Tuesday, November 23, 2010

School Chief to Mayor: STFU!

It doesn't take much to read between the lines of this OT story to see how K-8 District superintendent Jeff Mohre tells Washington Township Mayor Ken Short to "shut the f**k up" and mind his own business when it comes to determining the educational space needs of the township.  My guess is Short isn't smart enough to get the real message.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Yes...it's been a while...

Last week, a member of my family was asked why I hadn't updated my blog for some time. While I am flattered the questioner reads my blog, truth is my schedule has been a bit on the crazy side lately as I have been primarily working in Hawaii for most of the year. But I will soon be back in LV for an extended period and look forward to catching up.

I did happen to vote (absentee) and while it's disappointing Welch didn't make it, I am happy for Kennedy, who I supported. Other than being a Republican, Jim LiaBraaten has done nothing to indicate he will make a difference on the committee, so expectations are low.  In fact, I am still waiting for his supporters to name at least one thing Jim has done as an elected offical that demonstrates he is worthy of the votes he received.  No answer yet!

As for the Congressional elections, it was brutal for Democrats. While the GOP is quick to take credit; one simple question puts an end to their hogwash...if unemployment were at 5% as opposed to where it is now, would they have won 60+ seats?

Like Clinton said...it's the economy stupid!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Has Lotito Been Banned From The Patch?

It appears it only took two weeks for the folks at The Patch to realize Tom Lotito was bad for business. As of today it appears every one of his posted comments have been removed. To bad OT editor Phil Garber, who continues to publish Tom's incompetent weekly rants, didn't get the memo as well.

So much for "don't shoot me...I'm only the piano tuner"!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

State Investigation of Washington Township

According to a spokesman from the New Jersey Department of the Treasury, the state has begun an investigation into the validity of the Washinton Township Administrator's retirement.

Another "slim shady" Ken Short inspired deal that's costing taxpayer's tens of thousands of dollars.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Can he get any dumber?

Instead of stepping outside of his sandbox and declaring the WTBOE should "close a school", Mayor Ken Short should focus his attention on the challenges before him with his own municipal budget. For starters, it would help if Short could once and for all understand the difference between the "tax levy" (the amount he is allowed to force taxpayers to pony up for his incompetence) vs. "spending" (the amount he and the rest of the Committee plan to appropriate).  There is a difference.  Why is it important?  Back in 2005, Short's sole focus on spending led to a $60K increase in the budget.  His inattention as to how he would pay for it ended up costing taxpayers a WHOPPING $1 MILLION EXTRA IN TAXES!

Questions for Jim LiaBraaten

Back when he ran for the WTBOE, Jim LiaBraaten raised eyebrows when refused answer to a question on what he would cut as a BOE member. His reply was "elect me first, and then I'll show you."

While Jim was successful in gaining a seat on the WTBOE, he was rejected when he ran for a seat on the high school BOE. I guess the saying "fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice, shame on me" applied!

Now Jim is running to keep his appointed seat on the Township Committee. At least this time he is taking bold stances, per a declaration he will not support a municipal budget that contains a tax levy increase exceeding the new 2% cap. Good for Jim! But this does raise a few questions. With a current municipal tax levy of about $10.8 million the cap allows about a $216K increase. So far we know there will be increases to pension and health benefits of at least $405K. In addition, there is a high possibility state aid will be less; and there won’t be close to $600K in one time revenues to count on next year. This all leads to a gap of about $800K to stay within the cap.

So the question for Jim LiaBraaten is simple, what does he plan to cut to deliver on his pledge? Voters' deserve to know BEFORE they go to the polls.

Friday, October 8, 2010

This Man is a Moron!

Just when you thought Mayor Ken Short couldn't be any more incompetent, he surprises his most skeptical critics with his latest ill-advised declaration - the BOE should close a school? This from a man who despite championing the community center for over 10 years, can't seem to muster the intelligence and initiative to put together a simple business plan on how it would be built, operated, and paid for? Yet now Short is an expert on the educational space needs of our school district? Since when is it the duty of a committeeman to make education policy? Who died and made Ken Short an expert on facility planning? The only thing Ken Short seems to be expert at is raising our taxes year after year and lying about it (via mailers) the weekend before he is up for reelection.

To give you an idea of where this is coming from, check out which one of Short's "Darkside" buddies was first to comment on the linked article referenced above.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Legality? Really Tom?

In a letter to the editor in yesterday’s OT, Tom Lotito moronically ponders the" legality" of a candidate choosing not to emphasize his party affiliation, as opposed to simply what he can do for our township.

Tom should save his "legality" lectures for his own household, starting with his son who recently appeared in juvenile court to answer charges of anonymously slandering his classmate(s) on the internet.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sunshine is the best disinfectant

As proof, I present an excerpt from Tom Lotito's latest grammatically challenged rant, which appears to be a reaction to a recent posting.

"...The information Kevin Nedd posted in was illegal. Kevin Nedd is still angry and can not get over his 2008 loss for Township Committee. Kevin Nedd and his Obama-Democrat party machine style, big government politics of personal destruction, was overwhelmingly rejected by the citizens of Long Valley. Ever since that historic loss, every time Kevin sees an article on Ken Short he attacks our Mayor. Kevin Nedd also attacks the families of people like my self who defend the Mayor, on forms like this. If Kevin Nedd thinks that publicly airing the dirty details of mine and other peoples misfortunes, (blackmail) will some how get me to with draw my participation in free speech and opinion in the political arena, he is grossly mistaken..."
Is it me or do you also get the sense Tom seems to think "free speech and opinion" only applies to him and his Darkside buddies?  If so, he is the one who is "grossly mistaken."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No Headline Required!

Click here to read the article.

The Apple Didn't Fall Far From the Tree

In yet another prime example of WT GOP "family values", it seems the male offspring of one of Long Valley's most prolific Republican "wanabee" operatives may have recently appeared in juvenile court to answer a charge of anonymously slandering his classmates on the internet.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Long Valley Patch

For those who may not be aware, there is a new online publication catering to our town. It's called Long Valley Patch and is affiliated with AOL. Based on early reviews it's a hit! The editor is a guy by the name of Jason Koestenblatt who kindly introduced himself to me during last week's Township Committee meeting.

As a sign of journalistic integrity, it was encouraging to see the Patch remove off-topic attack postings submitted by moronic township Darksiders Tom Lotito and David X. Johnson.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More TC Incompetence!

During last evening regular meeting of the Township Committee, I presented Mayor Short with two emails clearly showed the entire Committee's non-compliance with the standard practice of only using township provided emails while conducting township business. In addition, the emails showed the committee was communicating amongst themselves via as a whole, a violation of the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA). As one could expect, Mayor Short assumed his usual weasel like posture in blaming everyone under the sun (including the K-8 school district) for his failure to adhere to his own self-imposed edict. Why am I not surprised?
What was most disappointing (and laughable) was lame duck Committeeman Popper's excuse of how the committee’s actions were justified because the matters being discussed were "confidential". You would think after three years in office, Howard would know this is what executive or closed sessions are for. You should have seen the horror on Township Attorney John Jansen's face as Howard explained his rationale. To label Howard a moron would be an understatement.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mayor Ken Short Incompetence Continues...

Based on the comment below, which appears in the most recent addition of the OT, it's quite clear Mayor Ken Short's fiscal incompetence continues to the taxpayers detriment:

“We are going to get next year’s budget under 2 percent (increase). We start work right after Labor Day,” said Short.

On the surface this sounds great. The problem is the "2 percent" metric that is now state law, applies to the TAX LEVY, not the BUDGET! There is significant difference. The "BUDGET" is how much you can plan to spend (including spending for items which are paid for with non-property taxes such as donations, grants, fees, etc.) The "TAX LEVY" on the other hand is what you force taxpayers to pay.

Why is this distinction so important? Looking back to 2005 provides a clue. That's the year Mayor Ken Short bragged about a "BUDGET" that declined in spending. What he didn't mention was the associated "TAX LEVY" that increased by a whopping 11.1%!

