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."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

David X. Johnson - WRONG AGAIN!

David X. Johnson, who has yet to publicly acknowledge his defeat in last week's primary election, states the following on his blog: "The local council did reasonably well in dealing with the massive 560K reduction in state aid, which amounts to 3.5% of the total budget."

The following FACTS refute David's statement.

1. In 2010, state aid was cut was $362K verses the prior year, representing 2.2% of the budget.
2. We have a Township Committee form of government, not a Township Council.

Former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once observed, “you are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

Update #1: Once again David X. Johnson has changed his blog to better represent the truth after being called out on this website.  Keep reading David, you just might learn something!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tom Lotito's ranting isn't a solution...

Here is a recent rant sent by Tom Lotito to a local resident:

"Don't know the answer to your question, But I would speculate and say, yes. I would like to see every budget fail every year in order to see what's in it. The issue as I see it: Does the cost per pupil spent equal the amount of taxes we pay? In other words, what are we getting in terms of value compared to what we are paying? Is the quality of education worth what we are paying for it?"
"Having said this, it is my suspicion that administrator, janitors salaries at the HS school need to be looked at before we cut these needed classroom programs. It is my opinion, like the K-8 school , WMCHS BOE administration is in a survival mode. Outsourcing janitors must be seriously looked at the HS and the K-8 schools in order to save these programs."
"Having looked at the way the WMCHS BOE handled the construction project, the addition that took five years, which by the way, was riddled with very expensive change orders, and was 2 million dollars over budget and scaled down. I have my doubts that WMCHS BOE is looking into this in a cost effective manor."
"far as I'm concerned, it is foolish to constantly throw money at our schools, that winds up, not in the class room, but in administrators pockets. Current teachers salaries with a shrinking demographic and a shrinking piece of the pie are unsustainable."
"As we move forward into 2011, higher federal tax increases and shrinking income will effect all of us, these issues will force us to make even tougher decision next year. I am not for cutting programs in the classroom, I am for cutting our BOE administration to a lighter smaller cost efficient model and return to the mission of educating our children in the classroom."
Tom Lotito
While Tom is certainly entitiled to his opinion, let's put a little perspective on how much he is contributing to the cost of his own children's education in the contex of where he says "what are we getting in terms of value compared to what we are paying?". Tom currently has one child in the middle school and one child in the high school. By conservative estimates, the cost to educate his children is in the neighborhood of about $22K give or take a grand or so. That's what Tom is "getting". Now let's look at what Tom is "paying". According to Morris County tax records, Tom paid less than $7,000 in property taxes last year. To put it bluntly Tom put $7K in the kitty, but took at least $22K out. Sounds like a good deal, huh? Why isn't Tom happy? Things could be much worse. He could have paid over $15,000 in property taxes and have no children in our public schools (like I do). But then again you don't hear me complaining, because unlike Tom, I understand how a good K-12 education; can lead to a good college; which leads to a respectable job; which leads to a standard of living above the norm.

If Tom Lotito were anything but the "angry white male" that he is, he would stop all his pathetic whining and simply run for a seat on the BOE and try and influence the change he so desperately seeks in a constructive manner as opposed to vowing to "defeat" school budgets out of spite. If the whole town agrees with him to the degree he always claims, he should have no problem getting elected, right?

Back in 2005, I had a problem with the Township Committee's imposition of an 11% municipal tax increase. I ran for office and brought about the structural changes in our budget to ensure this would never happen again. The chart on the upper left speaks volumes as to how things turned out. Tom Lotito should consider a more constructive approach.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Harlin lays it out!

EDITOR (OT): The June 8 primary election offers Democratic and Republican party voters the chance to think about our town and how we’ll be best served by those who would be our local representatives.
As in the general election this coming November, this should be an opportunity for voters to learn about the individual candidates, especially the ideas and plans these candidates are offering to help move us into a better future.

Unfortunately, in many of the letters in the Observer-Tribune we see the usual suspects spewing forth the same old same old. It seems that the entrenched local Republican operatives submit the same letters each year, changing only the names and a word here or there.

And it isn’t pretty. In this primary campaign, as we are bound to see this fall, these guys continue their M.O. Run on slogans, not thoughtful policy. Don’t debate your opponents. Throw mud. And most of all, boast about your fiscal responsibility and “conservative” leadership even though the plain facts of history prove otherwise.

But this is a primary election. The Democratic candidate, Richard Welch, a respected and accomplished attorney, is running unopposed so it’s the Republican primary that will garner the headlines.

