Category Archives: Joe Caliendo

>APP: Middletown candidate to drop out of race after drug arrest, party leader says

>Just as I said Friday night, but now it is made official by Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo, Alex Desevo is off the Democratic tickets a candidate in Middletown and a replacement will be soon be named.

Posted on the Asbury Park Press website just a bout 40 minutes ago:

MIDDLETOWN — A Democratic candidate for Township Committee who was arrested on June 18 on charges of possessing crack cocaine has agreed to resign from the race, a party official said.

Leaders of the Middletown Democratic Party planned to Monday, June 27, to find a replacement for Alexander DeSevo, 43, said Joseph Caliendo, who heads the party.

“Middletown voters aren’t going to want that kind of person,” Caliendo said. “I don’t know what happened with the young man. It’s between him and his conscience.”

DeSevo, a criminal defense attorney, was caught possessing crack cocaine and various drug paraphernalia at the Holmdel Motor Inn on Route 35, where he was staying with two women, police said.

Police became involved after one of the women showed up at the Holiday Inn in Hazlet, more than a half mile away, and said DeSevo had chased her from the Holmdel Motor Inn, according to authorities.

The party has until September to find a replacement for DeSevo, whose name will not appear on the November ballot, Caliendo said.

“This should not be an issue in the race,” Caliendo said. “We believe we have a good chance of winning this November, so we want to find a candidate who can really represent Middletown well.”

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Filed under Alex Desevo, Asbury Park Press, crack cocaine, Democratic Candidate, drug possession, Joe Caliendo, November Elections

>Middletown Democratic Candidate Busted for Possession; Desevo To Be Replaced Soon

>Shocking is all I have to say about the news that broke earlier today concerning Middletown Democratic Candidate for Township Committee, Alex Desevo, who was busted last weekend at the Holmdel Motor Lodge for the possession of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

I was sitting in the Hazlet movie theater when I received an email with a link to an Asbury Park Press online article about how Desevo was arrested by Holmdel police at 4:54 in the morning on Saturday, June 18, after one of two women he was spending the night with ran out of the room and found her way to the Hazlet Holiday Inn and called police about something that happened while at the Holmdel Motor Lodge. I was in disbelief at the news and started texting and sending emails of my own to a few people in order to get the bottom of it.
What I found out was both sad and tragic, and because I know Alex Desevo personally, and know that despite this incident, he is a very honest and straight forward guy that would do anything for anyone, I wont air his dirty laundry here other than to say that he was having difficulties at home and that was the main reason why he was staying at the motor lodge.
In the face of this situation I want to commend him for not hiding or shirking away from this embarrassing and life altering situation, it’s a testament to his personal fortitude and character in realizing that what he had done was a mistake that he wants to meet head-on and make amends for.
In an article posted on Middletown Patch about Desevo’s troubles, Patch columnist and Editor Elaine Van Develde, was able to track him down for a comment.
Alex confirmed for Van Develde that he was indeed, the same Alex Desevo that was arrested on June 18th and opted not to comment other than to say,”I prefer not to comment at this time on a personal tragedy, I have been a good person all my life.” while noting that he wished to protect his family at this time.
Whatever Alex’s demons are at this time, I can only wish him well and hope that he gets the treatment that he so obviously needs to overcome this sad and tragic personal time in his life.
This is not a time to criticize or ridicule him for letting down those that believed in him as a candidate for office, it’s a time to support him and understand that he is human, like the rest of us, and as such, can succumb to temptations in moments of personal weakness.
The Middletown Democrats will survive and have another candidate to fill Desevo’s place on the ballot very soon I was told by Chairman Joe Caliendo.
Middletown residents have too many other important issues affecting their quality of life for them to care about or fret about, the personal troubles of a candidate that will not be on the ballot come November.
Be well Alex


Filed under Alex Desevo, Asbury Park Press, crack cocaine, Democratic Candidate, drug paraphernalia, Hazlet NJ, Holmdel NJ, Joe Caliendo, Middletown Patch, Middletown Township Committee

Letter: Middletown’s Scharfenberger is good at the blame game

Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger is good at the blame game. For four years, he pointed to the policies of Gov. Jon S. Corzine and the state Legislature as the causes of record property tax increases in our community. Now, with a Republican occupying the front office in Trenton, he’s turned to teachers and public employees as his latest scapegoat.

