Bayshore Tea Party Group Submits The People’s Map

By Art Gallagher

The Bayshore Tea Party Group Redistricting Committe, Middletown, submitted what they are calling “the only truly Constitutional Map released thus far in New Jersey’s decennial foray into map making” to Dr Alan Rosenthal, PhD, the 11th and tie breaking member of the State Redistricting Commission.

In his cover letter to Rosenthal, BTPG Redistricting Committee Chairman Sean Spinello, Esq., said that the group “set out to produce a non-gerrymandered map that protects the all-inclusive and singular most important community of interest – the franchised voters of the State of New Jersey.”

Without consideration for partisanship, incumbency or socio-economics, the group’s map was constructed based upon the Constitution requirements of population equality, contiguity, compactness, and keeping districts wholly within individual counties where possible and where not possible, splitting districts into as few counties as possible.

In a statement posted on the BTPG website, Patrick Murray of Monmouth University Polling Institute said,

“Except for what appears to be an inadvertent split of Egg Harbor Township between Districts 1 and 2 (which will requiring some re-tooling) the map’s parameters are solid.  It also maintains and perhaps enhances minority representation (basically as well as the map proposed by the minority coalition!) and provides for real competition for control of the next legislature.  Of course, it is unkind to incumbents, and thus contrary to what Rosenthal has laid out as his priorities.  On the whole, a map worth adding to the discussion.

The map is unkind to incumbents.  In Monmouth County, Senators Joe Kyrillos (Middletown) and Jennifer Beck (Red Bank) are both in a new 13th district comprised of Bayshore and Two River towns.   Old Bridge is moved, along with incumbent Assemblyman Sam Thompson, from the current 13th to an all Middlesex County 19th.  Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (Little Silver) would join Assemblywoman Amy Handlin as incumbents in the lower house.

The current 11th district would remain largely intact, adding Manasquan and Oceanport, and be renamed the 12th.  Incumbents, Senator Sean Kean and Assembly members Dave Rible and Mary Pat Angelini would be unaffected.

The new 11th district would be comprised on Colts Neck, Farmingdale, Howell and Tinton Falls of Monmouth County and the Ocean County towns of Jackson and Lakewood.  Senator Robert Singer (Lakewood) would be the incumbent with Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (Colts Neck).  There would be a vacant Assembly seat in this district.

The town by town key of the BTPG “People’s Map” can be found here.

The Redistricting Commission is required to  release the new map on April 3.

Posted: March 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Bayshore Tea Party Group, Redistricting | Tags: , | 20 Comments »

Jacobson vs Kean?

By Art Gallagher

Former Assemblyman and trCityNews publisher Dan Jacobson, a Democrat, says he’s seriously considering a challenge to Senator Sean Kean in the Republican primary and that it is this blog’s fault that he’s considering it.

Good.  I’ll take responsibility for that. 

This blog has never been about preaching to the choir, even though as Governor Christie says, preaching to the choir makes them sing better.   Democrats and Independents have always been welcome here.  I’m proud to have the only conservative blog with a link on Blue Jersey‘s blog roll. I’m proud when morons on the right who can’t count call me Arlen or a RINO.  I’m proud that Kathy Baratta can’t stay away, sprays some insults in the comments every now and then before going back to her little websites to rant about me.  If I’m not tweaking or out and out angering members of the mainstream media and members of the political establishment, on both sides of the isle, I’m not doing my job.

I think it is weird when friends, acquaintances or readers I don’t know personally tell me, often apologetically, that they don’t agree with me, but that they respect me and still enjoy the site. I think it is weird that the guy I ran against for council in Highlands years ago still takes it personally that I had the audacity to do so.  I think personal animosity and vitriol over differences of opinions is weird.  I think it is weird that Democrats and Republicans alike are offended that Democratic Chairman Vic Scudiery’s companies advertise on this site.  It’s sad that people can’t understand how Vic and I can be both friends and political adversaries.  It’s not sad for Vic or I.  It’s sad that so many people will only relate to people they agree with on everything and that differences of opinion can threaten a releationship.  It is weird that agreeing to disagree is a big deal.  It is almost as if differences of opinion is the new racism in terms of how we thoughtlessly separate ourselves from each other.

I’m especially proud that MMM is Dan Jacobson’s favorite blog and that he has chosen to participate here.   Dan and I have roughly the same size readerships.  His might be a bit larger than mine, but mine is more committed.  While we come at it from different angles, with different styles and mediums, Dan and I both seek to wake people up, challenge the status quo, shape opinion and influence action.

