Thursday, August 30, 2007

PNC Bank Arts Center: A sign of the times?

The PNC Bank Arts Center has a drinking restriction in place: It was to be expected, people died recently at Ozzfest. Meanwhile, a lot of people were arrested by police for any number of reasons. So, the PNC Bank Arts Center issue has been settled. I did hear today that there is an additional measure being considered, which is placing DWI checkpoints at the exits to the arena following shows. I don't know how far along that one has gone.

While I think these measures are expected, I also think it is a sad development. It will not be as popular or as attractive a venue to promoters once the word gets around. Similarly, I do not think many fans, spending a lot of money in some cases for tickets, are going to want the extra hassle.

I recently attended a Bob Dylan concert at the Borgota Hotel and Casino, in Atlantic City. Dylan was Dylan: He was great. Security was obnoxious and everywhere. It was too much for a group of vintage hippies and younger people who were far from rowdy. I won't be going back to the Borgota for any show, at any time, for any reason...even if someone gave me a ticket. If I wanted to be treated like cattle, I'd go to the DMV. I'm not going to put out $150 a ticket for a show where the centerpiece of the event is a bunch of security guys. Bet I'm not the only one. I understand the need for safety on a certain level, I can agree with it. But I'm not spending my money to go to an event like that.

The recent developments at PNC Bank Arts Center led me to think about business in Northern Monmouth County. Well, the building trades do well. I see small business isn't what it could or should be. The only large companies the area attracts are retailers that only employ nominal amounts of people at low wages. Taxes are out of control. There is no plan for enouraging business, other than area proponents chanting some mantra about how great things are here without any foundation or initiative within the optimism. So, where is this going overall?

The arts center can't work as it had anymore. Fine, it never really brought that much to any of the Bayshore towns anyway. But it is a sign of the times. Business here is not getting larger; it's getting smaller.

The area needs to start becoming something chartable and identifiable economically. I think this area needs to concentrate on building commerce in a way that is not controversial, but economically sound and not via abdication of responsibility by lawmakers or passing the buck (of which there are fewer and fewer).

Bean pens piece about arts center controversy

Greater Media's Greg Bean has written the best common sense editorial about the PNC Bank Arts Center that has been put out yet. It says it like it is. It's worth a read. Click on the headline and check it out.

Scott Goldstein launches blog, synidcated column

A great reporter from NJBiz, a good weekly business paper, has opened a blog. Scott Goldstein is a former staffer from the Asbury Park Press who covers the Statehouse for NJBiz. He is also starting a syndicated column that deals with locally-oriented news for weeklies around the state.

I wish him a lot of luck with both the column and the blog.
There are a lot of columnists who do not actually have a lot to say, and Scott is not one of them. His work is significant, and brings something to readers. That is a rarity in this business. Click on the headline and check it out at

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Preview Rutger Football opener at

Keep an eye out at for a preview to the Scarlet Knight season opener. Click on the headline and go there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hill will be featured in this week's Courier

There will be a feature-length story this week about Monmouth County Democratic Sheriff's candidate Jack Hill in this week's Courier, available on Thursday.

Hill, who currently serves as the Belmar police chief, will be talking about what he has learned during a walking and listening tour throughout northern Monmouth County, the Bayshore.

Prominent Holmdel resident passes away

It has been reported that prominent Holmdel resident Lincoln Niess has passed away. Lincoln was a retired international businessman, involved for many years in the banking industry. He was a World War II United States Army veteran, and the husband of Bayshore Republican Conference President Valerie Niess.

Lincoln was a very admired person, who seemed to draw out the very best in people. Though incredibly smart and analytical, he also possessed a keen ability to laugh and make others do the same: A rare combination.

Having had the privilege of knowing Lincoln for several years, he was a great gentleman, the kind of which is rarely found today. It is being reported that Lincoln died last night, and there is no news yet of any arrangements.

This was a very good person. My deepest condolences to Valerie and his entire family.

Courier will hold off on Boardwalk historical site

The Keansburg Boardwalk historical Web site slated to be worked on by The Courier will have to wait until next summer. As a result of various storylines that have dominated the time of staffers this summer, there has just not been enough hours in the day to treat this worthy historical subject.

Yet it is worth saying again that the summer culture of the Keansburg Boardwalk has provided enjoyment for untold numbers for decades. In many ways there is no story more positive and uniquely Jersey than that of the Boardwalk in the borough.

Caption: The Wildwood Boardwalk is another great destination on the Jersey Shore, though it's not necessarily close enough for Monmouth residents to enjoy everyday.

NJ hospitals: Dead last and making it look easy?

Just in case you needed to be upset about the ranking of Jersey hospitals a little more.... Click on the headline and go to an article on It'll make you want to stay healthy.

