Thursday, December 14, 2017

12 Days of Christmas: A Family Circus Christmas

ACME Holidays & Specials

Join the merriment as Daddy, Mommy, Billy, P.J, Dolly, and Jeffy decorate the tree and wrap presents. Then, get ready for high adventure as Santa Claus himself take Jeffy for a long sleigh ride to the North Pole, to see elves at work growing trees and making candy canes.

Who could ask more, except irrepressible Jeffy, who asks Santa for the impossible gift. Santa does deliver, and when the happy family wakes up on Christmas morning for a pleasant surprise, you'll soon have a different idea of the holiday spirit.

Accelerated Tax Sale Wednesday, December 27, 2017

This year's township accelerated tax sale is scheduled for December 27th. There are a few prominent names on the list, if your name is on the list contact the Middletown tax office to see how to resolve the issue before the end of next week.

From Middletown Township public information:


I, Judith Vassallo, Collector of taxes in and for the Township of Middletown, County of Monmouth and State of New Jersey, hereby give notice that according to the statutes requiring me to make public the unpaid taxes and sewer charges. I will on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 9:00 AM in the Courtroom of the Municipal Building, Middletown, New Jersey, sell the lands and real estate hereinafter described to make the amounts chargeable against such lands, together with interest on said amounts and the cost of sale at Public Venue.

The sale shall be made in fee to such persons as will purchase the same, subject to redemption at the lowest rate of interest, but in no case in excess of 18 percent per annum; providing any person at the sale shall offer to purchase the property subject to redemption offer a premium over and above the amount due the municipality, and in such case the property will be struck off and sold to the bidder who offers to pay the said taxes, assessments or charges, plus the highest amount of premium. The sale is made under the provisions of the Revised Statutes of New Jersey Title 54. The said lands to be sold and name of the persons against whom said taxes and sewers were assessed and the amount hereinafter set forth include taxes and sewer charges for the year hereinafter set forth against each property, with interest calculated to the date of sale. These charges are for unpaid taxes and sewer for the year 2017.

Industrial Properties may be subject to the Spill Compensation Act (N.J.S.A. 58:10A-1 et seq.), and the Industrial Site Recovery Act (N.J.S.A. 13:1K-6 et seq.). In addition, the municipality is precluded from issuing a tax sale certificate to any perspective purchaser who is or may be in any way connected to the prior owner or operator of the site.

In the event that the owner of the property is in the military service, on active duty, the Tax Collector should be notified immediately. Only Cash, Certified Check or Bank Cashier Check will be accepted for payment. Prospective bidders must register with the Tax Collector prior to 9:00 AM on the day of the sale. No unregistered bidders will be allowed to participate in the sale.


Here is the latest list of properties included in this year's sale 

For those that don't know what an Accelerated Tax Sale is, HERE is an explanation for those that are thinking on bidding on a property.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

12 Days of Christmas: The Pink Panther in A "Pink Christmas" and "A Very Pink Christmas"!

Official Pink Panther

The Pink Panther and Big Nose compete against each other in Christmas tree sales to see who can purchase the world's most extravagant sports car. However, the Pink Panther finally discovers the true meaning of the holiday season as he runs into a little boy who wants to buy a small Christmas tree for his family.

A 2018 Wave Is Building

From Political Wire:
December 13, 2017

First Read: “If you thought Moore’s flaws — and the allegations against him — were the only reason why Republicans lost in Alabama, you haven’t been paying attention to 2017. The seven major races this year have underscored that Democratic voters are fired up, that Republican ones aren’t and that Trump is unpopular, even in red states.”

“This is how a wave happens, and the wave heading in 2018 got bigger and bigger during every contest this year — first in Georgia (which Democrats still lost), then in Virginia last month and then Alabama last night.”

Nate Silver: “Not every race is going to go as badly for Republicans as this Alabama Senate election — but if enough go half as badly, or even a third as badly, they’re still in for a rough time next year.”

USA Today Editorial: Trump 'not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.'

Wow, very strong words from USA Today concerning Donald Trump's tweet from yesterday morning concerning NY Senator Kristen Gillibrand. The editorial was posted last night, shortly before the outcome of yesterday's special election in Alabama where Democrat Doug Jones won over Republican Roy Moore.

