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Monmouth GOP convention called for September 29. Bylaws to be adopted

Monmouth GOP Chairman John O. Bennett has announced that a convention of the County Committee will be held on Saturday September 29 at Colts Neck High School for the purpose of adopting party by laws and to”rally for our candidates.”  Previously, a new State Committeeman was to be elected at the convention to replace Bennett, but he has decided not to resign from that office.

Bennett has distributed his proposed by-laws for the county party to members of the county committee.  A copy can be found here.

To Bennett’s credit, this “final draft” has been adjusted substantially to address the reactions that incumbent office holders had to his original proposed rules for nominating candidates that he unveiled last week at meetings with county elected officials and legislators, the as yet unofficial board of directors and the municipal chairs.

The original proposal for candidate selection would have given no consideration to incumbents.  Anyone who submitted a letter of intent and appeared before a steering committee could have challenged an incumbent at nominating convention.  This proposal, combined with the chairman’s instructions, not in the by-laws, that incumbents restrict and adjust their fundraising activities, left most county elected officers and some legislators feeling angry and vulnerable.  This “final draft” has addressed the incumbents concerns, to a degree.  Good thing too.  Bennett was in danger of being as relevant to incumbent office holders as Chairman Bill Dowd was to Bennett when he was a senator.  Not very.

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Posted: September 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments »

Bayshore Tea Party Promises Primaries

Monmouth GOP Chairman John O. Bennett III invited Bayshore Tea Party Group Co-Founder Barbara Gonzalez to speak at the GOP Unity Breakfast last Saturday.

Gonzalez and fellow co-founder Robert Gordon responded on Monday by issuing a statement to say something that Gonzalez forgot to say to the Unity gathering on Saturday:  Every Republican can expect a primary if they don’t do what the Tea Party wants them to do.

Here’s the statement:

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Posted: July 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Barbara Gonzalez, Bayshore Tea Party Group, John Bennett, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , | 45 Comments »

Curley will not endorse a Freeholder candidate

Freeholder Director John Curley is not taking sides in the campaign for Assemblyman Rob Clifton’s seat on the county governing body which will conclude on Saturday with the Title 19 convention of Republican County Committee members at Colts Neck High School.

“We have four very strong, smart and articulate candidates,” said Curley, ” I will be proud to serve with and run with whoever the party gives me on Saturday.” 

The successful candidate on Saturday can be sworn in as Freeholder upon resigning from their current office.  The new freeholder and Curley will be the presumptive GOP nominees for this fall’s election.

Curley said he expected the election to be a close contest to Holmdel  Deputy Mayor Serena DiMaso and Howell Mayor Bob Walsh.   He said he is impressed with both Atlantic Highlands Councilman Peter Doyle and Manalapan Committeeman Ryan Green, both of whom are making their first bid for county office.  “We’ll be hearing from then again,” he said.

Posted: January 12th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Freeholder, John Curley, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Serena is the best choice for Monmouth County Freeholder

Serena DiMaso

Serena DiMaso

Monmouth County residents are fortunate that the Republican party has such a deep bench of qualified talent.  Any of the four municipal office holders seeking to take Assemblyman Rob Clifton’s seat on the Board of Chosen Freeholders on Saturday can do the job and do it well.

Serena DiMaso of Holmdel has distinguished herself as the outstanding choice amongst very good choices.

Atlantic Highlands Councilman Peter Doyle and Manalapan Committeeman Ryan Green, both newcomers to county level politics, each have a great deal of promise.  Each has a future in higher office should they continue to pursue it.

Howell Mayor Bob Walsh was the early favorite of this blog.  We agree with everything that our friend James Hogan said about Bob in his endorsement, except Jim’s conclusion that Bob is the best candidate at this time.  We are impressed with Bob’s political accomplishments, his passion and his entrepreneurial creativity.  We appreciate his “big personality.”  We’re impressed that he has won over Joe DiBella, his former passionate political adversary.

