Friday, July 31, 2009

No headline required...

After spending $170,000 against next year's 2010 budget to fix their payroll tax debacle, the Township Committee is now taking the first step to spend another $130,000 they don't have to protect the high taxes they already take from us. Both of these actions will lead to another BIG local property tax increase in 2010 that will no doubt exceed the rate of inflation which now stands at -0.6% YTD for 2009. This of course will be in stark contrast to the bogus 2006 "Lower Taxes Now!!" campaign promise of Committeeman Howard Popper, who is up for reelection next year.

At what point are we going to see lower taxes, Howard? You seem to be running out of time to deliver on this promise.

Speaking of Howard Popper, rumor has it he created a bit of a stir earlier this year by demanding to bring more guests to the annual Fireman's Dinner than his invite allowed. Making matters worse, Howard attempted to use the fact a member of my family (other than my spouse) accompanied me to this annual event in 2007, when I served as Fire Commissioner, as justification for his selfish demand.

I guess someone forgot to tell Howard my family member served on the First Aid Squad at the time and received a separate invitation to the event. So much for the "he got to do it, so why can't I?" excuse.

I could not make this stuff up if I tried.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ken Short's Health Care Plan

With all this talk about health care, what we really need is a plan like the one Mayor Short enjoyed between 2000 and 2006 when he milked township taxpayers for over $50,000 in free health benefits. Mayor Short, who at the time owned his own insurance agency and had access to his Allstate's employee health plan, instead chose to sponge off taxpayers and have them foot his $11,000 annual bill. He even went as far as to claim he was justified because he "donated" money back to the town. Turns out Ken Short did donate money to local causes, most of whom didn't receive taxpayer funding in the first place. I also would be willing to bet Short claimed these "donations" on his income taxes as well!

Free taxpayer provided health benefits and a tax break to boot!

The Ken Short "taxpayer supported" health plan...the gift that kept on giving.

More broken promises...

During a candidate's forum held in the fall of 2007, Howard Popper stood in front of township voters (legal pad in hand) and told us he would immediately save over $600,000 annually by moving our EMS dispatch services to the county. Based on the contract currently being negotiated with the county, the savings appear to be no where near this amount. In fact, comments by Mayor Ken Short (i.e., "after its two first years") seem to leave open the possibility the deal will cost more money in the short run. Like the 21 tax savings ideas Howard announced via a press release in 2008, which netted virtually nothing, this is yet another reason why you can't trust him and the rest of the all-GOP committee who clearly will say anything to get elected.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Broken promises...

While walking along a beach in San Juan, PR I came across a local couple who, duiring the course of conversation, asked where I was from. When I replied, "New Jersey", having watched the news that morning, they said they felt sorry for me and anyone who lived in such a corrupt state. I assured them it wasn't as bad as it seemed, but just having to defend our state was a bit depressing.

It's time for elected officials of both parties at all levels of NJ govenernment to clean up their act!

BTW...this reminds me of yet another failed campaign promise from Committeeman Howard Popper who made a big deal of vowing to create a local ethics committee during his campaign. Like his "lower taxes now" pledge and Jim Harmon's BOE campaign promise of a "citizen's budget review board", once elected, these campaign promises went by the wayside. What else is new?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Daily Record gets it wrong again.

This morning's Daily Record has an opinion piece questioning whether or not Governor Corzine has provided property tax relief. As the DR fully knows, properly taxes are levied by municipalities, not the state. So with this in mind, what part of my prior posting did Fred Snowflack fail to comprehend? I am sure if the DR bothered to do look at tax increases in other municipalities to the degree I did in Washington Township, he would see the benefits of Corzine's signature legislative achievement (the 4% tax levy cap). If I am wrong, show me another NJ Governor who has done more to control properly tax growth.

While the Governor has his faults, give the man credit where it is due.


"One step forward, two steps back" is a phrase often muttered within the black community. While Obama's election was a clear step forward, it's becoming increasingly clear this fool represents two steps back.

On another note, I apologize for the lack of recent postings on local issues. I expect to have a posting or two on a local "assclown" by the end of the week. Stay tuned.

It's about time...

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who represents the Maryland district where I grew up, finally stood up to Republicans and challenged their hypocrisy with respect to current job losses verses those suffered under the final months of the Bush administration, a point I made this past Sunday in this posting.

What was the GOP's plan when the economy was shedding an average of 700K jobs a month last fall? Yeah, that's right, they didn't have one.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More conservative GOP hypocrisy...

It's amazing to see "conservative" Republicans who suddenly have so much concern over the national debt. Especially when you considering when Bush was sworn in on January 20, 2001, the national debt was $5,727,776,738,304. When "W" left office on January 20, 2009, the national debt was $10,626,877,048,913. The growth in the national debt during his eight years in office: $4,899,100,310,608. The average yearly growth in the national debt during Bush's presidency: $612,387,538,826. In an effort to save an economy that was in a tailspin when he took office in January 2009, Obama's policies have added another $600B to the national debt. Here is the question for you and others who would take cheap shots at Obama. Where where these conservative Republicans during the last eight years when Bush increased the national debt by almost $5 trillion?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Econ 101 for Republicans

To those in the GOP who say the economy is getting worse and the stimulus passed back in February isn't working, take a look at Chart 2 on this webpage and follow these simple instructions:

1. Using a pencil or a crayon, draw a line from the end of the July 2008 bar to the end of the December 2008 bar. Notice how the line you drew slopes DOWN? That means the economy was getting worse during Bush’s final six months in office.