But enough about I why I publish Dan’s work here and why those of you who only relate to people you see eye to eye with are ripping yourselves off.  Let’s talk politics and piss some people off.

First, when it comes right down to it, I don’t think Dan will challenge Kean in the primary.  He’s too much of  kitten. Kitten, kitten, kitten!  He wouldn’t even call Sean Kean and talk to him.  Even though it is painless to do so. You leave a message and Sean doesn’t call back.  What’s so hard about that?   Dan’s such a kitten that I wonder if really ever called former Red Bank Mayor Ed McKenna.  For years Dan complained that McKenna wouldn’t return his calls.

Secondly, Dan’s candidacy would cause a Constitutional crisis.  Using his newspaper to promote his candidacy would raise interesting and challenging issues regarding New Jersey’s campaign finance laws.  Dan could be required to disclose his advertisers as campaign contributors on his ELEC reports and return ad fees/donations that exceed the limits.  Some advertisers have already spent more than the allowable campaign contribution amounts and would have to pull their ads for the remainder of the campaign.   Dan is just the guy to take campaign finance laws all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, accept for one thing….he’s too much of a kitten to do it.  That and he’s not pissed off enough about Kean’s anti-marriage equality vote to put his paper out of business.

Third, he won’t win.  Sure, based upon the 2009 turnout a victory looks to be possible, but all Sean Kean has to do to win is spend a little bit of the SEIU/CWA/NJEA money he has collected on a post card and robo call and he’ll turn out more than enough voters in Wall Township to crush Jacobson district wide.  Just because he can, Sean would get lawn signs and a troop of volunteers to distribute them for overkill.  Dan might spring for a few signs and ask his paper boy to deliver them to stores that distribute the triCityNews, but the store owners won’t put them up.  Now he’s spending money for signs and losing ad dollars. 

Still, I hope I’m wrong.  I hope Dan is not too much of a kitten, kitten, kitten and that he goes for it.  Not because I want my friend to go broke (he’ll have to pay in advance if he wants an ad here!), but because Dan’s readers need to hear his message about goverment employee unions:

For years, I’ve criticized the Democratic Party for being clueless on economic policy. Becoming a subsidiary of the unions destroyed us. We lost our independence, and the ability to shrink the government and reduce taxes when needed. That’s why angry Democrats write in calling me a Republican.

Call me crazy. But if a government employees union has the right to collective bargaining, it’s absurd that they can elect those who sit across the bargaining table. And it’s absurd that they can elect those who enact the rules for that bargaining.

Tell you what: Government employee unions should not be allowed to collect mandatory dues – and then use those dues to elect those running the government that employs them. That gives them way too much power. That’s the root problem right now. It’s why collective bargaining can’t be fair. It’s why everything is out of whack. If these unions want to form their own  political action committees and convince members to voluntarily contribute, so be it. That’s democracy. But today’s situation is ridiculous.

When I write stuff like that many of my Democratic readers call me names, just like my idealogical right wing readers do when they don’t agree with me, and dismiss my arguments.    Even many of my Republican readers are affraid of that argument, given the power of the unions in NJ.  They need to hear from Dan and others too.

Maybe Dan can skirt the ELEC issues by waging a write in campaign.  I don’t know, he should ask a lawyer who knows stuff like that. 

But the message is important and needs to get out.

Posted: March 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Dan Jacobson, Sean Kean | Tags: , , | 7 Comments »

Photo Finish

By Art Gallagher

The race for the Monmouth GOP nomination for Freeholder is coming down to the wire.  The only safe bet at this point is that Howell Mayor Bob Walsh will not be the nominee.  A late entry into the race, Walsh has impressed on the stump, but this is not his year.  He has a future in county or state politics, if he wants it.  Elected in Howell as an Independent, Walsh needs to build support within the Republican party in order to secure a nomination on a higher than municipal level.

The race as it stands now is a nail biter between Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, Wall Committeeman George Newberry and Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich.  Tonight’s speeches at the Monmouth County Affilitated Club’s candidates night ( Lakeside Manor, Rt 36, Hazlet, 6PM) will be delivered with the hope of closing the few undecided delegates and picking off delegates with “soft” commitments.  A gaffe or a home run tonight could determine the nomination.  Not that I want to create any pressure for the candidates.

Rich has emerged from the “oh him again” candidate to a tenacious contender.  He has earned the respect of many and the admiration of his competitors.  His presentation skills are strong.  Rank and file Republicans and Tea Party groups both like him.   If Rich wins the nomination it will be from the strength of his support from the municipal chairs, especially from the smaller coastal and bayshore towns.