As the mayor knows, Middletown did not get into its fiscal mess overnight. Instead, decades of bad decisions by Scharfenberger and his Republican colleagues led us to this dangerous point.

For all their talk of fiscal responsibility, it was the GOP majority that agreed to the very same public employee contracts they now bemoan.

It was the GOP majority that consented to defeated school budget after defeated school budget. And it was the GOP majority that recklessly took out bond after bond, mortgaging the present on the backs of future taxpayers.

With the chickens coming home to roost, now they are attacking their own record of irresponsibility and hoping we don’t notice.

In contrast, Committeeman Sean Byrnes is calling for tough action to solve the long-term structural problems in the municipal budget. He advocates greater transparency in the process, allowing residents the opportunity to offer suggestions and feedback throughout the budget process, not only when it is presented for a vote.

Byrnes also is leading the fight to reduce our oppressive tax burden. He wants to establish a permanent finance committee and create a shared-services commission to aggressively pursue opportunities for Middletown to pool its resources with surrounding towns and save taxpayer dollars.

A Democrat, Byrnes believes it’s time we stopped hiding from our problems and started to address the serious challenges facing our community.

Instead of playing the blame game, Mayor Scharfenberger would be wise to do the same.

Joseph Caliendo



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Filed under Gerry Scharfenberger, Joe Caliendo, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Sean F. Byrnes

Letter: Middletown needs Patrick Short and a Democratic majority too

I have resided in Middletown my whole life, which amounts to 75 years, the better part of a century. I have seen Middletown transformed from a beautiful place, filled with farms and woods, changed forever by over-development. It’s been since the early 1980s that this has happened, since Republicans have ruled in town.

Today, the highways where businesses should be located are where home developments are. Somehow, in the minds of Republican leaders, this allegedly represents “class.” I haven’t seen a highway development yet that was what a conservative person would refer to as classy. And, it is all because of the way the Republican majority has run the town. I do not like it at all. There is a place for housing, and it isn’t along a highway.

Then there is the issue of how these Republicans finance their budget that bothers me. For the past 18 years, Middletown, like many towns, has balanced their budgets through deferred taxation: a terrible financial practice really, since before the Florio administration in Trenton. The bottom line is that some of the money collected for school taxes is used by the Township Committee: the school board takes the blame and the committee takes the money.

How much money has been involved in this practice? Well, the town governments that use this means of finance for their administrations are not exactly forthcoming about exact figures but, in Middletown, it is somewhere over $55 million right now. It’s a gimmick. A cheap trick. And it is the way my town has been doing business for almost 20 years. I don’t like it.

Government has become too “slick” for my liking. Government at every level should be smaller, but it will not get that way by adding an army of overpriced lawyers, or appointing political bosses into office, such as is in the case of Middletown. GibbonsLaw, PC, in Newark, has the bonding work in Middletown, and has for decades – ever since the Republicans took over. They have something else too, and that is the Middletown Republican chairman, Peter Carton, as an employee.

It is not one party that is going to return Middletown to real prestige again. It is two parties that will, and Democratic Committeeman Patrick Short has already helped to stem the spending of over-priced projects on the committee. And, he has actually been concerned about flooding in the Bayshore. This is the kind of help that Middletown needs, and that is why I would like him returned to office and to see even more Democrats join him in my town.

Joe Caliendo
Chairman, Middletown Democrats

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Filed under Joe Caliendo, Middletown Democrats, Middletown GOP, Patrick Short

Middletown Republicans Put Politics Front and Center, Adopt NJ State Republican Party Resolution Condemning Corzine Budget

Contact: Joe Caliendo, Chairman, Middletown Democrats

8 Daniel Drive, Middletown, NJ 07748
Tel: 732-299-6470

Press Release

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ: Middletown committeemen Sean Byrnes and Patrick Short decided not to cooperate with the politics of parties over people at the April 20th session of that governing body.

