Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Am I missing something?

During the Clinton sex scandal, here is what then GOP Congressman Mark Stanford had to say about former president Bill Clinton's conduct:

This is "very damaging stuff," Sanford declared at one point, when details of Clinton's conduct became known. "I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign)... I come from the business side," he said. "If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he'd be gone."

Based on all we now know with respect to the extent of Republican Govenor Mark Sanford's conduct, it's seems we are way past a point where his resignation is due.

Beyond Stanford's hypocrisy, what else am I missing?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael and Farrah...

In a detour from politics, I like to make a brief comment or two on the passing of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. While Michael, was no saint, he was undeniably one of the greatest entertainers of all time. I am currently in Japan and spent most of today listening to his music on my IPod while sightseeing. It’s incredible how much one can reminisce about where you were when many of his songs were released. I can still remember a weekend spent in DC and Baltimore with cousins when "Off the Wall" was the newest "jam". MJ's music and influence on pop culture will be sorely missed.

With respect to Farrah, she was the first major female star that I and a millions of other teenage boys idolized back in the '70s. She was the "bomb"! Her performance in the 'Burning Bed" broke new ground and she will always be my favorite "angel"!

May God bless both Michael and Farrah as they rest in peace.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can anyone keep their pants on?

All over the US (including our beloved Long Valley) it seems a number of prominent political figures and/or their spouses continue to have problems keeping their pants on when it comes to infidelity. Here is a recap of what's happen over the past ten years or so. While a majority of these "players" are members of the GOP, Democrats seem to have their issues as well.

Even more reason to appreciate the strong moral character of our nation's First family.

A conservative who gets it.

More commentary on why Obama's approach to Iran is the right course of action.

Press Release Email Statistics

Here are some interesting stats pertaining to a press release I sent last week to a fairly large email list.

Email Bounces: 1.5%
Opt Outs (Honored requests for removal): 2.5%
Opens: 35.5%
Clicks (Blog visits): 21.8%

Total blog visits since the press release: 440

There were also three "party poopers" who reported the email as SPAM. These folks need to get a life.

Overall, the feedback has been great. Thanks to all who paid a visit!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another GOP Tax Debacle.

Fresh off last week's approval of a municipal budget with a tax increase nine times the current inflation rate, comes word the all GOP has another fiscal screw-up on their hands. This one involves $150K owed for unpaid federal and state payroll taxes due to the fraudulent actions of a contracted payroll services vendor. According to the OT, the Committee plans to meet tomorrow to pass an emergency appropriation to pay the $150K and charge it against the 2010 budget. Why not demonstrate some of the GOP "fiscal conservativeness" we only hear about during election campaigns and make the necessary cuts in the current 2009 budget to accommodate this new expense? Yes, this will this mean hard choices, which explains why Mayor Ken Short is predicatively opting to take the easy way and put us $150K in the hole for 2010. I can insure you if I were still the Finance Liaison, I would find $150K in a $16.6 million budget in a heartbeat. However, with James Harmon now serving in this position, don't look for any solid recommendations anytime soon as Jim simply isn't up to the challenge.

As some may recall, this isn't the first payroll tax debacle to make news in our town. In 2008, former GOP County Committee Chairperson Bruce Kreeger was sentenced to one year and a day of prison time after failing to pay over $200K in payroll taxes for his ATM service business.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Obama's approach to Iran is correct...

After searching for a good example that distinctly outlines the contrast between the GOP’s and the Obama Administration 's approach to current events in Iran, I found this exchange between Fred Thompson and Sam Nunn, which pretty much sums it up. Bottom line, Obama's approach shows thoughtful, strategic, leadership; as opposed to the "play by my gut" incompetence we suffered through over the past eight years.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A touch of class...

In a gracious OT letter, Virginia (Ginny) Scarlatelli thanked a number of individuals, including yours truly, who supported her passion for our free public library.

Ginny is one of the most dedicated people I have had the pleasure of working with and will be sorely missed.

May she be blessed with fair winds and following seas in all her future endeavors.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blog Feedback from South Africa.

