Category Archives: Independent Candidate

Morrill Charges Republican Candidate Murray With Unethical Campaign Lapse That Violates HUD Code Of Ethics

Richard Morrill, the Independent Candidate for Middletown Township Committee, is claiming his Republican opponent Stephanie Murray and her campaign, is ethically challenged.

Morrill and Murray are both Middletown Township Housing Authority Commissioners. While attending to his duties as a commissioner for the Housing Authority, Mr. Morrill came across Fiore & Murray campaign material being delivered to residents of both Daniel and Tomaso Towers. Both senior living towers fall under the jurisdiction U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and therefore are overseen by the Middletown Housing Authority.

According to Morrill, HUD has very strict guidelines concerning housing authority commissioners who are involved in campaigning for elected office. It is a violation of HUD’s code of ethics for any sitting housing authority commissioner to engage in any type of electioneering in HUD buildings that fall within a commissioner’s jurisdiction.

Here was how Morrill explained it in an email to me:

“Part of the job of a Housing Commissioner in Middletown is to sign checks. I am often called to sign checks during the daytime hours. Yesterday was one of those days. While signing checks at the Alice V Tomaso Plaza yesterday, I noticed political literature being delivered concerning Fiore and Murray. Ms Murray is a sitting commissioner on the Housing Board as she points out in the campaign literature, who managed to bring fiscal stability to the Authority by herself. It is unethical to campaign according to HUD at the Authority that you are a sitting commissioner.”

According to Richard Morrill this lapse of ethics could have easily been avoided by simply not sending these campaign pieces to residents of Daniel or Tomaso Towers in the first place. However he stated, “...but once again ms Murray thinks that it (the rule) does not apply to her.

He also accused Stephanie Murray of leaking confidential information from an Executive Session meeting of the Middletown Housing Authority to a close personal friend of hers, who then confronted Morrill with the information at the October 25th, Oak Hill Association’s Meet the Candidates Night.

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Filed under Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD), Independent Candidate, Middletown Housing Authority, Middletown Township Committee, Republican Candidate, Richard Morrill, Stephanie Murray

An Open Letter to Middletown Residents About Independent Candidate Richard Morrill

The following letter was forwarded to me by Independent Candidate For Middletown Township Committee Richard Morrill, who asked if I would post it. The letter was written by a Mr. Dwight Kehoe who expresses his support for Richard Morrill’s candidacy:

A Friend of Middletown
November 7, 2011
By Dwight Kehoe

This Tuesday Middletown will once again go to the polls and either elect or re-elect politicians. Some good and some…. not so much.

As everyone that has paid attention to Middletown township politics over the last 3 decades knows, one party has pretty much had control. The results have not been stellar. Taxes have gone up, waste continues as programs and services overlap while the burden being placed on the hard working people of Middletown perpetually escalates.

It is not my opinion that the Democrats would have done any better.

In fact, if history is any clear barometer of the future, things would most likely be even worse. The point here is that when those in leadership, from any political party, do not feel enough pressure to do the tough work required to protect their constituents, as a result of consistent and continued dominance, good things rarely happen.

This past year a historic occurrence took place in NJ.

I’m not talking about the the elections of 2010. The event of which I write took place in a small town in north west Jersey called Vernon. One party, dwelling in decades of political dominance, continued to disregard the will of the people. Even those that helped elect them were ignored. What did the good people do? They fired the entire lot from the Mayor on down through the council.

This coming Tuesday, Middletown residents do not need to fire everyone but they will have a chance to break up the party domination and put an honest, reliable and dedicated public service individual on the township committee.

Independent, Mr. Richard Morrill

Richard will do the right things for Middletown. With no affiliation to any one except the people, Richard won’t be a part of the problems, he’ll work to solve them. Middletown needs a smart and strong willed representative on their side. Rich will be that person if you elect him this Tuesday.

I have known Richard for close to 20 years and I am proud to call him a friend. For years we have have played golf together and have become as close as two non relatives could be. I tell you this because during those years, when Rich was not running for any office, he always talked about the problems facing Middletown. He truly cared about the waste and redundancies he saw in the township.

Richard has not changed. He continues to care about the people of Middletown but now he has decided to try and make a difference. He needs your help on Tuesday so he can begin that excursion.

Please understand that even though I am a Tea Party activist, I represent no Tea Party in this endorsement of Rich. He is my friend and I truly believe in his dedication and desire to make things right in Middletown.

Also, many of you that know me, know I am steadfastly opposed to supporting 3rd party candidates for statewide and National elections. This is different. This election for the council needs an infusion of independent thought and energy. Richard Morrill will not let the people of Middletown down. I can promise you that.

