Daily Archives: October 18, 2010

>An Unapologetic Apology From Scharfenberger Regarding Robo Call

>It seems that the article in last Wednesday’s Asbury Park Press and the subsequent editorial that followed on Saturday was about all Gerry Scharfenbeger could take and must have prompted him to call at least one of the residents that was mention in the article.

Carol Stiglin reports that our mayor called her Saturday to offer his apology for the lateness of the robo call and tried to explain that a “glitch” was ultimately responsible for the timing of the call. When she questioned Gerry about it, he said that it was decided by the Committee to make the call around the same time as Middletown Matters was mailed to households so that they (the Committee) could reinforce the importance of recycling.

When questioned further by Stiglin about the need for the robo call, Scharfenberger immediately place blame on Sean Byrnes, his opponent in this year’s election, saying that Byrnes sent an email back in August stating that it may be a good idea to call residents and notify them of the change to the recycling program. According to Stiglin, she then stated to Scharfenberger that August may have been a better time to place calls to residents than in October, 3 weeks before an election. Stiglin then wanted to know if the Committee had agreed to the initial time that the calls were to take place, she said that Gerry replied “’it’s just a quick notice…I just had a minute and went ahead and recorded it ”, which implied to her that Committee didn’t need to approve the call. Soon after this exchange they said their goodbyes and ended their conversation.

After learning this, I was interested in hearing from Sean Byrnes to get his take on being blamed as the source of inspiration behind the robo call.

Byrnes stated that he went back and looked at his sent emails in the Township email system and found an email from August. He stated that the Committee had received an email from Ted Maloney advising them of a message he intended to send regarding leaf and brush pickup, and that he intended to use the reverse 911 system. Included in the email was the text of what the message was to say, to which Byrnes responded as follows:

“…At some point, maybe not so close on the heels of this announcement, we should also do that for the recycling pickup. You may have done it already, but we will probably need to push this pretty hard to get the word out and start getting compliance…”

Committeeman Byrnes stated that he was unaware that the Scharfenberger planned to make an announcement last week about the recycling program, he stated that an email from Cindy Herschaft, the public relations officer, was sent to Committee members about an hour before the announcement started, advising them of the content of the call.

Apparently it would seem then, that Gerry Scharfenberger took Byrnes idea that was expressed in the email to Ted Maloney, saw an opportunity to use it to his advantage, hid the fact that he was doing it until just before the messages went out, and then tried to blame Byrnes when it didn’t work out. No wonder why he called Carol Stiglin to apologize, he finally got caught taking someone else’s idea and passing it off as his own. I would apologize for that also.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Gerry Scharfenberger, Robo-calls, Sean F. Byrnes

>APP: Re-elect Holt to Congress

>Here’s some good news for the Congressman, Rush Holt, the Asbury Park Press today has endorsed his return to Washington in today’s editorial. I’m also happy to endorse the Congressman’s return to Washington D.C as my representative in Congress, I think that the APP got it right with this one:

The voters of New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District are faced with as stark a choice in candidates as they have seen in some time.

The incumbent, Democrat Rush Holt, is, by any standard, a liberal standard-bearer and has been for the past dozen years he’s been in Congress. Scott Siprelle, his Republican challenger, formerly a managing director at Morgan Stanley and now head of Westland Ventures, a Princeton-based investment firm, is so far right as to be off the charts.

Holt, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is an eminently decent, bright man who has represented his district well and should be returned to Washington. Holt, who was assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and taught at Swarthmore College before entering Congress, helped create the New Jersey Technology Center to build jobs.

Holt’s support for the health care reform bill will help stop insurance companies from putting lifetime limits on what they will pay for care, prevent them from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and expand coverage to the uninsured. He voted for legislation making certain that property taxes can be deducted from one’s income taxes. And his support for the environment is long-standing.

Siprelle offers little more than current GOP/Tea Party talking points — or, rather, a single talking point: saying “No!” to every Democratic initiative over the last two years without offering much in the way of new ideas. He seems to long for a return to the policies that led the country into the Great Recession, including extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And when he does come up with ideas, they are nonstarters.

For those suffering the effects of the poor economy — the unemployed, for example — Siprelle offers this suggestion on his campaign website: “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” — as if the only thing that will get the unemployed back to work is cutting their unemployment checks.

Siprelle constantly attacks Holt as being “out of touch” with his constituents. This criticism is almost laughable, coming as it does from a Wall Street wheeler-dealer — one who believes health insurers should be allowed to refuse to insure those with pre-existing conditions and that the federal government has no role in education policy.

Independent candidate Kenneth J. Cody, running on an amorphous platform based on election finance reform, promoting bipartisanship and “fixing the economy,” clearly is not ready to become a member of Congress.

Holt deserves to be returned to Washington.

