The Coastal Star

Candidates for the March 9 Manalapan Town Commission election in order of appearance on the ballot:

Seat 2
Robert Evans, unopposed incumbent

Seat 4


Louis DeStefano
PERSONAL: 67; single; bachelor’s in English, Long Island University.
PROFESSIONAL: CEO of Thermatix company.
POLITICAL BACKGROUND: Serves on town zoning commission; former chair and vice chair of Manalafest; former architectural commission vice chair, former library board member.
POSITION ON ISSUES: Favors single-family homes over development of parcels with multiple dwellings and town homes. Wants to keep setbacks and height restrictions and maintain and continue the style of living. Would be vigilant regarding the new sand transfer plant and maintaining the beauty of the beach.
QUOTE: “I am the only candidate who is a homeowner both on the Point and on the barrier island on the ocean. That has made me uniquely sensitive to issues that pertain to both.”


Gerald Kent Shortz
PERSONAL: 73; divorced; two children; premed degree, Wabash College; medical degree, Northwestern University.
PROFESSIONAL: Former Air Force flight surgeon; retired orthopedic surgeon.
POLITICAL BACKGROUND: Manalapan commissioner, 1978-2002; mayor 1988-2002; vice mayor, 1984-88.
POSITION ON ISSUES: Opposes any density increase. Priority is beach preservation, on which he long has worked, including currently developing protocols for the new sand transfer plant at the inlet. Also strongly supports refurbishment of the new library through private funds rather than public funds. QUOTE: “The hot button in this town right now is density, and I’ve always been opposed to any increase in density. I’m a great believer in green space, adequate setbacks for buildings, etc.”

Seat 6


Howard Roder
PERSONAL: 73, married; one child; bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s in administration, University at Albany-State University of New York.
PROFESSIONAL: Retired; formerly one of largest independent propane distributors in New York State. POLITICAL BACKGROUND: Serves on town architectural commission; no previous elected office. POSITION ON ISSUES: Against any townhouses or multiple-family dwellings in any part of Manalapan. Priorities are to aggressively guard against fiscal waste, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the water department operation that he considers the town’s most important asset.
QUOTE: “The main thing is not to accept the statue quo. We need people that have the time, the knowledge and the expertise to make sure we’re carrying out all these functions in the best interests of all the residents. I’m retired, I have the time and the knowledge.”


Tom Thornton (incumbent)
PERSONAL: 63; married; two children; BA Notre Dame; MBA Long Island University.
PROFESSIONAL: Consultant in restaurant and retail industry; former CEO of several retail and restaurant chains.
POLITICAL BACKGROUND: Seeking fourth straight two-year term.
POSITION ON ISSUES: Very important how to handle two major pieces of property, the Benjamin property and Plaza Del Mar. In best of worlds, Plaza Del Mar would have all retail, and Benjamin only single-family homes. Also the large water plant that serves the town and almost all of Hypoluxo. It’s tough to be as efficient as we’d like to be, because of the very small amount of customers. We’re a small town with a large water plant. Normally you wouldn’t find that. So we really have to focus and pay very close attention to the water plant in terms of the infrastructure, in terms of the age of the pipes, in terms of what we build. All of that needs constant scrutiny. So that’s an issue for the future in terms of the future spending of this town.
QUOTE: “As far as I know Manalapan has the lowest millage rate in Palm Beach County. That’s been a lot of hard work by the current commission, in tough times economically. We’re very strict with our money and consequently able to get the lowest millage rate.”

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