Yesterday, wasn't a very good day for the president.

"... the president's words were deliberate. He pours the gasoline of sexist language and lights the match gleefully knowing how it will burst into flame in a country reeling from the #MeToo moment.

A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.

This isn’t about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions. Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt.

Donald Trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed."...

Letter: A Call To Investigate the Monmouth County Family Court

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

Dear Editor,

Under the corrupt regime of Governor Chris Christie and with the help of Senator Joe Kyrillos, Monmouth County's Most Infamous Superior Court Judge, Paul X. Escandon, was granted lifetime tenure in June 2016 in a 22 to 9 vote, despite the fact that dozens of women spoke out against him at the hearing, recalling discriminatory and unlawful treatment they experienced during his time as a Family Court Judge. Convicted mobsters (who chose not to go into Witness Protection) were given custody of children, and emancipation orders (to terminate support) were handed out like candy, relieving fathers of support obligations, even when the law clearly said otherwise.

Since Judge Escandon's egregious behavior became common knowledge and resulted in organized groups of protesters, he was reassigned to hear civil cases, with many tenants describing similarly unfair treatment in Landlord Tenant court. Judge Escandon previously worked as a private lawyer defending criminals facing narcotics trafficking charges, so it is not unsurprising to see someone used to representing ruthless drug cartel members, being so unfit to protect the interests of mothers, children, and low-income tenants.

I know these mothers were telling the truth because I am also one of Escandon's victims. Escandon personally cut off the minuscule child support my mother received for me, on a motion filed by Vincent Stripto of Drain & Warshaw P.C., despite my being a full-time college student, with disabilities, and Escandon had me falsely arrested in the hallway of the Monmouth County Courthouse, with the statute that I was charged under having been found unconstitutional by the Appellate Division in 1985, and invalidated ever since. Rule of law was ignored. Judge Escandon’s behavior was something you'd expect to see in an episode of The Sopranos, not a Court of Law.

I have suffered from severe PTSD since age 16, when a mentally-ill man who was on felony probation for False Public Alarm (bomb threat) and Eluding Police named Stephen D. Calhoun made a false police report about me, and I was jailed where I was subjected to physical assault and torture by Monmouth County Youth Detention Center Officers. Mr. Calhoun's defense in his case was that he should have been found not guilty by reason of insanity (you can read about Mr. Calhoun here ) yet Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Apostolou Jr. withheld this very relevant exculpatory evidence from discovery, in violation of Brady v. Maryland. I went from being a Criminal Justice student who started college at 15 with a 4.0 GPA and graduated from the Monmouth County Sheriff's Youth Week two years in a row (held at the county police academy), with a rising political future that began with volunteering on my first Presidential campaign at age 13, continuing with Gubernatorial and Legislative races, to suffering from severe PTSD, and facing ridicule and discrimination as if I had committed a serious offense I was entirely innocent of, as the truth about the "witness" Mr. Calhoun's admitted psychotic criminal behavior was hidden until I found it years later, thanks to his failed appeal in State v. Calhoun (Docket No. A-6027-06T46027-06T4) being published online. The Monmouth County Prosecutor's office had sent defamatory material based on Mr. Calhoun's false allegation regarding me to Brookdale Community College, where now-convicted felon ex-President Peter F. Burnham expelled me from the school, before he was sent to prison for corruption. In my life, the Monmouth County Courts and Prosecutor's Office have long been a major source of injustice, and this system must be stopped from continuing to harm others. These are not courts of justice, but tools of terror.

In court papers, Drazin & Warshaw lawyer, Vincent Stripto ridiculed me for using medical cannabis to help treat PTSD (under the order of a California Psychiatrist), which New Jersey has now legalized. The Municipal Judge I faced in a Middletown Township (Monmouth County) court case for possessing my medicine, Judge Richard B. Thompson, has since been suspended without pay due to an on-going corruption investigation. Thompson had also been the Judge who heard a citizen's complaint I filed, and had wrongly refused to find probable cause in my criminal complaint against Bradley Beach Police Officer Terry Browning for Official Misconduct in my juvenile case, and Stephen D. Calhoun for (a repeat) offense of False Public Alarm and Filing a False Police Report in the same matter.

