It’s about time Old Man Winter picked up his snow and got the heck outta here. It’s time for spring I say, it’s time for spring!
Monthly Archives: February 2010
President Obama’s Weekly Address: 2/27/10 The Olympic Spirit, the Spirit of Bipartisanship, and Health Reform
The President takes a moment to congratulate our Olympic athletes. Discussing the unity and pride Americans feel in cheering them on, the President relates that sentiment to his own desire for bipartisanship in Washington. He praises the recent bipartisan meeting and talks about moving forward on health reform.
What the heck is going on with the Lincroft Sports Complex? It sounds like some improprieties are taking place that needs to be looked into and addressed.
It seems as though the Director of Middeltown’s Parks and Recreation department, Greg Silva, met with members of the River Plaza/Lincroft Chargers Pop Warner team on Wednesday night and basically told the group that the town was moving ahead with the plans for West Front Street and inferred that Pop Warner will get everything they want and encouraged them to support the town’s efforts to move them from Trezza Field. He informed them that the plans for the site will be up on the Town’s website within the next couple of days, but that the new turf field project will be built at West Front Street Park and that the Chargers should get on board with it or in other words, take it or leave it because there will be no field improvements coming to their existing playing field.
If that wasn’t bad enough Silva went on to explain to them that he had a friend who is a contractor (Precise Construction) who could install the field at West Front Street. Allegedly Silva told the group that he has been keeping his friend informed of the bidding specs for the job so that he would have the advantage when both artificial turf fields for Croydon Hall and West Front Street are ready to be bid out.
I found out about all this from two sources, the first being a string of chat room entries left on the NJ.com Middletown Forum by an anonymous poster using the alias of Nofield4you and from another person who shall remain nameless, due to their position within the town and their affilation with Pop Warner and opposition group.
The second source collaborated much of what Nofield4you stated in his chat room entries which I have posted below, and few other pieces of information, some that I printed above and other information that I was asked to hold onto and not blog about just yet:
21681. Mayor pushes us
by Nofield4you, 2/24/10 23:51 ET
Why push us into supporting your plan, when we don’t want to move to west front street? Our plan by far is better for our program, saves taxpayer dollars and is not corrupt… Why have Greg Silvers Friend Precise Construction plan our future… Will they bid the project that Greg has given them the inside scoop? Guarantee the bid is protested and files charged against Greg and the township as soon as its posted and precise submits a bid…
by Nofield4you, 2/24/10 23:39 ET
Guess what, we have the evidence you need to hang the mayor and other corrupt politicians in Middletown. FYI Greg Silver has a friend who is a contractor and potential bidder of the synthetic field, known as precise construction, guess what Greg has been talking to them all along the way and the bid specs have been made to their advantage… Want more, I got a mouth full of crap to hang several committee members who are ramming this down river plaza parents throats.
21677. Corydon Hall Field
by Nofield4you, 2/24/10 23:38 ET
Wow amazingly the wetland issue at croydon hall is worse then river plaza and the town committee refuses to allow turf at River plaza due to wetlands, unless the contractor is Greg silvers friend Precise construction… Hey Mayor I know the wetland boundaries and Croydon hall does not comply…
21676. River Plaza Field
by Nofield4you, 2/24/10 23:37 ET
Greg Silver has made it clear he has a friend known as Precise Construction who installs turf field and its either West front street or nothing for river plaza… Hey Greg, FYI the fun bunch will win as they did at HS north and you and your friend Precise will be out of the bid and probably in jail with the mayor. Go back to freehold where the grass is brown and natural you fat overpaid piece of crap
The Following letter to the editor appears in this weeks Independent:
Here we go again. It appears that our elected officials haven’t learned their lesson from their last attempt to try and impose a sports complex in Lincroft.
This time their choice of fields is on the corner of West Front Street and Everett Road, right on the border of Holmdel.
For the last 30 years, these fields have been used by various soccer clubs with complete enjoyment and acceptance by the residents. Now Middletown Township, in their desperate attempt to use a $2,300,000 taxpayers’ bond and provide a new home for the Pop Warner Chargers, has decided that this location is the best available.
This plan was proposed on Oct. 19 and approved in December without full disclosure to the public as to the intent and extent of the full use of the fields.
What are they thinking? To build two turf fields with 70-foot lights, public-address system, enlarged parking area, snack bar, and surrounded by a chain-link fence, without informing residents of this change, is insulting. Furthermore, to plan this on a busy county road and dangerous intersection without first doing a traffic study is beyond rational or responsible thinking.
