As if the weather wasn’t a damper enough to the Jersey Shore kickoff that Superstorm Sandy ravished businesses, their employees and shore area municipalities desperately need, the shore’s biggest newspaper, and its most popular columnist/blogger are working against us too.
What is really insulting, is that the APP blatantly show how ignorant they are about the New Jersey economy, our tax structure and the cost allocation of our various governments.
There is another logical reason for making the beaches free: revitalizing the Shore economy. What better extra inducement to get people to come to the Jersey Shore? Free beaches could mean millions of dollars in additional revenues for towns. More money spent in restaurants and bars, on summer rentals and motel stays, on souvenirs, on gasoline. For some families, beach fees are prohibitive. For a family of four, they can run $40 or more. That kind of expense can make the difference between going to the beach or staying home. Or between going once or twice a summer instead of several times during the season.
Doing away with beach badges would be a logical thing to do if it would bring revenues to shore towns. Duh! Why didn’t the mayors think of that!?
“Club Monmouth” is kaput. The Asbury Park Press negative monkier for the Monmouth GOP is obsolete now that their editorial board has endorsed the entire Monmouth Republican slate using the adjectives “innovative.” independenct,” and “effective.”
Accordingly, MMM is retiring the moniiker “Neptune Nudniks,” for now, that we have used for the last few years in naming the APP Editorial Board.
Curley has demonstrated leadership, independence and fiscal conservatism during his time as a freeholder. His tireless research and persistence in uncovering the excesses and illegalities of former Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham led to Burnham’s ouster and guilty plea on official misconduct charges this summer.
DiMaso and Curley helped pare $4.1 million from the county’s $487 million spending plan this year, without laying off any employees and keeping property taxes stable. Curley has pledged to continue with plans to consolidate county jobs as people leave and to explore more opportunities to outsource county services.
DiMaso’s insistence on the need for the freeholders to keep our state legislators’ feet to the fire when it comes to the federal government’s lack of transparency with the redevelopment of Fort Monmouth is welcome, as is her focus on continuing to find ways to share services with neighboring counties and municipalities.
“What’s next, endorsing Romney?” one MMM reader asked. That would be something. The APP’s sister publication with the same website design, The DeMoines Register, reversed their 2008 endorsement of Obama yesterday, declaring,
Which candidate could forge the compromises in Congress to achieve these goals? When the question is framed in those terms, Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate.
The former governor and business executive has a strong record of achievement in both the private and the public sectors. He was an accomplished governor in a liberal state. He founded and ran a successful business that turned around failing companies. He successfully managed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Romney has made rebuilding the economy his No. 1 campaign priority — and rightly so.
Could they possibly endorse Curley and DiMaso for Freeholders too?
The Asbury Park Press has recognised the fine job Republican County Clerk M. Claire French has done over the last ten years and endorsed her for a third five year term.
The Neptune Nudniks got this one right. They dismissed Democratic candidate Michael Steinhorn as someone who “has little to recommend him for the job,” despite the fact that he exposed the statistical anomaly of the Monmouth GOP winning the first general election ballot position in 30 of 33 years and that they like his proposal to that the clerk’s office provide mobile services to seniors and veterans.
Given their logic in endorsing French, it will be fascinating to see how they endorse at least one of the Democratic Freeholder candidates, as I expect they will.
The Democratic Freeholder campaign has been so anemic that I suspect many readers don’t even know who is running. Despite the Monmouth Dems outraising the Monmouth GOP through September, there is little evidence that Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal and his team are trying to get their nominal slate elected. Publicly Democratic leaders say the right things about supporting their candidates. Privately they seem resigned to a Republican blow out.
The Democratic candidates are William Shea and Kevin Lavan. Shea, as Amy Mallet’s running mate, lost to Freeholders Lillian Burry and Gary Rich last year. He is challenging Freeholder Director John Curley for a full three year term. Lavan, who lost his run for Assembly to Declan O’Scanlon and Amy Handlin in the 13th district last year, is running against Freeholder Serena DiMaso for the remaining one year of Rob Clifton’s term. Clifton resigned upon being sworn into the State Assembly.
