Saturday, January 30, 2010

Be careful what you ask for...

The live public exchange between the President and the entire House Republican caucus was unprecedented, and clearly to the White House’s benefit. So much so, Fox News had to cut away when it was clear the President was “putting on a clinic”. FOX was the only network that chose to limit coverage. I wonder why?

All-in-all, I hope this event leads to more cooperation amongst the players in Washington.

Flea Market Financials!

A lot has been said about the possibility of the Chester Lions Club bringing their flea market to Long Valley. Here is their formal proposal to the township.  One thing that jumps out - the public toilets will remain onsite thoughout the entire 6 month operating period each year.

Earlier this week I received a call from a resident who wanted to know the tax impact of the proposed maximum $60K annual payment to the township in terms of how it would benefit the “average” homeowner. With the average home in the township assessed at $500K, the "tax reduction" benefit comes out to $8.90 a year.

So for $8.90 a year we get to turn the land behind LVMS into a weekly "hillbilly" yard sale, complete with outhouses that remain onsite. Go Howard!

Municipal Budget Update

Despite holding a budget meeting this past Tuesday, the Township Committee made no progress in terms of reducing a projected 10.6% municipal tax increase if their budget was adopted as it now stands. Having reviewed Police operations during Tuesday's meeting, the Committee was unable to make any decision on what should or should not be cut. The inability to make decisions is not surprising when you consider a majority of the Committee now consists of former WTBOE dead weight (Harmon, Roehrich, & LiaBraaten) that didn't contribute much intellectual heft as school board members. Throw in the well documented incompetence of Ken Short & Howard Popper and it's not a pretty picture.

This probably explains why Ken Short is so hell bent on deflecting blame for high property taxes on the WTBOE as opposed to accepting responsibility for his own budget failures. Let us not forget how in 2009 it was Short's administration that imposed a "skyrocketing" property tax increase seven (7) times LARGER than the WTBOE's 0.52% property tax increase.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Say what?

According to Republican Steve Lonegan, "less than two weeks into office, Gov. Chris Christie seems poised to break his signature campaign promise to cut taxes for all taxpayers — instead, agreeing to raise taxes for all businesses and workers. This is unacceptable."

No need for me to add anyting else!

More wisdom from Howard Popper

Within the same DR article quoted in my previous posting, Vice Mayor Howard Popper makes the following statement:

"Residents in Washington Township already don't get much for the taxes they pay, and I don't want them to have to get less."

So according to Howard, other than having...
  1. Our children educated
  2. Roads maintained and cleared of snow in the winter
  3. Recreational programs and fields maintained in the summer
  4. Fires extinguished in homes
  5. First aid responders show up when we are sick
  6. Police who protect us
  7. A bus that transports our seniors
  8. A prosecutor, judge, and court that holds us accountable
  9. A health department that monitors the quality of our drinking water
  10. A building department that ensures safety within our homes
  11. Free use of county and municipal libraries
...we don't get "much" for our taxes. Go Howard!

This from a man who has yet to deliver on his "Lower Taxes Now!!!" promise. Is Howard the dumbest man on the planet or what?

Thank you Mr. President!

This morning the government announced 4Q2009 GDP growth of 5.7 percent. The highest it's been since 2003. I am sure the GOP will do everything it can to discount the numbers, but in the end it's much better than when "what's his name" was in office!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another Ken Short Lie!

This DR story contains another purposely misleading quote from Mayor Ken Short:

"All of the committee members already donate their stipends back to the budget."

By law, the committee must pass an ordinance each year declaring the salaries of all township employees. In 2007, the ordinance set a salary of $500 for each committeeman. In 2008 and 2009, no salaries were declared for committeeman, meaning they received no pay. How then can one donate something they never received in the first place?

So here is a question for Mayor Short...if committeeman received no pay in 2008 and 2009, how much did the committee members actually "donate" back to the town? Did it come close to the $50,000 of taxpayer provided health care benefits you sucked down during your first two terms?

Another ignorant "Tea Party" racist

Dale Robertson, a Tea Party activist who operates, is getting stung for this photo — taken at the Feb. 27, 2009 Tea Party in Houston — in which he holds a sign reading “Congress = Slaveowner, Taxpayer = Niggar.”

The only thing worse than a racist, is an ignorant racist who can't spell.

Also, notice this coward "Photoshopped" his sign for his organization's website.

Let's go to the video tape!

For the second time in a month, Republican Rudy Giuliani managed to make a total fool of himself.

The only person who can match Rudy lie-for-lie is our own Ken Short!