Click into the headline.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Manasquan football coack Vic Kubu dies

Monmouth County football icon Vic Kubu, head coach for the Manasquan Warrior Football Program, has died. The APP has a story about it. Click on the headline and go there.

Total eclipse to take place on Tuesday

There will be a total lunar eclipse on Tuesday, visible for about a half-hour on the East Coast.

Click on the headline and go to the Yahoo News! story.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bloomberg's congestion plan: A detached reality

New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's Congestion Pricing Plan needs to die on the table. For those of us who drive into Manhattan, it is positively absurd. While public transportation is being touted left and right, my experience is that NYC public transportation is good, on the fair said of that grade, but not anything that employers or academic institutions could count on as being reliable enough for commuters to universally depend on.

Infrastructure is a big deal, granted. The Federal and state governments are responsible for large-scale infrastructure repair and improvement. Right now, there are many other priorities from this national government and from these various state governments. My suggestion: Change the priorities and the politicians can stop passing the buck (it's our buck they're passing and spending anyway).

Mayor Mike Bloomberg is generally a good mayor, a smart person, and a great businessman. With that said, his plan in this case is moronic and represents only the single instance of detachment from reality he has exhibited thus far in his tenure.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Nulle will cover Middletown, Hazlet and Keansburg

The Courier is welcoming a new staff writer to its Editorial Department. Rutgers University graduate Alexis Nulle has been assigned to cover: Middletown, Hazlet and Keansburg. SHe can be reached at the newspaper's main number, (732) 957-0070, extension 6126.

Staff Writer Scott Shanley will be taking on assignments from the Advertising and Sales Department.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Vick suspended indefinitely from the NFL

Mike Vick is suspended indefinitely from the NFL: Good. Click on the headline and go to Yahoo News!

Monk tries to make peace about sign

This is a Middletown story by Karen Bowes of The Independent. I got a lot of enjoyment out of it. The Middletown Monk storyline is an ongoing one and Ms. Bowes has done a very nice job with it.

Middletown PD press release



Prepared by Det. Lt. Joseph C. Capriotti

At approximately 12:40AM on August 23, 2007 Middletown Township Police officers were summoned to a disturbance on Powell Avenue in the Navesink section of the township. Officer Stephen Keller and Officer Charles Higgins were the first officers to arrive at the scene and discovered that two brothers had been involved in a fist fight that escalated to both men arming themselves with knives. Both men sustained injuries as a result of stab wounds.

Kevin Allen, age 23, of Powell Avenue in the Navesink section of Middletown Township sustained a severely lacerated thumb, a laceration to his neck and a puncture wound in the back of his head. He was treated and admitted to Riverview Medical Center.

Jayson Gross, age 37, who resides with Allen on Powell Avenue, was taken to Riverview Medical Center and treat for a laceration to his arm, fractured ribs and puncture wounds to his abdomen. He was released to police custody after being treated.

Police are still investigating details of the incident, but the two men, who are brothers, became involved in a fist fight. After the initial fist fight, a second fight followed between the two brothers involving at least two knives. The two men sustained their injuries as they continued to fight.

Both men are charged with Aggravated Assault, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose. Gross additionally is charged with making a Terroristic Threat against Allen. Bail for Jayson Gross was set at $108,000 with no ten percent option and Kevin Allen’s bail was set at $107,500, also with no ten percent option. Gross was transferred to the Monmouth County Correctional Institute and Allen was admitted to Riverview Medical Center for his injuries in the custody of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department.

Middletown officers who assisted at the scene were Sergeant Charles Terefenko, Corporal Ronald Chesek, Corporal Ralph Flannigan, Officer Kevin Gardiner, Officer Donald Coates and Officer Brian Dilworth. The Atlantic Highlands Police also assisted. Detective Barry Grimm, Detective Gerald Weimer and Detective William Strohkirch are conducting the follow up investigation.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rutgers gridiron success seen as key to increased campus interest

According to, there has been a 64 percent increase to campus visits. Could a winning football tradition be tied to some new academic popularity?

Click on the headline and go there.

APP reports on soldier killed in line of duty

I think it is right that people should pause to remember those who give all for us collectively. The loss of these young people is terrible, though -- on families, communities and our nation's future. But this young man certainly did what he believed was right, and has paid the ultimate price in service to his nation.

Click on the headline and go to the story in the APP.

Chinese factory re-selling chop sticks? Odd, true, disturbing

Click on the headline and check out a few products that have been stamped "Made In China." If nothing else, it's worth a laugh.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Short draws support from Bayshore neighbors

Among those at last night's Middletown Committee meeting were Matawan Borough Councilman Joseph "Bud" Mullaney and Keansburg Borough Deputy Mayor Andrew "Drew" Murray.

I noticed these two guys in the room and asked why they were there: Both said they were there to support Middletown Committeeman Patrick Short.

