Category Archives: John Curley

>Catching Up On The Past Few Days; Watson, Brookdale, Rally in Trenton and Jobs

>A lot has been happening over the past few days that I’ve been meaning to comment on but I have been a little under the weather and haven’t been feeling up to blogging. So now is my chance to get slightly caught up, in no particular order.

Congressman Rush Holt (who does by the way, happen to be a Rocket Scientist) who on Monday of this past week, beat IBM’s Watson Computer System in a simulated Jeopardy exhibition. But the match wasn’t just a battle of networks versus neurons, as Holt put it in his newsletter to constituents:

… ” To me and my colleagues, this was an important opportunity to raise awareness of serious issues concerning U.S. global competitiveness, the positive impact of technology on society, and the need for greater investments in math and science education.

Watson represents a major step forward for computer science. With its combination of sheer data processing power, natural language recognition and machine learning, the system demonstrates that technology has the potential to help humans improve the performance of many endeavors – everything from medicine to education to traffic safety to environmental protection. There is no limit, save for our imagination, to the impact on our society of innovations like Watson.”….

There were two major car accidents this past week that claimed the lives of a couple Middletown youths, the first last Sunday and the second just last night and still under investigation.

Yesterday, Brookdale Community College’s Board of Trustees suspended College President Peter Burnham without pay because they found some irregularities in his expense reports while auditing his books. The suspension came as a total surprise to Burnham, who felt “Bowled over” by the accusations and wouldn’t comment further. And now today, we find out that the Board of Trustees have contacted the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office to look into the matter for possible criminal charges.
As news of this latest info has started to make it’s way out to the public Freeholder Amy Mallet has called on Brookdale’s Board Chairman Howard Birdsall to resign and suggests that term limits be put on those that serve as trustees for the college.
I find this all very interesting, in a “how the mighty have fallen” sort of way. If Peter Burnham would have kept quite and not tried to blame the Monmouth County Freeholder for an 8% tuition hike a few weeks ago, none of this would have transpired. Freeholder John Curley, who acts as the liaison between the Freeholders and Brookdale, would have went about his business as usual and would not have said a word. But because he was angered and perhaps embarrassed by Burnham, Curley decided to make public Burnham’s contract and exploit it for all it’s worth, which has lead to all this “dirty laundry” being exposed and possible criminal charges being filed against Burnham.
Curley is being portrayed as some great white knight for exposing the excesses in Burnham’s contract, which is not the case. He acted out of anger and revenge for being called out by Burnham. If Curley and other Freeholders before him, that have acted as the liaison between the school and County governing body had done their oversight properly over the years, Peter Burnham’s excessive contract would have been taken care of years ago instead of now. There wouldn’t have been this dramatic call for change on the Board of Trustees and criminal charges against Burnham would not be pending, which is how the Trustees have chosen to cover themselves from allegations pointed at them.
It’s a real shame and embarrassment if you ask me.
There was a big rally in Trenton on Thursday attended 15,000 members of the Police, Firefighters and other first responders protesting Governor Christie’s efforts at health, pension and collective bargaining reform. Did it do any good or send the big guy a message? Probably not.
Finally, yesterday came good new for the economy. There was a big jump in the number of private sector jobs last month, a 192,00 jobs were added in February on top of the 63,000 that were added in January. The jobs report shows that even though the economy is still a little shaky and could be set back by the troubles in Libya and other mideast countries, it is growing and heading in the right direction. Unemployment is now down to 8.9% nationwide, falling below 9 percent for the first time in nearly two years.

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Filed under Brookdale Community College, Congressman Rush Holt, Freeholder Amy Mallet, IBM's Watson, Jeopardy., John Curley, Peter Burnham, Trenton Rally, unemployment

>Jersey Scandal – Could Another Operation Bid Rig Be Far Behind In Monmouth County?

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Filed under Freeholder John D'Amico, Freeholder Lillian Burry, John Curley, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, New Jersey, Operation Bid Rig

The John Curley/Lincroft Sports Complex Conspiracy Theory


I never put much thought into the validity of various conspiracy theories; for the most part these theories are generally not based on facts or have only a loose affiliation with them.

