Category Archives: Jim Grenafege

The Independent’s Election 2011 Middletown Profile : Grenafege and Fowler’s Repsonses

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

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Filed under candidate Q and A, Carol Fowler, Democratic Candidate, Jim Grenafege, Middletown Township Committee, the Independent


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.

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Filed under Candidate Forum, Carol Fowler, Jim Grenafege, Meet and Greet, Middletown Library, press release

Letter – Grenafege & Fowler Support Open Government and the Broadcasting Public Meetings

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.


Carolyn Schwebel
Leonardo, NJ

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Filed under Carol Fowler, Carolyn Schwebel, Democratic Candidate, Jim Grenafege, letter to the editor, Middletown NJ, Public meeting, Video taping or recordings

Someone Please Dial Whine-1-1; Middletown Republicans Are In Need Of A Waaambulance!!

Every year since 2006, Middletown Democrats have been gathering at local intersections around Middletown showing their support for their candidates during campaign season and every year there has been a cry baby letter to the editor issued by the some connected Republican boot licker stating how these Democrats are running out in traffic, causing disturbances and posing a hazard to drivers.

This year is nothing new, Middletown Democrats were out again this past weekend showing their support for their Candidates Jim Grenafege and Carol Fowler and within hours a recycled letter to the editor made it’s way onto the pages of the Atlantic Highlands Herald condeming the democrats and misleading readers.

This letter written by Republican Monmouth County Committeeman Peter Van Nortwick, who also happens to be the appointed Vice-President of the Poricy Park Conservancy and holds various other appointed positions throughout the county, should be arrested for false allegations and charged with plagiarism for putting his name on a letter that has now been rewritten 6 or 7 times over the past 5 years by various other Middletown Republicans !

After all, Middletown Democrats are just exercising their first amendment rights to free speech and to peaceably assemble. Why do Peter Van Nortwick and other Middletown Republicans what to violate their constituional rights by stopping them from doing so; do they hate the constitution ?

Note to Middletown Republicans: Stop your whining over nonsense and address real quality of life issues that effect Middletown like cronyism, taxes, high density housing, taxes, pet projects, nepotism, taxes, roads, brush and leaf pick-ups, the state of education,taxes……

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Filed under Atlantic Highlands Herald, Carol Fowler, Democratic Candidate, Jim Grenafege, letter to the editor, Middletown Republicans, Waaambulance

Fundraiser to support Freeholder Amy Mallet

Please join us for a cocktail reception to support Freeholder Amy Mallet.
Amy has proven her tireless dedication in serving all the residents of Monmouth County.
With your help we can ensure her re-election.
Also meet her running mates:
Bill Shea for Freeholder and Michael Steinhorn for Surrogate.
Hosted by
Mary Mahoney & Linda Baum.
Special guests:
Patrick Short & Kevin Lavin, Candidates for Assembly District 13.
Jim Grenafege and Carol Fowler, Candidates for Middletown Township Committee.
Suggested donation:
$30 per person, $50 per couple
Friend: $50

Thursday, October 6 · 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Mahoney Residence
286 Everett Rd.
Lincroft, New Jersey

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Filed under Bill Shea, Carol Fowler, Freeholder Amy Mallet, fundraiser, Jim Grenafege, Kevin Lavan, Mary Mahoney, Michael Steinhorn, Monmouth County, Patrick Short

>And Here’s Another Clip From Monday Night’s Township Committee Meeting: Grenafege to Scharfenberger; It’s about Honesty, Integrity and Character

>I have one more clip to post after this one from Monday night’s Middletown Township Committee meeting. If these meetings were televised over Middletown’s public access channels I wouldn’t have any need to post them here, but that is an ongoing issue that one day will be resolved (I hope).

In this clip, resident JIm Grenafege admonishes those on the committee, particularly Gerry Scharfenberger, about the importance of Honesty, Integrity and Character of those that are elected to serve.

His comments were driven by the apparent deceitful and hairsplitting answers given by Scharfenberger during his re-election campaign and during the current proceedings of the evening.

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Filed under candidates night, deceit, Gerry Scharfenberger, honesty and integrity, Jim Grenafege, Middletown Township Committee, New Jersey

>Opaqueness of Government Was Grenafege’s Point While Addressing Committee At Last Week’s Budget Adoption

>Last week I posted an piece of audio that featured an exchange between resident Jim Grenafege and mayor Gerard Scharfenberger that took place during the special budget adoption meeting Monday night September 7th. It was a rather heated exchange, but was a small segment of the overall address to the Township Committee made by Mr. Grenafege.

Grenafege addressed the issue of transparency in government which he called the “Opaqueness” of Middletown’s governing body.
He brought up the issue of early retirements and their effect on this years budget, he pointed out that the Township passed an ordinance last year that encouraged employees to take advantage of early retirements as a cost savings to the Township. By passing this ordinance the Township should have been able to do better job at planning for the rash of retirements sparked by Gov. Christie’s threat to change the State’s retirement system.
Grenafege brought up the issues of Tax Appeals.
It was stated that the township had to assume the full cost of the many tax appeals that were successfully approved against the town. Scharfenberger lamented that a portion of those appeals should have had to been paid by the Board of Education seeing that 60% of the overall property tax burden is attributed to the school system and not the Township.
Grenafege correctly pointed out that the Township owes $80M worth of debt to the school board in the form of deferred taxes, which the Township collects and uses to offset the municipal tax rate, and if the Township did a better job at planning a portion of that debt could have been put aside for the purpose of tax appeals.
After addressing health care costs and questioning the per capita costs ratio of employees to residents and how the $680 figure is derived that Scharfenberger loves to quote when talks about how fiscally conservative Middletown has been through the years, he moved on to the Middletown Sewage Authority and “Concerts in the Park”.
The Township has often said that the concerts are fully funded by corporate sponsors with no taxpayer dollars supporting them. Grenafege pointed out that at least one of these concerts were sponsored by the Middletown Library System, which was therefore, in fact funded indirectly by Middletown taxpayers.
Listen to the audio, it was a fascinating exchange that I am sure will keep you listening until the end of the 12 minute give and take between Jim Grenafege and the those on the Township Committee. The exchange between them is exactly what open government is all about and what needs to happen more often at Township meetings

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Filed under budget meeting, Jim Grenafege, Middletown, Middletown Township Committee, tax appeals