The Middletown Committee’s Republican Majority adopted, by a vote of 3 to 2, a resolution they received from the New Jersey Assembly’s Republican Office that did not constructively criticize the governor’s spending plan – the resolution was just politics as usual.

“I’m not a fan of the governor’s budget, but this resolution was created for clearly political reasons,” said Byrnes, who is also running for a 3-year seat on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders this year.

Byrnes noted that the proclamation adopted by the Middletown Committee did not offer any actual recommendations. Instead, it sought no tax increases, program cuts, personnel cuts or any other belt-tightening measures. In addition, the document was filled with partisan references geared to an election season instead of the kind of work government should be accomplishing when convened. “I expected a comment about a magic wand somewhere,” Byrnes said.

Byrnes faulted Gov. Corzine for not making the tough choices that should have been made in the spending plan this year, especially in the current economic environment. Some of the ways that Byrnes recommended should have been explored on the state level included: reigning in high-paying salaries for top state officials, examining ways to fundamentally revisit the organization of state government and the way it offers services, and exploring consolidation of services.

Otherwise, without this kind of thoughtful approach to critiquing the state budget, complaints about the spending plan lack real seriousness where it involves a subject that warrants it.

Short similarly criticized the language of the resolution, noting that state spending has to be examined in the context of the plan and government spending has to be reined in realistically. He stressed that much more work could be to improve the lot of state taxpayers, but noted that political posturing isn’t the way to achieve it.

Rather than engage this line of discussion, committee Republicans offered criticism without anything constructive in their arguments. Republican Committeeman Anthony Fiore criticized the financial subsidies that cities like Camden, Newark and Jersey City receive. He offered that more of an emphasis should be placed on suburban towns by the state.

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger defended adopting the Assembly GOP resolution through his criticism of universal preschool in New Jersey.

Middletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo noted, “If Republicans either in Trenton or Middletown want to make a change to give taxpayers a better break, they are going to need to have actual ideas of their own – not just criticisms. Democrats do not need to change parties to say what they think – because party lines aren’t what is going to change things for the better.”

Caliendo explained that it is not enough for Scharfenberger or anyone else to point to Trenton and say that the state government is the sole problem with what is wrong in Middletown. “When someone is usually wrong they look to shift blame from themselves. The Middletown Committee has been Republican controlled for 28 years and if there is a problem in this town with the budget and its oversight it isn’t Trenton’s fault. It is the fault of the people in charge of the town, and they happen to be Republicans,” Caliendo said.

He added that, where it involves Trenton, it was not Jon Corzine that created the state’s fiscal crisis. Rather, Caliendo noted that it was former Gov. Christine Todd-Whitman who did more to place the Garden State into the red than all of New Jersey’s governor’s combined, and she happened to be Republican. “If the Republican Party could stop lying, then Democrats wouldn’t have to keep telling the truth about them. There are things that could have been done better in this year’s state budget but it takes real recommendations to make changes and not just posturing by the GOP,” Caliendo concluded.

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Filed under budget resolution, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Jon Corzine, Joe Caliendo, Middletown, Middletown GOP, Middletown Township Committee, Monmouth County, Patrick Short, Republican Majority, Sean F. Byrnes

Byrnes Picks Up Key Support For Freeholder

Press Release

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP (MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ) – Middletown Democratic Chairman Joseph Caliendo has endorsed Middletown Committeeman Sean Byrnes for the upcoming freeholder candidate selection contest at the Monmouth County Democratic Mini-Convention, to be held this Saturday.

“Sean Byrnes has the best chance of winning in November from among those who have expressed an interest to do so,” Caliendo said.

