Citing the shortage of federal and state funds available to assist Superstorm Sandy impacted homeowners in rebuilding their homes, the Middletown Township Committtee this week joined Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon in calling on the state legislature and Governor Chris Christie to put the more than $100 million in Affordable Housing Funds that are sitting dormant to work.
With a unanimous 5-0 vote, the committee passed a resolution on Monday, April 21, calling for legislation that would reinstate Regional Contribution Agreements (RCAs) “for the limited purpose of getting victims of Superstorm Sandy back in their homes during this time of need.”
RCAs were created in the original 1985 Fair Housing Act whereby towns with funds raised from developer fees or through bonding could transfer up to half of those funds to another community for the purpose of building affordable housing as required by the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Mt. Laurel decision.
Sweeney: RCAs “put poor white folk and poor black folk out of town”
Hornik: “No one in Trenton can honestly say that COAH is working”
Senate President Sweeney rejected out of hand an idea brought forth by Marlboro Mayor Jonathon Hornik this week that could potentially release $184 million in dormant funds for the benefit of Superstrom Sandy victims.
Hornik called for the reinstatement of Regional Contribution Agreements (RCA), in order to unlock $184 million in COAH funds to help residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy rebuild their homes in an OpEd piece published on MMM and PolitickerNJ.
RCAs were a practice that was in place to build affordable housing in New Jersey from 1985 through 2008 under the Fair Housing Act, whereby communities that had raised affordable housing funds through development could transfer those funds, and their obligation to build affordable housing within their own community, to other communities with an immediate need. The legislature and Governor Corzine outlawed RCAs in 2008.
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon issued a statement commending Hornik and said,”When the Democrat leadership in Trenton killed the RCA program it was bad, short sighted policy that many of us knew would come back to bite us. Its flaws are now magnified by the plight of Sandy victims as many towns struggle with the economic burdening of rebuilding.”
Assemblyman urges Bayshore residents to ask Senate President Sweeney join the bi-partisan effort
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, issued a statement today welcoming Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik’s support of Regional Contribution Agreements (RCA) for use in getting Sandy victims back into their homes, and called upon residents of his Bayshore district to question Senate President Sweeney the use of Affordable Housing Funds when Sweeney visits the district for his Town Hall meeting in Keansburg on Thursday afternoon.
“Recently, Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik suggested that RCAs could be used by towns to help their neighbors continue to rebuild in the devastating wake of Sandy,” O’Scanlon said, “My Republican colleagues and I have been calling for the use of RCAs for years and I am excited to hear that Mayor Hornik is on board. When the Democrat leadership in Trenton killed the RCA program it was bad, short sighted policy that many of us knew would come back to bite us. Its flaws are now magnified by the plight of Sandy victims as many towns struggle with the economic burdening of rebuilding.
Forgotten among the latest round of finger-pointing and investigations regarding the use of Superstorm Sandy funds are displaced low and moderate-income homeowners and renters who need help. This immediate and pressing need, combined with resources available from communities like Marlboro Township, in the form of affordable housing trust funds, present a unique opportunity for regional cooperation. Now all we need is some action in Trenton.
The funds, collected from developer fees, now totaling at least $180 million state-wide (and which the State has been trying to take for its own budget problems), are to be used to meet the need for affordable housing under the Supreme Court’s Mt. Laurel rulings. Those cases decreed that every town has an obligation to provide for its region’s need for affordable housing. We have long argued that the doctrine should be meaningfully applied – let’s build the housing where the need is the greatest.
Yet to this day the planners in Trenton wrangle over rules to determine how towns must address their affordable housing, going on 15 years now, when it should be painfully obvious that the need for our community (and our region) is staring us in the face. Current state laws prohibit Marlboro from helping those communities who are in desperate need for housing assistance after Sandy. There is no mechanism for Marlboro to spend its trust funds for the benefit of, for example, Union Beach or the Highlands, because there are no rules that allow us to do so. We can’t fulfill a fundamental tenet of Mt. Laurel, and help our neighbors because the authority to do so isn’t there. And why not?
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.
The years are supposed to go by faster as we get older. 2013 missed the memo, at least for me. President Obama’s second Inauguration and Freeholder John Curley’s second swearing in seem like a long time ago.
Selikia Joshia Gore started us off in 2013 with a timeless call to renew our humanity; the ongoing struggle of saints and sinners to love one another regardless of standing, status or creed. It is a winning message that works only by embracing our failures without resigning to them.
The Governor. Governor Chris Christie started the year lambasting House Speaker John Boehner and the Congressional Republicans for playing politics with Superstorm Sandy aid and ended the year as the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. In between he built a bi-partisan and multi-cultural coalition that reelected him with over 60% of the vote in Blue Jersey. Christie had the best year of any politician in America. Only Pope Francis and Vladimir Putin had better years globally.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. Menendez started the year on the losers list. Embroiled in a sandal of allegations of his cavorting with teenaged girls in the Dominican Republic and using the powers of his office to benefit the businesses of the donor who arranged the party, speculation was that he would resign as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, if not his Senate seat. Menendez seems to have survived an FBI investigation into his relationship with Dr. Saloman Melgan unscathed.
At the end of the year, Menendez’s position seems secure. He is the leading, and most powerful, critic of President Obama’s foreign policy. His approval ratings are net positive 22 points in the last Monmouth University Poll. He got engaged to be married earlier this month.
Given where he started, Menendez may have had the best 2013 of any New Jersey public figure, other than Christie.