The TAX LEVY cap, initially passed under the Corzine administration and lowered to 2% by Governor Christie, is designed to address the sleazy bait and switch games Mayor Ken Short pulled over on us for far too long.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Christie's Big Fat Lie!

Bret Schundler released the following statement on Thursday, which pretty much says Governor Christie told a big fat lie:

"Last Wednesday, while criticizing the Obama Administration during a press conference, the Governor made a statement in support of an argument he was trying to drive home. Unfortunately, the statement was untrue. I had stressed this point to him when he told me what he planned to say, right before the press conference began. I had also discussed the matter at length with his Chief of Staff and his Director of Communications the day before, so they knew the facts of the matter.

On Thursday, the Obama Administration released a video tape that proved the statement was untrue. The Governor was embarrassed. Rather than acknowledge his culpability for the false statement, he fired me – his Commissioner of Education – charging that I had given him and his staff bad information on the point in question. But I had not. I had given them correct information. The Governor’s charge against me is false.

I accept the Governor’s right to fire Commissioners with or without cause. And I have subsequently learned that I made an editing error which contributed to New Jersey not winning a $400 million grant. I could accept being fired for that. But I will not accept being defamed by the Governor for something he knows I did not do. The Governor called me a liar this week. That was the last straw. I have no choice now but to defend my name through this chronology of facts and the attached evidence.

The first fact of note is that we submitted a strong application to the federal government in connection with the United States Department of Education’s Race to The Top grant competition and almost overcame steep odds against us. With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, states were competing aggressively, and to beat the favorites, New Jersey would have to overcome huge disadvantages in three areas that accounted for a lot of competition points: 1) its lack of union support for proposed reforms; 2) the fact that so much of its reform agenda was in the proposal stage, not already enacted; and 3) its inferior education data‐tracking capabilities.

The Corzine Administration had put money into developing New Jersey’s education data tracking ability, but other states, which had received large federal grants to assist their efforts during the past four years, were way ahead. There is nothing Governor Christie and I could have done in the four‐and‐a‐half months since his inauguration to compensate for the fact.

Governor Corzine had also allowed New Jersey to fall behind the front‐running states when it comes to education reforms already implemented. With these two factors and a lack of union support working against us, we were ecstatic when the grant readers – who loved our vision and proposals for education reform – accepted New Jersey as one of nineteen finalist states.

We have learned that we entered the finals way behind, and the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) asserts Governor Christie is responsible for it. It argues that if Governor Christie had accepted the compromises it worked out with me, New Jersey’s grant application would have won union support, causing New Jersey to enter the final round ranked higher and to ultimately win $400 million for our schools.

Governor Christie responds that the reforms he and I put on the table were precisely those being called for by the Obama Administration, as well as education reformers across the political spectrum, and that the NJEA should have supported the entire package, as proposed, without him having to compromise.

The NJEA and the Governor are both right, of course. But that was water under the bridge as my Education Department team and I prepared to meet with grant reviewers in Washington – another demanding task in what had already been a grueling work effort.

We went through trial interviews where we practiced what to say to the grant reviewers. I would directly address the three weaknesses I mentioned earlier through reinforcing the arguments we made in our written application.

We also practiced what not to say. The rules governing the grant competition were explicit: you were NOT to present new information during the interview. You were only to reinforce points already made in the paper application submitted on the due‐date.

During the interview, my team and I made our points well. New Jersey’s post‐interview score increased by 34 points. That’s a bigger increase than any other state received, not only in this June round of the competition, but also in the January round. Note that this point gain is almost seven times as great as the points we lost through my editing error. If we hadn’t done such a good job, no one would be speaking about the error because the small number of points lost would not have mattered.

Mid‐way through the one‐hour question and answer period, however, a question was asked that caught us off guard. A reviewer asked, “We were unable to find in the application the funding levels – um, school education funding levels specifically for the years 2008 and 2009 as requested in the application. Can you explain how or where this information was presented in the application?”

My teammates and I were taken aback. How could the information not be there? We began searching for the information to see if the application page with it was out of order. The reviewer said, “We can come back to that if someone can take a look.” I said, “That would be helpful,” and as two of my team members continued the search, the reviewers moved on to other questions.

At the end of the question and answer period, a reviewer asked, “And did you have any luck with the financial data?”

One of my Assistant Commissioners responded, “No,” and a moment later added, “We all searched.” I remember one of the reviewers saying something like, “I hope you feel we gave you a fair opportunity to find the page with the information,” and me responding that they did and adding that we did meet the education spending criterion. But that exchange is not on the videotape of the one‐hour Q & A. It’s clear to me now that it must have happened three minutes later when, the hour over, we and the reviewers stood up, shook hands, and exchanged niceties.

We walked out of that interview two weeks ago feeling good about our presentation. We knew the odds were against us, but we thought we had a chance. When the final results were announced last Tuesday, we were crestfallen: New Jersey had missed winning by just three points. After we poured over the Fed’s scoring break‐down, we felt better. In the scoring category where the teacher union’s endorsement matters, we lost 20 fewer points than the Corzine Administration had.

Why? Because we had gotten so many other stakeholders on board and had convinced reviewers we would be able to implement our reforms anyway. Meanwhile, though many of our reforms were still just in the proposal or piloting stage, the reviewers liked them so much they still gave us a lot of points for them. In fact, while possessing the same set of disadvantages, our June application scored 51 points higher than had Governor Corzine’s in January.

Early that afternoon, an email arrived from Maria Comella, Governor Christie’s Communications Director. Maria sought a response to questions she had been emailed by Lisa Fleisher, a Star‐Ledger reporter. The reporter quoted grant reviewers who said New Jersey lost five points because of missing information. “Did the state realize this supposed error in advance and try to fix?” the reporter asked.

I wrote an email back to Maria that confirmed the reviewers’ accounts and answered the reporter’s question directly: “We did not, as the reviewers note, provide Fiscal Year 2008 budget data…We did not realize the error in advance, and the competition rules did not permit fixing of the error post‐facto.”

Maria emailed me another question: “When did we realize the error? Did we not notify [US]DOE of the error before we did our in‐person presentation?”

I emailed back: “We didn’t let the [US]DOE know we had made the error because we didn’t know we had made it – not until a panelist asked us about the Fiscal Year 2008 budget data. When we were asked about it, we checked our appendices. All we could do was confirm that we had erred – the 2008 data was not included.”

I believe speaking the truth is a wonderful policy. The truth in this case is that we made a mistake when putting together our application. In no way did I try to spin things otherwise.

A little while later, the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Rich Bagger, called me with Maria Comella on the speakerphone with him. He asked whether we had perhaps tried to submit the missing information to the USDOE after our interview? No, I responded; the competition rules did not permit the provision of new information.

The rules of the grant competition were inflexible. Information provided after the application’s due‐date – whether leading up to, during, or after our interview with grant reviewers – would not have been accepted. I told Rich that no one on our team could provide the missing numbers from memory, and made clear that we couldn’t produce the information from any other papers we had with us. Even if we could, I reinforced, we would not have gotten points. We had only one way to redeem the five points at stake: find the missing information somewhere in the application papers we had submitted.

But we could not find the missing information in the application. It was not there. Rich then asked me if we had said anything about the missing information. I said I thought at some point a reviewer asked me whether they had given us a fair opportunity to find the missing information, and I said yes, and added, as an aside, that we did meet the grant’s education spending criterion.

After Rich had asked all his questions, Maria ended the conversation with the words, “Well, it was a mistake, then.” With those words she was essentially communicating, as I had in my emails to her, that the only way to accurately sum up for the press what had happened was to admit my team made an error on the application and leave it at that. But that idea, that you simply admit making a mistake, obviously didn’t sit well with the Governor because the next morning, while I was at my office, I received a phone call from him.

The Governor was on speakerphone and Rich Bagger was with him. The Governor said he was angry about the missing information in our grant application, but that no one was going to lose their job over it. He said he was about to do a press conference about the matter, and that he believed it is always better to be on offense than defense, so he would accept responsibility for the error, and then go on offense against the Obama Administration. He was going to try to make the story about their picayune rules. He was going to say that I gave the reviewers the missing information, but the Obama Administration refused to give us the points we deserved, and that this showed they put bureaucratic rules above meaningful education reform.

