TOMS RIVER, NJ – An Orthodox Jewish lobbyist who lobbied Toms River Mayor Mo Hill and the Township Council to reduce the town’s 10 acre zoning law on Tuesday lashed out at Shore News Network’s use of a photo in our news story as an attack on him.
This week, a lobbyist who pushed for that ordinance criticized in a public meeting our coverage of that story.
The facts of the matter in this story are quite clear and simple. Booky Kaluszyner, who self-described himself Tuesday night as a lobbyist is one of the leaders of the Toms River Jewish Community Council, often referred to as the Toms River VAAD.
The Toms River VAAD lobbied Mayor Maurice Hill and the township council to change the zoning. The VAAD also publicly endorsed Mo Hill, Matt Lotano, Kevin Geoghegan and Josh Kopp in the 2019 election.
The VAAD was present at Mo Hill’s election night win and celebrated their victory together in a hotel ballroom. Mo Hill’s campaign used a photo of Hill, Geoghegan, Lotano, Kopp, members of the Toms River VAAD and national Jewish lobbyist Avi Schnall, director of Agudath Israel of America as their campaign Facebook page’s main image.
Shore News Network used the photo used by the Hill campaign to promote their election victory.
Mr, Kalusznyer can claim using a picture supplied by the Hill campaign to promote their election win is anti-Semitic all he wants. Shore News Network stands by its decision to use a relevant picture to explain the full circle of political lobbying in Toms River and how a successful lobbying effort by the Toms River VAAD with Hill and the township council lead to the township’s eventual zoning change. The fact that some people may be members of the Jewish faith is completely irrelevant to the process.
Mr. Kaluszyner can bully and intimidate public officials into getting his way, but SNN will not be bullied by political lobbyists or politicians who cater to those lobbyists. We would like to congratulate Mr. Kaluszyner and his VAAD/Council for their hard-fought victory that has redrawn the town’s entire zoning map and master plan. If we ever need to lobby for something in Toms River, you will be the first lobbyist we call.
Shore News Network has provided extremely fair coverage over the years of the growth of the Orthodox Jewish community in Toms River, Jackson and elsewhere to the point where we have even been criticized for being too fair. We will never apologize for being fair, balanced and truthful.
-Phil Stilton, Editor, Shore News Network.