Saturday, February 16, 2019

Pallone Slams Trump’s Unconstitutional Declaration of a National Emergency





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2019



Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) released the following statement on President Trump’s announcement that he would be declaring a national emergency to build a border wall. The president’s emergency declaration and effort to steal billions of dollars in civil works programs, flood prevention and reconstruction projects, and military construction funds could impact more than $50 million specifically intended for New Jersey facilities at Picatinny Arsenal and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

“President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency is based on lies and deception and is blatantly unconstitutional. This is not a dictatorship, although President Trump continues to act like a dictator. President Trump took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution. His actions in this case are a violation of that oath. That’s why I have co-sponsored a privileged resolution to terminate the president’s fake emergency under the National Emergencies Act.

“Our Founding Fathers gave the power of the purse to Congress and it is clear that the president either hasn’t read the Constitution or is simply willing to ignore our nation’s founding principles to get his way. Congress must immediately reassert its authority and do whatever is necessary to prevent the president from further trampling on the Constitution. I’ll be fighting the president’s actions on the floor of the House, through the courts and however else is necessary to restore our democracy, which may require his removal from office.

Friday, February 15, 2019

E&C Bipartisan Leaders Announce Subcommittee Hearing on Measles Outbreak and Response Efforts on February 27




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2019


Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-KY) announced today that the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the current measles outbreak and response efforts on Wednesday, February 27. More information on timing, location and witnesses will be announced next week.

“Measles is a highly contagious, life-threatening virus that was previously eliminated in the United States thanks to the success of the measles vaccine,” the four bipartisan Committee leaders said. “Unfortunately, measles cases are on the rise as a consequence of the virus’s transmission among unvaccinated groups.

“The reemergence of vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, presents a serious public health threat, especially for those who rely on ‘herd immunity.’ We look forward to learning more from public health officials on addressing the current outbreak, efforts to prevent the disease’s spread, and strategies to support vaccination efforts,” Pallone, Walden, DeGette and Guthrie concluded.

Since January 1, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 101 individual measles cases in 10 states. The majority of measles cases have occurred in Clark County, Washington, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, with 53 confirmed measles cases. Of those cases, 47 involved people who were not vaccinated against the disease, and 38 people infected were children between the ages of one and 10.


Pallone Statement on Government Funding Agreement and Possible Declaration of National Emergency




February 15, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr (NJ-06) released the following statement on the funding agreement to keep the government open and the possibility that President Trump would build declare a national emergency to build his border wall.

“President Trump’s ridiculous demands for a costly and unnecessary border wall previously led to a shutdown that lasted for 35 days. While this agreement is far from perfect, it is a hard earned compromise that avoids another disastrous government shutdown for our country. The agreement makes important investments in our nation’s future and ensures that federal workers will continue to receive their paychecks while also giving them a well-deserved raise.

“Make no mistake, Democrats will fight President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in Congress, the courts and wherever is necessary to prevent the president from trampling on the Constitution. Despite the president’s lies, there is no national emergency on our nation’s border and circumventing Congress on this issue will set a dangerous precedent that Republicans may very well regret.

“The wall is costly, impractical and unnecessary. Mexico is never going to pay for it, the American people don’t want it and declaring a national emergency to build it is illegal.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

February 4, 2019 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

The February 4th workshop meeting of the Middletown Township Committee was uneventful and over after 30 minutes.

Here are the highlights:
  • The Committee adopted a salary ordinance that provides salary increases to management and non-contractual employees and professionals.
  • Ordinances were introduced to borrow funds to purchase radar equipment, repair sidewalks and increase recreation fees and reduce the time allowed to apply for refunds. These ordinances will be voted upon at the February 19 meeting.
  • Resolutions were adopted to appoint a member to the Library Board and name Toll Brothers as the developer of the residential portion of the Circus Liquors Site, more commonly known at Village 35.



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.


Monday, February 4, 2019

Pallone Reintroduces Bill to Stop Robocalls





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2019




An Estimated 26.3 Billion Unwanted Calls Were Placed in the U.S. in 2018

Washington, D.C. – Today, Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) reintroduced the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (HR 946) in the House of Representatives to stop abusive robocall practices.

Pallone’s bill would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enact strong consumer protections for authorized calls and empower the FCC with strong enforcement tools to reign in robocallers. The legislation would also ensure that consumers have the ability to stop calls they’d previously authorized and require incoming calls to have authentic caller identification information before they are delivered to customers.

