Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Safe Thanksgiving to you and your's

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues. ~Cicero

Thanksgiving is nothing if not a glad and reverent lifting of the heart to God in honor and praise for His goodness. ~Robert Casper Lintner

November 13 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

As promised, here is the video and the business conducted at the November 13th meeting of the Middletown Township Committee. I haven't had time yet to go through he whole video but here are the highlights:

The Committee seat left vacant by Steve Massell was filled with the appointment of Anthony Perry, the son-in-law of Mayor Scharfenberger. The Mayor actually saw no conflict in voting to sit his son-in-law on the same governing body that he sits on.
  • A certificate recognizing the Thompson Middle School Girls Cross Country Team was presented for winning the title in their sport.
  • A proclamation was presented to the Municipal Alliance for recognizing December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.
  • Other proclamations were read into the record.
  • Ordinances were passed that granted an easement to a land locked property and to dissolve the municipal garbage district.
  • An ordinance was introduced to amend the enforcement of nuisance penalties.

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.

And We're Back

For those wondering where I've been for the past week or so, I was on vacation down in Disney World with my family. The trip was planned for over a year and we had a spectacular time. I'll be enjoying the holiday today then getting back to more blogging over the weekend, but before I do I will post last weeks Township Committee meeting, where Gerry Scharfenberger appointed his son-in-law,  Anthony (Tony) Perry, to sit on the dais next to him as the replacement for Steve Massell....


Monday, November 13, 2017

Middletown Committee Ready To Replace Steve Massell Tonight With Scharfenberger Son-in-Law

At tonight's meeting of the Middeltown Township Committee, the long anticipated replacement for Steve Massell will be appointed to finish his unexpired term.

For those not familiar, Committeeman Steve Massell, a realtor by profession, accepted an appointment  as a Commissioner of the Monmouth County Tax Board a few months back, but didn't officially resign from the Township Committee until last month. His new job is a paid position and reeks of patronage and cronyism.

The Middletown Republican Executive Committee presented the names of Patricia Snell, Anthony (Tony) Perry and Chris Aveta to the Township Committee, for consideration to replace Steve Massell, at the meeting tonight.

Who are these people you ask?

Not much is known about Patricia Snell other than she is a local realtor who seems to be relatively new to Middletown. Voting records indicated that she's only lived in town since 2012.

People familiar with the Middletown Board of Education, will recognize the name of Chris Aveta. Aveta is a longtime friend of Tony Fiore and both moved from Carteret to Middletown around the same time. He served 1 term on the board of education before being voted off by residents. He then spent the next two election cycles trying to get reelected to no avail. He was seen by many to be divisive and counterproductive. He wasn't an advocate for the students, rather he was a proponent for cutting the school budget under the mantra of "taxpayers" first. Sound familiar?

Anthony Perry's  claim to fame according to his LinkedIn profile is that he is currently the Chief of Staff  of State Senator Joe Kyrillos as well as being a member of the Middletown Planning Board. Not listed on LinkedIn, but I believe it's so, he is also a member of the Middletown Library Board.

What I see however, as Tony Perry's biggest accomplishment and advantage that makes him the front runner in replacing Steve Massell as a member of the Township Committee, is that he married Gerry Scharfenberger's daughter! That's right, he is the son-in-law of current mayor, Gerry Scharfenberger.  
Talk about cronyism with a sprinkle of nepotism thrown in. It's truly outrageous. Should Scharfenberger to even vote on this? Isn't it a conflict he should abstain from? Seems a bit unethical if he doesn't.

It just goes to show you that the Republicans in Middletown have been unchecked and in charge for far too long here in town. To even consider this, is to spit in the face of residents and shows that they feel entitled to do whatever they want whenever they wish to do it.

Out of the three choices, I vote for Patricia Snell. Sometimes the less we know about a person the better.

Here is the Agenda for tonight's meeting.

Middletown Library Closing on Sundays??

I received a message from a friend telling me that the Middletown Library Board of Directors is considering closing the library on Sundays now.

According to my messenger friend, this Wednesday night, Nov. 15th, at their next board meeting, the board members will be holding a vote to close the library on Sundays. Here is a copy of the upcoming agenda.   

This revelation of closing on Sundays seems to add credence to the concerns that Mahat Macote had expressed about a revenue shortfall in the library budget  and possible ongoing shenanigans at the library, that I posted about earlier.

If any of this concerns you then I would suggest you make it to Wednesday night's meeting at the library and make your voice heard.

Letter: Marijuana Legalization under Murphy

The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:

Dear Editor,

It is great that Democrat Phil Murphy was elected Governor and cannabis is going to be legalized in New Jersey, but let's make it work for everyone. There are some flaws in the current proposal, like the too-high age requirement and unfair home grow ban.