One such theory has recently developed around the controversial Lincroft Sports Complex issue thanks to members of the River Plaza/Lincroft Chargers Pop Warner football organization.

The theory revolves around the fact that Trezza Field, the home of the Chargers for over sixty years is located next to Shadow Lake Village, an age restricted community for those over the age of fifty-five and the fact that Monmouth County Freeholder John Curley moved into the community in 2008 just before his first attempt at running for Freeholder.

It is believed that many of the seniors that live at Shadow Lake are unhappy with the field being located so close to the complex and that the lights and noise from PA system are a nuisance that can no longer be tolerated.

It is believed that Curley used his political influence in some way to pressure the Middletown Committee to give up its plan to refurbish Trezza Field by threaten that the all important senior vote from Shadow Lake would not be there for them come November if the Chargers were not moved from Trezza Field.

Here’s some history that lead to the theory:

The Chargers were promised a number years ago by the Middletown Township Committee that their home, Trezza Field, would be re-surfaced with artificial turf and in 2006 a bond was issued that stated as much, but somehow along the way plans changed.

Instead of re-surfacing Trezza field as promised the Township decided that it would build a multi-sports complex in Lincroft, off of Middletown-Lincroft Rd. The complex was to have light towers, bleachers, snack bar, PA system and ample parking to accommodate hundreds of cars, much like the currently proposed and controversial complex planned for West Front Street.

But the plan met with so much anger and resistance from the residents in the area, that it lead to the town dropping the plan and the election of Patrick Short, the first Democrat elected to a committee seat in Middletown in 20 years.

During the three years that followed the Chargers continued to press the Mayors of Middletown to have their field taken care of because it’s condition continued to worsen. Middletown in the mean time hired a consulting firm to develop a master plan for it Parks and Recreation Department.

When completed, the Master Plan had made a number of recommendations as to how to better utilize the use current parks and sport fields throughout the Township. The plan called for the creation of two multi-use artificial turf fields that could be used for football, soccer and la cross and suggested that the Township enter into mutual use agreements with the Board of Education to build at least one of these fields on BOE property and to share the use of the newly turfed fields at both township high schools. But yet again no real plan for Trezza Field.

Shortly after the plan was adopted Mayor Brightbill met with the Chargers and told them not to worry, that all of the concerns would be addressed and taken care of, the Chargers would have a new field to play on soon.

In May 2009, the Township hastily approach the Board of Ed with a plan to possible build two multi-sports fields on the grounds of Thompson and Thorne Middle Schools. After lengthy negotiations between the BOE and Township talks broke down in October. The BOE felt that the Township was not addressing their concerns over usage and maintenance while the Township felt that the BOE was not negotiating in good faith.

It was at this time that the Township Committee voted unanimously drop the idea of mutual usage of fields with the BOE and announce their intention to build a multi-use sports complex on the corner of West Front St. and Crawford Corner Rd. in Lincroft, on the grounds of West Front Street Park, which has lead to the current controversy.

And now instead of having Trezza Field re-surfaced, the Chargers are being told that they will have to move from their beloved field of over sixty years to the new complex at West Front Street Park due to lack of space and wetlands issues, even though the new complex will not have the amenities that they feel are vital for the continued expansion and success of their organization.

As conspiracy theories go this one is somewhat plausible but highly unlikely. It seems to have come from that fact that members of the Chargers organization are frustrated and angered over how the feel repeatedly lied to and betrayed by the majority that sit on the Township Committee, that have promised field upgrades years ago and have not delivered on those promises.

And when I asked my friends at Shadow Lake if they had heard of any rumors floating around the Lake about opposition to the Trezza Field upgrades they had this to say… “Nobody at the Democratic Club Steering Committee meeting had any issues with the sports field, and no one had heard any rumblings about disaffected residents. In fact, people seemed to agree that a bit of noise during some afternoons in the summer was just kids having a good time and something that came with the neighborhood. So there very well may be some folks who are grousing about the games, heck, somebody is *always* complaining about something around here. But it is surely not some kind of organized protest.”