This election Tuesday is very important and TPATH urges every voter to vote the Republican Line in every Senate and Assembly race. Governor Christie needs a Republican Assembly and Senate to continue his work to bring New Jersey back to its rightful place as one of the greatest states in this wonderful country.

Dwight Kehoe

Just because I posted this letter doesn’t mean that I agree with the opinion of the writer but any vote for Richard Morrill is a vote against Fiore and Murray and I can live with that.

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Filed under Independent Candidate, letter to the editor, Middletown Township Committee, Richard Morrill

The Independent’s Election 2011 Middletown Profile : Independent runs for Mid’twn Township Committee seat

For those that are unaware there is a Middletown Republican turned Independent who is running for a seat on the Middletown Township Committee this year, his name is Richard Morrill.

After last night’s Meet the Candidates forum sponsored by the Oak Hill Association, which turned raucous at times over some of Morrill’s responses, it was a clear case of room-packing and planting adversaries against a former Middletown GOP insider.

Below is his Q&A that appears in this week’s Election 2011 Candidate profile published in this weeks edition of the Independent.

Q. What do you believe is the main issue facing Middletown? If elected to the Township Committee what specific steps would you take to tackle this issue?

MORRILL: Taxes. I would like to look to re-engineer how the township operates by analyzing all departments one at a time. I would bring a fresh pair of eyes and ears with experience in re-engineering departments.

Q. What are your qualifications to serve on the Middletown Township Committee?

MORRILL: I feel I am qualified to serve on the Middletown Township Committee due to my success in re-engineering numerous departments at Barclays Bank, saving in excess of $10 million per year. I also managed multiple construction projects in multiple buildings and multiple states, including one valued at $27 million. All came in on time and under budget. I managed an average of 150 people at a time.

Q. Are there any issues facing Middletown that you specifically want to address?

MORRILL: The other issues that I want to specifically address are the spending in Middletown, the supervision of employees, the pricing for professional services and the appointments of individuals to committees and boards in Middletown so that all residents are represented. I would like to encourage new businesses to come to Middletown by assisting and courting them to create jobs in the township.

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Filed under candidate Q and A, Independent Candidate, Middletown GOP, Richard Morrill, the Independent

Letter: Sean Dunne Independent Candidate, Adresses the 13th Legislative District

Dear all,

I read with interest the article in the Asbury Park Press that provided an endorsement of Amy Handlin and Samuel Thompson in the 13th District.

I was struck by the dishonesty of the article, and the generally poor standard of journalism that is found throughout the article. This was not driven by the fact that I was not the one endorsed, as I entered the meeting knowing an endorsement for an Independent candidate would be very unlikely. I was also well aware that my answers to your survey made it even more unlikely that I would receive the endorsement. My criticism is instead based upon the deception that is found throughout the article.

It’s unfortunate that people in this area are not given an accurate portrayal of the discussion that took place between the Asbury Park Press and political candidates. It is very useful to have a media outlet that is willing and able to analyze the platforms of various political candidates and provide various opinions from this analysis. However, the article published by the Asbury Park Press demonstrates how media outlets misquote candidates and exclude important information to deceive readers. Deception should not be a goal of our media.

Of course, your paper has every right to come to the conclusion that the three challengers “offered little to suggest they are worthy of supplanting the incumbents”. That is your subjective opinion, and the editorial is the place for this to be expressed. The same is true in relation to your opinion that I seem “ill-equipped to address the problems in Trenton, particularly spending”. Again, this is your opinion, and this is what readers are expecting to read when they turn to your editorials.

However, your selective reporting does not provide readers with an accurate portrayal of the meeting. Each of these issues by themselves might not be very significant, but let’s see how it looks when they are all put together:

Samuel Thompson is defined as a “retired chemist”, and there’s no mention of his recent position as the communications director for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. In a paper that is critical of many state jobs, I found this interesting. Perhaps it is worth mentioning how he was appointed to that job? Amy Handlin is a “marketing professor”, when in fact, she is an associate professor of marketing. Perhaps those outside of academics do not understand the difference between the two, but I don’t believe this is an acceptable excuse for a newspaper that strives to be a credible source of information.