Newberry is a solid guy.  Honest, hardworking, dependable.  A team player.  While not yet comfortable on the county stage, George, if nominated will be a strong candidate in the general election against Democratic incumbent Amy Mallet and Sean Byrnes, if Byrnes is the Democratic nominee.   If Byrnes runs for the legislature, Newberry is even stronger in the general.

Lucas is a proven winner in  rough and tumble Manalapan politics.  He is Lillian Burry’s first choice for a running mate. He has strong support in among chairs in the western part of the county.  Andrew has run for Freeholder before, losing to Barbara McMorrow in 2006 when she was a Democrat.  The is no shame in losing to McMorrow and losing a countywide race is no longer a disqualification for seeking another shot.  Mallet lost an Assembly bid before winning her Freeholder seat and John Curley was successful in his second try for Freeholder.

The Monmouth GOP is fortunate to have such a deep bench of qualified candidates.  Each of the four gentlemen pursuing the nomination this year could win the general election and serve with distinction.   The close race is an indication of the difficulty of the choice.

The selection committee meets Saturday morning.  MMM will have the result first.

Posted: March 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth GOP, Monmouth GOP Affiliated Club | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Mulling a run against Sean Kean…in the GOP primary!

By Dan Jacobson, Publisher, triCityNews  (Cross published in the triCityNews, Thursday, March 24, 2011)

I’m a Democrat. And I’m starting to seriously consider running against Senator Sean Kean in the Republican primary.

Why not? I’d love to see what that forbidden land looks like. Like when this newspaper sent me to Havana, Cuba on assignment. Running as a Republican would be one hell of a journalistic expedition. I think it would be a blast.

 Here’s my favorite angle to the Kean vs. Jacobson story:  If the contest were based solely on economic issues, he’d beat me in a Democratic primary. And I’d beat him in a Republican primary. I’m not kidding! It’s pretty wild.

For years, I’ve criticized the Democratic Party for being clueless on economic policy. Becoming a subsidiary of the unions destroyed us. We lost our independence, and the ability to shrink the government and reduce taxes when needed. That’s why angry Democrats write in calling me a Republican.

Conflicts with big labor predate my journalism career. I served one term as a Democratic Assemblyman in Trenton 20 years ago. In my final race, I told the NJEA that school vouchers should be tested in poor urban school districts. That didn’t go over well. They endorsed my Republican opponents. And when I lost my seat in 1991, a local AFL-CIO activist ran against me as an independent to siphon off votes. Many in that union were angry because I refused to support a state payroll tax to bail out their self-insured health insurance funds.

Now contrast that with Republican Sean Kean. Last week, I wrote about his history of taking endorsements from the government employees unions – specifically the NJEA and the state workers union (CWA). With those endorsements, Sean sold out the limited government principles of the Republican Party. He gave up his independence. Check out his campaign reports at the website of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. You’ll see union contribution after union contribution. I stopped counting at $20,000 between the NJEA and the CWA. And I only got through about one-third of his reports starting with his most recent. That was enough.

(And Sean got tons of police union money – he’ll never get a ticket from a State Trooper! Biggest surprise? Even I was stunned to see a large $5,000 contribution from the SEIU union out of New York – that’s the powerful union instrumental in pulling the Democrats way out of the mainstream. Google the SEIU and the Democratic Party. You’ll see.)

Call me crazy. But if a government employees union has the right to collective bargaining, it’s absurd that they can elect those who sit across the bargaining table. And it’s absurd that they can elect those who enact the rules for that bargaining.

But that’s Sean Kean. He’s the recipient of all that union largesse. And how hilarious that it takes a Democrat like me to say it! You won’t hear a local Republican speak up. Party loyalty, you know. Man, I hate that shit.  So remember this: Sean Kean would bury me in a Democratic primary with all his union support. And that just cracks me up!

Tell you what: Government employee unions should not be allowed to collect mandatory dues – and then use those dues to elect those running the government that employs them. That gives them way too much power. That’s the root problem right now. It’s why collective bargaining can’t be fair. It’s why everything is out of whack. If these unions want to form their own  political action committees and convince members to voluntarily contribute, so be it. That’s democracy. But today’s situation is ridiculous. Exhibit A is Sean Kean’s campaign finance reports.

So why have I stayed registered as a Democrat? Because I don’t want to live in a theocracy. That’s what the cultural right-wing of the Republican Party represents – and they’re as powerful in the GOP as the unions in the Democratic Party. I just don’t like hypocrisy. While Republicans politicians claim they want limited government, many will happily order the government to tell a woman what to do with her body. Or tell a huge chunk of our population who they can marry.