Initiative and referendum within NJ

It's good to hear Governor Chrisite backs a proposal that provides for initiative and referendum within NJ.  This is long overdue and would allow Washington Township voters to weigh in on "quality of life issues" like the flea market.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


The President's speech was inspiring, unifying, and confrontational, all at the same time. The Republican response from VA was beyond embarrassment.

The Peter Principal

Jim LiaBraaten's appointment to fill the open Township Committee's seat is a another example of the local GOP demonstrating it's mastery of the "Peter Principle".

Having served without distinction on the WTBOE, LiaBraaten's most recent contribution to the community was his demand of a 20% across the board cut of the district school budget. A demand of his former peers AFTER he left the board.

What are the odds of LiaBratten calling for a 20% across the board cut of the municipal budget? Probably about the same as a 0% tax municipal increase!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Do The Right Thing!

As some of you know, I am a bit of a movie buff. So much so, I recently rented the 20th Anniversary Edition of Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" on Bluray.

Ironically, this is also the title of Paul Krugman’s latest NYT op-ed urging House Democrats to "Stop whining, and do what needs to be done."

I could not agree more.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Congressional Democrats are Clueless!

Based on this news and what I have seen in the past three days, it's quite clear Congressional Democrats have no clue in terms of what to do on health care. As a result, Democrats most likely will lose their majority in the House in the fall and quite frankly, deservingly so. Nothing is more unbecoming that a bunch of weak politicians who care more about their own survival as opposed to the needs of the American people.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Guy Gregg's senior moment

While leaving last night's Township Committee meeting, I had a short conversation with Washington Township Republican Committee Chairman Guy Gregg. I asked Guy if he had read my DR opinion piece, which he said he had. I told him I looked forward to the lower taxes Christie has promised. At this point Guy seemed to suffer a senior moment. To insure Guy's condition is not contagious amongst all NJ Republicans, below you will find Christie’s tax promises as they appeared on his campaign website:
New Jersey has the highest tax burden in the country and it’s getting worse - the latest Corzine budget just raised taxes by another $1.2 billion. We’re also burdened with the highest property taxes in the country, but that didn't stop Jon Corzine from taking away property tax rebates from 1.2 million New Jerseyans in this year’s budget. In fact, Jon Corzine and Jim McGreevey have raised taxes on the average New Jersey family by more than $10,000 since 2002 – over $22 billion in taxes, the highest in the nation. In all, Corzine and Governor McGreevey have raised over 100 taxes on New Jersey’s hardworking families.

This will change in a Christie Administration. New Jersey’s hard-working middle-class families can no longer handle the weight of these out of control taxes. The first step to reversing New Jersey's declining economic climate and giving New Jerseyans a little relief is by cutting property taxes.
Provide Property Tax Relief
The last thing Chris will do is to follow Corzine's lead in eliminating property tax rebates for 1.2 million New Jerseyans. The rebate currently is the only property tax relief we have, and it provides much needed, meaningful help while we put in place other reforms. We keep the rebate in place to give taxpayers some breathing room in these tough economic times.
Reduce New Jersey’s income tax

Chris Christie will commit to cutting New Jersey’s gross income tax during his first 4-year term as Governor. Cutting these taxes will make New Jersey more affordable for our hard-working families, encourage investment in and expansion of New Jersey-based small business, and make our tax policies more competitive with the other states in the region that have better private sector job growth.
Chris Christie will seek two types of income tax reductions:

• “Across the board” rate cut for all taxpayers

• Additional cut or credit for those taxpayers who derive business income from New Jersey-based small businesses.
Reduce the corporate business tax rate to give New Jersey a competitive advantage

It will be a top priority for the Christie Administration to reduce corporate business tax rates.

Reducing the corporate business tax rate, as part of an overall economic recovery effort, will create a better business climate to attract private sector investment.
Eliminate the “double-taxation” on New Jersey S-Corporations
80,000 S-Corporation taxpayers currently pay the corporation “minimum” tax, up to $2,000 per year, based on their total gross receipts. The Christie Administration will eliminate the “double taxation” on New Jersey’s S-Corporations in line with the other 47 states and federal government which have implemented this policy.
Eliminate the hidden “investment tax” on New Jersey-based businesses

The “investment tax” acts as a penalty for businesses for being based in New Jersey. Instead of being taxed for only the amount of sales in New Jersey, the “investment tax” also factors in the level of investment (i.e., real estate, payroll, etc.) a company has in New Jersey. Chris Christie will change New Jersey’s tax policy to enact a “single-sales” factor for New Jersey-based companies to enable them to better compete.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dear Governor...

