Category Archives: Don Watson

It’s Your Town – Video Newsletter 2/6/12

As I announce last month, the It’s Your Town newsletter was going to be changing. It’s author Don Watson, had decided that it was time to stop writing about what goes on at Township Committee meetings each month and start showing residents what actually happens during Township Committee meetings.
Mr. Watson has announced he will no longer be presenting the newsletter in its current form recapping Middletown Township Committee meetings as he has done for the past few years. Instead however, it is with great delight that he now will present video recordings of the Middletown Township Committee meetings
Below is the first video which he recorded held on Monday, February 6, 2012.
“… It was an impressive meeting to launch the first recording. The Middletown Swim and Tennis Club community showed up to make their case for keeping the club off the auction block. The mayor thanked the past president of the library board, Randall Gabrielan, for his years of service. This of course was after the mayor asked for Mr. Gabrielan’s resignation the previous week. Also, something that rarely happens, the Committee voted on each new resolution individually.”, Mr. Watson stated in an email announcing the format change to subscribers of his newsletter.

It is hoped that this video starts a new era in Middletown, an era of transparency. This first recording shows what really goes on at Middletown Township Committee meetings. If readers of this blog take the time to watch this video and any videos that come later they will see and hear how our Township Committee deals with its citizens.
… Current and previous Middletown Committees said the people who want meetings recorded have a political agenda. They said recording the meetings would cost too much. They said giving the public video access would allow them to grandstand. You decide if videotaping the meetings is worthwhile..., Finally, I want to extend my personal thank you to the many concerned citizens who made this recording possible with their support. By uniting we triumphed over those who said it couldn’t be done. Many thanks. And as always, thank you all for taking an interest in your local government.”, stated Watson.
Don Watson will be offering the Township Committee a copy of this recording with the hope that they will post it on our Township’s public television access stations.
The video runs over two and a half hours, the first few minutes of the video you will hear a lot of noise. There are no guns being fired. It is a malfunction of the sound system.
As a companion to the video Mr. Watson has put together a PDF document that contains the meeting agenda and the resolutions that were voted on during the meeting. A box around an item is a link, bringing you further into the document to that resolution or ordinance. At the end of the resolution there will be a link bringing you back to the agenda. It is a little easier to follow along when you can see what is being voted on.

While watching the video pay attention to who speaks and who doesn’t speak from the dais, Township Attorney Brian Nelson is sitting next to mayor Tony Fiore. Nelson is an appointed official, not an elected official, yet he speaks as if he is!

It should be pointed out that although Nelson isn’t an elected official, he is a high ranking member of the Middletown GOP who makes a living off the taxpayers of the Township.
Watch closely for the arrogance and distain he shows for those that stand in front of the Committee. He rolls his eyes, laughs and snickers at the very residents that he makes his living off of.

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Filed under Don Watson, Its Your Town, Middletown Swim and Tennis Club, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, Randall Gabrielan, video newsletter, workshop meeting, YouTube

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 4, Issue 1- 1/01/12

A new year and a new addition of It’s Your Town newsletter is now available.

This first issue of 2012 covers the annual Reorganization meeting of the Middletown Township Committee which took place on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, 2012 and includes all of the resolutions that appoint people to various Boards, Commissions and Committees in town. However, of all the appointees listed only about 25 were present to be sworn in.

This issue is the 56th newsletter published since the first issue debuted back in December of 2009 which covered the December 7th Township Committee Workshop meeting.

Due to the time that it takes to put the newsletter together, it’s author Don Watson, has decided that he will be take a break from writing it on a regular basis shortly. The next issue that will cover the January 17th Middletown Township Committee meeting may be the last issue for a while.

But don’t fret over the loss of the newsletter, Don Watson still plans on keeping the public informed of what transpires down at Town Hall. Don plans on videotaping the bi-weekly township meetings and posting them online so that resident can watch the Middletown Township Committee in action for themselves instead of reading about them.

The Township Committee meetings have often been described as the “best show on earth” by Don who now feels that the newsletter, which is written very matter of factly, hasn’t been conveying properly what really goes on at Township meeting. He feels, why write about a meeting when he can provide people the opportunity to watch them?

Don will be announcing soon via email to all those that have subscribed to the newsletter,when and where they will be able to see the recordings. If possible I will also post the videos here for reader of the blog to look at.