Imposing this sports complex in a peaceful residential area, across the street from a church without the residents’ knowledge is deceptive, deceitful and dishonest. This lack of transparency should be illegal, and our township officials should be ashamed of themselves and be held accountable.
Yes, Pop Warner needs an improved field, but to put one in this location will only lead to more serious problems. The tremendous increase in traffic alone is dangerous for the residents, church members and, most importantly, our children. The disregard shown with respect to how this proposed sports complex would affect our quality of life and decrease our property value speaks volumes about our elected officials and their way of doing business. It is completely unacceptable. Period.
For the past few years Middletown Committeeman Sean Byrnes has been advocating for a “Finance Committee” to be form in Middletown so that the Township can get a better grasp on it’s finances and not have to wait several months into the calendar year before adopting a budget.
Byrnes has argued that the way the budget process is now handled is inefficient and antiquated and needs to be restructured in such a way that would provide better over site of spending and identify in advance any trends that may prove problematic during the year.
Each time Byrnes has suggested the idea of a finance committee he has be rebuffed by the Republicans that have controlled the township committee for the greater part of the last quarter century.
Their reasoning behind opposing such a committee is weak at best. I have heard everything from the cost of setting up new committee (which would be negligible being it would be staffed with members of the Township Committee, the Town Administrator and volunteers) to the reasoning that Township Committee members act as their own finance committee to oversee and question spending (even though none are qualified to due so).
In a few towns, the governing body has formed a citizens committee to review and make suggestions to the budget. While this public input is welcome, municipal accounting is a very specialized practice, and crafting a municipal budget is subject to many state regulations and caps that do not seem to make much sense to the average citizen….”
Middletown School Board Invites Governor to Forum To Discuss How The Proposed Cuts to State Aid Will Affect Schools
From the Atlantic Highlands Herald –
Middletown, NJ – On Thursday, March 4, the Middletown Township School District will host a forum on the way Governor’s proposed cuts to state aid will affect the school district. The forum will be held at the Middletown High School North Auditorium at 7:30 PM. The school is located at 63 Tindall Road in Middletown, off Route 35 North. Governor Chris Christie has been personally invited to the forum to learn how his proposals may directly result in nearly $6 million in cuts to the largest K-12 school district in Monmouth County. Middletown’s elected officials are expected to take part in the forum panel. The public is invited and encouraged to learn how the Governor’s proposals to balance the state budget will impact education in Middletown and throughout New Jersey.
The Governor’s recent actions to substitute school district surplus for state aid reduced funding for Middletown’s 2010-2011 budget by $2.3 million, and reduced our State Aid by $2.8 million overall. District surplus results from efficiencies in budgeting and saved cost accumulated through the year. These savings are directly applied to reduce the amount taxpayers are asked to fund the school budget the next year. It is more appropriately labeled taxpayer relief. The Governor’s actions will essentially increase Middletown property taxes to fund the state’s budget deficit. This is not an equitable action and the Middletown School District and its taxpayers are being penalized for the district’s frugality. Middletown has consistently remained efficient and fiscally prudent, as evidenced by the district maintaining a per pupil cost well below the state average.
Middletown Business Administrator William Doering recently testified to the State Assembly Budget Committee, stating, “Our district and several others have worked hard to achieve savings and have aggressively managed our budgets to save as much money as possible.”
Nice try by the Middletown Board of Education to put a spotlight on the districts needs and to inform residents of the problems that will be created when Gov. Christie imposes aid cuts to school districts, by inviting him to discuss his cuts to school districts in a town hall like forum.
I just don’t think Christie has enough in him to to handle such a meeting and have to answer how cuts to education will effect the local tax structure, to devote an hour or more of his time to defend himself in front of an auditorium full of angry taxpayers who will question his judgement on the issue.
So I wouldn’t expect to see him there, but it should be worthwhile for residents to attend anyway to hear how the school district and local officials intends to handle the cuts in state aid.
On my way home this morning I was listening to the Boomer and Carton show on Sports Radio 66 WFAN.
This Monday Minute will link you to online resources about the state budget and explain what information is available. The two most important websites are the executive branch Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the legislature’s Office of Legislative Services (OLS).
The simplest way to understand the budget is to look at the Governor’s budget proposal and the Budget in Brief. This link contains six important documents covering FY 2009-10, but you can also find prior year budget information on this OMB site.
All of the documents below are prepared by OMB except for the Budget Bill, which is prepared by OLS under the direction of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman (currently Paul Sarlo) and the Assembly Budget Committee Chairman (currently Louis Greenwald).