“Americans are fed up with robocalls. It is incredibly annoying to repeatedly get unwanted calls from people you don’t know and don’t want to talk to,” Pallone said. “Despite previous efforts like the Do Not Call Registry, robocalls are still on the rise. The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act will equip consumer protection agencies with innovative, new tools designed to stop the abusive practices by robocallers and better restrict unauthorized robocalls.”

Last year, an estimated 26.3 billion unwanted calls were placed in the U.S., which represents a 46 percent increase in unwanted calls over the previous year. The staggering number of unwanted calls are returning huge profit margins for robocallers, with every dollar spent by robocallers returning as much as $20 profit—a 2,000 percent profit margin. Though some robocalls are initiated by legitimate companies, robocalls are also used by scammers to steal from consumers, with more than 22 million Americans losing a total of $9.5 billion in robocall scams in 2016 alone.

Pallone’s bill was also applauded by various consumer groups.

“The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act will apply essential and meaningful consumer protections from unwanted robocalls if the FCC should fail to rein in robocalls from telemarketers and debt collectors, student loan servicers and others,” said Margot Saunders, senior counsel at the National Consumer Law Center.

The robocalls problem is out of control and, without action from Congress, will only get worse. This legislation would tackle the growing problem of "spoofed" calls that trick consumers into answering, by ensuring phone companies implement technology to stop these unwanted calls before they reach the consumer, at no additional cost. Consumer Reports applauds Congressman Pallone for his leadership in addressing this growing problem,” said Maureen Mahoney, policy analyst at Consumer Reports.

The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act would curb the rise of robocalls by:


  • Amending the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to ensure that the FCC has the authority and the tools to take strong, quick action when they track down robocallers;
  • Allowing consumers to revoke consent they had previously given to receive calls at any time and in any reasonable manner;
  • Codifying a reassigned number database to put robocallers on notice when a telephone number they may have previously been authorized to call has been given to a new customer who has not authorized their call;
  • Limiting the number of robocalls exempted from the TCPA under the FCC’s rules;
  • Requiring calls to have verified caller identification information associated with a call before the call can be put through; and
  • Extending the statute of limitations from one year to four years for callers violating robocall prohibitions.


Pallone’s bill is originally cosponsored by: Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Ben Ray Luj├ín (D-NM), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Marc Veasey (D-TX), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Darren Soto (D-FL), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Charlie Crist (D-FL).

Section-by-Section available HERE.

Bill text available HERE.


January 22, 2019 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

Before tonight's monthly workshop meeting of the Middletown Township Committee, I need to post the monthly business meeting from January 22nd. The meeting that night lasted less than a half hour, which makes watching the video a breeze ... Haha

Here are the few highlights:

This was the first business meeting of the year and began at the new time of 7pm, as it was announced in Resolution 19-52 Annual Meeting Notice. All Township Committee meetings for this year will begin at 7pm.

The Management Salary Ordinance was introduced with a vote scheduled to take place at the February 4 workshop meeting. This ordinance defines the salaries for non-contractual officers and employees, statutory employees and elected officials.

A group of Pickle Ball enthusiasts came in to advocate for courts to play Pickle Ball. They were assured that courts would be drawn on existing tennis courts at Normandy Park initially. After the tennis courts are repaved at Tindal Park, courts would be drawn there. Eventually, they were told that courts would be drawn at Kunkle Park in Leonardo as they requested.



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.



Friday, February 1, 2019

Cory Booker Announces 2020 Presidential Run


Late last night / early this morning, New Jersey's junior U.S. Senator, Cory Booker announced that he will be running for President in 2020.

I've met Cory Booker on a few occasions. He's charming, affable and has the ability to give a great speech. But if I'm honest, he doesn't have the "street cred" yet to run for president. What record does he have to point to in the Senate or before that, as the superhero Mayor of Newark? Running into burning buildings in Newark or saving freezing puppies doesn't do it.

At least the last NJ Senator to run for president, Bill Bradley, was a tax policy guru and was responsible for rewriting much of the tax code back in the 80's.

At this point, I don't know who I will be supporting in 2020 but if it is Booker, he really needs to convince me that he's more than a photo op candidate. He has the potential to be the next "Rock Star" politician but so far he hasn't done anything to distinguish himself on the national stage. He's known more so as a flip-flopper on issues rather than a progressive elite.  If he can't shake the image of a flip-flopper,  he won't be getting out of Iowa next February.

Here is the campaign video announcing his presidential bid.