All points relating to the two incumbents are positive. In both articles about the 13th District, you buried our conversation about liquefied natural gas terminals. The three challengers were the most closely aligned with an editorial in your paper on this issue. Remember this:

I rang your reporter after the first article about his very sloppy misquote of me, in which he wrongly stated I wanted to reduce the number of police departments. When I asked why the discussion of the LNG terminals was buried, he told me it was for two reasons. Firstly, there was only limited space (somewhat understandable), and secondly, he thought my quote about foxes and sheep was funny. Is this really the standard measure for content in your articles? Last week, all five Monmouth County Freeholders voted to officially oppose the LNG terminals, four towns in this district officially oppose these terminals, and your own editorial team oppose these terminals, yet the APP must ensure that their readers get a punchline to a story? I would like to think that they would rather know how the candidates stand on such an important issue to this area.

In reference to the survey you asked candidates to answer, you only mention my responses (I did not agree with you as much as the other candidates), and Amy’s responses (she agreed most). Excluded are the responses of the other three candidates. This is interesting, as one of the challengers agreed with more suggestions in your survey than Sam did.

You state that Jim would raise the gasoline tax to help fund transportation improvements. You exclude the fact that Sam said the same thing. The context of your statement suggests that Jim was the only person to suggest this policy.

This leaves us with the concluding point about myself. This part seemed rather childish to me, along with the overall dishonesty of it. I explained at length in my introduction to your committee several parts of my background. My academic qualifications are dismissed, which is much different to your approach to Amy’s qualifications. I very clearly stated that I had recently finished my PhD at Trinity College Dublin, and that I also held a Master’s Degree from University College Dublin. I also explained that I lectured at several universities in Dublin. I let you know that I was on a self-financed sabbatical as I was completing a book. I then informed you that I was also involved in agriculture while in Ireland, and explained a little bit about my experience working on a family farm in Ireland. This experience included my work with European Agricultural Policies. At this point, I provided a statement about this experience, which you
actually misquoted. Within a very short span of time, I moved from a sheep herder in your first article on me, to a sheep farmer. Of course, you misquoted the joke, as the joke I would tell my neighbors who lived near our farm in Ireland included the “Bronx-born” aspect of my background, and of course, it was “in Ireland”, not “from Ireland”. Why would someone who grew up in Holmdel, New Jersey, and graduated Holmdel High School state that he is from Ireland? But why bother with those points, if it gets in the way of your editorial objectives?

To say that I refer to myself as “a vegetarian sheep farmer from Ireland” (after I explained at length where I grew up and went to high school in New Jersey), is childish at best, and deceptive at worst. I take a lot of pride in my involvement with a family farm, but the claim in your article falls into the pattern found in other media outlets, which is that an Independent candidate (from any political perspective) must viewed with the most extreme forms of suspicion.

Considering your pattern of reporting over the two articles, it appears to me that no paper could be this sloppy in misquotations and selective reporting. It is unfortunate that the readers of your paper expect honest reporting, and instead read childish quips about vegetarian sheep farming and selective reporting that produces a dishonest description of our meeting.

I was the only candidate not in a political party in that room, and it was shocking to see firsthand the trouble you went through to endorse the candidates of your choice. You have every right to endorse Sam and Amy, but why do you rely upon excessive fabrications when making this endorsement? It seems to suggest that you don’t have much to base the endorsement on.

With less than one week left, the other candidates and I will no doubt continue to critique each other’s positions, and this is a healthy part of political campaigns. Our criticisms, like those of the media, should be both honest and relevant. It’s a pity you do not follow this principle.

It is good, for example, that candidates present their arguments about the LNG terminals so that voters can hear differing views and then decide which candidate is best for them.

With Election Day around the corner, you provided Sam with space to critique Daggett’s tax plan, and I would like to request the same amount of space to critique Sam’s policy of paying all that taxpayer money to Lucille Panos. Panos, of course, is a Councilwoman from Old Bridge, which pays $6,000 and benefits, and according to your Data Universe, Sam’s office pays her an additional $29,500 for Special Services. You ignore this incredible fact, and instead state in the article that Sam “has an outstanding record on constituent service”. Surely taxpayers would like to know the part that their money plays in Panos providing that service?

Sam also stated in the meeting that he has no problem taking nearly $50,000 for a part-time job. One of his excuses was that he did this full-time. Imagine a guy in any other part-time job who demanded full-time pay, because he treated the job like a full-time job. He’d be fired before the day was over.
Fiscal conservatism, indeed.

Amy Handlin was a Freeholder when a string of corruption arrests took place in the area, and no one can point to any serious work she has done on corruption. Yet she earns the title of “one of the most ardent supporters of ethics reforms” from your editorial team. How could she do so little on corruption, when it costs NJ taxpayers so much money?