The State Budget is the governor’s budget. It is typically introduced as a speech to the Legislature and the public in March. It is a detailed account of what New Jersey spent in two years earlier, what it is spending in the current fiscal year and what the Governor proposes for the fiscal year beginning July 1. It is the only document that provides a three year analysis of revenues and spending and shows all state revenues and all state expenditures. Ultimately revenues must be equal or greater than expenditures.
Budget Bill (more commonly known as the Appropriations Act) is prepared by OLS for the Legislature and becomes the actual state budget once it is signed by the governor. The Appropriations Act must be passed by both the Assembly and the Senate and signed by the governor before June 30. It takes the form of a very large piece of legislation. It is generally introduced in both houses simultaneously after the Governor’s budget has been defended by each department’s commissioner, reviewed by legislative staff and debated by legislators.
Appropriations Handbook, prepared by OMB, is a formal reprint of the budget bill.
Citizen’s Guide, prepared by OMB, is an easy to read analysis of the final budget. It highlights the major decisions and policy initiatives that occurred between the time the governor presents his proposal in March and when the final budget is enacted. An initiative by the Corzine Administration in 2008, it was touted as a reform and a way to increase public accountability and transparency. The Citizen’s Guide, along with the Budget in Brief, are perhaps the most useful documents for a general understanding of how the state raises and spends its money.
NJ Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), also prepared by OMB, is the final accounting of all revenues, costs, assets and liabilities of the state for a given fiscal year. Because it accounts for actual revenues, expenditures, assets and liabilities, there is a lag in its availability. The statistical section at the end of the report presents a lot of information over time about taxes, long term debt, the largest employers in NJ, population trends, property tax valuations and state employees. This is a very good resource in a state where information is scarce.
ABC, CBS and NBC Verdict: Obama’s ‘Stimulus’ a Success (And CBS frets that the public refuses to see it.)
From the WSJ – By BRENT BAKER From the Media Research Center
On the one-year anniversary of the Obama administration’s “stimulus” spending bill, ABC, CBS and NBC all eagerly corroborated the White House’s claims about how it “saved or created” many jobs and staved off economic disaster, though they all offered a range of numbers and definitions (ABC: “800,000 to 2.4 million new jobs,” CBS: “about 1.8 million” jobs “saved or created” and NBC: “1.6 to 1.8 million jobs have been created so far.”)
ABC and CBS touted anecdotes about companies and government agencies which asserted the spending had prevented layoffs or allowed them to hire new staff. ABC’s Jake Tapper cited buses for Santa Monica, construction jobs in Baltimore, “63,000 green jobs” (with a solar panel-maker’s CEO declaring “it is working and we’re proof of that”) and a school system superintendent who told Tapper the funding ” helped save 61 jobs and create 73 new ones.”
On CBS, Chip Reid began with how “this highway paving equipment company in California canceled plans to lay off 40 workers because of demand created by stimulus projects,” before trumpeting how “in Washington, D.C. about 20 people are working on this road project” where “manager Matthew Johns calls the stimulus a lifesaver.”
Though “many independent economists put the number of jobs saved or created at about 1.8 million,” Reid relayed that “to the great frustration of the White House, most Americans simply refuse to believe it. In a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, a mere 6 percent said the stimulus has created jobs.” Reid’s culprit: “That skepticism due in part to a relentless campaign by Republicans who say the stimulus is a bloated, big-government failure.” (The online “Political Hotsheet” echoed Reid’s theme: “On Stimulus, Perception Doesn’t Match Reality.”)
But, have no fear, Obama’s team “admits” they “haven’t been tough enough” in discrediting critics. Reid concluded:
The White House admits they haven’t been tough enough in responding to critics of the stimulus so they’ve started an aggressive new campaign, calling out dozens of Republicans they say are hypocrites — Republicans who voted against the stimulus but then went home and attended ribbon-cutting ceremonies for projects in their states that create jobs.
As if the media haven’t been advancing Obama’s agenda. From the MRC’s Business & Media Institute: “Bias By the Numbers: Networks Celebrate Year of Strong Stimulus Support; ABC, CBS, NBC cite supporters of $787 billion bill nearly three times as often as critics,” which determined:
– ABC, CBS, NBC Still Biased in Picking Stimulus Spokesmen: All three broadcast networks promoted the stimulus prior to the vote. Afterward, ABC, CBS and NBC served as unofficial boosters of what NBC called “President Obama’s stimulus cavalry.” The networks favored pro-stimulus speakers 71 percent to 29 percent (269 to just 111).