I interrupted and told him not to claim that I had provided the missing numbers to our grant reviewers. I stressed that I did NOT provide the missing information; I did not have it. Asked, by Rich I think, about commenting that we met the criterion, I confirmed it. I also said the United States Department of Education might still have one hundred million dollars left over in its Race to The Top account, and that we should ask Secretary of Education Duncan to give it to New Jersey as the first‐runner‐up state: the state next in line for funding. The Governor said he liked that idea and that I should draft a letter to Secretary Duncan. Finally, somewhere in the conversation, I said we would review ways to improve our grant preparation process so we never again make a similar error.

I was not able to watch the Governor’s press conference because I had a meeting with Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, the Chairman of the Assembly Education Committee. But later that afternoon, while I was working on the letter to Secretary Duncan requested by the Governor, I saw a transcript of the press conference on the web. Here is some of what Governor Christie said:

“…when we went in for the personal interview, two weeks before the decision was made, they raised the issue with us. Commissioner Schundler gave them the ‘08 & ‘09 numbers…”

“During that interview this issue was raised and Commissioner Schundler gave them, in the interview, the numbers for ’08 – ’09 because the mistake was raised.”

I don’t know if it was intentional, but in these two instances, the Governor said precisely what I told him NOT to say. I also knew it was going to create a problem – if for no other reason than because the grant interview was videotaped. When the videotape came out, the news story would no longer be about Obama’s picayune rules; it would be about the Governor’s misstatements.

I emailed Rich Bagger a draft of the letter I was writing to Secretary Duncan, and asked Rich if he wanted any changes. My letter had a sentence that read as follows:

Our application did not include one sentence in Section (F)(1)(i) which had appeared in previous drafts: a sentence establishing that New Jersey increased its spending on education as a percentage of total state revenues from 36.9% in 2008 to 39.6.% in 2009 (a fact that we had noted in New Jersey’s Round 1 application).

Rich emailed me back his edited version of the letter. He made a change to this sentence. It now read this way:

Our application did not include documentation in Section (F)(1)(i) establishing that New Jersey increased its spending on education as a percentage of total state revenues from 36.9% in 2008 to 39.6.% in 2009 (a fact that demonstrated in New Jersey’s Round 1 application and confirmed verbally during our August 11th presentation).

Rich’s edit had me saying that I gave the reviewers the missing numbers. That raised red flags with me. Rich knew I had not given numbers to the reviewers. He had learned about it from the email I sent to Maria Comella early Tuesday afternoon. He knew about it from the conversation I had with him and Maria later that afternoon. And he knew about it from my Wednesday morning conversation with the Governor, during which Rich was on the speakerphone too. My point had been clear: I did NOT give any numbers to the reviewers. And yet Rich wanted me to say that I had – and in a letter to the United States Secretary of Education, no less.

I now feared I was being set up. Rich was with the Governor when he gave his press conference. He probably cringed when the Governor misspoke, just as I did when I read the transcript. The Governor’s misstatement could easily become an embarrassment. I feared they were setting me up as a scapegoat.

I spoke with Rich on the phone and told him I would not accept his edits. I had not given the missing numbers to the reviewers and I would not say that I had. Rich said he would rework the sentence and later emailed me an edited letter that I found acceptable. The key sentences read:

Our application did not include documentation in Section (F)(1)(i) establishing that New Jersey increased its spending on education as a percentage of total state revenues from 36.9% in 2008 to 39.6.% in 2009 (a fact that was demonstrated in New Jersey’s Round 1 application). In addition, it was confirmed verbally during our August 11 presentation that New Jersey satisfied this criteria.

I might have written them differently, but these sentences were acceptable to me. They don’t have me claiming that I provided the missing numbers to the reviewers. They just have me saying that New Jersey meets the education spending criterion that relates to the points at stake. I signed the letter and sent it off to Secretary Duncan.

Earlier, I mentioned that my comment about meeting the criterion occurred after the Q & A was over. But I didn’t know that on Wednesday. I was, however, absolutely certain that no one from my team had provided the missing numbers – and the false claim that we had provided numbers, made in Rich’s earlier edit of my letter, had now been removed per my demand.

On Thursday afternoon, the United States Department of Education released the videotape of my team’s interview. It didn’t surprise me. The Governor, in the midst of his attack on the Obama Administration, said things that were false and now the Obama Administration was acting to embarrass the Governor about it.

I came out from an early evening meeting and saw I had an email from Rich Bagger requesting that I call him immediately. I called and he said the Governor was demanding my immediate resignation for having “misled” him about the grant interview.

I responded to Rich that both he and the Governor knew that was not true. Rich didn’t respond to that point (which of course he wouldn’t). Rich then told me the Governor had left for a radio call‐in 5

program and was not available to discuss it, but that it seemed his mind was made up. He said he would call me later that evening, after the radio program was over, to talk more (which he did not). Finally, he said that in the morning I should report to the Governor’s office to discuss “transition issues.”

From my home that evening, I forwarded the Governor a string of emails. My Department of Education team and I had been searching to discover how the application error happened. I had remembered that three months earlier, when I reviewed our draft language for that section of the application, I thought it should include current budget information, not just old budget information.

But I did not remember deleting the old information, and I could not imagine I would have done so, since the question seeks it. I also concluded that if the consultants we hired to put our application together had given me draft text to review, and I edited out critical information, they would have told me when they looked over my edits.

Such an error would also have been caught during the fact‐checking process, I reasoned. Finally, everyone on the team had looked through their emails and computer files, including me, and none of us had indication of how this change came to be made. All we could pinpoint was the date the error occurred – in other words, when the relevant section of our application draft changed. But a string of email messages that went back and forth between our consultants and the Deputy Attorney Generals working on the application provided a possible lead. Those emails suggested to some of us that the mistake may have occurred during the fact‐checking process. Until we actually knew what had happened, I didn’t want to draw premature conclusions, so I had not spoken with the Governor about this.

But now I was being fired, and I figured part of the reason had to be the Governor’s belief DOE made the error, and I was responsible as Commissioner. I decided to let the Governor know that the error may well have occurred during a fact‐checking process that involved two departments – not just the DOE – and sent him the email string we had discovered.

I learned yesterday that one of our consultants finally found in her boxes of papers what we’d been looking for: the answer to the question of how the missing information got dropped from the application. It turns out that I had crossed out the key words while hand‐editing text. I haven’t seen the page with my hand edits, and I don’t know why my error wasn’t caught, but I now feel worse about things than ever. My stupid error contributed to New Jersey not winning $400 million in federal grant funds. If the Governor had given us time to discover this, and then fired me for the error, I would still feel devastated, but I would not feel defamed.

I told the Governor and his staff the truth: I did NOT give the missing budget numbers to the U.S. Department of Education grant reviewers. I spelled this out in my Tuesday emails to Maria Comella. I said it repeatedly during my Tuesday phone conversation with Maria and Rich Bagger. I stressed it during my Wednesday morning phone conversation with the Governor (with Rich Bagger on the speaker phone, who already knew I had not given any numbers to the grant reviewers). And I refused to sign a letter to Secretary Duncan that misrepresented the fact. We’re not talking about a situation where there might be a misunderstanding by the Governor and his team. We’re talking about a point I made again and again, just last week.

Telling the truth is important to me. And the accusation that I misled the Governor to hide a poor interview performance is utter nonsense. I handled the reviewer’s question appropriately and my team and I earned New Jersey a larger point gain from our interview performance than any other state achieved in either of the two rounds of this competition. Finally, I knew that the interview was being videotaped. If you don’t know whether you should believe in my honesty or our effective presentation performance, at least trust in my common sense: there is no way I would lie to the Governor about having provided the ‘08 budget numbers, knowing that such a lie would be brought to light.

I have thought about the possibility that beyond my being a scapegoat for his misstatement, the Governor might be angry at me for not telling him the interview was videotaped. In my defense, I never believed I needed to say, “Governor, stick to the truth, there’s a videotape.” Perhaps I should have.

