Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Movie Leonardo DiCaprio Doesn't Want You To See

After reading about (and watching the 3 part documentary) that the published on August 12th, I finally watched the video of " Don's Plum"; The movie that Leonardo DiCaprio and Toby Maguire didn't want you to see back in 1995.

The story of Don's Plum is fascinating. I recommend reading the article and watching the documentary, I mentioned above before watching the movie in order to get all the background before watching the movie.

Don's Plum was a small budget, indie movie, made for ~ $100K between a group of friends that had the potential to make $Millions at box offices around the world. Instead, friendships were lost and careers ruined as a result of egos and misunderstandings.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

July 15, 2019 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

The July 15th meeting of the Middletown Township Committee was held at the Tonya Keller Recreation Center, in North Middletown. This meeting happened to be the only meeting of the month for the Committee. I'm still in the process of viewing the video but wanted to post it before to much time has gone by.

Here's a rundown of the night's event:

Members of the Ideal Beach Community Association were presented with a sign that will be mounted on the concession stand at Ideal Beach.

Ordinances were introduced to:

- appoint Debra Marchetti as the new Tax Collector
- reduce the speed limit on Broadway and Center Ave in Leonardo
- Place a stop sign on Cooper Rd where it intersects with McClees Rd
- Make Alexander Dr., in River Plaza, a no stopping or standing area
- Add right turn controls onto Roger Ave in Lincroft
- To borrow $29k in bonds to purchase a video pipe inspection camera
- To borrow $340k for the acquisition of easements for the Pt. Monmouth flood control project
- To borrow $170k for improvements to Grand Tour in the Hartshorne area
- To borrow $377k for various improvements in the township

Resolutions were adopted to:

- add grant monies received to the budget
- the filing of the municipal audit
- the appointment of the Deputy Tax Collector
- appointing an additional public defender
- approved grant applications for the Campbell's Junction Transit Hub Project and to make improvements to Holland Rd.

Residents spoke of newly installed no parking signs on their streets by the beach, leaving them with nowhere to park even though people are parking there to go to the beach and have issues of with illegal parking along Pt. Monmouth Rd, by Bayshore Waterfront Park and no police enforcement. The police chief explained that they were not equipped to handle this situation.

As always you can download a copy of the Meeting Agenda that contains the discussion items and the proposed resolutions and ordinances that were voted on or presented 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. Attached to this agenda is also the monthly bill list, so that everyone can see how the Township is spending our tax dollars.

July 10, 2019 Middletown Planning Board Meeting - Village 35

I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but it's still important to post.

At the July 10th meeting of the Middletown Planning Board, the Board unanimously approved the Village 35 project despite the concerns of many residents that were in attendance that evening. You can read what the Asbury Park Press had to say about ... HERE

Needless to say, other than the developer, there aren't many people happy about this decision. As designed, the Village 35 center is going to be a monstrosity and eyesore for anyone living or traveling in the vicinity of highway 35 between Tindall Road and Kanes Lane and beyond.

Many of those objecting to the size and scope of this project would like to see it downsized and some kind of passive recreation included. 

There has been a long history of law suits surrounding this development and i wouldn't be too surprised if that history is extended by a couple more. 

Pretty much sums it up ...

From the Daily News:
Bramhall's World: Trump Presidency

Friday, July 5, 2019

Friday Facts and Fireworks: July 5, 2019


Friday Facts and Figures is a brief digital newsletter focusing on data points from NJPP reports, research, and policy debates in New Jersey and beyond. This is a special edition with four facts to celebrate the Fourth of July.  Sign up here

72 Percent
A majority of corporate tax subsidies are sold to companies that never applied for them, according to a new analysis by From 2014 to 2017, corporations receiving Grow NJ or residential ERG tax credits sold 72 percent of their subsidies to other companies. These sales are allowed — tax free — under the existing laws governing the state’s corporate tax incentive programs. Corporations are incentivized to sell their tax credits as they often exceed their annual tax liabilities. Until this summer, the state Treasury Department could not fully track the sale and transfer of tax credits between companies. [ / Ashley Balcerzak]

$235 Million
On Sunday, Governor Murphy signed the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, averting a state shutdown just in time for the holiday weekend. The budget does not include the millionaires tax, meaning there is no new, sustainable revenue to offset the increased spending proposed by lawmakers (the budget passed by the legislature paid for new spending with rosy revenue projections). To protect against a revenue shortfall later in the year, the governor put $235 million worth of line items in a “lock box,” freezing the appropriations until the state has the revenue to pay for them. This fiscally responsible maneuver symbolizes a much-needed departure from gimmicky budgets of the past and could motivate lawmakers to pass a millionaires tax later this year. [ / Samantha Marcus]

$9 Million
This was a big week for the 2020 Census. First, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s rationale for a citizenship question, then a few days later, the Justice Department pledged the census would be printed without the question. Now, the Justice Department has reversed course and is searching for new ways to get the question back in. Amidst the chaos, New Jersey is taking proactive measures to ensure an accurate count. In the FY 2020 budget signed by Governor Murphy, the state will appropriate $9 million for census outreach and assistance. This appropriation protects against an undercount, which would risk the loss of billions of dollars in federal funds, fewer congressional seats and Electoral College votes, and inaccurate legislative district boundaries. [The Philadelphia Inquirer / Michaelle Bond]

$3.1 Million
The budget signed by Governor Murphy also includes $3.1 million for legal aid in immigration courts, representing a near-50 percent increase from last year. Free, court-appointed counsel for low-paid immigrants ensures due process and increases the odds of residents winning their case and being reunited with their family. A 2018 report by NJPP found that individuals detained for civil immigration violations are three times as likely to prevail in their cases when they have legal representation. [Asbury Park Press / ​Stacey Barchenger and Ashley Balcerzak]

Catch up on this year’s budget season with NJPP’s FY 2020 Budget: Rapid Reaction. This informal recap includes the data and analysis NJPP is known for — with plenty of gifs! Click the link to see what’s in the budget, what’s out, and why we’re so excited about Governor Murphy’s $401 million deposit into the state’s rainy day fund (spoiler: it’s a budgeting best practice that prepares the state for the next economic downturn). NJPP President Brandon McKoy and Flyers’ mascot, Gritty, make cameo appearances. [NJPP / Louis Di Paolo et al.]

Have a fact or figure for us? Tweet it to @NJPolicy.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Whole World Is Wondering Why Americans Say This On The 4th Of July

From Buzzfeed

It's certainly a mystery as to why we Americans call today's Independence Day holiday, the 4th of July,  instead of July 4th or even Independence Day.

It's interesting really... "Technically or not-so-technically, we should be saying "Happy July 4th," not "Happy 4th of July... It's one of the few times Americans use "European style" dating...And one of the few dates we pronounce differently in comparison to how we write it... I mean, some people say "Happy Independence Day," but that's not really *so* much a thing. I feel like I see that written in store advertisements, but as a whole, we say, "Happy 4th of July."

It a quandary.

Oh well, have a Happy 4th of July, a Happy July 4th or a very Happy Independence Day ... whichever you prefer.

Happy Independence Day

While we celebrate our County's birth on this day, I wish everyone a safe and health holiday on this July 4th!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Japanese Internment Hasn’t Taught Us Anything


In 1942, Executive Order 9066 sent tens of thousands of Americans to internment camps. And history is repeating itself.

Jamie Noguchi is a DC-based freelance cartoonist, illustrator, and tokusatsu enthusiast. He's also really good at eating irresponsible amounts of Korean barbecue.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Thought Of the Day

“Do not trouble your hearts over much with thought of the road tonight. Maybe the paths you each shall tread are already laid before your feet though you do not see them.”

- J.R.R. Tolkien

June 5, 2019 Middletown township Planning Board Meeting - Village 35 Traffic Study

If you are interested in the Village 35 project and was curious about what was going on, here is the video from Thursday night's meeting of the Middletown Planning Board:

"The Applicant is requesting preliminary and final major subdivision and major site plan in accordance with the Circus Liquors Redevelopment Plan. The applicant is seeking site plan approval to construct seven (7) buildings totaling 342,000 square feet of commercial development.
 The Traffic Engineer for the developer presented the DOT approved plan for the access roads surrounding the commercial development of Village 35."

June 3, 2019 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

Last Monday, the Middletown Township Committee, held it's monthly workshop meeting. The video description pretty much sums up what transpired during the meeting. If you have time, please watch. These videos are always very informative and at times educational for those wanting to know what goes on down at Town Hall:
"Freeholder Arnone came to present a shared services program run by the County. A group came to speak to Arnone regarding opioid addiction, but the Freeholder stated he had another meeting with the Howell Town Council to attend.

The Township Committee voted to introduce an ordinance to allow the volunteer fire department to elect their officers during the first week of December, in addition to the standard second week.

The group that came to speak to Freeholder Arnone continued their discussion with the Township Committee. The group was under the impression that the township adopted an ordinance banning medical marijuana distribution centers. They also stated that people being paroled from jail are being paroled to Middletown and Monmouth County in general. It was stated that the parolees do not have housing to live in and resort to living on the street, homeless and that the Township needs to take some responsibility and ensure that there is affordable housing for all.

A resident came in to show the Committee that people in her neighborhood are placing large amounts of brush out at the street after the scheduled collection time. She also said that there a re trailers parked on the street for extended periods of time and that there is no enforcement of existing laws."

As always you can download a copy of the Meeting Agenda that contains the discussion items and the proposed resolutions and ordinances that were voted on or presented 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. Attached to this agenda is also the monthly bill list, so that everyone can see how the Township is spending our tax dollars.

Pallone and Thomas Edison Descendant Denounce Trump Administration’s Roll Back of Lightbulb Efficiency Standards

June 6, 2019

Trump’s corporate giveaway will increase consumer electricity bills by $12 billion a year

EDISON, N.J. – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Barry Edison Sloane, Thomas Edison’s great-grandson, held a press conference to condemn the Trump Administration’s rollback of lightbulb efficiency standards that reduce energy consumption and save consumers billions of dollars each year. They were joined by Ed Potosnak with the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.

In 2007, Congress passed, and President George W. Bush signed into law, lightbulb efficiency standards that required manufacturers to begin producing lightbulbs that use less energy. In 2017, the Obama Administration updated the guidelines to require additional bulb types – including three-way reflector, globe-shaped, and candelabra-style bulbs – adhere to the same efficiency standards as pear-shaped bulbs. In February, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced it would disregard this update. It is estimated that the rollback would increase consumers’ electricity bills by $12 billion a year by the year 2025.

In March, Pallone held a hearing in his Committee’s Energy Subcommittee on the Department of Energy’s inaction on efficiency standards and its impact on consumers and climate change. Pallone serves as the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“This reckless rollback will lead to years of unnecessary electricity generation and carbon emissions – just to power inefficient and outdated lightbulbs. Trashing this important standard will also increase consumers’ electricity bills by allowing inefficient products to remain on the market, something that is absolutely unnecessary,” Congressman Pallone said. “I would like to thank Barry Edison Sloane, a descendant of Thomas Edison, and Ed Potosnak who joined me today to call on this administration to follow the energy guidelines set by Congress and signed into law.”

The New Jersey congressman pointed to the fact that last month 37 electric utilities sent a letter to DOE opposing the lightbulb rollback.

“My great-grandfather, Thomas Edison, believed that all inventions, including the lightbulb, could and should be improved over time. In fact, he had over 20 patents on the incandescent lightbulb: each one an improvement. Thanks to new technology, the newer lightbulbs are more energy efficient, lessen our carbon footprint, and save consumers money – innovations he would have championed,” said Barry Edison Sloane, great-grandson of Thomas Edison. “It’s unacceptable that the Department of Energy now intends to disregard commonsense innovations that have already been embraced in 80 countries and the U.S. for over a decade. Edison would have agreed that, given the urgency climate change presents, this kind of action is like throwing gasoline on our burning house. I think my great grandfather might have had something to say about this, like, ‘Who’s the dim bulb who came up with this idea and why?’”

“I applaud Congressman Frank Pallone for continuing to stand up to Trump’s dangerous and ill-informed deregulatory agenda. Today, we stand together to call attention to a roll back of the federal lightning standard that could cost consumers billions, increase air pollution, and take us ten steps back in addressing the climate crisis,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “Federal light bulb standards may seem like a small thing, but in fact they have enormous impacts on our wallets and our environment. These senseless attacks on smart and widely effective energy efficiency programs only further advances dangerous deregulatory attacks on our economy and environment.”

Beyond the rollback of the lightbulb efficiency standards, the DOE has also ignored the law by refusing to finalize or update efficiency standards for 17 products, including refrigerators, washing machines and room air conditioners.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Pallone Announces Bill to Help Coastal Communities Combat Effects of Climate Change

June 3, 2019

Senators Kamala Harris, Chris Murphy Lead Senate Companion

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) announced legislation to help protect coastal communities from sea level rise and stronger storms caused by climate change. The Living Shorelines Act would create a federal grant program through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to assist states, localities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in constructing living shorelines.

Living shoreline projects use natural materials and systems, including dunes, wetlands, and oyster reefs, to support the natural flood resilience of healthy shoreline ecosystems. Natural infrastructure is cost-effective and adaptable to changing environmental conditions. It also enhances ecosystem functions which can improve water quality and wildlife habitat protection. Certain types of living shorelines can also support carbon mitigation.

“The Living Shorelines Act will help us protect our coastal communities from the effects of climate change, including more flooding from sea level rise and stronger hurricanes, by harnessing proven natural infrastructure solutions. Since Superstorm Sandy, we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to make my home state of New Jersey more resilient against the effects of climate change. This legislation will provide additional help so communities can use living shorelines to effectively mitigate future flooding while benefiting local economies,” Congressman Pallone said. “Strengthening living shorelines will also improve the local environment by supporting water quality and habitats for local wildlife and fish as well as provide enhanced opportunities for recreation. I look forward to working with Senators Harris and Murphy in the Senate to advance this legislation.”