But we believe that Serena DiMaso will be a better freeholder and a better candidate, at this time.

Serena’s personality is not as big as her heart.  She is a rare breed of politician; a truly humble public servant.   Her quiet demeanor masks a tough, tenacious and very smart conservative leader.

The Freeholder Board is already occupied by big personalities.  We believe that Serena is the perfect replacement for Rob Clifton’s calm, quiet leadership.

We also believe that Serena is the perfect running mate for Freeholder Director John Curley this year and for Freeholder Tom Arnone and Sheriff Shaun Golden next year.   As her speaking skills continue to improve…she’s improved remarkably during this brief campaign… Serena will be very difficult for the Democrats to run against.  Her record is impressive and she can sell it. 

One more thing about Serena that really impressed us.  In addition to her work as an elected official in Holmdel, on the stump she’s been touting her work as a member of the Board of Trustees of Meridan HealthChair of the Bayshore Hospital Foundation and a volunteer for the Holmdel First Aid Squad.

We figured the First Aid Squad gig was a resume builder like many politicians who join their community fire departments so that they use pictures wearing gear in campaign materials.  Then we learned that Serena went on over 300 emergency calls last year.  What mayor or chair of a hospital foundation does that?  How does she do all that?  “Dinner is often late to the table and the laundry is done in the middle of the night,” was her answer.

Serena will bring a great, deep, balance to the next two general election tickets and to the Board of Freeholders.

A first ballot victory on Saturday is in order.

Posted: January 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Freeholder, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Impression I Get

By James Hogan

Hello MMM readers, I’m sure you’ve missed me as I’ve been quiet and well behaved since Art’s thunderous return but since I know how much you all miss me and value my opinion, I wanted to pass along my observations of the Freeholder candidate’s from Wednesday night’s Ocean Township hosted forum.

 

Ocean Township Chairwoman and State Committeewoman Christine Hanlon opened the meeting by having each candidate, in alphabetical order, give a short speech as an introduction. I’ll recap what I recall here, where there isn’t much means there wasn’t much said that was memorable, for me.

 

Serena Demaso – from Holmdel – Deputy Mayor for several years. Has lived in Monmouth County for 23 years. She’s of the Board of Trustees of Meridian Health. She’s a mom and employee of her husband’s medial office, she runs it. (My research indicates that the office is in Staten Island, maybe someone can verify if I have that wrong. I don’t think it hurts to run for office here and work/run a business elsewhere but maybe real experts like you anonymous commentators have different opinions.)   Serena wore some dress pants and a nice/dressy swear, not some Hillary looking PantSuit(TM), no “hands in the pocket” while speaking. Her appearance is very professional, I’d say her demeanor is closest to that of Strict Mom.

 

Peter Doyle – Councilman from Atlantic Highlands – Peter has a long resume in the military, and I thank him as I thank all veterans for their service. He is a West Point grad and a BigWig of some sort at Moodys, the credit rating people. He touts his financial sector career and knowledge and ability to pick apart financial data and give recommendations/take action. Peter wore a nice suit, buttoned correctly, no “hands in the pocket”, in fact, you might think of the (and my apologies to Tom DeSeno) stereotypical Italian hand moving while speaking. He looks and sounds very professional however, as a pocket protector wearing computer nerd myself, dare I say Peter looks a bit nerdy. I’d say his demeanor is closest to that of the over-excited high-school physics teacher who does the same experiment year after year but gives an appearance of excitement every time.

 

Ryan Green – Committeeman from Manalapan – Ryan is a social worker in a school.  He is relatively new to the scene but his passion and care was evident. Truthfully, I didn’t get, or remember, much more, but it may not be Ryan’s fault, I’m easily distracted and have a poor memory. Ryan also wore a suit, not buttoned and also not a “hands in the pocket” guy. Ryan appears to be younger guy of the bunch, seems to be a real go-getter type. I’d say his demeanor might be closest to the “its all business” accountant at tax time.

