Category Archives: Twitter

2 Hours Until Polls Close

There are two hours left until polls all across the state close and from what is being reported statewide and what I see locally, voter turnout is light.

I am heading back out in a few minutes to keep an eye on my local district and then when polls close will be heading over to Middletown Democratic HQ for the results. I will also be stopping by over at Yesterdays restaurant in Hazlet to check in on how the candidates for the 13th District, Cullen for Senate, Lavan & Short for Assembly are making out.

If anyone is interested I’ll be sending out updates and observations via my twitter account so make sure to check it out.

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Filed under election day, polls closing, Twitter

The Shameless Republicans who Refuse to Denounce Sam Thompson’s Double Dipping: Just Another Reason Why New Jersey Property Taxes Are So High.

For nearly two weeks now, I’ve tried to contact New Jersey Republicans, New Jersey Tea Parties, and New Jersey blogs that claim to be conservative. I’ve asked them to denounce Sam Thompson’s double dipping. Thompson has been double dipping since 1998 as an Assemblyman, and plans continue double dipping if elected State Senator in District 12. Despite this, he claims to be a fiscal conservative. I call him a fiscal phony. Regardless of whether or not I get elected, I want my campaign to at least stop one of the many New Jersey politicians from double dipping. I think it would be an important symbolic victory for New Jersey taxpayers.

I wasn’t sure why conservatives haven’t been able to pressure Thompson to stop double dipping. I first thought that many groups that are trying to eliminate fiscal waste simply did not know Thompson was a double dipper, so I’ve reached out to groups around the state through Twitter and Facebook and told them about Thompson’s double dipping. I then asked them to join me and other taxpayers in denouncing Thompson’s actions.

I contacted Tea Parties in New Jersey on Twitter. Thus far, the Ocean County Tea Party and The Northern New Jersey Tea Party have stood by in deafening silence. Neither of these organizations have joined me in asking Thompson to stop double dipping. Why do groups that claim to be “taxed enough already” refuse to denounce a guy’s actions that create government waste and cause high taxes? I’m still awaiting Bayshore Tea Party’s response, and will update you with their decision.

The New Jersey Tea Party had an interesting, if not paranoid, reply. After not replying to my first request, I asked them why they refused to denounce Thompson, and they stated that their party “does not refuse to do that”. This got my hopes up, as I thought it would lead to a clear denunciation of Thompson. I was wrong. They followed with a rather curious claim, “We are obligated to do nothing you like”. It gets better, as they then told me if I “Attempt to dictate what We must say” and “We may claim that You are an enemy of freedom”. Amazing. Only in New Jersey. A guy asks a Tea Party group to denounce a double dipper, and I’m considered an enemy of freedom.

After having no luck with Tea Parties, I thought I’d contact some conservative Blogs. Save Jersey claimed to be against all double dipping, but have refused to publicly denounce Thompson. Rather than doing that, they questioned how a candidate with a union endorsement (in this case, NJEA) could question another candidate for “waste & greed”. Of course, Thompson was endorsed by the AFL-CIO in 2009, but that doesn’t seem to bother them. The larger problem here is their rather pedestrian slight of hand technique to divert attention from the issue of Thompson double dipping. They have yet to publicly denounce Thompson. I’m not holding my breath.

This leads me to Art Gallagher of More Monmouth Musings. Similar to the reply of the New Jersey Tea Party, Art’s initial response got my hopes up. He informed me that “conservatives already denounced that months ago before I was a candidate”, and asked “where were you then”? I was in Old Bridge, but I also denounced Sam’s double dipping back in 2009. I have tried to find out which conservatives he was talking about, and assumed he was claiming to be one of them. However, I haven’t found anything that Art has written to suggest he opposes Thompson’s double dipping. I also asked him if he could provide me a link. He has yet to do so. Instead, he has questioned the pension I received after I was shot in the line of duty. The Old Bridge GOP and a Republican consulting firm were quick to “retweet” this question,
but less quick to answer my questions about Thompson’s antics. As I have previously stated in my last campaign and this one, I will give up my pension if elected to office. This has been published on the Star Ledger website. However, Art isn’t really interested in this. He has more interest in maintaining his relationship with cozy relationship with elected Republicans, regardless of their pension antics. Asking about my pension is the same tactic Save Jersey pursued when they asked about one of my endorsements.