NJSpotlight: A RIVER OF CASH: ANALYZING NJ’S MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR REVENUE STREAMS

Here is another article from NJSpotlight that I think is interesting and makes you go Hmmm.

Why is it so expensive to live in New Jersey? Where does all the tax dollars go once collected by the various entities around the state?

NJSpotlight attempts to tell us:


A RIVER OF CASH: ANALYZING NJ’S MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR REVENUE STREAMS
JOHN REITMEYER | JANUARY 30, 2019
A new report calculates the billions of dollars that flow through the layers of government in the Garden State annually

After analyzing the budgets of over 1,000 government agencies, a right-leaning think tank found that governments in New Jersey are raising more than $86 billion annually from taxes, fees and other revenues. That number does not include federal funds or the revenues of authorities and independent bistate agencies like the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which alone has annual operating expenses of $3.3 billion) or the Delaware River Port Authority ($301 million).

The report, “Adding it All Up” by the Garden State Initiative, was a difficult endeavor. The decentralized governing structure of the state — with its hundreds of governments, municipalities and authorities — makes it virtually impossible for residents to get a sense of exactly how much the system costs to run on an annual basis. GSI had to analyze the budgets of numerous agencies, ranging from state and county all the way down to local sewerage authorities.

The total haul soars to well over $100 billion after funds provided by the federal government are added in. And it tops out at $121 billion once investment gains by the public-worker pension funds and revenue from all authorities that operate in New Jersey, including bistate entities like the Port Authority, are factored in.

The goal of the Morristown-based group’s complicated accounting exercise was to determine just how much it costs to deliver government services in New Jersey. The report also sets the table for a deeper analysis of whether residents are getting bang for their buck. The group is promising to issue follow-up reports exploring ways governments can save money with specific efficiencies. GSI believes it will be able to identify opportunities for at least $1 billion in potential cuts in the coming weeks.

“Taxes are already too high and cutting expenditures haphazardly just to lower costs will cause us to lose the great public services of our state,” according to the report, which was provided to NJ Spotlight in advance of today’s official release.

“The key is to find efficiencies that make government work better for everybody,” the report said....


Continue reading.



NJSpotlight: $15 MINIMUM WAGE ON VERGE OF BECOMING LAW IN NEW JERSEY

I know that raising the minimum wage to $15 hr in NJ, is a big topic right now and on the verge of becoming a reality once Governor Murphy signs the bill that is currently sitting on his desk.

There are pros & cons and people for or against the proposal on both sides; I happen to be for it but here's the thing, I don't believe it should be across the board. There should be a two (maybe three) tiered minimum wage based on age and seasonal employment that protect both low income earners and small business.

I feel that those that rely on "Tips" for income should have a standard minimum wage over and above whatever tips are earned, but less than the maximum $15.

Here is more from NJSpotlight:

$15 MINIMUM WAGE ON VERGE OF BECOMING LAW IN NEW JERSEY
JOHN REITMEYER | FEBRUARY 1, 2019

Governor says he’ll sign compromise measure approved in Legislature yesterday elevating wages of low-paid workers nearly 70 percent by 2024

Over the objections of Republican lawmakers, the Democratic-controlled Legislature easily approved a measure yesterday that will raise the state’s minimum wage for most workers to $15 over the next five years. The bill now goes to Gov. Phil Murphy, who’s promising to sign it within days.

There was little suspense heading into yesterday’s votes. The legislation was the result of a closely negotiated compromise involving Murphy, a first-term Democrat who campaigned on the wage increase, and Democratic legislative leaders who had been more qualified in their embrace of the concept.

GOP lawmakers pleaded with Democratic sponsors yesterday to abandon their deal with the governor, suggesting the proposed increase could lead to job losses and other unintended consequences. But the sponsors noted that similar concerns were raised in 2013, the last time the state changed its minimum-wage policies and the bill passed both houses easily, 52-25 in the Assembly, 23-16 in the Senate.

“If we make mistakes, we’ll address mistakes, but raising people out of poverty is not a mistake,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester).

Murphy responded quickly to the votes on social media, promising he would sign the wage increase Monday.

“Working families can’t wait,” the governor said.... 


Continue reading 


Monday, January 14, 2019

January 6, 2019 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

Seeing how there's a meeting of the Middletown Township committee happening tonight, I thought it best to get caught up by posting the video of last week's annual reorganization meeting.

For those that may not be aware, the new kid on the block, Gerry Scharfenberger's son-in-law, Tony Perry was appointed to be this years acting Mayor and Tony Fiore was appointed to act as this year's Deputy Mayor.



For those that like to follow along, you can download a copy of the Meeting Agenda, where you can find a full list of names who have volunteered for various boards and committees along with any resolutions that may have been acted upon during the meeting.



*************************************

Update: 5:20pm

It has been brought to my attention that there is not a meeting of the Middletown Township Committee scheduled for tonight.

Pallone Reintroduces COAST Anti-Drilling Act in Response to Trump’s Reckless Actions to Expand Offshore Drilling




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2019



Bi-Partisan Effort Supported by All Democratic Members of the New Jersey Delegation

Washington, D.C – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06) announced that he would reintroduce the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act that would ban offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, Straits of Florida, and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. In 2017, President Trump signed an executive order aimed toward allowing offshore oil and gas drilling along the East Coast. Recently the administration also approved five Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) permits for companies planning to conduct seismic geological and geophysical surveys along the Atlantic coast. Seismic testing poses a direct threat to important marine life populations and opens the door for the expansion of offshore drilling in the Atlantic and along New Jersey’s coast.

“President Trump’s dangerous plans for offshore drilling will risk the livelihoods of millions on the Atlantic Coast and in New Jersey,” said Pallone. “An oil spill anywhere along the Atlantic Coast would cause severe environmental damage to fisheries, popular beaches and wildlife. I will work with members of the New Jersey delegation and colleagues in Congress to pass the COAST Anti-Drilling Act and prevent the Trump Administration from wreaking havoc on New Jersey’s coastal communities.”

All Democratic Members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation have joined Pallone’s effort to stop offshore drilling by signing onto the COAST Act as original cosponsors. U.S. Senator Robert Menendez has introduced the COAST Act in previous Congresses and has been a leader in fighting against drilling in the Atlantic.

“As climate change continues to threaten our shore communities, the last thing we need is another man-made disaster in the form of an offshore oil spill,” said Sen. Menendez. “The COAST Anti-Drilling Act draws a line in the sand—a line that we must never let Big Oil cross—by permanently banning drilling throughout the Atlantic. The Jersey Shore is a birthright for every New Jerseyan and I’ll continue to protect our coastal communities, tourism industry, and marine ecosystems. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to reintroduce a companion bill in the coming weeks.”

The COAST Anti-Drilling Act prohibits the U.S. Department of Interior from issuing leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil or gas in the North, Mid-, or South Atlantic Ocean or the Straits of Florida, or the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The Jersey Shore is home to over $700 billion in coastal properties and a tourism industry that generates $38 billion a year supporting almost half a million direct and indirect jobs, or nearly ten percent of the state’s entire workforce. New Jersey’s vibrant commercial fishing industry generates over $7.9 billion annually and supports over 50,000 jobs. The state has one of the largest saltwater recreational fishing industries in the nation. All of these are threatened by offshore drilling.

The economic and environmental devastation of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy far exceeded what many believed would be the worst-case scenario for an offshore oil accident. More than seven years later, the Gulf Coast still hasn’t fully recovered from its catastrophic impact.

“The best way to stop the insanity of offshore oil and gas drilling is to make it illegal,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. “We applaud Chairman Pallone for his continued leadership on this issue and look forward to his new role as chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee where he can hold federal officials accountable for their reckless actions,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action.

"We applaud Congressman Pallone for standing up to protect New Jersey’s economy and environment against President Trump’s anti-environmental and pro-polluter agenda,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “The Jersey Shore tourism industry is a $44 billion economic engine and supports more than 838,000 jobs, including vibrant commercial and recreational fishing industries. The COAST Anti-Drilling Act would protect not only New Jerseyans, but all of the East Coast from dangerous offshore fossil fuel extraction.”

“It is critical for Congress to stand up to Donald Trump and block his reckless plan to drill off our coast. We need this legislation more than ever, this is the biggest risk to our coast in over 40 years. Offshore drilling would jeopardize our $38 billion coastal economy and fishing industry. The possibility of an oil spill or leak would threaten New Jersey’s entire coastal economy and our public safety. The only way to stop that Fossil Fool in the White House is to get Congress to ban drilling off the Atlantic,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Congressman Pallone has been a champion to our coast. We thank him for his efforts to protect it and now we need him more than ever to block Donald Trump from drilling off our coast.”

In May of 2017, Pallone lead a bipartisan group of members from the New Jersey Congressional delegation in a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke opposing President Trump's plans for offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. The signers urged Zinke to consider the severe economic and environmental impacts oil and gas development in the Atlantic would have on New Jersey.

