TOMS RIVER, NJ – When Toms River Township attorney Terrance Turnbach ran for office in 2017, he published and mailed a fake newspaper meant to degrade Orthodox Jews and paint them as developers coming to overbuild the township.
One of Turnbach’s campaign mailers had a picture of his opponent photoshopped in front of a high-density residential construction site. Also photoshopped into that mailer was a fake thumbs up and a sign that read, “Welcome, Lakewood Developers”.
Turnbach, who is up for re-election in 2021 told residents that he will stop Lakewood development and used the imagery as a dog whistle to rally residents against the growth of North Dover.
Now, four years later and up for re-election, Turnbach has changed his tune and criticized a Toms River political organization for posting a picture of Orthodox Jewish residents and linking them to development. That photo has since been removed, Turnbach said.
Turnbach said residents need to educate themselves.
“Why would we go there Toms River? We’ve got to be educated. It’s what I’m teaching my kids, you should teach yours,” he said. “I’m going to stand right here and point it out. I’m going to stand up for our residents. It’s about making sure people feel welcome about this community.”
“We did what was right,” Turnbach said of the changing of the town’s ten acre zoning ordinance to two.
“All faiths are important and equal,” Turnbach added. “All residents are welcome in our town and all people are equal. It’s ignorant. It’s not about zoning. How ignorant to put out a Facebook post that is meant to incite division and fear and to make people not be comfortable in our community.”
Councilman Josh Kopp, a Republican said, “It’s only March and election season started.”