Daily Archives: May 6, 2009

Yankee Switch-Pitcher Pat Venditte Is Living History

Has anyone hear of this “baby bomber” phenom, Pat Venditte? He is pro baseballs only ambidextrous pitcher and he plays for the Charleston RiverDogs, a Single A- Level minor league team of the New York Yankees.

“You’ll probably never witness an unassisted triple play in your lifetime, right? (There have been only 14.) Or see an intentional walk with the bases loaded. (Six.) Or watch one player hit two grand slams in an inning. (Once.)

But you can see something right now that hasn’t been around in baseball since the late 1800s: a switch-pitcher.

His name is Pat Venditte, he’s 23, and he’s pro baseball’s only ambidextrous pitcher. This living piece of history is more than a YouTube star; he’s throwing almost daily for the Charleston RiverDogs, the Yankees’ Single-A club. And he’s not just throwing: He’s blowing through hitters like a Cub Scout through Skittles. At one point in April, the closer’s ERA was 0.00 in 6 1/3 innings, and he hadn’t blown a save in five games.

Last season, he had 23 saves for the Staten Island Yankees, with a 0.83 ERA. And best of all, the kid can relieve himself!”

You can finish reading about this “switch-pitcher” over at ESPN Magazine, in the meantime I think that I will be looking at the schedule for the Lakewood BlueClaws soon to see if they have a local match up with the RiverDogs so I can check out Pat Venditte for myself.

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Filed under Charleston RiverDogs, ESPN Magazine, Lakewood Blueclaws, Minor League Baseball, New York Yankees, switch-pitcher

Taxes and Middletown, Perfect Together

As anyone who follow this blog knows, I am no fan of the Middeltown GOP and their bond, spend ,tax and then blame others, policies. 

Since late February, I have been pointing out that the Middletown Republicans, who have controlled  the township committee for the past 20 some odd years, have been planning a 9.2% municipal tax increase this year in order to plug a $2.4 million hole in the township budget that has not been adopted yet. This budget shortfall is approximately the same as last years, when the township used  a couple of one shot revenue gimmicks in addition to a 7.2% tax increase balance the budget.
In order to keep Middletown running for the past 5+ months, temporary budget resolutions have needed to be passed by the township committee. At last count, nearly 50% of  the expected operating expenses for the township for fiscal year 2009 have already been spent or have been allocated  to be spent. 
Now, how will it be possible to cut $2.4 million from the last remaining 50% of budget to avoid a 9.2% rate increase?  You can’t, unless your willing make very hard choices. Choices that the Republicans in town have refused to make for the past 20 something years.
That is why, with this years increase, Middletown’s tax rate will have risen 25% over the past 4 years.
At some point you need to look in the mirror and stop blaming others for your short comings. 
Like Middletown, other municipalities around that state, as well as along the bayshore, have been saddled with reduced aid and unfunded mandates from Trenton. However the impact has not had nearly the same adverse effects as here, because instead of blaming others, these towns  looked at themselves and made choices that dealt with the problem instead of playing the avoid and blame game. 
There are two other very good posts today from Pat Walsh’s Middletown Musings blog and Matt Morehead’s A Voice for Youth blog that address Middletown’s budget dealings. 
Walsh’s talks about the townships use of deferred school board taxes, while Morehead’s post asks why other towns in the area have been able to keep their tax rate stable while Middletowns has skyrocketed. 

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Filed under A Voice for Youth, Bayshore, Matt Morehead, Middletown, Middletown GOP, Middletown Musings, municipal tax rates, Patricia Walsh, tax increase, Trenton

JOB WORRIES CREATE STRESS IN JERSEY; Anxiety increases among all income levels since last year

Press Release

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fully 2-in-3 New Jerseyans say the current economic situation is causing stress in their lives. The latest Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll also found that lack of job security leads the list of their economic concerns.

Overall, 31% of New Jerseyans say the economic downturn has caused serious stress in their lives and another 36% say it has caused them stress, although not serious. Just 32% say that the current situation causes them no stress at all. These findings are similar to a national ABC News/Washington Post Poll taken in March, which found that 61% of Americans felt stress from the economy, including 33% with serious stress. Two-thirds of New Jersey residents at all income levels feel at least some stress due to the economy ñ including under $50,000 (67%), $50,000 to $100,000 (71%), and over $100,000 (65%).

The poll also asked New Jersey residents to place themselves on a ladder of life satisfaction, where step “10” represents the best possible life for them and step ì0î represents the worst possible life. The average New Jerseyan places himself or herself between the 5th and 6th steps ñ 5.7 to be exact. This is a full step below the average satisfaction rating of 6.8 that New Jerseyans gave themselves just two years ago. Overall, residents in all income levels and age groups have moved down a step on the life satisfaction ladder since April 2007.

