As they use to say in Brooklyn all those years ago when speaking of the Dodgers and what seemed to be the annual event of losing to the Yankees in the World Series – “Wait ’til next year!”. Democrats in Middletown are no different.
Jim Grenafege and Carol Fowler lost their race for Middletown Township Committee against Tony Fiore and Stephanie Murray, falling approximately 1600 votes shy, which was by no means a landslide.
Like the Brooklyn Dodgers of old, the Middletown Dems will live on to play the game another day, getting closer and closer to that elusive World Series victory that they and their many fans and supporter so covet. The losing only makes them that much more determined to play harder next year.
Republicans can bask in their victory this year but remember, Democrats are not going away anytime soon, be ready for an even tougher fight next year.
|REP – Anthony P. Fiore
|REP – Stephanie C. Murray
|DEM – James Grenafege
|DEM – Carol R. Fowler
|– Richard Morrill
When you head out to the polls today in Middletown the only thing you should be worried about is shown below. If you want more of the same then vote for Fiore and Murray. If you want people that will be sitting on the Township Committee that will be thinking of you first before themselves you need to vote for Grenafege and Fowler.
In the past 31 years of Republican control in Middletown, NOT ONE Democrat ever voted for a tax increase, not one! Every municipal tax increase has been a Republican tax increase, 22.2% during the past 3 years, over 42% during the past 8 years.
The following letter also appears online today over at the Atlantic Highlands Herald. This letter, written by Middletown Democratic candidate for Township Committee, Jim Grenafege, is an expanded version of the letter that I posted earlier today and appears online over at the Asbury Park Press.
This version of Mr. Grenafege’s letter is much more hard hitting than what appears on the APP. Compare the two and let me know what you think, this newer version is much more hard hitting and has more specifics.
In his October 18, Atlantic Highlands Herald letter, “Real Solutions to Real Problems Needed to Put Middletown on Right Track”, Mayor Fiore admitted that Middletown government is derailed. I could not agree more.
True to form, he falsely blames years of excessive spending; unnecessary bonding; escalating taxation and debt, all cradled in Republican mismanagement, on the Middletown Democrats who somehow magically made elected Republicans spend our tax dollars. This is just more empty rhetoric to go with decades of empty promises, failure to openly communicate and thwarted taxpayer dreams: no flood control along the Bay Shore; no turf fields; a lake yet to be dredged; a $400 thousand master recreation plan gathering dust; high density housing zoned in Lincroft and planned development of open space at Bamm Hollow.
After Mr. Fiore strong-armed $500 thousand from library funds; took $350 thousand, for the second year in a row, from sewerage authority fees; used $1.3 million in public education funds; his so-called fiscal discipline required a 12% tax increase to cover $45 million of a $62 million budget. This lack of incumbent Republican fiscal discipline has Middletown looking at a projected $2 million shortfall for the 2012 Middletown budget.
Ask Mayor Fiore if he has a real solution. Past Republican practice points at raising taxes. During his term, he has contributed 22% to a 40% increase in taxes over the last five years. Past practice also points at adding to our $70 million in debt, which has increased 66% over the same five years.
Finally, at least $2.4 million of $4 million in “cuts” claimed by Mayor Fiore was onetime nonrecurring expenses that were never part of the 2011 budget.
In closing, Mr. Fiore notes that Middletown has been repeatedly named one of the Top 100 Places to Live by Money Magazine; but, Fiore fails to note that Middletown’s standing in the Magazine’s quality-of-life survey has eroded by 39% during the last four years.
Put a stop to over 30 years of poor fiscal policy and borrowing, empty promises and unfulfilled expectations. Please help our community get back on track: vote Grenafege and Fowler on November 8.
Middletown Township Committee
The Following letter to the editor appears online today over at the Atlantic Highlands Herald:
Have you heard that the Middletown’s mayor and his running mate want to hold the line on taxes? Hold it where, exactly? Somewhere in the stratosphere?
I think the joke’s on us. Municipal taxes have gone up over 22% just during Mister Fiore’s 3-year term in office. Mr. Fiore voted for tax increases every year. Based on his record, I think we can expect more of the same.