My father, who makes six figures, did not provide any financial support until he was ordered to pay child support when I was 15. Escandon terminated the support at age 21, despite my full-time college enrollment, and successful academic progress. A deadbeat dad could not ask for a more favorable judge.

I urge state Senator Vin Gopal and Governor Phil Murphy to stand up for the rights of women and children by calling for a thorough legislative and criminal probe of Escandon's activities, particularly during his time as a Family Court Judge, as well as how my juvenile case before Judge Eugene Iadanza was mishandled by the court and Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. I am owed a formal state apology for the abuse I have suffered, as well as financial compensation, and those who did wrong must punished. Until justice has been achieved, until the day that I die, I will not and cannot stop fighting for what is right, by any means necessary to achieve justice.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12 Days of Christmas: A Muppet Family Christmas

The Jim Henson Collection

In this one-hour Christmas special, Fozzie Bear surprises his mother Emily on Christmas Eve by bringing the entire Muppet gang to her farm to celebrate the holidays. Doc and his dog Sprocket, who had planned a quiet Christmas, end up joining the Muppets in their holiday activities and preparations.

The Sesame Street regulars, including Big Bird, Bert, Ernie and others, join the festivities, but to Kermit's dismay, the only one missing is Miss Piggy, who has been caught in a snowstorm.

December 4, 2017 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

Better to be late posting than not at all, here is the video of the December 4th, 2017 meeting of the Middletown Township Committee. This meeting was the first official meeting of Gerry Scharfenberger's son-in-law, Tony Perry, as a sitting township committeeman.

Here are the highlights:

  • An ordinance was passed that delegated who would be responsible for enforcing nuisance penalties.
  • An ordinance was introduced that sets fees for the purchase of extra garbage carts.
  • A resolution was given a separate vote to set the salary for the Tax Assessor at $121,088 and appoint Assistant Tax Assessor, Alex Worth, as Tax Assessor, replacing Charles Heck.
  • Of the discussion items, the Clerk spent a great deal of time to explain how an online records request system would work and be of benefit to the town.
  • A representative of the Lincroft Village Green Association provided a status of the progress being done in their irrigation project at the Village Green Park in Lincroft.

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.

Happy Hanukkah 2017

Wishing all of those who celebrate the festival of lights a very Happy Hanukkah.

Pallone: Gutting Net Neutrality Protections is Bad for New Jersey

By Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.

The internet is one of the most powerful engines of economic growth in New Jersey in the past quarter century. But that growth is now under attack by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to gut net neutrality protections and jeopardize the free and open internet. The FCC is expected to vote on the proposal on December 14th.

I see the economic power of the internet when I meet with small businesses around the state. Every entrepreneur tells me the same thing—they could not survive without a free and open internet. From bakers to bike shops, anyone with a new idea can start their own businesses and succeed by going online. With a working broadband connection, anyone can work from home, sell their own products online and connect with companies a world away.

It’s not just the business owners that benefit from an open internet either, so to do their employees. Half of New Jersey workers are employed by small businesses, and the other half likely looked online to find their jobs.

They can do that because the internet as we know it has been overseen by the FCC, which adopted strong net neutrality protections in 2015. These safeguards mean that people decide for themselves what they do online. This is just commonsense – you should be able to decide what videos you watch, which sites you read and which services you use. Nobody should be able to influence that choice – not the government and not the companies that run the networks.

That same commonsense approach also works for small businesses. Net neutrality ensures that any business, no matter how small, gets access to the same internet at the same speeds as giant corporate interests. The only limitation is their imagination—not their wallet.

And it’s paying off for small businesses and startups here in New Jersey. For instance, the House of Independents in Asbury Park is the venue for some of the best independent artists on the Jersey Shore. Their website allows fans to discover new artists by linking to songs and videos online.

But the Trump FCC is planning to walk away from its role of protecting consumers and small businesses online by gutting net neutrality protections.

Under the plan proposed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, broadband providers would be able to block some websites, speed up others, and charge extra for certain content. This plan would allow providers to create fast lanes for those who can pay and slow lanes for the rest of us. How can small businesses and startups compete if their websites are slower than the sites of larger companies? They can’t.