I appreciate that as a Democrat I must leave it to local Republicans to squabble amongst themselves in choosing their candidates, with their vacuous slogans, flimsy claims of accomplishments, even the “heated” rhetoric.

However, as an American, I am compelled to speak out against unpardonable character assassination masquerading as political speech. I do not know David Kennedy. Never met him. I have no comment on his ideas. But the assertion that because of his decades of service as a top police official he would be unable to ably serve as a Township Committeeman is an unabashed insult to every man and woman in law enforcement, and is blatantly untrue.

Our Mayor, Ken Short, was an insurance broker. Is he unable to vote about township insurance contracts? Committeeman Bill Roehrich was a farmer. Is he unable to vote on farm preservation issues? No, this won’t do. Political speech, no matter how intemperate, is our birthright in America. Character assassination is not. This despicable tactic has to end, in the general election and in the primary as well.

The many years of short term, reactionary “leadership” by fill-in-the-blank old guard committeemen, foisting upon us buckets of wasteful spending, imprudent borrowing and the never ending march of tax increases must finally come to an end.

Even this year, township spending is going up about 3 percent more than the rate of inflation. In what has become a yearly nightmare, this year, again, local taxpayers will be paying more and getting less. A lot less. And somebody’s taking a bow for that?

I urge everyone to vote, both in the primary election and the all important general election in November. I also urge everyone to look past the slogans, look past the empty, unfulfilled promises and to speak out against intolerable campaign tactics.

Keep in mind that continuing to push forward when we’re heading in the wrong direction is not a formula for success. It’s time to let other people take the helm.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time for Krickus to come clean...

Now that the election is over, it's time for DEFEATED Republican Primary Freeholder Candidate John Krickus to answer the question as to why, according to the Township Administrator, he ordered a Township employee to provide a list of vendors whom the Township spent $10K or more. Was this list used to solicit campaign contributions when Krickus was running for reelction back in 2000?

The time has come for Krickus to answer these questions!

More Trash Talk from David X. Johnson!

Here is another example of the "trash talk" put out by Darkside newbie David X. Johnson in the days leading up to this past Tuesday's election.  Talk about having to eat crow!
"Kennedy's latest desperate attempt is another Kevin Nedd (Obama supporting Democrat endorser) type attack suggesting that Jim LiaBraaten is going to houses that have Kennedy signs.. :-) Considering a full 40% of those houses are not Republicans, that’s hardly likely."
"More fabrications from an x-cop with a penchant for stretching the truth. He lied twice in the Observer Tribune about not being in the PBA. He lied about what John Jansen really said to him about his conflict negotiating against his own unions. Now he lies about a fiscal conservative stopping at non-republican houses for votes! Ha, Ha, Ha.."
"Poor Dave Kennedy is a unwitting sacrificial lamb led to the slaughter by liberal spender BOE member Chance Healy, who will be undoubtedly be removed next year. Maybe Kennedy, who didn’t get a single vote the last time he tried to get on the BOE, will take his seat."
Bottom line #1: At this point it's probably a safe bet to say David isn't the most open minded person. So much so, one has to question the judgment of Mayor Ken Short for appointing him to the newly formed Flea Market Committee.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What say you David X. Johnson?

One has to wonder why David X. Johnson's blog doesn't mention how he fared in his bid to unseat Bill Leavens in the District 5 WT Republican County Committee raceDavid's silence probably has a lot to do with the fact he LOST!

In addition, David has removed all of the "trash talk" blog postings he made in the run up to yesterday's election.

What a coward!

Foot in Mouth Disease...

A resident sent me an email this morning pointing out the best example of "foot in mouth" disease with respect to yesterday's primary election. It was made by Tom Lotito.
"David Kennedy is going to soon find out just how popular Howard Popper is with the residents of Long Valley."


Washington Township Darksiders suffered yet another humiliating defeat with John Krickus' 6th place showing in the Republican Primary Morris County Freeholder race. The gravity of John's defeat can only be expressed by the mere fact BOTH of his running mates WON!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


In a CRUSHING DEFEAT of the DARKSIDE, Committeeman Howard D. Popper was ousted by newcommer David Kennedy, the top vote getter in today’s Washington Township Committee Republican Primary!

Kennedy bested the field with 1,136 votes; Jim LiaBraaten grabbed hold of second place with 1,058 votes; leaving Popper a distant third with only 853 votes.