Shea and Lavan were not even on the same page when the Nudniks interviewed all four candidates in September. Shea recklessly proposed a 20% across the board spending cut from the county budget without backing up how he would do it. Lavan said “maybe” depending upon the results of an audit.
Yet, the Nudniks loath single party control of any governing body (except the federal government when it is in Democratic hands) and has a historical bias against “Club Monmouth” as they frequently call the Monmouth GOP. They seem to forget that all of the Monmouth Republican county office holders and all of Monmouth GOP leadership has been replaced since Operation Bid Rig, except Claire French who they just endorsed. The GOP holds all five seats on the Freeholder Board.
Will the APP editorial board affirm the nudnikness and endorse Shea or Lavan? We’ll find out soon. Either way, it won’t matter on election day. It might matter to their own crediblity if the actually endorse the best people for the job and get over their own biases.
The Asbury Park Press is still struggling for relevance and their trying to get it by attempting to set Governor Chris Christie’s agenda and schedule. Their likelihood of success is less than that of Star Ledger Editorial Board Editor Tom Moran’s attempts to get Christie to improve his manners.
Back in May, APP ran an multi-part expose on the Lakewood School System. So few people read about it, cared about it or took it seriously that when Christie came to Freehold for a Town Hall Meeting the following week, no one brought it up. That prompted an front page editorial rant that bashed Christie, Congressman Chris Smith and others not directly responsible for the mess in Lakewood for not paying attention to the APP Neptune Nudniks.
Last week the governor visited a private school (publicly funded) in Lakewood that serves the developmentally disabled. The Nudniks responded with another front page rant and by getting the Lakewood Board of Education President to write an open letter to the governor complaining that he is not paying attention to them on their schedule.
Yesterday, the Nudniks sent a reporter to a Christie press conference in Hackensack about a new solar power farm to ask him about the Lakewood Schools and why he hasn’t visited:
Yesterday the Neptune Nudniks ran an editorial lamenting the lack of competition in the primaries.
This morning The Star Ledger reported that there are five candidates seeking the two major party nominations for U.S. Senate, 44 candidates for 13 congressional seats (they should have said 12 seats or 24 nominations) and 8 candidates for three special election primaries for State Assembly.
There are two GOP primary races in The Asbury Park Press’s coverage area. The CD-6 race between Monmouth GOP candidate Ernesto Cullari and Middlesex GOP candidate Anna Little, and the CD-4 race between incumbent Congressman Chris Smith and Terrence McGowan of Howell.
A search for “Anna Little” reveals that the former Highlands mayor’s name has not appeared on the site since February. “Ernesto Cullari” produced no results in a search of the site. On May 14 a letter to the editor in support of McGowan in CD-4 was published. Nothing else. Congressman Smith has made international headlines recently for his work to secure Chen Guangcheng’s release from China. Yet the APP is interested only in what Smith is doing for Lakewood’s schools, an issue that Smith’s office has no authority over. APP.com also reported that a 71 year old Manchester woman drove her car into the side of Smith’s Whiting office last November.
This is not to say that the press should cover every candidate that collects signatures to get on a primary ballot. Earned media should indeed be earned and so-called “fringe” candidates should be challenged to earn their coverage. MMM is aware that it could have made the CD-4 race more competitive than the rout it will be with Smith getting over 80% of the vote. However, McGowan did nothing to earn coverage on MMM. The first we heard from anybody in the McGowan campaign was last week when we were invited by a reader to a meet and greet a couple of hours before it started.
But there is no excuse for the APP’s lack of coverage of the CD-6 race where the competing candidates each earned the endorsement of a county Republican organization. That is a story.
One could argue, and the Nudniks do as an excuse for their lack of coverage in their editorial, that the gerrymandered congressional districts make the CD-4 and CD-6 races uncompetitive and the end result of each election is a fait accompli.
