Daily Archives: October 15, 2009

Patrick Murry: As the Voter Churns

Patrick Murry, founding director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, posted the following piece on his blog Real Numbers and Other Musings:

The conventional wisdom in New Jersey’s gubernatorial race is the better that Chris Daggett does, the worse Chris Christie does. Certainly, Daggett’s rise in the polls over the past four weeks is a nearly point for point match with Christie’s drop in support.

That certainly is true at the aggregate level, as I have noted elsewhere. Specifically, if you compare this week’s Quinnipiac Poll to the one they released September 1, you will find that Christie’s support dropped by 6 points, Corzine’s increased by 3, Daggett’s increased by 5 and Undecided decreased by 1. While Corzine made some gains, it seems the big switch was from Christie to Daggett, with Undecided remaining stable.

I stand by this analysis, but there may be more to this phenomenon than the naked eye can see. Research conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute with a panel of New Jersey voters indicates that this “net” effect may actually be masking a lot more individual-level churning in the electorate.

The first round of our online panel was interviewed September 23-28 (Wave 1). A total of 340 of these respondents then participated in a second round of interviews on October 9-14 (Wave 2). [Note: the intention of this panel study is to track individual level change over time. As such, it is not necessarily designed to be representative of candidate choice for the full electorate. That is why I refrain from reporting “horse race” percentages here. We’ll leave that for our standard telephone polling.]

The survey analysis divided the vote choice question into 14 separate categories. Those who make a candidate choice (Christie, Corzine, Daggett, Other) were asked if they are either “very sure” about their choice or “might change” their mind before election day – leading to a total of 8 categories. Those who initially indicate they are Undecided were then asked if they “lean” toward a candidate – producing 5 categories (Lean to Christie, Corzine, Daggett, Other or do not lean to any candidate). The final category is for those who say they will not cast a vote for governor on the ballot.

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Filed under Chris Christie, Chris Dagget, Gov. Jon Corzine, Monmouth University, opinion poll, Patrick Murry

Letter: Byrnes & Short; Working For Solutions While Republicans Ignored Or Litigated COAH Obligations

I do not understand how the Middletown Republicans can continue to blame Sean Byrnes and Patrick Short for the township’s affordable housing obligations. The Fair Housing Act and the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) mandates were initiated when Republican Gov. Thomas Kean was in office. They are a matter of state law, not township preference.

It was also a Republican-majority on the Township Committee that tried to ignore or litigate its COAH obligations for years, only to find out that it would have to scramble to build affordable housing on the Avaya and Town Center sites to meet its affordable housing obligations.

By deciding to fight the law, we missed a golden opportunity to enter into regional contribution agreements (RCAs) with neighboring towns. In one such opportunity, Middletown gave up the chance to purchase 80 units of affordable housing from Red Bank by not allocating the money required to satisfy the agreement. Red Bank nullified the agreement and chose to partner with the Township of Manalapan instead. After litigation attempts failed, Middletown tried to rekindle a deal with Red Bank, but it was too late. Middletown and its Republican committee were left with the obligation to build 75 affordable housing units at the Avaya site. The Avaya obligation is causing much controversy in Lincroft today, which is unfortunate because it could have all been avoided if the township had gone through with the Red Bank deal in the first place.

Sean Byrnes and Patrick Short are not shirking responsibility and leaving our township’s fate to costly litigation, like their predecessors did. They have consistently voted in favor of challenging the method COAH uses to determine affordable housing obligations. What Byrnes and Short have not supported are township resolutions that are purely political and do not offer solutions to Middletown’s housing challenges. Republican committee members got our township into this COAH confusion, yet they are more concerned about pointing fingers than finding a way ahead. Byrnes and Short are working for real solutions and that is why I will be voting for them in November.

Don Watson

New Monmouth

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Filed under COAH, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Republicans

Letter: Who Is This GOP Puppet In Middletown ?

Driving around town, I can’t help noticing the large white-and-blue campaign signs promoting the Republican candidate for Township Committee. Being curious, I decided to look into who this person actually is.

I come to find out that he is just another puppet of Republican Party Chairman Peter Carton. He is currently serving as an appointed member of the Planning Board. His father is the former appointed judge in town and his brother is currently the appointed prosecutor. He is looking to continue the family legacy. He appears to be just another political insider tied to the good ol’ boy network that this town has been trying to relieve itself of.