Mr. Mullaney said he finds Mr. Short's work very worthy, despite the challenges Mr. Short faces on the committee.

Mr. Murray said Mr. Short deserves a lot of credit for what he is doing on committee in the face of resistance to his ideas.
Of some note is that both Mr. Mullaney and Mr. Murray are Democrats.

Middletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo said he appreciated both men showing up to support Short. But what is interesting is the fact that both of these guys are from out of town. This is not run of the mill in Democrats. What does it mean? There are tea leaves for such things, but the Bayshore Democratic Club has, by all reports I've heard, been better attended than in recent years. I know that most of the group is comprised of people from Middletown, but there has been some support from Bayshore towns, prominently Aberdeen, Highlands and Hazlet.

"Mutual support" was a theme from the old Bayshore Republican Conference. In its heyday, the BRC left a big mark where it came to cross support. My question: Does this mean the Bayshore Democratic Club is picking up momentum? Maybe too early to tell but an interesting thought for inside people.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Statement read into the record at Aug. 20 session

The following statement was submitted by me to the Middletown Township Committee, furnished to every member of the governing body, as well as all members of their primary support staff today (august 20th) and read into the record at tonight's committee session:

During the August 2nd Middletown Committee Workshop Meeting, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger and Committeeman Thomas Hall made public comments about The Courier's coverage in town.

It is my intention tonight to answer the allegations directly made by Mayor Scharfenberger and inferred by Committeeman Hall.

I want to make it clear that responses and due diligence with regard to township government, Mayor Scharfenberger, Committeeman Hall or the rest of the committee for that matter, answering questions posed by my reporters, is all but non-existent. This mayor and this committee have a difficult time fielding questions about how they spend tax money, and so their choice where it involves my newspaper is not to deal with it at all.

This governing body has created a policy, at least to this newspaper, wherein all questions are posed to the public information officer, Cindy Herrschaft. No individual member of this committee is, I suppose, allowing themselves to speak with any reporter from Courier. Consequently, the many questions our reporters pose are placed through her and basically never answered. This tactic will not prevent news from being reported or stories from being written.

So, for any member of this committee to say they were not contacted before a story or about a story is patently untrue. What is true is that it was their respective choices not to respond to the stories produced by my newspaper's Editorial Section.

In response to Mayor Scharfenberger's allegations that my newspaper prints lies, I want to make it clear that The Courier has printed nothing that is dubious or, to the facts provided us by all parties contacted, in doubt by way of fact in any manner. Both myself and the newspaper at-large stand behind every word printed by our reporters. But not all facts are politically amenable to ambitious politicians or government that possesses a Nixonian style of management. This cannot be the newspaper's preoccupation, though, as out mission is clear: We print news of the day in Northern Monmouth County, something that has been our collective business at Courier since 1955.

Mr. Hall insinuated that Mr. Short, in working with Reporter Scott Shanley, betrayed some public trust for the sake of an alleged "Photo Op." In fact, Mr. Short was communicating with our readers, many of whom reside in Middletown. The Courier is as open to Mr. Scharfenberger and Mr. Hall, not to mention any other member of the governing body, as it is Mr. Short. This can be said of all elected and appointed people in all of the towns we cover. If there is any propaganda or manipulation of facts ongoing in this conversation, it is Mr. Hall's and, apparently, Mr. Scharfenberger.

With that said, I absolutely take exception to the comments made by Mr. Scharfenberger and Mr. Hall, the protocol under their respective mayoral administrations with regard to access to information, and the reckless diatribes these people have engaged in from the pulpit of governmental authority in this town.

Quinn to take helm of Browns' offense

The Cleveland Browns and Brady Quinn: Perfect Together? Is Quinn the real deal or another pretender to the thrown of Cleveland savior? The Browns have been a rubber stamp win for the AFC's powerhouse teams for years. If the Browns won even three more games a year, what would that do to the AFC Playoff picture?

Not all news about the Shore is bad

Click into this APP feature about some well-needed Shore news.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why does the media ignore RU Football?

Part 3 of the Ledger's Rutgers versus USC series takes a look at why the media ignores the Scarlet Knights. Click on the headline and go to

Manna House is doing something special in community

In an APP article today, Manna House, in Aberdeen, is featured. Manna House is doing something to put a dent in a real problem in this area, Northern Monmouth County. Great article today. This is the kind of thing that's making a difference. Click into the headline for a good read.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

News flash: Republicans disagree with Democrats

In as long as I have been covering towns, throughout this state, I have never seen so much ink given to an unwarranted topic as here. Case in point: Republicans campaign on the tax bills, at every committee session, and at every public event possible. On the tax bill it even says that Middletown is in the Top 100 places to live, and it actually isn't anymore.