 

Bob Walsh – Howell Mayor – Bob describes himself a self-educated kid who grew up in a poor family, on the mean streets of Manalapan (after his mother moved him there from Jersey city at a young age). Bob speaks loud and might be fit for a role in an HBO series that Tom DeSeno wouldn’t approve of. (why am I picking on Tom?? I like you Tom, I’m sorry.) Bob started a Mortgage Broker business in the 90s, enjoyed the boom and has so far survived the bust, which says something positive. Bob gives his family story – wife, 3 kids — 2 girls in college and an autistic son in a “special place”. Bob’s personal story is one of overcoming the difficulties of life, he is/was the only candidate to offer details of his personal life story. Bob wore a suit, unbuttoned, and never took off his jacket/scarf; I thought he was going to jet early a few times as he looked ready to run. Bob will crack a joke and out-loud others to steal the show — I suspect a union boss won’t out-loud Bob. His demeanor is probably closest to, well you know, I don’t need to make Tom DeSeno even more mad by offering some questionably accurate Italian stereotype here. 🙂

 

Then came questions. Christine Hanlon was kind enough to give me the first crack, and I came prepared. My question was pretty straight forward: Explain the cost of public workers in your town, specifically, the cost of your police officers and why these salaries are acceptable when the average HOUSEHOLD (combined) income in Monmouth County is $80K/yr, and what you’ve done to address the cost of government. The numbers are these and I provided/quoted these numbers to each candidate (except for Peter who seemed to know the numbers off of the top of his head):

 

Town Area Population # of Police Officers in top 100 earners # of Officers over 100K

Average of top 100 Police Top Paid Officer

Howell 61 51 74 54 113,223.00 $176,660.00

Holmdel 18 17 40 18 100,351.00 $154,254 

Manalapan

31 39 57 30 93,045.85 $154,036 

Atlantic Highlands

4.5 4.5 14 5 85,389.00 $137,125 

 

Serena answered first as in her opening presentation she noted that she had worked to address police contracts/costs – what a great tie in. In her town, 40 of the top 100 (base salary) employees are police. 18 of them make over $100K/yr. The top officer making $154K and the average being $100K. Serena notes these salaries are less than ideal, she gets it. She also claims to have worked hard to lower those salaries where possible and says her town doesn’t contribute to healthcare plans and some other benefits for officer. She also (rightly) notes that should they press too hard and go to arbitration, they’d likely lose their battle in this state. She also spoke of the 2% property tax cap and how it helps/helped in negotiations.

 

Bob answered next. In his town the numbers are 74 police officers are in the top 100 earners, 54 are paid over $100K, the top earning a whopping $176K, nearly double the average HOUSEHOLD income, and the average being $113K/yr. Bob claims to have taken on his local police, and all local public workers, by furloughing them for 18 days. He also noted some officers were laid off/not rehired after leaving, I think he said some were demoted but I may be mistaken in my poor memory, another forum attendee may fill this in. I was able to verify the furlough, maybe a Howell local can verify the lay-offs; Bob says he went from ~280 workers to about 220 over the past few years. Bob seems to have (tried to) take on the unions, but with numbers like the ones I see, I’m not sure how successful he really was, in fairness, if what he says is true, then those numbers must have been even more painful before. Bob also “gets it” when it comes to how outrageous the wages and benefits are, like Serena, I’m not sure how successful our part-time/volunteer municipal officials can really be against professional union negotiators.

 

Peter answered next. In his town, the numbers are 14 of the top about 70 (they don’t have 100 employees there!) are police officers. Only 5 police officers make over $100K and the top earner makes $137K, the average is “only” $85K, close to the county household average at least. Number wise his town looks best, but in fairness to others, he is in the smallest town. In my opinion, Peter gave the least impressive response, but his honestly is noteworthy. Peter’s immediate reaction/response was essentially “we, the people of Atlantic Highlands, chose to have a safe community and that comes at a cost we accept”. Ouch. Peter seemed to defend the salaries/benefits as necessary in order to maintain and uphold the law. In my humble opinion, I fear that Peter deals with such large numbers on a daily basis in his work at Moodys that maybe $140K/yr or $176K/yr doesn’t seem like a “big number” to him. I don’t think Peter sees the cost of individual government workers as the problem I think it is, maybe you agree with Peter, maybe for once you agree with me.

 

Ryan answered last. In his town, the numbers are 57 of the top 100 income earners are police, 30 officers make over $100K/yr with the top earner at  $154K/yr and the average at $93K. Oddly enough, Ryan couldn’t go into too many details because it sounds like he is TheMan right now doing the negotiations in Manalapan. He seemed to indicate we may read about him in the APP for his bold efforts, I’d be curious to see/hear the details – I think it could be a huge draw for Ryan if he’s really make a drastic impact, and gets it done before the 14th. Ryan, despite working in a school, seems to also “get it” that public worker costs are too high. One thing I noted is that Ryan relied heavy on talking about shared services and how they would/could/should save money — but if the county worker pay isn’t reduced, then adding more county workers just means a larger county budget.

 

 

There was a question/statement made about the need for photo IDs for voters due to vote fraud in Asbury. The hard-liners might be mad at me, and the ACLU too, but part of me really agrees with her and the need for a photo ID to vote — I can’t even buy Spray Paint at Home Depot without a photo ID, or get a cell phone, or buy a beer or pack of cigs – seeing as voting is more important than all of those things — it makes sense to me, but I’m like a liberal or something now, you got it, so mind me.

 

There was a question asking what two items you’d really like to get done/what you’d focus on. It was the usual stock answers — cut spending, lower taxes, the nursing home program, etc. I don’t know that I recall hearing “address the waste at Brookdale”, “put Fort Monmouth to good use”, etc. For me the answers were non-spectacular/non-memorable. Maybe another event goer can help out here if they heard something noteworthy/memorable.

 

Then came the BEST question, by far, in my opinion, from Ocean Twp Club President and Committee Vice Chair Joe Hadden. His point/question was simple and, again, great. 4 years ago in 2008, Obama was at the top of the ticket and John Curley lost because of the top of the ticket — how are you the candidate going to raise the money, get your name and message out and compete with Obama?

 

Serena noted her connections to Meridian and it’s size/potential donor base. She also noted she’s a chair(?) of Bayshore Hospital and seemed VERY confident that she could raise a lot of money from “outside of the usual” sources. She also claims to have about 5000 doors in Holmdel and she claims to have knocked on those doors 5-6 times over the past few years. Sh did a great job giving the impression that she has the ground game, and the money, to run a good campaign.

 

Ryan implied “I know people” and “I’ve been elected a few times”. There were no specifics on exactly who and how he’d get the job done. As one of the younger guys, I’d have to guess he has more energy to go — and as a school worker, I assume he has at least the summer off to knock on doors.

 

Bob also implied “I know people” and noted he raised a lot of money for his mayor runs and spent a lot of his own money too. Bob, having run as an independent, must know how to organize and run a ground game, or pick the right people to help him — having run as an independent, his “team-work” ability to run with Curley, and then Arnone, is worth questioning in my opinion.

 

Peter essentially said “I have my team picked and ready to go on the 15th to win” He assures all Republicans win top to bottom in November. Again, no exact information who/how he’ll get it done, but he has confidence. I have to think via Moodys, he likely has some good potential donors.

 

There was also a question about Agenda 21. As expected, no Republican supports it or any other measure against private property rights.

 

Short on time — Christine then let me get a second question in — I noted that Freeholder Clifton is now Assemblyman Clifton and Freeholder Christie is now Governor — so seeing as this office may be a stepping stone to higher office — do you care to make a statement about your views on 2A rights, abortion and Gay Marriage.  Christine cut me off, because of time constraints, and asked me to pick one issue. None of the candidates are NRA members, all claim to support 2A rights. Bob Walsh says he’s coming to the shooting range with me one of these days — win or lose – I’m going to hold him to it, and if any other Republicans want to take a trip to the range, let me know/be my guest.

 

Getting to a conclusion — here are my Random Thoughts of the “problems” (as I see them) with each candidate:

 

Walsh’s problem, is mainly that he comes off as a bit of clown at times which I think turns people off easily at first glance and is an easy item to attack him on. When he tries to come across as a softy, he slows down his speech, looks down, it just seems phony at times. I also need more information on his actions over public workers as his town has the worst/highest police pay numbers, by far. Did he really do the things he claims and did any of things really stick/make a difference? The effort (if accurate) is note worthy regardless.

Serena’s problem, is that she allowed Walsh, multiple times, to overshadow her/interrupt her. She needs to be able to demonstrate that she can debate/argue her points with public workers who abuse the taxpayers and the system as a whole as well as battle Democrats come November — and not just have others talk louder/longer over her, taking on Bob would be good proof of an ability to take on those evil Ds. Other than that, I think she’d do just fine, and far better that say a Democrat like 33 and retired for life on the public dime after 4 short years of “work” State Police officer Bill Shey’s… not that I’m bitter/angry/jealous or anything that I (hopefully) have 40+ years of work left until I drop dead….

Doyle is out for me personally. He seems like a really smart, nice guy, who deals with large numbers on a daily basis. I don’t think he views or understands that $180K (base) for a police officer or $220K for a corrections officer is a high salary in a county where household (combined) average is $80K. He might be a financial wiz, but it’s the smaller costs that need to be addressed IMHO. Simple dopes like me think $180K/yr is a lot of money, I’m not convinced Peter finds $180K/yr to be “a large number”. And I understand that saying “you’re taking a 50% pay cut!” to a corrections officer is much easier said than done, but I do think any one of the others would at least THINK the numbers are absurd (Bob may say it); it doesn’t seem like cutting pay would cross Peter’s mind as he doesn’t seem to think $180K is a problem that needs to be addressed. I’d certainly appreciate being proven wrong here, and his town has numbers on his side, but his response seemed troubling to me, or maybe I mis-understood and another forum goer could give their impressions/understanding.

Green’s problem is also a personality issue, as well as that he is a public worker himself (social worker in a school). I don’t know how well he’d fit in with the other members of the board and that he is a beneficiary of the public employment system seems to imply that he isn’t likely to advocate for a paycut for himself/his fellow public workers, I could be wrong. Again, he gives the usual line “lets cut the nursing home!” but that’s an easy/obvious one, does he have the courage and ability to take on the bigger issues — the trustees at Brookdale, the Corrections officers, Judges? I think with more self-confidence in his delivery/approach, and if he can pull out a win over the PBA/public salaries in his town, he’d have a real strong run, unfortunately, I don’t know that the details of his work against public worker pay will be available/on his side before the 14th.

 

 

Of course, this is all just my opinion, my *quick* little notes after a lot of research and a few hours of listening. To answer your question, if I had to vote today, I might vote Bob Walsh while thinking “maybe I should have voted Serena” but today this is the best I could do. Since I don’t have to vote until the 14th, maybe I’ll see Serena again and she’ll really stand out and not allow herself to be overshadowed, and she would win me over, because she has a certain appeal/personality that I think fits in well/best on the board, as long as she can also stand alone. Or perhaps by the 14th, Ryan Green will have cut his public worker pay in half in which case there is no contest, he gets my vote, and i’ll donate significantly to campaign immediately.  

 

The caveat to all of this — Bob and Serena each have a few people backing them who I really like and whose opinions I really trust and value. It’s a testament to the great candidates and deep bench we have to choose from when good, hard working, like-minded Republicans, who really stand for the right things every time, are supporting different candidates. I really respect the input and opinions of these few key people, one side or the other is going to be disappointed, but in the end, I’m going to make my choice based on the little things I see and hear — and I offer all of this as something for you to consider, not to tell you who to vote for.

