Monmouth County’s Biggest Losers
Vin Gopal. When you’re twenty-eight years old and the most popular governor in the nation singles you out as a practitioner of the “politics of yesterday,” twice in four months, you’re having a bad year.
Worse for the Monmouth County Democratic Chairman, he doesn’t have the juice to enforce the retribution he promised to Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long and Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider, two Monmouth County Democrats who endorsed Governor Chris Christie’s reelection.
When you’re a twenty-eight year old County Chairman and the elite statewide power players of your party convene for dinner in your county, twice, and you’re not invited, you’re having a bad year.
When, after a devastating county-wide electoral loss, a member of your party leaks your declaration of victory taking credit for wins in races you lost and for a victory in a non-partisan election you weren’t involved in, you’re having a bad year.
But none of those things are what landed Vin Gopal on MMM’s biggest loser list.
Gopal in on this list because of his reckless, mean-spirited and false attempted character assassination of a Republican candidate for Red Bank Borough Council.
Gopal launched his inaccurate attack against Sean DiSomma in a press release late on a Friday afternoon in October. He encouraged reporters to print his allegations on over the weekend and do their fact checking on Monday, after the story had legs. Some did, to their own detriment.
In his desperate zeal to win in a Democratic town where he was losing, Gopal ruined his credibility with members of the media who had come to rely upon him as a reliable source.
The Bayshore Tea Party Group. Once respected as a powerful and principled political force, Barbara Gonzalez , Bob Gordon and their shrunken band of zealots traded their welcome at Republican power tables where they could have made a difference for the road less taken of self-righteous irrelevancy.
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Posted: December 31st, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2013 Election | Tags: Adam Schneider, Andrew Lucas, Andrew Lucas farm, Asbury Park Press, Barbara Gonzalez, Bayshore Tea Party Group, Bob Gordon, Chris Christie, Dina Long, John Bennett, Linda Baum, Middletown Library, Sean DiSomma, Susan O'Neal, Tony Fiore, Vin Gopal | 12 Comments »
Susan O’Neal. Photo courtesy of Middletown Patch.
The Middletown Library Board of Trustees will consider hiring a part time executive director to replace Susan O’Neal.
O’Neal submitted her resignation to the board last evening as part of a negotiated termination. Board President Brock Siebert declined to comment on O’Neal resignation, citing a confidentiality agreement. The termination won’t be official until approved by the Middletown Township Committee. Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger also declined to comment.
O’Neal’s salary is $119,816, according to Data Universe.
O’Neal’s continued employment became untenable when her emails with Linda Baum, a Democratic candidate for Township Committee revealed that she was colluding with the Middletown Democratic Party to undermine the authority of the Board of Trustees. The emails were released as a result of an Open Public Records Act request on the part of Committeeman Tony Fiore. Fiore became suspicious that O’Neal and Baum were colluding when Baum shared confidential information she should not have been privy to at a public meeting. Baum unsuccessfully sued to block the release of the emails.
Brock said the board’s personnel committee will meet next week to discuss a search for O’Neal’s replacement. Hiring a part time executive director is one option he wants to committee to consider.
Posted: September 19th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Middletown Library | Tags: Brock Siebert, Gerry Scharfenberger, Linda Baum, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Middletown Library, Susan O'Neal, Tony Fiore | Comments Off on Middletown Library Will Consider Part Time Executive Director
No news. Empty newsstands stored in the Asbury Park Press’s empty parking lot in Neptune.
This morning the
Asbury Park Press Neptune Nudniks have an article about something that might be happening and that might cause something else that’s bad to happen.
Two of the three mayors on the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority may be breaking confidentiality rules — and possibly jeopardizing millions of dollars in redevelopment deals — to keep their governing bodies up to date on property negotiations affecting their towns. (Emphasis added)
In a nutshell, the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) is the entity responsible for redeveloping the fort that Congressmen Frank Pallone and Rush Holt let get away. The authority is governed by a 13 member board. 6 of the board members are representives of the State government. 1 is a Monmouth County Freeholder, 3 are “public members.” The final three are the mayors of the communities that host the fort, Oceanport, Tinton Falls and Eatontown.
Here’s where APP reporter Bill Bowman got a basic fact wrong:
A state authority under the umbrella of the state Department of Community Affairs, FMERA is the sole body that seeks out potential buyers and lessors and negotiates and approves contracts for the property.
FMERA is not under the umbrella of the state Department of Community Affairs. It is an independent authority staffed by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
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Posted: July 17th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Asbury Park Press, FMERA, Fort Monmouth, Neptune Nudniks | Tags: Asbury Park Press, Bill Bowman, Bruce Steadman, Eatontown, FMERA, Fort Monmouth, Michael Mahon, Micheal Skudera, Middletown Library, Neptune Nudniks, Oceanport, Susan O'Neal, Tinton Falls | 3 Comments »
For the last several years this site has derided the
Asbury Park Press Editorial Board Neptune Nudniks for their ignorance of the facts and processes about which they opine, and for their religious bigotry.