Sean Kean’s vote against same-sex marriage last year is what really pissed me off. That’s what got me. It was a moral issue that he called a “tough” vote, meaning a politically tough vote because he represents a sizeable gay community. What bullshit. There’s nothing “tough” about a moral issue – you vote what you believe. Period.

But back to my kamikaze Republican candidacy. Let’s get it all out. Over the years, I’ve also derided the Republican Party as being dominated by anti-gay bigots and gun nuts. With pro-lifers I’ve been more gentle (at least as far as I can remember). Because they’re motivated by legitimate religious beliefs. I just don’t think the issue has any place in our secular government. It’s between a woman and her doctor.

(And gun nuts hold your fire! I would not tighten New Jersey gun laws. Every cop I know tells me that weapons used in crimes here are coming from other states with lax gun control laws, particularly in the south. That’s the problem. So don’t shoot! I’m not running for federal office, where I’d change that. Nor am I running for state Senate in Georgia. If I were, you bet I’d be wearing a bullet-proof vest right now.)

But forget all this stuff.  My beliefs are united by one thing – a knee-jerk reaction against the concentration of power, wherever it may be found. That includes government employee unions. That includes powerful corporations that get government favors instead of competing in the free market. It also includes big media – my disgust with the Gannett-owned Asbury Park Press is well-documented. And it includes political parties who order elected officials what to do. I recoil against it all.

You know what? I sound a lot like a Tea Party type. I just can’t call myself one! They’re way too kooky. But on the big issues they’re right, and they’ve done a huge service for our nation by turning the Republican Party upside down and forcing it to stand for fiscal responsibility.

OK, so here’s my political situation:

I can never run again as a Democrat. The unions and I have a bad 20 year history. Sorry, I just love repeating this: Sean Kean would beat me in a Democratic primary with all his union support. Hands down!

Sure, I could run as an Independent in the general election but voters are asleep. They don’t pay attention. It would be no fun and a waste of time. People are lazy and apathetic. Yes, I’m insulting the voters.

Yup, a kamikaze run in the Republican primary as the most unconventional of insurgents makes sense. It’s a very small electorate that pays attention. And they understand the debate about economics, limited government and the dangers of concentrated power in our economic and political system.

Could I win? You tell me.

Only 2500 people voted in the last state Senate Republican primary. That’s it. When they learn about Sean’s and my divergent experiences with unions, I bet you I peel off a third of them. Maybe more. Lots of Republicans have long respected my independence. They’re motivated by economics and freedom. They will not like Sean’s alliance with the unions. For many, the social issues aren’t as important. Or they agree with me on them.

Anyway, peeling off a third of the usual vote makes the tally about 1700 to 800 in Sean’s favor. But the question is whether I can convince, say, just 1000 independents to come out and vote for me. That would put me over the top. Remember, independents can vote in the primary. And they’ll definitely like what I have to say.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The triCityNews has about 25,000-30,000 regular readers who read the paper every week or two. They are tuned in politically. And they reflect our region’s overall distribution of Republicans, Democrats and Independents. I bet close to 20,000 Republican and Independent triCity readers would be eligible to vote in the primary. That’s a lot.

And I’m sure they’ll enjoy following such a wild race. What great political theater! Guarantee they’d love what I had to say. Or love to hate it! Hey, that’s why they read the paper now.

Whether they can stomach voting for me is another story. Of that I have no idea. But I may only need an extra 1,000 or so to come out. Out of about 20,000. Not bad odds. (Then again, 5,000 could come out against me!)

Nah, I’ll never win. It’s preposterous. Perhaps in some ways I’d rather lose. After all, I’ve got a fake newspaper to run here, and that takes time.

Of course, Republican leaders have nothing to fear if the unthinkable happens and I win. We’ll get along just fine. I’ll ignore them, and they’ll ignore me. I have no interest in getting involved in campaigns for anyone else – Republican or Democrat. I have no interest in party politics, fundraisers or rallies. And I have no interest in party leaders telling me how to vote.

 It’s quite simple. I’d just want to do the job of Senator and advocate for my principles. Imagine that.

But me running in a Republican primary is way too nutty, right?  I mean, this is crazy? I can’t really…

Help! Someone please stop me! Stop me, please! Stop me before I run again….as a Republican!!