Fred Snowflak of the Daily Record asked if was interested in writing an opinion piece providing advice to our new governor. Here is my take.  Thanks to Fred and to anyone who cares to comment.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Kevin Walsh

It is with deep sadness we learn former Township Committeeman Kevin Walsh passed away yesterday at his home here in Long Valley. He loved our township with all his heart.

Our prayers are with his family.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Why we lead the free world...

This picture is worth a thousand words.

Please join me in making a donation to the CLINTON BUSH HAITI FUND.

Thank you!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Axelrod vs. Rove!

In today's Washington Post, President Obama's senior advisor David Axelrod pretty much mopped up the floor with Karl Rove. It doesn't get any better than this!

Howard Popper Strikes Out on Local Ethics Board

Remember back in 2007 when Howard Pooper ran for Committee and promised to create a local ethics board? This despite being told by yours truly and others there is already a similar body at the state level charged to handle issues of impropriety by local officials. Instead, Howard stuck to his guns and with the aid of local GOP operatives, insisted a local committee was needed in our town. When the potential cost of such an entity was pointed out, Howard again insisted this could be done at virtually no cost to the taxpayer. After two long years and a recent hammering on this blog, Howard Popper seems to have had an ephipany at this week’s Work Session agenda included "Ethics Board" as a discussion topic.

So you would think after two years of silence, Howard would finally be ready to publicly announce his plan to implement something so central to his campaign it ranked second only to his “LOWER TAXES NOW!!!” pledge, right? Wrong! After a ten minute discussion, Howard and his fellow GOP committeeman conceded it wasn't needed after all and that the cost of creating such an entity are far beyond what the township could have EVER afforded.

Perhaps had Howard read the following language from the NJ LOCAL ETHICS LAW, he would have realized his transparent campaign promise was doomed at the moment he first proposed it back in 2007 during his campaign.

40A:9-22.20 Provision of offices to municipal ethics board
a. The governing body of the municipality shall provide the municipal ethics board with offices for the conduct of its business and the preservation of its records, and shall supply equipment and supplies as may be necessary.
b. All necessary expenses incurred by the municipal ethics board and its members shall be paid, upon certification of the chairman, by the municipal treasurer within the limits of funds appropriated by the municipal governing body by annual or emergency appropriations for those purposes.
c. The municipal ethics board may appoint employees, including independent counsel, and clerical staff as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this act within the limits of funds appropriated by the municipal governing body for those purposes.
Bottom Line: This was just another empty unfulfilled campaign promise from Howard Popper, who has yet to demonstrate any value during his tenure on the Washington Township Committee.

Initial 2010 Municipal Budget Highlights

Having reviewed the initial 2010 municipal budget in detail, a few things stand out:

a) While the current 10% plus tax increase will certainly be reduced, the refusal of the committee to set a realistic tax increase target is troubling. After refusing to set targets in the years leading up to and including 2005's 11.1% increase, targets were used in each of the three years (2006-2008) I served as Finance Liaison. The results speak for themselves as the township experienced three consecutive tax increase declines leading to 2008's 2.3% increase, the smallest in five (5) years. Last year's (2009) 3.7% tax increase represented an astounding 60% increase in tax growth. This in a year when the CPI only increased 2.7%.

b) The current $600K plus budget gap is entirely due to a combination of loss revenue associated with a single year $1 million plus depletion of the surplus and the loss of $200K in revenue from the Chesters after they abandoned Washington Township in liu of the county for public safety dispatch services.

c) The loss of over a million dollars in the township surplus account in a single year is unprecedented. Perhaps had Mayor Short not terminated the Finance Liaison position, someone would have been tracking this throughout 2009 and come up with strategies to remedy the situation early on. This is a clear example of what happens when everyone claims shared responsibility, yet in reality, no single person did anything.

d) The loss of revenue from the Chesters could not have come at a more inopportune time. Perhaps with better leadership, the reductions in staff that have been achieved could have been positioned with the Chesters in a manner that may have retained their business.

e) One bit of good news. The annual allocation for the Library has been reduced by $15K versus last year. This was not included in the figures presented on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rush Limbaugh belongs in Hell

Having visited Port-au-Prince on numerous occasions, the images of the human suffering associated with the devastating earthquake resonate more than anything I have ever seen. It is for this reason I find Rush Limbaugh’s use of this tragedy to disrespect the President, black Americans, and the people of the nation of Haiti, beyond belief.

Quite frankly, had Limbaugh not survived his recent heart related health scare and ended up in Hell, where he belongs, the world would be a better place.

