atrium Palace it would have been brought to my attention. It has been over three years since a new administration took over and audits were done and no improprieties were found. As an elected official, I believe it is my duty to represent All my constitients interest above my own. My professional background, as Vice-President of an Internatioal Private Bank (Bankers Trust Company) and as Vice-President and Officer in Charge of the International Advisory Department for North America of an Investment Bank (Banque Indosuez) as well as Asset Manager of a NYSE listed Real Estate Investment Trust sponsored by The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, demonstrates my proven experience as a Fiduciary. Elected officials don't expect everyone to be a supporter.
Dan Nelson September 25, 2012 at 02:01 AM
And who did the work on the library sir, and why was councilman cervieri then booted off the board shortly afterwards, and then had to move out of the building ??
Dan Nelson September 25, 2012 at 02:03 AM
What a load of bunk !!! lol
carol simon September 25, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I walked by the above sign in this article everyday on my way to work. It rather caught my eye. I thought it had some esthetic value and I liked/like the candidates. I thought it was an 'elegant' touch to display Thank You after the race was won. Always having my phone handy, I thought it an interesting subject. I enjoyed seeing the photo again and believe that signs can enhance visuals in a political race.
William Mays September 25, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I believe he replied to your nonsense.

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