Category Archives: Republican Party

Presidency of Middletown Library Board sought by new Board member; Proof of Politicalization

By guest blogger Linda Baum

Last Wednesday’s Library Board meeting (1/18/12) started at 7:00 p.m. and ran over four and a half hours. This was the first meeting of the new 9-member Board, five of whom are new appointees.

Sixteen members of the public attended the meeting, in whole or in part, and it was a veritable “who’s who” of the Republican Party. Among others, there were Committeeman and former Library Board member Kevin Settembrino, Committeeman and Deputy Mayor Steve Massell, Emil Wrede (TOMSA Board), James Hinkley (TOMSA Board), Tristen Nelsen (former Township Committee candidate), and some others sitting with them. I caught what I can only describe as “knowing” glances that told me many there were not strangers to each other. I leave to you to decide whether their purpose in attending was to support, to intimidate, or simply to be informed.

There were some regular folks at the meeting, too – we were discernable by our much more casual clothing.

Things began on a cordial note, with introductions and brief backgrounds. That was followed by a discussion of expenses and service contracts, which I’ll address in a separate post. Overall, the new Board members were very critical of Library operations, even accusatory.

When it was time for the election of 2012 officers, Ms. Sherry Miloscia presented the Nominating Committee’s recommendation of Mr. Randall Gabrielan as president, Ms. Vivian Breen as vice president, and Ms. Marjorie Cavalier as treasurer. There was no recommendation for the office of secretary because the original nominee, Ms. Rachel Raymond, the School Superintendent’s alternate for the prior year, was not reappointed to the Board for 2012. Ms. Miloscia found that out just five days before this meeting and had then contacted new Board member Lawrence Nelsen to offer him the role of secretary, but he turned it down, saying he didn’t feel qualified.

Committeewoman Stephanie Murray took issue with the use of a Nominating Committee – commonly used by many boards – and was fast to make her own nomination when informed that taking additional nominations from the floor was routine procedure. She started right at the top, recommending newcomer Lawrence Nelsen for president. She turned to him and said, “Would you do it? Would you do this?,” as if it had never been discussed. He agreed, of course, and didn’t seem surprised, but many of the public attendees were amazed at the audacity.

Ms. Miloscia asked Mr. Nelsen why he felt qualified to be president when he said he didn’t feel qualified enough to be secretary. Mr. Nelsen denied saying that. “Yes you did,” she replied.

Ms. Murray felt that a person with a financial background should be president — Mr. Nelsen is an accountant. Others pointed out that the treasurer’s position would be a good place for an accountant concerned with finances to start. The treasurer’s position was available, but Mr. Nelsen wasn’t interested in it.

The reasoning that the Board needs a president with financial experience is not supported if you consider that the Library Board drafted and approved a budget that, despite a reduction in the Township appropriation, still managed to maintain services, employment and most materials.

Something I think was being overlooked is that Board membership provides each trustee the opportunity to oversee operations, whether that person is an officer or not. That participation is precisely the reason given by the Township for expanding the Board.

New Board member Michael Convery asked, “Why do you think Larry can’t be president?” The experienced Board members explained that the position of president requires a lot of knowledge and a lot of time, and that the need to provide guidance to an inexperienced person would put an unfair burden on the Library Director. The many answers and lengthy explanations Ms. O’Neal was required to provide to the new members at this Board meeting is evidence of that.

In short, having an inexperienced person as Board president could hamper Library operations. Therefore, the new trustees did not appear to be acting in the best interest of the Library.

It was suggested that the new members could consult with any respected source, including the New Jersey Library Association, and would be told of the importance of experienced leadership.

I wondered what the president’s rights and responsibilities are that made the position so sought after. I have been provided this explanation:

The president is the first among equals as the Board’s link to the Director on situations where library operations meet library policy, which is set by the Board. The president is the primary Board source for the Director on matters of economic, political, social, employment and legal concerns that impact the library. It is important that the president recognize and honor the distinction between the Trustee’s role of oversight and the Director’s role of management and that the president not attempt to interfere in library operations. In order to fulfill this role, it is essential that the president be knowledgeable and experienced in these matters, qualities that have become even more important in today’s challenging environment.

Also, I am told that the president’s role at meetings is similar to the mayor’s — he sets the tone and guides discussion but has an equal vote.