As a result of a press release sent yesterday announcing this blog, I received an inspiring email from a fellow Long Valley Democrat currently serving in the Peace Corps in South Africa. His name is Craig Grunwald and he is a 1999 West Morris Central graduate. With his permission, I am sharing his email:

Mr. Kevin Nedd,

Hello from South Africa where I am completing my second term as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It's always great to receive emails from home -- home being Long Valley -- but it's not every day that I receive an email from a DEMOCRAT from home! Indeed, you and I are a rare breed.

A little bit about me...I grew up in a fiscally conservative, Republican-backing household in Parker Acres but began to identify more with the Democratic Party after running away from Long Valley to Bangladesh in 2005, where I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer until our program's evacuation in 2006. (Indeed, the fact that Peace Corps accepted someone like me from a government-is-the-problem-not-the-solution town like Long Valley is still rather astonishing.)

In 2006 I began my graduate studies in Public Administration at Rutgers-Camden, which I completed this year while overseas. From 2007 until now, I have been serving as an HIV/AIDS Community Outreach Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa, where I am currently attempting to initiate an HIV/AIDS and food security program for migrant farm workers living and working on commercial farms along the Mozambican-South African border.

When I finish my Peace Corps service in September I plan to come home for a month or two to spend some time with my family and friends before I get back to work -- hopefully in the international development field. When I'm home I'd love to get lunch or coffee with you at some point to discuss being a Democrat in Long Valley and what a young 28 year old like me can do to help the Democratic Party have a stronger presence in Washington Township.

With that said, thank you for the email about your blog at longvalleypolitics.com. Keep up the good fight.

Kindest regards,

Craig Grunwald
Peace Corps Volunteer w/
The Rural Action Committee of Mpumalanga Province (TRAC-MP)
HIV/AIDS Farm Worker Support Program

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Another useless Township Committee resolution.

During its last meeting, the Township Committee unanimously approved a resolution supposedly protecting residents, who give their e-mail addresses to township entities, from political email communications. While the Committee can certainly prohibit township controlled entities from disclosing emails they collect, the Township has no power over the use of email addresses by non-township related entities already in possession of such email addresses. Like political phone calls, which are exempt from "Do Not Call" regulations, political emails don't meet the "commercial email" definition of SPAM and therefore are not illegal.

In addition, Mayor Ken Short continues to demonstrate incompetence if, as the Daily Record reports, he thinks "once residents are on a distribution list, they have access to all the other e-mail addresses on that list". WRONG! Most widely distributed emails (like the one I sent today) are almost always sent "blind carbon copy" (BCC) to avoid giving the competition a targeted means to provide a response.

A bit of advice for my former colleagues: instead of providing self serving, "knee jerk" reactions to "challenged residents" who can't figure out how to use the "unsubscribe" link located at the bottom of most mass distributed emails, the Township Committee might want to focus its energy on ways to avoid increasing our taxes by a factor exceeding nine times the current rate of inflation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NINE times the inflation rate?

The recently passed 2009 Municipal Budget containing a tax increase that is NINE (9) times the inflation rate for the past 6 months.

Reversing a three year decline in tax growth, the budget adds $66 more to the average property tax bill. As a point of reference, this year’s K-8 school budget adds only $32.

For all the excuses offered, this municipal budget represents a failure of leadership during a period when many residents are struggling to maintain their standard of living. Like me, many of you are wondering what happen to GOP campaign promises like the one still appearing on Committeeman Howard Popper's website:

"Every tax dollar we spend must directly benefit our seniors, families and children. I am committed to lowering, not containing taxes."

Between now and November you will no doubt hear a lot of talk about “high property taxes” and how Democrats in Trenton are to blame. As someone who delivered three consecutive years of declining tax growth (2006-2008), I say the problem is much closer to home.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What's your political ideology?

Take a look at this Gallup Poll on political ideology within the US. For moderates like me, the bad news, conservatives aren't going away; the good news, they aren't in charge!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What else is Christie hiding?