Without net neutrality rules, large corporate interests could also choke off conversations or content they don’t like while speeding up the content they do.

Imagine what would happen to the House of Independents if their customers had to pay a premium anytime they wanted to discover new music or if the artists had to pay more to get their videos to work. They would be at a steep disadvantage.

Chairman Pai tries to cast the fight for net neutrality as one between Silicon Valley behemoths and cable companies, but that is simply not the case. Small businesses and consumers here in New Jersey are outraged by the FCC’s plans to wipe out these critical protections. They are some of the millions of Americans from across the country who have written and called asking the FCC to stop its ill-conceived plan.

Pai argues that eliminating net neutrality will somehow lead to better broadband networks because broadband providers will invest in better services, but that is nonsense. If Republicans are serious about bringing faster broadband to more people, they should join me in supporting my LIFT America Act, which would provide federal dollars to expand broadband in unserved and underserved areas. This would ensure that everyone has access to the internet of the future without harming New Jersey.

Improving broadband for unserved and underserved Americans is not what the FCC’s plan to gut net neutrality is really about. Sadly, it’s just another example of this administration and this FCC taking from New Jersey to enrich their corporate cronies.

Now is the time to use the free and open internet to make our voices heard. We need to let the FCC know that gutting net neutrality is simply not acceptable for New Jersey.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Letter: Freeholder Curley is an honest, ethical man

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

Dear Editor,

Having first met Monmouth County Freeholder John Curley many years ago, and at one point being in a position where I frequently spent time around the man, it is clear to me that the allegations made against him are not only baseless, but form a retaliatory political witch hunt.

I have observed the behavior of Freeholder Curley around many women, including my own mother, and I can say without any hesitation that he never sexually harassed anyone.

As blunt as he is, Freeholder Curley has been Monmouth County's loudest voice for doing the right thing, even when it means throwing members of his own party under the bus. This scares the corrupt.

For many years, Freeholder Curley has stood up to corruption and misconduct in "Club Monmouth". Were it not for Freeholder Curley (and then Freeholder Amy Mallet) the corruption at Brookdale Community College would have never been uncovered. Curley put ex-Brookdale President Peter Burnham in jail for theft. Others on the board are still out to get him for this.

Freeholder Curley and I had a bit of a personal falling out, so if anyone was going to trash the man, it would be me. But despite our differences, I can say Freeholder Curley is an honest, ethical gentleman. Stop this nonsense and let the man continue his excellent public service, because Freeholder Lillian Burry is the one with a broomstick and vendetta.

Rev. Dr. Eric Hafner
Former Congressional Candidate
Toms River

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Pallone Helps Pass Bipartisan Brownfields Bill through House

November 30, 2017

Legislation will help continue redevelopment of Contaminated Sites throughout
New Jersey

Washington, DC – Today Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), led floor debate for House Democrats and helped pass the bipartisan Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017 through the House Representatives. As the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Pallone worked closely with his colleagues in a bipartisan fashion to advance the reauthorization legislation out of the committee earlier this year.

The Brownfields program was created in 2002 by bipartisan legislation authored in the House by Pallone and the late Rep. Paul Gillmor of Ohio to assist communities with the cleanup of former industrial properties where redevelopment is complicated by the presence of environmental contamination. When the program was first authorized, there were an estimated 450,000 brownfields properties in the U.S. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than 59,000 brownfields sites have already been revitalized.

The reauthorization legislation will extend the federal Brownfields fund through 2022 and make important reforms to the program. The bill improves the flexibility of the program, authorizing multi-purpose grants, raising the limits for grants per site, and removing some funding caps in current law. It also allows EPA to reserve as much as $1.5 million in brownfields funding each year to assist small communities, tribes, and rural or disadvantaged areas. Grants could be used for training, research, and technical assistance. Additionally, H.R. 3017 would require the EPA to consider the potential for renewable energy production when ranking applications for brownfield grants, to incentivize green energy projects.

“The Brownfields program has been an incredibly important tool for protecting public health and spurring economic growth in New Jersey and throughout the country,” Pallone said on the House Floor today. “The Brownfields program is proof that having a strong economy and protecting the environment is not an “either-or” issue. We can have both.”