The legislation provides $50 million in federal funds that would be matched by state and local governments and NGOs applying for grants and projects. They would be monitored to measure and help determine best practices for future living shoreline projects. The bill would give priority consideration to projects in areas where a federal disaster has been declared in the past 10 years or that have a history of flooding, which includes New Jersey’s coastal towns. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) will introduce the companion bill in the Senate.

“Our country is facing a climate crisis, and while we work to secure our environment for future generations we must also take steps to mitigate against sea level rise and prepare for the extreme weather that has become increasingly common,” said Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA). “We need to make smart investments in our coastal communities, and creating living shorelines is a proven method of protecting our precious coasts.”

“Connecticut’s economy depends on a vibrant, healthy Long Island Sound, and we have to be smart if we’re going to manage the effects of climate change on our coast. I’m proud to join Senator Harris and Congressman Pallone in reintroducing the Living Shorelines Act. Our legislation will send money to towns along the Sound that are working on environmentally friendly projects to fortify against future storms and rising sea levels,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).

“We are living in a world of a changing climate. Mr. Pallone’s Living Shorelines legislation will provide support for developing new approaches to protecting our coast that are based in nature,” said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the Littoral Society. “Pallone’s bill will empower communities to find ways to live with the water, restoring natural shorelines and habitats while protecting property and communities. We applaud Mr. Pallone for his continued leadership in protecting our coast and ocean, and appreciate the continual development of creative, workable and sound programs that come from his office.”

“Coastal managers have long known that beaches and dunes reduce the risk of flood and storm damage to oceanfront coastal communities while providing ecological habitat and recreation benefits, and the U.S. has wisely invested in maintaining and restoring this critical natural infrastructure. Living shorelines provide these exact same benefits to bayside and estuarine coastal communities but without the same level of support from the federal government. The Living Shorelines Act will help ensure ALL coastal communities can use natural infrastructure to reduced risk from coastal hazards while maintaining wildlife habitat and offering recreation values,” said Derek Brockbank, Executive Director of American Shore and Beach Preservation Association.

“Living shorelines are a proven way to use natural systems to protect shorelines, reduce flooding of both public and private properties, and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife", said Jeff Benoit, President of Restore America's Estuaries. “The Living Shorelines bill provides a real opportunity to advance the use of this technique to create healthy and productive estuaries.”

“Living shorelines are an important and adaptable tool to help coastal communities become more resilient while improving habitat for wildlife,” said Jessie Ritter, Director of Water Resources and Coastal Policy at the National Wildlife Federation. “In the face of severe storms and flooding, the Living Shorelines Act of 2019 will enable more communities to use nature-based solutions to help protect their coastlines. Importantly, the Living Shorelines Act of 2019 will further demonstrate and measure how living shorelines projects protect communities— ultimately helping us improve their design and effectiveness. Thank you to Senators Harris and Murphy and to Congressman Pallone for their leadership on this critical issue for wildlife and coastal communities alike.”

“The Jersey Shore Partnership applauds Congressman Pallone’s introduction of the Living Shorelines Act. This innovative program advances the opportunities to protect our coastal infrastructure by incentivizing a natural complement to ‘hard’ shoreline stabilization methods like stone sills or bulkheads and recognizes the value of living shore lines’ numerous benefits. We applaud and promote this legislation as an important step in advancing shoreline stabilization projects that enhance natural materials that buffer shoreline erosion from coastal storms, support natural habitats, and essential ecosystem functions,” said Margot Walsh, Executive Director, The Jersey Shore Partnership.

Show Your Support ... Vote

June 4th is Primary Day in NJ. Show your support for all those seeking office this year by voting. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Shame On The American Legion ...

photo credit Keith Doll

The sponsors of Middletown's annual Memorial Day Parade should be ashamed of themselves for allowing marchers in yesterday's parade to carry a Pro-Life banner along  the parade route.

The purpose of Memorial Day is to pay tribute to all the fallen soldiers that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, so that we all may enjoy the freedoms that their sacrifices have ensured and maintained for us.

Whoever at the American Legion that approved these marchers and desecrated the honor of all those fallen heroes should be barred from the halls of the American Legion immediately and have their membership revoked!

photo credit Keith Doll
Township officials, who also marched or drove during the parade, should be embarrassed knowing that such a cheap political stunt like allowing the Pro-Life banner to make it's way along the parade route without questioning it, should also be held accountable for desecrating the memories of the fallen.

Things like this just show Middletown residents just how out of touch today's Republicans really are.