After all, I may have misremembered by a few minutes precisely when, a few weeks earlier, I had made a comment about New Jersey meeting the grant’s spending criteria. But it’s hard to imagine how, within a matter of minutes, the Governor could forget a point I made to him emphatically.

Perhaps he just accidently misspoke when he said I provided the missing numbers. You know…gotten on a roll and said the wrong thing. But then he would have had to accidently misspeak again, just a few minutes later, when he repeated the same falsehood. The accident thesis seems unlikely…but you draw your own conclusions. The only thing I’m sure of is that the Governor knew I didn’t provide numbers at the grant interview.

I told Governor Christie and his staff that I did not provide the numbers. The documentary evidence backs me up. Reporters should ask the Governor a direct question: “Is it true Bret Schundler told you that he did NOT provide the numbers?” If he says, “No,” ask him for his evidence. If he says, “Yes,” ask him why he made the claim that I provided numbers (remember, twice) during his press conference.

I mentioned that the Governor told me he likes being on offense, not defense. As a former prosecutor, that it is not surprising to me. Prosecutors construct their argument and press it.

In this instance, the argument the Governor wanted to make at his press conference was that New Jersey lost out on $400 million because the Obama Administration has stupid grant competition rules. It would have supported the Governor’s argument if I had, in truth, given the reviewers the missing information, and they just refused to give us points. But that is not what happened. And the Governor already knew that Wednesday morning.

The Governor ignored my correction of his mental script. Whether accidently or on purpose, he went ahead and said what he had wanted to say from the beginning. He shouldn’t have.

Good prosecutors don’t support their argument with claims they know are false. And they don’t charge people that they know are innocent."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bret Fires Back!

Is this saga getting interesting or what?

How long will the GOP want to remember Christie's $400 million debacle?

Effective Government?

In an ironic twist of fate, the Christie Administration today released guidelines for the Best Practices toolkit initiative to bring greater accountability, responsible budgeting and management and cost controls to local governments throughout New Jersey.

Given Christie's massive $400 million debacle, perhaps the Governor should start with guidelines aimed at effective governance within his own administration!

Christie owes the President an Apology!

On Wednesday, Governor Chris Christie blamed the Obama administration for being too rigid and not accepting the verbal confirmation of correct figures that would have led to NJ receiving $400 million in "Race to the Top" education funding. As you will see from this video, Christie’s criticism was founded on a lie told to him by Education Commissioner Bret Schundler. Schundler has since been fired.

The next step in the process would be for Christie to publicly APPOLIGIZE to the President.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Commiteeman Howard Popper a Birther?

Confirming he has poured himself a tall glass of "birther" Kool-aid, Washington Townshiop Committeeman Howard Popper made the following posting on a resident's FaceBook page:
"Just as Obama never served a day in the private sector. Barry also applied for aid in college, swearing he was foreign born student."
My reply to Howard was simple and direct: What is your source for this information about the President applying for a college aid as a foreign born student?

Howard's reply:

"Source: School Transcripts Ordered released by the Courts. The group "Americans for Freedom of Information" Released copies of President Obama's college transcripts from Occidental College . The transcript was released by Occidental Col...lege in compliance with a court order in a suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of California. The school’s transcript reveals that Obama, under the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate. The transcript further shows that Obama (Soetoro) applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program. To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must claim foreign citizenship."
This would seem like a winning point for Howard if only it were true. Unfortunately for Howard, the source for this bogus information was discredited as an April "Fools" Day hoax over a year ago.

After pointing out to Howard how his source was an April Fools Day hoax, here is the response I received:
"Kevin, I have some questions only you can answer.

1. How does it feel to be the town pariah? You are despised by Republicans, Democrats and Independents a like. Everyone who in any way associates with you, dislikes you. How can that be? How does that make a true narcissist feel? Though, I think you are more a sociopath and could care less.

2. How does it feel to be criminal defendant?

Ps – Remember the Mayor's Kevin Nedd Rule – no one was to contact the town atty because you ran the bill sky high with your personal problems. I still have the invoices… Also, Snopes is more liberal bullshit, i.e., a liberal California husband and wife sitting in their living room providing talking points. Snopes is incredible"
Bottom line: Committeman Howard Popper clearly has issues!  Give credit to Washington Township Republicans who demonstrated political wisdom by showing him the door in last June's GOP Primary.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

CBO projects stimulus benefits

In what is certainly a blow to the GOP's false argument that the stimulus bill wasn't effective in boosting the economy, the CPO has come out with a report shooting down such nonsense. 

I bet you won't see this or the news of the governeor's massive $400 million dollar screw up on Eric Frenchman's Facebook page!

Christie's $400 Million Screw-up

From the looks of this you would think Ken Short has some how moved on to Trenton and is working in the Christie administration!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lucky $7,000

Funny how the figure $7,000 keeps popping up!

$7,000 is the amount of funding the Washington Township will received form Califon for hosting and maintaining its official website.

$7,000 is also the amount of money that would have saved this year's National Night Out, which was cancelled due to the Township Committee’s decision to cut the funding in this year’s municipal budget.

$7,000 is the amount of taxpayer dollars the Township Committee wasted on a school auditor (despite having three committeemen with WTBOE experience) who failed to provide a single written recommendation.

Finally, $7,000 is the amount of money Committeeman Jim LiaBraaten refuses to pay back to taxpayers who were left holding the bag for legal fees as a result of his bogus school ethics complaint against former high school board member Jeff Emery. The reason should pay has to do with the fact he voted for a resolution asking a resident to pay back legal cost his board incurred as a result of a dismissed school ethics complaint against then WTBOE member Jim Harmon.

Ken Short's Stupidity Never Ceases to Amaze!

In this OT story, Mayor Ken Short has somehow managed to convince himself the recently cancelled DARE program doesn't "affect health, safety and the public welfare". My goodness, is there a dumber man on the planet???

In the context of "scarce resources", it is important to keep in mind the $7,000 of taxpayer funds the Township Committee wasted this year on a school auditor that failed to provide a single written recomendation.

Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program cut

By BOB THOMAS, Staff Writer
Published: Aug 20th, 7:10 AM

WASHINGTON TWP. – One of the most popular anti-drug abuse programs in the nation, offered since 1991, has fallen to the budget ax.

A combination of budget cuts and police retirements and cancellation of the community policing unit has forced Chief Michael Bailey to end the often-praised Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.

The end of DARE programs came during a transition year in which the main course would be switched from fifth to sixth grade. As a result, this year’s incoming sixth grade class at Long Valley Middle School will be the first that won’t get the comprehensive DARE impact.

“The impact won’t be instant,” said Police Chief Michael Bailey. “It will take a while, I think. You never really know how much help the program has been until much later in life.”

Bailey, a former DARE officer, said he’s had many people call to thank him for the program.

“Life is so busy, most people never really reach out. As to how many you’ve influenced and how it has affected them, you never really know,” Bailey said.

The presence of uniformed officers in the schools has been one of the secondary benefits from DARE classes.

“I think it is more effective than the same lesson coming from a regular teacher that you see all day. When police teach the classes, it’s somebody new and different and the kids paid attention,” Bailey said.’

The chief said the program gave police the chance to show they want to help.

“Ask any DARE officer and they’ll tell you that the kids had trust in them and would come to them when they had something troubling them,” Bailey said.

Sgt. Doug Compton has been the police liaison with the six schools in the township. He also had developed a separate program for Califon School, a small, grades K-5 elementary school with one classroom per grade.

“It took two of our guys to run the whole program, including after school and late nights,” said Bailey. “It came under community policing and there was a plethora of programs from seniors to pre-kindergarten that they were responsible for.”

DARE Officers John Wurtemberg and Kirk Griffin also gave seminars to senior citizens on scams such as phony contractors, covered some of the after-school traffic direction on Four Bridges Road and were responsible for much of the National Night Out planning.

When two patrol officers left the department in 2009, one to retirement and the other to another municipality, it meant Wurtemberg and Griffin had to be transferred back to road patrol duties.

“Community policing was a full-time job for two people, it had been three people at one time,” said Compton.

Mayor Kenneth Short said only about $5,000 was saved by the elimination of community policing, not including personnel.

