VOTE NOVEMBER 2ND
VOTE NOVEMBER 2ND
Paul has been a resident of Ridgewood for more than 25 years; he and his wife, Jeannie, raised their two daughters in town. Paul volunteered many hours to their schools and sports teams when the girls were younger, coaching and spearheading initiatives to bring students together through community involvement. He was an active participant of Dad’s Night and Jamboree, and continues to support both organizations.
A respected attorney, Paul served as Deputy Attorney General for the NJ Environmental Prosecutions Task Force. During his tenure, Paul investigated and prosecuted environmental crimes related to the illegal disposal of hazardous and medical waste. Among his many accomplishments, Paul executed the search warrant at the ExxonMobil refinery in Paulsboro, NJ, uncovering the illegal disposal of hazardous waste at the refinery.
Paul opened his restaurant, It’s Greek to Me, in 1996 and quickly became an enthusiastic volunteer in Ridgewood’s central business district. He served multiple terms as president of the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce, and is currently on their Board of Directors. Paul often works behind-the-scenes on community-minded events, for example: he secures the annual Christmas tree every year--at no cost to the Village--and helps coordinate the festivities each year. He was instrumental in bringing the PRIDE flag and the Menorah to town, and has been a driving force behind the Pedestrian Plaza. He recognized how important it was to bring our community together during the pandemic, and took action. Paul assisted in every facet of the initiative, from helping retailers set up displays, to cleaning up trash and planting flowers.
In March of 2020, during the height of the pandemic, Paul co-founded the Feed the Frontlines initiative. The program kept our frontline workers fed and cared for, helped our central business district stay afloat, and engaged hundreds of community volunteers to work together for the benefit of all. The program has since been awarded two state grants totaling $3 million. Every penny is given to multiple Ridgewood restaurants that provide hot, nutritious food to thousands of Bergen County residents in need, including people who live in Ridgewood.
In September 2021, the Feed the Frontlines founders were awarded the Governor’s Jefferson Medallion, which is considered the Nobel Prize for community and public service. Paul also received the US House of Representatives Hometown Hero Award in June of 2021 for his extraordinary efforts and leadership.
Paul is all in with everything he attempts, and he will bring that same level of commitment and dedication to the Village Council.
Promote Open, Respectful Dialogue
At the top of Paul’s list is improving the way Village government communicates with our residents. Too often lately, the manner in which our Village Council engages with residents at meetings--and the subsequent rhetoric surrounding these meetings on social media--is not acceptable in a public forum, or anywhere for that matter. This has to change, and it has to change now! Paul strongly believes that we are all, first and foremost, neighbors who share the same streets, sidewalks and schools, and at the end of the day, we owe it to each other to be mindful of that commonality when we interact with one another. What kind of message does it send to our children when we speak to our neighbors in a manner that, if we heard our children doing the same, they would be disciplined for that kind of behavior?
We need to set a better example. We need to speak to our neighbors with respect, whether we agree with them or not. We’ve seen the divide in our country grow wider and wider with each passing week: the rhetoric and vitriol has grown worse, fueling an even greater divide. With each contentious engagement, we throw gasoline on a fire that threatens to burn our house down.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can’t do anything about the rest of the country, but we can do better right here, right now. From this day forward we can speak to one another as though our children are in the room listening. Because they are. We can speak in a tone that denotes respect and dignity for the people we are speaking to regardless of the opinion they have.
We can set the example for our children and our neighbors who don’t share our opinions. And if we do, Paul believes we will all be surprised by the amount of common ground we discover between us.
Finding common ground is what it’s all about.
Foster Unity & Community Engagement
Paul is a good listener. He knows that to fix a problem, you must first understand the problem. He understands how important it is to share concerns and feedback, so innovative solutions and ideas can come to fruition. As a longtime resident and downtown business owner who interacts one-on-one with other Village residents each and every day, Paul has a unique opportunity to hear and engage with the community on a number of issues, keeping his finger on the pulse of what matter most to those who live here, and he feels compelled to help. He believes that open and free-flowing communication between residents and the governing body is critical, and that’s what he will bring to Village government as your Councilman.
Paul is committed to reestablishing a forum where residents can meet in person with council members at least once a month. He will also work to implement a hybrid meeting format for Village Council meetings. He cares about our disabled and immuno-comprised residents, parents with young children, and others who have difficulty attending on-site meetings. Paul wants to provide a more convenient way for them to participate in local government.
He understands that listening to our residents is the key to success for all.
Keep Residents Informed
As Councilman, Paul Vagianos will find solutions to improve communication from Village Hall. He understands the importance of keeping Village residents up-to-date on what is happening in the Village. Village residents must be kept informed on important news and critical updates such as street closures due to road or utility work, hazardous weather warnings and other issues that affect public safety. We need a more user-friendly Village website, ensure timely distribution of news coming out of council meetings, and to review and implement a robust social media policy for Village employees and its volunteers.
Keeping residents informed must be made a priority.
Focus on Seniors
As an active and engaged member of the Ridgewood community for over 25 years, Paul has met and spoken with a wide spectrum of Village residents: couples and young families just starting out, parents with school-age children and teens heading off to college, empty-nesters and retirees. With the added challenges presented by the ongoing health pandemic, Paul recognizes the pressing need to provide assistance and outreach for one of the most vulnerable populations: our seniors.
Paul will continue to work closely with organizations that help seniors thrive and maintain a high quality of daily living in their golden years. Aging in place is a priority for him. Paul is committed to bolstering the resources that make this a great community for residents of all ages.
Ridgewood is known as a great place to raise a family. Let’s also make it known for being a great place to live once your family has grown.
Revive Ridgewood's Downtown Area
Ridgewood’s Central Business District is one of the crown jewels of our Village. In recent years, however, that jewel has not shone as brightly as it has in the past. As a successful restaurant operator for the past 25 years and past President of the Chamber of Commerce, no person in our Village is as familiar with the CBD as Paul.
We all know that retail stores are struggling to find their way in this digital economy. Paul has worked tirelessly to implement innovative programs including the popular Pedestrian Plaza, free 15 minute Grab & Go Parking, and street corral dining.
As Councilman, Paul will bring more creative shopping and dining experiences to the central business district. He will continue to engage our governing body, business owners, and resident volunteers to work together to make Ridgewood the best place to live, work, and visit.
Paul understands that a great CBD is an essential component to maintaining the quality of life here in our Village. An attractive and thriving downtown benefits the entire Ridgewood community, by attracting sales tax revenue from out-of-towners, increasing homeowners’ property values, and holding the line on taxes for Village residents.
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