So it seems that Freeholder John Curley and the residents over at Shadow Lake are not behind some master conspiracy theory to pressure the Middletown Township Committee into not renovating Trezza Field (much to my chagrin).

At this point it seems that the reason for not putting artificial turf over Trezza Field is based entirely on the recommendations of the Township’s Master Plan which recommended the installation of synthetic fields for multi-use complexes that could accommodate many, not just a football field that in the eyes of the Township could not be expanded.

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Filed under conspiracy theories, John Curley, Pop Warner, Shadow Lake Village, sports complex

Asbury Park Press Endorses Byrnes For Monmouth County Freeholder

In this morning’s editorial section of the Asbury Park Press, the paper has given it’s endorsement for Monmoith County Freeholder to Middletown Committeeman Sean F. Byrnes.

In so doing, the APP states that “Byrnes’ passion for cutting government spending and increasing transparency separate him from the field.”… “Byrnes does not appear to be beholden to his party’s political bosses. In fact, he has been critical of some of the patronage appointments and contracts handed out with little or no oversight during the past year.” and added “…Byrnes is exceptional, the best choice in a field …”


Here’s the full endorsment:

Byrnes best bet for freeholder

Monmouth County voters are fortunate to have three well-qualified, civic-minded candidates to choose from in this year’s election for an open seat on the Board of Freeholders. But Democrat Sean Byrnes’ passion for cutting government spending and increasing transparency separate him from the field.

Control of the freeholder board, now in the hands of the Democrats after decades of all-Republican membership, is again on the line in this election. Curley raised concerns that a Democratic majority on the board would enable the state party leadership to gain control over jobs and contracts in Monmouth County.

But Byrnes does not appear to be beholden to his party’s political bosses. In fact, he has been critical of some of the patronage appointments and contracts handed out with little or no oversight during the past year. Byrnes said he was pleased with the current freeholder board’s decisions to have in-house legal and engineering services and “doing away with a system that allowed handouts.”

In Red Bank, Curley successfully fought machine politics and helped keep a helipad, a patronage-job visitors center and a solid waste station from being built in the borough.

Rosenthal, a retired financial analyst with Merrill Lynch, has been active with several volunteer programs and is passionate about helping people in need, especially during these tough economic times. He says his presence on the freeholder board would make it truly bipartisan, and he promised greater oversight in the budget process.

Curley and Rosenthal both have strong credentials. But Byrnes is exceptional, the best choice in a field of three worthy candidates.

Byrnes, Republican John Curley and Independent Stan Rosenthal are seeking the seat being vacated by Freeholder Director Barbara McMorrow, who opted not to seek re-election this year, citing health reasons. Curley, vice president of an auto dealership and a former Red Bank councilman, was narrowly defeated by Democrat Amy Mallet in last year’s election.

Byrnes, an attorney and Middletown township committeeman, is bright, articulate and has an uncommon grasp of issues affecting Monmouth County residents.

His review of the county budget has enabled him to pinpoint departments “ripe for cutting,” and he has identified specific positions within departments that have more personnel than needed to function well. He says he will push for across-the-board 10 percent budget cuts, as well as directing some department heads to find further cuts.

A proponent of openness in government, Byrnes said he would make sure all county budget data and other information of interest to residents would be posted online. He lamented the apathy he has seen about county government, and said having more information easily available would encourage residents to get involved and provide input on ways to make government more efficient and responsive.

Byrnes’ extensive volunteer and professional background have given him hands-on budget and management experience that would serve him well on the freeholder board.

A private-practice attorney with no public contracts, Byrnes has served on the Red Bank Board of Education and the boards of directors for the Community YMCA, the Parker Clinic and the Charter School. A graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, he served in the Coast Guard for 22 years before recently retiring as a commander.