“We asked all the departments to cut 20 percent of their budgets,” Short said. “How he manages the officers is up to the chief. If the chief decides he needs the men on the road, I back him up on that.”

Short said deciding on where to cut is a matter of priorities.

“In tough economic times like these, certain programs have to go that don’t affect health, safety and the public welfare,” said Short.

He said the township had received no compensation from the township or Califon school districts for the program.

In its last year, DARE included two lessons a year for kindergarten classes, five lessons taught between September to December for grades one to four and visitation lessons for one week per month per grade.

The full course was never instituted at the middle school, but it was planned to offer the DARE program to sixth graders in 2010-11 with 14 lessons, one a week, from January to June. A DARE officer would have been at the school three days a week for that part of the year.

School officials, including Superintendent Jeffrey Mohre, Assistant Superintendent Richard Papera and Long Valley Middle School Principal Mark Ippolito were either unavailable or did not return telephone inquiries.

At West Morris Central High School, a community policing officer would have taught an elective course in legal concepts, which would have included instruction on criminal justice, state permits, motor vehicle laws, vehicle stops and more. The class would have been offered for two semesters at a time, either in the fall or from January to June.

Police Cutbacks

With the department cut back to 28, Bailey said there are times when the force has only three patrol cars on the road to cover Califon and the 46 square miles of Washington Township.

“There should be four on a squad but with vacations, we’re down to three a lot during the months of May through August,” Bailey said. “We only allow one on vacation from a squad at a time.”

Patrol officers work two days on, two days off, three days on, two days off on 12 hour shifts.

Only additional funding could help restore the DARE program, Bailey said.

“Over the years we have had private donations from people to the program,” he said. “You just hope that the money becomes available in the future. Like most programs, once you lose it, it will be difficult to get it back.”

Bailey said the general thinking is that the program won’t be restored soon.

“If a huge need became obvious, I think the (Township) committee would look at it again,” he said.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Law & Order...

With the brazen burglary of a home in the Woods at Long Valley, the police seem to think it’s a young offender with a known drug or alcohol problem. The person may have a prior arrest record. I know of at least two offspring of local WT GOP operatives who fit this M.O. I hope they have solid alibis.

Friday, August 13, 2010

PBA Sets the Record Straight!

In this OT letter to the editor, the PBA sets the record straight as to why this year's National Night Out was cancelled.

Once again, Mayor Ken Short has been shown to be the pathological liar we have all come to know.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More stupidity from David X. Johnson

As follow-on to my posting on the President's use of an "automobile transmission" analogy, which brought laughs at a recent DNC fundraiser, leave it to Long Valley’s David X. Johnson to respond with his usual over the top "protect the constitution" tea party inspired drivel.

Here is David's response, which we should expect from a lame, cowardly, angry white male, who never had the balls to served his country:

"The Marxist in Chief said, the other day, that politics is like driving a car: “You want to go forward, what do you do? You put it in ‘D’. When you go backward, what do you do? You put it in ‘R’”, he said, according to the Washington ComPost. Other than being the kind of cutesy rhetoric you’d expect from a “community organizer”, it’s also plagiarism. It's the same old, lame, oft-repeated joke from the 2000 primary election.

I think you got it wrong, comrade Obama. What you, Pelosi and Reid have been doing is driving the nation down a dead end road toward a cliff. If you want to do that, then strap in the passengers, lock the doors, put it in ‘D’ and stomp on the accelerator. But, if you want to back away from the precipice, put it in ‘R’.

Actually, I don’t like all this blind devotion to partisan bullshit. Considering that both parties are more-or-less the same damned big-government, progressive disease. I have a different, less partisan version of this clunker of a joke:

Realizing that you have to put it in ‘N’ on your way from ‘D’ to ‘R’ ... put it in ‘D’ if you want to destroy the Constitution, but put it in ‘N’ to nullify the overreach of the Federal Government, and then put it in ‘R’ to restore the Constitution.

Vote the bums out and replace them with representatives who will honor their oath of office and uphold the Constitution

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another Ken Short Screw Up!

In this OT article, Mayor Ken Short claims the reason we have no National Night Out this year is because the PBA wasn't able to come up with the funding to support the event. That's seems like a poor excuse, especially when you consider how the Township has provided the majority of funding for this event in the past along with the simple fact the Township Committee wasted over $7K of taxpayer money for a school budget “auditor” who failed to provide written recommendations; despite the lie the Committee told when the resolution authorizing the "auditor" was adopted. Bottom Line: With our tax dollars being wasted by the minute, how long can Long Valley afford Ken Short's incompetence?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The President tells it like it is....

I love the portion highlighted in bold text.

Remarks by the President at a DNC Finance Event in Atlanta, Georgia

Hyatt Regency Hotel

Atlanta, Georgia

12:50 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Have a seat.

Well, we have some just extraordinary leaders here today. I want to acknowledge a few of them. First of all, please give another round of applause to your outstanding young mayor, Kasim Reed. (Applause.) Three wonderful members of Congress who are fighting day in, day out, on behalf of the people of Georgia but also on behalf of people all across this country -- Congressman Sanford Bishop -- (applause) -- Congressman David Scott -- (applause) -- and one of the genuine heroes of this country, Congressman John Lewis. (Applause.)

Our Labor Commissioner and U.S. Senate candidate Michael Thurmond is in the house. (Applause.) Attorney General Thurbert Baker -- (applause) -- I think is here. If not, give him a round of applause anyway. Ag Commissioner Tommy Irvin. (Applause.) State party chair Jane Kidd. (Applause.) And the DNC Southern finance chair Daniel Halpern is in the house. (Applause.)

So, Atlanta, it is wonderful to be here, wonderful to be among so many good friends. A lot of people here worked hard on behalf of my campaign. I am reminded of the story President Lincoln told about one of his supporters who came to the White House seeking some patronage, seeking a job. And apparently in the outdoor reception area, he said, look, I want to see Lincoln personally because I’m responsible for him getting that job. Nobody did more than me. It’s payback time. So Lincoln lets him into his office. He says, sir, I understand that you take responsibility for me having this job. The guy says, that’s right. And Lincoln says, you’re forgiven. (Laughter.)

Look, we all know that the last few years have been extraordinarily challenging for the United States. Eighteen months ago, I took office after nearly a decade of economic policies that gave us sluggish growth, falling incomes, and a record deficit, and policies that culminated in the worst financial crisis that we’ve seen since the Great Depression. In the last six months of 2008, three million Americans lost their jobs. The month I was sworn, January of 2009, 750,000 Americans lost their jobs; 600,000 were lost a month later. All told, 8 million jobs lost as a consequence of this crisis.

Now, we didn’t get here by accident. We got here after 10 years of an economic agenda in Washington that was pretty straightforward: You cut taxes for millionaires, you cut rules for special interests, and you cut working folks loose to fend for themselves. That was the philosophy of the last administration and their friends in Congress. If you couldn’t find a job or you couldn’t go to college, tough luck -- you’re on your own. But if you’re a Wall Street bank or an insurance company or an oil company, then you got to write your own ticket and play by your own rules. And we know how this turned out.

So when I took office, because of the help of some of the people in this room, we put forward a new economic plan -- a plan that rewards hard work instead of greed; a plan that rewards responsibility instead of recklessness; a plan that’s focused on making our middle class more secure and our country more competitive in the long run -- so that the jobs and industries of the future aren’t all going to China and India, but are being created right here in the United States of America.

Instead of spending money on tax breaks for folks who don't need them and weren’t even asking for them, we’re making smart investments in innovation and clean energy and education that are going to benefit all of our people and our entire economy over the long run. (Applause.)

And instead of giving special interests free reign to do whatever they want, we’re demanding new accountability from Wall Street to Washington -- so that big corporations have to play by the same rules that small businesses and entrepreneurs do.

Now, because the policies of the last decade got us in such a deep hole, it’s going to take some time for us to dig ourselves out. We’re certainly not there yet. But I want everybody to understand, after eighteen months, I can say with confidence we are on the right track. (Applause.)