Where were they during the redistricting process? They ran an editorial lamenting the gerrymandering after fact, but provided little coverage that would have increased public awareness before or during the process.
How do the Nudniks think that voters will get their information about the electorial process? They are very supportive of pay to play restrictions that make it more difficult for candidates and parties to get their messages out, yet the APP does little to pick up the slack or provide coverage to to the electoral process.
Because The Asbury Park Press Is No Longer Relevant
The Asbury Park Press is outraged that Governor Chris Christie did not make the problems of the Lakewood school system a primary topic of his town hall meeting in Freehold yesterday. The Neptune Nudniks are also upset that Congressman Chris Smith hasn’t returned their calls for comment or held a press conference about the Lakewood schools since the paper and pay site ran their series CHEATED about the problems in Lakewood schools last week.
Christie spent much, if not most, of his town hall meeting yesterday talking about education reform. His focus was on tenure reform as a way to improve results in our failing urban schools and to stop paying “a Kings Ransom for failure” by flushing 15% of the state’s tax dollars into failing schools as New Jersey has done for decades.
If ever there was evidence that The Asbury Park Press has become irrelevant, it is their heavily promoted Cheated series, yesterday’s town hall meeting, combined with today’s rants by the Nudniks that Christie and Smith are not paying attention to them.
Why didn’t Christie talk about Lakewood yesterday to hundreds of residents in the APP’s coverage area? Because no one asked him. The governor was talking about education. The APP had just finished a “special series” on the Lakewood schools. Not one person in the audience of the town hall made the connection and asked the governor a question about Lakewood.
“I’ve never seen a less optimistic time, in my lifetime, in this courtry. And people wonder why. I think it’s really simple. It’s because government’s telling them stop dreaming, stop striving, we’ll take care of you. We are turning into a paternalistic entitlement society…”
“….more importantly, there will be more money, more hope, more aspirations, in the hearts of our children and grandchildren than there are today. And that’s what will make the 21st century the second American century. That more than anything else, will allow the United States to export hope, and liberty and freedom around the world. Not by just saying but by living it everyday in the way we conduct ourselves and in the way we govern ourselves.”
~Governor Chris Christie
Chris Christie believes that unrestrained by oppressive and “paternalistic” government, that ordinary people can and will live lives of accomplishment.
Tom Moran, that sanctimonious polyhistor responsible for The Star Ledger’s editorial page, thinks that makes Christie conceded.
The Asbury Park Press editorial board, the Nudniks of Neptune who have fewer orginal thoughts that Joe Biden, agrees with Moran.
Christie made his remarks at a George W. Bush Presidential Center gathering in New York on Tuesday, April 10. Moran posted his rant calling the governor’s message “condescending” early yesterday morning, the 12th. The Nudniks followed yesterday evening calling Christie’s message “hectoring,” “insulting” and “condescending.”
The editorialists of New Jersey’s two largest news outlets must be appalled by Christie’s soaring popularity.
It was the content of Christie’s remarks in between the two phrases I quoted above that got to the liberal regressive pundits. Without naming the president, Christie had the audacity to point out that the Obama agenda has not resulted in hope, but in pessimism. That if it continues we will be financially and morally bankrupt, waiting for the check to show up rather than striving for bigger checks.
Here’s what Christie said, unfiltered by the bias of Moran, the Nudniks or MMM:
This morning The Asbury Park Press argues in an editorial that public labor contracts should be posted online. They argued that municipalites that don’t have websites that can handle such postings should post them on the Department of Community Affairs’ site.
We agree. While we’re at it, why not public notices that municipalities, school boards and private sector zoning and planning applicants now pay millions per year to advertise in newspapers where very few people see them?
During the last legislative session a bi-partisan bill that would have given jurisdictions the option of advertising legal notices in newspapers or online was passed in committee and scheduled for a vote in both houses of the legislature on the last day of the session. It met fierce resistance from the newspaper industry in committee and before that scheduled vote.