Republican candidates keep talking about making Middletown an affordable place to live, and then keep doing the opposite once they’re elected. You’d think they’d be too red in the face to keep talking about it.
Mr. Fiore doesn’t seem to feel responsible for our high taxes since he is always talking about forces beyond his control. Well, that doesn’t inspire my confidence in his ability, and I won’t be voting for him.
I think it’s time we had representatives who stopped making excuses and brought sound judgment to the job. Jim Grenafege has been a voice of reason for many years now. He is both informed and vocal about issues that are important to residents. Jim strongly supports televising town meetings so that we can all see what our local government is doing. He also feels the Township desperately needs the oversight of a Finance Committee, which almost every other town has. After seeing taxes double in such a short time, I have to agree with him.
Please join me in supporting Jim Grenafege for Middletown Township Committee this Election Day.
William G. Butler
The following letter appears in yesterdays’ Asbury Park Press:
As we approach Tuesday, Nov. 8, I am reminded daily of the serious issues facing Middletown.
Last year, Sean Byrnes and I ran on those very same issues. Unfortunately, the voters chose to vote for more of the same, primarily due to the national political climate.
Although unsuccessful, we did manage to get more than 2,000 voters to cross party lines and vote for us. They recognized that party affiliation should not be a factor when it comes to local politics. It’s all about who will manage our taxes more wisely and prudently. It’s all about our leaders representing the people they were elected to serve, not a political party.
Anyone opposing the Republican candidates faces an uphill battle. We have a political machine firmly entrenched in Middletown for more than 30 years, which has controlled everything.
There is no way the Republicans can blame another party for the problems we are facing. Yet due to their continued mismanagement, our debt has ballooned to more than $72 million. One-party government has failed in Middletown; it’s time we hold those in charge accountable.
Voters have another opportunity this November to choose candidates who represent honesty and integrity, candidates who will respect the needs of all the residents of Middletown and not the elite few.
Those candidates are Jim Grenafege and Carol Fowler.
The following letter was posted online at the Atlantic Highlands Herald
Mayor Fiore is good at one thing and one thing only—raising Middletown’s taxes. Since being in office he has raised our taxes 22.3%.
Municipal mismanagement is rampant in Middletown. Yet the Mayor has been effective in keeping all this from the residents. When asked repeatedly to have the Township Committee meetings televised, he refuses, saying he doesn’t want to spend money. Yet, his record of spending money is off the charts. Perhaps he wants to hide the truth about the state of operations in Middletown.
We need better leadership and management in Middletown. Let’s stop the escalating taxes and mismanagement. Middletown residents, please get out to vote and elect Jim Grenafege and Carol Fowler to the Middletown Township Committee. They are fiscal conservatives. They have proven methods to reduce waste and inefficiencies. They know how to set demanding goals to ensure that the township is managed both effectively and efficiently.
Pt. Monmouth, NJ
Last weeks edition of the Independent had the first of it’s political profiles of candidates running in local area elections, starting of with Middletown.
There’s nothing new or informative listed within the profile’s of Tony Fiore or Stephanie Murray.
Fiore talks about how he cut $4 million from the Township budget and how he negotiated a 25% heath and benefits contribution from the Township’s police union, but fails to mention that the tax rate didn’t go down; it went up by 3%.
Stephanie Murray doesn’t seem to have an original idea in her head and just parrots much of what Fiore and her republican handlers have told her about taxes, affordable housing (COAH) and open space.
If you want to read about them you can go to the article at the Independents website but below are the Independent’s questions to the candidate’s and the responses from just the Middletown Democratic Candidates Jim Grenafage and Carol Fowler
I only list their responses because they are the candidates that are speaking about changing the status quo and stating that Middletown can do better for it’s residents :
Q. What do you believe is the main issue facing Middletown? What specific steps can and will you take to tackle this issue?
GRENAFEGE: The main issue facing Middletown is the lack of elected and appointed two-party representation. The lack of twoparty representation allows the majority to avoid accountability and in-depth substantial discussion of a basket of issues that Middletown faces. This allows a lot of items to be discussed in public more than they are now. I’m an advocate for small, open representative government focused on local tax relief. I position myself as a champion for fiscal responsibility, government accountability and open access to public information.