He advertises that he puts taxpayers first, when his party is responsible for increasing taxes 16 percent over the past three years for the very same taxpayers that he claims to put first. Does he realize that his opponent, Patrick Short, has consistently voted to cut our taxes and has never voted to raise our taxes? Perhaps he is confusing parties.

Short and Byrnes always bring solutions to the table to fix problems. The Republican Party has ruled Middletown for over 30 years and has a record of ignoring our problems, putting the party chairman and his cronies first. Choosing to ignore the flooding in the Bayshore for the last 30 years is a prime example. The local GOP leaders feed their chairman all of the town’s bond business, totaling $84 million and counting.

Their candidate is in need of a larger coat because his strings are showing. It is only with Pat Short that this town will continue to have oversight and a more open government, which is why I am throwing my vote to him. The people of Middletown need true representation, not just another body to fall in lockstep with the party line.

Marilyn Tuohy
Port Monmouth

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Filed under Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Patrick Short, Republican Candidate, Sean F. Byrnes

County Needs Ethics Board Now; Why Does Clifton Oppose Ethics Panel ?

Two River Times

By Arthur Z. Kamin

It is sad to watch members of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders squabble over how to get a much-needed county governmental ethics structure up and running. At the heart of it, Republican Freeholder Robert D. Clifton seems to want to forget the GOP-dominated Operation Bid Rig scandal four years ago and refuses to admit that the corruption stench of that time still hangs over Freehold.

The irony is that Clifton, a longtime Republican insider, is not a babe-in-the-political-woods and should have known what was taking place during those terrible days when more than two dozen Monmouth County and other officials were arrested in an FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office corruption sweep. Scooped up in that sweep was the late longtime former Republican Board of Freeholders Director Harry Larrison Jr., charged with taking bribes. It was a shameful period in county history.

And where was Clifton when former Freeholder Amy H. Handlin, now a Republican assemblywoman from the 13th legislative district, became a trailblazer for ethical reform in county government? She fought a brave battle – even going so far as to rightly urge that Larrison’s name be removed from Brookdale Community College’s tainted Larrison Hall campus building. Clifton was silent.

Now he is the major stumbling block, as the county appointed a special Ethics Review Committee that carefully examined existing policies, procedures and an employee manual concluding, “The existing structure is in need of revision.”

To his credit, Democrat Freeholder John D’Amico Jr. urged that the freeholders promptly release the report to the public. Clifton was opposed. He attempted to keep the document under wraps, not wanting to bring up reminders of the old days. How’s that for governmental transparency? But the excuse became an argument over what should be or should not be released from freeholder executive sessions.

Here is the makeup of the bipartisan pro bono ethics review committee: Retired former New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice James R. Assail; retired former Superior Court Judge Alexander D. Lehrer; and former Freeholder Director Thomas J. Powers And here is what the committee unanimously recommended to the freeholders: “the adoption of a strong county ethics code and the establishment of a nonpartisan, independent ethics board.”

The committee did not recommend the establishment of an Office of Inspector General even though recognizing the value of it could bring in the search for an ethics watchdog and higher ethical standards in county government.

Creating an inspector general’s office would be costly and – the way things often have been carried on in Monmouth County – it could lead to another bureaucracy with cronyism and patronage jobs. “But during these challenging economic times it cannot be justified,” the committee stated.

That leaves the ethics board with wide-ranging powers backed up by what should be a no-nonsense code of ethics that would include provisions pertaining to such areas as conflicts of interest, activity that gives the appearance of impropriety, gifts, lobbying of public officials, nepotism, incompatible employment, the procurement process, penalties, ethics education, and financial disclosures.

The ethics board would be able to issue subpoenas, receive complaints, and hold code violation hearings. It could forward information to law enforcement authorities. It would enforce the code and impose or recommend penalties for violations. It would have the teeth to get an ethics job done….

Read More >>> Here

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Filed under ethics, Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Operation Bid Rig, Two River Times

Patrick Short: Why This Election In Middletown Is So Important

In this video, Middletown Democratic Committeeman Patrick Short, discuss why this years election in Middletown is so important for everyone.

If Short were to loss this election, the two party system of checks and balances will be no more after just 2 years.
The Middletown GOP will go back to its old ways, that is a super majority Republicans will once again reign over the township.
During the past 2 years with Democrats Patrick Short and Sean Byrnes presiding on the Township Committee, township government has become more open and transparent, bonding and spending has decreased and there has been no more rubber stamping of pet projects that only benefits a few.

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Filed under Democrat, Election, Middletown, Middletown GOP, New Jersey, Patrick Short, Taxes