The corporate welfare recipients of the newspaper industry argued that politicians would use the choice to punish newspapers who didn’t give them favorable coverage, and that the savings wasn’t that much, if anything. In their final push to kill the bill, which worked, they argued that some towns don’t have websites that could handle the ads.
The legislature’s Democratic leadership, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Shelia Oliver, killed the bill by not letting their chambers vote on it.
Well, thanks to the good nudniks of Neptune, The Asbury Presseditorial board, we now have a solution to the problem of a small number of towns not having websites that can handle posting legal notices. Notice publication could be a shared service hosting by the Department of Community Affairs or by the counties.
Sweeney has already announced that the legal notice bill will not be a priority in the legislative session that just started, signaling to the reformers that support they bill that they shouldn’t bother. Now that The Asbury Park Press has come up with a solution to the newspaper industry’s latest objection, maybe Sweeney will reconsider.
In their editorial, Change inevitable for post office, The Asbury Park Press editorial board accurately spells out how the Internet and digital technology has changed the economics of information delivery, making the United States Postal Service obsolete and insolvent.
The post office is undergoing a major downsizing. Appropriately so because people are just not using it they way we used to. Electronic exchange of documents and information is just far more efficient than physically moving paper across town or across the country.
The Press concludes that, “we cannot subsidize what should be a self-sustaining entity any more than we could subsidize the buggy whip industry at the turn of the last century.”
That unassailable reasoning should also be applied to the subsidies the newspaper industry receives in the form of state mandated legal and public notices advertising.
Classified advertisings in newspapers has gone the way of the buggy whip industry. It has been replaced by craigslist, ebay, autotrader.com, realtor.com, realtytrac.com, and countless other websites. The once thick classified sections of newspapers are now four or five pages daily, half of which is government compelled legal and public notices.
Bi-partisan legislation, The Electronic Publication Of Legal Notices Act, passed the State Senate in July of 2010 and the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee in February of this year. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver has blocked the bill from being voted on by the full Assembly.
With millions of dollars in government mandated subsidies at stake, the newspaper industry came out in force to lobby against the bill arguing that legal notices on government websites instead of in newspapers really wouldn’t save the government money, that poor people without computers would not have access to the vital information( do poor people attend foreclosure auctions and zoning board hearings?) and that elected officials could use the power to withhold legal notice advertisements to punish newspapers for unfavorable news coverage. The newspaper publishers said that their role as unbiased watchdogs would be compromised.
The assertion that newspapers fill the role of unbiased watchdogs is laughable. Yesterday’s Star Ledger editorial laying out a strategy for Democrats to counter Governor Christie’s effective Town Hall meetings, along with the paper’s slanted “news” coverage of Christie’s meetings eariler in the week is just one recent example of how “newspapers” are just as biased as this or any other blog.
But the publishers’ argument that allowing newspaper advertising and/or Internet advertising on governement websites of Legal Notices gives government officials the power to punish newspapers whose coverage they don’t approve of (or to reward newspapers for coverage they do approve of) has merit.
That potential for abuse could be fixed by amending the Electronic Publication Of Legal Notices Act to require that legal notices be published only on government websites. Reasonable fees for ads that are now paid to newspapers by planning and zoning applicants, foreclosing lenders and other private interests that are compelled to advertise could be collected by the municipalities to offset the cost of maintaining their websites and as a new source of much needed revenue.
The rest of New Jersey’s traditional media should embrace The Asbury Park Press’s outstanding reasoning, as it applies to the post office, and apply it to themselves in the interests of the public good. They should let Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver off the hook and suggest she post The Electronic Publication Of Legal Notices Act for a vote before the full Assembly where their friends in the chamber should amend the bill to prohibit governments from spending taxpayers dollars on legal notice advertising and eliminate the requirement that private interests pay to advertise anywhere other than on a government website.
Of course, the 1st amendment would allow the newspapers to continue publishing the notices, as a public service, or as a private sector revenue driven profit center.