Daily Archives: February 4, 2012

APP Editorial: Shameful start out of the box

Here is an editorial that the Asbury Park Press has gotten right and if you read the comment posted by readers afterwards, they all seem to agree:

The new 5-0 Republican majority on the Monmouth County freeholder board got off to a disgraceful start this week: Its first order of business was rescinding its tough 2008 pay-to-play campaign finance restrictions. Welcome back to the world of one-party rule.

The old ground rules, passed in response to Operation Bid Rig, a sting targeting money laundering and political corruption that led to the arrests of 13 politicians in the county in 2005, was a huge step in putting an end to the sort of legal bribery that allowed graft to flow freely.

The freeholders now seem to believe that graft and corruption are a thing of the past. Either that or they want to cement their one-party grip on the board, briefly lost the past few years, by ensuring campaign contributors are aptly rewarded when it comes time to handing out contracts.

Under the previous rules, individual contributions were capped at $300, while a firm’s contribution was limited to $2,600. Candidates could not accept a contribution from another county’s political party in excess of $2,600 per election.

Now that those rules have been rescinded, the board will be guided by the state’s lenient “fair and open” bidding process for counties and municipalities, which state Comptroller Matthew Boxer has said is anything but.

In a commentary in the Press last year, Boxer wrote, “The pay-to-play law presents few, if any, real obstacles to local government entities seeking to reward politically favored vendors with public contracts … a series of fatal flaws have essentially rendered the pay-to-play law meaningless at the local government level.”

What reason did the freeholders offer for changing their minds? Freeholder Lillian Burry, who voted for the tougher pay-to-play regulations in 2008, said they made sense then: “It appeared at the time to be a very necessary thing for us to do,” Burry said.

But now? Burry says the 2008 rules may be “too harsh” and proved “very confusing to the professionals.”

The freeholders apparently would have us believe that the people who want to do business with Monmouth County were absolutely flummoxed by the 2008 county standard, and could not fathom the differences between the county’s rules and the “fair and open” process.

If the freeholders adequately educated potential contract bidders to those differences and they still couldn’t get it, those aren’t the sort of people the county should be hiring in the first place.

What is clear is the freeholders’ action was shameless. They should reinstate the tougher pay-to-play rules. If they don’t, citizens should express their disgust at the polls.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, editorial, Lillian Burry, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Operation Bid Rig, pay-to-play

Letter: Save Our Swim Club

Dear Middletown Mike,

I am writing to you to regarding the Middletown Swim Club. As we all know the township has stated that they do not want to operate the swim club this year. We ( club members) went to the town meeting on Jan 17th to let the township know we were are not happy with their decision.

During the meeting many numbers were thrown about regarding ADA regulations that need to be put into place and also capital improvements that needed to be made. These numbers ranged up to a million dollars with no specifics to clarify to the members . We have done some investigating with the town and discovered a few things that we think people should know.
The swim club has never been a burden to taxpayers . The swim club is set up as a utility and as such must be self sustaining. Only membership money has been used to run the club.

It has been rumored that they may only open 1 pool this year. The cost to open one pool and 4 pools is the same. Also – if the pumps are not run in the other pools they will become damaged and that will cost money to repair.

Most importantly:

The taxpayers of Middletown will have to take on the burden of the bonds that are owed on the swim club. This amount is $225,000.00 if the club is not opened this year. The membership dues are what cover this cost. These bonds will continue for the next 10 years for a total cost to the taxpayer of $1,300,000.

A member committee has been established and will be presenting its plan to the Township for the continued operation of the swim club very soon.

We who belong love our club. We would like all to join and see what we see. No one should have to go to another town and use their pool when we have a perfectly good one in our own town. Support Middletown, keep the money here. Please join the fight to save the pool club.

Regards,

Save Our Swim Club Committee

Kerri Brennan
Middletown

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Filed under bond debt, letter to the editor, Middletown Swim and Tennis Club, Middletown Township Committee, taxpayers

CBSsports.com Super Bowl XLVI preview Giants vs. Patriots

Will the Patriots get revenge this time around or will the Giants continue their run to another Super Bowl title? Pat Kirwan joins Scott Braun for the preview.

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Filed under CBS Sports, Eli Manning, New England Patriots, NFL Preview, NY Giants, Super Bowl XLVI, Tom Brady

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Screwball Football

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Filed under Football, merry melodies, Saturday morning cartoons

President Obama’s Weekly Address 2/4/12: It’s Time for Congress to Act to Help Responsible Homeowners

WASHINGTON, DC—In this week’s address, President Obama continued his call for a return to American values, including fairness and equality, as part of his blueprint for an economy built to last. This is why the President is sending Congress his plan to give responsible homeowners the chance to save thousands of dollars on their mortgages by refinancing at historically low rates without adding a cent to the deficit. The housing crisis has been the single largest drag on the recovery, and although the Administration’s actions have helped responsible homeowners refinance their mortgages and stay in their homes, Congress must act now to do more to continue assisting homeowners and the economy. President Obama asks all Americans to tell their elected officials to pass this plan to keep more families in their homes and more neighborhoods thriving and whole.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/all/modules/swftools/shared/flash_media_player/player5x2.swf

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Filed under Congress, economy, Homeowners, housing crisis, mortgage foreclosures, mortgage refinancing, President Obama, weekly address