Daily Archives: November 5, 2011

Meet & Greet The Candidates Democratic Football Watch

Please Join


Congressman Frank Pallone

13th District Candidates Chris Cullen for State Senate, Kevin M. Lavan & Patrick Short for State Assembly.
and

Monmouth County Democratic Freeholder Candidates Amy Mallet & Bill Shea and friends, for a fun filled afternoon of football, food, and spirits.

$15 gets you food, open bar, and THE JETS!

Sunday, November 6 · 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Red Oak Diner
2973 Route 35 North, Hazlet

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Filed under 13th Legislative District, Bill Shea, Chris Cullen, Congressman Frank Pallone, Kevin Lavan, Meet and Greet, NY Jets, Patrick Short

Letter: Statistics Meant to Mislead Middletown Residents

The following letter appears online at the Atlantic Highlands Herald:

Middletown residents are being misled by the Republican Party once again. As they’ve done many times before, Middletown Republicans are misrepresenting information for their own benefit.

At issue now is the inappropriate use of “per capita” (per person) statistics.

At the candidates forum in Lincroft on October 27th, Stephanie Murray spouted some of the same per capita statistics that appear in Michael Vitkansas’s October 26th letter. The statistics are a recycled version of what we’ve heard in the past from the Town’s Republican officials.

Ms. Murray compared Middletown’s spending per capita to Hazlet’s. Hazlet’s statistic is higher, she points out.

But hold on a minute. Middletown’s population is enormous. There are close to 67,000 residents, far more than in neighboring towns. Further, not all town expenses increase with population – for example, we still have only one town hall and one municipal court, the same as Hazlet. With so many people in Middletown to share those fixed costs, the overall cost per resident drops.

Therefore, it’s inappropriate to compare per capita statistics for towns of different sizes and populations. To do so is deceptive.

Besides a large number of residents, something else that reduces spending per capita is inadequate funding of core services, but I bet Ms. Murray won’t be pointing that out.

Mr. Vitkansas talks about Middletown’s small workforce per capita, but fails to mention that nearly the entire staff of the Parks and Recreation Department was laid off this year.

If the real picture were as rosy as Republican candidates would have you believe, they wouldn’t need to mislead you by pulling statistics out of a hat.

Linda Baum
Middletown, NJ

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Filed under Atlantic Highlands Herald, letter to the editor, Linda Baum, Middletown Republicans, per capita statistics, Stephanie Murray

Star Ledger’s Truth-o-Meter Says GOP Attack Ad Against Gopal In Assembly District 11 Race = Pants On Fire !

The Star Ledger broke out the Politifacts Truth-o-Meter and has chimed in on the controversial GOP attack ad against 11th District Assembly candidate Vin Gopal.

Politifacts has determined that the attack ad sent to thousands of residents in the the 11th district is a clear case of Pants-on-Fire deceit and called this dirty tactic to discredit their opponent “utter filth”

Here is what they had to say:

Dirty politics is nothing new in the art of campaigning, especially in the final days running up to an election.

But sometimes, those dirty tactics reach the point of utter filth.

Take the case of an attack ad by the New Jersey Republican State Committee against 11th District Assembly candidate Vin Gopal. Democrats Gopal and Kathleen Horgan are challenging Republican incumbents Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini for the seats to represent parts of Monmouth County.

“Corrupt Political Bosses. Money Laundering. Fraud. It’s Just Another Day At The Office For Vin Gopal,” reads a campaign mailer circulating in the district.

The ad shows a $100 bill hanging from a clothesline and features Star-Ledger headlines from articles about former Assemblyman Joseph Vas, who was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison for stealing affordable housing funds when he was Perth Amboy’s mayor and for committing federal election fraud. From February to June 2006 — when he was a 20-year-old political science student — Gopal was a campaign manager for Vas during his primary campaign for congress. The ad also shows a washing machine with money inside and a statement below it that reads “To you, this might look like someone illegally laundering money … To Vin Gopal, it looks like Pay Day!”

The ad seems to imply that Gopal had a connection to Vas and his criminal activities, but does not accuse Gopal of any criminal act.

PolitiFact New Jersey found that readers of the ad could infer improprieties by Gopal, but there’s no proof that he did anything wrong.

One of the article headlines shown in the ad reads “Aide to former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas pleads guilty to money laundering.”

Gopal, a Long Branch resident and business owner, said what bothers him most about the ad “is the implying and lying that I was that aide.”

We pulled the Star-Ledger article and found that the aide in question was Raymond Geneske, who was a campaign adviser to Vas. Geneske was sentenced in January to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for participating in a scheme to funnel contributions to Vas’s congressional campaign. Gopal, who told us that he was never contacted by any law enforcement agency or official about Vas, is not mentioned in the article.

We checked further by running Gopal’s name through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records database covering federal courts and bankruptcies and found that he was never charged with a crime. The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said it had never heard of Gopal and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office confirmed that Gopal had no connection to the Vas case.

“The (Republican) State Committee is not suggesting Mr. Gopal committed a crime,” Communications Director Rick Gorka said in an email. “Rather, it is suggesting that he had a front row seat for the corruption that plagues New Jersey’s political process. The fact is, Mr. Gopal, a career political operative, was the campaign manager of Vas for Congress, a campaign of a sitting State Legislator who was at the center of federal and state corruption investigations and charges. He was paid from Joe Vas’s campaign account.

“Indeed, as the campaign manager he was presumably responsible for expenditures from that account,” Gorka continued. “If he didn’t know where the money was coming from, he should have. In the past he has been proud of his association with that campaign, touting it in his bio when he was deputy campaign manager for the short-live Kucinich for President Campaign. Now he’s seeking to run away from it. The State Committee thinks the voters have a right to know about Vin Gopal’s connections to those sordid events.”

A “career political operative?”

Gopal, 26, became involved with the Vas campaign when he was a 20-year-old student at Pennsylvania State University majoring in political science and wanted to work on a campaign for class credit and to gain experience in politics. Gopal told us he applied to 20 campaigns and eventually went to work as a campaign manager for the Vas campaign. He had also worked on other campaigns. Vlad Gutman, campaign manager for the District 11 Democrats, said that although Gopal had the title of campaign manager with Vas, he managed no personnel and “was the most junior position” on staff.

“I would talk to the press briefly about events he (Vas) would do in a day, set up phones, work with volunteers, handle scheduling,” Gopal said of his responsibilities. “I never had anything to do with money, never saw money, never was at any fundraisers.”

Gopal said he learned about the case against Vas when he saw a newspaper article about it two years after leaving the campaign, and attributes the current spate of attack ads to what he called “desperation.”

“The things they’re doing are borderline slanderous,” Gopal said. “It’s unethical. They’re lying and misleading the public in every way possible to hide their failed actions in this district.”

Our ruling

The Republican state committee distributed an ad in the 11th Assembly District that links Gopal to Vas, a disgraced politician convicted of election fraud and other offenses. Gopal worked four months on Vas’ unsuccessful congressional campaign. Gopal dealt with scheduling, phone banks, volunteers and occasional media queries. Given that law enforcement and a public database all confirm that Gopal had no connection of any kind to the Vas criminal case, the implications made by the ad aren’t just ridiculous, they’re also outrageous. Some laundering is definitely needed because this claim is Pants on Fire!

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Filed under 11th Legislative District, Democratic Candidate, Joseph Vas, Monmouth County, pants on fire, Perth Amboy, politifacts, the Star-Ledger, Vin Gopal

APP Editorial "Decency absent in GOP mailing" Slams 11th District GOP Candidates For Smear Against Rival Gopal

Today’s edition of the Asbury Park Press contains an editorial slaming 11th District GOP Assmebly candidates Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini for the over the top and deceitful campaign mailer sent to district residents attempting to smear their Democratic opponent Vin Gopal, by insinuating that he is corrupt because he once worked as a campaign manager for former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas, as a 20year old college intern.

Vas and another campaign aid Raymond Geneske, were convicted and sent to jail for various campaign offenses which Gopal had nothing to do with.

The recent campaign flier approved by Republicans Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini in the 11th District Assembly race seeking to smear Democrat Vin Gopal was beyond the pale — even by New Jersey standards.

It used reckless innuendo in attempting to portray Gopal as corrupt because he once was campaign manager for disgraced former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas.

Although the ad was produced by the Republican State Committee, Casagrande and Angelini both signed off on it. And, on Friday, both said they stood by it. That’s almost as disturbing as the mailer itself, which tried through deliberate misdirection to suggest that Gopal was mixed up in a campaign money laundering and fraud scheme.

Gopal was campaign manager for Vas in 2006 as a 20-year-old political science major at Penn State University, for which he received course credit and a modest salary. His chief job was organizing volunteers and answering phones. He had nothing to do with any illegal money.

On one side of the mailer, which showed dollar bills swirling in a clothes drier, it read, “To you, this might look like someone illegally laundering money. To Vin Gopal, it looks like pay day.”

On the flip side, it said, “Corrupt Political Bosses. Money Laundering. Fraud. It’s just another day at the office for Vin Gopal.”

Further down, it had an April 2011 newspaper headline proclaiming, “Aide to former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas pleads guilty to money laundering.” The text of the story, which was covered with another headline, would have identified the aide as Raymond Geneske. The mailing implied it was Gopal.

“We didn’t say he went to jail. He was the campaign manager of a corrupt campaign,” said Tom Fitzsimmons, District 11 GOP campaign spokesman. “Everything in the mailer is 100 percent true.”

Maybe so. But it was a clear attempt to portray him as corrupt.

While the Gopal campaign has sent out some hard-ball negative mailings of its own, none of them have been in the same league as what the state Republican committee created and the candidates approved.

The mailer lacked a complete sense of decency and fair play, further contributing to voters’ cynicism and disgust with politicians who will do anything to win election.

The Republicans do not seem to care. Voters should when it comes to weighing their options for the Assembly seats at the polls on Tuesday.

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Filed under 11th Assembly District, Asbury Park Press, campaign mailer, Caroline Cassagrande, editorial, Mary Pat Angelini, Vin Gopal

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Tom Turkey & His Harmonica Humdingers

It’s gettin’ to be Turkey Time once again sit back watch a cartoon and finish up your rice krispies before heading out today.

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Filed under Saturday morning cartoons, Thanksgiving, Tom Turkey

NFL Week 9 Giants Vs. Patriots – Princess Picks’em

Last week as most of you all know, Princess the prognosticating Camel of Lacy Township’s Popcorn Park Zoo, picked the Giants to beat the hapless and winless Miami Dolphins. Thanks to the Giants playing down to their competion, as was the worry last week, the Giants nearly lost the game and continued Princess 3 game losing streak. Thankfully for Princess fans (and the Giants), her losing streak was broken and she returned to her winning ways and raised her pick record to 5-3 for the season.

This week the game that Princess will be covering is the Giants Vs. Patriots. It’s a tough game to pick, the Giants are entering the game as 9 point underdogs but that doesn’t deter Princess, who went with her heart instead of her head and picked the Giants to upset the Patriots this week.

After fretting over her choice this week and questioning her decision to take the Giants over the Pats, Princess’s handler John tried to console her doubts about the pick, “Hey girl, it’s okay to pick with your heart instead of your head and who knows, anything can happen. It’s not like they haven’t done it…”

Will the Giants comeout on top this week and extend both their and Princess’s winning streak or will the Patriots prevail, disappointing both Giants and Princess fans? We’ll find out Sunday afteroon.

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Filed under Lacy Township, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, NFL picks, NY Giants, Popcorn Park Zoo, Princess the Camel

President Obama’s Weekly Address 11/05/11: Vice President Biden " We Have to Increase the Pace"

Speaking from the University of Pittsburgh, Vice President Biden argues that this month’s jobs numbers demonstrate that Congress should pass the American Jobs Act to strengthen our economy and create jobs right away.

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Filed under American Jobs Act, Federal tax incentives, Job creation, prescription drugs, President Obama, republican road blocks, unemployment, University of Pittsburgh, Vice-President Joe Biden, weekly address