MAYOR ED JOHNSON “PLAYS BALL” WITH THEBPLOT
Asbury Park’s brand new Mayor, Edward Johnson, graciously answers more of my softball questions.
TBP: What’s your fave Asbury Park moment?
Mayor: I guess I have two. The July 4th Parade, when the community is out and about enjoying themselves. It seems like the one day we can all forget our troubles and just be one city celebrating. Second would be watching football at a local pub with friends and neighbors – it can get brutal.
TBP: Who do you remember as the teacher who impressed you the most the most?
Mayor: Mrs. Shea in third grade. She would always give you a wink and had a confident and patient “you can do it” attitude. What I admired most about her was her insistence (against the objections of school administrators) that we study a new subject at the end of the 60’s – “Negro History”.
TBP: Go Mrs. Shea and every teacher working hard to do right by our kids. Do you have a poem you love?
Mayor: “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe.
TBP: Loooove that poem. What is a pet peeve in people you have?
TBP: We are too easy to believe the worst in others or to disrespect each other, to prove our point or just because we can. There seems to be a breach of civility in society today.
TBP: Asbury Park has many challenges now and ahead to manage. How do you continue to move forward when faced with obstacles?
Mayor: I stay focused and remember that there is more than one avenue to accomplishing a goal.
TBP: Your sexuality was pretty much a non-issue during each of your campaigns. As Asbury Park’s first openly gay mayor, do you have a message you would like to convey to teens or adults living in “the closet”?
Mayor: My message to everyone is very simple – be who you are. I really never concentrate on the fact that I am Black or Native American or gay or a man or an educator. All of these things are the parts that make up the much larger person that I am.
I understand what the significance of my presence in the office of Mayor means to many people. I want everyone to believe that if I can do it, so can they.
I also want them to know that my number one goal is to be the best Mayor for Asbury Park and to build a great city for all who live, work or visit here.
TBP: There is an army of people here – myself included – who have an unwavering passion for this city. What do you want to say to your constituency?
Mayor: What I hope will become a clear message is that this is the time for all of us to put aside our differences and focus on what is best for One Asbury.
I am confident and have great hope for our future. Even with the global economic climate, I believe that this is a time of great possibility for our city. Challenges will present themselves but so will many opportunities. If we join together we will achieve our common goal of rebuilding a great community like Asbury Park. This is a rare opportunity.
TBP: Thank you, Mayor, for taking the time to help us understand what makes you tick.
BRIEFLY: Wednesday’s regular fireworks on the beach (@ 9.10 pm or so) have been moved to First Avenue. “This is so the wealth can be shared on both ends (of the Boardwalk),” said Garrett Giberson. “All spots on the Boardwalk are good viewing spots. Just keep in mind the direction of the wind because tht is where the smoke will blow.”