We’re hearing plenty about Bridgegate and Governor Christie’s response to it from cable news pundits and late night comedians. MMM thought it would be interesting to hear what our Monmouth County leaders, from both parties, have to say about the controversy and Christie’s response to it at his press conference last Thursday.
Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long, said “No, and I’m angry that some are tossing by name around as if I’m waffling about my endorsement,” when we asked her if she regretted endorsing Christie in light of the Bridgegate scandal. “Bridgegate is terrible, but it does not undue the Sandy recovery. My endorsement was based on the Sandy recovery. Let’s wait and see what happens when all the facts come out. Right now it’s a feeding frenzy.”
Senator Jennifer Becksaid, “The governor has always straight forward me with, and he was forthcoming in his press conference on Thursday. I believe him.”
Monmouth County Republican Chairman John Bennett said, “Governor Christie was open and sincere in his press conference. He said that he will now talk to everyone on his staff himself to get to the bottom of what happened. This issue may have gotten away from him because he departed from his usual practice of doing it all himself.
“Unfettered and overzealous politicos on Christie’s staff went way over the mark. The lane closures were a bad, bad idea that never should have happened.”
Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal hasn’t returned our calls since we debunked his malicious and inaccurate attempted character assassination of a Red Bank Republican Council Candidate last October, so we asked his predecessor, Victor Scudiery, and the man who opposed him in the chairman’s race in 2011, Frank LaRocca to comment.
Former Monmouth Democratic Chairman Victor Scudiery said, “I take Chris Christie’s word for it. We’ll have to play it out and see what happens. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, it’s frightening, but we have to wait and see.”
Happy New Year MMM readers! 2014 has been a great year so far!
Here’s what we expect in the year ahead.
Senator Cory Booker will narrowly defeat Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick in the U.S. Senate election. Bramnick will be the instant front runner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in the 2016 special election.
Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik will be a speaker at numerous Democratic Clubs throughout New Jersey and will establish himself as a major fundraiser for Democratic candidates on the municipal and county levels. Hornik will proclaim that the only thing he is running for is reelection as Marlboro’s mayor in 2015.
The 11 incumbent New Jersey Congressmen running for reelection will win. The Republican nominee in the third congressional district seat currently held by Congressman Jon Runyon, who is not seeking a third term, will be elected. Tommy DeSeno will write a column complaining about gerrymandered districts.
Senate President Steve Sweeney will keep picking on Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr.
Governor Chris Christie will have more public appearances in Iowa, South Carolina, Texas and Florida, combined, than he will have Town Hall Meetings in New Jersey.
Anna Little will seek the Republican nomination for Congress in the 6th district, hoping for a third shot at Congressman Frank Pallone. Little will lose at the Monmouth and Middlesex nominating conventions and wage a primary. The Bayshore Tea Party Group will sit out the 6th district primary, citing their commitment to Dr. Alieta Eck’s campaign in the 12th district. Eck will be unopposed for the 12th district nomination to take on Congressman Rush Holt.
Vin Gopal. When you’re twenty-eight years old and the most popular governor in the nation singles you out as a practitioner of the “politics of yesterday,” twice in four months, you’re having a bad year.
Worse for the Monmouth County Democratic Chairman, he doesn’t have the juice to enforce the retribution he promised to Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long and Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider, two Monmouth County Democrats who endorsed Governor Chris Christie’s reelection.
When, after a devastating county-wide electoral loss, a member of your party leaks your declaration of victory taking credit for wins in races you lost and for a victory in a non-partisan election you weren’t involved in, you’re having a bad year.
But none of those things are what landed Vin Gopal on MMM’s biggest loser list.
Gopal launched his inaccurate attack against Sean DiSomma in a press release late on a Friday afternoon in October. He encouraged reporters to print his allegations on over the weekend and do their fact checking on Monday, after the story had legs. Some did, to their own detriment.
In his desperate zeal to win in a Democratic town where he was losing, Gopal ruined his credibility with members of the media who had come to rely upon him as a reliable source.
The Bayshore Tea Party Group. Once respected as a powerful and principled political force, Barbara Gonzalez , Bob Gordon and their shrunken band of zealots traded their welcome at Republican power tables where they could have made a difference for the road less taken of self-righteous irrelevancy.
Guv Chris Christie accepting Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider’s endorsement. Photo by Art Gallagher.
Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider, a Democrat, today endorsed the all female Republican team of legislators in New Jersey’s 11th district, Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande.
“I have a worked closely with our legislators on a variety of issues,” said Schneider in a statement issued by the Republican legislators, “They always have the best interests of Long Branch in mind and have gone out of their way to help our residents. Senator Beck, Assemblywoman Angelini and Assemblywoman Casagrande manage to keep partisan politics out of the picture and focus on the issue at hand. I am proud to work with them and offer them my endorsement.”