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Filed under 12th congressional district, Asbury Park Press, Congressman Rush Holt, endorsement

>APP Editorial: Send them an e-mail

>No matter how Gerry Scharfenberger and Tony Mercantante tray and spin the fiasco of last weeks ill advised, late night “Robo calls” to residents, they just need to admit those calls should not have been made in the first place. It doesn’t matter if the calls were supposed to be place at 6:45 pm or not. The message was not important enough to use the reverse 911 system when other means of communicating with residents about the new “Recycle to Save” program had already been done.

Evidently the Asbury Park Press seems to agree, below is their editorial that ran this past Saturday condemning them for using taxpayer-funded Robo calls to inform residents of this program:

Late-night phone calls are hardly ever good news. Nobody calls you then to tell you you’ve just won a million bucks.

A ringing phone after bedtime can be nerve-wracking. On Wednesday, the nerves of thousands of Middletown residents were wracked by an automated phone call between 10 and 11 p.m. with a recording of Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger reminding them of the importance of recycling.

Some residents who didn’t pick up the first time — perhaps because they were asleep — were called repeatedly until they answered the phone. We suspect most people were less than appreciative of the message.

The late calls were the result of a glitch in the taxpayer-funded service — one that should be reserved for emergencies and urgent notifications.

Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante said the calls were scheduled to go out at 6:45 p.m. So, dinner hour would have been a better time to waste the taxpayers’ time and money?

Glitches happen. They’re excusable. What isn’t are robocalls — late at night, at dinnertime or any other time of day — whose message could easily be communicated in other non-obtrusive ways.


Those leaving comments online had a full things to say themselves about it:

jerseyswamps wrote:
Is that what that was! Now I’m really angry! I heard it was some kind of BS recording and hung up. Nice job, Mayor. Way to earn good will. BTW, ANY politician that sends me a robo call at anytime goes way down on my list of who to vote for. 10/16/2010 7:27:16 AM

mkm586 wrote:
Obama Park Press, we agree, rarelt but thanks. Don’t stop there, turn Penton loose to investigate further. Get my old friend Lisa Kruse and the spirit of Randy Brahmier to help if necessary. They worked when the Press actually was part of political accountability. Was it the reverse 911 system? Is that legal? Who authorized it? If there is a third party company involved who are they? What are they paid? What action is being taken and to correct this from happening again? What punitive action is being taken…if any? And what exactly was the “glitch”? Were not talking about a few dozen calls but thousands. Get us some answers. While you’re at it what’s up with those millions the town borrowed years ago for the football field that never was? Like I said my Dad didn’t get a call apologizing his taxes went up 13%. Obama Park Press, Judy’s gone their fair game, time to follow through!!! 10/16/2010 7:53:06 AM

TheStupidHurts wrote:
I support anything that will get people to vote against scharfenberger, it’s a rare talent to be an abomination to both left and right.
10/16/2010 8:01:27 AM

Ignore_The_Lies wrote:
Schools are doing the same thing with “robo-calls”. The idea of notifying parents of a scheduling change due to a storm is one thing – pestering them about upcoming “events” such as football games and fund raises is another.

If there are 3 people I absolutely HATE in this world they are (1) the jerk that came up with voicemail, (2) the jerk that came up with automated “phone trees” (“Press 1 for billing… Press 2 to report a leak…”), and (3) the jerk who came up with the bright idea to use an automated “emergency notification system” for HORSEPUCKY. 10/16/2010 9:55:13 AM

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, editorial, Gerry Scharfenberger, recycle to save, Robo-calls

>Support Holt At Today’s Debate

>Please come out and show your support for Congressman Holt this Monday at his second debate with his Republican opponent. We are expecting them to bring a significant number of people so it is imperative we have a good crowd to show how many people are truly behind Congressman Holt’s message and record. Tickets are first come first serve, so I would recommend arriving between 5:30-6:00. If you need a ride we can try to organize transportation, please let me know and invite whomever you want. Debate details are below and attached.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Best,
Justin Braz
Team Holt
justin@rushholt.com

Debate at Young Israel East Brunswick: October 18, 2010 Doors Open at 6:30
193 Dunhams Corner Rd., East Brunswick, NJ

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Filed under Congressman Rush Holt, debate, Scott Sipprelle

>Friends of Amit Will Hold Rally In Freehold To Demand Justice On Oct. 20th

>

Press release;


AMIT BORNSTEIN BEATEN TO DEATH BY OFFICERS IN MONMOUTH COUNTY JAIL


10 Weeks Later, Still No Answer from Sherriff’s Office:Victim’s Family to Hold Rally&PressConference

By Friends of Amit

FREEHOLD, NJ – On July 29, 2010, Amit Bornstein, age 22 of Marlboro was arrested at his home by Monmouth County Sheriff’s Officers on a bench warrant for failing to appear in Court for minor misdemeanor and traffic infractions. Seven hours later Correction Officers dropped Amit’s dead body at CentraState Hospital. Little is known about what happened while in custody, as surveillance tapes were seized by the Prosecutor’s Office and have not been released. Two months after Amit’s death, Sherriff Shaun Golden has yet to make any statement about the incident; now the Bornstein family is demanding accountability for the death of their son.

