Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bongiorno: A Republican by any other name?

Middletown Mike...

By Mike Morris

Who needs Republicans when there are Democrats like this? Every town has one, a self–loathing, disgruntled Democrat. A person who is registered as a Democrat for the sole purpose of giving validity to their bashing of the Democratic party, their policies and candidates, in order to help the rival Republican organization. One can only speculate on their intentions or motivation.

Do these individuals feel that by supporting the opposition it will give themselves or some other family members special favors or advantages over other people if they are seeking a job with a municipality, or maybe a favorable variance or zoning change to help with a construction project? We can’t be sure.

What we do know though, is that these people participate in organized letter writing campaigns by either writing letters themselves or by lending their names to other people’s writings. These letters always seem to generally address the latest Republican talking points of the day.

In Middletown, this person resides in the heavily Republican section of Lincroft and his name is Dominick Bongiorno.

For the past six or so years, Mr. Bongiorno, a registered Democrat, has repeatedly written letters to local publications (this one included) critical of the local Democratic Party, it’s candidates and elected officials, always in an effort to praise the Republican establishment.

Letters from Mr. Bongiorno first started appearing during the 2002 campaign season. He praised and supported the local Republican incumbents, Mayor Patrick Parkinson and

Committeeman Raymond O’Grady over their Democratic opponents. In hindsight, I am sure that Mr. Bongiorno regretted his support after both men were later disgraced, Parkinson for settling a sexual harassment suite that was brought against him by the former township clerk and O’Grady for being sent to jail for taking bribes as a participant in Operation Bid Rig.

During 2007, Mr. Bongiorno turned his letter writing energies against newly elected Democratic Committeeman Patrick Short. Patrick Short, a West Point graduate and retired Army Lieutenant Colonel who was elected to the Township committee in 2006, to become the first Democrat to hold elective office in Middletown in twenty years.

Typical of other letters written about Mr. Short last year, Mr. Bongiorno’s were less than factual and filled with the current Middletown GOP talking points of the day.

A third letter written last October again parroted other Republican letters that appeared in print critical of the Middletown Democratic candidates and their campaign for office.

Mr. Bongiorno's most recent letter, which has been printed in the various local papers over the past few weeks, truly shows his partisan Republican roots. In his letter he now makes a feeble attack on the other Democrat sitting on the Township committee, Sean Byrnes.

His letter falsely accuses Mr. Byrnes of delaying the vote on a resolution against the new FEMA flood maps. If Mr. Bongiorno had been keeping up on the issue, instead of passing along Republican talking points and trying to politicize the issue, he would have read all about it in several articles that had been published in all of the local papers.

The reason for the delay in adopting the resolution was not Byrnes's fault. The changes in language that Mr. Byrnes and the rest of the committee had agreed to during the previous meeting were not there, which was the inclusion of Congressman Frank Pallone’s name to recognize his efforts in delaying the flood maps.

When the resolution came up for adoption Committeeman Brynes made a motion to include the compromised to language. The vote that night was split along party lines 2-2 because Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill was not present and Mayor Scharfenberger and Committeeman Wilkens had for some reason, a problem the inclusion of Pallone’s name. It was then put off until the whole committee could be present at the next workshop meeting.

During the following workshop meeting, Committeeman Byrnes, in a true bi-partisan gesture, offered to include Assemblywoman Amy Handlin’s name in the resolution to recognize her efforts in leading a petition drive against the FEMA flood maps.

Mr. Byrnes’s amendment and suggestion to include both Middletown’s Federal and State representatives was ultimately included in the final FEMA resolution that was unanimously approved 5-0 by the Township committee.

Committeeman Sean Byrnes should be applauded for his bi-partisan efforts on behalf of Middletown, not scorned by partisan attempts like Mr. Bongiorno’s, to politicize a very important issue that affects residents of Middletown, but the whole Bayshore area as well as the country.

In the past, members of the Middletown Democratic Party have made numerous attempts to talk with and invite Mr. Bongiorno to their gatherings and Mr. Bongiorno has declined those invitations. It is quite obvious therefore that Mr. Bongiorno is conveniently a Democrat by label only. And for reasons only known to him, has decided that it is in his best interest to parrot and spread the local GOP propaganda.

For more on Middletown Mike, click on the headline and go to his blog.

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