Daily Archives: September 15, 2010

>Can the Grand Old (Tea) Party Win in November?

>Nice article written by John Nickles over at the Nation.com about the sudden turn of events that has now made Democratic prospect for the November elections and retaining control of the US Senate much more likely thanks to Republican voters that chose extreme right-wing TEA Party backed candidates in Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and elsewhere over more mainstream GOP candidates:

Did the Tea Party movement just snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Delaware?

In a word: Yes.

Just as wins by extreme right-wingers in Republican primaries in Nevada, Alaska and other states have renewed the hopes of Democrats in Senate races where they looked to be doomed, Delaware Republicans just ditched a seemingly certain November winner for a likely loser.

On a night when the Tea Party movement scored some big wins over candidates of the Republican establishment—in races for governor of New York and perhaps for New Hampshire’s open US Senate seat—the most dramatic victory for the frenzied right came in Delaware, where Tea Party heroine Christine O’Donnell upset Congressman Mike Castle for the party’s Senate nod.

Former White House political czar Karl Rove, who describes the Republican nominee for the US Senate from that state, Christine O’Donnell, as someone who “says a lot of nutty things,” was arguing that the GOP just lost a Senate race.

“We were looking at eight to nine seats in the Senate. We’re now looking at seven to eight in my opinion,” Rove said Tuesday night. “This is not a race we are going to be able to win.”

But consider those numbers: What Rove is saying is that, with the Delaware result, Republicans may have lost much more than the Senate race in a single state….

Read more >>> Here

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Filed under Alaska, Delaware, enat, Karl Rove, Nevada, Republican Candidates, Tea Party, Tea Party candidate, The Nation, US Senate

>It’s Your Town Newsletter Volumn 2, Issue 19, 9/7/10; Budget Adoption Meeting

>There were two Middletown Township Committee meetings that took place Tuesday night 9/7/10. This edition of It’s Your Town Newsletter contains information from the first and most important meeting, the budget adoption meeting, where the 2010 budget was finally voted on.

Attached you will find meeting agendas, the resolution that amended the budget that was introduced in June and a copy of the final amended budget.

The second newsletter that covers the main Middletown Township Meeting will be published and available shortly.

Read the newsletter >>> Here

If you would like to have this newsletter sent directly to your inbox send your request to itsourtown@yahoo.com

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Filed under budget adoption, Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, resolutions and ordinances, special budget meeting

>Rep. Holt Decries Opponent’s Call for Lowering Unemployment Benefits to Below Minimum Wage

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Press Release

September 14, 2010 – 12:00pm

Opponent Believes Unemployed Lack Motivation to Find Work

TRENTON: U.S. Representative Rush Holt today decried Wall Street Hedge Fund Manager and congressional opponent Scott Sipprelle for proposing to lower unemployment benefits to below minimum wage as a means to force people to look for work. Economists recognize that unemployment benefits help not only the individuals that receive benefits but also help society at large by preventing those laid off from becoming burdens on social services. Unemployment benefits also create, dollar for dollar, the greatest positive benefit on the economy in the short term.

“Essentially, Mr. Sipprelle thinks people on unemployment are making too much money,” said Representative Holt. “My opponent thinks people who lose their job won’t be motivated to look for work unless we cut their unemployment benefits to an unlivable amount. The contempt that Mr. Sipprelle has for the people he claims to want to represent is staggering.”

On July 19th of this year, Mr. Sipprelle wrote in his campaign e-newsletter that we should “set the level of unemployment benefits at a modest discount to the minimum wage so that no one receives more for not working than they do for working. This will accelerate the adjustment of laid-off workers to the reality of today’s labor markets without pulling a prop out from under the truly needy who cannot find work.”

Joining Representative Holt were Dr. Keith Dewey of Lawerenceville and Mr. Gavin Brown of Ewing, residents of the 12th district who are currently seeking full time employment. They each shared their own individual story with regard to unemployment and benefits, discussing how they have been actively seeking work and do not need a reduction in benefits to motivate them.

Many of the nation’s leading economists have stressed the importance of unemployment benefits and how they actually stimulate economic growth. Mark Zandi, economic advisor to John McCain and Chief Economist for Moody’s, stated earlier this year that, “No form of the fiscal stimulus has proved more effective during the past two years than emergency UI benefits, providing a bang for the buck of 1.61—that is, for every $1 in UI benefits, GDP one year later is increased by an estimated $1.61…”[i]

Zandi has also pointed out that “…UI benefits are among the most potent forms of economic stimulus available…Most unemployed workers spend their benefits immediately; and without such extra help, laid-off workers and their families have little choice but to slash their spending. The loss of benefits is debilitating not only for unemployed workers, but also for friends, family, and neighbors who may have been providing financial help themselves.” (See Blinder and Zandi paper “How the Great Recession was Brought to an End at http://www.economy.com/mark-zandi/documents/End-of-Great-Recession.pdf)

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has stated that “Helping the unemployed, by putting money in the pockets of people who badly need it, helps support consumer spending. That’s why the Congressional Budget Office rates aid to the unemployed as a highly cost-effective form of economic stimulus.”[ii]

Heather Boushey, Senior Economist for the Center for American Progress, has stated that “…These benefits help unemployed workers and their families cope with abruptly lost incomes until they can find a new job while also aiding the economic recovery by helping families maintain spending in their communities, which in turn preserves jobs for employed Americans…”[iii]

Representative Holt also discussed his efforts to assist those on unemployment and create jobs. These include introducing the Online Job Training Act (H.R. 146) to bolster the availability of home-based training programs, supporting the enactment of up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits for 3.5 million Americans – 230,000 New Jersey residents – who are looking for work and who have exhausted their 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits, and supporting $40 million to help workers enter careers in emerging green industries.

For more information regarding Representative Rush Holt and his fight for the people of the 12th district, please call 609-799-0800 or log on to www.rushholt.com.

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Filed under Congressman Rush Holt, Job Training, press release, Scott Sipprelle, unemployment benefits

>No Smear Shall Go Unanswered: Latest By Vitkansas Is Not So "Amusing"

>In the latest smear letter directed at Middletown Committeeman Sean Byrnes, I am glad that the writer finds it amusing to read other peoples letters that point out the short comings of Middletown’s mayor and other members of his beloved Republican Party. The letter, which is written by Michael Vitkansas, has appeared in various local publications recently.

Truth be told, Vitkansas is a strong and active member of the same, elite Middletown Republicans that he tries to protect by spreading misleading and sometimes inflammatory information about others. As a Republican County Committeeman representing his district in Middletown, Vitkansas has often allowed himself to be used as a tool for the local Republican machine and as a reward for his loyalty, he now sits on a number of local boards and commissions in Middletown, which makes his invocation of the “patriots of the TEA Party” in his letter, laughable in and of itself.

In his most recent lapdog attack letter, Vitkansas goes after a fellow letter writer, Jeff Blumengold, for criticizing the poor job that mayor Gerard Scharfenberger and his GOP majority has done in their planning efforts while trying to run Middletown Township over the past 5 years, by attacking Democrat Sean Byrnes.

In his letter, Vitkansas tries to label Byrnes as a socialist liberal who favors COAH, supports teachers, unions and high property taxes in his attempt to persuade readers into believing something that just is not so.

Those that know Committeeman Byrnes would describe him as a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. Over the 3 years that he has been a Middletown committeeman, Byrnes has made many suggestions on how to reign in the local spending that has resulted in tax hikes that total over 39% to the municipal tax rate over the past 5 years (since mayor Scharfenberger has sat on the committee), only to be rebuked by his fellow committee members. He has never voted in support of a Township budget that has included a tax increase, including the most recently adopted 2010 budget which raises the municipal tax rate by nearly12%

Committeeman Byrnes has repeatedly stated over his 3 years on the Township Committee that programs like COAH need to be revamped and revised so that the burden of such programs do not fall onto local taxpayers. Mr. Vitkansas and others that oppose Mr. Byrnes however, point out his vote to rezone the Avaya property in Lincroft, that rezoned the property from industrial to residential in order to meet Middletown’s state mandated COAH obligation, as proof that he is not sincere or straightforward. Allow me to point out though, that the ones that are not being straightforward and sincere with Middletown residents are Vitkansas and his fellow GOP supporters that attack Byrnes on this issue. After all, it was his friends on the republican dominated Middletown Planning & Zoning Boards that came up with the plan to rezone the Avaya property so that the Township would be in compliance with COAH, not Byrnes. At the time, mayor Scharfenberger, Pam Brightbill and Tony Fiore, all current Republican members of the Township Committee, approved and voted for this rezoning as well.

Sean Byrnes knows that having a strong middle-class is the backbone and foundation of our State as well as our Country. He realizes that education plays a leading role in establishing that foundation and supports teachers and unions in general, knowing that without them there would be no middle-class as we know it today. That being said however, Mr. Byrnes has repeatedly been on the record as saying that he supports Gov. Christie’s “Tool Kit”, that reforms need to be made in order to level the playing field during contract negotiations and that state union members should be expected to contribute more to their healthcare costs.

If supporting Committeeman Sean Byrnes and his record as a member of the Middletown Township Committee in his re-election bid this November labels me as being a “socialist liberal” so be it. I love being a socialist liberal who opposes high taxes, government mismanagement and the entrenchment of the long-standing Republican ruling class.

I also happen to think that those “remarkable patriots in the Tea Party movement” that are “growing in numbers more and more with each passing day” are intelligent enough to know the difference and will also support Sean Byrnes and his running mate Mary Mahoney against Republicans that have borrowed, spent and raised local taxes to the point that it will soon become unaffordable to raise a family and live in Middletown.

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Filed under Avaya, COAH, Gov. Chris Christie, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown Republicans, Sean F. Byrnes, tax increase, Tea Party