Happy New Year!

May those that love us, love us.
And those that don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn’t turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles
So we will know them by their limping.
~Irish Blessing

Posted: December 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

2012 Predictions

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.

What do you think will happen?

Posted: December 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 Year in review, 2012 Predictions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

How can we sustain this system?

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.

Posted: December 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 Year in review, Pensions | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Fiore Will Remain Mayor

6168_151250960925_704825925_3884408_4699243_nTony Fiore will be elected to serve another year as mayor of Middletown when the township reorganizes on Sunday, January 1.

Committeeman Steve Massell will be Deputy Mayor.

Stephanie Murray will take the oath of office for her first term on the committee.   Murray replaces Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill who is stepping down after two terms.

Fiore said that his top priority in 2012 is to continue to find cost savings and to keep the township’s property taxes stable.

Additionally, Fiore wants to implement the lessons learned in 2011 to improve real time communications with Middletown’s residents.  “We learned a lot as a result of the December 2010 blizzard and the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.  We will be improving our communications in the coming year.”

Posted: December 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown | Tags: , , , , , | 59 Comments »

MMM Year in Review – May

Seal Team 6 killed Osama Bin Laden.

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.

The world did not end.  The Rapture was rescheduled for October.

The State Supreme Court reaffirmed the Abbott decision, assuring that New Jersey’s educational system would remain racially segregated  and funded by the highest property taxes in the nation.

The Neptune Board of Education made a deal with the ACLU that prevented litigation and kept the high school graduation at the Ocean Grove Great Auditorium.

Governor Christie pulled New Jersey out of the RGGI cap and trade scheme.

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.

Posted: December 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 Year in review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Sheriff Shaun Golden Invited Me To A “Break Out”

I really could have used an invitation like that 10 weeks ago

goldens-break-out-resized

Posted: December 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: blogger, Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Shaun Golden | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments »

MMM Year In Review – April

As is customary, April started with a joke.   This year the month of April ended with two jokes; the school board elections  and the President of the United States of America released his long form birth certificate.

After three years of study, Hopewell Township passed an ordinance regulating chicken sex.

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.

The new map was no joke for many in Monmouth County

Senator Sean Kean of Wall was put into the same district as his friend, Senator Robert Singer of Lakewood.  After a few days of saber rattling about a primary for the seat, cooler heads prevailed as Kean agreed to go back to the Assembly to represent the safely Republican 30th district. 

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.

Former Howell Chair Norine Kelly passed away in April.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno threw Carl Lewis off the 8th legislative district ballot for Senate.

A team of six Red Bank Regional High School students won the national Cyber Patriot III competition in applied defense technology.

The Monmouth County Freeholders established term limits for boards and commissions.

Posted: December 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 Year in review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MMM Year In Review – March

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.

Citizen journalist James O’Keefe embarrassed NPR and came to Monmouth County as a Special Guest Speaker at the Bayshore Tea Party Group’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.  O’Keefe ended up being embarrassed himself over the press coverage of the event which included accurate reports that he did not want the event videoed.

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.

After months of reading MMM, former Democratic Assemblyman and triCityNews publisher Dan Jacobson had an epiphany and registered as a Republican.   Jacobson started submitting his weekly columns to MMM and prepared to challenge Senator Sean Kean in old 11th district Republican primary

Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich received the Monmouth GOP’s endorsement for Freeholder.  Rich received 25 votes from the screening committee.  Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas received 23 votes and Wall Committeeman George Newberry received 22 votes.  Howell Mayor Bob Walsh removed himself from contention prior to the committee vote.

Posted: December 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 Year in review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Report: Rothman will challenge Pascrell in redrawn CD-9

The congressional redistricting commission charged with redrawing New Jersey’s district map to create 12 congressional districts instead of the previous 13 put conservative Republican Scott Garrett of Wantage and liberal Democrat Steve Rothman of Fair Lawn in the same district.  Based upon historical voting patterns, Garrett had a 4% edge in the new district.

But 54% of Rothman’s old district was given to Democrat Bill Pascrell, the former Mayor of Patterson who wants a little highway named after himself.

Rothman did the math over the weekend and decided he has a better chance of keeping his insider trading privileges if he runs against Pascrell in the Democratic primary than if he faces Garrett in the November general election, according to a report on NorthJersey.com

Rothman will move from Fair Lawn back to Englewood where he was once mayor.

Posted: December 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Congressional Redistricting | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MMM Year in Review – February

Governor Chris Christie signed legislation to designed to revitalize Atlantic City.   The Oceanport Task Force on Monmouth Park stepped up its efforts to save New Jersey’s horse racing industry.

Live Action Video released a tape of a Perth Amboy Planned Parenthood office manager coaching an actor posing as a pimp how to “beat the system” set up to protect underage sex trafficking victims.  Media Matters for America, a liberal media watchdog, called the video a hoax and defended Planned Parenthood for alerting the FBI about a potential multistate sex trafficking ring.  Amy Woodruff, the Planned Parenthood office manager, was firedFrank Pallone was silent on the matter.  The Asbury Park Press issued an inaccurate editorial defending Planned Parenthood.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the results of the 2010 census.  New Jersey lost a congressional district.  Hispanics became the state’s largest minority group. New Jersey’s population shifted from the north to the southern and central regions of the state.

New Jersey’s newpaper industry appealed to Trenton Democrats to maintain their corporate welfare in the form of “legal advertising.”

Congressman Christopher Lee, (R-Buffalo, NY) resigned three hours after gawker.com published shirtless photos of him that he had sent to a woman seeking a date via craigslist.

By-laws, and the lack thereof, for the Monmouth GOP became a hot topic for a week or two.

Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich likened Congressman Chris Smith and American Catholics opposed to abortion to the Arizona shooter.

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.

Red Bank Councilman Michael Dupont and Shrewsbury attorney Brian Nelson  fought over the Sayreville Borough Attorney’s job.

The Republican Association of Princeton was reconstituted as The Lincoln Club of New Jersey under the leadership of Scott Sipprelle.

Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, Wall Committeeman George Newberry and Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich launched their campaigns for the GOP nomination for Freeholder.

Posted: December 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 Year in review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »