Democratic Mayors Pan Their Freeholder Candidates’ Call For A County Ethics Board
By Art Gallagher
Democratic Freeholder Candidates Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo with Congressman Frank Pallone and campaign volunteers
The Monmouth County Democrats have finally put forth a proposal to improve County Government.
It is not a new idea. It is not even a good idea. But at least they have put forth an idea for debate instead of spreading the lies and baseless character assassinations that have comprised their campaign so far this year.
Their campaign had been wholly negative; primarily baseless character attacks on Freeholder Director Lillian Burry. They lied and said Burry hired an unqualified campaign worker for a mental health position. Even after their lawsuit alleging that Burry had a conflict of interest over the Andrew Lucas farmland preservation deal was thrown out of court, they continue to beat that drum. The GOP controlled Freeholder Board has cleaned house at Brookdale Community College since former President Peter Burnham was caught with his hands in the cookie jar. Yet the Democrats have been blaming Burry for Burnham’s transgressions.
Democratic candidate Joe Grillo told The Asbury Park Press that he wants to reinstate a County Ethics Board. I know I’m being generous by saying this is a proposal to improve County Government instead of calling it an excuse to keep talking about the baseless allegations they are making about Burry. But what the heck. MMM is fair and biased. Let’s play along and debunk the idea on its merits.
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.
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.”
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.
Former Monmouth County Prosecutor John Kaye, currently the President of the Monmouth County Affiliated Republican Club, wrote to the Republican County Committee members today to warn that Vin Gopal, the County Democrats and the press, will use Sheriff Shaun Golden’s “dual offices” as a campaign issue in the event he becomes Chairman. Here’s a copy of Kaye’s letter.
Just as important as what John has done, is what he has not done – and that’s gift wrap a campaign issue for Vin Gopal and the County Democrats to beat us all over the head with. Unfortunately, I am concerned that is exactly what electing Shaun Golden to the dual offices of County Sheriff and County Republican Chairman will do.
Chairman Bennett called me on the day Golden announced he was running for Chairman and asked if I was going to “be fair with him this time.” He felt my coverage of the 2012 Chairman’s race when I endorsed his opponent was unfair. I told him I would be and I believe I have been. Earlier this week I sat down separately with John and his daughter, Meghan Bennett Clark. They both acknowledged that MMM’s coverage of the Chairman’s race has been fair.
So, if fairness, I have to say, the argument Kaye raises today in his letter to the County Committee is the same argument I raised against John Bennett being Chairman two years ago. I argued that the Democrats and the press would have a field day with Bennett. I argued that they would use Bennett’s record, pension and multiple public jobs to beat Monmouth County Republicans over the head. It would be Club Monmouth all over again.
I was wrong. It didn’t happen.
I don’t think it will happen this time either. But if it does, both Bennett and Golden could both be vulnerable.
Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long. photo credit:RedBankGreen.com
When Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal promised retribution and accused Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long of abandoning her principals by endorsing Governor Chris Christie for reelection, Long said, “Whether Vin likes it or not, I’m still a Democrat.”
Now she’s not a Democrat. Long quietly changed her registration to Unaffiliated in February. The Asbury Park Press was the first to report Long’s new status.
“I did this quietly and without fanfare,” Long told MMM, “to talk about why I did it would defeat the purpose.” Prodded, Long said, “its a long story, no pun intended.”
Political insiders in Sea Bright have been aware of Long’s new status for a few weeks. One insider said that something happened in the county Democratic Party that Long considered personally hurtful.
Barring an Independent candidate entering the fray in June, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale “Pat” Menna will be reelected to a third term leading the borough in November unopposed. The Red Bank Republicans have not nominated a candidate to oppose Menna.
But that doesn’t mean the Red Bank GOP has given up on the strides they made last fall when Cindy Burham broke the Democratic grip on the governing body of 6 council members and the mayor and Sean DiSomma came within 1o2 votes of winning a second seat for the GOP.
DiSomma was subject to a malicious smear campaign, over a traffic ticket, by Monmouth Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal in the final week of the 2013 campaign.
DiSomma is running again this year. He is joined on the ticket by Brian Hanlon, a former member of the borough’s park and recreation commission.