This the following was not published in the triCityNews. It’s Dan’s addendum just for his growing MMM readership:

This is your fault Art!
After your commentary last week — and also the comments by TR — I started to think about this much more seriously. I am now likely to do it, and am moving forward on organizing.
Looking forward to MMM reader feedback. No doubt it will be uniformly positive. And I think I know who TR is! (I’ll send him a code: He’s svelte, has great vision and is a dogged defender of the downtrodden in the criminal justice system…of course, if I’m not right he won’t know what the hell I’m talking about).
Also, anyone is welcome to say whatever they want in the triCityNews in response to this article. Our email is [email protected] Please put something in the email captoin about letter to editor kean/Jacobson. Please note that the shorter and more concise the better. While we normally reserve the right to edit letters, in this situation it is not appropriate for us to do that. But if it’s too long, we can’t guarantee that we’d print it. I’d suggest 400-500 words max. Obviously, if there’s something libelous or defamatory it won’t be printed.
Nor will we print any expletives. Just kidding.
(Note to my fellow Republican Mike Golub: Your comments last week were excellently written as usual. I would have printed any of them in our paper. But we normally couldn’t have fit ALL of them. Please feel free to send in a response with that in mind. Still, if you don’t want to cut back what you have to say, I don’t want to censor you. Please send whatever you like and I’ll do my best to get it in regardless of the length. After all, the triCityNews is, as they say, Fair and Balanced.)
Please submit letter to editor by monday at 9 am for us to get them in this week.

Posted: March 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Dan Jacobson, Sean Kean | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

What Are The Trenton Democrats Up To?

By Art Gallagher

Our friends at InTheLobby are questioning Trenton Democrats political sanity. Daily Muse says the Democrats seem to be poised to blame Governor Christie for NJ’s average 4% property tax increases, yet they are giving Christie very strong ammunition with which to run against them in the coming legislative election by failing to pass the “tool kit,” pension and benefit reform and expanded veto power over the shadow government of the authorities and commissions.

Daily Muse says:

But a lot of what is taking place in Trenton these days confuses us.

We get that Democrats are looking to blame Christie for the 4% rise in property taxes.  Higher property taxes are always a good campaign issue, especially in a year when all 120 seats in the Legislature are up for re-election.

What we don’t get is why the Democrats are giving Christie so many talking points to counter that with on the campaign trail.  They won’t pass the bulk of the tool kit; they haven’t passed the pension or benefit reforms; and they won’t give Christie the expanded veto power over authorities that he wants.

We know that the unions are opposed to the pension and benefit reforms.  And we know that the Assembly is balking at any health benefit reforms, saying that the reforms should be made in collective bargaining.  Which, by the way, doesn’t sound like it’s a point that will sell well with the rest of New Jersey’s voters, but we’ll see how firm the Assembly’s resolve is after Senate President Steve Sweeney posts his health benefit bill for a vote.

But that still leaves the question: why don’t Democrats call Christie’s bluff, and pass the rest of the tool kit, the epanded veto power, and the pension and benefit reforms? They’ll still have the 4% increase in property taxes, and they’ll take away one of his campaign speeches.  Otherwise, he will barnstorm the state, accusing Democrats of being beholden to the special interests, and choosing them over the taxpayers.

Frankly, as it stands now, it’s almost as if Democrats instead are giving Christie a tool kit of campaign rhetoric he can them against them this fall. 

I don’t think the Democrats behavior is confusing at all.  They are doing what they always do; protecting the status quo and hoping to find ways to preserve the troughs from which they and their friends are swilling.

There are two things the Democrats are waiting for before they will do anything about Christie’s reform agenda. 1) The new legislative map and 2) certainty that Christie will complete or not complete his term.

The Democrats don’t want Christie’s reforms to happen ever.  They want the economy to improve so that the public’s mood improves and cash starts flowing into the Trenton coffers.  They want to bide their time waiting for an angry electorate to become complacent again in order that Trenton can resume its spending rampage.

If the Democrats think the new legislative map favors their retaining control of the legislature they won’t give Christie the reforms he is proposing.  If the new map is one they think favors Republicans picking up at least one house of the legislature, the Dems are likely to be more cooperative with the governor.

Likewise, so long as there is a Christie for President buzz, the Democrats are motivated to stall on his agenda.  Their stalling weakens Christie’s resume of accomplishment if he does run for president.  If he runs, they won’t have to deal with him.  They don’t know how tough Kim Guadagno is, but they don’t think she is as tough as, or as talented a politician as Christie is.

There is not likely to be any movement on Christie’s reform agenda before the November election, unless we get a new legislative map that is a clear Republican gerrymander.  That is not going to happen.

Regardless of the map, Christie will make this election a statewide race.  Every district will be a race between Christie and his legislative running mates vs. the Democratic legislative candidates.  The governor will spend the summer and fall on the campaign trail throughout New Jersey with the power of incumbency.  The election will be a referendum on Christie’s reform agenda.

