Category Archives: Middletown Republicans

Letter: Statistics Meant to Mislead Middletown Residents

The following letter appears online at the Atlantic Highlands Herald:

Middletown residents are being misled by the Republican Party once again. As they’ve done many times before, Middletown Republicans are misrepresenting information for their own benefit.

At issue now is the inappropriate use of “per capita” (per person) statistics.

At the candidates forum in Lincroft on October 27th, Stephanie Murray spouted some of the same per capita statistics that appear in Michael Vitkansas’s October 26th letter. The statistics are a recycled version of what we’ve heard in the past from the Town’s Republican officials.

Ms. Murray compared Middletown’s spending per capita to Hazlet’s. Hazlet’s statistic is higher, she points out.

But hold on a minute. Middletown’s population is enormous. There are close to 67,000 residents, far more than in neighboring towns. Further, not all town expenses increase with population – for example, we still have only one town hall and one municipal court, the same as Hazlet. With so many people in Middletown to share those fixed costs, the overall cost per resident drops.

Therefore, it’s inappropriate to compare per capita statistics for towns of different sizes and populations. To do so is deceptive.

Besides a large number of residents, something else that reduces spending per capita is inadequate funding of core services, but I bet Ms. Murray won’t be pointing that out.

Mr. Vitkansas talks about Middletown’s small workforce per capita, but fails to mention that nearly the entire staff of the Parks and Recreation Department was laid off this year.

If the real picture were as rosy as Republican candidates would have you believe, they wouldn’t need to mislead you by pulling statistics out of a hat.

Linda Baum
Middletown, NJ

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Filed under Atlantic Highlands Herald, letter to the editor, Linda Baum, Middletown Republicans, per capita statistics, Stephanie Murray

Letter: Hypocrisy Reigns Once More

Good Morning Editor,

Silly season is upon us and once more hypocrisy reigns in Middletown. The landscape is littered with larger than life signs erected by the Middletown Republicans. The bigger the sign, the taller the tale it tells.

These signs state “Taxpayers First”. How does a increase in the certified municipal tax rate of nearly fourteen ( 14%) in 2010 equate to putting the taxpayers of this township first ? The political fakers believe their own fabrications. They distort everything ,even mathematical fact. Remember the delusional diatribe spouted by last year’s mayor of this township ? Believes his own fairy tales too ! Remember the Asbury Park Press’s editorial “Tongue Tied for a Reason” ?

What Middletown really needs are township committee representatives that remember who they were elected to serve and represent. That has not happened in Middletown in many years of a republican majority.

Bipartisan government is healthy and better serves everyone. One party rule in this town has become a disgrace ! A change is desperately needed so voters cast an educated,intelligent vote. Do not cast a vote for cheat to win tactics.

The republicans believe their own fiction !

Barbara R. Thorpe

Barbara R. Thorpe
Lincroft, N.J.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, hypocrisy and government, letter to the editor, Middletown Republicans, silly season, tax payers first

Middletown Democrats Get Thumbs Up

I received the following letter yesterday, it has also been posted over at the Atlantic Highlands Herald.

I would like to respond to Peter Van Nortwick, whose letter – Middletown Democrats Pose Traffic Hazard – is just plain ridiculous. No one was blocking traffic or running into the street. Some did cross the street, however, because that’s how you get to the other side.

Cars were not screeching to a halt or narrowly dodging pedestrians. But many motorists did show their support by beeping their horns as they passed by. They cheered, waved, and gave us thumbs up. Except Committeeman Settembrino, who didn’t use his thumb.

Mr. Van Nortwick is right about one thing. We were effective at getting people’s attention. Everyone’s except the cops’. They saw no problem.

Linda Baum
Middletown, NJ

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Filed under Atlantic Highlands Herald, letter to the editor, Linda Baum, Middletown Republicans, Peter VanNortwick, sign waving, thumbs up, traffic hazard

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

>MiddletownPatch: Three BOE Candidates Seek One-Year Term to Address Pressing Issues

>Currently up over at MiddletownPatch is an article which profiles the three individuals, Leonora Caminiti, Allen Burns and Ernest Donnelly, that seeking to be elected to the Middletown Board of Education to fill the 1 year unexpired term left by Dan Skelton, who stepped down from the board earlier this year.