Ms. Breen pointed out to Ms. Murray that she would not expect to be mayor her first year as a committeewoman. She replied, “No, and I wouldn’t want to,” but seemed to miss the point that Mr. Nelsen was too inexperienced to be president.

The new Board members expressed concern about Mr. Gabrielan’s length of service as president, made reference to the size of the budget, and fell just shy of accusing him of wrong doing. The criticism was unfounded, in my opinion. It was an unfair attack on the character of a man who is well-regarded as a dedicated servant. But that accusatory tone underscored the meeting. Later on, Mr. Nelsen twice referenced Bernie Madoff. That comment offended many of us.

The new members also expressed some frustration with the materials they were provided and felt some information was missing. That drew a sharp response from the others, who asked what they were referring to. The Library Director did her best to explain the information provided and some differences between business in January and the other months of the year.

A woman sitting near me who was a former library employee felt strongly that the problem was that the new Board members were unfamiliar with library operations.

It seemed to me there was a lot of posturing going on by the new members. Last year the Library was villanized, and it seems the stage is being set for that again. I am reminded of that saying that the truth of an accusation doesn’t matter because the damage is done when the accusation is made.

Perhaps in an attempt to quell the accusation and argument, Ms. Breen suggested making Mr. Nelsen vice president. I thought that was a generous concession considering his lack of experience with library matters.

Mr. Convery asked if the election of officers needed to take place right then and was told that there was a need to have officers in place for financial matters and for continuity of operations. The Library’s by-laws call for elections at the January reorganization meeting because terms expire then. (Note that the Township Committee elects its officers in January as well.)

In the end, Mr. Gabrielan was elected president by a vote of 5 to 4. The four new Board members voted as a block for Mr. Nelsen. The deciding vote for Mr. Gabrielan was cast by new Board member Cynthia Wilson, the School Superintendent’s appointee.

While Mr. Convery said that his reason for wanting to delay the vote was to get to know people before voting, I wonder if that was his motive. Had the vote been delayed until the end of the meeting, for example, the outcome would have been different because two of the Board members who voted for Mr. Gabrielan didn’t stay for the whole meeting. Those early departures, at this meeting or any future meeting, change the make-up of the Board. Late arrivals or absences would have the same effect.

After the debate over the presidency, the other officers were selected quickly. Mr. Nelsen was elected vice president; Ms. Cavalier was elected treasurer, and Ms. Breen secretary – each held the same post last year.

As vice president, Mr. Nelsen will run meetings in the absence of Mr. Gabrielan, who has had a near perfect attendance record. Also, the VP title puts Mr. Nelsen in line for the presidency in 2013, when he is certain to get it because the new Board members will have the five votes they need next year with the Township’s replacement of Ms. Miloscia, whose term expires at the end of this year.

With one more voice, the Township’s new appointees will be able to elect to any office any candidate they choose, award contracts as they choose, make employment decisions, and unrestrict any amount of Library reserves for Township use.

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Filed under Board of Trustees, Lawrence Nelsen, Library Reserves, Middletown Library, Randall Gabrielan, Republican Party, surplus funds, TOMSA, Tristan Nelsen

Limbaugh & Cheney v. Powell

Today on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer pointed out that Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney, rather than attacking Colin Powell – or as Brewer put it “two guys who have multiple draft deferments are going after a four-star general” – should use their influence and considerable stature within the Republican Party to champion substantive ideas – DemRapidResponse

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Filed under Colin Powell, Contessa Brewer, DemRapidResponse, Dick Cheney, draft deferments, MSNBC, Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh

Olbermann’s WTF!?! Moment: GOP’s ‘Democrat Socialist Party’

Classic Olbermann, a truly golden moment that can’t be missed. It’s laughable how the GOP just doesn’t get it.

Here is Keith’s WTF!?! comments on the RNC’s resolution to refer to the Democratic Party as the “Democratic Socialist Party”

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Filed under Countdown with Keith Olberman, Democratic Party, Republican Party, RNC, WTF Comment

Menendez:The Democrats Welcomed Sen. Arlen Specter Into Our Party

I received the following email message from Sen Bob Menendez a short while ago welcoming Pennsylivania’s Arlen Specter into the Democratic party:

“The Democrats welcomed Sen. Arlen Specter into our party today. He gave one simple reason for switching parties:

“Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”

The extreme right wing lost the American people in 2006 and 2008. Now, they’ve lost their hold on another moderate voice in the United States Senate.

