Their nominating convention is on Saturday, but the Monmouth County Democrats are still searching for candidates to run for the legislature and sheriff. Today’s “soft deadline” for candidates to come forward could be extended beyond the convention. Chairman Vin Gopal’s quest to be the first county party to officially annoint Senator Barbara Buono with the gubernatorial nomination will end up being a self-inflicted wound if he doesn’t have a full slate to announce on Saturday afternoon.
With the official deadline for candidates to file their petitions not until April 1 and with Buono the only serious candidate for governor (there are two other announced candidates, former Glen Ridge Governor Carl Bergmanson and union carpenter Willie Araujo of Edison), Gopal’s decision to hold his convention a month earlier than normal looks silly.
Serena DiMaso will be elected Monmouth County Freeholder at the Title 19 convention of the Monmouth GOP Committee on January 14. Bob Walsh will withdraw during his speech before the convention.
Bill Spadea defeats Donna Simon and John Saccenti at a Title 19 convention of the 16th legislative district to fill the assembly seat vacated by the death of Peter Biondi. After recounts and law suits, the November special election for the seat is declared a tie between Spadea and Democratic Princeton Committeewoman Sue Nemeth. Another special election is scheduled for January of 2013.
Joe Oxley will be named Township Administrator and In House Attorney for Wall Township. The appointment will forward a statewide trend of municipalities hiring either attorneys or engineers as their administrators as a cost saving measure. Oxley is reelected GOP County Chairman by acclamation. Senator Jennifer Beck will give the nominating speech. Christine Hanlon will be Vice Chair.
Middletown will get a new Parks and Recreation Director. It won’t be Linda Baum or Pam Brightbill.
Jim McGreevey is ordained an Episcopal priest.
Jon Corzine remembers where he put the $1.2 billion.
Senator Joe Kyrillos will be the GOP nominee for U.S. Senator, defeating Anna Little and Joseph Rudy Rullo in the primary.
Congressman Steve Rothman defeats Congressman Bill Pascrell in the Democratic primary for the 9th Congressional District nomination. In the only surprise of the primary, former Bergen County GOP Freeholder Anthony Cassano, who had agreed to take one for the team in the 9th, was defeated when the Bergen County Tea Party Group organized a write-in campaign for Anna Little. Little was on the ballot as a U.S. Senate candidate. Having lost the Senate nomination to Joe Kyrillos, Little accepts the nomination, asks Kyrillos to host a fundraiser for her, and promises to move into the district if she wins. She doesn’t.
Maggie Moran defeats Vin Gopal and Frank “LaHornica” LaRocca in a close election for the Monmouth County Democratic Chairmanship.
James Hogan of Long Branch is the GOP nominee for Congress in New Jersey’s 6th Congressional District. Frank Pallone is reelected by 8%.
Jordan Rickards of North Brunswick is the GOP nominee for Congress in New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District. Rush Holt is reelected by 15%.
On August 28, the second day of the Republican National Convention, the National Weather Service warns that Hurricane Chris is heading towards the Jersey Shore. Acting Governor Kim Guadagno gets on TV and says, “Get the heck off of the beach please.”
Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee for President of the United States. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be the Vice Presidential nominee.
President Obama nominates Vice President Joe Biden to be Secretary of State. Biden submits his resignation as VP effective upon both houses of congress confirming his successor. President Obama nominates Hillary Clinton as Vice President. Speaker of the House John Boehner refuses to schedule confirmation hearings for the VP nomination on the constitutional grounds that their is no vacancy in the office. Obama makes them both recess appointments. Clinton is nominated for VP at the Democratic National Convention and Secretary of State Biden spends October in China.
Despite losing their home states of Massachusetts and New Jersey, the Romney-Christie ticket wins the electoral college by one vote, 270-269. The winning vote comes from Maine, one of two states that awards electoral votes by congressional district. Romney-Christie lose Maine 3-1 but win the election. Obama-Clinton file suit to challenge Maine’s method of awarding electoral votes. Romney-Christie counter with a suit in Nebraska, which they won 4 electoral votes to 1, using the same arguments that Obama-Clinton use in Maine. The U.S. Supreme Court decides both cases for the plaintiffs, 5-4, and determined that in all future presidential elections that electoral votes are awarded on a winner take all basis nationally. Tea Party leader Dwight Kehoe calls for the impeachment of the Justices who voted affirmatively, claiming that they don’t understand the 10th Amendment.