Not even this paper has the space to deal with the obvious: Republican Party members on the committee seek re-election (they are politicians). That said, Mr. Short was voted in as a change candidate from the Democratic Party last year, and appears to be making good on that platform. If it is grandstanding, in my opinion, it is far more watered-down than I have witnessed in more than a decade at Courier from Republicans, who have at times taken self-congratulation to new heights.

The punchline: Republicans and Democrats are not in the same party. They are part of an adversarial political system created by the people who founded this country. If they did agree all the time, it would be wrong. When the two parties have different opinions and directions about government, then that is the flashpoint of our system of governance, and how reform happens or does not. It is sort of the point: See Civics 101.

The fact that Republicans and Democrats disagree is hardly a news flash. And the idea of a Republican mayor calling on a lone Democrat to step down for not agreeing with a majority whose policies he was elected to change is actually predictable to the point of humor.

Click on the headline and see the story at GM.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Phil Rizzuto dies at age 89

Yankee legend Phil Rizzuto has died. A consummate ambassador to the game, who was a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame as well as a renowned broadcaster for the Bombers, Rizzuto was one of the greats whose like will not be seen again.

I think the best thing that can be said of anyone of his era of ball was that he was a great baseball player at a time when that wasn't handed out at the pharmacy like aspirin.

Phil Rizzuto was an irreplaceable part of the game, and he leaves an enormous hole in the National Pastime. Click on the headline to go to the press release.

Guadagno: Strong, talented and making a case for sheriff

I had an opportunity to interview Kim Guadagno today. She is the Monmouth Beach commissioner and former assistant U.S. attorney running for Monmouth County sheriff this November for the Republican Party.

Mrs. Guadagno's resume is very impressive. She holds a juris doctor degree from the American University in Washington DC., and has significant experience on the frontline against crime. Mrs. Guadagno has worked for the U.S. Marshal Service, and, working for the U.S. Attorney's Office, prosecuted several organized crime family members.

She has lived in Monmouth for 17 years and knows the county well. Mrs. Guadagno is a clearly competent, qualified and energetic candidate who has a number of fresh ideas and plans to continue the five-star agency Monmouth County Sheriff Joe Oxley has created over his 12-year tenure.

Mrs. Guadagno is running against Belmar Police Chief Jack Hill. I will be interviewing Mr. Hill in a week or so. Mrs. Guadagno's feature will be appearing in next week's Courier.

On a personal note, after interviewing both Mr. Hill and Mrs. Guadagno, I find it refreshing that the county has two strong, talented people, each of whom are a credit to this county. Of some comfort is that each of them are intent upon continuing another distinct legacy Sheriff Oxley leaves, which is the one whereby Joe kept politics at arms' length during his time in this important county post.

If every race had candidates this strong in both parties, Monmouth would be a better place. talks about Rutgers, USC has a good story showing some of the differences and similarities between the Rutgers and USC football programs. Click on the headline and go there.

Kleinberg denies cursing out kid at Bar Mitzvah

Marlboro Mayor Kleinberg has a release on denying that he cursed out a child at a Bar Mitzvah in Old Bridge. According to the release, there is a complaint. But in the release, the mayor is adamant he didn't do it. Click on the headline and go there.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Use common sense, taste when using the Internet

I have not printed a comment sent to me by a blogger. I want to make my view clear to the blogger and to anyone who wishes to read:

The Internet is a place where communication is easily facilitated in the widest manner possible. Where such ability exists there should, through the necessity of common sense and good taste, be some form of personal restraint.

As a journalist by trade, the first thing I made it my business to understand was appropriate laws and major case precedent involving libel and defamation (where it involves New Jersey). Beyond being a reporter, it has been a usual editorial duty to offer comment on public events and situations for about a decade in print (maybe a bit more including another paper I used to edit in Ocean County).

Long story short: If you are using the Internet, use your head. Regardless of whether or not your comments are linked to your "real identity," any blogger or anyone can be held accountable to their comments Online. The Internet is not someplace where personal accountability does not exist. Yes, there was an accountability gap for a time, and now that is getting sorted out in the courts.

Consequently, I will not facilitate nonsense on my blog. I will post opinions that differ from mine, but not tripe. If someone is under the impression I have done anything wrong insofar as my ability to offer fair comment, then use what remedies are available (I am more than comfortable with that). In the meantime, keep yourself out of trouble by knowing the left and right bounds of what you can and cannot do.

It seems to me that once people start going down a certain road, they end up getting themselves in trouble and making it look as bad as one can. Most people will not make anything out of bloggers or posters using poor judgment, and then there are those who will.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Check this out:

I was watching the Today Show, and there was a segment today about I think this is something folks may want to check out (especially in Monmouth County). Long story short: You do not have to live with erroneous garbage people post Online. Click on the headline and check out the site. This one I strongly recommend.

