These men want to turn Monmouth County into South Essex County. CD-4 Candidate Ruben Scolavino, Larry Luttrell, Senator Cory Booker, Joe Grillo, Congressman Frank Pallone, NJ Democratic Chairman John Currie and Monmouth Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal. photo via facebook
Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal said that Essex County’s Government is the model he hopes to impose on Monmouth County should he ever win control of the Board of Freeholders.
Gopal and his freeholder candidates Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo ventured north to Essex this week, hat in hand for money to fund their quest to transform Monmouth into South Essex, according to a report on PolitickerNJ.
“They have done an extraordinary job in Essex County as far as managing a county government, and it’s all Democratic,” Gopal said. “It’s a model for Monmouth to hope to achieve one day.”
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.
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.”
Jeffery W. Foster resigned from the Wall Township Committee last week. He is applying to be the Director of Public Works for the Township and wants his application to be considered on it’s merits, not based upon his political position.
Foster was elected to the Township Committee in 2007 and served as mayor in 2012. He has been chairman of the Public Works Committee throughout his tenure.
Foster, 59, has been looking to get a municipal public works position for last the last few years. He applied to be the Director of Public Works in Belmar two years ago. Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said Foster’s application was given serious consideration. “Jeff would make an excellent Public Works Director,” Doherty told MMM in a phone interview.
Foster has also applied to be an Assistant Public Works Director in Middletown. He sold his auto repair and towing business last summer. He started working as a maintence worker at the New Jersey Department of Transportation last September. “They let me use the heavy equipment,” Foster said, “I love this work. ”
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.
Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal has been named one of four deputy vice chairs of the State Party, by Chairman John Currie at the Party’s annual conference in Atlantic City last week.
In addition to Gopal, Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, the former Speaker, Atlantic County Freeholder Colin Bell and Garden State Equality Founder and former Chair Steven Goldstein were named Deputy Vice Chair.
“I am thrilled to name these four outstanding New Jersey Democrats as Deputy Vice Chairs. I will look to them for guidance and support as the campaign season progresses. These individuals represent diverse interests and regions and they have all been leaders in their respective communities,” said Chairman Currie in a statement released by the Party. “They strengthen the NJDSC leadership team and increase our ability to conduct outreach and other party business across the state.”
Gopal told MMM that the position is advisory in nature and that he does not have a specific portfolio of responsibility with the NJDSC.
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.
For the fourth straight year, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted a county budget with no tax increase.
At their meeting April 10 meeting the Freeholder Board, comprised of 5 Republicans, adopted $480.9 million budget, a $100,000 spending reduction from last year’s budget. The amount raised through property taxes is $302,475,000, the same amount raised every year since 2010.
“It is a challenge every year to try to cut spending without impacting the level of services our taxpayers have come to expect,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry. “This process is not something that is done in haste. This budget reflects the months of work that has gotten us to a flat tax rate for the fourth year in a row.”
“This year, an internal budget subcommittee met with each department to look for duplicative services and identify areas for consolidation and savings,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr., liaison to the Finance Department. “This process has yielded savings in the areas of information technology, finance, human resources, building maintenance and legal services.”
Monmouth County relies less on taxes than most other New Jersey counties. As a percentage of the overall budget, Monmouth County’s taxes comprise 62 percent of the total budget, historically behind Union, Hudson and Essex counties.
“The department heads deserve a lot of credit for their hard work in paring down the budget,” said Rich. “This is the fifth year in which we asked for concessions from the departments and, as a result, this is the fourth year in which the tax levy has remained the same.”
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.