>Mary Mahoney, Democratic Candidate for Middletown Township Committee and running mate of Democratic Committeeman Sean Byrnes, explains why she is seeking office. This video was take at the Byrnes and Mahoney Town Hall meeting that took place on September 27,2010.
Monthly Archives: October 2010
>Middletown Democratic Committeeman Sean Byrnes discusses transparency and the need to televise Township Committee meetings over the Township’s public access channels during the Byrnes and Mahoney Town Hall Meeting that took place on September 27,2010 in Middletown.
Since this video was taken Mayor Scharfenberger has stated that he would not be in favor of televising meetings to the public at any cost because he doesn’t see the value in it.
>By Michael Winship
Posted at Consortiumnews.com
October 20, 2010
ConsortiumNews Editor’s Note: Sadly but predictably, the two years of economic pain and the anger over the first African-American president are combining for a particularly nasty election as Tea Partiers see, within their grasp, their goal of “taking our country back.”
The 2009 phenomenon of armed protesters threatening to unleash violence against Washington over health-care reform has morphed into Tea Party candidates surrounding themselves with thugs determined to silence reporters and intimidate opposition voters, as Michael Winship notes in this guest essay:
One of the most memorable moments in television coverage of American politics came during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968.
Out on the streets, anti-Vietnam war demonstrations were attacked viciously by law enforcement officials in what later was described in an official report as “a police riot.”
Inside the convention hall, tightly controlled by the political machine of the city’s notorious Mayor Richard J. Daley, CBS correspondent Dan Rather was attempting to interview a delegate from Georgia who was being removed from the floor by men in suits without ID badges.
One of them slugged Rather in the stomach, knocking him to the ground. As the reporter struggled to get his breath back, from the anchor booth, Walter Cronkite exclaimed, “I think we’ve got a bunch of thugs here, Dan!”
It was an uncharacteristic outburst from America’s Most Respected Newsman, indicative of just how terrible the violence was both inside and out and how shocking it was for a journalist to be so blatantly attacked while on the air by operatives acting on behalf of politicians.
As appalling as that 1968 assault was, thuggery is nothing new in politics; it transcends time, ideology and party.
But what’s even more disturbing in 2010 is how much of the public, especially many of those who count themselves among the conservative adherents of the Tea Party, is willing to ignore bullying behavior – and even applaud it – as long as the candidate in question hews to their point of view.
Here in New York State, of course, we have Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who combines the boyish charm of J. Edgar Hoover with the sunny quirkiness of Pol Pot.
So extreme are Paladino’s views, so volatile his temper, that even Rupert Murdoch’s right wing New York Post has endorsed Democrat Andrew Cuomo, which is a bit like the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano dissing the Pope and singing the praises of Lutherans.
Doubtless this is in part because Crazy Carl, as he is affectionately known to many, almost came to blows with the Post’s state political editor, the redoubtable Fred Dicker, shouting “I’ll take you out, buddy!” at Dicker.
The journalist had asked Paladino for evidence to back up allegations the candidate was making against Cuomo. Paladino claimed the paper was harassing his out-of-wedlock daughter.
The Post had to admit that Paladino is “long on anger and short on answers… undisciplined, unfocused and untrustworthy — that is, fundamentally unqualified for the office he seeks.”
Okay, Paladino will lose, but in other parts of the country, Tea Party-supported candidates with a similar bullying, threatening attitude, or who seem to surround themselves with such people, are more likely to win.
Republican Allen West, endorsed by Sarah Palin and John Boehner, is leading in his race against incumbent Democratic Representative Ron Klein in South Florida’s 22nd Congressional District.
A retired Army lieutenant colonel, West resigned from the military, according to the progressive Web site ThinkProgress.org, “while facing a court martial over the brutal interrogation of an Iraqi man. …
“According to his own testimony during a military hearing, West watched four of his men beat the suspect, and West said he personally threatened to kill the man. According to military prosecutors, West followed up on his threat by taking the man outside and firing a 9mm pistol near his head, in order to make the man believe he would be shot.”
You can’t make this stuff up: Last week, NBC News reported that West has been communing with a notorious Florida motorcycle gang, the Outlaws, which the Justice Department alleges has criminal ties to arson, prostitution, drug running, murder and robbery.
And on Monday, West could be heard at a rally urging some bikers – also with Outlaw connections – to “escort” out a Klein staffer who was video-recording the event.
“Threats can be heard on the videotape,” said a reporter from NBC’s Miami affiliate. “West supporters forced him to get back into his car.”
The West campaign responded that “the latest attacks aimed at associating … Allen West with a criminal and racist gang are completely baseless and nothing short of a hatchet job.”
So what’s with the photograph of him glad-handing bikers who according to NBC brag about their association with the Outlaws? And why did West tell a supporter to back off when concern was expressed about “criminal organization members in leather” appearing at West’s campaign rallies?
Which brings us to Joe Miller, the Republican and Tea Party candidate for the United States Senate from Alaska.