In June 2017, Pallone led a bipartisan letter from the entire New Jersey Congressional delegation to the National Marine Fisheries Service voicing concerns over a proposal to issue seismic testing permits for the Atlantic Ocean.

In December of 2016, Pallone helped successfully convince President Obama to permanently ban oil and gas exploration in areas of the Atlantic Ocean by exercising the authority granted to him by Congress under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).

President Trump’s actions seek to roll back those protections and reopen the Five-Year Plan to expand offshore drilling.


Saturday, January 5, 2019

NEW YEAR, SAME OLD B***S***

The following blog post is from Danielle Walsh's new blog, " Keeping Middletown Informed". It's the first of many that has been promised by Danielle. I can't wait to read more.  The post below is published here with her permission. Enjoy - MM


January 04, 2019

NEW YEAR, SAME OLD BULLSHIT

'The Middletown Board of Education and Township Committee are now in a race to decide when you will vote for School Board Members with zero input from YOU'
First, I apologize for the vulgarity, but sometimes I am astonished at the lack of respect and trust the Township Committee and the Board of Education have for each other. If you thought a new year and new members would bring a change, think again.

It's no secret the BOE and the TC haven't always seen eye to eye. As I former BOE member and president myself, I've encountered the frustrations of trying to create common ground. The Middletown residents, however, have made it crystal clear that they want to see a better working relationship between the two entities to not only reduce taxes, but to keep the public better informed of issues that affect their families. And in turn, all the candidates who ran this year for both BOE and TC made 'working together' and 'transparency' a central platform of their campaigns.

So here's the latest beef as I see it...There have been passing statements made by members of the Township Committee since the election, that they felt the Board of Education elections should be returned to April. Here's where it gets a little complicated so bear with me while I give you some background...

-BOE elections are presently held in November. There are no party affiliations on the ballot and they are purposely sectioned away from party-specific positions on the physical ballot.
-November elections are directly tied to a 2% cap on the BOE's budget, meaning the BOE may not raise their overall budget by more than 2% in a given year thereby limiting any taxpayer increase. (There is a minor exception with banked cap.) The budget, in turn, does not have to be voted on by the public.
-We used to have BOE elections in April several years ago, but we moved them to November.
- Moving elections to April, would eliminate the cap of spending, and allow the BOE to present any increase they feel necessary with the codicil that is will now be voted on by the public. There were several budgets passed with increases up to 11% to the taxpayer when this was the case.
- If the budget does not pass, it would be turned over to the Mayor for revision.

Still with me? Great! At my last BOE meeting in December, these statements and/or rumors from the TC were addressed. Our attorney told the BOE (all in public and on video at the middletownk12.com website) that basically, whoever passes a resolution first gets to decide when these elections occur, (which seems ridiculous to me, but I digress). I advised my fellow BOE members, that although I did not trust the motivation for the TC's talk of this that they should reach out and try to work together as well as table the decision making until the two new BOE members were sworn in.
On January 2nd, the new BOE had a discussion about passing a resolution to prevent the move to April elections, as a number of BOE members felt strongly that the move was frivolous, among other reasons. There was also further talk of having the resolution prepared for the January 15th meeting, giving the public and the TC about 2 weeks to digest the idea and allow time for discussion with the TC.

Keep in mind here, as stupid as it sounds, whichever governing body passes their resolution first, wins this debate.

Fast forward less than 48 hours later...The TC sends the BOE their resolution to move the elections to April. No public discussion, as the BOE did. No input from the public, which the BOE did. They sent the resolution and informed them it would be voted on at the Township Committee Re-organization meeting on...(wait for it)...Sunday morning....Seriously? The first official act of this new TC is to undermine the BOE and dictate to them, without any time for input or public opinion, when their elections should be.
Not to be outdone , the BOE quickly reacted by sending public notice with intent of their own of passing a resolution keeping the elections in November. The BOE meeting is 9 am Sunday. The TC Meeting is 10 am Sunday morning....Neither meeting is a particularly accessible time of the week for residents to get involved or give residents enough time to learn about the issue, but both are open to the public.