That “easy choice” for District 13 becomes less easy when we consider all of the above, and this is why the deception and dishonesty are necessary to make the article fit the headline.

Not only do I request the opportunity to publish a letter to the editor in your paper, I also request that you make an apology to Bob, Jim, Amy, Sam and I for your unprofessional conduct. It should also go without saying that you owe an apology to your readers.

Will a paper like the Asbury Park Press publish important information about the incumbents, or will you bury it like you did all of the other points when you wrote that article? I’ll be knocking on doors all day tomorrow, but can make time at night to write an article on a topic that all taxpayers should know about. I don’t know how it has escaped your paper’s attention till now (although your pedestrian editorial provides very obvious clues) but I guess late is better than never.

I look forward to hearing from you by return.

Yours sincerely,

Sean Dunne, Candidate
13th Legisaltive Distrcit

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Filed under 13th Assembly District, Independent Candidate, letter to the editor, Sean Dunne

Sean Dunne, Independent Candidate for NJ State Assembly District 13, Answers 10 Questions

Sean Dunne is the Independent Candidate for the NJ State Assembly District 13, and since he reached out to me a few weeks ago, I decided to send him a copy of the 10 questions that I had written and sent to other State Assembly candidates from Monmouth County.
I thought that it would be interesting to hear what he had to say and see if his answers would differ much from the other respondents once their questionnaire’s were returned.
The one response that I found interesting was his answer to question 4. Sam Thompson and Amy Handlin have received the endorsement from the environmental group, The Sierra Club eventhough Sam Thompson supports Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) terminals off the coast of Monmouth County and Amy Handlin had no position on it because she didn’t have a clue about it!
Sean Dunne opposes these terminals as does his Democratic oppennents Jim Grenafege and Bob Brown.

Since Sean was the second to respond, so he gets his answers published today:

1. What is your motivation for seeking a seat in the NJ State Assembly and can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was first interested in volunteering for someone else’s campaign, but I did not find any Independent candidates in the District. After giving it a lot of thought, I decided that I could dedicate enough time and recruit enough volunteers to launch my own campaign.

I grew up in the area. I graduated from Holmdel High School, and I went on to attend James Madison University in Virginia. After graduation, I moved to Ireland where I lived for approximately ten years. I was involved in postgraduate studies, college lecturing and Irish agriculture. I obtained a Master’s Degree in Sociology at University College Dublin, and a PhD in Sociology at Trinity College Dublin. I was also involved in the running of a family farm, which I was able to integrate into the European Union’s Rural Environmental Protection Scheme. I moved back to New Jersey last year.

2. As you meet residents throughout your district what seems to be the greatest concerns they are expressing and how do you plan to address them?

Property tax is a major concern. This needs to be addressed by implementing the necessary laws to reduce the very costly corruption problem in the state, and by cutting through the entrenched waste that taxpayers have to fund each year.

3. What do you hope to accomplish once you are elected to the State Assembly?

I want to put forward many of the “common sense” bills that many people want implemented. Both parties have refused to do this, and it’s time we get an Independent candidate in the Assembly to force the parties to take action or to admit they simply will not. If they take no action, then the voters will know who to vote out in the next elections.

4. What is it that makes your district unique and how does that uniqueness impact your campaign?

If District 13 does not help to protect the Jersey Shore, who will? We need to oppose the Liquefied Natural Gas Terminals proposed off the Jersey coastline. The Democratic candidates also oppose them, but Sam Thompson supports them, and Amy Handlin has stated that she “is still looking into them”.

5. If elected, how would your professional background enhance your ability to be an effective State Assembly representative?

I would draw upon my experience in Irish politics to suggest alternatives to certain practices that exist in government here. I also aim to incorporate insights from my own studies (environmental sociology) to policies that I would like to suggest here in New Jersey.

6. Do you have any thoughts on how to contain the growth of state government?

We need to break down the superfluous hierarchies found in areas that range from education to policing. This is critical. We need to abandon the placement of high-ranking officials in every area of government in every small town in New Jersey.

7. Is there any aspect of state government that you believe there is a need to be expanded upon?

The number one priority is cutting back various agencies of state government. This must be done first, as New Jersey simply cannot afford any more growth of state government. After this is done, we can examine areas that might need further aid.

8. Why should residents of your district trust you to represent them in the legislature ?

I am not involved in a political party that has had other members brought to prison for corrupt politics. Both Democrats and Republicans have. My campaign has received no donation of over $250 from anyone other than myself. I therefore answer only to my supporters, which lets me sleep well every night.