If Christie pulls off another improbable statewide victory by winning both the Senate and the Assembly, turning blue jersey red, his presidential prospects will soar.  The clamour for him to run for president will become a national demand. If he can turn the governor’s office over to Kim Guadagno with a Republican legislature to enact the reform agenda he can declare that he has succeeded in turning Trenton upside down and that he is accepting the call to save our country from another four years of Obama.

Should the Democrats retain control of both houses of the legislature and retain or expand their margin of majority, Christie’s national prospects become more complicated.  On one hand a statewide defeat would hurt Christie’s national prospects on the top of the national ticket.  On the other hand he might personally conclude that with the legislature safely in the hands of the Democrats for another 10 years that he has turned Trenton as upside down as it is going to get.  In that case, the Vice Presidency might not look so bad if the thinks the eventual GOP nominee in 2012 has a chance to beat Obama.

I don’t see anything happening with Christie’s reform agenda until after the November election, nor do I see the Christie for President buzz going away or getting louder before the November election.

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Trenton Democrats | Tags: , , | 9 Comments »

Middletown Budget Will Meet 2% Cap Despite No “Tool Kit”

By Nicole Gough

Middletown, March 21- Mayor Anthony Fiore announced that the township committee will introduce a budget that complies with the 2% property tax cap.  He thanked the library board for contributing $500 thousand to the township budget.

Fiore stated on Monday that there would be a budget proposed at the April 4th meeting despite concerns over the extensive paperwork involved in the $500 thousand from the Middletown Library surplus.

Fiore expressed gratitude toward the library board, saying that he was grateful that “reasonable minds came together” in terms of returning 1/2 million dollars of a $1.2 million surplus.  Fiore also acknowledged that this type of occurrence is not unique to Middletown.  Fiore noted that the township has been under stress in regards to the budget, and the money from the surplus would relieve some of that stress.

“The library still has a good surplus,” he said. 

In response to concerns over whether the .5 million would be included in the April 4 budget, Fiore said that papers were already being prepared in order to maintain expediency. 

 “We will propose a budget on April 4 that will be in full compliance with the 2% property tax cap,” said Fiore. 

 Committeeman Gerry Scharfenberger urged citizens to support the governor’s toolkits, stating that “they will give us the tools we need to operate more efficiently.” 

In response to Scharfenberger, Fiore said the toolkits “make sense for us,” as they “provide mayors like myself the opportunity to do more with our budget.”

Even without the toolkit, Fiore was confident that the budget would move forward.

“We will provide a budget without a toolkit,” he said. “We will move forward, as difficult as it is.”

The Township Committee also addressed concerns regarding the paving project initially included in the library surplus.  Because of the returned portion of the surplus, the project would need to be put on hold. 

 Committeeman Kevin Settembrino, who spoke about parking bundling at a library board meeting, responded, saying the project could continue next year if the board had the money, and “they won’t have to incur interest charges.”

Apart from the library initiative and budget legislation, the meeting also focused on promoting volunteer groups and the Live Where You Work program, which rewards citizens who live and work in Middletown and meet certain income requirements.  Committeeman Steve Massell encouraged citizens to advocate the program and inform others whom they thought might qualify.

 Fiore commented on the solar initiative, noting that it will be expanded to include both the library and the sewer authority.  Fiore said Middletown would not only be the greenest town, but “also the one to generate more bang for buck for our taxpayers.”

Fiore also read a proclamation recognizing March as Developmental Disabilities Month and highlighting the contributions of the Arc of Monmouth.

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown | Tags: , , | 16 Comments »

Freeholder Candidate Selection

By Art Gallagher

The Monmouth County GOP selection committee will meet next Saturday the 26th to nominate a candidate for Freeholder.  The winning candidate will be Freeholder Lillian Burry’s running mate and will seek to unseat Democratic Freeholder Amy Mallet in the November election.  Assuming, of course, that there is no primary challenge.

Like Burry, incumbent Surrogate Rosemarie Peters and the entire Monmouth County legislative delegation are expected to be nominated by acclamation.

The four candidates vying for the Freeholder nomination are Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, Wall Committeeman George Newberry, Howell Mayor Bob Walsh and Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich.   All four gentlemen have bee touring the county meeting with Republican Clubs and Tea Party Groups.  Each candidate and their supporters are working the phones to pick up votes of the municipal chairs and elected officials, past and present, who comprise the selection committee.

Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, Howell Mayor Bob Walsh, Wall Committeeman George Newberry and Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich. Photo credit Rhoda Chodash
Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, Howell Mayor Bob Walsh, Wall Committeeman George Newberry and Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich. Photo credit Rhoda Chodosh

Who do you favor as a Monmouth GOP Freeholder Candidate?

Posted: March 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County Republican Committee | Tags: | 18 Comments »

Jersey Sting

By Art Gallagher

Jersey Sting, Ted Sherman’s and Josh Margolin’s behind the scenes expose’ of the corruption scandal that rocked New Jersey in the summer of 2009 is selling briskly.  Word is the the publisher ordered a second printing after the first day’s sales.

I haven’t read the book yet.  I expect my copy this week.

WCBS Newsradio 880 of running a five part interview by Wayne Corbet of Sherman and Margolin Monday through Friday this week.

The New York Post has a compelling excerpt dealing with the investigation into the government’s investigation into the underground kindney trade.  Read it here.

Posted: March 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Jersey Sting | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Jersey Sting

James O’Keefe: “I wish the Tea Party Hadn’t Told The Press That I Didn’t Want The Event Videoed”

By Art Gallagher

James O’Keefe is blaming the Bayshore Tea Party for the BPR (bad public relations) he’s suffering from as a result of his demanding that the Asbury Park Press’s  videographer not record his presentation to the group’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on Thursday evening.

O’Keefe told MoreMonmouthMusings, “I wish the Tea Party hadn’t told the press that I didn’t want the event videoed,” before saying that he was on another line and promising to call back.  He hasn’t called back.

The rambunctious gumshoe didn’t leave Charles Measley and Barbara Gonzalez, the BTPG members who appeared on the APP.com video, much choice.  No one knew O’Keefe didn’t wanted the event recorded until he failed to take the podium after an inspirational introduction by BTPG Chairman Bob Gordon and an enthusiastic standing ovation.   He was hiding in the mens room and had be coaxed to make his presentation with the press present. 

It was only after Measley promised to get the videographer out of the room that O’Keefe emerged from the commode to address the admiring crowd.  There were reporters in the room. O’Keefe’s delay required an explanation.  The videographer was in the room when O’Keefe started.  Measley and Gonzalez handled the situation well.   Steve Grossman, the former Hazlet GOP Chairman who is heard off camera arguing with Gonzalez, handled himself just as those of us who know and love him have come to expect.

For someone who has demonstrated that he is quick on his feet, O’Keefe handled this one very poorly.  He gave the media, who he is a ferocious critic of, a story to discredit him where there wasn’t one.

O’Keefe knew that reporters and photographers were in the room during his presentation.  At one point while showing a video clip of a Star Ledger interview of one of the teachers exposed in his Teacher Gone Wild video, O’Keefe asked, “Are there any Star Ledger reporters in the room?”  Seeing none, he showed the clip that made the point that the mainstream media is out to protect those he is exposing and to discredit him.

Unfortunately, James gave his detractors in the mainstream media the ammunition to embarrass him this time.  There was no upside to banning the videographer.  There was plently in the presentation that had already made national news, but nothing that would have made a new national story.  Only O’Keefe knows if he altered his presentation because reporters were present.  Had he allowed the presentation to be videoed, APP.com might not even have posted the video.

APP reporter Alesha Boyd William’s initial story on O’Keefe’s presentation was excellent.  A fair and accurate report on what happened.  The story was featured prominently at APP.com on Friday morning and was front page above the fold in the Friday print edition.  I’d link you to the story, but it appears to be gone from the APP site, replaced by the far juicer “gotcha” story, that is now national news.

James O’Keefe is doing important work.  He is right when he says that the mainstream media no longer does investigative journalism and that their news coverage has devolved to “punditry, stenography and promotion.”

O’Keefe has the potential to become a long term major journalistic figure and make a real difference.  However, he needs to step up his game in handling the inevitable blow back from his work.  He needs to stop blaming others for his own missteps.  Otherwise he’ll be a flash in the pan.

Posted: March 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Bayshore Tea Party Group, James O'Keefe | Tags: , | 36 Comments »

Why Sean Kean Will Not Face A Primary Challenger

By Art Gallagher

Dan Jacobson’s column, Tea Party target? Republican Sean Kean is long allied with the NJEA and government employees unions, while an entertaining read, as most of Dan’s work is, will never happen. Only a moron would primary Kean this year.

It’s not that Dan doesn’t have some valid points. He does. Government labor loves Kean. So does private sector labor. Big business loves Kean too. A look at Kean’s list of campaign contributors reveals that the 11th district senator is well funded by both labor and business interests dependent on friends in Trenton.