The profiles are pretty straight forward and standard, nothing controversial but gives each’s position on a couple of topics. So, If you weren’t able to attend one of the four BOE Candidate Forums that were held over the past two weeks, these profiles may be able to help your decision making process for whom to vote for.
I attended the Candidate Forum that was held on April 14th at Harmony School and out of these three individuals, I was most impress Ernest Donnelly (Caminiti was a no show). He seemed to has a clear notion of what was needed to ensure that the schools ran properly and efficiently and as a former educator and superintendent himself, he knows what to look for when hiring a new superintendent in Middletown.
Allan Burns did not impress me at all, his stances on some of the issues seemed naive and his outright refusal to approve any budget in the future that included a tax increase was unrealistic in my eyes and came across as pandering.
But go over to the MiddletownPatch website and read the profiles anyway and read for yourself, you may walk away with a different opinion.
Also, remember that I have posted audio from the April 19th Candidate Forum that was hosted by the Middletown Republican Party at the Lincroft Inn.
While the forum was not a great venue for the candidates to express their views (questions where directed at individual candidates only, others could not comment) and it seemed somewhat biased, you can hear Burns and Donnelly speak.

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Filed under Candidate Forum, Lincroft Inn, Middletown Board of Education, Middletown Republicans, MiddletownPatch.com

>Audio From April 19th Middletown Board of Education Candidate Forum At Lincroft Inn

>On April 19th 2011, the Middletown Republican Party held a BOE Candidate Forum at the Lincroft Inn.

The first 11 minutes of the meeting consisted of Republican Club business followed by the Candidate Forum. After each candidate was give 2 minutes to introduce themselves the floor was open to questions and answers.

Candidates Leonora Caminitti, Barry Allen Travis and Richard Morrill did not attend but had statements read.

The meeting ran approx. 1.5 hours and can be heard in its entirety below, but I have to admit I haven’t listened to all of it as of yet. I have only gotten through the first hour, I will listen to more as time allows between now and the Board of Education election which will be held next week on April 27th.

My one thought on this meeting is that it wasn’t much different that the one I attended in person over at Harmony School on April 14th which was written about in this weeks edition of the Independent

http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf

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Filed under Candidate Forum, Lincroft Inn, Lincroft NJ, Middeltown Board of Education, Middletown NJ, Middletown Republicans, the Independent

>Many Possible Reasons Behind Brightbill’s Decision Not To Seek Re-Election in Middletown

>It’s been nearly a week now since Middletown Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill announced that she wouldn’t seek another term on the Middletown Township Committee.

The news came as a shock to many, including Board of Education member Joan Minnues, who has worked closely with Brightbill over the years putting together events such as the Great Race and Project Prom. According to Minnues, who I spoke to briefly at the April 14th Board of Education Candidates Forum at Harmony School, Brightbill’s decision to step down from the Township Committee was a complete shock. She had told me that she speaks to Pam Brightbill often and had just spoken to her the day before the announcement and Pam gave her no indication of her desire to step down, It was a little out of left field.
So was this a last minute personal decision by our two-time Deputy Mayor in order for her to spend more time with her family and other endeavors or something more?
Those of us that have been keeping an eye on Town Hall have speculated privately for some time that Pam Brightbill was on the way out.
Her frequent meltdowns on the dais are legendary and her arrogant, self-serving display in front of the audience for the February 16th Library Board of Trustees meeting, where she squealed her dismay at board members for not sending her emails or keeping her “in the loop”, when it was her that had appointed many of them to their positions, made many mouths drop wide open in disbelief through out the audience that night, didn’t help matters.
But what really started the speculation flying about Brightbill was her near total meltdown during Committee Comments back at the September 20th, 2010 Township Committee meeting (audio below). At that meeting, she vented angrily at Township Administrator Tony Mercantante, for his lack of follow-up on many issues along with a total lack of communication between Mercantante, the Townships Committee and other various boards and commissions that she was serving on.
That type of public outburst between an elected Middletown GOP Township Committee member and a fellow Middletown GOP appointed official, must have caused just as much disbelief in the rank and file Republicans as it did to those us on the other side. After all, it’s a cardinal sin to air dirty laundry out to dry in front of the public, in such a manner.
I think it was becoming evident to the leaders of the Middletown Republican Party that Pam Brightbill was becoming a problem to them and they wanted her off the ticket before she caused any real damage to their chances of winning this year’s election.

