Daily Archives: October 27, 2009

Taking Responsibility Chris Christie Style

Josh Marshall | October 27, 2009 – Talkingpointmemo

You may remember, about a month and a half ago, another incident emerged in Chris Christie’s troubled history driving cars.

Back in 2002, on the way to an event, Christie turned the wrong way onto a one-way street and struck a motorcyclist head on, seriously injuring the guy on the motorcycle. There were all sorts of questions about just how that happened and whether Christie got off easier than your average Joe might have. There was also the small matter of Christie saying he’d never been sued over the incident, despite evidence emerging later that a suit had been filed and then dropped, apparently after an out of court settlement. But there never seemed to be any dispute that Christie … well, hit a guy on a motorcycle while driving the wrong way on a one way street.

But on Fox & Friends this morning, when asked about the incident, Christie denied it ever happened. “I was not driving the wrong way down a one way street and the Governor knows it,” Christie said. “I didn’t hit someone, they hit me.”

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Filed under accountability, Chris Christie, Gov. Jon Corzine, New Jersey, Talking Points Memo, traffic violation

Fair Haven’s Cohen & Tikijain Isues "Open Letter" To Residents

Dear Neighbor:

As Election Day approaches, we wanted to reach out to all of the residents in Fair Haven to ask you support our candidacy for the Fair Haven Council.

We believe that it is time to provide balance to the Council. For almost 20 years, our borough has experienced one-party rule. This has led to complacency, an unwillingness to challenge ideas and raise concerns for fear of stepping out of line, with the result that our taxes have continued to climb as support for pet projects combined with inadequate planning and oversight have continued to put upward pressure on our budget.

Fair Haven deserves independent minds on the Council to keep the ideas fresh, to question the reasoning and most importantly to keep Fair Haven a friendly, affordable place to live. Fair Haven needs Council Members who will treat the municipal budget with the same more care than we each take with our household budgets. We have the knowledge to help revise ourzoning ordinances, research ideas and balance the budget. A little bit about our background follows:

Matthew Cohen is a graduate of Rutgers College and Rutgers Law School, where he was a member of the Rutgers Computer & Technology Law Journal. Matthew is a successful businessman. After 20 years in private practice, most recently as a partner in Cohen & Howard, LLC, he started a title company with his wife, Leslie, headquartered in Little Silver, and which now operates in three states. growing each year since its inception in 2004. Experienced in drafting municipal ordinances, he is familiar with land use and zoning issues and has worked on major state projects, including the initial planning and zoning phase for the creation of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Matthew is also a small business owner, father of two, who has managed to find time to volunteer his time in the community and who now serves as a Trustee at B’nai Israel in Rumson.

Margo Tikijian graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in Speech and Hearing Sciences. During the late 80’s and through out the ‘90’s Margo worked at AT&T Bell Labs in Holmdel and Lincroft where she I worked on many project; such projects included the (still emerging) Internet, the ergonomics of ISDN business phones, and Automatic Speech Recognition systems. Interspersed were a few years in graduate school at the “Graduate Center” of CUNY pursuing the study of Hearing Science.

As a team leader at Bell Labs, Margo learned that every member of the team had to ask the rights questions, todo what was necessary to gather the information so thatthe proper decisions could be made. With Margo on the Council, you can be certain that she won’t be shy about making sure the right questions are asked. For the past 10 years, Margo has devoted her energy to raising her two children and running her home. At the same time she has also been able to be an active member of the PTA, Brownie Troop Leader, Editor for the Newcomers Club, class mother, and has been involved in numerous local activities.

We are running because we believe that the Council needs a more balanced approach to making decisions. We believe that our experience, both professional and personal, will help foster a more careful approach on the council. In some ways, our running seems to have already brought results. For the first time, the agenda for the Council meeting was posted on the municipal website, before the meeting. Greater transparency has been one of the issues we have been raising for months. It’s a step in the right direction. With your support, we can take many such steps.

We would appreciate your consideration and support on November 3rd as we seek to represent you on the Borough Council. We would be happy to speak with you at any time, now or after the election. Our emails are mcohen@cohenandhoward.com and margotik@gmail.com If you want to read about our issues in detail visit our website located at www.fhdems.org. Some of the issues we highlight on our website are attached to this letter. Thank you for your consideration and support.