Caliendo said Byrnes is eminently qualified to become a freeholder. Byrnes is a retired U.S. Coast Guard Reserve commander, who operates a private practice law firm in Red Bank. Since he was sworn into office in January 2008, Byrnes has spearheaded the formation of Middletown’s Strategic Planning Committee, blocked Republican Party attempts at undoing the revaluation in Middletown, and fought to create more fiscal oversight of the township’s budget, among other accomplishments.

During his tenure in the military, Byrnes worked in a legal and financial oversight capacity, involved with budgetary and procurement activities, among others.

Among his other accomplishments, Byrnes is also a former Red Bank Board of Education member, according to Caliendo.

“I read that Rep. Frank Pallone has endorsed former Neptune Mayor Mike Beson for the freeholder spot. While Mr. Beson has impressive credentials, he is not a better candidate to defeat the Republican Party in November than Sean Byrnes,” Caliendo said.

The veteran Democratic chairman said Byrnes has already garnered strong grassroots support from Monmouth Democrats where it involves the upcoming freeholder contest.

“In this important upcoming county race, it is vital that Monmouth Democrats put up the best candidate they can to win in November,” Caliendo said. “The best person for the job is Sean Byrnes, without a doubt. If you can win in Middletown as a Democrat, you can win anywhere.”

Caliendo concluded that, because of the large number of voters that turnout from Middletown, the township plays an important role during county elections. Caliendo said he believes Byrnes will resonate with voters throughout the county, and especially in Middletown.

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Filed under Frank Pallone, Joe Caliendo, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Mike Beson, Monmouth County Freeholder Candidate, Red Bank Board of Education, Sean F. Byrnes, U.S Coast Guard

>Middletown Republicans Turning Voter Trust Into A Joke

>By Joe Caliendo

The Republican Majority on the Middletown Committee hasn’t told the truth about what it is doing to township residents, their trust or their money for quite some time.

In Middletown, Republican Chairman Peter Carton sits in the back of the committee chambers sometimes and holds court while the show that is the committee meeting goes on in the front of the room. Peter Carton picks the candidates that become elected officials in town, he then turns around and works for those people when they appoint his Newark Law firm as the bond counsel for the township. How can that be a good thing? It can’t.

He must find it quite humorous, how the township Republicans dupe people into believing they are voting for candidates from a political party when they are, in fact, voting for a law firm.

Deputy Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger would tell you that Middletown represents the best in government in this state. I suppose that would be true, if someone counted cronyism, backroom dealing, financial mismanagement, and a lack of transparency as good things.

Emboldened by their recent election win in November, the Republican Majority practically doubled the township’s legal budget. While there is a new township attorney, Brian Nelson, the committee decided it would keep the old township attorney, Bernard Reilly, around for awhile, and pay him about what they paid him when he was the township attorney last year. It’s being said that Mr. Reilly is cleaning up cases. Well, he sure can buy a big mop.

Brian Nelson isn’t a new face for people in politics. He was the Republican Party executive director for the state organization under Sen. Joe Kyrillos when he was state chairman. Then Mr. Nelson went to Mr. Carton’s Newark law firm, and worked there while he was an oft-used campaign staffer for Monmouth County Republicans. Mr. Nelson was even involved with Middletown Republican campaigns. It’s funny how I’ve always thought about lawyers – it was always my view that lawyers are supposed to get jobs by being good at practicing law. I don’t see how Mr. Nelson had time for such a thing with all of his political work.

The, this political website, has even given Mr. Nelson the title “Republican insider.” As a resident and taxpayer of Middletown, I would prefer to have a good lawyer representing the township rather than some ridiculous political “insider.”

Middletown voters pulling the lever for Peter Carton’s Republican Party are being used. But they don’t have to take my word for it – they could always go to a meeting of their committee for themselves once and see what they put into office. They might even catch an appearance by the great man himself, Mr. Carton, while he swaggers in the back of the committee chambers mocking the township foolish enough to buy his election season scam.

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Filed under Bernard Reilly, bond counsel, Brian Nelson, Joe Caliendo, Joe Kyrillos, Legal bills, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Peter Carton, PolitickerNJ, Republican Insider