Kennedy and LiaBraaten will now face Democrat Richard Welch in November’s General Election.

Howard “LOWER TAXES NOW” Popper’s loss reminds me of something my father once told me: Don’t write a check with your mouth…that your ass can’t cash!


For all Republicans planning to vote TODAY, below is a reminder of what you were promised the last time Howard Popper ran for office:

What you got instead is a double-digit, 12% TAX INCREASE with no end in sight!

I can hear them crying already...

While honoring the Township Committee’s $1M reduction in the school tax levy, the WTBOE appears likely to ignore the Committee’s specific recommendation to eliminate a number of key administrative positions and instead use savings from salary breakage and lower health care costs. A move that is well within their right.

Despite the Committee spending $7K on an auditor to assist in its recommendation, how long will it be until Darksiders like Ken Short again falsely claim they were “duped” as they did back in 2005, when Short's recommendations were essentially ignored?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kennedy/Liabraaten? Nice try, Jim, but no thank you!

It appears the Liabraaten/Popper camp may be in disarray with Jim LiaBraaten distancing himself from Howard Popper’s incompetence and negativity. If you have a KENNEDY sign on your lawn be prepared for a possible visit from Mr. LiaBraaten, who spent his past Saturday ringing the doorbells of houses with KENNEDY signs. Curiously, Liabraaten was informing KENNEDY supporters that in addition to voting for Dave they could also vote for him. Kennedy/Liabraaten? Nice try, Jim, but no thank you. As always, Dave remind his supporters they should vote solely for him on Tuesday, June 8.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kids say the darndest things...

While commenting on a frivolous posting by David X. Johnson, Tom Lotito has some rather unflattering things to say about yours truly. What else is new? While it would be easy to return the favor, I am reminded of the sentiment of Tom's own daughter, told to one of her teenage friends who lives in my neighborhood, "My dad is a whack job!"

District 5 GOP Fight - "Real Republican verses a RINO"

With most local political junkies focused on the Tuesday's Republican Primary Township Committee race, there is also unfolding drama in the form of known Darksider David X. Johnson's challenge to Bill Leavens, the husband of former WT Mayor and current Morris Freeholder Margaret Nordstrom, for his District 5 Republican Committee position.

Having served with Bill on the Planning Board during my tenure on the Township Committee, I found both he and Margaret to be kind and respectful of our political differences. I imagine Margaret isn't too happy with Dave's indirect, unflattering, characterization of her husband:

"If enough of the "average" Republicans ran for party committeeman, the party will change and will once again represent the interests of the average Republican (rather than Republicans in name only)"
The results of this race will be a good indicator of just how perversive the Darksiders have become in Washington Township.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Real Howard Popper...

With each passing day, it is becoming clear Howard Popper is not fit to remain on the Township Committee. This statement is no way an admission he should have been elected in the first place. Howard's tenure continues to be one where his honor and ethics are constantly questioned. Going back to his infamous 22 point plan where he attempted to take credit for spending reductions suggested by our Deputy Township Administrator, Howard's claims of working hard for taxpayers ring hallow.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one tells all we need to know about the real Howard Popper!

Howard Popper Should Resign!

Kennedy Campaign Calls for Committeeman Howard Popper’s Immediate Resignation.

Republican Township Committee candidate David Kennedy claims Popper deliberately misled the citizens of Washington Township regarding Kennedy’s alleged inability to negotiate with Police unions.

Washington Township, NJ – Washington Township Committeeman Howard Popper issued a press release last week in which he claimed Township Committee candidate Dave Kennedy’s previous membership in Roxbury police unions could preclude him from participating in important contract negotiations. Before issuing the press release, Popper was advised by legal council that there was absolutely no conflict of interest. Knowing this, he went forward with the press release anyway in a deliberate attempt to deceive the voting public.

Popper stated, “I think it is important for the public to understand Mr. Kennedy’s limitations and conflicts if Mr. Kennedy was a member of any of these unions during his employment as a Roxbury police officer and dispatcher.” Popper continued, “If conflicted Mr. Kennedy will be prohibited from participating in any negotiations or voting regarding the police unions.”

In order to set the record straight, on Thursday, May 27 Kennedy placed a phone call into Assemblyman Tony Bucco. Assemblyman Bucco serves as Roxbury Township’s Municipal Attorney and is the General Counsel to the Morris County Republican Committee. He specializes in Election Campaign & Political Law as well as State, Local, and Municipal Law.