This one’s a game-changer. Specter’s move immediately improves the prospects of President Obama’s bold change agenda.

But make no mistake – Republicans still have the votes they need to mount a filibuster. Sen. Specter’s decision will make our opponents even more desperate.

Norm Coleman will dig in his heels and fight even harder to deny us that filibuster-proof 60th seat.

Even when Coleman finally, finally has no more appeals and is forced to concede defeat, the Republicans will be plotting day and night to defeat our candidates in 2010. They know that beating just one Democratic incumbent would let them filibuster, delay, and deny the President’s agenda.

Today is a great day for all of us who want to help bring real, lasting change to this country….”  

Note to Sen. Specter: I applauded your decision to join the Democratic Party, as the Republican party has shown there is no place in its ranks for  a “moderate” Republican.  As the nation leans more towards the left, neocon-conservative Republicans have taken control of  all that is left of  the party of Eisenhower, Goldwater and Reagan.

While the Republican party has dwindled and became known as the “Party Of No”, the Democratic ranks have swelled. Democats are the leaders of change that have and will, see this country through the current economic crisis and lead the way in the fight for healthcare, social security and tax reform.

Welcome,
MM      

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Filed under Democratic Party, healthcare reform, Party of No, Republican Party, Sen. Arlen Spector, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Breaking: Specter Will Run as a Democrat in 2010

By Carl Hulse

New York Times
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said on Tuesday he would switch to the Democratic party, presenting Democrats with a possible 60th vote and the power to break Senate filibusters as they try to advance the Obama administration’s new agenda.

In a statement issued about noon as the Capitol was digesting the stunning turn of events, Mr. Specter said he had concluded that his party had moved too far to the right, a fact demonstrated by the migration of 200,000 Pennsylvania Republicans to the Democratic Party.

Read More >>>Here

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Filed under Democratic Party, Obama Administration, Pennsylania, Republican Party, Sen. Arlen Spector, The New York Times

Quote of the Day: "Limbaugh…manipulating the G-spot of the neocon consciousness"

The last thing we all need are actors that express their political views, but I have to say that actor extraordinaire, Alec Baldwin, in an article posted on the Huffington Post hit this one on the head. 

“Until Limbaugh gets real, weans himself off the big salary and runs for office, he will always be nothing more than a poorly educated, marginally talented buffoon who has developed a real talent for manipulating the G-spot of the neocon consciousness and massaging the hate gland of so many economically displaced white voters in America.”



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Filed under Alec Baldwin, G-spot, Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, the GOP, The Huffington Post

Candidate For RNC Chair Sends Out CD With Song Called "Barack, The Magic Negro"

You would think that after the trouncing the GOP took at the polls in November, where the national ticket lost badly among growing voter groups such as young people, Hispanics and suburbanites that leaders of the GOP would be a little more sensitive than this.
Using race as a divide in order to gain political points is wrong no matter what the intentions of individuals are.  
  

Yesterday afternoon the following story was picked up by  Talking Points Memo. It was first reported on by the Hill  and followed up by Poltico.com just a couple of hours ago.

“If one of the Republican Party’s challenges is how to effectively oppose the first black president without coming off as racist, one of the candidates for RNC chair is hardly off to a good start — he is now distributing a CD that includes a racially-charged song called “Barack, The Magic Negro.”


Chip Saltsman, the former campaign manager for Mike Huckabee, has distributed a goodie bag to committee members that includes a CD by Paul Shanklin, a writer of right-wing parody tunes who is often featured on Rush Limbaugh. The “Magic Negro” track, which first gathered controversy in the Spring of 2007, featured Shanklin portraying Al Sharpton as an Amos & Andy stereotype, ridiculing white liberals who support Obama.

Saltsman defended the choice of the Shanklin CD, telling The Hill: “Paul Shanklin is a long-time friend, and I think that RNC members have the good humor and good sense to recognize that his songs for the Rush Limbaugh show are light-hearted political parodies.” “

Read the follow up story from Poltico.com >>> Here

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Filed under Al Sharpton, Barack Obama, Chip Saltsman, Mike Huckabee, Paul Shanklin, political parody, Politico.com, Republican Party, RNC Chair, Rush Limbaugh, Talking Points Memo, The Hill