The audio clip from the September meeting (above), runs 17 minutes long. It is fascinating to hear the desperate tone in Brightbill’s voice when she is reprimanding/pleading with Administrator Tony Mercantante for better communication while discussing many other issues haphazardly thrown in.

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Filed under Deputy Mayor, Middletown Republicans, Middletown Township Committee, Pamela Brightbill, re-election bid

>Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill Not Running for Reelection In Middletown

>The following press release was issued today announcing that Middletown’s Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill will not be seeking re-election to the Township Committee this November. Brightbill will be replaced on the ticket with Stephanie Murray.

Murray is a current member of the Middletown Zoning Board, Housing Authority and is the founder of the conservative leaning Republican women’s group Middletown Mornings that will be hosting the 1st Middletown Board of Education Candidate Forum Tuesday morning April 12th:

MIDDLETOWN—Middletown Township Mayor Tony Fiore and Zoning Board Member/Housing Authority Commissioner Stephanie Murray today filed petitions seeking the Republican nomination for Middletown Township Committee for 2011.

“I know Stephanie Murray will serve the taxpayers of Middletown well based on her record of service on the Zoning Board and as a Commissioner on the Housing Authority,” said Mayor Fiore. “Stephanie is not only a tireless member of our community, but also a dedicated wife and mother to three children whose family has lived in Middletown for 10 years.”

“While my commitment to public service is no less now than it was six years ago, I feel that it is the right time to pass the baton to another active member of our community, which is why I am pleased to support Stephanie Murray for Township Committee,” said Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill. “I know that Stephanie will make an excellent addition to the Committee and help preserve the quality of life we all enjoy in Middletown.”

“It is an honor to have received a tremendous amount of support to continue my public service to Middletown by seeking to serve as a member of the Township Committee,” said Stephanie Murray. “I am looking forward to the challenges ahead to help maintain the quality of life we all enjoy while keeping taxes low in one of the largest municipalities in New Jersey.”


In addition to serving as a member of the Zoning Board and a Commissioner on the Middletown Housing Authority, Mrs. Murray has also served as a member of the Township’s Parks and Recreation Advisory and Open Space Committees. Stephanie is also the founder of a community group known as “Middletown Mornings” which is an open forum for residents of Middletown to meet with their local public officials. Murray holds a B.A. from Fordham University and runs a small publishing company.
Stephanie Murray is also the founder and co-owner of Crescent Moon Press , a small specialty book publishing firm, that publishes fantasy and occult novels.

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Filed under Crescent Moon Press, fantasy and occult, Middletown Mornings, Middletown Republicans, Pamela Brightbill, press release, Stephanie Murray, Tony Fiore

>No Smear Shall Go Unanswered: Latest By Vitkansas Is Not So "Amusing"

>In the latest smear letter directed at Middletown Committeeman Sean Byrnes, I am glad that the writer finds it amusing to read other peoples letters that point out the short comings of Middletown’s mayor and other members of his beloved Republican Party. The letter, which is written by Michael Vitkansas, has appeared in various local publications recently.

Truth be told, Vitkansas is a strong and active member of the same, elite Middletown Republicans that he tries to protect by spreading misleading and sometimes inflammatory information about others. As a Republican County Committeeman representing his district in Middletown, Vitkansas has often allowed himself to be used as a tool for the local Republican machine and as a reward for his loyalty, he now sits on a number of local boards and commissions in Middletown, which makes his invocation of the “patriots of the TEA Party” in his letter, laughable in and of itself.

In his most recent lapdog attack letter, Vitkansas goes after a fellow letter writer, Jeff Blumengold, for criticizing the poor job that mayor Gerard Scharfenberger and his GOP majority has done in their planning efforts while trying to run Middletown Township over the past 5 years, by attacking Democrat Sean Byrnes.

In his letter, Vitkansas tries to label Byrnes as a socialist liberal who favors COAH, supports teachers, unions and high property taxes in his attempt to persuade readers into believing something that just is not so.