Found a great new site:

I found a great site Online, Basically, the site gives contributor information for just about anyone. From what I can see, not everything is complete where it involves information (not all that much about local information).

Nevertheless, it is interesting and a quick tool anyone can use to see at least some of the contributor information from someone else. It also has some good facts. Click on the headline and go there.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sheriff candidates will be interviewed in upcoming weeks

The Courier is going to be profiling candidates for Monmouth County sheriff Jack Hill, Democrat, and Kim Guadagno, Republican, in the upcoming weeks. Mrs. Guadagno will be featured within the next two weeks and Mr. Hill within the following two weeks after that.

Courier appreciates these very forthcoming candidates. So folks are aware, when Courier treats candidate profiles, there is no bashing, name calling or any of that (not that these two candidates would). Our profiles are presented to allow residents to: A. Hear positions, B. Learn some biography, and C. Hear about some of the influences and models the candidates draw from in making decisions.

Candidates will be profiled frequently, and all candidates who take the time to contact us will be treated. No candidates are ran after for a feature. There is no partisan bias to any feature, because this is an opportunity for residents to hear what these people have to say. This is open to all local, county and state candidates within the coverage area for The Courier (county candidates are not region-specific).

I encourage candidates to come out and contact. Should one set of party candidates contact us to be interviewed, and the other party's candidates either decline equal time or do not get back to us, then that would be their problem. With that said, The Courier's number is 732-957-0070, and Alyssa Passeggio covers Highlands, Atlantic Highlands, Matawan, Aberdeen, Keyport and Union Beach; while Scott Shanley covers Middletown, Hazlet, Keansburg and Holmdel.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Blue Jersey posts poll; Clinton has strong lead

A new poll is taken to see how the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates are doing in New Jersey. Mrs. Clinton seems to have an advantage for the moment. Click on the headline and go to the post. posts about the changing face of some counties

Diversity is growing in New Jersey. Nearby Middlesex County is expected to have a major demographic swing in upcoming years. has a good story about it in today's edition. Click on the headline and go there.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Adult males are the most likely to be without health insurance

Interesting fact: Click on the headline above and find out who is most likely not to have health insurance in your world.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

MT mayor, committee make accusations at meeting

At last night's meeting of the Middletown Committee, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger called for Middletown Committeeman Patrick Short to resign. In addition, he took great exception to the work of Courier staffer Scott Shanley, and to the newspaper itself...again. Somehow, he linked one to the other.

Outside of a public venue, like a committee meeting, where a public official, in this case the mayor and the members of the committee, make noise I would not feel a need to respond to what is patently politicking for its own sake. But, the mayor and his fellow GOP members on the governing body decided to put on a bit of a show last night.

First, he claimed that Mr. Short met with Courier secretly to do a story, which is just bizarre. The Courier met and will meet with anyone in elected office for a story about government in any town it covers. The fact is that Mr. Scharfenberger and his committee, as well as his public information officer, refuse to answer most questions about how the governing body spends tax money to this newspaper. Mr. Shanley writes out questions, submits them (the committee makes them funnel questions through the PIO) and then fails to answer anything of any substance whatsoever with great regularity. This is what I have to believe is an "official way" to not have to answer difficult questions.

It is refreshing, in fact, to have a member of the governing body, Mr. Short, who does not feel it necessary to come up with long, convoluted stories not answering questions about how he wants to spend tax money to improve the town.

Second, Mr. Scharfenberger and company do not like to communicate about issues involving expenditures or accounting issuesd within their budget or oversight if they are not "driving the train" on an article. Flatly, subjects do not drive the train in our articles. If this newspaper was in error on any fact or anything, it is our continued policy to announce that error loudly through our corrections (which are on Page 3 of our newspaper weekly).

As to the issues of "lies printed" in Courier, my response to Mr. Scharfenberger and Co. is "Hogwash."

The Courier has never failed to print a dissenting opinion, or anyone who has taken exception to our reporting, or to those who have some form of random gripe about our presence. In fact, the staff at the newspaper takes great pride in the fact that it will, on every occasion, address critics in a straightforward manner, without malice or negative attitide. With that said, when this newspaper's reporting is accurate there will be no apologies for doing our job. Last week, there was a correction on the name of a community within Middletown, and so we printed the correction. There have been no other errors, and certainly nothing to correct to this point, other than what has already been addressed.

If Mr. Scharfenberger, or anyone else, would like to speak with me about this personally, I can be reached at (732) 957-0070, ext. 6116. However, I will be sure to speak at the next committee meeting about this, and am providing ample warning so Mr. Carton et. al. can be sure to arrange for the appropriate shills in the audience to heckle, as they deem necessary. Nevertheless, I am not about to give way to any cheap theatrics from the bully pulpit, or allow any abuse of my reporters through any elected official using poor taste and ugly tactics at a public session to go unnoticed and uncommented about.