When we were -- instead of losing millions of jobs, we have created jobs for six straight months in the private sector. Instead of an economy that is contracting, we’ve got an economy that is expanding. So the last thing we would want to do is go back to what we were doing before.

And I want everybody in this room to understand, that is the choice in this election. (Applause.) The choice is -- the choice is whether we want to go forward or we want to go backwards to the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

Now, understand, it’d be one thing if the Republicans had seen the error of their ways. (Laughter.) Right? I mean, if after the rejections of 2006 and 2008, realizing, gosh, look at this big disaster that we caused and taking record surpluses into record deficits and causing all this hardship -- we’re going to rethink our approach and go out in the wilderness for a while, come back with some new ideas. (Laughter.)

But that’s not what happened. It’s not like they’ve engaged in some heavy reflection. They have not come up with a single, solitary, new idea to address the challenges of the American people. They don’t have a single idea that’s different from George Bush’s ideas -- not one. (Applause.)

Instead, they’re betting on amnesia. (Laughter.) That’s what they’re counting on. They’re counting on that you all forgot. They think that they can run the okey-doke on you. (Laughter.) Bamboozle you. (Laughter.)

I mean, think about it, these are the folks who were behind the steering wheel and drove the car into the ditch. So we’ve had to put on our galoshes, we went down there in the mud, we’ve been pushing, we’ve been shoving. They’ve been standing back, watching, say you’re not moving fast enough, you ain’t doing it right. (Laughter.) Why are you doing it that way? You got some mud on the car. Right? (Applause.)

That’s all right. We don’t need help. We’re just going to keep on pushing. We push, we push. The thing is slipping a little bit, but we stay with it. Finally -- finally -- we get this car out of the ditch, where we’re just right there on the blacktop. We’re about to start driving forward again. They say, hold on, we want the keys back. (Laughter and applause.) You can’t have the keys back -- you don’t know how to drive. (Laughter and applause.) You don’t know how to drive.

And I do want to point out, when you get in your car, when you go forward, what do you do? You put it in “D.” When you want to go back, what do you do? (Laughter.) You put it in “R.” We won’t do want to go into reverse back in the ditch. We want to go forwards. We got to put it in “D.” (Applause.) Can’t have the keys back. (Laughter.)

The choice in this election is between policies that encourage job creation here in America or encourage jobs to go elsewhere. That’s why I’ve said instead of giving tax breaks to corporations that want to ship jobs overseas, we want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in the United States of America. (Applause.) And by the way, we’ve already cut taxes for businesses eight times since I’ve been President -- eight times. And we want to do more, because small business owners are the lifeblood of this economy. (Applause.)

Right now, as we speak -- as we speak, there’s a bill in the Senate that would cut taxes for small businesses, would help them get the loans they need to hire again. The members of Congress who are here, they already voted on this. They already passed this bill. And by the way, this is a bill that's based on Democratic and Republican ideas. It’s been praised by groups like the Chamber of Commerce. They never praise me. (Laughter.) The National Federation of Independent Business. It’s a bill that’s fully paid for, doesn’t add to our deficit.

So you would think -- Republicans say they're the pro-business party, isn’t that what they say? You would think this is a bill that they would want to pass. And, yet, day after day, week after week, they keep on stalling this bill and stonewalling this bill and opposing this bill. Why? Pure politics.

They're more interested in the next election than the next generation. And that's why they can’t have the keys back -- because we need somebody who is driving with a vision to the future. (Applause.) That's what we’ve been doing over these last 20 months.

We’re also jumpstarting a homegrown, clean energy industry -- because I don’t want to see the solar panels and the wind turbines and the biodiesel created in other countries. I don't want China and Germany and Brazil to get the jump on us in the industries of the future. I want to see all that stuff right here in the United States of America, with American workers. And the investments we’ve made so far are expected to create 800,000 jobs by 2012 -- 800,000 jobs in an industry of the future. (Applause.)

We want to create the infrastructure for the future -- not just roads and bridges -- but also the broadband lines and the smart grid lines that will ensure we stay competitively on top for years to come, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs all across the country in the process. So that's our plan to create jobs right here in America -- not just short term, but long term.

But the fact is, most of the members of the other party voted no on each and every one of these initiatives. No on tax cuts to small businesses. No to clean energy jobs. No to the railroad and highway projects.

Now, I want to point out that doesn’t stop them from showing up at the ribbon-cuttings. (Laughter and applause.) John, you notice that? They’ll be voting no -- no, this is Obama’s -- no, we don't believe in recovery, we don't believe in all this. And then you show up at that ribbon cutting, and they're all there right in the front. Cheesing and grinning. (Laughter.) Sending out press releases. (Laughter.)

So a few weeks ago, the Republican leader of the House was asked, what’s your jobs plan if your party takes control of Congress next year? He said, well, you know, our number one priority -- he was asked what’s your jobs plan -- your number priority is to repeal the health care bill.

Now, this is a bill that makes sure that insurance companies can’t deny you coverage if you’ve got a preexisting condition, makes sure that young people can stay on their parents’ insurance till they're 26, provides a 35 percent tax credit to small businesses that are doing the right thing, giving their employees health care, makes sure that companies can’t drop you when you get sick.

Now, I have no idea why you would want to repeal that in the first place, but I sure don't understand how repealing it would create jobs, unless it’s for some folks in the insurance company who are being hired to deny you your claims. But that can't be a real jobs plan.

Now, look, I may be wrong. Maybe they know something I don't, or no other economist or expert understands. And if you think that's a good idea, then you should vote for them.

But I’ve got a different view. The health insurance reform we passed isn’t just preventing insurance companies from denying you coverage -- it’s making the coverage that you got more secure, and is ultimately going to lower costs for all Americans. And one of the most important things we can do to reduce our budget deficit is to get control of health care costs.

These guys don't have a plan for that. They just have a plan to say no because they're thinking about the next election instead of the next generation. And that's the choice that we’re going to be making in this next election. The choice in this election is between policies that strengthen the hand of the special interests or strengthen America’s middle class.

They want to repeal health care -- we’re not going to let it happen. We want to move forward. They pledged to repeal Wall Street reform. Here we’ve got the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Everybody knows, having looked at it, that the incentives on Wall Street were skewed and people were doing crazy things with other people’s money, making huge, risky bets and then expecting taxpayers to bail them out if it didn’t work out. So after all the hardship we’ve gone through to repair this economy, you’d think it would be common sense to say, let’s have some basic rules of the road in place to ensure that a crisis like this doesn’t happen again.

But what did the other party say? No. They want to go back to the status quo that got us into this same situation. The reforms we passed protect consumers and responsible bankers and responsible business owners. That’s what the free market is supposed to be about: setting some basic rules for the road so that everybody can compete -- not on how to game the system, but how to provide good service and good products to customers.

Make sure that mortgage companies can’t give you a mortgage that you don’t understand. Make sure that credit card companies can’t jack up your rates without providing you some notification -- common sense stuff. But they want to repeal it because they’re more interested in the next election than they are in the next generation. And that’s the choice that we will face in this next election.

If the other party wants to keep on giving taxpayer subsidies to big banks, that’s their prerogative. But that’s not what America is about. That’s not going to move us forward.

I’ll give you another example. We had a law in place when I took office in which the government was guaranteeing student loans, except they were going through financial middlemen who were taking out billions of dollars of profits issuing the loans. But the loans were guaranteed, so they weren’t taking any risks. They were just making billions of dollars of money.

We said, well, that doesn’t make sense at a time when young people are trying to get to college. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to cut out the middle man. We’ve added tens of billions of dollars to the student loans program. More than a million young people are going to get help that wouldn’t otherwise get help because of the decision we’ve made. (Applause.) What side do you think they were on? The other party voted no.

We passed a law to prohibit pay discrimination. My attitude is equal pay for equal work. Women should be paid just like men for doing the same job. (Applause.) They said no. They want to go backwards. We want to move forwards. (Applause.)

They want to extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Now, I believe in tax cuts for the right folks. I kept my campaign promise -- cut taxes for 95 percent of working Americans. But I don’t understand how do you get up here and talk about how you care so deeply about the deficit, and yet you want to perpetuate a tax cut that costs $700 billion, with a “B” -- $700 billion -- and would not provide the kind of economic growth or benefits for the vast majority of Americans. That’s the choice that we face in this election.

