Daily Archives: May 6, 2010

Van Pelt Testifies:" I had a middleman make a bribe payment like to the Mayor of Long Branch"

I have not followed the trail of Daniel Van Pelt very closely but I know damaging testimony when I read it and what he testified to will have damaging effect on the Mayor of Long Branch Adam Schneider’s reelecion campaign that could potentially put the mayor behind bars and start a new investigation into allagations of further corruption in Long Branch .

I was forwarded court transcripts from the trail that deal with Van Pelt’s testimony as it concerns Mayor Schneider, in sworn testimony at his trail Van Pelt stated:

” I helped pay his credit card bills and there were times where I had a middleman make a bribe payment like to the Mayor of Long Branch or council people of Long Branch or sometimes I vould give out auction tickets.

The Yeshiva would hold a charity auction, every year and I would at times give public officials, like council people in Long Branch, primarily it was the council people in Long Branch and others, free auction tickets for their official assistance in expediting my land use applications, my use for my zoning.”

This doesn’t sound good for Scheinder, lets wait and see what happens.

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Filed under Daniel Van Pelt, Long Branch NJ, political corruption, Solomon Dwek

Handlin Thinks It’s ‘unconscionable’ To Consider Water Rate Hike But Remains Silent on Proposed Gas Tax

Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R–District 13) thinks it is “unconscionable” for New Jersey American Water (NJAW) to proposed to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) a rate increase and tiered pricing that would raise the average customers yearly water bill by $83 but would pay for capital improvements that were made to its facilities over the past two years. But she has thus far remained silent on the proposed idea of her colleague, State Senator Sean Kean, when he proposed earlier this week raise the state gas tax to fund needed road projects.

Kean’s proposed gas tax increase has the potential to take hundreds, if not thousands of dollars out of ordinary commuters pockets, which would have far greater impact on residents lives and standard of living than an average 23 cents a day for the cost of clean and safe drinking water.
During her re-election campaign this past fall, she was against raising the state tax on gasoline when it was mentioned by one of her opponents as a way to refund the state transportation trust fund that is on the brink of collapse.
If she was opposed to a hike in the gas tax last November, then what is the difference now that would change her mind and potentially support it now other than her Republican colleague in the state senate, Sean Kean, has proposed it?
This is another example of Handlin Hypocrisy

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Filed under Amy Handlin, gas tax, NJ American Water, rate hike, Sean T. Kean

NJ teachers union will meet with Schundler to discuss reform package

On the front page of today’s Asbury Park Press appears the following headline; NJ teachers union will meet with Schundler to discuss reform package.

Due to all the inflammatory rhetoric about teachers and the NJEA being thrown about about by the Governor and his “mini-me”, Middletown’s mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, I read the article with interest and was glad to find out that the NJEA and State Education Commissioner Bret Schundler will be sitting down to discuss potential reforms that will have an impact the union as well as on how children in the state are taught.
According to Schundler and the article the reforms that they will be discussing will be based on President Obama’s platform for reforming education, Race to the Top, and that “…federal education officials have determined that the second round of Race to the Top funding decisions would give reform efforts stronger consideration than acceptance by the teachers unions… In the previous funding round, union acceptance was a key component of the analysis. “

It went on to add:
“…the state would “make child learning the standard and the measure by which professionals are evaluated…. the state will need to replace a failing school’s management team or its entire staff…. that “educational effectiveness” and not necessarily seniority should be a prime factor in which staff members end up getting laid off during staff reductions.

In his address, Schundler said that the state constitution requires the Legislature to provide for a thorough and efficient system of education, and so the ultimate responsibility to make sure children learn is not school administrators, teachers or even the teachers’ union, but “the responsibility to provide an education is for those of us in state government.”…

If handled correctly by both Schundler and the NJEA, I think these discussions could be a very important first step in addressing how effective local school boards could be in the future when entering into collective bargaining agreements with members of the teachers union by leveling the playing field in which schools boards must operate under while negotiating contracts.
Everyone know that the problems that we face today with the reliance on property taxes to fund our school system is not the fault of teachers, but yet teachers are feeling the heat from the politicians that have put the current system in place and who don’t have the political will to change it through proper negotiations or statutes.
My position all along has not been necessarily to support teachers, but to support the sanctity of the collective bargaining agreements that have been negotiated in good faith with local school boards.
In all honestly, I feel that teachers here in Middletown and across the state, that turned down requests for one year wage freezes to help ease the pain that local tax payers are feeling this year, was the wrong decision to make. They should have accepted wage freezes as a sign of good will towards the communities that pay them. However, I do not blame them or hold ill will towards them because of that decision. A contract is a contract and should be honored as such.
But, when the school boards enter into contract discussion with teachers next year, teachers should be well aware that residents will not be as tolerable of their stance on wages and benefits as they have been in the past so therefore they should be open to making some kind of consessions in these areas.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Bret Schundler, budget cuts, Gov. Chris Christie, long term reform, Middletown Board of Education, NJEA

Hazlet Committee To Hold Open School Budget Discussions; Why Not Middletown

According to the article posted on the Asbury Park Press website it was announced at last night’s Hazlet Township Committee meeting that there will be an open and transparent public meeting before its next scheduled committee meeting to discuss proposed cuts to the township’s school board budget.

What a novel idea! Why can’t Middletown do the same? Could it be that Mayor Scharfenberger is afraid that the meeting will get out of hand and uncontrollable like the ones that had angry residents protesting the installation of turf fields at West Front Street Park?
At Monday night’s Township Workshop meeting after being questioned by a resident, former mayor Pam Brightbill stated that she was against holding a public meeting on the school budget, which runs contrary to what School Superintendent Karen Bilbao stated after learning that the school budget had been defeated two weeks ago.
Why wouldn’t you want residents input on something that will have such a large and potentially adverse effect on the lives of so many people that live in the community?
I think instead, Scharfenberger and Brightbill would rather lurk in the shadows and issue inflammatory press releases and letters to the editor, taking a page out of Chris Christie’s playbook by stroking the anger of residents against the teachers union in order to gain some sort of political advantage come November.
They didn’t even tell other members of the Township Committee that they planned to meet with four members of the Middletown Board of Education before the workshop meeting Monday night.
Committeeman Sean Byrnes was never informed of the meeting but found out about it over the weekend because someone from the Board of Education asked if he would be there. And newly elected Committeeman Steve Massel announced during the workshop meeting that he had not been informed of any meeting either.
So what are Scharfenberger and Brightbill up to? Why the need for secrecy, is it because there really isn’t anymore dollars left in this bare-bone school budget left to cut after Governor Christie already eliminated $11M from it and they are afraid that if they hold open meetings people will see through the ruse of pitting residents against the teachers and their union.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see, just like those other members of the Middletown Township Committee, until after Gerry and Pam meet with members of the Board of Education once again later today to hear what type of cuts THEY recommended to the school board.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, budget cuts, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Chris Christie, Hazlet, Middletown Board of Education, Middletown Township Committee, Pamela Brightbill, school budgets, Sean F. Byrnes