So until then, enjoy reading the last few issues of It’s Your Town newsletter by clicking onto the link.

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Filed under Don Watson, Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, resolutions and ordinances, videotapping, workshop meeting

With A Down Turn In the Ecomomy, Middletown Hires Second Lawyer And Doubles Legal Fees


The following is a letter from Middletown resident Don Watson.

Mr Watson is addressing his concern over Middletown’s hiring of a second Municipal Attorney which would essentially double the cost of legal fees that the Township could incur:

After all of the whining by Republicans about unfunded mandates being imposed on the Township by Trenton, the Republican-controlled Township Committee voted to appoint not one, but two attorneys this year. Their actions do not follow their words, leading residents to assume they are not really concerned about reducing costs to keep our taxes low.

Former Township Attorney, Bernard Reilly, will retain his position on the payroll to perform litigation duties for the town at a rate not to exceed $310K. Mr. Reilly has been the Township’s single attorney for the past 20 years. This year, however, the Township felt it necessary to retain Mr. Reilly’s services and hire Brian Nelson, 31, as Township Attorney. Mr. Nelson has only six years of total law experience and no municipal law experience. The Committee rationalized Nelson’s appointment because he works for a law firm that has some experience in this area. It is too bad that Middletown did not hire the law firm instead of its very junior member.

Middletown is not a training ground for future lawyers. This is the largest township in Monmouth County and deserves the kind of representation that does not require colleague oversight. We need someone that knows the game and can come out swinging. Little League players may be future big leaguers, but Middletown is already in the big league and needs seasoned players.

Mr. Reilly and Mr. Nelson have different experience levels and should not command the same salaries. Retaining two lawyers has the potential to bring legal fees to over $600k per year, doubling what taxpayers paid last year for the same service.

Don Watson
New Monmouth, NJ

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Filed under Bernard Reilly, Brian Nelson, Don Watson, lawyers, Legal bills, Middletown, Monmouth County

With A Down Turn In the Ecomomy, Middletown Hires Second Lawyer And Doubles Legal Fees


The following is a letter from Middletown resident Don Watson.

Mr Watson is addressing his concern over Middletown’s hiring of a second Municipal Attorney which would essentially double the cost of legal fees that the Township could incur:

After all of the whining by Republicans about unfunded mandates being imposed on the Township by Trenton, the Republican-controlled Township Committee voted to appoint not one, but two attorneys this year. Their actions do not follow their words, leading residents to assume they are not really concerned about reducing costs to keep our taxes low.

Former Township Attorney, Bernard Reilly, will retain his position on the payroll to perform litigation duties for the town at a rate not to exceed $310K. Mr. Reilly has been the Township’s single attorney for the past 20 years. This year, however, the Township felt it necessary to retain Mr. Reilly’s services and hire Brian Nelson, 31, as Township Attorney. Mr. Nelson has only six years of total law experience and no municipal law experience. The Committee rationalized Nelson’s appointment because he works for a law firm that has some experience in this area. It is too bad that Middletown did not hire the law firm instead of its very junior member.

Middletown is not a training ground for future lawyers. This is the largest township in Monmouth County and deserves the kind of representation that does not require colleague oversight. We need someone that knows the game and can come out swinging. Little League players may be future big leaguers, but Middletown is already in the big league and needs seasoned players.

Mr. Reilly and Mr. Nelson have different experience levels and should not command the same salaries. Retaining two lawyers has the potential to bring legal fees to over $600k per year, doubling what taxpayers paid last year for the same service.

Don Watson
New Monmouth, NJ

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Filed under Bernard Reilly, Brian Nelson, Don Watson, lawyers, Legal bills, Middletown, Monmouth County

>If We Are Talking About Records…

>In a recent letter, Republican candidate for Middletown Township Committee Tony Fiore said that we should look at a candidate’s record to judge his or her qualifications for office. I couldn’t agree more, so let’s look at the record of this year’s Republican candidates.

Although Mr. Fiore is running for the Committee and is currently a member of the Middletown’s Planning Board, he rarely shows up for Committee meetings and has failed to distinguish himself as a leader or innovator on the Planning Board.