A Congressional subcommittee has invited GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie, a former U.S. attorney, to testify this month about awarding lucrative contracts to his old boss, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, and other former prosecutors. Beyond Ashcroft's firm making up to $52 million on the no-bid contract; what else should Christie be concerned about?

Higher taxes in 2010?

After voting to re-enter the state health care program this year, it now appears the Township Committee has set the Township up for a HUGE premium increase next year. This along with other fiscal screw-ups will all but guarantee another maximum tax increase in 2010.

As evidenced by this year's 3.8% municipal tax increase, the days of declining tax growth (4.1%...3.2%...2.3%) experienced during my three years as Finance Liaison) are clearly history with the GOP now in full control.

Washington Township voters deserve what they asked for.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Harmon's inattention to detail.

For the sake of our tax dollars, I hope Republican Committeeman James Harmon is practicing a higher degree of attention to detail in his duties as Finance Liaison than he has as Treasurer for the Roehrich/Short Campaign. The campaign’s 29 Day Pre-election ELEC submission does not contain the required "Treasurer" signature. Making matters worse, this "amended" submission corrected an original filing that failed to include the signature page altogether! And people say I am just picking on Jim when I contend he is incompetent.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chuck's Tweet tantrum...

Quick note on a national issue. According to the WSJ:

"Sen. Chuck Grassley says that President Barack Obama has "got nerve" to go sightseeing in Paris while telling lawmakers it's time to deliver on a health-care overhaul."

Sen. Grassley, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, is key to any bipartisan health care deal. Using Twitter -- the Internet-based social connection service allows users to send mass text messages called "tweets" -- the Iowa senator issued two angry "tweets" Sunday morning as the president wrapped up an overseas tour.

For months Mr. Obama had left the details of health-care legislation to Congress, then inserted himself firmly into the debate in recent days, including using his weekly radio address Saturday to declare "it's time to deliver" on health reform.

Sen. Grassley's first tweet: "Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us 'time to deliver' on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND."

A short time later: "Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said 'time to delivr on healthcare' When you are a 'hammer' u think evrything is NAIL I'm no NAIL."

A Grassley spokeswoman verified that the senator was the author of the messages.

Asked to respond to Sen. Grassley's Twitter commentary, White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said: "President Obama is gratified that the Senate is working hard to bring a health-reform bill to the floor on schedule. He looks forward to continuing his work with them upon his return from the commemoration of Allied heroism at D-Day."

While I can appreciate the response from the White House, let me say what they can't:

Chuck, shut up, get back to work, and stop crying like a baby. It's your job to draft a health care bill for the President's signature. It's not his job to draft one for yours!

If you want to have some impact on a final health care bill, now is your chance. If you don't, get out the way so we Democrats can pass a bill on our own through reconciliation. The same process Republicans used to pass Bush's tax cuts.

Elections have consequences and your party LOST!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Why Corzine?

I received an email today asking why I support Corzine for reelection. Fair question. For me, it's all comes down to the numbers.

Corzine proposed and signed into law growth caps on tax levies for municipal, school, and fire districts. In the four years prior to Corzine being in office, property taxes in Washington Township increased by an average annual rate of 5.09%. Since Corzine has been in office, property tax growth declined to a 3.48% average annual rate. This does not include 2009 tax figures (available next month) which will lower the average even more based on what we now know about the school and municipal budgets.

What has Christie done? BTW, during the Whitman years, Washington Township property taxes increased by an average annual rate of 4.20%.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Corzine kicks off 2009 campaign.

Last night, Govenor Corzine kicked off his 2009 reelection campaign at a rally in West Orange. After a rousing introduction speech by Vice President Joe Biden, the Governor made his case for reelection.

Check out the guy on the top row to the left of the VP.

Monday, June 1, 2009

You just have to ask yourself...

...what type of social deviant submits negative political attack letters to the editor of the Observer Tribune under false made up names using fraudulently doctored email addresses?

