Category Archives: Newsletter

It’s Your Town – Video Newsletter 2/6/12

As I announce last month, the It’s Your Town newsletter was going to be changing. It’s author Don Watson, had decided that it was time to stop writing about what goes on at Township Committee meetings each month and start showing residents what actually happens during Township Committee meetings.
Mr. Watson has announced he will no longer be presenting the newsletter in its current form recapping Middletown Township Committee meetings as he has done for the past few years. Instead however, it is with great delight that he now will present video recordings of the Middletown Township Committee meetings
Below is the first video which he recorded held on Monday, February 6, 2012.
“… It was an impressive meeting to launch the first recording. The Middletown Swim and Tennis Club community showed up to make their case for keeping the club off the auction block. The mayor thanked the past president of the library board, Randall Gabrielan, for his years of service. This of course was after the mayor asked for Mr. Gabrielan’s resignation the previous week. Also, something that rarely happens, the Committee voted on each new resolution individually.”, Mr. Watson stated in an email announcing the format change to subscribers of his newsletter.

It is hoped that this video starts a new era in Middletown, an era of transparency. This first recording shows what really goes on at Middletown Township Committee meetings. If readers of this blog take the time to watch this video and any videos that come later they will see and hear how our Township Committee deals with its citizens.
… Current and previous Middletown Committees said the people who want meetings recorded have a political agenda. They said recording the meetings would cost too much. They said giving the public video access would allow them to grandstand. You decide if videotaping the meetings is worthwhile..., Finally, I want to extend my personal thank you to the many concerned citizens who made this recording possible with their support. By uniting we triumphed over those who said it couldn’t be done. Many thanks. And as always, thank you all for taking an interest in your local government.”, stated Watson.
Don Watson will be offering the Township Committee a copy of this recording with the hope that they will post it on our Township’s public television access stations.
The video runs over two and a half hours, the first few minutes of the video you will hear a lot of noise. There are no guns being fired. It is a malfunction of the sound system.
As a companion to the video Mr. Watson has put together a PDF document that contains the meeting agenda and the resolutions that were voted on during the meeting. A box around an item is a link, bringing you further into the document to that resolution or ordinance. At the end of the resolution there will be a link bringing you back to the agenda. It is a little easier to follow along when you can see what is being voted on.

While watching the video pay attention to who speaks and who doesn’t speak from the dais, Township Attorney Brian Nelson is sitting next to mayor Tony Fiore. Nelson is an appointed official, not an elected official, yet he speaks as if he is!

It should be pointed out that although Nelson isn’t an elected official, he is a high ranking member of the Middletown GOP who makes a living off the taxpayers of the Township.
Watch closely for the arrogance and distain he shows for those that stand in front of the Committee. He rolls his eyes, laughs and snickers at the very residents that he makes his living off of.

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Filed under Don Watson, Its Your Town, Middletown Swim and Tennis Club, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, Randall Gabrielan, video newsletter, workshop meeting, YouTube

Rush Holt: Drilling Dysfunction on Our Public Lands

From Congressman Rush Holt’s Newsletter:

Together with Ranking Democrat Ed Markey and the staff of the House Committee on Natural Resources, I have worked for more than a year to gather and analyze data about safety and environmental violations committed by oil and gas companies. Our report, “Drilling Dysfunction: How the Failure to Oversee Drilling on Public Lands Endangers Health and the Environment,” has just been released, and its findings are alarming.

The report finds that from 1998 to 2011, more than two thousand violations were handed out by the U.S. Department of Interior to oil and gas companies drilling on taxpayer-owned lands. More than 500 of these violations were classified as “major” by committee staff, including 293 violations related to non-functional blowout preventers and 113 citations for deficiencies in casing and cementing programs.

Yet the enforcement of safety rules was erratic and inconsistent, and all told, the Interior Department collected only $273,875 in fines. That’s roughly equal to a single minute’s worth of oil company profits – the equivalent of levying a 10-cent fine against someone who earns $50,000 a year.

Can anyone seriously argue that these fines are sufficient to deter wrongdoing or that they reflect the very real risks that drilling poses to the environment and public health?

The Longest-Serving Representative with an Unbroken 100% Environmental Rating

The League of Conservation Voters has just announced its 2011 National Environmental Scorecard, and I was pleased to see that they have once again recognized my efforts to protect the environment and public health with a 100 percent rating.

Long before coming to Congress, I was committed to protecting and sustaining our environment – our air, water, land, and the complex web of life. It is that commitment that is reflected in the League of Conservation Voters’ rating. In fact, I am now the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives to have received a 100 percent rating in each year of service.