FOWLER: The main issue facing Middletown is tax increases. I would eliminate wasteful spending. Let’s get rid of what we can’t afford in this town. The Middletown Arts Center and the swim club are just a couple of examples. Our township cannot sustain such frivolous spending when we have seniors who can barely afford to purchase food and homeowners who lose everything when a tropical storm sweeps through, with no solution in place for their longtime flooding predicament. I truly believe in spending within our means.
Q. Why are you qualified to serve on the Middletown Township Committee, or what have you done during your committee term that qualifies you to serve again?
GRENAFEGE: I’m a critical thinker and I really do take an outside the-box approach when exploring an issue or a problem. I really try to look at it differently. Most importantly, I really care about the quality of life for all the residents in Middletown. I have regularly attended township meetings since 2005 because I do care, I do show up and I do speak out. I see that as a qualifier. I’ve been at this for years now as a citizen. I’m engaged in the process.
FOWLER: We’re at a critical point now where people no longer see Middletown as livable. Homeowners are really in a crisis, and I really want to help these people. My children went all through Middletown public schools and cannot afford to buy a house in Middletown. It’s my vision to restore this town to what it was — a reliable and affordable place to live and for tomorrow’s generation to enjoy quality education and to be free of excessive debt burden.
Q. Are there any other issues facing Middletown that you specifically want to address?
GRENAFEGE: I think it’s critical to create a bipartisan finance committee. I would look at revitalizing the recreation program. We made a $400,000 investment in a master plan a few years ago that is collecting dust. I would advocate for a strategic planning committee, a vision and a mission from a longview perspective. I would advocate televising Township Committee meetings. We also need to start looking at how we can create a revenue stream, which means having a lot of conversations with the business community.
FOWLER: I would explore more shared services opportunities between the township and the Board of Education, like consolidating all maintenance of public property in the town under one body. Money could be saved by eliminating health benefits for appointees to our sewerage authority. Law firms that make money on public work but also direct work that is very valuable to other professionals can be put on notice that Middletown deserves to not be fleeced by hourly fee attorneys and engineers
Middletown, NJ – A “Meet the Candidates” forum has been scheduled to introduce the local Democratic candidates at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, Oct.13 at the Main Branch of the Middletown Public Library located at 55 New Monmouth Rd., Middletown.
The open public session will give residents the opportunity to meet the candidates for Middletown Township Committee, Jim Grenafege and Carol Fowler, to discuss issues affecting Middletown and to exchange ideas for making Middletown’s government more responsive and the town a better place to live.
Jim Grenafege is an advocate for small, transparent, representative government focused on local tax relief and community quality-of-life. He actively champions for fiscal responsibility, government accountability and timely open access to public information. Jim often challenges status quo policies and practices of local government and offers alternatives to better serve the citizens of Middletown Township.
Carol Fowler and her family are lifelong residents of Lincroft. She has been a member of the Lincroft First Aid and Rescue Squad for the past 28 years and she currently serves as the Director of the Center for US War Veteran Oral Histories at the National Guard Militia Museum, where she also works as Assistant Curator. She feels that taxpayers have been exploited long enough by those currently sitting on the Township Committee who seem to serve their Party Chairman and other cronies more so than the residents of Middletown.
To the Editor,
Late one weekend night I was flipping t.v. channels to view my new expanded line-up, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a lively meeting of the Howell township committee. Enthralled, I watched for over 45 minutes. Howell’s public service channel carries videotaped committee, planning and zoning meetings, repeated often and available for download.
My own township officials in Middletown adamantly refuse to offer videotaped meetings, which would be helpful for all, especially older people, workers, and people with disabilities. Are the officials fearful that they could not compete with :”Dancing with the Stars”? Committeeman Scharfenberger said that it would cost $100,000 to tape meetings, a gross exaggeration, then asserted that even at no cost he would not approve.
Candidates Jim Grenafege and Carol Fowler support open government, including videotaped meetings. It’s time for a change in township committee members.