I wouldn't be surprised if it's the same social deviant whose wife sought sexual satisfaction in another man, which ultimately resulted in this same social deviant driving across town on a snow day and breaking the other man's nose in a brutal attack. An attack, perpetrated in the parking lot of a district elementary school, leading to his arrest.

That's right...they don't exist.

A quick check of the online Morris County Tax database confirm Greg Antonelle's findings are indeed correct. There is no Theodore Baldwin in all of Washington Township. There is no Wayne Garrett in all of Washington Township. There is a Michael Reynolds, but he lives on Turtleback Road, not Naughright Road as was claimed in a OT phony letter.

Isn't it bad enough Washinton Township's largest tax increases occurred during Bill Roehrich's and Ken Short's stints as leaders of the BOE and Township Committee? Now we have dirty tricks and lies to top it off!

Open letter from Greg Antonelle

The following is an open letter from Greg Antonelle in response to dirty Short/Roehrich campaign tactics:

Dear Friends & Neighbors,

If you’re like me and love living in Long Valley I think you’ll find the following story absolutely appalling:In the May 21st edition of the Observer Tribune a letter I wrote was published – it can be found by clicking here.

In the letter, I wrote about how the political landscape of our town has turned ugly in recent years, courtesy of a select few that, unfortunately, give that Republican Party a bad name in town.

Well, I don’t claim to be Nostradamus and I’ve certainly never been any good at predicting the future, but certainly my letter was very telling. You see, the good ol’ boys are back at it with their fairy tale fiction writing in high gear, and this may be the worst example ever.

The same week my letter was published supporting DeFrance & Skurchak there were 3 other letters written by Mike Reynolds (Naughright Lane), Theodore Baldwin (Fairview Drive ) and Wayne Garrett (Middle Valley Road) that benefited Short & Roehrich and defamed Skurchak & DeFrance. These three letters shared a common theme – lies, distortion, and personal attacks. It is one thing to challenge an opponent’s record…it’s another to twist & manipulate facts to totally fabricate a story which is what all three of these men did.

I had never heard of Mike Reynolds, Theodore Baldwin, and/or Wayne Garrett. Neither had Jim Skurchak, nor Rick DeFrance. For that matter, nobody I talked with knew these three guys…I am 100% confident that none of you reading this email know them either and for good reason.

After scouring the Washington Township voter database, sifting through countless public records, and conducting numerous online investigative searches for these three men, we had a very difficult time locating them. You will too. The reason? YOU CAN’T LOCATE PEOPLE THAT DO NOT EXIST!!!

That’s right – Mike Reynolds, Theodore Baldwin, and Wayne Garrett do not exist. They do not live in Long Valley and are merely figments of a distorted person’s imagination…three imaginary friends of an immature child who thought Long Valley was too dumb, naive, and indifferent to figure out his deviant actions. Sorry guys. It doesn’t work that way in our town anymore...

It’s easy to defame someone with very strong words - very wrong words, when you’re hiding behind anonymity. These letters contained words so wrong and so strong that the author couldn’t put his own name on them, nor could he find anyone else in the Short/Roehrich camp to do so…

So, yes, believe it or not, someone on the Short/Roehrich side actually had the time, energy, and audacity to not only write the letters, but then obtain three fake email addresses (michaelnaughright@yahoo.com, tbaldwinlv@gmail.com, waynegarrett876@gmail.com), and submit the vicious letters to the Observer Tribune. The OT is supposed to verify authenticity of each letter, but very obviously they did not. Shame on them. They were fooled, but not us.

If you are receiving this email it’s likely you, like me, and like Rick DeFrance & Jim Skurchak, have chosen to raise a family in Long Valley because of all that is good here. We believe the way to teach our kids right from wrong is to lead by example.

Rick & Jim have admirably chosen to take the high road this election. On election eve, I felt it was important to set the record straight regarding the fraudulent letters.

On Tuesday let’s send a message that the era of bully politics is over in Long Valley. Let’s be proud of our town. Vote Rick DeFrance & Jim Skurchak for Township Committee tomorrow, Tuesday, June 2nd.

Best regards,

Greg Antonelle