Of course, I’ve tried to contact the GOP and get a few answers. Funnily enough, I expected the least from them in all of this, but the Old Bridge GOP gave me the most entertaining answers. After first asking for a source to my claim about Thompson’s double dipping (Did they really not know?), they then told me that Thompson is not “ACTUALLY” double dipping. How did they reach that conclusion? They stated: “Sam retired after 25+ years of service to the State and collects a pension from that. He was then elected to the legislature, a different job, where he receives a salary”. Amazing. How is that not double dipping? He continues to receive a pension despite holding a job in the legislature.

It actually gets even better. Old Bridge GOP wrote “Sam’s decision to retire saved taxpayers money Bob and you know this. It’s easy math.” How on earth do they reach this conclusion? It’s bad enough to avoid denouncing a double dipper, but now the GOP is claiming that double dipping saves NJ taxpayers money?! Only in New Jersey. And, it wasn’t just them. The person running “Frank Pallone is not for New Jersey”, who claims to be conservative, also stated that Thompson’s double dipping has saved us money. How on earth does anyone let Republicans near their money?!

The only other defense by the Old Bridge GOP is to claim that there are Democratic double dippers. As I’ve previously stated, I believe double dipping by any politician in any party is wrong. Both sides need to give it up. However, my experience with “conservative” voices in New Jersey tells me that Republican double dippers like Thompson face no pressure to end this practice. As funny as the defenses of Thompson have been to read, it is Thompson and other double dippers that have the last laugh, and they do so at the taxpayer’s expense.

Only in New Jersey.

Bob Brown
Democratic Candidate for State Senate in District 12

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Filed under 12th Legislative District, AFL-CIO, Bayshore Tea Party, Bob Brown, double dipping, NJ Tea Party, NJEA, Old Bridge GOP, pension reform, Sam Thompson, Twitter

>Letting The "Sunshine" In Monmouth

>By Monmouth County Freeholder Amy Mallet

Common sense tells us that government is more responsive and ethical when its actions are open to public scrutiny. As Supreme Court Justice Brandeis famously said, “Sunlight is the best of disinfectants.” Woodrow Wilson, who appointed Brandeis to the Supreme Court, wrote about the need to shed light on the government. He said, “Light is the only thing that can sweeten our political atmosphere.”

As far back as the 1890s several states were already experimenting with disclosure rules to combat corruption in campaign finance. This is not a new conversation. Modern times change the delivery, but history provides us with perspective, and sometimes even inspiration.

The digital age allows more opportunities to let the sun in than ever before. We are living in unique times where technology creates new, exciting opportunities to widen access between the public and government. New tools such as imaging, scanning, the Internet, mass storage capacity and millions of hand-held devices have the potential to give people better insight into governmental decision-making, budgeting and spending.

This progress allows for two-way communication. For example, through the county Web site, individuals can send an e-mail with concerns or comments on a particular issue. The success of our political system requires that citizens be involved.

Human nature is such that elected officials who see no public interest in their activities are more likely to stray from the core interests of their constituents. At its worst, circumstances where elected officials face an apathetic public provide a breeding ground for corruption and abuse. Citizens need to care about how we govern, understand how government works and be aware of the issues we are addressing. They also need the tools to hold elected officials accountable for their actions.

Since taking office, I have advocated for certain changes geared toward a more transparent, accessible government:

In 2009, the Board of Chosen Freeholders supplemented online meeting agendas with the resolutions that were up for consideration by the board. This allowed the public to see more than just titles of these items.

Also in 2009, Monmouth County embraced social media and developed Facebook and Twitter sites.

In 2010, Monmouth County also began posting its proposed budget online. In the past it was posted only after it had been adopted.

Also in 2010, at my request and at little expense to the taxpayers, our Clerk of the Board moved from an antiquated tape system of recording minutes to digital recording technology. I would like to say this brought us into the 21st century, but it is more accurate to say it brought us out of the 1980s. This simple improvement has now allowed staff to more accurately transcribe the minutes, freed up space that had previously been used to store cassette tapes and gave the freeholders and staff immediate access to the important discussions that take place.
I am proud that as a result of moving to digital recordings of freeholder meetings, full audio of regular and workshop meetings are now available on the county Web site,http://www.visitmonmouth.comThis allows residents who are unable to attend meetings to hear the discussions that took place and stay more engaged in issues that are relevant to their lives.

The benefits of this technology go beyond convenience. We find ourselves in troubled times where citizens and the governments that serve them confront dire financial challenges. Municipal, county and state governments must be held to the highest standards of efficiency and productivity. The best means of reaching that goal is to pull back the curtain. In addition to posting meeting minutes and the budget we should post expenditures and employment and other contracts.

Despite these technological advances, I recommend that residents attend the meetings. They are generally held at the Hall of Records, 1 East Main St. in Freehold, with workshops at 2 p.m. and regular meetings at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursday of each month. There are exceptions when the board takes the meetings on the road. A full and detailed schedule of meetings, as well as a wealth of other information, can be found on the county Web site.

Moving forward in this fashion would be a marked departure from the way many of our local public bodies have approached accessibility. But as technology advances excuses for failing to make this type of information available will evaporate.

Public officials need to be imaginative and efficient in organizing and making these documents available to the public. They should be encouraged in the knowledge that their efforts to promote government transparency fulfill the intent of those who founded our great country and ensures that the power entrusted to elected officials will not be abused.

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Filed under Facebook, Freeholder Amy Mallet, Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, New Jersey, sunshine laws, transparency, Twitter

>Live Twitter Updates Starting @ 8PM

>For those that are interested in what is happening in Middletown as the polls start closing, I will be twittering election results as they make it into the Middletown Democrats election HQ starting @ 8 pm. Watch for twitter updates in the lower righthand sidebar underneath the Bayshore news widget.

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Have You Heard The One About The Joker Who Wants To Be On The Middeltown Board Of Education?

There is a real Joker in town who wants to be elected to the Middletown Board Of Education, the guy is Vinnie Brand and he is a comedian and owner of the Stress Factory Comedy Club in New Brunswick.

From what I understand he is running on the slate with his buddies Mike Mascone and Chris Aveta, all three are involved with Middletown Soccer and have ties to Middletown Deputy Mayor Tony Fiore, who seems to have put the three together in order to take control over the school board.

Fiore put together this “soccer dream team” and signed the school board petition for both Brand and Aveta. Most likely with the idea that if elected to the Board of Education, Brand, Mascone and Aveta will be more inclined to open up the synthetic turf fields at both high schools to kids that play soccer in Middletown being that plans for the turf fields at West Front Street Park and Croydon Hall have been cancelled.

(Mascone Petition)

(Brand Petition)

(Aveta Petition)

(click on the images to see who signed their petitions)

Being a comedian and owner of a comedy club I found some interesting information on Mr. Vinnie Brand that I thought I should share so that voters could make an informed choice when going to the polls on April 20th to vote for members of the school board and school budget. This information is from his own website at vinniebrand.com, his My Space page and on Twitter. So these are his own words not something I wrote about him.

On his website he lists this as his bio:

“Vinnie grew up in Middletown NJ, the third of four children born to a plumber and a overly optimistic mother. He attended Rutgers College and immediately met the woman of his nightmares. Promptly, they had three children and bills. Vinnie ran his own construction company and flower shop while performing at open mic nights, juggling his time raising his children, working like a dog and performing.

After becoming a headline comic, He sold the flower shop, closed the construction company and gave his wife the divorce she was begging for. With three kids, no money and no car, he opened The Stress Factory Comedy Club while living in a boarding house for fathers that lost it all in bad divorces.

In 1995 Vinnie met the woman of his dreams, Vicki, while borrowing her car. He married her in 1998 and got full custody of his three children in 1999. Then, to round things out, they added two more children.”

“ Today Vinnie spends his time on stage all over New York City talking about the things he knows best, kids, marriage, bills and family. His unique approach lets him weave a story that captivates audiences of all ages while pissing off his ex wife. Overall, it has all worked out.”

I have to wonder how much thought this guy gave to running for the school board or did he just let the party use him for publicity? How about his availability for doing the job of school board member? Just check out this schedule comedy club appearances:

July 28th, Tuesday: COMIC STRIP LIVE ,
August 3rd, Monday @ 9.35PM: COMIC STRIP LIVE
August 5th, Wednesday @ 9.20PM: COMIC STRIP LIVE
August 6th, Thursday @ 9.20PM: COMIC STRIP LIVE
August 20th, Thursday: with JIM BREUER AT THEATRE IN MORRISTOWN
August 28th, Thursday @ 11.10PM: COMIC STRIP LIVE
August 29th, Saturday: BORGATA HOTEL WITH JIM BREUER
August 31st, Monday @ 10.05PM: COMIC STRIP LIVE
September 26th, Saturday: with JIM BREUER at Capital One Theatre

You really have to ask yourself why is guy running for a public office? He uses his kids for material in his comedy routine (as evident in the youtube video at the bottom of this post), which make you wonder if he will us the kids from the district as material in his act as well if he gets on the school board?