2. Using the same pencil or crayon, draw another line between January 2009 and June 2009. Notice the slope of the line you drew slopes UP? This means the economy was getting better during Obama’s first six months in office.

Now you could say in June 2009 things took a turn for the worse, but even then the June 2009 figure was an improvement over April 2009, so the overall trend holds.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Obama in the house...

Here is a picture, taken by a family member, from this Thursday's Corzine/Obama rally held at the PNC Arts Center. I doubt if a lot of WT residents attended, but my household was well represented, despite me being out of the country at the moment.

While the Christie camp continues to crow about its chances in the fall, they should realize not just Morris County will be voting. Many of the most populated areas of the state are as diverse as the folks on this stage and will most likely side with the Democrats. If that happens, Christie is toast.

Time will tell...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Can't we all just get along?

This past Sunday, I posted a story out of Philly where a group of minority kids were asked to leave a private club's pool under what seemed like racist circumstances. In a new twist , the kids have been invited back, but their parents have refused the invitation. I think this is a missed opportunity for the kids, their parents, the club, and the nation as a whole. They say two wrongs don't make a right. The group should go back, swim in the pool and show the world "yes we can".

Calling Bruce Kreeger...

On numerous occasions during my three year tenure as a Committeeman, a number of well known GOP types, led by former GOP Chairman Bruce Kreeger, made a big deal about the lack of transparency with respect to the timeliness of publicly posting Committee meeting minutes. With the GOP back in full control of the Committee, the sense of urgency with respect to this matter, seems to have subsided significantly. With 26 meetings (including tonight's) already in the bag for 2009, minutes are posted for only 8. Where is Bruce when we need him?

Dick was no Jason Bourne

Here is a story that squarly points to the failure of the previous administration to carry out a secret plan to go after terrorists in a manner similar to how Israel dealt with those responsible for the 1972 attacks in Munich. I personally have no issue with the US setting up an elite "hit squad" to go after Qaeda terrorists. I am more surprised former VP Cheney was never able to make it happen. Such a move would have required a "damn the torpedoes attitude" like his. More proof positive of the Bush Administration's incompetence. While highly controversial and possibly illegal, this would have been in the best interest of America.

I can't imagine the GOP’s reaction if a Democrat had failed to do all that was necessary to get the people behind the 9/11 attacks.

Bottom line: Dick didn't get it done!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some still need to "overcome"...

With Sotomayor's confirmation hearing beginning on Monday, this week looks to be one where the issue of race will be front and center. This dialogue should be good for the country and most likely will center on a comment made on Oct. 26, 2001 when Judge Sotomayor gave the Judge Mario G. Olmos Memorial Lecture at the law school at the University of California at Berkeley. The lecture was delivered during a symposium sponsored by the La Raza Law Journal, the Berkeley La Raza Law Students Association, the Boalt Hall Center for Social Justice and the Center for Latino Policy Research. The symposium was entitled, "Raising the Bar: Latino and Latina Presence in the Judiciary and the Struggle for Representation."

The context in which Sotomayor made the comments was as follows: “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging," said Sotomayor. She went on to say:

"Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle," said Sotomayor. "I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.”

It is the last sentence that has the right so up in arms, yet in typical fashion, the right has taken her comments out of context and twisted the true meaning of what Sotomayer said. The key emphasis of her point is that she would hope a "wise" Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life. Notice she didn't say "wise" white male. So what's wrong with hoping a wise Latina woman reaches a better conclusion than a white male who isn't wise? Wouldn't you expect the "wise" person to reach a better conclusion than the "non-wise" person regardless of race or gender? Had she compared a "wise" Latina woman to a "wise" white male and made the same judgment, that would be racist. But she didn't. Sotomayer's primary differentiation was one of wisdom, not race.

And while I am on the subject of race, I often hear many on the right claim the election of a Black President is proof positive racism is no longer exists in our country. Someone should tell this to the kids at the center of this story.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Daily Record should think before offering its opinion on revals.

A recent Daily Record opinion piece makes a case for municipalities to conduct revaluations to account for the downturn in the economy and its impact on "market" home prices. I could not disagree more. Revaluations cost money. In the case of Washington township, the last one which took place in 2007 cost over $500K and we still haven't finished paying for it. Does the DR suggest we spend another $500K?

In cases where the housing market as a whole has changed, then for the sake of making people feel better, towns could simply lower all assessments by a certain percentage; because if an individual is complaining about the drop in market value of his or her house, chances are their neighbors all across towns can make a similar argument. This however, wouldn't change any one's tax bill. As an individual's proportional share of the overall tax assessment wouldn't change relative to everyone else's. The only way to cut tax bills is to reduce spending. A concept Republicans (like Howard Popper) love to talk about, but never deliver on. In 2006, I proposed a budget that contained a spending cut that would have led to a 5% decline in local taxes. Instead, the GOP voted 4-1 for their plan which increased spending (and taxes by 4 percent), over my descending "NO" vote. The only local governing entity that has managed to reduce spending is our non-partisan local K-8 BOE, and for this they were publicly taken to task by a hypocritical right wing zealot in the last school election.

Bottom line: The DR would be wise to think about the positions it takes before expressing them.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

You gotta be kidding...

A whopping 62% of the 9,490 WT residents who participated in last Fall's General Election voted to place Sarah Palin within a heartbeat of the Presidency of the United States. After viewing this video, one has to ask...what in the world were these people thinking?

Happy Independence Day!