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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Democratic Candidate, endorsement, John Curley, Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Monmouth County Freeholder Candidate, Sean F. Byrnes

Byrnes Easliy defeats Beson, Will Run Against Curley For Monmouth County Freeholder

I just returned home from todays Monmouth County Democratic Party’s Mini-Convention that was held at  Red Bank’s Carpenter’s Hall, where the big news of the day happened.
By a tally of 147  to 41, Middletown Committeeman Sean Byrnes was chosen over former Neptune Mayor Mike Beson to be the Monmouth County Democrats candidate for Freeholder.
Sean Byrnes will be facing off against former Red Bank Councilman  and fellow Midddletown resident, Republican John Curly  to succeed Freeholder Director Barbara McMorrow, who announced last week that she would not seek re-election due to health reason.
(Caption-  Former Neptune Mayor Mike Beson and Middletown’s Sean Byrnes shortly after announcement of Byrnes’s nod to run for Freeholder) 
 

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Filed under Barbara McMorrow, Freeholder Canidates, John Curley, Mike Beson, Monmouth County, Sean F. Byrnes

Middletown Committeeman Sean Byrnes Confirms Monmouth County Freeholder Bid

After hearing the news earlier today that Middletown’s Sean Byrnes was going to seek the Monmouth County Democratic line for Freeholder in order to fill the vacancy left on the ticket by the sudden decision of Freeholder Director Barbara McMorrow not to seek re-election, I was stunned. I never expected it, I had never heard from Sean Byrnes or anyone else for that matter, that he ever considered or was even interested in higher office.

As one of two Democratic Committeeman currently serving on Middletown’s Township Committee (the other being Patrick Short), Sean Byrnes has made a true difference in bringing transparency and openness to Town Hall. It will be Middletown’s lose if Byrnes wins the open Freeholder seat in November.
I reached out to Committeeman Byrnes to ask if he had any comments about his intentions to seek the Democratic party line for the open Freeholder seat up for grabs.
Here is his reply:
“It is all happening a little too quickly. I wasn’t looking to be a candidate, but I was asked. I have mixed feelings. I am just starting to make change in Middletown and make progress. Part of me would like to continue on that path. On the other hand, sometime opportunities come suddenly and you have to be willing to take the plunge. It is far from certain I will get the nod at the convention, so we’ll see.”

“… I guess I would say that I have mixed feelings. I do have specific things I would like to accomplish in Middletown. I have just started the Strategic Planning Committee and the Recreation Committee to implement the Master Plan. I am looking forward to the working on those committees. I feel like I have been able to shift the focus and agenda of the Township Committee in the right direction, especially from a budget perspective, so I am reluctant to leave before completing that work. However, the County Government needs reform after so many years of one party control. While last year brought the winds of change to County Government, I don’t want to see us lose the opportunity to continue the changes that Barbara McMorrow and the Democratic Freeholders have started. If control slips back into Republican hands, then I believe we will have missed a significant opportunity for change for the better.”

Sean Byrnes will make a great Freeholder candidate, he is smart and always thinks first before answering a question. The man does his homework and believes that the “devil is in the details”. I can not think of another person in Monmouth County that would be a better candidate. I think that the Republican challenger, John Curley will have a very difficult road ahead of him if Byrnes is in fact chosen to lead the Monmouth County ticket on Saturday.
I wish him well in his efforts.
 

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Filed under Barbara McMorrow, Freeholder Candidate, John Curley, Middletown, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Democrats, Patrick Short, recreation committee, Sean F. Byrnes, strategic planning committee

Middletown’s Sean Byrnes to Seek Freeholder Position in Monmouth County


I have a stunning announcement to make, one quite frankly that has taken me by surprise but am very glad to hear.

Middletown Democratic Committeeman, Sean Byrnes, will be seeking the Democratic Party line to run for Monmouth County Freeholder at the party’s convention on Saturday.  
Sean Byrnes will be seeking to fill the seat left open by Freeholder Director Barbara McMorrow,when she announced that she would not be seeking re-election this year due to health concerns. 
From what I have been told, the other notable in the race is former 11th District Assembly
candidate Mike Beeson, Ocean Township.
Whomever wins the support of the Monmouth County Democrats on Saturday, wether it is Sean Byrnes, Mike Beeson or some other as yet unnamed person, they will be facing off against last years  Republican challanger John Curley, who lost narrowly to Freeholder Amy Mallet.
 

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Filed under Amy Mallet, Barbara McMorrow, Freeholder Canidates, John Curley, Middletown, Mike Beeson, Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Sean F. Byrnes