Since 2002, New Jersey has received over $34 million in Brownfields grants. The vast majority of these funds, approximately $29 million, were awarded for assessment and cleanup efforts. In his closing remarks, Congressman Pallone emphasized several projects in New Jersey that have benefited from the Brownfields program:

"I’d like to close by talking about how important this program has been to our nation and my home state since its creation back in 2002. New Jersey has too many of these types of contaminated sites, and we need federal help to clean them up and redevelop them.

For example, a former DuPont property on the waterfront in Carteret is being redeveloped to be a ferry terminal to carry commuters to New York City. That site is a great example of how a redeveloped Brownfield site can be beneficial for the community.

Asbury Park, another town in my district, received two substantial federal Brownfields grants last year. One of those grants is being used to assess eight contaminated sites and prepare two cleanup plans. The other grant is going to assessing and redeveloping sites around the train station and the downtown area that were contaminated with petroleum.

Just this week, I visited another brownfield site being redeveloped in my district, the Woodbridge Waterfront Park. When completed, the Waterfront Park will include approximately 30 acres of restored wetlands, walking trails, a boardwalk overlooking the wetlands, and a viewing platform at the Raritan River.

Federal funds through the Brownfields program helped make these projects happen.

The Brownfields program is proof that having a strong economy and protecting the environment is not an “either-or” issue. We can have both."

Update: Friday Court Date Looms For Township Garbage Contract

You may have seen this article in Tuesday's Asbury Park Press: Middletown: Republic Services sues township over $21.7M trash deal. It's about the lawsuit that Republic Services has going against Middletown concerning the new garbage contract that was give to Central Jersey Waste and Recycling.

The basis of the case revolves around the  alleged violations of the Local Public Contracts Law (LPCL) and the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA). I read through the complaint  - which is conveniently posted at the bottom of the APP's article - and here is a short summary of some interesting facts:

The matter involves the lucrative town-wide garbage collection contract that takes effect on January 1st. The township was sued by Republic, who lost the contract award to Central Jersey Waste and Recycling. The bids were close. Republic is claiming that Central Jersey's bid was materially deficient, lacked a proper insurance certificate and bin warranty documentation and that discussion of the contract and bids occurred improperly in closed session both before and after bids were received.

Republic claims that early township committee discussions, prior to issuing the bid specifications, did not constitute contract negotiations and did not qualify for closed session discussion. These early discussions, Republic claims, instead concerned a policy decision to dissolve the garbage district and move toward town-wide pickup. Republic also claims that the mere selection of a low bid in line with the LPCL does not constitute a negotiation.

Central Jersey's lack of warranty documentation for carts, or more specifically, proof that the township would be covered by a 10-year warranty, is pertinent because the carts have value and would become the property of the township after the 5-year collection contract expires.

Another interesting issue is that the township's RFB (Request for Bids) sought bids for several service options, like solid waste collection only, solid waste and recycling, etc. The complaint notes that Republic's bid for one option was at least a million dollars lower than Central Jersey's. For the service option chosen by the township, Republic's bid was just $20K per year (about a dollar per year per household) more than Central Jersey's.

 An interesting question is whether Republic's bid for the service option NOT chosen would have benefited residents,  that is, does that bid reflect a savings over the current cost for those services? In general, the whole matter raises questions about how the township arrived at its decision.

The two sides are due in court tomorrow, Friday, December 1st.

Hopefully, this case will be rectified soon before it costs the Middletown taxpayers more than if it would have just awarded the contract to Republic in the first place.  Talking to a couple of lawyer friends, this case has probably already cost taxpayers over $50K  and could easily skyrocket.


11/30/17 - 7:30pm

The case hearing is now tentatively scheduled for Wed, Dec. 13 at 1:30 PM. It seems that  Dec.1st is the date for returning documents to the court.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Since returning from vacation, celebrating Thanksgiving and jumping right back to work, I haven't had time to update the blog much. I hope you all have been following my MiddletownMike Facebook page, where I have been able to post a few things that I consider worth looking at. You can find the badge by scrolling down a little over there 👉 in the column to the right.

That said, I'm back for now.

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