Those that know Committeeman Byrnes would describe him as a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. Over the 3 years that he has been a Middletown committeeman, Byrnes has made many suggestions on how to reign in the local spending that has resulted in tax hikes that total over 39% to the municipal tax rate over the past 5 years (since mayor Scharfenberger has sat on the committee), only to be rebuked by his fellow committee members. He has never voted in support of a Township budget that has included a tax increase, including the most recently adopted 2010 budget which raises the municipal tax rate by nearly12%

Committeeman Byrnes has repeatedly stated over his 3 years on the Township Committee that programs like COAH need to be revamped and revised so that the burden of such programs do not fall onto local taxpayers. Mr. Vitkansas and others that oppose Mr. Byrnes however, point out his vote to rezone the Avaya property in Lincroft, that rezoned the property from industrial to residential in order to meet Middletown’s state mandated COAH obligation, as proof that he is not sincere or straightforward. Allow me to point out though, that the ones that are not being straightforward and sincere with Middletown residents are Vitkansas and his fellow GOP supporters that attack Byrnes on this issue. After all, it was his friends on the republican dominated Middletown Planning & Zoning Boards that came up with the plan to rezone the Avaya property so that the Township would be in compliance with COAH, not Byrnes. At the time, mayor Scharfenberger, Pam Brightbill and Tony Fiore, all current Republican members of the Township Committee, approved and voted for this rezoning as well.

Sean Byrnes knows that having a strong middle-class is the backbone and foundation of our State as well as our Country. He realizes that education plays a leading role in establishing that foundation and supports teachers and unions in general, knowing that without them there would be no middle-class as we know it today. That being said however, Mr. Byrnes has repeatedly been on the record as saying that he supports Gov. Christie’s “Tool Kit”, that reforms need to be made in order to level the playing field during contract negotiations and that state union members should be expected to contribute more to their healthcare costs.

If supporting Committeeman Sean Byrnes and his record as a member of the Middletown Township Committee in his re-election bid this November labels me as being a “socialist liberal” so be it. I love being a socialist liberal who opposes high taxes, government mismanagement and the entrenchment of the long-standing Republican ruling class.

I also happen to think that those “remarkable patriots in the Tea Party movement” that are “growing in numbers more and more with each passing day” are intelligent enough to know the difference and will also support Sean Byrnes and his running mate Mary Mahoney against Republicans that have borrowed, spent and raised local taxes to the point that it will soon become unaffordable to raise a family and live in Middletown.

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Filed under Avaya, COAH, Gov. Chris Christie, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown Republicans, Sean F. Byrnes, tax increase, Tea Party

Republican Candidate Avallone Challenges Scharfenberger To Debate Before June Primary

Tony Avallone, the Republican Candidate for Middeltown Township Committee, who is running in the upcoming June primary to unseat Middletown’s acting mayor Gerry Scharfenberger for the party line on the November ballot, has issued a challenge to the mayor. Avallone wants to debate him at a “Meet the Candidates Night” that he has proposed take place in the Town Hall courtroom on May 24th.

I understand that Mr. Avallone has sent the following letter of challenge to several media outlets and to Mr. Scharfenberger himself, in the hopes that he would feel obliged to agree and debate the issues that are of the most importance to residents such as lack fiscal responsibility and the looming $5M township budget deficit:

May 13, 2010

Letter to the Editor

With approximately 3 weeks left, before the Republican Primary for the Middletown Town Council elections, my email and voice mail have been flooded with inquiries as to when there will be a “Meet the Candidates Night”.

Mayor Scharfenberger, I propose we meet Monday May 24, 2010 at 7:30 pm in the Court Room at the Municipal Center. You have been Intellectually Dishonest with us the residents of Middletown, and I think it is very IMPORTANT that the voters understand the differences that you and I have.

We are almost 5 months into the year, with a projected budget deficit of $5m and still no budget. Why! This is completely fiscally irresponsible. I look forward to meeting with you on the 24th to discuss this subject, and many others, as we prepare for Middletown’s political make over.

Tony Avallone
Republican Candidate for Middletown Town Council




Word of advice to Mr. Avallone, don’t hold your breath.
It would be a cold day in hell before Gerry Scharfenberger agrees to stand in front of people and be questioned critically about anything that goes on in Middletown. Scharfenberger knows how to dish it, but he can’t take it !


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Filed under Candidates for Township Committee, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown Republicans, Middletown Township, Tony Avallone