According to investigators at least eight (8) Correction Officers were involved in the incident. Though the CO’s initially claimed Mr. Bornstein “tossed them around like dolls,” autopsy photos show that Amit was shackled and beaten to death after asking to make a phone call home. Amit’s family and neighbors are demanding the release of the county jail video and audio tapes, and a fair and full investigation into his death, with appropriate disciplinary and criminal charges filed against his killers.

In response to the silence from the Sherriff’s office, a press conference and rally is being organized for Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm in Freehold Borough to demand scrutiny of officer misconduct, human rights violations and to demonstrate concerns over the mismanagement of the jail by Monmouth County’s Sherriff’s Office. The family is also asking witnesses to come forward with any helpful information.

— We are asking for concerned people and organizations to rally with us against officer brutality and for the protection of human rights —
*** Come to the rally!! Buses will be providing transportation for folks throughout the city (Manhattan and Brooklyn) – e-mail Justice4Amit@gmail.com for pickup locations! ***

*** send email to Justice4Amit@gmail.com to sign a petition for the release of surveillance video ***

— If we all ask at once, the Sheriff’s Office will hear our demand to release the surveillance video from the jail, and for a full and fair investigation of Amit’s case. —

This rally is also endorsed by the October 22 Coalition and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.

Note: This is expected to be a big event 200-300 are estimated to be attending. This is a protest supported by the Bornstein family over the failure of the Monmouth County Medical Examiner to release its report on the death of Amit Bornstien 70+ days after his death.

I find this news disturbing, I have a number of good friends that are Monmouth County Correctional Officers, I have not spoken to any of them about this case. I hope and pray that they are not involved in any way with this cover-up.

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Filed under Amit Bornstien, Friends of Amit, jail death, Monmouth County Sheriff, protest rally

>It’s Your Town Newsletter Volumn 2, Issue 22, 10/4/10

>
It’s has finally arrive, the new edition of “It’s Your Town” newsletter has been issued and sent out to subscribers just in time to get caught up on what happened at the Middletown Township Committee Workshop meeting on Oct.4,2010, before tomorrow nights regularly scheduled Township Committee meeting.

Discussions regarding shared services with the BOE, the dredging of Shadow Lake, televising Township meetings and parking at the Municipal Complex dominated the meeting.
Read the newsletter to find out more.

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Filed under Its Your Town, Middletown Board of Education, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, Shadow Lake, shared services, workshop meeting

>Are Little Canvassers Harassing Pallone Supporters?

>People working on behalf of the Anna Little campaign were canvassing parts of Middletown on Saturday and I think that they maybe a bit over zealous by the looks of what was left in a few mailboxes of Frank Pallone supporters.

A Little/Tea Party canvasser left a hand written note on some Little campaign literature that stated ” Based on the lawn sign I see on your lawn, I know your supporting Pallone. I hope that this may change your mind. Feel free to contact our campaign with only questions that you may have. – have a nice day! ” (click on picture below)

Now of course, this is nothing to get all worked up over even though I have always been told that it was not appropriate to leave such things in peoples mailboxes while canvasing neighbourhoods. On a scale of 1 to 10 this maybe ranks a 1. It’s what happened later that night where the problem comes in.

At approximately 9:30pm a white 4-door pick-up truck and what looked like a red Ford Mustang was spotted by the resident who had had the Little campaign flyer with the handwritten note left in their mailbox. The resident opened the door to see what was going on outside, only to witness a few individuals hastily jump back into their vehicles and speed off.

In the morning, while retrieving their newspaper from the driveway, the resident saw that the Pallone for Congress sign that had been on the front lawn was missing, all that was left was the wire frame the it was attached to. Also out in the street in front of his house was the neighbor’s campaign sign that supported the local Middletown Democratic candidates Byrnes & Mahoney.

This resident was outraged that this type of shenanigans is taking place around Middletown by members of the Anna Little campaign and wanted other to be aware of it. The resident stated to me that “I guess this is what they mean by Tea Party Approved. They will never win an election by threats and bullying people into voting for them. That is how they operate in the Communist countries of the world, not here in America!”

I happen to agree, I hope that Anna Little see fit to address this incident to those that have volunteered on her behalf to work on her campaign. I’ve heard of other people of questionable character (people with felony convictions) working closely on her campaign, so before this kind of harassment gets out of hand she needs to address it and request that those responsible no long work on her campaign.

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Filed under Anna Little, campaign signs, Congressman Frank Pallone, Middletown