Ideological conservatives consider Kean a RINO. The loudest of the ideologues are morons and have been making some noise about challenging Kean. They’re morons because they would rather support candidates that comply with 100% of their ideology and lose elections then support an imperfect candidate that agrees with them most of the time and wins.

Jacobson argues that the right shouldn’t like Kean because he’s friendly with those who Governor Chris Christie is fighting. Kean could potentially have a bigger problem because he apparently fell out of favor with Christie when he issued a statement critical of the state’s clean up efforts during the December blizzard.

To the casual observer, Kean might look vulnerable to a primary challenge from the right.

He’s not.  Not a serious one.

Jacobson doesn’t like Kean because he voted against gay marriage.

The gay community is furious with Kean, not just because of his vote against marriage equality, but more so because of what he said before casting his vote:

Kean might be right that he has the gayest legislative district in the state. Even so, Jacobson knows that the gay vote won’t be enough to defeat Sean Kean in the general election. That’s why Dan wants someone like Anna Little or me to challenge Kean in the primary. Dan knows how to count. He knows that only way to defeat Kean is in a primary. Democrat Dan also knows that if Kean were to be defeated in the primary that his “safe seat” would suddenly be in play. It won’t happen. State Senator is too small a title for Anna Little and I’m not a moron.  At least I’m not that much of a moron.

As imperfect as Sean Kean is, if he could be beat in a Republican primary, Steve Corodemus would be a senator. Kean is from Wall Township and he is wildly popular there. Wall Township dominates the 11th district and it will likely dominate what ever district Kean lands in after redistricting.

Kean and Corodemus had an uneasy partnership as Assembly members representing the 11th from 2002, when Kean was appointed to fill the seat vacated by the death of Assemblyman Tom Smith, through 2008 when both men left the Assembly. Corodemus had been in the Assembly for 10 years before Kean, who had never before held elective office, won Smith’s seat. Corodemus was the heir apparent to Senator Joe Palaia. Yet Kean’s ambitions were obvious. In their second race together, 2005, Corodemus and Kean were targeted by the state Democrats and narrowly won reelection against Corzine funded challengers. The winning votes came from Wall Township and Kean was the top vote getter.

Corodemus is not a moron. When Palaia announced he would retire rather than seek another term in 2007, Steve did the math and realized his seniority would not overcome Kean’s popularity in the southern part of the 11th district, especially Wall. Corodemus also announced his retirement from the legislature rather than challenge Kean in a primary or serve in the Assembly “under” Senator Kean.

Jacobson says a Tea Party type should take on Kean. That would be insane to do in a blue state against a “safe” Republican incumbent in a year when Republicans are attempting to win control of the legislature against steep odds. The Tea Party folks I talk to are not insane. They see the lay of the land and would rather work to pick up Republican seats in the Senate and Assembly than to put a “safe” seat at risk. They know that if Kean’s seat becomes vacant that the Democrats will recruit a viable candidate to run for it, even if that means changing nominees after the primary, and dedicate money to try to win the seat.

Anna Little couldn’t defeat Sean Kean in a primary and neither could I. I wouldn’t challenge Kean because I know I couldn’t defeat him. Little won’t do it because State Senator is not a prestigious enough title for her.

The only person who could defeat Sean Kean in a primary is Jacobson himself. If Dan changed parties he might be able to get 3000 of his Independent readers to declare as Republicans on primary day and vote for him. There were only about 2600 primary voters in district 11 in 2009. There’s little reason to expect a larger turnout this year, unless Dan Jacobson dedicates his paper to bringing out new voters to vote for him.

Jacobson is thinking about it. A few hours after he sent me his column he sent me an email asking if Kean is pro-life.

“Something tells me that neither you nor Anna is going to going to run against him, which means it will fall to me to take him on in the GOP primary.”

“If I can determine that he’s not for banning abortion, then the only constituencies he’ll have left are gun nuts and the anti-gay bigots. Then again, those two groups make up the majority of the Republican Party so I guess I can’t win.

Anyway, do you think Sean is pro-life?”

I don’t know if Kean is pro-life. I suggested that Dan call Sean and ask him. “Naaaw, he’s a pussy! Pussy, pussy, pussy!” I love how Dan expresses himself because it allows me to quote him, push the envelope myself, and still come off as a Republican.

“Wait a minute Dan,” I said, “You don’t want to call Sean Kean and that makes him a pussy?”

I don’t think Dan will do it. Maybe he was joking. He’s always joking. Maybe underneath it all he’s a, you know, …..not a moron.

Posted: March 18th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 8 Comments »