Daily Archives: August 6, 2011
WASHINGTON—In this week’s address, President Obama called on Democrats and Republicans to work together to grow the economy and get Americans back to work. The President has outlined a number of steps Congress can take right now to spur growth and create jobs, including extending tax cuts for working and middle class families, cutting red tape to encourage new businesses to grow and hire, passing trade deals that will support tens of thousands of jobs, and giving our out-of-work construction workers opportunities to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.
Around and round they go, where they’ll stop nobody knows….
Kevin Penton of the Asbury Park Press pretty much asks that in his column appearing online today, pertaining to the Middletown Board of Education’s search for a new schools superintendent.
Since January the district has had three superintendents, Karen Bilboa, Thomas Pagano and currently Pat Houston, with a possibility of a fourth before the end of the current calendar year. Will the Board of Education ever find a qualified and competent person willing to take the job of school superintendent when that person knows that he or she will need to work with a domineering and as some others have suggested, incompetent board?
MIDDLETOWN — If the Board of Education finds a permanent replacement for Karen Bilbao before the end of the year, the township’s school district will have had at least four different superintendents in 2011.
Since Bilbao’s departure in January, two others have taken her position on an interim basis. The latest is Pat Houston, a 37-year veteran of the district who came out of retirement to serve as superintendent through Oct. 31.
Houston, who was hired last month, earns $600 a day but receives no personal or vacation days and no health benefits, said Christopher Parton, the board’s attorney. Houston is eligible for one sick day a month, Parton said.
Houston replaced Thomas Pagano, who resigned on July 7 for health reasons, said Parton, who noted that the board still hopes to hire a superintendent this year.
“The process is ongoing,” he said.
For the moment we have put the debt crisis behind us. That is small comfort as the economy at large, the job situation, the housing market, and the financial markets continue to suffer. The Tea Party in Congress and its enablers should never have been allowed to threaten America’s good name in order to advance their view of a diminished government and trickle-down economics. They should never have been allowed to force a closed-door, hurried revision of our entire economy. And they certainly should never have been able to get away with a deal that increases inequities in our society and our economy. You, like most Americans, may have watched in dismay—or even in disgust—as Washington fumbled the self-imposed crisis.
Putting aside the distasteful process and the worrisome prospect that government by hostage-taking will continue, this week I had to face the immediate questions: Was the resulting deal going to help the economy? Would it create jobs? Would it reduce the crippling inequities in our economy and society? Would it bring down the deficit, as was the ostensible goal? On all counts my answer was “No,” and I voted against the resolution on the House floor.
I am pleased that we as a country are paying our debts, but I lament the damage done to the institutions of government and the good name of the United States as the most reliable, most creditworthy entity in the entire financial world. I lament especially the damage done to our view of ourselves. The negotiations were based on Tea Party premises: that our deficit is the principal concern facing us, that America is a pitiful debtor nation, that we must lower our sights, that we must end the quest to free our people from want and inequalities, that we cannot afford any longer to be the nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal. Are we no longer the America of the 1940’s that paid for millions of GI’s to go to college and buy homes, while rebuilding ourselves and Europe, when we were faced with a national debt much greater than today?
The deal this week may have the beneficial effect of showing that in the long run the United States intends to bring expenditures more in line with revenues. In the short term, though, the deal is a downer. It not only avoids dealing with today’s principal needs—job creation and economic growth—it actually will cost jobs and preclude any economic stimulation. At a time when clearly the economy is shaky, it is a mistake to declare, as the deal effectively does, that the federal government will have no direct hand in getting the economy moving. To meet next year’s target of spending reductions will require cuts equivalent to the budgets of all the following government operations combined: the EPA, the National Park Service, the Small Business Administration, FEMA emergency and firefighter grants, and the Women-Infants-and-Children food grants. In subsequent years, the cuts would be even ten times larger. Why should we rally to the cry, “No, We Can’t?” Have we forgotten that barely a decade ago we paid down the deficit with strong economic growth, job creation, and budgetary discipline without resorting to gimmicks, triggers, or Balanced Budget Amendments?