This is not uncommon in Courier's experience in recent years, though. This same sort of conduct was expected with some regularity during the Minervini years in Keansburg. pens piece about Byrne

There's a good piece about Brendan Byrne on A little-known fact is that the former governor named the horse as the state's animal, despite the fact he was never much of an equestrian enthusiast personally. Click on the headline and go there.

Monday, August 06, 2007

American Home Mortgage: Filing for bankruptcy?

American Home Mortgage is filing for bankruptcy. Click on the headline and go to a very good NY Daily News article about it.

Bridge tragedy and what it means here at home

Courier staffer Alyssa Passeggio wrote a good Online piece about the Minnesota bridge tragedy, with some implications at home. Good stuff. Click on the headline and go there.

Red Jersey posts on welfare debacle in Garden State

Tommy DeSeno makes a good point on Red Jersey about welfare in this state. Personally, I think welfare should be about poor people and kids who need help and not people earning a lot of money. Click on the headline and go there.

FBI: Sexual favors given out at League after parties

According to the APP, sexual favors were on the menu at N.J. League of Municipalities, held in Atlantic City. More than that, Monmouth officials, according to the FBI, partook in this. So why can't the voters know who these were? What protection should be offered to wayward officials seeking a good time on the taxpayer's dime.

I have never been an advocate for the League's events in Atlantic City. They lead to excess and are, essentially, taxpayer-paid junkits. Officials have told me that "important information" is passed at the events there. Personally, I know something productive may happen there, but by and large the excesses of those events really make it clear to me that these events should not exist. Maybe by changing the venue, or going with a major enforcement effort (complete with publicity). But right now we have a crop of politicians in this county who have gotten very used to a lifestyle that should not, in any way, be supported by the hard-earned tax money of this county's or these municipalities' voters.

In my opinion, the League is far from the organization ascribed in its mission statement. One word: Useless.

Click on the headline and try putting down the morning coffee. Good work by Bob Cullinane at the APP. Best story I've read in a long time.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bonds reaches Aaron's mark

Barry Bonds officially tied Hank Aaron's home run mark today.

So what?

Hank was and is a credit to the sport who did things the old fashioned way, with integrity.

Mr. Bonds did a big thing. But I think he did it the wrong way and is foisting himself on the record books, as well as the Hall. He will be in both, and I think it should be unopposed, so as to not create another martyr.

But the record does not mean that much anymore. It's not what it was just yesterday. Click on the headline and go to the Yahoo News! story.

Politics in Monmouth: A natural change?

Politics has become something of a blood sport in Northern Monmouth County, which is a shame because it only became that way a few years ago. Perhaps it was inevitable that partisan politics would be taken to such extremes as lawsuits and regular altercations between GOP hardliners and reform-minded Republicans, Democrats or just people who disagreed with the status quo in county, respectively.

There was a time, not so long ago, when a more-harmonious Monmouth County Republican Party had unobstructed access and rule over the county. That group was comprised of distinct elements, which might be referred to as: conservative, moderate, grassroots or just financially interested. Somehow, that stew of interests got along together for about a quarter-century, overseen by another group of county politicians that some people referred to as "the Old Guard." These folks, for the sake of brevity, were the GOP's latter day Founding Fathers in Monmouth. Their leadership was unquestioned for many years and so this group of people were able to, in my opinion, keep the peace. Over time, these leaders left the stage, for one reason or the other, and a few cliques got together and tried to take charge, either compelling others to do what they wanted or running people out of the party. Like the tides, this is the nature of political change.

All things change. And yet no single political party is entitled to leadership by simple virtue of its existence anywhere in this country. Elections are times when the lease is renewed by the votership about who sits in political power. If taxes are low, or cut if they become too high, and if public services are where they are supposed to be, then no amount of political insider fighting, banter or hijinks will change the status quo. Contrastly, if things are not as they could be, and taxpayers feel they could do better, then they will.

Political speculators, the papers and the talking heads make too much of the insider stuff. When voters think they can find a way to shave the tax rate and get a governmental emphasis they like, then they do it. That sounds far more likely than the "intrigue models" being widely used. Monmouth is home to an educated middle- and upper-class, and they vote. People like getting a good deal in office holders, which is characterized as "grassroots popularity." The idea that candidates have to possess grassroots popularity is one that is endangered. Well, if people do not have such popularity then they do not get elected. But to purposefully divert from that concept seems odd.

So where does that leave all of the insider bickering going on in the GOP? It's interesting to watch, but unnecessarily caustic. Democrats are more viable today than in years past because the GOP left a door open with its infighting and some of the policy decisions some of its holders made. There's really not all that much to it.