So the pettiness, blame-game and political battle will continue into the new year for the TC and the BOE. The audacity of the TC to presume to know what's best for the BOE without sufficient consultation with them is alarming. There are two sides to the timing of school board elections, and I see validity in both, as I outline below, but to push this through quickly, without public input or even school board input is a deceptive and arrogant move by the TC. My suggestion to you is to share this information and write the TC and BOE and demand your input be counted and transparency be a priority. Otherwise, we will continue to be dictated to and told our voices are obsolete. It is sheer hubris that allows our elected officials in the TC to presume issues are too complicated or too unimportant for our input. And I find it terribly ironic that our TC spouts about the importance of keeping taxes down, while simultaneously voting for measures that cost us more money, and have the potential to raise taxes exponentially.

Here's my take on the pros and cons of April/November Elections....

April...Pros
-Likely a more informed voter base, as school elections draw out those who know the candidates, with the possibility of less votes based on presumed political affiliation
-Public input in the budgeting process for the BOE. The Budget Ad Hoc Committee (of which I was a member) was designed to help inform and sell the public on what their money is being spent on.
-The public votes on whether to approve the budget.

April Cons...
-The additional cost of approximately $40,000 to run the elections separately will be assessed to the BOE, who has already lost $1.3 million to state cuts.
-previously elected BOE members to 3 year terms will be cut approximately 8 months, undermining the will of previous voters.
-Budgets have the potential to skyrocket if approved by the turnout of residents.
-Voter turnout is substantially lower
-If a full day of voting, another day added to the school year, if school's close.
-If a 4-9pm voting window, the possibility on minimal voter turnout broadens and could be considered voter suppression.
-2% cap is lifted on BOE budget.

If the Budget fails during April elections, the mayor would be responsible for revisions and quite honestly, I believe this is why this nonsensical pissing match is happening. The Township Committee wants more oversight of the BOE. Tony Fiori is still whining about losing his precious Stevenson Park Complex and being asked by the public to work with the BOE to upgrade fields. But ask yourself who is more qualified to make financial decisions that concern our children? The BOE Business Administrator and Superintendent in conjunction with teachers, principals, parents/residents and the 9 people elected to the BOE or our (likely) new mayor Tony Perry, who has shown himself at the very least to be dishonest in his campaign practices with zero experience in what our children need to succeed?

No other district in the state has ever gone back to April elections after moving them to November. That doesn't bar us from doing it, but it should give us pause to take our time, talk it out in public, get input and make the right decision, instead of this race to mediocrity we have in Middletown with these rash decisions, excluding all public input. Let's take a step back, take our time and do the right thing for the taxpayers and more importantly our children...

Please share, share, share and help keep Middletown Residents Informed!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Board of Education Regular Meeting 1/2/18: Is The Township Committee Planning To Return BOE Elections To April?


Last night the Middletown Board of Education held it's annual Reorganization meeting, which I watched via the YouTube live stream and heard an interesting bit of information being introduced.

It appears that the Middletown Township Committee will be introducing a resolution within the next few weeks that would reinstate the April elections for the Middletown Board of Education. This would mean that in November, residents would no longer vote for BOE candidates on the ballot.

If the election were to be moved back to April there would be a significant cost to residents for holding such an election, as well as a potential issue with the school budget.

I've taken the liberty to Que the video from last night's meeting to the portion in which the resolution was discussed.

I wasn't a fan of the Christie Administration moving the Board of Education election to November in the first place due to the politics that would naturally be involved as a result of the move. But to move it back to April and have residents tax dollars spent for such and election is senseless. Chris Christie had the elections moved to save taxpayer money  to cost it.

In my opinion, this is just a ploy by the Township Committee to get a say in future Board of Education budgets, by getting the spending approved by voters who will need to approve of it first, just like the old days, if the budget isn't approved, the Township Committee can make cuts to the failed budget. It's also a way for the Township Committee to have a bigger influence over who is elected to the Board of Education. Fewer voters participating in an election means better odds for Township Committee chosen candidates.



December 17, 2018 Middletown Township Committee Meeting


With all of the holiday hustle and bustle, I never got around to posting the Middletown Township Committee meeting that was held on December 17th. This meeting was rather significant because at this meeting the Township Committee voted to move forward with the proposed new municipal complex that will cost residents over a $100M dollars when all is said and done. The public hearing on the project begins at approx. 29:30 to 1:15:15 of the video.

Another public hearing was held right afterwards concerning a redevelopment plan off of Half-Mile road. The Township committee voted to adopt the resolution even though the Township Planning Board voted against it's approval. That hearing begins approx 1:16:00 and finished at 1:56:02 of the video.

Comments from the Public began at the 2:12:20 portion of the meeting and continued until the end of the meeting some 30 minutes later.




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.