Editor’s note: Freeholder Director Lillian Burry submitted this column back in February. In light of the recent “push polling” negative campaign tactic on the part of the Monmouth County Democrats and what looks to be an ugly seven weeks coming before election day, we thought it might be a good idea to run her column again.
By Lillian G. Burry, Monmouth County Freeholder Director
When Vin Gopal launched his latest attack, I heard from friends with two different types of advice. Some said I should fight back immediately because silence would suggest I had no defense. Others said I should do nothing because to respond to bullying would make me just look defensive. I thanked them all for their kind thoughts but told them all the same thing. I see this as a teachable moment to be shared with everyone who may be thinking of someday entering public life.
You may see public office as I do – a way of giving back to society and being thankful for the success you’ve had in your professional life. In an ideal democracy opponents would challenge you by putting forth a competing vision of the future they would work for and offer up their record of accomplishments so people could judge whether or not they had as good a record as yours when it comes to getting things done. Unfortunately, that’s not how our democracy has evolved.
Professional pollsters call the tactic “unethical” and “fraudulent”
Senator Cory Booker and freeholder candidates Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo have deployed a campaign tactic dubbed “unethical” and “fraudulent” by the American Association of Public Opinion Research. photo via facebook
The Democratic Party is deploying a controversial campaign tactic known as “Push Polling” in Monmouth County on behalf of Senator Cory Booker and their county freeholder candidates. MMM has received reports of such calls being delivered to unsuspecting voters in Shrewsbury, Neptune and Manalapan.
The automated calls, which do not disclose who they are being made on behalf of or who is paying for them, purport to be opinion surveys. If the voter responds that they favor Republican U.S. Senate nominee Jeff Bell rather than Booker, they are subject to a series of “If you knew” questions that distort Bell’s record and lie about his positions.
If the voter responds that they intend to vote for Monmouth County Freeholders Lillian Burry and Gary Rich for reelection, the are subject to “If you knew” questions that accuse the incumbents of unethical hiring practices, dirty dealing on Open Space acquisitions and criticizing the length of their public service in various municipal and county offices.
Photo courtesy of Geraldo.com. Used with permission
Had the late Senator Frank Lautenberg lived to complete his term, Geraldo Rivera might have been the Republican nominee to be New Jersey’s junior member of the United States Senate. Cory Booker would still be mayor of Newark and the two celebrities would have been engaged now in an expensive high profile race with national implications.
In early 2013, Rivera was very publicly exploring the possibility of running for Launtenberg’s seat. Booker had just declined to challenge Governor Chris Christie’s reelection bid and announced that he would run for Lautenberg’s seat. Booker’s announcement came before the ailing Lautenberg’s announcement that he would not seek another term.
Lautenberg’s June 2013 death and Christie’s call for an October Special Election to fill the seat scuttled the plans of the television and radio personality/journalist to enter politics on a national level. He was not able to rearrange his life or gain support of his family in the short time required to compete in an August GOP primary.
What might have been a high profile exciting battle between Rivera and Booker this fall is now reduced to bragging rights as to which man will raise more money for his respective Party in Monmouth County. Monmouth County Republican Chairman Shaun Golden will announce this afternoon that Rivera is the keynote speaker at the GOP Fundraising Gala on October 15 at the Navesink Country Club. Rivera’s office and Golden both confirmed that Geraldo is coming.
The Local Finance Board, the entity within the Department of Community Affairs which oversees the ethics of local officials, has ruled that two Jackson Township councilmen did not violate State Ethics or Campaign Finance Laws when they voted to appoint their former campaign manger a job on the Jackson Municipal Utilities Authority, according to a report on Shore News Network.
Cara Glory was the 2012 campaign manager for Councilmen Barry Calogero and Robert Nixon. On January 6, 2014 Calogero, Nixon join the rest of the Jackson governing body in unanimously voting to approve Glory’s appointment to the MUA. Unidentified Jackson residents filed ethics charges with the Local Fiance Board.
The charges were deemed frivolous by Board Chairmen Thomas Neff, according to the Shore News Network report.
“Following preliminary investigation and evaluation of the facts and circumstances relevant to the complaints and upon consideration of the foregoing provisions of Local Government Ethics Law, the Local Finance Board voted to dismiss the complaints as having no reasonable factual basis.”
The state reiterated their stance, adding, “The relationship between an elected officeholder and a campaign deputy treasurer or campaign manager is simply not one, in and of itself, which poses a conflict.”
The charges against the councilmen were dismissed and Glory’s appointment remained as-is.
The issue is of significance in Monmouth County as Democratic freeholder candidates Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo attempt to portray themselves and paragons of virtue in the campaign against Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Deputy Director Gary Rich.
Monmouth County Freeholder Candidate Larry Luttrell partying with a model and squinting like Frank Pallone in Atlantic City in February, 2013. facebook photo
If you’re a Monmouth County Democrat thinking about a career in government, working on Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo’s freeholder campaign could be hazardous to your ambitions.
Luttrell and Grillo told the Asbury Park Press that the fact that Freeholder Director Lillian Burry’s 2011 campaign treasurer, Bill Bucco, was given a raise and a promotion after three years in a county administrative job where he streamlined operations and found $200,000 in revenue due the county that was never collected is “politics at its worst.”
I must have missed their press release condemning Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto’s new job as a “consultant” with ties to South Jersey Democratic Boss George Norcross, which Preito somehow manages to do while collecting six figures from his three government jobs.
Booker has had much better nights in Hollywood and on Twitter than he had last night in the county he lost by 10,000 votes last year to former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan.
Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal confirmed the take and said he was happy with it.
Democratic Freeholder candidate Larry Luttrell was excited in his remarks at the Wall Township home of Gary Faraci, the Wall Democrats only nominee for three Township Committee seats this fall.
“This is different. This isn’t like any other year. This year is special. We have a rock star on top of the ticket,” said Luttrell, of Holmdel, an attorney, as he pointed to Booker. “He’s here to help us, and that means a lot. We’re going to out work them, we’re going to out raise them, and we’re going to make it happen.”
Devoid of ideas of how to improve Monmouth County’s government and running on so called “issues” that have failed in the last few campaigns, the Monmouth County Democratic Freeholder candidates, Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo are apparently hoping they can win in November by mimicking Congressman Frank Pallone’s odd facial expressions. Even their campaign volunteers are doing it.
Luttrell and Grillo have been handing out literature that blame Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Deputy Director Gary Rich for the misdeeds of Peter Burnham at Brookdale Community College and Andrew Lucas’s alleged misdeeds in the the sale of development rights to a farm that he owns to the farmland preservation program.
In my article earlier today about Senator Cory Booker coming to Wall Township to raise campaign cash for the Monmouth Democratic Freeholder candidates, I noted that Candidate Larry Luttrell appeared to be emulating Booker’s “campaign based on love” style. Booker often posts inspirational feel good message on his social media pages. Last month, Record columnist Herb Jackson reported on a Booker fundraising email that said,“No matter how ugly the attacks get, I am committed to building a campaign based on love.”
Luttrell posted his own Bookerism on facebook last week.
Well, it seems that in addition to emaulating Booker’s love, Luttrell is also emulating Congressman Frank Pallone’s duplicity. If you’re a regular MMM reader, you need no explanation of Pallone’s duplicity. If you are one of our thousands of newer readers, check out this link to get an idea of how truth challenged and manipulative Pallone is.
Senator Cory Booker is lending his star power and fund raising prowess to the Democratic Freeholder candidates who are looking to unseat Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Deputy Director Gary Rich in November.
Booker is headlining a July 25 fundraiser for Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo at the Wall Township home of Gary and Linda Faraci.