Dems will have a primary race for Senate in LD 13

Joshua Leinsdorf and Sean Byrnes will compete in the Democratic Primary for State Senate in LD 13

Joshua Leinsdorf of Atlantic Highlands has filed as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for State Senate from the 13th legislative district.

The former Princeton Board of Education member ran for Assembly as an Independent in 2015 and for Governor as a third party candidate in 2009. As a gubernatorial candidate, Leinsdorf called for cutting taxes, fixing the schools, making public transportation usable and the elimination of county government.

Leinsdorf is the first candidate in the 13th district to file petitions with the Secretary of State’s Division of Elections.  His petition contains 170 signatures. 100 are required. Petitions are due in Trenton on Monday April 3 at 4p.m.

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Posted: March 28th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: 13th Legislative District, 2017 Elections, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Former Middletown Township Committeeman To Challenge O’Scanlon in LD 13

InsiderNJ is reporting that former Middletown Township Committeeman Sean Byrnes will run for State Senate in the 13th legislative district.

Byrnes was one of two Democrats to break the Middletown GOP’s hold on the Township Committee in the wake of Operation Bid Rig.  He was elected in 2007 and served one term before being defeated by Kevin Settembrino in 2010.   Byrnes ran for Monmouth County Freeholder in 2009.  He was defeated by John Curley after Vin Gopal paid for a beach plane banner that misspelled ‘freeholder.’

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Posted: March 3rd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: 13th Legislative District, 2017 Elections | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Kingmaker without a portfolio

A strong argument could be made that the path to becoming a Monmouth County Freeholder goes through Red Bank realtor Jim Giannell’s office. 

Since 2005 when he backed Colts Neck Mayor Lillian Burry, Giannell has picked every non-incumbent Freeholder nominee except two.   One exception was Marlboro Councilman Jeff Cantor who replaced Freeholder Anna Little, a Giannell pick, on the ticket in 2007.  Cantor lost a close election to Democrat John D’Amico and then left the Republican party for Jon Hornick’s Democratic organization in Marlboro.  The other exception is John Curley.  Curley was Giannell’s pick over Serena DiMaso in 2008.  Curley narrowly lost to Amy Mallet in the Obama landslide.  In 2009 Giannell backed Kim Spatola, a former Atlantic Highlands councilwoman over Curley.  Curley prevailed at Joe Oxley’s first candidate selection screening and went on to defeat Sean Byrnes of Middletown in the 2009 Christie landslide in Monmouth. 

With the election of Gary Rich earlier this month, 3.5, counting Curley, of five Freeholders owe their offices to Jim Giannell.  If the former Red Bank municipal chairman’s pick in the current race to replace Assemblyman-elect Rob Clifton, Howell Mayor Bob Walsh, is elected on January 14, Giannell will have picked all five members of the board.

While the Freeholders may owe their careers to Giannell, there is little, if any, evidence that he is a boss, in the classic New Jersey sense of the word.  Once they take office, the Freeholders go their own way.  Burry is supporting Anne Marie Conte over Walsh in the current race.  Curley and Tom Arnone are staying out of the race for now. 

Here is a list of Giannell’s picks for non-incumbent Freeholders since 2005:

2005: Lillian Burry.  Burry ran with incumbent Bill Barham.  Barham was elected at a Republican convention earlier in 2005 to replace long time Freeholder Director Harry Larrison.  Even in the wake of the Operation Bid Rig scandal which tarnished the Republican brand, Barham and Burry defeated Democrats Barbara McMorrow and Rebecca Aaronson and Independent Brian Unger.  The Republican victory was in large measure do to the Asbury Park Press’s call for voters to bullet vote for Unger.  Back then the APP’s endorsement still had influence.  Unger garnered over 18,000 votes.  Burry’s margin of victory over McMorrow was only 1,792 votes. 

2006:  Anna Little and Andrew Lucas.  Little was elected, by one vote, over Howell Mayor Joe DiBella at a convention to replace Amy Handlin who had been elected to the Assembly.  Giannell managed Little’s campaign and her floor fight at the convention. A month later at a contentious multiple ballot nominating convention, Giannell and candidate Terrence Wall threw their support to Lucas in an anti-establishment move against DiBella and then Chairman Fred Neimann.   Little went on to win the rest of Handlin’s unexpired term in the general election.  Lucas lost to Barbara McMorrow. 

2007: Giannell did not have a candidate.  Little, his successful pick in 2006, spent a contentious year battling with Chairman Puharic and Freeholder Director Barham. Little declined to seek the nomination rather than submit to Puharic’s rules for screening and the convention.  Cantor was selected to join incumbent Rob Clifton on the ticket.  Clifton won.  Cantor lost to Democrat John D’Amico.

2008: John Curley was Giannell’s pick over Serena DiMaso who had the backing of Chairman Adam Puharic.  Burry was Curley’s running mate.  In a photo finish election dominated by Obamamania, Burry prevailed and Curley lost to Amy Mallet on the count of provisional ballots.  Democrats took control of the Freeholder Board for the first time in 20 years.

2009: Giannell backed Chairman Joe Oxley in supporting Atlantic Highlands former Councilwoman Kim Spatola over Curley.  McMorrow was up for reelection and was considered a lock to be reelected.  Nominating a woman, given the pro woman gender gap demonstrated by Burry and Mallet’s 2008 victories was considered the only hope of defeating McMorrow.    Just before the nominating meetings for both parties, McMorrow announced she would not seek another term.  Curley won a roll call vote at Oxley’s first screening selection.  The Democrats scrambled to find a candidate to replace McMorrow, settling on Byrnes from Middletown over Mike Beson of Neptune Township.  Curley defeated Byrnes and Republicans won back control of the Board.

2010:  Giannell’s pick, Tom Arnone, narrowly defeated former Middltown Committeeman Tom Wilkens and Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich.  Arnone and incumbent Rob Clifton went on to defeat D’Amico and Spring Lake Councilwoman Janice Venables.

2011: Giannell backed Rich over Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, who had Burry’s support, Walsh, and Wall Township Committeeman George Newberry.  Rich won the nomination with 25 votes in the screening committee. Lucas has 23 votes and Newberry 22.  Walsh withdrew before the polling.   Rich and incumbent Burry went on the defeat Mallet and newcomer William Shea earlier this month.

2012?  Monmouth County Republicans have not had a nominating convention of all county committee members since 2008.  It remains to be seen if Giannell can pull off another close race.   Don’t bet the house against Bob Walsh.

Posted: November 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »

Union Contributions To Sean Byrnes’ Campaigns (So Far)

Total amount received from unions in 2007, 2009 and 2010:  $185,800

2007 Contributions (both his name and Middletown Democrats who wheeled it to him):

Local Union 400 PAC                                  $4,500
Carpenter’s PAC                                         $2,500
Plumbers & Pipefitters                                 $1,500
Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 9                      $3,000
NJ Regional Council of Carpenters PAC         $2,500
Local Union 400                                           $9,000
Plumbers & Pipefitters                                  $1,000
NJ State Laborers PAC                                 $400
Local Union 400 PAC                                   $2,000

                                               total:           $26,400

From his campaign in 2009 from his account and the Monmouth Democrats who funded his campaign with $177,000

Local Union 400 PAC                                 $8,550.00
NJ Regional Council of Carpenters PAC       $37,000
Laborers Local 472 PAC                             $2,500
Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 9                    $10,000
IBEW Local 400                                         $10,000
PAC of NJ Association of Pipefitters            $10,000
Communications Workers of America          $74,000 

(Represents all Middletown Twp union employees ex Police)
NJEA                                                        $500 

                                                Total:        $152,500


Plumbers & Pipefitters  Local #9 PAC        $3,900
  Local Union 400 PAC                               $3,000 


Posted: October 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown | Tags: , | 11 Comments »

Vin Gopal Should Get His Facts Straight

By Tony Fiore, Deputy Mayor Middletown Township

In response to Vin Gopal’s article on MoreMonmouthMusings, I believe this email below will set the record straight. 

Often times the majority is criticized by the Democrats in Middletown for not listening to Sean’s ideas despite the fact that they are not usually economically or practically feasible.  The notion that Sean’s voice is never heard is nonsense and we do implement his ideas when practical.  We obviously took his direction to use the automated system to announce the Recycling program “not too close” to the announcement of changes to our leave and brush pickup.

 While we all can agree that the lateness of the call to some residents was not intended due to a computer glitch, there was never a second call done to apologize for it.   If Mr. Gopal would like to question the integrity of the Tea Party, I suggest he get the facts straight before he does so.

I stand with the Tea Party in working to retire Frank Pallone and Rush Holt from Congress and take great offense to anyone questioning their motives.  It is no surprise to me that Mr. Gopal would write this type of letter after he has been an active fundraiser for Mr. Byrnes and has even hosted an event that he advertised in his newspaper earlier this year honoring special guest Frank Pallone. 