A suggested 21 age requirement is not based on science (in other states 21 was simply a marketing gimmick for ballot initiatives to regulate like alcohol), and unlike alcohol, Federal Highway Funds are NOT tied to a 21 marijuana age. Making pot legal while burdening 18-20 year olds with a serious adult drug conviction for possession, that will screw up things like student aid, housing, and jobs is wrong. The marijuana age should be no higher than 18, ideally 16, as cannabis is a safe substance that one cannot overdose on.

Also, it is crazy to say we will legalize cannabis, but not allow people to grow it at home. We've seen what a scam liquor licenses are in New Jersey, and the people don't want to see a reefer business that is a similar monopoly. Let the people grow their own stone with legal home growing.

Also, does anyone remember Jon Peditto, the Ocean County personal pot grower who is still rotting in prison for 8 years? What about activist Edward Forchion aka NJ Weedman facing trumped up charges? Pardon them ASAP, let them go home, and end the injustice.

Gov. Murphy must empower the poor, youth, women, and minorities to grow the industry using a non-profit collective ownership model, and ask the NAACP, ACLU, Coalition for Medical Marijuana NJ and Garden State Equality for advice on licensing and affirmative action.

Legal pot should mean jobs, business opportunity, and kush smoke for everyone, not just the rich, corporate, white, and male. The current dispensary owners all look like Tony Soprano and have political connections with the Christie Administration. We need a diverse cannabis marketplace for all.

Rev. Dr. Eric Hafner
Former Congressional Candidate (HI-2)
Toms River, New Jersey and Mountain View, Hawai'i

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Salute a Veteran on Veteran's Day

What's Going On At the Library?

Middletown Township has long been redirecting library funds back to the general budget, which is legal and relatively easy to do. Shoot, since 2012 they've turned it into an art form. They can increase township charge backs, reduce the library budget to increase reserves and unrestrict monies previously restricted for projects.

They get away with it easily and with little resistance because the Township Committee appoints cronies to the library board, that will do their bidding. The members of the library board often don't have the best interests of the library at heart, they are merely political puppets who are loyal to the Township Committee and care little for the library itself.

I haven't been paying much attention to the library situation for quite a long time now, hell I can't even remember the last time is was there. But when I received the following via email from a person going by the name of Mahat Macote. It may be time to start looking a little more closely again:
What's happening at the Library?

Malfeasance...that's what!

Why are they having budgetary problems?

I heard that they have have massive turnover of employees, without replacement, which under normal circumstance would mean that the budget is fine?

So why is there a budget shortfall....???

The Library Board has been shedding employees and library jobs, and getting them off the healthcare roles, "quietly"...but where are these so called, "SAVINGS" going...??

To the Taxpayers..???

Don't count on it...

To the LIBRARY...???

Don't make me laugh...

The funds are NOT going to fund the library, as they legally the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars...

Yet who is getting raises for doing the bidding of the Library Board and Town Council, who are one in the same, we wonders...yes, we wonders...???

I I KNOW that this is happening--the money is being held back and the Town Council is using the library as it's little piggy bank slush fund, for their personal accounts...or to pad their own budgets, but NOT to the library, as it should be...

They may be trying to justify this as "charge backs" for services rendered, but that is a smoke screen...Don't believe it

Do I have smoking gun proof?

No, unfortunately not... but I do know that this is happening...

A little investigative reporting and looking under a few stones may turn something up....besides some worms, and Fiore....

What else...who knows?

The Shadow knows....
For those wondering who this Mahat Macote fellow is? I really don't know.  During the great library controversies of 2012-2013 this person was a frequent commentator on the this blog, as well as, sending me emails. If something fishy is truly going on, as Mahat seems to think, then I feel it's something that may be worthwhile perusing.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Monmouth Democrats Take 2017 Victories

Last year's federal election results left many of us feeling out in the cold. Over the past twelve months, volunteers all across Monmouth County came together at the grassroots to make their voices heard and put their country back on track. This past Tuesday, state and local governments showed that they heard you with a blue wave at every level of politics.

Governor-Elect Phil Murphy won his election by 14 points, proving that New Jersey is done with Chris Christie's divisive politics for good.

Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey both won re-election by nearly 6,000 votes - becoming the first Democratic Assemblymembers to win re-election in the 11th District's history.

Monmouth County now has our first Democratic Senator in the 11th District - the first time in nearly 30 years, with former County Chairman Vin Gopal defeating longtime Senator Jennifer Beck by over 4,000 votes.

Monmouth Democrats also scored major wins at the local level.

Democrats kept Aberdeen ALL Democratic. Congratulations to Mayor Fred Tagliarini on his 2-1 re-election.

Democrats continue to hold a majority in Allentown - a town which we flipped 2 years ago after decades of Republican control.

Democrats have taken a majority in Atlantic Highlands - defeating two more Republican incumbents.

Democrats are up in Belmar with provisionals still left to be counted. Democrats will continue to be in the majority there.

Democrats knocked off two more Republican incumbents in Eatontown, with the victories of Jennifer Sherrod and Bridget Harris - the first time in years Eatontown Democrats have taken a majority on the Council.

Democrats won a big win in Fair Haven with Councilman Chris Rodriguez as top vote-getter. They are continuing to build a strong party there with Jessica Patel falling short by a few votes.

Freehold Borough kept its Council all Democratic with the re-elections of Councilmembers George Schnurr and Michael DiBenedetto

Democrats kept Keyport ALL Democratic - 6-0.

Democrats swept Lake Como continuing to keep it 7-0.

Democrats won a big election in Little Silver with the election of Councilman-Elect Christopher Healy.

Manasquan Democrats kept their Democratic majority with the re-elections of Councilmembers Michael Mangan, Jeff Lee and Joseph Bossone.

Democrats won big in Marlboro with the re-elections of Councilmembers Jeff Cantor, Scott Metzger and Carol Mazzola. Monmouth County's 3rd largest town continues to be all Democratic.

Democrats have taken a majority in Matawan - it is now 7-0 Democrat in Matawan - just 2 years ago it was 7-0 Republicans and in 3 straight cycles, Democrats have defeated all of the Republican incumbents.

Democrats made inroads into Neptune City, electing their second Councilmember, Glen Kocsis. Congratulations to Councilwoman Pamela Renee in her re-election.

Congratulations to Committeeman Kevin McMillan on a big victory keeping Neptune Township 5-0 Democrats.

Democrats defeated another Republican incumbent in Red Bank giving us 5-2 control of the governing body.

Democrats swept Roosevelt continuing the all Democratic governing body - Congratulations to new Mayor Peggy Malkin.

Congratulations to Councilman Charles Rooney in Sea Bright winning as the top vote-getter!

In Spring Lake, Councilwoman Syd Whalley was re-elected comfortably.

Democrats beat an incumbent Republican in Shrewsbury Township, gaining 3-0 majority.

Democrats ran strong races in Colts Neck, Englishtown, Freehold Township, Hazlet, Holmdel, Interlaken, Manalapan, Middletown, Millstone, Oceanport, Shrewsbury Boro, Spring Lake Heights, Union Beach, Upper Freehold, Wall, and West Long Branch, and worked hard to continue to build the Democratic Party in their respective towns. We are proud of all of them.

Donald Trump may have carried Monmouth County in 2016, but when we pushed back in 2017, it paid off. We are very proud of our outstanding county candidates who worked hard and made the races competitive - Margie Donlon and Brian Wilton did a fantastic job. We also want to thank Sean Byrnes, Mariel Didato, Tom Giaimo, David Lande, Amy Cores, Gene Davis, Nirav Patel, Eliot Colon, and Kevin Scott for running strong races in their legislative districts.

This year, along with Virginia to the south and Washington to the west, New Jersey showed that the Democratic Party is far from over. After months of soul-searching and perseverance, we worked hard to organize and move our party forward. Because of all of us, New Jersey has a Democratic governor once more, and flipped a Senate seat that many once thought untouchable.

Now is not the time to rest on our laurels, however. We will continue to keep working toward the Congressional midterms in 2018, and to aggressively challenge Republicans at the local, legislative, and county levels in the cycles to come. Thank you as always to all of our volunteers, donors and supporters who helped us achieve these victories.

David G. Brown
Chairman, Monmouth County Democrats

Solar is growing much faster than predicted

The explosive growth of solar power is the good news story we need today. #gosolar


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Holmdel Native Takes Portsmouth First Ward

Congratulations to my good friend Sean Dunne, who was elected as a councilman for the First Ward of the Portsmouth, Ohio City Council Tuesday night.

Sean Dunne
Sean is a Holmdel, New Jersey native and a former Independent candidate for the NJ State Assembly in LD13.  It was during that campaign that I got to know him well and we became fast friends. He left the area after that campaign to accept a teaching position at Trinity College in Ireland, where he stayed for a few years before coming back to the Holmdel. He left again in 2013 to accept a teaching position at Shawnee State University in southern Ohio.

Since his arrival in Portsmouth, he was able to work on a variety of community projects with Shawnee State students and other community members and was successful in applying for a $25,000 grant for Spartan Municipal Stadium and an application to Preservation Ohio that resulted in the stadium’s inclusion in their 2017 List of Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Sites. Both of those achievements move the stadium closer to restoration.