On Sunday, at a Miller town hall, private security guards hired by the campaign – two of whom were moonlighting, active-duty military – took it upon themselves to detain a reporter pursuing Miller with questions, placed the reporter under citizen’s arrest and handcuffed him – then threatened to detain two other reporters who were taking pictures and asking what was going on.
The plainclothes rent-a-cops, complete with Secret Service-type earpieces and Men in Black-style neckties and business suits, come from an Anchorage-based outfit called DropZone Security, which also runs a bail bond service and an Army-Navy surplus store – with one of those anti-Obama “Joker” posters pasted to its window.
One-stop shopping for the vigilante militiaman in your life – kind of like that joke about the combination veterinarian-taxidermist: either way you get your dog back.
All of this would be funnier if not for the fact that this kind of hooliganism and casual trampling of First Amendment rights from people who claim to embrace the Constitution as holy writ is symptomatic of a deeper problem.
The anger of the electorate is understandable: politicians and politics as usual have given voters much about which to be mad; furious, in fact. But bullying is different. It comes from insecurity and fear, and lashes out with tactics of intimidation. To dismiss it as merely a secondary concern and say “I’ll take my chances” as long as the candidates in question agree with you is dangerous.
Scuffling with the press and others may seem minor, but it’s just the beginning. In states where there is early balloting, already there are allegations of voter harassment, primarily in minority neighborhoods.
The only way to fight back against bullies and thugs is to stand up and tell them to go to hell. To do otherwise is to give an inch and prepare to be taken for the proverbial mile. That way lies madness. And worse.
Michael Winship is senior writer at Public Affairs Television in New York City.
>PENSION SCANDAL IN THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE: Acting Sheriff Golden Promotes Pension Fraud By Head Of Law Enforcement Division
>FOR IMMIDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2010
Press Contact: Jon Evans (732) 739 8888
Hazlet, NJ – This week, New Jersey Watchdog.org broke news casting another ominous cloud over the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. The information, which has been verified, shows that in 2008, the previous Republican Sheriff allowed and participated in a scheme allowing a high-ranking Monmouth County Sheriff’s employee to blatantly violate pension laws giving him a full pension and a full County paycheck at the same time. Despite his knowledge of this fraudulent act, acting-Sheriff Golden continues to employ this person under the same arrangement.
Specifically, Monmouth County acting-Sheriff Shaun Golden has authorized Sheriff’s Chief Mickey Donovan to sidestep pension rules allowing him to collect more than $85,000 a year in retirement pay while at the same time still making an annual County salary of $87,500 for a total in excess of $172,000.00 per year. This “double-dipping” scheme is in violation of the New Jersey Police and Firemen’s Retirement System rules and regulations.
In May 2005, Donovan retired as a detective lieutenant from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and began collecting his annual $85,000 pension. In an August 21, 2008, memo it was announced, by then-Sheriff Kim Guadagno, that Donovan would be hired as the “new Chief of the Law Enforcement Division”. However, in order to avoid having to give back a pension, his title was changed and Donovan was hired and sworn in as “Chief Warrant Officer” on September 22, 2008. Although Donovan was hired as “Chief Warrant Officer,” permitting circumvention of the pension rules, in actuality, the position of “Chief Warrant Officer” was eliminated on September 16, 2008- a week before Donovan was hired to the fictitious position- under Sheriff’s General Order 98-20 setting forth the organizational structure of the Sheriff’s Office. As a result, Donovan was hired and continues to occupy a position that does not exist in the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. Clearly, this scheme was concocted so that Donovan could continue to double dip at taxpayers’ expense. Donovan continues to be listed on the County’s web page as “Monmouth County Sheriff’s Chief” and is described as “the Chief of the Law Enforcement Division of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office” and not as “Chief Warrants Officer.” On July 6, 2010, acting-Sheriff Golden signed an amendment to the organizational structure of the Law Enforcement Division, yet did not include the position of “Chief Warrant Officer” and there is currently no such position within the organizational structure of the Sheriff’s Office.
Democratic Sheriff Candidate Eric Brophy responded to the ongoing situation, “This continuing fraud cast upon the taxpayers of Monmouth County by sworn officers of the law is the most egregious example yet of Golden’s complete and utter mismanagement of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. His complete disregard for the taxpayers of Monmouth County or for the laws and rules of this State is appalling. Someone who is charged as the Chief Executive Officer of a 600 person police agency must know the status and job titles of his division heads. If he doesn’t, then he has no business running such an operation. If he does know but disregards these acts, he is complicit in perpetuating this fraud and can no longer be trusted to hold the position. Monmouth County needs a Sheriff who will be responsible with taxpayer dollars and who not only talks about pension reform, but who actually ends abuses of the system. ”
For more details as well as evidence of all facts cited herein, visit New Jersey Watchdog Online at http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2010/10/19/1286/
It’s almost Halloween, a time to celebrate the ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night. One of the most enduring symbols of fright night is the silhouette of a bat, wings spread in a wide scallop, backlit by an orange glowing moon. But, please kiddies, don’t be frightened of these often misunderstood mammals (some of which actually do feed on blood). Bats play a critical role in the world’s ecosystem. In some African countries, bats are sacred animals thought to be the physical manifestation of souls. In much of Asia, bats are symbols of good luck.