—–Original Message—–
From: Byrnes, Sean
Sent: Thu 8/26/2010 5:24 PM
To: Maloney, Ted; MayorsOffice; Twp Committee
Cc: VanNest, Jim; Mercantante, Anthony; Posten, Sam; Herrschaft, Cindy
Subject: RE: Fall Brush Collection “Reverse 911”

At some point, maybe not so close on the heels of this announcement, we should also do that for the recycling pickup.  You may have done it already, but we will probably need to push this pretty hard to get the word out and start getting compliance.

—–Original Message—–
From: Maloney, Ted
Sent: Thu 8/26/2010 12:15 PM
To: MayorsOffice; Twp Committee
Cc: VanNest, Jim; Mercantante, Anthony; Posten, Sam; Herrschaft, Cindy
Subject: Fall Brush Collection “Reverse 911”

Mayor and Committee Members,

In speaking with Tony Mercantante yesterday, I have decided to broadcast a “Reverse 911” call this evening to notify residents of DPW’s upcoming brush collection.  An email will also be sent to residents with registered email addresses.  The message is below:

This is a recorded message from the Middletown Township Public Works Department.  The Fall Brush Collection will begin on Monday, August 30th in Zones F and H.  To obtain a complete brush collection schedule, please visit www.middletownnj.org/collectionor call the Brush Collection Hotline at 732-615-XXXX.  Again please visit www.middletownnj.org/collection or call 732-615-XXXX for the current brush collection schedule and updates.  Thank you and have a nice weekend.

As you can see, I am also setting up (with the help of Todd Costello and Jim Dudek) a brush collection hotline that will feature an audible version of the full brush collection schedule.  This hotline, which will remain in effect for all future collections, will also give the caller the option of pressing “0” to speak with a live operator (during business hours).  Our standard postcards are in the process of being mailed to each resident, but may not reach every resident prior to their collection start date.  I wanted to make you aware of this notice in case you are questioned by residents.

Thank you,


Joseph E. “Ted” Maloney, PE, PP, CME, CPWM

Township Engineer – Director of Public Works

Township of Middletown

52 Kanes Lane
Middletown, NJ 07748

Posted: October 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments »

Why Vin Questions The Integrity Of The Tea Party Movement In Monmouth County

By Art Gallagher

Because he wants his friend Sean Byrnes to be reelected to the Middletown Township Committee, and because he wants to create a distraction among the Tea Party members during this crucial last week of the election.

The wonderful thing about Integrity is that is isn’t shaken when its questioned.  It is strengthened by being questioned. If you ever see someone get upset by their integrity being questioned, it is a sure sign that he or she has an integrity issue.  Someone with their intergrity intact simply answers the question when it is asked.

So, as a member of the Tea Party Movement in Monmouth County, and a visible supporter of Gerry Scharfenberger, I am happy to answer the questions Vin raises.

I am not a spokesperson for any Tea Party group.  The official spokespeople know they are welcome to submit their own material for the front page or simply comment.

I, and I think the Tea Party groups, support Gerry Scharfenberger for another term on the Middletown Township Committee,  not only because of the R after his name, not even primarily because of the R after his name.  I support Gerry because he has done an excellent job leading Middletown.  I support him because he is one the hardest working most conscientious elected officials I know.

The Tea Party groups have not blindly supported Gerry because he’s an R.  They’ve held his feet to the fire over the budget and operations of Middletown.  He has answered their questions and earned their support.

Vin raises five issues as reasons not to support Gerry.  1) This year’s municipal budget which accounts for the majority of the property tax increase, 2) the recycling robocalls, 3) the arts center, 4) the municipal pool, and the sewage authority.

The most important concern is the budget.  Gerry has explained this years difficult budget well. Taxes had to be increased because of a loss of state funding ( I refuse to call it aid), an almost $1 million unpredictable increase in the cost of snow removal last winter, unexpected retirements that cause big payouts in unused vacation and sick time, and a decline in revenue from recycling.

Had Gerry asked me, I would have advised him to wait on the recycling robo calls until after the election.  My reasoning would have been political, not governmental.  The moment I received the robo call while sitting at my desk at 9PM, I knew it would be criticised politically.

From a governmental point of view, there should probably be robo calls the day before every recyling pickup until the majority of people’s behavior changes and recycling increases.  Robo calls are cheap.  The reaction the recent ones prove they get attention.  An increase in recycling will be good for the townships budget and good for the environment.  Gerry should keep making those calls….after the election…and before 8PM.