He also worked with a number of groups and organizations outside of the Portsmouth area to bring positive attention and produce positive results for the city. He worked with Senator Sherrod Brown’s Office and Senator Portman’s Office, the NFL Hall of Fame, NFL Film, NFL Foundation, the Detroit Lions, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New York Giants and ESPN. And led an effort involving the Southern Ohio Port Authority and other individuals in improving Portsmouth’s Wikipedia page. The page had served as a point of online vandalism for years, which drove businesses and residents away from the city.

I wish Sean well, the good people of Portsmouth are lucky to have him.


The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:

Dear Editor,

The people of New Jersey won on Election Day. Not only did we get Ambassador Phil Murphy, an all around great guy, elected as Governor, we had many local victories too.

In Toms River, we enjoyed a Democratic victory with 3 of 4 Township Council Seats going to Democrats Daniel Rodrick, Laurie Huryk, and Terrance Turnbach. Congratulations to the local team!

Vin Gopal knocked out Republican incumbent Jen Beck in Monmouth County's District 11, to become the district's next State Senator. I know Vin Gopal will be a strong voice in Trenton for working class families.

We must all work together to undo the damage Christie did to New Jersey, and make the Garden State Progressive Again! Yes to legal cannabis, women's and LGBT rights! Hands off Assata Shakur! Black Lives Matter! Recognize Lenape Native Rights! Make Housing a Right! Free College! Free NJ Weedman! Expand Public Transportation! Support Unions!

Let's take a left turn in New Jersey Politics.

Rev. Dr. Eric Hafner
Toms River

Letter: Fentanyl Screening of Street Drugs can Save Lives

The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:

Dear Editor,

New Jerseyans are dying due to drug overdoes from tainted heroin cut with higher potency opitates including fentanyl, fentanyl research analogs, and other synthetic opiates like carfentanil. The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office recently announced a seizure of fake oxycodone pills, that despite looking real actually contained such dangerous imitations. These high potency synthetic opiates are very easy to overdose on, because they can be over 100 times stronger than pure heroin, and are mixed by idiots who are neither trained chemists nor pharmacists.

While even untainted heroin and opiate based painkillers like Oxycontin can kill on their own, the chances of an overdose death with fake drugs is through the roof.

In the long term, prescription based access to heroin for addicts, would help to reduce harm and put cartels out of business. But there is an immediate way to begin to save lives: I propose offering the option for New Jerseyans to be able to confidentially, and without risk of prosecution, be able to have their heroin, and other drugs tested for the presence of killer fentanyl and carfentanil, free of charge.

Such a testing program would save lives by stopping tainted drugs from being consumed, and help law enforcement, first aid squads, and emergency room doctors better understand how to respond to overdoses in their area by providing data on what exact opiate chemical cocktails are being sold.

Some of the places where this free testing should be offered include Toms River, Middletown, Red Bank, Asbury Park and any municipality with a population over 50,000. I call on the Ocean and Monmouth County Prosecutor's Offices to join me in lobbying our new Governor-elect Phil Murphy to support a fentanyl testing program to address the crisis.


Things Are Looking Brighter

For those of you that woke up yesterday morning, feeling down and out because Middletown Democratic candidate Tricia Maguire, LD13 candidates Sean F. Byrnes, Tom Giaimo and Mariel DiDato and Monmouth County Freeholder candidates Margie Donjon and Brian Wilton did not come out victorious yesterday, cheer up. The Middletown GOP's margin of victory over the Middletown Democrats this year was shrunk by over 4% due in large part by a tremendous GOTV effort this year by numerous volunteers and candidate Tricia Maguire.

While 4% may not seem like much, it was huge! The Middletown Democrats closed the gap from previous elections and shrunk the margins of Republicans countywide​. The races in LD 13 and for Freeholder were much closer than in previous years, in large part to the Democratic turn out in Middletown. That means we are moving in the right direction and we have momentum moving forward. Next year is looking brighter already.

In Middletown, all of the Democratic candidates received a minimum of a 1000 votes more than our Governor elect Phil Murphy. This is huge! Especially when you take into consideration that Kim Guadagni received 5000 more votes in Middletown than Phil Murphy.

In hindsight, Murphy's statement about making New Jersey a "sanctuary state", which was drove home constantly by the  Guadagno campaign, not only hurt Murphy in Middletown, but also in northern Monmouth County. It lead to the local Democratic candidates having to answer questions about it, which in turn took away from their messages and caused potential supporters not to vote.

Overall I'm encouraged by Tuesday night's results. Phil Murphy, flaws and all, is the governor elect and Democrat Vin Gopal beat Jennifer Beck to become the new LD11 State Senator. When added to the results in Middletown, where the margins were shrunk even though the Democratic candidates lost, it was a good day. The resistance is strong and the future is bright!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

It's Election Day

Today is the day that many of us have been working towards. Let's make it a success and get out there to vote.