In addition to endorsing the Republican legislators from his district, Schneider is one of over 50 Democratic elected officials who have endorsed Governor Chris Christie.
“Oh, that was nice of him,” said Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich, a Democratic candidate challenging Angelini and Casagrande, when informed of Schneider’s endorsement.
Monmouth County Democratric Chairman Vin Gopal was surprised that Schneider endorse all three Republican women representing the 11th. “He endorsed all three of them?” Gopal asked twice, “No, I have no comment.”
Hundreds of Monmouth County residents got the hell off the beach this morning to witness Adam Schneider, the Democratic Mayor of Long Branch, endorse Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, for another four year term leading the Garden State.
Guv Chris Christie accepting Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider’s endorsement. Photo by Art Gallagher. Click for larger view.
Christie was swarmed by boardwalk visitors anxious for a photograph and to shake his hand as he exited his vehicle outside of McLoone’s Pier House. It took him 20 minutes to work through the crowd while making the short walk to the veranda for Schneider’s announcement.
Schneider declared that he is a proud Democrat who took the difficult step of making a cross party endorsement because “Christie doesn’t care what national Republicans think, he is working for the people of New Jersey.”
Schneider said mentioned to a Christie staffer, Christopher Stark, that he might vote for the governor at a meeting in January after Christie chastised House Republicans, particularly Speaker John Boehner, for holding up legislation authorizing federal relief for Superstorm Sandy recovery.
“He wrote that down,” Schneider said of Stark, “I knew I would be hearing from the governor. He called from his cell phone, not a government phone number.”
After agreeing to endorse Christie, Schneider called 30-45 of his Democratic friends to give them the news before it became public. “Some were disappointed. Most said, What’s taken you so long?”
Twenty prominent Democrats, including former State Democratic Chairman, Assemblyman Joe Cryan, Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik, Red Bank Mayor Pat Menna, and Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider have endorsed Marlboro Council President Frank LaRocca for Monmouth County Democratic Chairman.
In their endorsement letter the Democratic leaders said that LaRocca has the qualities necessary to be a successful Chairman “in abundance”
Unmatched history of fundraising at the local level having raised over $500,000 in three election cycles for municipal elections.
Commitment to ALL Monmouth County Democrats. Frank has hosted fundraisers, provided headshots and lawn signs, and offered strategic advice for all candidates up and down the ballot.
Proven winner, having won 8 or 9 seats in Marlboro, including 2 of 3 Republican seats during the Christie campaign.
Energized and empowered an over 1,200 member youth council creating a culture of community and civic responsibility in Monmouth County teens.
Accomplished and respected professional, recognised as being a Top 100 lawyer in New Jersey by his peers five (5) years in a row.
The Monmouth County Democrats will elect a new Chairman Tuesday evening, 6PM to 9PM, at the Shore Casino in Atlantic Highlands. The candidates are LaRocca and Long Branch businessman/publisher Vin Gopal.
The Editorial Board of the Monmouth and Ocean Counties paper of record actually met with local mayors! Call that progress. MMM criticised the APP editorial board last month for sitting down with Newark Mayor Cory Booker for no reason other than to boost Booker’s statewide name ID when they, until yesterday, hardly, if ever, meet with local mayors.
Middletown Mayor Tony Fiore and Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider met with the Neptune Nudniks on Wednesday, at the behest of the League of Municipalities. The mayors’ purpose was to bring attention to the State’s decades old practice of keeping the energy receipts tax that public utilities pay.
In energy receipts tax has been in existence for decades. It was originally set up in lieu of property taxes to compensate municipalities for the utility infrastructure rights of way. The tax used to be broken out on your utility bill. It was paid by the utilities directly to the municipalities.
In 2002, during the McGreevey administration, the State started collecting to tax. We all know what happens to money when to goes to the black whole of Trenton for redistribution. Much of it disappears and the intended recipients get shafted. Think Unemployment Insurance Fund and Transportation Trust Fund.
Fiore told MMM that the League sued McGreevey to get the money but the State just turned around a reduced State Aid by a commensurate amount.
Fiore, Schneider and the League now want that money back. It’s not coming, according to what State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff told the APP, “At this time we do not have the financial flexibility to make discretionary adjustment” to provide more from energy taxes.
Fiore told MMM that the energy receipts tax would have provided $4 million dollars to Middletown Township in 2011. That would have saved the Library surplus the Township relied on, prevented layoffs and cleaned up a few snow storms.
What burns Fiore is not just the $4 million that Middletown didn’t collect from the utilities. It’s the $1.5 million hit the Township continues to take in reduced State Aid from 2009 levels. “We wouldn’t be increasing property taxes 1.97% this year if our Aid was restored,” said Fiore, “give us our $1.5 million back and I can reduce taxes by 2%. The Board of Education got all of their Aid restored, yet they are still raising taxes.”
Schneider told the APP that not receiving the energy receipts tax is costing Long Branch “several million dollars.”