Too often in 2011, the privileged interests at oil companies and corporate polluters fought to weaken the laws that protect our natural resources, seeking to exploit a public trust for private gain. We must all work to ensure that, in 2012, they do not succeed.

Sincerely,

Rush Holt
Member of Congress

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Filed under Congressman Rush Holt, Environmental Scorecard, Newsletter, oil drilling, public land, the environment, US Department of Interior

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 4, Issue 2-1/17/12

Here is another edition of the It’s Your Town newsletter, it covers the January 17th, 2012 Middletown Township Committee meeting. As readers of the blog know from listening to audio clips posted last week, this meeting was very eventful.

A a late notice stating that the Township will not open the Swim & Tennis Club this year was posted to the Township’s website on Friday 13th, heading into the long Martin Luther King 3-day holiday weekend and apparently, from the sentiment of the members present at the meeting, they weren’t informed previously of the dire financial situation of the Swim Club, over two dozen people voiced their concerns to the Township Committee.

There were a few Swim Club members who questioned the expenses incurred by the Township on behalf of the Middletown Arts Center (MAC) in relation to those incurred to operate the Swim Club. They were told by Mayor Fiore and Township Attorney Brian Nelson, that the MAC was on the way towards profitability and that the utility expenses were down dramatically to only $30 to $40K per year! Attached to the newsletter are the actual figures for the past five years so you can determine for yourself what is accurate.

Regardless, when the Club closes, all Middletown residents will be responsible for repaying the original bond used to purchase the Club instead of the member fees stated in the Pool Club ordinance.

Read this edition of the newsletter ….Here


And if you would like to listen to the companion audio clips from the meeting, I have them below

Committee comments #1
http://www.archive.org/embed/SwimClubMembersAddressTownshipCommittee
Committee comments #2
http://www.archive.org/embed/SwimClubMembersAddressTownshipCommittee-2
What about the kids?
http://www.archive.org/embed/SwimClubMembersAddressTownshipCommittee4WhatAboutTheKids
Tom Wilkens comments
http://www.archive.org/embed/SwimClubMembersAddressTownshipCommittee5TomWilkensComments

As always, if you wish to subscribe to the newsletter and receive in your inbox send a request to itsourtown@yahoo.com

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Filed under Audio clips, Brian Nelson, Its Your Town, Martin Luther King Jr., Middletown Arts Center, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, Swim Club, Tony Fiore

Rush Holt: Libraries Offer 21st Century Skills

The following is from Congressman Rush Holt’s Newsletter

Yesterday, I joined the nation’s top library official, Susan Hildreth of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), to visit public and school libraries in Monroe, East Brunswick, and Princeton.

America’s libraries are more widely used today than at any other point in history, with more than three quarters of Americans having visited a library in the last year. Yet these are trying times for libraries.

Even as libraries have lost funding from towns, counties, and states, they have experienced a surge in demand due to the millions of Americans looking for jobs and finding them using library services. In fact, an IMLS survey found that 30 million Americans used a library to address career and employment needs in 2009. The demand is not just for computers, but also for qualified librarians who can offer guidance on how to set-up an e-mail account, use resume formats, and file an online job application or unemployment claim.

As Director Hildreth and I saw in our visits, New Jersey libraries are working hard. In Congress I have introduced the Workforce Investments through Local Libraries (WILL) Act to integrate libraries into our job training efforts. My bill has been endorsed by the American Library Association, and I am very hopeful that it will be passed into law as Congress works to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act later this year.

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

At a time when inequality runs rampant and when so many across America are seeking work, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message of equality, social justice, and economic opportunity resonates still after half a century. As Dr. King said in 1961:

“I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream—a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man’s skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality. That is the dream.”

Earned Income Tax Credit Offers Support to Working Families

One of America’s most important anti-poverty programs is also among the least recognized: the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. In 2010 alone, the EITC lifted 5.4 million people, including 3 million children, above the poverty line.

The EITC is a refundable tax credit – that is, when the size of the credit exceeds the amount of taxes owed, a taxpayer receives the excess as a refund. It originated in the 1970s as a compromise between Democrats and Republicans who had differing views about the best way to fight poverty. Democrats had long supported lifting families out of poverty through the enactment of a strong minimum wage; Republicans had long argued that a high minimum wage would lead employers to hire fewer people.

The EITC provided financial support to working families, as Democrats desired, while avoiding any wage distortions in the labor market that Republicans feared. Presidents from both political parties have embraced and expanded the EITC for more than three decades.