I would have liked to vote on a plan that protected the major functions granted to Congress under the Constitution rather than turning them over to an undemocratic, isolated committee of twelve. I would have liked to vote on a plan that would have accelerated withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, saving lives and dollars, and that would have produced savings in our healthcare costs and dealt with the looming loss of 30 percent of doctors’ reimbursement under Medicare. Instead, the plan that was presented was negotiated on the turf of the Tea Party, which seems to think that it is anti-capitalist to ask those individuals and companies doing well in this economy to bear some of the load, even though the one or two percent of people with the highest income have seen their income grow by about 25 percent while everyone else has seen an effective decline and America’s largest corporations have reaped immense profits by using loopholes and offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes.
Nevertheless, I am making it my job to beat back the pessimistic view in Washington that gave rise to this deal. We must not let this deal be the chart of our country’s future course. It is based on false premises that fail to recognize the inherent fairness that is characteristic of our people, the ingenuity and entrepreneurial energy that have sparked our economy for generations, and the unshakable American meliorism that says we can and must make life better for each succeeding generation. I think that now, more than ever, we must have a realistic view of our situation so that we can strongly defend equality and build a community that reinforces the opportunities for each individual.
Member of Congress
Middletown Swim Club Half-Season Memberships On Sale Aug 1-15
There’s still time to get in on the fun at the Middletown Swim and Tennis Club. Half-season bathhouse memberships will be available for sale August 1-15.
Half-season passes are valid from August 1st through September 5. The cost is $150 for adults, $120 for children ages 4-17, $60 for children ages 2-3 and $120 for seniors. Those without a 2011 membership are eligible to purchase a half-season pass. No adjustments will be made to any 2011 memberships.
The Middletown Swim and Tennis Club is located at 214 Harmony Road. The club has over 10 acres of picnic and play areas. Amenities include 4 swimming pools, 5 tennis courts, bathhouses, a snack bar, volley ball, horseshoe and shuffleboard. Activities include family and teen fun nights, competitive swim teams, and sports tournaments. Call 732-671-5757. Applications available at www.middletownnj.org.
Middletown Remembers 9-11-01
In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of September 11th, Middletown Township is planning a trio of tributes to honor those who lost their lives in the World Trade Center tragedy.
“Thanks to the support from the community, Middletown will honor the 37 residents we lost during the tragedy with a memorial service, a flag display and a juried art exhibit,” said Mayor Anthony P. Fiore
The Township will hold the memorial service on Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at the Middletown World Trade Center Memorial Gardens. Among those who have agreed to participate are local religious and government leaders, veterans’ organizations, emergency responders, girl scouts and boy scouts. The service will include a candle lighting ceremony, said Mayor Anthony P. Fiore, who heads the September 11th Memorial Planning Committee.
General parking will be available the main train station lot and the Satellite Lot at Sears, located at the corner of Kings Highway and Route 35. A shuttle bus will transport attendees between Sears and the gardens. The service will be held rain or shine.
Prior to the memorial service a flag display will be installed to honor the 37 residents who died on September 11, 2001. Flag banners will be posted on telephone poles along Kings Highway, Church Street and Middletown-Lincroft Road.
“The flag display is sponsored by local businesses, organizations and individuals who answered the township’s call to help fund this fitting tribute,” said Mayor Fiore. “The flags will continue to be used after the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy as a reminder that Middletown remains vigilant in its support of the War on Terror.”
The cost of each flag banner is $250. Businesses, groups and individuals who sponsor the cost of at least one flag will be recognized in the program materials, on the township website – www.middletownnj.org – and on the township television station. The station is viewable on Comcast Channel 20 and Verizon FiOs Channel 26. Donations are tax-deductible. Call 732-615-2024 for more information.
Meanwhile, the Middletown Arts Center has put out a call to area artists to submit artwork for juried art exhibit honoring September 11th. The exhibit, A Community Connected…to Each Other, to Healing, to Hope will be on display from August 25th through September 25th. An Opening Reception will be held on Thursday, August 25th from 7-9 p.m. Call 732-706-4100 or visit www.middletownarts.org for details on how to submit artwork.
Pavilion Accepting Senior Housing Applications
The Pavilion at Luftman Towers, 43 Hurleys Lane is accepting applications for affordable one-bedroom apartments. Call 732-936-0500 for more information. Preference is given to Middletown residents and children/parents of Middletown Residents.
- 62 years of age or older
- Minimum annual gross income – $18,500
- Maximum Income One Person – $38,040
- Maximum Income Two Persons – $43,440