Margo Tikijian & ​Matthew Cohen

Did you know?????

The Borough plans on spending in excess of $1,300,000.00 to create a new park, consisting of .69 acres of useable land at the end of one of the narrowest streets in our town, DeNormandie. The quest for a waterfront parcel stated almost a year ago, but the Council didn’t make the plans public until this summer. Some facts:

  • The Council wants this to be a passive park. No water fountain, no bathroom, despite the existence of utilities which service the exiting house, to be torn down. No parking spaces except one handicapped spot, one bench. No lights, no game area, no playground just a view.
  • Parking – one handicapped spot, the nearby restricts have little on street parking and are very narrow; DeNormandie, Clay, Gillespie. The Council believes that people should use the parking area next to Moxley Hall (the old Masonic Lodge) up the hill on the other side of River Road.
  • No planning. There are no other plans to expand the park in the future. This choice was not part of an overall design nor was it the result of a committee or other organization looking for a suitable site. No other property owners were approached prior to making an offer on the property. The stated reason for choosing this location is because it was for sale now.

The Borough spent over $250,000.00 to acquire rights to parking next to Moxley Hall. The Borough purchased Moxley Hall for $1,200,000.00. The Building itself was resold for $955,000.00 with the borough reserving use of the parking lot (together with the new owner) for a net expense of $245,000.00. Add the professional fees, and interest and the bonds and it significantly increases this total. The parking lot is located in the center of a business district where most businesses have extensive rear parking. The Borough has not faced a shortage of parking spaces in either of its business districts.

The Borough signed on with the County Dispatch system. At this past September meeting, the announcement board outside of Borough Hall said there would be update on the dispatch service. To the shock of all the residents at that meeting, the Council had already planned on voting to end the merger with Little Silver and sign on with Monmouth County Dispatch. It was during this meeting that we learned of some “technical difficulties” that necessitated ending the merger. No details were given when asked what the difficulties were. When asked by if they were considering going back to a local dispatch system, the answer was simply, “that option is off the table” After the meeting, details emerged which indicate that the “technical” difficulties stem from simple topographical issues, the failure of the towers in Fair Haven and Little Silver to be able to adequately communicate with each other. During the most sever economic crises we have seen in two generations, we tell our dispatchers they are no longer needed, and incur expenses and future liabilities which may exceed $100,000.00 on a failed merger.

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Filed under Fair Haven Democrats, Margo Tikijan, Matthew Cohen

How To Control Property Taxes In Middletown; Short Answers the Question

Back on Oct. 14th the Lincroft Village Green Association held a candidates debate at the Lincroft Village School. The two candidates running for Middletown Township Committee, as well as, the three candidates running for Monmouth County Freeholder were invited to participate.

The Independent has a good write-up on the event in this weeks addition so I wont get into much of the details of what was said or how the proceedings went, you can read it for your self.
What I do want to highlight however are a few questions and their answers that were asked of the candidates seeking office in Middletown.
The first questioned ask by the moderator that night was “How would you control property taxes in Middletown?”
Steve Massell was the first to answer, his answer was all over the place and not very focused. It seemed as if he had never thought of the question before. He gave the standard Middletown Republican answer of blaming Trenton for it’s unfunded mandates, seek combined service agreements with other towns and working on the townships “Green Initiative” to trim the cost of energy. He gave no examples of how he would control budget costs.
You can listen to his answer here:
Patrick Short answered the question very concisely and to the point. He talked about how important it is to have a budget in place by the end of January as opposed to July or August as in previous years, having a budget in place would ensure that savings were accomplished throughout the year, not just squeezed in during the last 4-6 months of the calendar year.
He stated that Middletown needed to be run as a business and like a business, a strategic plan for the township was needed and a finance committee should be implemented to help steer the formation of the budget.
He went on to say that overtime needed to be managed better, sick time should be capped – either use it or lose it, and a policy of 1 job – 1 pension should be put into place.
You can listen to his answer here:
The obvious debate winner on this question was Patrick Short. He had a clear and well thought out plan and was able to articulate in terms that people could understand, unlike his opponent.

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Filed under Finance Committee, Lincroft, Middletown, Middletown Township Committee, Patrick Short