– Nearly Half of All Reports Included Zero Criticism: Both NBC and ABC stories included no criticism roughly half the time. Overall, the networks cited criticism of the stimulus plan just 52 percent of the time (90 out of 172 stories). Instead government was depicted as fixing “rickety wooden bridges” and “performing much-needed maintenance on national parks.”
Only deep in their Wednesday night stories did CBS and NBC acknowledge any critics and how unemployment rose during 2009, with NBC’s Lisa Myers noting “critics also have ridiculed some projects as wasteful. $1.6 million for free water taxi rides, a million dollars to improve security on dinner cruises in eight cities and studies about how honeybees learn and the sex drive of rats on hard drugs.” She concluded, however, with how Obama has a solution — more spending:
The President acknowledged that despite progress, this doesn’t feel like a recovery to millions of Americans, so he’s pushing to spend another $100 billion this year to try to create more jobs soon.
The job success numbers cited by the three networks:
Jake Tapper on ABC:
The numbers are all over the map, but they all credit the stimulus with significant job creation: anywhere from 800,000 to 2.4 million new jobs. Where are those jobs? According to the White House, 354,000 are in manufacturing, such as building new buses for Santa Monica….262,000 jobs are in construction. Today, these workers are putting the finishing touches on a community health center in Baltimore….Then, there are 63,000 green jobs.
Chip Reid on CBS:
Many independent economists put the number of jobs saved or created at about 1.8 million.
Lisa Myers on NBC:
Many economists agree that the $787 billion package of infrastructure spending, tax cuts and aid to states has created jobs and helped pull the economy out of a deep recession. Three economic research firms estimate that 1.6 to 1.8 million jobs have been created so far, with more gains projected this year. And painful job losses have slowed dramatically.
The stories on the Wednesday, February 17 broadcast network evening newscasts:
ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer:
DIANE SAWYER: One year ago today, the brand new President Barack Obama rolled out a $787 billion economic stimulus to put the brakes on a plummeting economy. Today, he marked the anniversary by saying it worked, that it spared the country a depression, and created millions of jobs. But we wondered, how many, and where? We asked Jake Tapper to delve into the numbers.
JAKE TAPPER: President Obama said today because of the stimulus package about 2 million Americans are working who otherwise would not be.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: So far, the recovery act is responsible for the jobs of about 2 million Americans who would otherwise be unemployed.
TAPPER: The numbers are all over the map, but they all credit the stimulus with significant job creation: anywhere from 800,000 to 2.4 million new jobs. Where are those jobs? According to the White House, 354,000 are in manufacturing, such as building new buses for Santa Monica.
STEPHANIE NEGRIFF, DIRECTOR TRANSIT SERVICES, BIG BLUE BUS: There’s going to be an immediate economic impact to our community by having these additional vehicles available.
TAPPER: 262,000 jobs are in construction. Today, these workers are putting the finishing touches on a community health center in Baltimore.
JOE HOLLAND, PRESIDENT, HOLLAND CONSTRUCTION COMPANY: It really allowed us to go out and hire people where we would have otherwise probably, you know, just would have stayed back and not done that.
TAPPER: Then, there are 63,000 green jobs. A year ago today, the President was looking at solar panels manufactured by Namaste Solar. Company President Blake Jones had been preparing for layoffs.
BLAKE JONES, CEO, NAMASTE SOLAR: We started cutting budgets, we started making plans for a bad 2009.
TAPPER: But in the past year, companies that received stimulus money have been ordering those solar panels and Namaste has hired 14 new employees.
TAPPER TO JONES, OUTSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE: What’s your message to all those Americans who are skeptical that the stimulus bill is creating jobs?
JONES: It is working and we’re proof of that.
TAPPER: In New York, Utica City school district got close to $12 million stimulus dollars. The superintendent tells us that helped save 61 jobs and create 73 new ones. But those new hires had to sign this document: “I am fully aware that the funding for this position will be eliminated in two years. Therefore, this position will end on June 30th, 2011.”
And Diane, about $166 billion stimulus dollars have not yet been officially committed to any projects. They’re going to go to, among other things, the Race to the Top education grant program, high speed rail and other transportation projects and health technology. Diane?
(Following Tapper, ABC ran a piece from Jonathan Karl on how “red tape” has slowed creation of jobs to weather-proof homes.)
CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: One year ago today President Obama signed a law he said would help put Americans back to work. The price tag for the so-called stimulus bill was $787 billion. So far, nearly $300 billion of that has been spent. But did the stimulus do the job? Our chief White House correspondent Chip Reid has tonight’s “Reality Check.”