 

And as a final note, as a private sector guy who is fortunate to be able to decide who is hired and who is fired from his own staff, (ie: if I don’t think you’ll fit in, I don’t hire you) — I have to say, as always, that John, Tom, Gary and Lillian’s opinion of who THEY want to work with and who would work best with them is paramount. It helps none of us to force them to work with someone they don’t think they will like or be able to work with. Equally important, love him or be on the fence about him (because I don’t think anyone should hate him) Chairman Oxley’s opinion is valuable and important to consider as the Chairman is constantly working in this county and state and has eyes and ears all over with a great understanding of the people and issues.

 

In either case, don’t take my word for it — get to the Monmouth County Affiliated Republican Club’s event on the 13th (http://www.monmouthrepublican.org/calendar.asp#a511), meet the candidates, chew their ears off (not literally or they won’t be able to listen to our complaints later) and then make a smart, informed decision based on your own issues and concerns in Colt’s Neck on the 14th..

Posted: January 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Freeholder, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Republican Committee | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments »

Dear Fellow Republicans,

Over the past 8 months, Governor Christie has initiated and implemented sweeping fiscal reforms. Recently, he launched the “Christie Fall Reform Agenda” to address four key areas of government that need reform; Ethics Reform, Pension/Benefit Reforms, Economic Development, and Education Reforms to rethink, reform, and rebuild our state government. These reforms are critical to ensuring that New Jersey becomes a more affordable place to live and work.

We need to elect fiscally conservative leaders at every level of government. Our county candidates, Sheriff Shaun Golden, Freeholder Rob Clifton and Freeholder candidate Tom Arnone have proven records of opposing higher taxes, cutting wasteful spending and responsible leadership.

Shaun Golden for Sheriff

Sheriff Shaun Golden, is an experienced law enforcement and public administration leader. Before becoming Sheriff he was a law enforcement officer for 18 years on the Colts Neck and Toms River Police Departments. Sheriff Golden also worked as a certified paramedic for MONOC, serving Monmouth and Ocean Counties, and was a volunteer firefighter and EMT. He holds a Masters Degree in Administration from Seton Hall University, is a NJ Certified Public Manager and an adjunct professor at Monmouth University. Sheriff Golden lives in Farmingdale with his wife Catherine, and their two children.

Rob Clifton for Freeholder

Freeholder Robert Clifton has served on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders since 2004. He is currently the Deputy Director of the board and oversees Finance, Purchasing and Information Technology. He was the Mayor of Matawan Borough from 1996 until 2005. In Matawan he also served on the borough’s unified Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Board of Health and the Monmouth County Board of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Mr. Clifton is the Director of Government and Community Affairs at Comcast. He lives in Matawan with his wife Tracy and their two children.

Tom Arnone for Freeholder

Freeholder candidate Tom Arnone has served as the Mayor of Neptune City borough council since 1997 and been Mayor since 2004. During this time he served as Police Commissioner, Public Works Commissioner, Finance Chairperson and Director of the Office of Emergency Management. He also served as a member of the Land Use Board, the Planning Board, and on the Borough’s Environmental Commission. In 2009 Tom was named the Vice President of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors, and was elected President in 2010. He has owned and operated a family business since 1983. Mayor Arnone lives in Neptune City with his wife Catherine and their teenaged daughter.

The November 2nd 2010 election is rapidly approaching. Our county team needs your support and vote. They are fiscally conservative leaders who will help ensure that Governor Christie’s reforms are effectively implemented at the county level. To find out more or to get involved, visit our website at . Please cast your vote for Sheriff Shaun Golden and Rob Clifton and Tom Arnone for the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Together, we can ensure that Monmouth County remains a beautiful and affordable place to live, work and raise a family.www.monmouthrepublican.org

Respectfully,

Joseph W. Oxley
Chairman, MCRC 

 

 

Posted: October 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County Republican Committee, Rob Clifton, Shaun Golden, Tom Arnone | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments »