Monthly Archives: January 2012

Middletown Planning Board Member Who Receives Lucrative Contracts From The Township Seems Unethical To Me

When Middletown helps its own, it’s not in reference to helping needy families get through the holidays. It’s in reference to taking care of those most politically connected to the local Republican Party.

Tim Sodon, who was a candidate for Township Committee in 2007 but lost the election to Patrick Short, has for the past few of years been a member of the Middletown Planning Board. Sodon came under heavy fire in 2007 for being a contractor for the Township while also being a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. As a member of the advisory board, among other things, he would recommend what Township Parks needed electrical maintenance or upgrades performed. Tim Sodon is the owner of Sodon Electric Inc., he was the contractor that would get the work and perform the work.
During the campaign Sodon and the Republican Party couldn’t or wouldn’t explain why this wasn’t a conflict of interest and clearly unethical. Sodon never came out and said that if elected he would give up the contracts he had with the Township.
Now fast forward to more recent times, as an appointed member of the planning board, Sodon is a public official and currently has a very lucrative contract with Middletown to provide electrical repairs and maintenance needed throughout the Township’s Municipal buildings and parks that pays him $75K a year according to Township Resolution 12-061.
This to me is clearly a conflict of interest and unethical. He shouldn’t be allowed to do work for the town while he sits on the Planning Board. A contractor for the town should not be in any appointed positions.
Tim Sodon shouldn’t be doing electrical projects for the town, those projects should be bid out and basic electrical maintenance should be done in-house by someone who has a license.
As the Mayor’s Designee to the Planning Board is Tim Sodon making decisions based on the on the merits of the presentations that are brought in front of the Planning Board, or is he making decisions based on what is expected of him by the Mayor or higher ups in the Middletown GOP in order to keep his tax payer funded contracts?
Before looking at the Library Board for inappropriate and unethical behavior of one of its members, I think Tony Fiore and the Township Committee should be looking a little closer to home at one of their own before casting the first stone. Unfortunately though that will never happen, Middletown Republicans by nature are arrogant and never look into the mirror at themselves beforehand. They are only interested in protecting their own.
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Filed under conflict of interest, Middletown GOP, Middletown Planning Board, Parks and Recreation, public contracts, resolution 12-061, Sodon Electric, Tony Fiore, unethical behavior

"Political Retaliation" In Play Against Middletown Library Board President

Middletown’s acting Mayor Tony Fiore has asked the President of the Middletown Library Board to resign his position as Board President according to an article posted on Middletown-Patch this morning.

According to Middletown-Patch, a letter was sent to Library Board President Randal Gabrielan last Wednesday requesting his resignation for questionable inappropriate and unethical behavior pertaining to books purchased by the Middletown Library that were penned by Gabrielan.

Randal Gabrielan is the Monmouth County historian and writes books about the history of Monmouth County and its towns. The books are available at many book sellers throughout NJ.

Where the supposed ethical violations come into play in this case is that as Library Board President, Randal Gabrielan signs all the purchase vouchers for the library, including the vouchers that pertain to the books that he has written.

To Fiore and Co., this is a major issue that requires Gabrielan to step down from his position, even though this has been going on for years with the knowledge and approval of the Township and the fact that the library would have purchased the books for its collection anyway.
Randal Gabrielan states in the article that this is “political retribution” for his vocal stance opposing the Township’s money grab of nearly $500,000 last year and for the failure of one of the Township Committee’s hand picked, newly appointed Library Board of Trustees members not being able to dethrone him as Board President at the Library’s January 18th Board meeting, which was the first board meeting after the Middletown Township Committee expanded the membership of the board from 7 members to 9 members to gain greater control over the library’s finances.
“This request for resignation is an act of political retaliation prompted by my opposition in 2011 to the Township Committee’s demand that the library turn over surplus funds (which did not come from municipal appropriations) to the township and the failure of the mayor’s new expanded library board of trustees to elect one of their number, none of whom has any library board experience, to the presidency of the board at the January 18th library board meeting,” According to Gabrielan’s statement posted on Middletown-Patch.
I think that before looking at Mr. Gabrielan, Tony Fiore should be looking closer to home for ethical lapses and request a certain Planning Board member to step down…..

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Filed under Board of Trustees, ethical violations, Middletown Library, Middletown Patch, Middletown Township Committee, Randall Gabrielan, resignation request, Tony Fiore

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 4, Issue 2-1/17/12

Here is another edition of the It’s Your Town newsletter, it covers the January 17th, 2012 Middletown Township Committee meeting. As readers of the blog know from listening to audio clips posted last week, this meeting was very eventful.

A a late notice stating that the Township will not open the Swim & Tennis Club this year was posted to the Township’s website on Friday 13th, heading into the long Martin Luther King 3-day holiday weekend and apparently, from the sentiment of the members present at the meeting, they weren’t informed previously of the dire financial situation of the Swim Club, over two dozen people voiced their concerns to the Township Committee.

There were a few Swim Club members who questioned the expenses incurred by the Township on behalf of the Middletown Arts Center (MAC) in relation to those incurred to operate the Swim Club. They were told by Mayor Fiore and Township Attorney Brian Nelson, that the MAC was on the way towards profitability and that the utility expenses were down dramatically to only $30 to $40K per year! Attached to the newsletter are the actual figures for the past five years so you can determine for yourself what is accurate.

Regardless, when the Club closes, all Middletown residents will be responsible for repaying the original bond used to purchase the Club instead of the member fees stated in the Pool Club ordinance.

Read this edition of the newsletter ….Here


And if you would like to listen to the companion audio clips from the meeting, I have them below

Committee comments #1
http://www.archive.org/embed/SwimClubMembersAddressTownshipCommittee
Committee comments #2
http://www.archive.org/embed/SwimClubMembersAddressTownshipCommittee-2
What about the kids?
http://www.archive.org/embed/SwimClubMembersAddressTownshipCommittee4WhatAboutTheKids
Tom Wilkens comments
http://www.archive.org/embed/SwimClubMembersAddressTownshipCommittee5TomWilkensComments

As always, if you wish to subscribe to the newsletter and receive in your inbox send a request to itsourtown@yahoo.com

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Filed under Audio clips, Brian Nelson, Its Your Town, Martin Luther King Jr., Middletown Arts Center, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, Swim Club, Tony Fiore

Giants will win Super Bowl XLVI, predicts ‘Madden NFL 12′

By Ben Silverman | Plugged In @ Yahoo Games

The New England Patriots might be the odds-on favorite to win Super Bowl XLVI, but the New York Giants have proven an uncanny knack for making odds-makers look ridiculous.

And according to Madden, they’re about to do it again.

EA Sports has simulated Sunday’s Big Game in Madden NFL 12 on the Xbox 360, and in another insane playoff nail-biter, the Giants edged out the Patriots, 27-24, to take home the franchise’s fourth Lombardi trophy.

But forget about the anticipated match-up between Tom Brady and Eli Manning. Like the last two playoff games, this one came down to a field goal. Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes, fresh off demolishing the dreams of San Francisco fans in OT, knocked down a 40-yard field goal as time expired to give the Giants the victory. Wonder if they simulated a virtual Billy Cundiff weeping pixilated tears, too?

The unlikely Giants win almost didn’t happen. The Madden simulation saw Brady rally his troops from a 24-10 fourth quarter deficit, throwing for two TDs to tie up the game. But like he’s done all year, Manning stormed back during the last Giants possession to set up the game-winning kick. He was also named the game’s MVP, finishing 25-39 for 342 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

The annual Madden simulation has proven pretty accurate at picking Super Bowl winners, though it fumbled pretty badly last year in taking the Steelers over the Packers. Still, it’s got a track record most gamblers would envy, nailing 6 of the last 8 games.

More ….Here

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Filed under Eli Manning, John Madden, Madden NFL 12, New England Patriots, NFL, NY Giants, Super Bowl XLVI, Tom Brady, Xbox 360, Yahoo Games

Media Myth That Cutting Taxes Boosts Revenue Revived For 2012

Media Matters has a terrific post about the myth that tax cuts generate revenues and that bigger tax cuts generate larger revenues.

Media Matters shows how these claims are debunked by not only by those on the Left, like Paul Krugman but also by those on the Right, who actually proposed the claim and sold it to Ronald Reagan and George w. Bush.

Martin Feldstein, a Harvard economist who was the first chairman of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers estimated that a 10 percent tax cut would in fact reduce tax revenue — but only by 3 to 5 percent.

“It is not that you get more revenue by lowering tax rates, it is that you don’t lose as much,” he said. [The New York Times, 3/26/08]


Read … Here

This post I think ties in nicely with the last post from NJPP about what our tax dollars actually pay for.

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Filed under Martin Feldstein, Media Matters, media myth, New Jersey Policy Perspective, Paul Krugman, President George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, supply side economics, tax cuts, tax revenues

As A Matter Of Fact ….What Do Taxes Pay For? A Better Quality of Life for Our Children

January 25th, 2012, by Jon Whiten Published in NJPP Blog: As a Matter of Fact …


While it’s a well-worn cliché that “nobody likes to pay taxes,” one question isn’t asked often enough: what do those taxes pay for?

According to a new national study, they pay for a higher quality of life for our children.

Investing in Public Programs Matters: How State Policies Impact Children’s Lives, released last week by the Foundation for Child Development (FCD), finds “a strong relationship” between state tax rates and the overall quality of life for children.

The report’s key findings are that “higher state taxes are better for children,” and that “greater investments in government programs are strongly related to better quality-of-life for children in a state.”

The report, along with the annual KIDS COUNT data book that ranks New Jersey fifth — comes as states around the country, including New Jersey, are reacting to fiscal crises with austere, cuts-only spending plan, and it shows the folly of such an approach.

“Although states are currently revenue-starved, this is exactly the wrong time to reduce taxes,” says FCD president Rudy Takanishi. “The revenues generated by taxes should be used to invest more in the education and health of our children. Policymakers must recognize that the cost of shortchanging children today is too high a price to pay in the future.”

There’s good news here for New Jersey: the Garden State ranked first in the nation on the Child Well-Being Index, barely edging out Massachusetts. This finding, based on 2007 data, reaffirms the need to resist further cuts to education and other crucial public programs.

The stakes — our children’s well-being, and our state’s future prosperity – couldn’t be higher.

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Filed under As a Matter of Fact, blog, Child Well-Being Index, education cuts, Foundation for Child Development (FCD), Kids Count, New Jersey Policy Perspective, quality of life, tax cuts, Taxes

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Roger Ramjet – Football

Here’s video of the first interplanetary Cosmic Bowl, eat up those Wheaties and enjoy the game

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Filed under Football, Roger Ramjet, Saturday morning cartoons, Wheaties