They voted to make sure that oil companies continue to get protected from some liabilities with respect to oil spills. How do you do that? We just spent all this time and energy trying to cap this well in the Gulf. You’d think it would make just common sense to ensure that oil companies are fully accountable. They voted no against that.

When we forced BP to put $20 billion aside to make sure those fishermen and store owners and hotel owners were protected -- (applause) -- and what happened? The guy who would be the chairman of the Energy Committee in the House apologized to BP. Sure did. Apologized. Said we engaged in a shakedown to protect ordinary families from the devastation that had taken place.

So look, you go across the board, Atlanta, there’s going to be a choice in this election. It’s the choice between special interest policies that led us into this mess and policies that are finally leading us out, that are finally helping America grow again, policies that are making middle-class Americans more secure and giving them greater opportunity.

I know this nation has been through incredibly difficult times. And I also know, by the way, that not all the steps we took have been popular. Folks in Washington, these pundits, sometimes they write -- they're all surprised -- “President Obama went ahead with some of these steps like health care reform and helping the auto companies, and those weren’t popular.”

Well, I knew they weren’t popular. I’ve got pollsters too. (Laughter.) You don't think I’ve got polls that tell me what’s popular and what’s not? But for the last 20 months, my job has been to govern.

So when I went to Detroit last week, and I look out and I see plants producing clean energy cars that otherwise would have been shut down, a million jobs that would have been lost, cars no longer made in America because the entire industry had collapsed, and I say, we made the right decision.

And now Ford and Chrysler and GM are all making a profit. They’ve all hired 55,000 workers back. (Applause.) They are on the move. They're about to pay the taxpayers back for every investment that we made. (Applause.) Then I say to myself, I’m not here just to do what’s popular -- I’m here to do what’s right.

And that's the kind of leadership you need and you deserve. That's the choice we face in this election. And, Democrats, if you work hard, as hard as you worked for me in 2008, we’re going to keep going forward. We are not going backwards. (Applause.)

Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.) God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)


1:15 P.M. EDT

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Township Committee Violates Open Public Meeting Act!

In what amounts to a clear violation of New Jersey's Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), the Washington Township Committee (as a whole) is discussing official business via email. Here is one of several emails where "business affecting the public is discussed" involving all five committeeman. Making matters worse, they are using private email addresses, as opposed to their official "@wtmorris.net" accounts, to hide their activities from the township's email backup system, which is intended to record email transactions of all township personnel. Why are they NOT using their Township provided email accounts?

With this understand of the Township Committee’s actions that are in clear violation of the OPMA, one has to wonder what else they are illrgally deciding outside of the public’s view?

In case you're wondering, the email was obtained via an Open Public Records Act request filed in May 2010.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jeff Koch = Hypocrite

I recently asked former WTBOE Finance Chair Jeff Koch to comment on the record $2.2 million (8.4%) school tax increase his budget imposed on Washington Township taxpayers in 2005. Here is what he had to say:
"Kevin, I think the voters "raised our property taxes by a record amount when I served as Finance Chair for the 2004-2005 ". Call them what you want. Civics 101. BOE members do not pass budget the voters do."

So now BOE members should not be held accountable for the budgets they put before voters? Isn't this a major paradigm shift for Jeff and his Darkside buddies? Does Jeff really expect anyone to believe this? For all the signs (Defeat the Mauro/D'Angelo Budget), websites (kevinneddsaid.com), and campaign flyers Jeff helped create to castrate other elected officials for their budgets, this has to be the most hypocritical position Jeff has taken; and there are many to choose from.

The bottom line is simple. As Finance Chair for the 2004-2005 school budget, Jeff Koch was, in essence, the “architect” for the LARGEST PROPERTY TAX INCREASE OF ANY KIND IN THE HISTORY OF WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP. This is a hard, cold fact Jeff can’t hide from; no matter how hard he tries!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More GOP embarrassment...

In my prior posting, I commented on Tom Lotitio's bogus claim with respect to my dealings with the Mendham Township Committee.  Here's all you need to know about whether or not to trust anything that comes from the mouth of a Mendham Township GOP politician.

Friday, July 9, 2010

NJ Senate vote positions property tax cap for passage Monday

While I would have preferred a 2% cap with no exceptions, this is a step in the right direction in terms of containing future property tax growth. But this does NOTHING with regards to Christie delivering on his campaign promise of "LOWERING" property taxes. Where is this plan? Does the Governor think we are stupid and will just forget what he promised? Maybe he should ask Howard Popper what happens to officials who promise LOWER taxes and don’t deliver!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How a typical Darksider sees the world...

Tom Lotito’s latest diatribe proves how dangerous a thesaurus can be in the hands of the ignorant.

Observer Tribune COMMENTARY
By Thomas Lotito
Published: Jul 2nd, 7:09 AM

Are the meanings of words today being manipulated in our society in order to win someone over to one political view point or another?

And, are most people victims like innocent bystanders at a train wreck, when they hear a political argument, not sure of who’s right or wrong?

Etymology is the study of the origins of words. As languages have evolved over time, the meanings of many words have changed, causing confusion amongst people when communicating. Could the change in the meaning of words be a contributing factor for a person as they form their world view? The use of words has consequences.

It is my opinion, the most widely misused words today are “pro-choice,” when it comes to being “for-abortion.” The term really should be “pro-baby murder” because terminating a pregnancy has many far reaching consequences that are not connotative in the term “pro-choice.”

Furthermore, the term “gay rights” is also a term that is widely misused in order to get people into thinking that homosexuals somehow do not have equal rights because they can not openly marry.

The term “gay” means happy, and was used for generations with out the “homosexual” connotation. Homosexuals have civil rights because they are Americans, it’s only when they want to be identified by their behavior that the confusion and misuse of words ensues. “Gay rights” should really be called “homosexual rights.” And “gay marriage” should be called, “marriage equality for homosexuals.”

You can’t say a prayer at a graduation ceremony without someone invoking the words “separation of church and state,” which is often used today to limit Christian participation in schools and public activities.

The term “separation of church and state” was first used by Thomas Jefferson, which originally meant that the government could not intrude into the religious practices of Americans. What’s really happening is your constitutional rights are being trampled upon. It’s not “freedom from religion,” “it’s freedom of religion.”

Less controversial words like “I appreciate how you feel” have an air of condescension and are often used in an argument to de-legitimize another person’s point of view. What really should be said is, “I think you’re wrong” or “I strongly disagree.”

The words “Full Monte” were coined by the customers of Sir Montague Burton’s tailor shop of Sheffield, England in 1904. Burton’s complete three piece suit with a waistcoat was called the “Full Monty.” Today the term refers to being naked in public. The 1997 movie “The Full Monty” is a story about six unemployed men who decide to form a male striptease act.

The term “hate” is often used by liberals when someone points out a flaw or legitimately disagrees with Barack Obama’s policies or point of view. The person who says, “why do you hate Barack Obama?” in a political argument is really saying “I don’t want to hear your point of view, shut up.”

The word “hate” is also often used by liberals to describe financially successful and very popular conservative talk radio show hosts.

Recently, Janet Murguia, President and CEO of National Council of LaRaza, cautioned and chastised a number of television and radio talk show hosts. She said “words have consequences, and hateful words have hateful consequences.” Even though her partisan rhetoric was aimed more at talk radio, she did say that cable news shows like Chris Mathews, Rachael Maddow and Keith Obermann, parroted the vitriolic rhetoric spoken by their more unsavory guests.

If you look at politics as an advertising campaign, clarity of message is paramount. The Tea Party movement grows more and more popular. Liberals seeking to grow the size of government don’t like the Tea Party movement because they have been an effective voice in their advocacy to return to the principals set forth by the Constitution with a smaller limited Federal government.

Slang like “tea-bagger” and “wing-nut “ are used as a pejorative by liberals to describe people who participate in the Tea Party movement. If you are hearing the term “tea-bagger” or “wing-nut” for the first time of course your first reaction would be to disassociate yourself from it.