Specifically, only 1-in-5 (19%) residents currently place themselves on the top three steps (i.e. 8, 9, or 10), which is down from 39% two years ago. By comparison, nearly half (47%) put themselves on the lowest rungs (0 through 5), which is nearly double the 25% who said the same in an April 2007 poll.

While they are now less satisfied with their lives, 2-in-3 New Jerseyans (68%) continue to say their household’s financial situation is basically good, compared to 29% who say it is in bad shape. Positive evaluations are down only slightly from last year, when a May 2008 poll found that 73% of state residents regarded their familyís finances as good.

“It appears that most New Jerseyans are doing what they need to do to keep their household budgets solvent, but itís putting a strain on their quality of life,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “The biggest cause of anxiety seems to be not so much whatís happening to them now, but fear of what may be coming down the line. “

When asked to name their main economic concerns right now, 30% of Garden State resident say they worry about potential unemployment and another 20% say they are worried about what’s happened to their retirement accounts or other investments. About 1-in-5 say meeting their mortgage (14%) or rent (4%) payment is a primary concern, 18% say it is college tuition or school costs, 16% say it is healthcare costs, and 5% say it is taxes. Another 21% report that paying “everyday bills” is their main economic worry.

Among New Jerseyans who are currently employed, nearly half (46%) feel less secure in their present job compared to a couple of years ago. In a poll taken in May 2008, just 30% said they felt less job security. Currently, only 19% of employed New Jerseyans feel more secure in their jobs and 35% feel about the same job security as they did a couple of years ago. Just last year, 27% of working Garden State residents felt more secure in their jobs and 42% felt as secure as they had in the past.

The poll also found that heightened anxiety about unemployment extends to the entire household. When asked about job loss potentially affecting their family, 44% of New Jerseyans say they are very concerned that someone in their household might be out of work in the next 12 months. Another 25% are somewhat concerned that this might happen and just 30% are not at all concerned. Just one year ago, only 33% were very concerned about this, while 42% were not at all concerned.

Currently, half of Garden State residents whose household income is less than $50,000 (52%), or who are under age 35 (50%), are very concerned about a job loss in their household in the coming year. Last year, these numbers stood at 41% for lower income families and 39% for younger adults. Concern about potential job loss has increased for higher income earners as well. Currently, 42% of those earning $50,000 to $100,000 are very concerned (up from 34% last year) and 33% of those earning more than $100,000 are very concerned (up from 25% last year) about someone in their home being out of work in the coming year.

The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll was conducted by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from April 23 to 27, 2009. This sample has a margin of error of + 3.5 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Gannett New Jersey newspaper group (Asbury Park Press, Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune).

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Filed under anxiety, economic downturn, job worries, Monmouth University / Gannett New Jersey poll, New Jerseyans, stress

Middletown GOP – Liars, Lairs Pants on Fire: Update On Energy Grant

On Monday I posted about how the Middletown Republicans were once again trying to take credit for something that they did not do. I went into great detail and even posted an audio clip to explained how the Middletown GOP were taking credit for others work 

A short while before the Bayshore Neighborhood Meeting, which took place on March 26th, Township Administrator Tony Mercantante, received a phone call from a local reporter asking him what intentions the township had for the $610,000 windfall that Middletown was in line to receive from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program (a program created by Democratic U.S Senator Robert Menendez) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or more commonly know as President Obama’s stimulus package, to be used for township projects that would promote energy efficiency, such as the townships Green Initiatives.   
Mercantante was taken by surprise because he had no idea that the township even applied for such a grant. When he announced the townships good fortune to attendants of the meeting, Mayor Pam and Deputy Gerry were very quick to take credit for their proactive attempts to secure the grant.
Letters from local GOPer’s started to appear in publications praising the mayor and her underlings for a job well done. The problem with this however was that none of it was true.
The township never applied for the grant in advance because the program essentially did not exist until $3.2 billion was made available through the president’s stimulus package that was signed in February.     
To further prove what I am saying, all one needs to do is listen to this new audio clip from Monday nights Township Committee workshop meetingto her Township Administrator Tony Mercantante, says that the grant was only made available to the township and that the township still needs to a lot of work to apply for it or it would be lost.

 In conclusion allow me to say, Mercantante presented the next step in the energy grant from Washington to the committee at its workshop meeting on Monday night, which makes it very clear that the township or anyone associated with  the township never applied for the funds because Mercantante clearly  says that the next step is to submit the application.

This solidifies the fact that the GOP was caught in an outright lie and they should be held to it. There is no excuse for misleading the public. It is plainly clear that the Middletown GOP can not handle the basic needs of the people by taking credit for something that is clearly not true.

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Filed under Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, Middeltown Township, Middletown Republicans, Tony Mercantante, Township Administrator, US. Sen. Robert Menendez