The Nudniks’ editorial today about the controversy surrounding the emails exchanged between Middletown Library Director Susan O’Neal and Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee Linda Baum is a firing offense. They apparently didn’t even read or comprehend their own reporter’s article about the issue, before publishing their ignorant opinion.
APP reporter Suzanne Cervenka reported the story accurately on July 4. Middletown Township Committeeman Tony Fiore made an OPRA request for emails between O’Neal and Baum. Baum took the issue to Court, arguing that the emails were private, had nothing to do with library operations and that she in no way acted as an agent of the library. Judge Lawrence M. Lawson ruled that, as a matter of law, the emails were government documents subject to OPRA and ordered them released.
In their editorial, the Nudniks said that Fiore took the matter to Court when in fact Baum took the matter to Court. They said Lawson should have refused to hear the matter. If Lawson kept the Court out of it, the emails would have been released without Baum being heard on the matter. The Nudniks said Fiore was being petty for following his instincts that O’Neal was undermining the public’s oversight of the $4.6 million dollar operation she directs.
Monmouth and Ocean County citizens deserve better from their largest newspaper/news site. We’ve deserved better for a long time. We should demand better.
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Posted: July 10th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Asbury Park Press, Neptune Nudniks, NJ Media, Opinion | Tags: APP.com, Fire the Asbury Park Press Editorial Board, Judge Lawrence M. Lawson, Linda Baum, Middletown, Middletown Public Library, Neptune Nudniks, Neputne Nudniks, Susan O'Neal, Tony Fiore | 14 Comments »
State Senator Barbara Buono and Linda Baum, Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, 8/25/12 facebook photo
Middletown Library Director Susan O’Neal submitted incomplete and haphazardly organized emails between herself and Linda Baum, a past and present Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, in response to Judge Lawrence M. Lawson’s ruling last week that the emails are government documents subject to the New Jersey Open Public Records Act.
MMM received the 298 pages of emails which include numerous duplicates, many truncated pages that cannot be fully read and omit relevant attachments, late this morning from Middletown Township via OPRA request. The emails can be viewed via Scribd at the end of this post.
The emails reveal a ongoing endeavor between O’Neal and Baum to undermine the oversight of the library by its Board of Trustees and the Township Committee. Additionally, Baum and O’Neal planned to use the library to forward the political objectives, including political fundraising, of Baum and the Middletown Democrats. Middletown Democratic Chairman Don Watson was copied on several of the emails.
In his ruling dated July 1 denying Baum’s motion to thwart the release of the emails requested by Middletown Clerk Heidi Brunt on behalf of Township Committeeman and Library Trustee Tony Fiore, Lawson wrote that Baum argued the emails have “absolutely nothing to do with the official business of the library” and do not relate to public operations.
Lawson wrote that “Baum argues that she has no relationship with the Library, nor is she an agent of the library in any respect.”
The emails reveal otherwise.
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Posted: July 8th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2013 Election, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Middletown Library, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court | Tags: Anthony Fiore, Judge Lawrence M. Lawson, Linda Baum, Middletown, Middletown Public Library, Randall Gabrielan, Susan O'Neal, Tony Fiore | 27 Comments »
Linda Baum trying to convince voters to support her last summer. facebook photo
Linda Baum, a past and present Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, presents herself as an advocate of open government and transparency. She even wrote an article on her campaign website about how citizens can made Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests.
Yet, when it comes to her own email correspondence with Middletown Library Director Susan O’Neal, Baum is far from open and transparent. She sued the Library Board of Trustees and Township Clerk Heidi Brunt to prevent her emails from being released under an OPRA request made by Brunt on behalf of Township Committeeman Tony Fiore. Fiore is the Township Committee’s representative on the Library Board.
Judge Lawrence M. Lawson ruled on Monday that Baum’s emails with O’Neal are government records and must be released per the OPRA request. Lawson’s decision can be viewed here.
Baum argued that the emails were private, had nothing to do with Library operations, and could be used against her politically.
Fiore asked Brunt to file OPRA requests for the emails that O’Neal exchanged with Baum and Melanie Elmiger from January 2012 and May 15, 2013 when it became apparent that Baum and Elmiger had information about Library business that had only been discussed in executive sessions and was not yet public.
“I look forward to seeing the emails that Linda Baum attempted to illegally block from the public,” Fiore said, “It is a shame that her frivolous lawsuit will cost the taxpayers of Middletown and the Middletown Public Library thousands of dollars that could have been used for other purposes.”
Posted: July 5th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Middletown Library | Tags: Heidi Brunt, Judge Lawrence M. Lawson, Linda Baum, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Middletown Public Library, Middletown Township, Susan O'Neal, Tony Fiore | 31 Comments »