The Gramiccionis. The Wall Township power couple had a very good year. In March, Christopher, the Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor and U.S. Naval Reserve Officer, received orders to report for a 9 month tour of active duty in Afghanistan effective in August. Those orders were canceled in July, keeping Chris on the job fighting crime in Monmouth County and home for the holidays. Deborah was appointed by Governor Christie to be the Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The job pays $289,657.
Monmouth County Republicans. Sheriff Shaun Golden, Freeholder Director Tom Arnone and Deputy Director Serena DiMaso were always expected to be reelected on the strength of their records and due to the fact that Monmouth County Independent voters usually vote Republican. They make the winners list by virtue of fact that they ran as if they were behind, not taking any votes for granted. More importantly, they ran a positive campaign based on reducing spending, holding the line on taxes, and improving services, in the face of yet another negative campaign on the part of the Monmouth County Democrats.
Monmouth County’s Legislative Delegation. Each member of Monmouth County’s Legislative Delegation deserves more recognition than space will allow.
Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik. Photo via facebook.
When the news broke that Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik was eyeing a run for governor, he asked for MoreMonmouthMusings’ endorsement.
So here goes: MoreMonmouthMusings hereby endorses Mayor Jonathan Hornik for the Democratic nomination for governor in the next gubernatorial election, whenever that is.
Much of the political news out of the League of Municipalities Convention in Atlantic City last week centered around the developing race between State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. Almost as an afterthought, PolitickerNJ reported, yesterday, that Hornik wanted his name added to the gubernatorial mix.
PolitickerNJ.com spied veteran Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik at the cocktail parties and meet-and-greets in Atlantic City last week and as Democrats prepare for Senate President Steve Sweeney versus Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Hornik said he wanted to add his own name to the gubernatorial sweepstakes.
“I would definitely not rule out running in 2017 or before,” said Hornik. “I love being mayor of Marlboro, and I am running again in two years, but I think we have a story to tell.”
Hornik won re-election in 2011 with nearly 70% of the vote.
This year, Incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Christie won 75% of the vote in Marlboro while Hornik’s Democrats went 3-0 in local contests.
Just weeks from Governor Chris Christie’s reelection, the race for the next Democratic gubernatorial nomination has already started because Christie’s presidential prospects could result in a Special Election for Governor in 2015 or 2016. Should Christie resign as governor to become a full-time presidential candidate, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno would become governor. There would be a special gubernatorial election for the remainder of Christie’s term as part of the next general election, unless the resignation happens within 60 days of the next election.
Gopal, Doherty and Nelson make Gannett’s ‘Other” List
Brian Nelson. Asbury Park Press Photo
In addition to the list of twelve ‘rising stars’ that Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande made on Sunday, Gannett published a list of 15 ‘up and comers’ to keep an eye on that includes three Monmouth players.
Democrats Vin Gopal, the 27 year old county chairman and Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty, 39 made the list. Noticeably absent among Democrats were Marlboro Mayor Jonathon Hornik and Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long.
Gopal, from West Long Branch, ran for Assembly in the 11th District in 2011 before being elected county chairman in 2012. It remains to be seen if the Monmouth Democratic party will become more competitive under Gopal’s leadership, but there is no question that he is developing a statewide portfolio of influence with his early support of Barbara Buono for the 2013 gubernatorial nomination, his non-stop fundraising schedule for candidates statewide and savvy media presence. Gopal has ties to both Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Congressman Frank Pallone. How he navigates the anticipated 2014 battle between Booker and Pallone for the U.S. Senate nomination will be fascinating to watch. MMM predicts that he will be seen as a supporter of the winner and an ally of the loser.
Hornik, D’Amico and Mallet will team up to target the “safe” Republican district
Hazlet-April 1 Monmouth County Democrats spent the holiday weekend scrambling to collect petition signatures for a new slate of candidates for State Senate and General Assembly in the 13th Legislative District, according to a Democrat who does not want to be known for speaking to a Republican blogger. Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik will be the Senate candidate. Former freeholders John D’Amico and Amy Mallet will be the Assembly candidates.
Petitions are due in Trenton today.
Barbara Buono, the presumed Democratic nominee for governor, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Shelia Oliver each called the new candidates to promise amble funds to wage the general election race, even if the incumbents prevail in the GOP primary.
Chairman Vin Gopal believes the 13th district will be in play should the expected Bayshore Tea Party Group backed slate led by former congressional candidate Leigh-Ann Bellew for Senate win the Republican primary against incumbent Senator Joe Kyrillos and Assembly members Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon. The BTPG will announce the rest of their slate, as well as the freeholder and sheriff candidate, this afternoon after their petitions are filed.
“The Tea Party has beat the Monmouth Republican line every time they’ve tried,” said the source, “Anna Little beat the GOP organization twice and David Corsi did it in 2010. We’re betting they will do it again. In a race where the Republican candidates are running an anti-abortion, pro-gun campaign, we believe the district will vote for proven vote getters like Mayor Hornik, Judge D’Amico and Freeholder Mallet.”
The candidates nominated at the Monmouth Democratic Convention in February, Rutgers Professor Sean Dunne for Senate, and Assembly candidates Matthew Morehead, a dog groomer and Allison Friedman, a public defender, have agreed to resign their candidacies and not file their petitions.
“Having a strong legislative team will help Barbara Buono. There is no way Governor Christie carries Monmouth County by the margins he did in 2009 if he has Tea Party running mates in the 13th. We’ll be forcing Christie to spend time and money in Monmouth he would not have had to with Kyrillos, Handlin and O’Scanlon on his ticket.”