More Ken Short Flip-Flops

In addition to the flip-flop mentioned below, it seems Mayor Ken Short is on a roll when it comes to reversing his position on key aspects of the upcoming municipal budget, including reducing debt service payments as way to save money; using proceeds of a possible sale of a liquor license as a revenue source; and deferment of a portion of the township's pension payment as a means of making the numbers work this year.
Based on his comments of last evening, Ken Short's position on all these issues has changed, despite his past criticism of others whose opinions differed from his prior ones.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Two faced Ken, strikes again!

At times it was hard to tell if tonight's budget meeting was being held by the Township Committee or the Board of Education, as Mayor Ken Short tried his best to turn our attention towards the school budget as opposed to explaining how he would reduce a municipal budget containing an initial 10.8% tax increase!  When asked specifically to state his tax increase goal for this year, Short stated it was 0%. In most years, one would applaud any mayor for such an aggressive goal.
But in Short’s case, we might want to consider how just two months ago, Short sat before a room full of voters and ridiculed his Democratic opponents Harlin Parker and Jody Price for their pledge of not voting for a budget unless it contained a 0% tax increase in 2010. Short said it was unrealistic and could not be achieved. So one has to wonder what happen? Why has Short changed his tune? Or is Short just playing politics? Maybe he just thinks everyone is stupid and won't notice his flip-flop.

This is yet another example of the why Mayor Ken Short can never be trusted.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Senator Reid's comments...

There has been much ado about comments made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with respect to President Obama back in 2008. Specifically, Reid suggested Barack Obama could become the first African-American president because he was “light-skinned” and because he did not speak with a “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”


During the 2008 campaign I did quite a bit of door-to-door canvassing throughout Morris County. On a number of occasions I had doors slammed in my face after being told by some voters they would never vote for a "black man".

Lets face it, if Barack Obama looked like Idi Amin and sounded like Flavor Flav, he wouldn't be President today. That's not to say the county hasn't made progress on issues of race, but let's be honest.

As much as Reid's thoughts may make some people uncomforable, they match up to what a number of people, including many African Americans, truly believe.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Thank you Mr. Barr!

Former Republican Bob Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, and was the 2008 Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States. Here is his take on his former party's critisim of the President's handling of the failed Christmas Day terror event:

"Yes — the not-so-bright, would-be terrorist from Nigeria got though international and domestic security mechanisms supposed to have stopped him long before the jerk lit his underwear afire before landing in Detroit. And yes — the incident happened during the administration of President Barack Obama. But the sniping at the president by Republicans, including former Vice President Cheney, and by conservative radio and TV commentators, borders on — if not passing into — asinine.

The criticism has included such childishness as blasting Obama for waiting a few days before making a national speech on the incident. For heaven’s sake, the president was briefed on the incident from the moment it occurred; he made statements almost immediately indicating his concern and that he was being regularly briefed; he took time to gather the facts and meet with his national security team; and then he appeared publicly to give a rational, measured, but hard-hitting response. And for this, a former vice president criticizes him.

Partisanship truly has pervasively infected our political system when a reasonable, measured, factual, timely and substantive response by a president to a single security incident — the roots of which clearly indicate long-simmering problems that predated his tenure in office — is publicly blasted as irresponsible. In point of fact, those leveling such counterproductive attacks are the ones engaging in irresponsible behavior."

In addition, along with David Keene of the American Conservative Union and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Mr. Barr recently issued the following statement with regards to handling domestic terrorist cases in federal court:

"We are confident that the government can preserve national security without resorting to sweeping and radical departures from an American constitutional tradition that has served us effectively for over two centuries.

Civilian federal courts are the proper forum for terrorism cases. Civilian prisons are the safe, cost effective and appropriate venue to hold persons convicted in federal courts. Over the last two decades, federal courts constituted under Article III of the U.S. Constitution have proven capable of trying a wide array of terrorism cases, without sacrificing either national security or fair trial standards.

Likewise the federal prison system has proven itself fully capable of safely holding literally hundreds of convicted terrorists with no threat or danger to the surrounding community.

The scaremongering about these issues should stop."

Black, African American, or Negro?

According to 2000 census figures, I am one of 90 Blacks or African Americans who live in Long Valley’s 07853 zip code. I note this only to point out when I completed my census form in 2000, “Negro” wasn’t an option under race (not that I would have chosen it). It is in this context I find the controversy over the word “Negro” appearing on the 2010 census forms somewhat interesting; especially during a period when we have the first Black, African American, or now” Negro” president.

