The following report is based on a political endorsement made by the Asbury Park Press, a Gannett newspaper published here at the Jersey Shore.
TOMS RIVER-The Asbury Park Press today declared that Toms River mayoral candidate Jonathan Petro was playing the “anti-Semitism card” because of the Toms River mayoral candidate’s stance against overdevelopment and for his support to maintain the township’s 10-acre-zoning for houses of worship despite a council resolution to lower that minimum to two acres.
The Asbury Park Press went on to endorse Maurice “Mo Hill” instead.
“We think it is critical that the next mayor show strong leadership in trying to tamp down the anti-Orthodox sentiment that has poisoned much of the discourse in Toms River and beyond,” the newspaper said.
The newspaper also championed Hill’s plan to build high-density apartment buildings in Downtown Toms River, one such project is already in the planning stages.
“Hill favors the current plan, which calls for 500 residential units — apartments, condos and townhouses,” the newspaper said. “Petro favors redevelopment that begins with businesses, bars, restaurants and the arts, which he believes should come first to make the downtown more attractive to new residents.”
The paper said Petro’s plan to uphold 10 acre zoning for houses of worship in Toms River is, “utter foolishness”.
“It’s both discriminatory and bad policy,” the paper said. It went on to say Petro’s campaign played the “anti-Semitism card” for opposing a reduction in acreage for houses of worship.
The newspaper also slammed Petro for a political mailer attacking Mo Hill for accepting $2,500 from Scott Gartner, an Orthodox resident who threatened to sue the township if the town did not lower the minimum acreage on houses of worship.
The political endorsement of Hill ended stating, “We hope he can do what too many other local politicians in Ocean County have failed to do — work to counter the ignorance of those fanning the flames of anti-Semitism.”
Earlier this year, the Asbury Park Press declared Councilman Daniel Rodrick as a Bigot for his stances against overdevelopment and Hill’s relationship with the Orthodox Jewish Community.
The Toms River Jewish Community Council (VAAD) has also signaled their support for Mo Hill, but as of yet, no official endorsement has been published.