Mr. Fiore’s biggest campaign issue is school taxes, yet Middletown’s excellent school system is the reason Money Magazine listed our town in their Top 100 Places to Live. If Mr. Fiore was more in touch with Middletown residents, he would recognize that Middletown should not decrease revenue for its schools; it should decrease spending on frivolous expenses, such as the multi-million dollar renovation of the Middletown Cultural Art’s Center that Republicans have championed in the past.

Moreover, while Mr. Fiore is attacking taxes that benefit our schools, his running mate, Pamela Brightbill, is responsible for keeping our municipal taxes high. As a current member of the Committee, Ms. Brightbill voted to approve tax increases of 5.7 percent in 2006, 3.1 percent in 2007, and 7.1 percent in 2008; a total of 15.9 percent over the past 3 years! Middletown cannot afford to elect these individuals to our Committee.

Yet, what is most disconcerting is that Ms. Brightbill promised in her last campaign to keep taxes low if elected. She also promised to preserve open space, yet she approved transforming the Conifer tract of land into a huge development, even though it was purchased with open space funds. Ms. Brightbill’s silence on the soil contamination issue at the Cultural Arts Center and Town Hall has also misled the public. The cleanup could cost taxpayers millions, yet she kept the contamination a secret instead of taking the lead to get rid of this public health concern.

How can voters trust the Republicans to follow through on what they promise? Ms. Brightbill’s actions have already proven that Middletown cannot trust her to follow through. Mr. Fiore has already lied to voters about his resume, what else will be next?


I believe Middletown residents are looking for candidates who are honest and ready to act in residents’ best interest. I know that Pat Walsh and Jim Grenafege have the honesty, integrity, and leadership to transform our Township Committee into the responsive and dedicated body we need in these tough times we all face.

Don Watson
New Monmouth

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Filed under Don Watson, Jim Grenafege, Middletown Democrats, Middletown GOP, Pamela Brightbill, Patricia Walsh, Tony"the fibber"Fiore

If We Are Talking About Records…

In a recent letter, Republican candidate for Middletown Township Committee Tony Fiore said that we should look at a candidate’s record to judge his or her qualifications for office. I couldn’t agree more, so let’s look at the record of this year’s Republican candidates.

Although Mr. Fiore is running for the Committee and is currently a member of the Middletown’s Planning Board, he rarely shows up for Committee meetings and has failed to distinguish himself as a leader or innovator on the Planning Board.


Mr. Fiore’s biggest campaign issue is school taxes, yet Middletown’s excellent school system is the reason Money Magazine listed our town in their Top 100 Places to Live. If Mr. Fiore was more in touch with Middletown residents, he would recognize that Middletown should not decrease revenue for its schools; it should decrease spending on frivolous expenses, such as the multi-million dollar renovation of the Middletown Cultural Art’s Center that Republicans have championed in the past.

Moreover, while Mr. Fiore is attacking taxes that benefit our schools, his running mate, Pamela Brightbill, is responsible for keeping our municipal taxes high. As a current member of the Committee, Ms. Brightbill voted to approve tax increases of 5.7 percent in 2006, 3.1 percent in 2007, and 7.1 percent in 2008; a total of 15.9 percent over the past 3 years! Middletown cannot afford to elect these individuals to our Committee.

Yet, what is most disconcerting is that Ms. Brightbill promised in her last campaign to keep taxes low if elected. She also promised to preserve open space, yet she approved transforming the Conifer tract of land into a huge development, even though it was purchased with open space funds. Ms. Brightbill’s silence on the soil contamination issue at the Cultural Arts Center and Town Hall has also misled the public. The cleanup could cost taxpayers millions, yet she kept the contamination a secret instead of taking the lead to get rid of this public health concern.

How can voters trust the Republicans to follow through on what they promise? Ms. Brightbill’s actions have already proven that Middletown cannot trust her to follow through. Mr. Fiore has already lied to voters about his resume, what else will be next?


I believe Middletown residents are looking for candidates who are honest and ready to act in residents’ best interest. I know that Pat Walsh and Jim Grenafege have the honesty, integrity, and leadership to transform our Township Committee into the responsive and dedicated body we need in these tough times we all face.

Don Watson
New Monmouth

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Filed under Don Watson, Jim Grenafege, Middletown Democrats, Middletown GOP, Pamela Brightbill, Patricia Walsh, Tony"the fibber"Fiore