Can we assume the 2020 forms will expand the definition of folks who look me to include “colored” as well?

Hold Them Accountable!

While GOP opposition to the recent failed NJ gay marriage legislation was expected, the following Democrats provided a disservice to their constituents by voting no as well or in the case of three weasels, were no-shows for this historic vote. These individuals should face stiff primary challenges.


Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May)

Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D- Essex)

Sen. John A. Girgenti (D-Passaic

Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-Hudson) .

Sen. Fred H. Madden (D-Gloucester)

Sen. Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer)

Sen. Robert W. Singer (R-Ocean)


Sen. Paul A. Sarlo (D-Bergen)

Sen. Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Gloucester)

Sen. James Beach (D-Camden)

Kudos to Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer), the lone GOPer who voted yes!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rudy Giuliani Says NO Terror Attacks Occured on GWB's Watch

We knew the GOP response would be off-base, but who could have predicted what Rudy Giuliani said in an interview with Good Morning America earlier today?

Rudy Giuliani Criticizes Terror Trial

With one minute to go in the interview, Giuliani actually said there were no terror attacks on GWB's watch.

I guess it was Giuliani’s twin who served as Mayor during the September 11, 2001 attack on the twin towers.

This man ran for President?

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


In a stark departure from his predecessor, President Obama today accepted responsibility for the failures of the intelligence community for the recent terror attempt in Detroit. His leadership is in keeping with the highest traditions of his office.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

WOW..Where to begin?

Last night's Washington Township Reorganization meeting certainly was one for the ages:

1. Ken "2%" Short was selected for a second straight term as Mayor. An impressive feat given his last two stints as Mayor have resulted in tax increases when combined, come close to 15%. If this Democrat had raised taxes by this amount we would have a public lynching. But what else can you expect from Washington Township's voters who would vote for a ham sandwich if it ran as a Republican? Short gave the traditional mayoral 'state of the township' where he continued the trend of doom and gloom reporting on township finances. Unfortunately, based on his record, you can't trust a word Short says. Things are probably much worse than he is letting on.

2. Howard "LOWER TAXES NOW!!!" Popper was selected as Vice Mayor. Lord help us. Is there a dumber man on the planet? A move many suspect was needed to bolster his chances for reelection in the fall. I wouldn't count on it as being too effective. Howard should plan on voters being constantly reminded of his total failure to deliver on his "LOWER TAXES NOW!!!" pledge along with his politically inspired call for the creation of a local ethics board. Again, something that hasn't happened.

3. The joke of the night came during committee assignments when rookie Committeeman Bill Roehrich was assigned the newly created position of "voucher signer". A required leftover task from the Finance Liaison position, which was done away last year with in order to avoid a direct comparison to the declining tax increases that occured when I enthusiastically took on the role for three consecutive years. The chart on the right tells you why no Republican wants to be compared to my record. In a bit of irony, this is the same Finance Liaison position Ken Short attempted to emphasize in his infamous last minute 2009 campaign mailer he managed to screw up.

4. In a total surprise, Committeeman Kevin Walsh resigned his seat at the conclusion of the meeting. Word is he informed Short of his intention to resign. Short tried to get Walsh to hold off and resign during a regular meeting; but Kevin basically took a "Homie don't play dat" attitude and dropped his bomb anyway. Good for him! While I am sure he sees his overall service to the township as an honor, as I did with respect to my own tenure, I don't think Walsh will miss the current crop of fiscally incompetent ideologues he would have had to work with.

5. Note that I have said nothing of Committeeman James Harmon, because in a continuation of his service on the WTBOE, he hasn't contributed anything worthy of mention.

Monday, January 4, 2010

DJIA Highest in 15 Months!

All last year, a local GOP gladfly complained about "Obama bringing down the stock market!"

How ya like me now?

2010 prediction...

Despite what Mayor Ken Short is telling us now, the Township Committe will adopt a municipal budget containing the largest municipal tax increase since the all-GOP 11.1% increase in 2005.

You heard it here first.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year...Mr. Popper!

As we begin a new year, three questions come to mind as this is the year Committeeman Howard Popper must run for re-election if he wants to remain on the Township Committee. What happen to the pledge of "Lower Taxes Now!!!" that appeared on signs posted around town in the days leading up to your election in November of 2006? Why should township voters even think about voting for you again when you have not come close to delivering on this promise? What taxes are LOWER? What happen to your campaign pledge of creating a local ethics board? Why have you not made this happen since it was one of the themes you campaigned on? Why have you recently removed your old campaign site on the web? What are you trying to hide? Here is a link to your website on the internet archive.