9. Why do you identify yourself as an Independent as opposed to a Republican or Democrat?

I’m an Independent because I feel that both parties haven’t done enough, and I feel the current electoral system is undemocratic. Both established parties benefit from their duopoly, and this needs to be attacked at its very base.

10. Is there anything that is important to you that I hasn’t been asked, that you would like to address?

-We need to cut salaries and benefits for this position. It is a part-time job that pays $48,000 a year with benefits. I’d slash the benefits and reduce the pay to $35,000 a year.
-We need mandatory minimum sentences for corrupt politicians and we need term limits.
-We need to review all of the undemocratic policies and structures that both Republicans and Democrats enforce that keep smaller parties and Independents out of office.

To learn more about Sean Dunne visit his website @

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Filed under 13th Assembly District, Amy Handlin, Bob Brown, Holmdel NJ, Independent Candidate, Jim Grenafege, Monmouth County, Sam Thompson, Sean Dunne

Independent Candidate for NJ State Assembly District 13, Sean Dunne

For the benefit of those who live in New Jersey’s 13th Legislative District and in the spirit of being “fair and balanced”, I thought that I should let people know that there is a 3rd party candidate seeking to upset Republicans Amy Handlin or Fred Thompson for their seat in the State Assembly.

Holmdel resident Sean Dunne is running as an Independent this year.

Sean sent me an email, reaching out, in hopes that I would give him and his campaign a mention. He said a few nice things about me and the MiddletownMike blog in his email (let’s just say he knows how to be politically correct).

I responded back to Mr. Dunne by letting him know upfront that I was a democrat and that I would be supporting his Democratic opponents Jim Grenafege and Bob Brown while I pointing out to him that his positions on the issues weren’t that different from Jim’s and Bob’s.
He responded with some nice words of understanding and goods words for both Jim and Bob and added:
You and I do have something in common. We both want Handlin out. I personally think Thompson has been there far too long, and I just think that Handlin has done nothing, besides raise fines for underage drinking at the arts center. Here’s my point: If Handlin rushed out legislation to punish underage drinking after the unfortunate event at the Arts Center, why has she not done anything meaningful to punish corruption when it happened right under her nose? I have noticed that Democrats do focus on Handlin, and I can understand why….”
So with that, I decided I would thank him for his good words and tell you a little about him and his campaign.
His “bio”, which can be read at his website states;

“…Sean grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey. He attended Monmouth County schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. After graduating from James Madison University, Sean moved to Ireland where he lived for nearly ten years. He completed postgraduate work that led to the completion of his Doctorate in Sociology in July, 2008….”

On the issues, Sean would like to see mandatory minimum sentences for corrupt politicians and term limits. He would like to end the careers of political entrepreneurs – those who see public office as a financial opportunity and he feels that members of the State Assembly are over paid for the part-time work that they do. He feels that at $45,000 a year, Assembly members are over paid. Their salaries should be immediately cut to $35,000 which would save the State $800,000 annually.
Sean Dunne also sent along this letter to the editor that he wished for me to post:

As an Independent Candidate for State Assembly in District 13, I have
had the opportunity to speak with many people who live in our area.
Many are disenchanted and disillusioned by the rotten corruption that
sits at the heart of New Jersey politics. No amount of advertising
from Republicans or Democrats is capable of convincing voters that
either party has taken the necessary steps to prevent the corrupt
practices that several members of both parties have engaged in
throughout the years.

Albert Einstein told us that “The world is a dangerous place, not
because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do
nothing”. I’ve asked the people at their doorsteps if Assemblyman
Thompson or Assemblywoman Handlin of this District have done anything
to end the culture of corruption in New Jersey. Their answer has
consistently been, “no”. Voters can do something about the corruption
that raises the already high cost of living in our state. They can
vote for an Independent that will fight the rancid corruption that has
been found within both political parties. I ask all readers who also
believe that Republicans and Democrats “look on and do nothing” about
the issue of corruption to join our fight and vote Sean Dunne for
State Assembly on November 3rd.

Dr. Sean Dunne

I would like to wish my new friend Sean Dunne good luck in his quest for the State Assembly. His positions on issues are not that much different from my own thinking and those of his Democratic opponents. In the future it would be nice if Sean Dunne, Jim Grenafege and Bob Brown could work together to help solve issues that effect the 13th district and New Jersey as a whole.

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Filed under 13th Assembly District, Amy Handlin, Bob Brown, Democratic Candidate, Fred Thompson, Holmdel NJ, Independent Candidate, Jim Grenafege, Monmouth County, Republicans, Sean Dunne