These are times when many GOP enthusiasts are trying to find 'devils' responsible for making that party appear bad. There's an old saying about 'shooting messengers.' When it comes down to it, the only people that can make the GOP look the GOP. In politics, when money and not service becomes the most important thing then the inevitable can happen, which is a change in voter emphasis. I think people inside the game tend to negate the cognitive abilities of voters. I tend to believe the quickest trip to an answer is a straight line using common sense.

I certainly hope things change, but then again I'm not holding my breath.


Above: Town Hall in Philadelphia. No relevance to the story.


WASHINGTON – A new national poll released today shows Americans’ widespread dissatisfaction with the country’s economy. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 68 percent of respondents believe that either the U.S. economy is in recession now or will be in the next twelve months.

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today said that the stagnant incomes of middle-income and working Americans is fueling this dissatisfaction.

"For those who are only fixated on the stock market, these numbers might come as a surprise, but for Americans who are working harder than ever for a living but taking home less, this makes complete sense. The benefits of the Bush economy are found in corporate bottom lines, not in the wallets of middle-income and working Americans

“We’ve had years of stagnating income under the Bush economy, and people are sick of it. As long as the gap between those in the upper income brackets and those in the middle keeps growing, there will be dissatisfaction. The new Democratic majority recognizes this, and we have pursued pocket-book policies, including the first raise in the minimum wage in a decade, more assistance for students pursuing college educations and an extension and expansion of health coverage for children from working and low-income families.”

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Afshin Mohamadi
Press Secretary
Senator Robert Menendez

Lamentations for former Keansburg police officer

Former Keansburg Police Officer Brian Goode is reported to have died in a tragic way. Deepest sympathies to the family. Mr. Goode was so young to go in such an untimely way. Click into the headline to go to the APP article published yesterday.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Wyatt Earp rides again...this time helping working families

Earp family ancestor is active in
Garden State labor, politics

Here's an interesting fact: Legendary 19th century Tombstone, Arizona resident and celebrated Wild West U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp has a family namesake and ancestor living in New Jersey. A 21st century Wyatt Earp is living in Ocean County, New Jersey. He is a well-known labor man who has been working on behalf of New Jersey workers for decades.

The 21st century Mr. Earp is also a very active Democrat who has worked on behalf of local, county, state and national candidates for a long while.

After meeting Mr. Earp a few times, it's not hard to picture him in the Earp family portrait of yesteryear. After all of inquiries he must be asked about his relationship to his celebrated ancestor, Mr. Earp is still very approachable and a heck of a nice guy too.

Historical Fact: The original Wyatt Earp and his brothers took part in a battle against the first recognized 'organized crime' gang in the United States, a bunch of miscreants known as "The Cowboys." In what is remembered as a case of David v. Goliath, American West style, the Earps carved out justice in a place and time where that was a hard thing to do.

Props to the Earp family past and present for its contributions to helping the community around them.

Click on the headline to go to a post about Mr. Earp.

National Parks Service approves county plan for parks

August 2, 2007

Thumbs Up to Parks at Fort Monmouth
National Park
Service approves county’s plan

FREEHOLD – The National Park Service (NPS) has approved Monmouth County’s application to include 351 acres at Fort Monmouth in the Federal Lands to Parks Program.

In a letter dated July 26, 2007 to the Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority (FMERPA) and Fort Monmouth’s Base Transition Coordinator, Elyse LaForest, Program Manager of the Federal Lands to Parks Program stated “...we have determined that the highest and best use in the public’s interest of the requested parcels is for park and recreational purposes.”

“This approval is a giant step forward in securing the open space and recreation resources at Fort Monmouth for future generations,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, who represents Monmouth County on FMERPA and also serves as the freeholder liaison to the Monmouth County Board of Recreation Commissioners. “The National Park Service is to be commended for its thorough and timely review of the application and for working on the county’s behalf to set the stage for the transfer of open spaces and facilities to Monmouth County’s care for perpetuity.”

The Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously passed a resolution in support of the application at its July 12, 2007 meeting. The application, submitted in cooperation with the governing bodies of the Boroughs of Eatontown, Oceanport, and Tinton Falls, formally requested that four specific areas at Fort Monmouth be conveyed to the County of Monmouth for inclusion in the county Park System. The county will use the areas for both active and passive recreational uses.

The areas include open fields, lawn areas, forested wetlands and developed facilities that include the Youth and Fitness Centers (both with gymnasiums), two 25-meter swimming pools, a football complex, bowling center, ball fields, meeting spaces, picnic areas and a playground.

The county is seeking an easement interest for the marina property and the golf course. The placement of conservation easements on both areas will permanently protect the properties from development and, under the conditions of the Federal Lands for Parks program, provide opportunities for public recreation managed by the private sector.