The meaning of the words “freedom of speech” has changed in our current political climate.

Is political correctness limiting free speech by the way we view policy, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation and institutional discrimination? In other words, are people afraid to speak out against behaviors that a generation ago were considered mental health issues because their definitions were changed?

The other emotionally charged misused phrase in the liberal class warrior playbook is “tax cuts are for the rich?” Today a family of four with two incomes totaling just over $100,000 is considered rich. But, they still pay the alternative minimum tax, which was put in place in the 1960’s and was not meant for middle class income people. Are you a two income family in N.J. making just over $ 100,000? Do you consider yourself “rich”?

Are you making up your mind based on campaign slogans and sound bites from the television? Does your political world view match your work ethic? Do you spend more money at the end of the month than you take in? Are you supporting politicians that spend more money than the government takes in?

When it comes to politics we shouldn’t take everything we hear at face value. Questioning the words that politicians use is prudent in determining what side of the issues we want to be on. Changing the meanings of words does have consequences.

The writer, Thomas Lotito, an independent piano tuner, is a resident of Washington Township and a frequent observer of township politics.

Move over Dan Quayle...

The following comment was recently submitted by former WTBOE member Jeff Koch in response to a letter appearing on the Observer Tribune website:
jeffreyskoch wrote on Jul 3, 2010 9:58 AM:

" First, I will start by saying to whom it may concern, Yes theses guys raised Taxes by 2,345 %, we know they are developing a nuclear weapons in secret. With that out of the way I think the committee has done an excellent job in some tough times. With a new, maybe more conservative republican running, with Mr. Liabraaten, maybe they can do better. It will be time to watch Mr. Welch and his proposal on lowering taxes and keeping services the same or better. There are important issues, if the school budget fails next year, contracts, flea market and others. If Mr. Welch takes a stand on these issues we will know what to think. "
Jeff, were you drunk when you wrote this or what? You now qualify as a contestant on the FOX TV show, "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader"!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Remember this?

Here's what Long Valley's newest Darksider, David X. Johnson, had to say BEFORE Howard Popper was CRUSHED by Dave Kennedy:
June 03, 2010 - By David X Johnson
Nedd endorses Kennedy !

I've been reading the various endorsements in the Observer-Tribune in support of David Kennedy. It strikes me as odd (at first) that the arguments in these endorsements are remarkably similar to Kevin Nedd's talking points. Nedd openly supports Kennedy with the zeal he supported Obama and he attacks Kennedy's opponents for him. What's up with that? Why in the world would a registered Republican, David Kennedy, have a Democrat, Kevin Nedd, supporting him in a Republican primary? It seems obvious to me that Democrat Nedd and Republican Kennedy are in the same political bed together.

Once again, Kevin gets it wrong. A big part of the Committeeman's job is negotiating with organized labor. The irony is that Nedd, of all people, is insisting that Kennedy would have no conflict of interest by being both a committeeman and a 25 year veteran of the police union. Nedd has first-hand experience "rendering himself an ineffective committeeman" by creating a conflict of interest and disqualifying himself from labor negotiations. All the more so, David Kennedy, who would also be disqualified from participating in labor negotiations because of his union background.

Nobody is raising a legal challenge. That's a false issue. It's just common sense that a lot of tax payers are uncomfortable with a union man on both sides of the negotiating table. It's an executive committee, not a labor committee! One of the first questions out of Kennedy's mouth at a town budget meeting was whether or not open space funds could be used to pay police salaries. Right then and there you get a good idea where his loyalties lie. Forget the tax payers and the rest of the town employees ... pay the union people first.

Why would we want to take a chance knowing that he's a lame horse right out of the shoot? Worse yet, why would Republicans want to vote for someone that garners the support the of Fabian Socialist, Kevin Nedd? No thanks. I'll stick with the two proven fiscally conservative Republican candidates, Howard Popper and James LiaBraaten. We might live in a rural community, but I didn't just fall off a turnip truck.

By David X Johnson
LOL!  To borrow a phrase from Don Imus, "is there a dumber man on the planet?"

For the record, I count my self as a Kennedy supporter; but as a Democrat, I did not "endorse" him in the GOP primary.  As for the General Election, assuming the field does not change, Kennedy will however get one of my votes in the fall.


Imagine if Richard Merkt were a Democrat!

Bottom Line: Despite his campaign promise, Governor Christie has done NOTHING that will result in a LOWERING of our property tax bill! In fact, Washington Township residents just got a skyrocketing increase in their estimated 2010 property tax bills. Go Chris!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

...somebody step on a duck?

Having lost the GOP nomination to retain his WT Committeemen seat, it seems Howard "lame duck" Popper couldn't bring himself to writing the traditional OT letter thanking his supporters. Instead, Howard opted for a entry on his Facebook page. How big of him.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Please pass the tissues...

Yesterday's OT confirms my earlier prediction of the Township Committee (and Tom Lotito) acting like a bunch of children when the WTBOE chose a different path to meet the committee's $1M mandated reduction in the school tax levy. Perhaps some of the current Township Committee members should have stayed on the BOE if they wanted to continue to dictate education policy. Kudo's to the WTBOE for exercising its independence, while at the same time living up to its statutory obligations.

I think she is talking about you Howard!

WASHINGTON TWP. - The Washington Township Democratic Committee on June 14n unanimously election an expanded leadership team, with Rich Welch as vice-chairman, Neil Szigethy as secretary and Linda Bonk as sergeant -at-arms.

Sally Hudson and Don Barcan were unanimously re-elected as chairman and treasurer, respectively.

“The results from the June primary demonstrate that the voters of Washington Township demand accountability from the Township Committee members,” states Sally Hudson, “and they demand leadership that will proactively and responsibly address the fiscal problems facing the community. The Democratic Party and our candidate and new Vice Chairman, Rich Welch, offer voters a constructive and economically sound path forward.”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Who's Your Daddy?

If anyone has any doubt who is "Commander-and-Chief" of the armed forces, just ask Gen. McChrystal.

The President's appointment of Gen. Petraeus as McChrystal's replacement was brilliant as well!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Where's Howard?

Last week's OT contained a letter from John Krickus thanking Darkside voters who supported his failed 6th place finish for the GOP nomination for a seat on the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders. For the record, I was happy to see John lose, as his lack of ethics is of great concern. The that both his running mates won, made it just that more enjoyable.

I was also surprised with the absence of a similar letter from Howard Popper. Maybe Howard was too busy trying to figure out who to investigate for his loss? A few PIs must be anxiously waiting his call!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Here is an excellent example of a GOPer having to eat crow.  Rep. Barton would feel right at home with some of the Darksiders in Washington Township!

Rep. Barton Retracts Apology To BP
June 17, 2010

By Kyle Trygstad

Facing mounting pressure from his own party, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) retracted his apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward, which he offered to the oil executive this morning in his opening statement as ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
"I am ashamed of what happened at the White House yesterday," Barton said this morning. "It is a tragedy in the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown - in this case a $20 billion shakedown."
Hayward testified today and answered the panel's questions late into the afternoon. As he testified, the White House and Democrats from both chambers of Congress blasted the congressman for apologizing to the oil company.

Republicans joined as well, with Florida Rep. Jeff Miller the first to call on Barton to step down as ranking member of the committee. Miller represents the western-most district in Florida's panhandle. House GOP leaders John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mike Pence issued a joint statement calling Barton's initial comments about a White House shakedown "wrong," adding that BP acknowledged repsonsibility and "offered an initial pledge of $20 billion."

Here is Barton's full statement of regret, apologizing for his earlier statement:

"I apologize for using the term 'shakedown' with regard to yesterday's actions at the White House in my opening statement this morning, and I retract my apology to BP. As I told my colleagues yesterday and said again this morning, BP should bear the full financial responsibility for the accident on their lease in the Gulf of Mexico. BP should fully compensate those families and businesses that have been hurt by this accident. BP and the federal government need to stop the leak, clean up the damage, and take whatever steps necessary to prevent a similar accident in the future.
"I regret the impact that my statement this morning implied that BP should not pay for the consequences of their decisions and actions in this incident."