The art center and the pool are silly issues to use against Gerry.  They were both in the works either before or very early in his tenure on the township committee.  I agree the art center was too expensive and is under utilized.  Now that it is there, we need to maximise its use and keep the costs down.  The pool should be sold.

The sewage authority is a patronage pit, as are countless authorities throughout New Jersey.  Gerry didn’t create the pit and Sean Byrnes will not clean it up.   Governor Christie has started the process of cleaning up the cess pool of New Jersey’s waste and abuse in all levels of government, including authorities.  Gerry Scharfenberger is the Governor’s partner in the clean up.

Even though the sewage authority is a patronage pit, my sewer bills are lower in Middletown than they are in the other Monmouth County towns where I own property.

Even though my Middletown taxes went up, they are lower, as a percentage of property value, than the other towns in Monmouth County where I pay property taxes.

Yes, I am a partisan Republican, like Vin is a partisan Democrat.  Yet, I have used this blog prominently over the years to criticise Republicans, including Gerry.  I admire Vin telling us he didn’t vote for Ellen Karcher or Jon Corzine.  I understand why he’s not telling us which Democrats he’s not voting for this year, however his questioning of the Tea Party’s integrity would have more weight if he was honest about which Democrats he’s not voting for this year and if he went public about that before the election.  I don’t expect him too, but like he said, if we’re going to lay the cards on the table…..

Even though I am a partisan Republican, as a taxpayer I appreciate divided government.  Early in is tenure, I had hoped Sean Byrnes was the kind of Democrat I could support in a minority position.  He has not proven himself to be that.  He hasn’t added value to the governance of Middletown.  He has used his minority status to try to create partisan wedges rather than to improve the service and costs of Middletown government.

That the government employees unions contributed $74,000 to Byrnes Freeholder race last year tells me all I need to know.  When the Governor’s tool kit gets passed, Middletown will be able to run government even more efficiently than it does now.  If Byrnes is beholden to the unions, he will not be as aggressive as need be in reducing the costs of government.

That Byrnes, as a member of the Township Committee, voted on an appointment of a community member he was involved in litigation with as a private attorney, raises sufficient questions about his judgement to disqualify him for another term. 

Under Republican leadership, Middletown has the one of the lowest, if not the lowest, costs of municpal government per capita than any other town in New Jersey.  The number of municipal employees has decreased by almost 25% over the last 10 years, 10% this year.

As I have asked many many times, name a town in New Jersey where Democrats are doing a better job than Republicans are doing in Middletown.  Let me amend the question for this year; name an municipality with a population and land mass the size of Middletown where the municipal government has done a better job in the last six years than Middletown’s municipal government has done  in the last six years with Gerry Scharfenberger’s leadership.

Vin’s a good friend to Byrnes.  I’m proud to call him my friend too, and I am proud to be able to be friends with my political adversaries.  We need more of that kind of relating as we fix our broken state.  

To my Tea Party friends, don’t be distracted by Vin’s volley. We have too much work to do this week.

Posted: October 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Why Vin Questions The Integrity Of The Tea Party Movement In Monmouth County

Why I question the Integrity of the Tea Party Movement in Monmouth County

By Vin Gopal

If Frank Pallone or Rush Holt or John D’Amico sent out taxpayer funded automated phone calls at 10:00pm at night two weeks before an election, how would YOU react? I recall my friend Art Gallagher often saying that the art of franking, sending out taxpayer funded newsletters during an election year is wrong. I agree with him. So I ask not only Art but conservatives who claim to believe in smaller government, those who consider themselves members of the Tea Party movement, how would YOU react if Frank Pallone or Rush Holt sent out a taxpayer funded robocall two weeks before an election urging people to recycle? 

Because thats what Middletown’s Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger did. Then he sent another taxpayer funded robocall apologizing for sending out the late night call. So how come those, whom call themselves members of the tea party movement or conservatives, how come they don’t speak out about Mayor Scharfenberger’s actions? Or is it basically hypocrisy 101 – hear no evil, see no evil when it comes to Republicans. Is that it? If thats it, thats fine but lets just put it out on the table and lets understand that this movement is NOT about stopping taxpayer abuse but it is simply to elect Republicans. As long as everyone is honest, it make its much easier to communicate if that is indeed what the tea party movement is about.