The NPS recommendation also stated “the county’s acquisition of the property will satisfy the public’s need for active and passive recreational facilities in an area of increasing population and development. The closure of Fort Monmouth presents a unique opportunity to add open space and recreational facilities in an area that is currently under-served for similar facilities and where open land does not exist.”

Under the framework and structure of the Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) program, surplus federal property may be transferred between federal agencies. The NPS, as a subsection of the Department of Interior is empowered to recommend federal properties for inclusion in the Federal Lands for Parks program. The NPS recommends the transfer of the subject property to Monmouth County for public park and recreational use pursuant to the provisions of 40 U.S.C. § 550 (e), and a public benefit discount of 100 percent of the property’s fair market value in conveying the property.

The conveyance of the properties designated in the application is dependent upon the acceptance and approval of FMERPA and the Department of the Army.

Fort Monmouth is a 1,100-acre U.S. Army base located in Eatontown, Oceanport and Tinton Falls. In the fall of 2005, Fort Monmouth was officially designated as one of the bases that would be closed and moved to another location. As operations at Fort Monmouth are transferred to Aberdeen, Md., the base will be redeveloped for government, public or private use to be determined by FMERPA in conjunction with the community.

The Monmouth County Park System is the official open space, park and recreation agency of the County of Monmouth, consisting of more than 13,000 acres of permanently preserved land managed within 39 park areas. Visitation to the Monmouth County Park System exceeds 4.5 million annually. In 2006, the Park System conducted more that 4,400 recreation programs for persons of all ages and abilities in subject areas including nature interpretation, sports and fitness, outdoor recreation, and cultural, creative, and performing arts.

# # #

Thursday, August 02, 2007

McGreevey: Still haunting the news

NJ Voices' Kathleen O'Brien is discussing the whole McGreevey situation. In my opinion, Mr. McGreevey has succeeded in bringing a great deal of ridicule to this state and confusion and pain to some members of his own family, consequent to several of his decisions in and out of office.

His act is thin, worn and remains a sore spot where it involves state government. No governor, at no time, has ever been as bad, as ridiculous or as patently self-motivated as this sham of a fellow. He is a black eye to the Garden State that seems will not go away. And perhaps, the NJ "McGreevey experience" should have lessons for residents, regardless of party.
Click on the headline to go to the column detailing this most recent McGreevey train wreck.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Good football is back: Semi-pro in the Bayshore!

Courier Sports Editor Ed Collins just told me about what may be perhaps the most exciting thing in sports I have heard of for quite some time. The Bayshore has semi-pro football...and it's good!

According to Ed, there are two semi-pro football teams hailing from the Bayshore, the Bayshore Brawlers, from Keyport, and the Shore Bulldogs, of Middletown.

Sport for its own sake. No big shoe deals. No car commercials. Just football played by people who make a living doing normal jobs and then, any given Saturday, take part in the sport they love to play. They play for the sake of the game and not for the paycheck.

This is how sports should be. The last time I saw the Cavaliers and the Nets play, I witnessed what may be the most selfish and pampered act I have personally witnessed in any arena. The Cavs had a special person assigned to helping to stretch out LeBron James. Are you kidding me?

LeBron James can stretch himself out.

In the NFL, there is someone designated on some teams to squirt Gatorade into the mouths of players. It's grotesque.

Players can squeeze a bottle. It won't cause injury.

As for Major League Baseball, don't get me started. It's the Mecca of all spoiled athletes...or should I say "sports entertainers."

Click on the headline to go to the Web site for the Bayshore Brawlers ( and you can find the Shore Bulldogs at

I have a schedule for these guys and I plan on being there. I encourage folks to come out and support our local athletes, who deserve a lot of credit.

Adubato interviewed by NJBIZ

On Page 15 of the July 30 edition of NJBIZ, in a feature titled "Don't Try to Run from the Truth," Steve Adubato (a multi-talented person who, among other accomplishments, put together an incredible documentary about the old ward system in Newark) was interviewed about public relations and why keeping bad news to one's self is not always the best answer.

One example of the common sense he presents in his piece can be seen from the passage below:

"Question: If you have 'bad news,' is it best to keep it to yourself?

"Adubato: Not always, especially when people know that things have gone wrong. If it is an hour past when your plane was supposed to take off, you don't have to be a genius to figure that there is a problem. Not ackowledging it just makes it worse. Just be up front."

Steve Adubato always seems to have something common sense and bright to say. It's only a small piece in NJBIZ, but a lot of people in politics in Monmouth County could benefit by finding a copy of this and listening to it.

In general, NJBIZ is well-written, informative and laid out really well. It is perhaps one of the best things put out weekly. Smart reporters and great production people. The paper is good quality too, and I have yet to see a bad run on the printer's part. It costs $2, and it's worth that.