Yet this tradition of bipartisan support has fractured in recent years. Republicans have increasingly attacked as “lucky duckies” the low-income families whose tax burdens are greatly reduced or eliminated by the EITC. Meanwhile, as the minimum wage has stagnated and our economy has faltered, the EITC has been forced to bear more and more of the burden of combating poverty – yet its increased importance has not been matched by increases in the tax credit’s size. Congress and the states should do more to support working families.

The IRS offers further details about the EITC, and a tool to help determine whether you are eligible, on its website.

Sincerely,

Rush Holt
Member of Congress

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Filed under Congressman Rush Holt, Earned Income Tax Credit, Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Martin Luther King Jr., Newsletter, Workforce Investments through Local Libraries (WILL) Act

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 4, Issue 1- 1/01/12

A new year and a new addition of It’s Your Town newsletter is now available.

This first issue of 2012 covers the annual Reorganization meeting of the Middletown Township Committee which took place on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, 2012 and includes all of the resolutions that appoint people to various Boards, Commissions and Committees in town. However, of all the appointees listed only about 25 were present to be sworn in.

This issue is the 56th newsletter published since the first issue debuted back in December of 2009 which covered the December 7th Township Committee Workshop meeting.

Due to the time that it takes to put the newsletter together, it’s author Don Watson, has decided that he will be take a break from writing it on a regular basis shortly. The next issue that will cover the January 17th Middletown Township Committee meeting may be the last issue for a while.

But don’t fret over the loss of the newsletter, Don Watson still plans on keeping the public informed of what transpires down at Town Hall. Don plans on videotaping the bi-weekly township meetings and posting them online so that resident can watch the Middletown Township Committee in action for themselves instead of reading about them.

The Township Committee meetings have often been described as the “best show on earth” by Don who now feels that the newsletter, which is written very matter of factly, hasn’t been conveying properly what really goes on at Township meeting. He feels, why write about a meeting when he can provide people the opportunity to watch them?

Don will be announcing soon via email to all those that have subscribed to the newsletter,when and where they will be able to see the recordings. If possible I will also post the videos here for reader of the blog to look at.

So until then, enjoy reading the last few issues of It’s Your Town newsletter by clicking onto the link.

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Filed under Don Watson, Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, resolutions and ordinances, videotapping, workshop meeting

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 24-12/19/11

The latest and last edition of “It’s Your Town” newsletter for the year, which covers the Middletown Township Committee meeting for Dec. 19th, 2011, is now available for your reading pleasure.

Besides the usual contents of the newsletter such as the monthly bill list and various ordinances and resolutions, inside this newsletter you will read a very accurate representation of the public hearing concerning the expansion of the Middletown Library’s Board of Trustees, Ordinance 2011-3048 , which became a rather testy affair at times between acting mayor Tony Fiore and the members of the public that stepped forward to address their concerns over the expansion of the board.
The expansion of the Library Board is seen by many as a way for the Township to gain greater influence over the Library’s budget and business dealings, to ensure that future surpluses are readily available for the Township’s purposes and a repeat of the public spectacle that took place earlier this year over the Township Committee’s ruthlessly brutal extortion of $500K worth of surplus and reserved funds from the Library.
This was also the last Township Committee meeting of acting deputy-mayor Pamela Brightbill, who decided not to seek reelection to the Township Committee this year. A Proclamation was presented to Brightbill for her years of service.
You can download the newsletter ….. Here

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Filed under budget surplus, Its Your Town, Middletown Library, Newsletter, Pamela Brightbill, proclamations, public hearing, resolutions and ordinances, Tony Fiore

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 23-12/05/11

The Holiday season is upon us and in full swing which means that I have been a little busy over the past few days getting the house in order and my shopping taken care and wrapping, so I’ve been a little behind in my blogging.

Here is the latest issue of It’s Your Town Newsletter which covers the December 5 th Middletown Township Committee Workshop meeting. For those in attendance, it was a very short meeting lasting less than 30 minutes and seemed as a nuisances for those that represent the people of the township to be sitting there. Committeeman Settembrino never once pulled his nose away from his iPad, I witnessed him constantly tapping and scrolling between screens.

Committeeman Scharfenberger and CFO Nick Transente seemed equally engaged in their iPad and smart phone respectively speaking.
One of the few pieces of business that was discussed was an ordinance that was introduced to set a new salary structure for non-contractual employees, no discussion took place and it was moved by the Committee to be voted on at the December19 meeting.

Also a special meeting of the Township Committee was scheduled for Monday, December 12 to adopt a resolution to accept the vendor for the MCIA bid proposal that was to be awarded for the Township’s solar project. This meeting however was canceled later in the week without explanation.

Read the Newsletter …. Here

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Filed under Gerry Scharfenberger, Its Your Town, Kevin Settembrino, Middletown NJ, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, Nick Transente, workshop meeting