June 24, 2018 | ° F

Independent party drops from race

Challenging party will not appear on Nov. 6 ballot, incumbents unopposed

The outcome of the New Brunswick City Council is now more predictable after a party of independent candidates announced they were dropping out of the race, leaving the incumbents unopposed.

The party, made up of local residents Charlie Kratovil, 26, Yolanda Baker, 42, and School of Arts and Sciences senior Jonathan Coloma, 22, made an announcement to drop out of the race Friday, the final deadline day.

“It was a very difficult decision,” Kratovil said. “But I think we made the right decision.”

Kratovil, who runs the activist website newbrunswicktoday.com, said he could contribute more to the city if he allocated his energy and funds to side projects than if he could if he had been elected to the council.

“The whole thing is about doing what’s best for the city,” he said. “I’m only one person. Win or lose in the election, I could only make so much difference on the council. It would be challenging to balance [my website] with a city council run.”

With the independent party dropping out, the Democratic Party is left running unopposed for the three council seats that are available.

The party includes incumbent Councilwoman Betsy Garlatti and a new candidate, John A. Anderson, according to newbrunswick.patch.com.

“That’s usually how it is around here,” said Kratovil, referring to the Democratic Party that has run unopposed in past elections. “I’m glad we gave them a run for the months that we did.”

Kratovil said he believes the independent party’s ongoing opposition at meetings affected some recent council decisions, including a resolution passed on July 18 giving the city’s engineering department the green light to create the first bicycle lanes in New Brunswick.

“I have talked about bike lanes for years and now that we put the pressure on them and ran they are going through with it,” he said.

Kratovil said he was not the only one whose schedule conflicted with the campaign, explaining that Coloma was also preoccupied with work and his class schedule.

Coloma said the candidates would hold off any city council plans for a while, but insisted he would remain in an independent party if he ever ran again.

“Independent is the way to go,” Coloma said. “To vote for a candidate means to really know the values of the person and not just their party.”

Coloma spent his youth in the New Brunswick public school system and said the city’s education problems were a defining factor in his decision to run for city council.

“I went to what I think is one of the better high schools in New Brunswick — the Health Sciences Technology High School. I graduated, but unfortunately, I think that right now the graduation rate in the New Brunswick High School is 68 percent,” Coloma said.

Kratovil said he hoped there were other parties running against the Democratic Party, but understands how hard it would be to run a successful campaign.

“I think it has to do with our system of elections,” he said. “It is very difficult to mount a challenge to the establishment here.”

By Giancarlo Chaux

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