Middletown has a mayor who spends taxpayer money like water, he supports a patronage mill-filled Middletown Arts Center, which the entire town pays for even though a small percentage of residents use it. Now the Mayor wants to discuss privatizing or selling the taxpayer funded swim club – after 6 years in office, now he brings it up after pressure from the lone Democrat on the committee, Sean Byrnes, who urged the mayor that government should not be in the business of running a pool club. But you won’t see Scharfenberger and his buddies go after the unnecessary Sewage Authority – why would you, when their attorney, Middletown political boss and GOP Chairman Peter Carton has the most to lose from a missing sewage authority. At every turn and every corner, under Mayor Scharfenberger’s watch, Middletown’s taxes skyrocketed more than any other municipality in Monmouth County. The few short examples I listed is just a piece of Scharnfeberger’s record of being a tax and spend politician.

I love the attacks that Mayor Scharfenberger has gone after Sean Byrnes on in his attack mailers….that he is a career politician (Sean has served 2.5 years on the Middletown Township Committee, 1 year as a prosecutor in Atlantic Highlands and 22 years in the US Coast Guard) meanwhile the Mayor has been elected in Middletown for almost the past 6 years and runs a patronage mill in town.

So is the Tea Party in Monmouth County nothing more than an umbrella group trying to convince us to defeat Democrats? Is this an organization that will look the other way on their own fiscally irresponsible members if they simply have an R next to their name? I seriously question the integrity of anyone who says they want to stop the abuse of taxpayers but who say nothing and look the other way when the mayor of the county’s largest municipality sends out a taxpayer funded robocall 2 weeks before the election asking voters to recycle.

Yes, I’m a Democrat because I believe in certain core principles of my political party. I didn’t vote for Ellen Karcher and I didn’t vote for Jon Corzine. I wrote out about the disgusting tactics of those Democrats in South Jersey who tried to create a fake candidate in the 3rd Congressional District in order to manipulate and deceive voters. I like to think, even though I vote Democrat more often, I still have a mind of my own and when members of my own party who are not fiscally or ethically responsible, that we have a moral right to call them out. I question why my counterparts in the other party don’t do the same. Is it because all they are about is politics and elections and not about public policy? I hope that’s not the case.

So as you are reading this, Mayor Scharfenberger and his friends will attack me in the comments section and elsewhere, they will quickly attack Sean Byrnes, making up things that have nothing to do with his taxpayer funded automated phone calls and they will quickly attack anyone else because they are unable to justify why it was necessary to spend taxpayer money 2 weeks before an election urging voters to recycle. They will try to distract the voters and they will be unable to defend the question at hand – why they are sending out taxpayer funded automated phone calls 2 weeks before an election asking voters to recycle. Watch them – watch their excuses.

I have many close friends who are members of the Tea Party. My business partner hosts tea party meetings at his restaurant. But as I watch this, I now question the integrity of this organization of self-proclaimed conservatives who continue to support a Mayor who is responsible for the largest tax hike in the history of Middletown. While Fair Haven’s conservative mayor was able to stabilize taxes in his town, Mayor Scharfenberger skyrocketed taxes in Middletown and yet the Tea Party leaders and conservative leaders all over Monmouth County seem to support him.

Is that what it comes down to? The Tea Party is okay with anyone fiscally irresponsible as long as they have an R next to their name?

Posted: October 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Russian Mob Funding Byrnes and Whatshername’s Middletown Campaign

By Art Gallagher

It is come to MoreMonmouthMusings’ attention that the same Russian mob that looted Middletown’s bank accounts over Labor Day weekend could be funding the township committee campaign of Sean Byrnes and his running mate, Whatshername.

$13,000 of the $370,000 that the Slavic cyber looters made off with has yet to be recovered.

If the Middletown Democrats filed their October ELEC report, it was not published on ELEC’s website this afternoon.  Byrnes’ ELEC report says he’s only raised $150.00 for his campaign.  Whathername has raised only $3000.  So who’s paying for all those signs?   It could be the Russian mob!

I know. I’m being ridiculous.  About as ridiculous and David Axelrod and President Obama are when they say that the U. S. Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity are funding their anti-Democratic incumbent ads with foreign money. 

I’m being as ridiculous as the Middletown Democrats were last year when the alleged that the Middletown GOP bribed and coerced Steve Massell into running for township committee last year.  I’m being as ridiculous as the Middletown Dems were last year when they claimed that the GOP township committee raised their salaries, after they gave up their stipends.

Posted: October 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Russian Mob Funding Byrnes and Whatshername’s Middletown Campaign