Robert Menendez defeats Joe Kyrillos for U.S. Senate by 1%.
U. S. Senator Frank Lautenberg resigns. In one of his last acts as Governor before ascending to the Vice Presidency, Chris Christie appoints Kyrillos to Lautenberg’s Senate seat.
Wall Township Administrator Joseph Verruni is retiring from his $179,000 per year job, after 20 years of service, on June 1, 2012. He is 54 years old. His pension will be between $80,000 and $90,000 per year, according to a report in The Asbury Park Press.
This rant is not about Verruni.
As Wall is a wonderful place, I’m sure he did a terrific job over the last 20 years. I don’t necessarily begrudge him the $179,000 salary for the work he did (even though Monmouth County Administrator Teri O’Connor makes significantly less) But he’s 54 years old, starting a new career in the private sector, that will be supplemented by $2,500,000 if he lives another 30 years! That doesn’t include the tax payer funded health insurance that will keep him alive, hopefully for his sake and that of his family, more than 30 years!
If Verruni collects $85,000 per year for 30 years, he will have “earned” an additional $127,500 for every year he worked as Wall Township’s administrator.
I really should have taken a government job when I graduated from Georgetown in 1980.
This is not about Verruni. It is about a system that pays adults in the prime of their earning years the equivalent of full time wages not to work. Like my high school buddy who retired from the Bergenfield Police Department at 53 and takes home $20 per month less per month than he did when he put the uniform on every day. Or like the retired State Police Investigator, 47 years old, collecting a pension of $84,300 per year, who is Acting President of Brookdale Community College with a salary of $150,000 per year.
This system is not sustainable and it is not equitable.
The pension and benefit reform package that Governor Christie negotiated with the Democratic Legislature is an improvement of the previous system. Yet the new system is not sustainable over time either. We’re not feeling any of the pain yet.
Over the next 30 years, the state pension contribution will be $4.9 billion per year. The local government contributions will be $2.3 billion per year over the next 30 years. Both figures are on average. We’re “enjoying” the savings now with smaller pension contributions that must increase by $500 million per year until we’re “caught up” with all the contributions we haven’t made since 2000.
Unless there is significant economic growth, soon, we won’t be able to sustain this system without significant tax increases.
Who is going to be left to pay those taxes?
If we’re going to have a pension system for government employees, we shouldn’t be paying out until the retirees are 65 years old, or older as life expectancies increase.
Having lost the legislative map battle, Governor Christie made a deal with Senate President Stephen Sweeney over Supreme Court Justice nominees’ confirmation hearing. In making the deal, six months before the general election, Christie implicitly conceded that the Democrats would retain control of the State Senate and the Sweeney would remain Senate President.
Howard Birdsall resigned as chairman of the Brookdale College board of trustees.
86 veterans of the Battle of the Bulge and their families attended a Survivors Reunion and Monument Rededication Ceremony at Thorne Middle School in Middletown.
Rutgers paid Snooki $32,000 to bestow her wisdom upon the student body. They paid retiring University president Richard McCormick $550,000 to take a year off and will pay him $335,000 per year to teach history when he returns.
A tongue in cheek post about who the Democrats could get to challenge Senator Joe Kyrillos when their endorsed candidate failed to submit his nominating petitions, generated more calls from Trenton than any other post of the year.
The worst joke of the month has consequences that will last at least a decade. “Continuity of representation,” a political value in the mind of Rutgers professor Alan Rosenthal, trumped competitiveness and the state constitution in determining the lines of the new gerrymandered legislative map.
The stakes were so high that Governor Christie got personally involved in the negotiations regarding the map. But Rosenthal’s was the only vote that counted. The professor was not persuaded by the governor.
The map was so gerrymandered for the Democrats that Christie and the Republicans did not even try to win control of the legislature. The governor, who came into office vowing to “turn Trenton upside down” transformed into the “compromiser in chief” in order to salvage what he could of his reform agenda.
While Rosenthal preserved the status quo for the Trenton trough swilling class, he unwittingly contributed to the creatation of a national Republican rock star, as Christie, freed up from having to work to win control of the legislature transferred his political attentions to the national stage.
Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore told MMM that the Democrats put Singer and Kean in the same district in the hopes that the GOP would waste resources on a contentious primary in a safe district. The real reason was that the Democrats were horrified at the prospect of Dan Jacobson returning to the legislature in the upper house.
Jacobson was preparing a fanatasy Republican primary challenge to Kean for Senate should Wall and Asbury Park remain in the same district. The Democrats, who have never understood Monmouth County, didn’t realize the futility of such an endeavor. But they knew Jacobson and they weren’t taking any chances. So they put Senator Jennifer Beck in the same district as Jacobson, knowing that he would never challenge her in a primary. Jacobson, through his newspaper, created Jennifer Beck. Just ask him.
The new 11th district would be represented by Beck in the Senate and Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande in the Assembly. A district represented by three women. A historic first.
Assemblyman Dave Rible, formerly of the 11th, was now in the 30th with Singer and Kean.
The new 12th district provided brief drama due to the fact that the lines created a senate vacancy. Sam Thompson of Middlesex County and Ronald Dancer of Ocean County were the incumbent Assemblymen in the predominently Western Monmouth district. The Monmouth GOP wanted to keep three senators. Thompson wanted to move up. Freeholder Director Rob Clifton had long eyed Thompson’s seat in the assembly, but the senate vacancy presented an unexpected opportunity. Always level headed and not one to needlessly rock the boat, Clifton let the Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Burlington chairmen figure it out. Thompson got the senate nod and Clifton joined the ticket with Dancer running for assembly.
The 13th district became even safer for Senator Joe Kyrillos. Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon of Little Silver joined Kyrillos and Assemblywoman Amy Handlon in representing the district. Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornick, a Democrat, had his ambitions put on hold by the map makers who put Marlboro into the 13th.
The Democrats did the best they could, but only put up nominal opposition in the Monmouth legislative districts and on the county level.
Governor Christie’s flirtation with the national media and GOP fundraisers over running for president started to build momentum during March. He told reporters in Washington that he wouldn’t be governor in 2014. He told the National Review’s Rick Lowry “I already know I could win” the presidency.
The Monmouth County Freeholders suspended three SCAT drivers who had called out sick on February 25 but were caught on camera protesting labor reforms in Trenton. State Senator Joe Kyrillos praised the Freeholders for their action and stepped up his call for civil service reform.
Anna Little told The Auditor that she was thinking of running for U.S. Senate instead of Congress.
Peter Burnham was suspended as Brookdale College President on March 3. On March 9 Burnham resigned.
Monmouth University Pollster Patrick Murray accurately predicted that Dr. Alan Rosenthal, the tie breaking member of the legislative reapportionment, would choose the Democrats new legislative map. Murray based his prediction on Rosenthal’s scholarlly work espousing “continuity of representation,” i.e., that there is a value to voters being continuously represented by the same legislator after redistricting.
Even though MMM debunked the value of “continuity of representation” and the Bayshore Tea Party Group submitted a constitutional map, Rosenthal did indeed side with the Democrats, thereby assuring Democratic control of the legislature at least until the 2021 election.
Freeholder Deputy Director John Curley called for a public review of Brookdale Community College’s budget and spending after learning of expensive country club memberships and a housing allowance for college President Dr. Peter Burnham. Burnham had drafted a budget that called for a 8.2% tuition increase and blamed the need for the increase on the Freeholder Board reducing the county subsidy for the college.
Tony Fiore was sworn in as Mayor of Middletown. Shaun Golden was sworn in as Monmouth County Sheriff. Tom Arnone was sworn in to his first term as Freeholder. Rob Clifton took the Freeholder Oath of Office for the third time.
Despite the hullabaloo New Jersey’s mainstream media and the Democrats made of Governor Christie and Lt. Governor Guadagno being on vacation at the same time during the December 2010 blizzard, Governor Christie’s approval ratings were very strong, 53% favorable, in the first FDU poll of the year.
A severely mentally ill 22 year old man, Jared Loughner, opened fire on a crowd in Tucson, Arizonia. He killed 6 and injured 14, including Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. The national mainstream media and Democrats in Congress blamed the massacre on the Tea Party and Sarah Palin.President Obama was presidential in calming the rhetoric and healing the nation.
Governor Christie held a Town Hall meeting in Middletown. During the meeting Christie criticized President Obama’s leadership, a theme that became a staple for Christie throughout the year, causing a draft Christie for President movement among GOP leaders and donors nationally.