School board members should be an example to our children. What kind of example is it to put this on His My Space:

From Vinny Brand on My Space/Blog Posting Wednesday, September 27, 2006

spinach, you bastard. Current mood: annoyed

No, it can’t be, but it is. Spinach is killing people. That’s it, I quit! I could deal with all the bullshit this world throws at you, terrorism, rising interest rates, dysfunctional TIVO and Iran enriching uranium because I always had the good shit to fall back on. Spinach was one of them. I could kill off a box of HOHOs’ knowing that I could wash it all away with a helping of spinach. Fucking spinach was my rock, it was in my terror attack survival kit, right next to the duct tape, plastic and batteries. Now I’m screwed. It’s like finding out that you could choke to death on a vitamin.

I’m done folks. I’m going to drown myself in Pop Tarts, Red Bull and cookies. Damn the torpedos, let Iran have a nuke and screw my tivoed episode of Greys Anatomy that pixilates because Comcast sucks, none of it matters now. Spinach, you bastard!

What kind of example is that? I can only imagine what Brand will use from his board experience in his comedy routine. Maybe that is why he is running, for more comedy material. I can tell you this, I would not want him having ANY confidential information about my kid!

His lack of good judgement in the video below is an example. He calls the police to arrest his son for smoking pot in his bedroom only to find out that in the end that it cost him over $5 grand in lawyer and court fees while his son is left with a criminal record.

I think it best we leave Mr. Brand and his slate to the jobs they seem to enjoy more and put more qualified candidates on our board of education. Or the joke will be on us!

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Filed under Candidates, Middletown, Middletown Board of Education, my space, Stress Factory Comedy Club, Tony"the fibber"Fiore, Twitter, Vinnie Brand

Solomeno, Monmouth County and Pancakes, Mmm… Perfect Together

Vincent Solomeno, Democratic Candidate for Monmouth County Freeholder, sent me the following note attacked with a video from a pancake breakfast fundraiser that he held last Saturday. He asked me if I would post it here on the blog and I was more than happy to do so.

Since deciding to run for Monmouth County Freeholder, I’ve visited with elected officials, party leaders, and private citizens to hear their ideas and concerns. In communities from Matawan to Brielle and Allentown to Oceanport, I’m consistently hearing that people have lost faith in government’s ability to solve the public policy challenges that grow more pressing with each passing day. I am seeking the nomination for Freeholder because I believe we can do better. We can restore trust in government by continuing the change begun in 2009 and demonstrating through our actions, not just our words, that Monmouth Democrats are serious about reforming the way Freehold does business.

I am optimistic about the future of Monmouth County and it will be my honor to be part of an effort that translates that optimism into real results. Right now, I’m working to build momentum for a grassroots campaign that involves citizens of all stripes. I am grateful to the Hazlet and Union Beach Democratic Clubs, who threw a pancake breakfast for me last Saturday. We turned out 80 people, raised some money, and demonstrated that politics does not have to be consigned to the professionals. I hope to hold similar events in other parts of Monmouth in the weeks ahead, but in the mean time, I encourage you to check out a video of my remarks recorded by a supporter and posted to YouTube.

Kind regards,

Vincent Solomeno

P.S. If you haven’t already, please check out my web site –
www.vincentsolomeno.com

You can also connect with Vincent Solomeno by becoming a Facebook Fan or by following him on Twitter

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Filed under Democratic Candidate, Facebook, Hazlet NJ, Monmouth County Freeholder Candidate, Twitter, Vincent Solomeno

Obama tweets for first time

From The Hill.com
By Kim Hart –

President Barack Obama has “pushed the button” to send his first-ever tweet during a visit to the D.C. offices for the American Red Cross.

Obama used the relief organization’s page to tweet: tweeted: “President Obama and the First Lady are here visiting our disaster operation center right now.”

The next tweet read, “President Obama pushed the button on the last tweet. It was his first ever tweet!”

It was the first time that the president who made history using social media during the 2008 election had personally used the technology.

While both the White House and the president’s campaign have Twitter accounts (with extensive lists of followers, no less), those accounts are managed and written by staff — something the president has in common with a majority of officials who are on Twitter.

Obama remarked on the occasion, according to several reporters who witnessed the act.

“I just tweeted. The first time I tweeted,” Obama said, noting as well that the Red Cross had raised $21 million through Twitter to send relief to earthquake-stricken Haiti.

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Filed under President Obama, The Hill, Twitter