Bats are not so revered here, despite their tremendous contribution to the public weal, and New Jersey’s bat population is dying off at an alarming rate.
This is the time of year many bats begin to hibernate. In New Jersey’s most populated hibernation spot – Hibernia Mine in Morris County – fewer than 1,700 of almost 30,000 bats survived last winter’s sleep, according to Mick Valent, Principal Zoologist for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. Worse, Valent said, many survivors showed signs of infection with a fungus that is rapidly spreading across the country.
The fungus is called “white-nose syndrome” and is named for the whitish powder that appears on the nose, ears and wings of infected bats. This disease has killed an estimated 90 percent of bats in the state–and that’s very bad news, not just on Halloween.
Bats serve a vital role in the ecosystem as pollinators and seed-dispersers for countless plants. Without their pollination and seed-dispersing services, local ecosystems could gradually collapse as plants fail to provide food and cover for wildlife species. But perhaps their greatest contribution is in pest control. Bats consume about 3,000 insects per hour while feeding, and mosquitoes are a favorite food. Mosquitoes of course are carriers of some of the world’s worst diseases such as malaria, encephalitis and the West Nile virus. In New Jersey West Nile virus is a recognized problem which threatens to grow if the mosquito population is not controlled. Fewer bats mean more mosquitoes, more mosquitoes mean more illnesses, more illness means lost work and school.
Bats also like to eat many species of moths that damage agricultural products, vegetation and of course the clothing we all wear. One moth can potentially lay 1,000 eggs at a time, making them the scourge of New Jersey farmers and wool sweater-wearing New Jerseyans alike.
The obvious public policy alternative to the natural pest control bats provide is increased pesticide spraying. Spraying is expensive and carries with it health and environmental risks. Much of the cost of spraying is borne by New Jersey counties with some help from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection through grants, but that amount last year was only about $1 million for the state’s 21 counties to divide. The rest of the cost was borne by the counties.
Valent and other zoologists believe humans are to blame for the bats’ demise here; that fungal pathogens were introduced into American bat caves by visitors who previously entered European caves and carried the disease back on boots or equipment that wasn’t properly cleaned. While bats in Europe are not dying at the same alarming rate, scientists in the U.S. are working to figure out how to save their North American relatives. Valent is hopeful that common anti-fungal compounds might soon offer a cure.
So as you trick or treat, look to those black wings in the sky and beware the glint off of their sharp teeth. But be at least a little grateful and appreciate that those speedy little flashes zooming across the sky are important to us on more than just one night a year.
>The ongoing rhetoric from the man occupying the mayor’s chair is enough to make an intelligent citizen “sick to their stomach” !
This official has no ideas of his own and the only “tool in his toolkit” is intimidation and broken promises.
The conduct displayed at township committee meetings is reprehensible as he attempts to control any dissent or differing points of view with the “five minute rule”. The latest attempt to control the opinions of the public is the despicable township act of ordering removed,the informational sign for Candidates Night at the Lincroft School on October 28th from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m..sponsored by the Lincroft Village Green Association and moderated by the League of Women’s Voters. This could not be more insulting to the intelligence of the voters in this community. Is this just another attempt to control information damaging to this majority. What are they hiding from?
In my opinion this is more of the vicious, dirty politics gripping this township under the current Republican majority. The attempt at character assassination of the Democratic candidate distributed by this bunch of bullies on a mailer is atrocious. It certainly does tell us something about the authors and their fitness for office. They are not qualified to administrate in a town of 68,000 residents of diverse political persuasions
.Every one of those residents are entitled to representation and that’s not happening under Scharfenberger and his comrades. Government in Middletown,under three decades of a Republican majority has become a dictatorship that only represents the Republican party faithful. That must change!!
Barbara R. Thorpe
>How about a little bacon with your eggs this morning? Sit up at the table and enjoy an old Porky Pig cartoon before heading out on what’s to be a great day.
>Pointing to the foreclosure crisis and the economy, the President cites passage of Wall Street Reform over the ferocious lobbying of Wall Street banks as a pivotal acheivement — and condemns Republicans in Congress for vowing to repeal it.
>Byrnes States In Video That Avaya COAH Plan Can Not Move Forward Until All Pending Legal Action Is Settled
>During Middletown’s recent Township Committee Meeting which took place on Oct 17, 2010, resident Jeffrey Blumengold was concerned about what was going on with the Avaya property in Lincroft. The property was included as part of the Township’s COAH (affordable housing) development plans.
He wanted to know if anything could be done to stop the development of the sight if the builder was ready to start building the planned housing development that is slated for the property.
Towards the end of the video, Sean Byrnes can be heard saying that the Township could not allow any of the currently proposed COAH projects in town to move forward until all of the current court challenges are settled