Kennedy asked Bucco about the allegations Popper made regarding a potential inability to negotiate with the various unions and whether he would be able to carry out the duties of a Committeeman due to being a retired police officer. Bucco informed Kennedy there was absolutely no conflict of interest whatsoever.

After speaking with Bucco, Kennedy then proceeded to contact Washington Township’s own Municipal Attorney John Jansen. According to the October 14, 2009 Township Committee minutes regarding their Attorney Review Process, “The Township Committee feels very well represented and are very satisfied with the performance of our municipal attorneys, Jansen & DeBona. Attorney Jansen volunteers within the Township in addition to providing excellent legal representation.”

During Kennedy’s conversation with Attorney Jansen, he learned that Howard Popper had actually questioned Jansen during a previous meeting whether a retired police officer could negotiate for the Township. Jansen told Kennedy he asked Popper for additional information regarding whether the police offer was retired from Washington Township or another town. Jansen then said Popper advised him the retired officer was never employed by Washington Township, but rather another municipality.

Jansen informed Kennedy that he explained to Popper that if the officer never worked for Washington Township there was no conflict of interest. In fact, he also explained that there was new legislation which allowed first aiders to hold elected positions with no conflict. Jansen, like Bucco, informed Kennedy that as a retired police officer with no ties to the Washington Township officers there was no conflict of interest with him serving as a Committeeman.

So even after receiving a legal opinion from the Township Attorney who provides the township with “excellent legal representation”, Popper unbelievably still opted to submit a hollow press release indicating there was a conflict of interest. This was not only a bogus claim to discredit Kennedy, but also a bizarre and twisted act to deliberately mislead the taxpayers of Washington Township.

This type of unethical and distasteful behavior has absolutely no place on the Township Committee. Howard Popper should resign immediately from his role as a Washington Township Committeeman."

NJ Assembly Republican Leader Endorses Dave Kennedy!

To the Editor:

As the Assembly Republican Leader of the New Jersey State Legislature, I am honored and proud to support Dave Kennedy's bid for the Washington Township Committee.

I first met Dave more than 17 years ago, and throughout the many times we worked together I have come to respect both his intellect and desire to make a difference in the lives of others. He is a natural leader who I believe will be an asset to Washington Township in these fiscally challenging times. His years of public service are marked by sound management skills, fiscal prudence, and ethical conduct.

Dave is open, honest, and direct in his dealings with people and true to his character in this campaign he has refused to engage in mudslinging so commonplace today. His prior career in managing the Roxbury Township Police force and membership in the police union will serve the town well, and contrary to the accusations of his opponent pose no issue for his ability to negotiate union contracts on behalf of the town. In fact, I can think of few individuals who can equal Dave's negotiating skills which have been honed by years of direct hands-on experience.

It is encouraging to see individuals of Dave's character run for public office with the simple goal of helping to make the town his family lives in a better place. I believe he is the best candidate in the race and encourage Washington Township voters on June 8th to come to the polls and vote for Dave Kennedy.


Alex DeCroce
Assemby Republican Leader
760 Route 10 West
Suite 101
Whippany, NJ 07981
(973) 884-6190

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

John "Pay-to-Play" Krickus

Looks like John Krickus wants to be a Freeholder.

Dear John,

I have a question for you.

Will one of your campaign practices include requiring a Washington Township employee to provide you with a list of vendors with whom the township spent $10K or more so you can send each a letter on township letterhead asking for a donation to your campaign? This is what the current township administrator and other township employees claimed you did when you were Mayor of Washington Township. Did you do this John? If you did, why should the voters of Morris County trust you? Especially with pay-to-play being such a big issue nowadays.

Another Ken Short "Darkside" Lie!

In this DR article, Mayor Ken Short clearly states "belt-tightening, starting with a spending freeze imposed in December, trimmed the budget by $1.1 million."  Figures published on page 11 of Township CFO Kevin Lifer's 2010 Municipal Budget Update clearly show total savings throughout the entire budget process of only $650K.

It not surprising to see yet another Ken Short "Darkside" lie debunked by information appearing on the township's official website.

Major Endorsement for Dave Kennedy!

Tomorrow's OT will include a MAJOR Statewide GOP endorsement of Dave Kennedy's candidacy for a seat on the Township Committee. This is a major development for Dave and well deserved.

The endorsement will also put to rest the ridiculous notion, put forth by a few Darksiders (Howard Popper, Tom Lotito, and David X. Johnson), of Dave's status as a retired "pensioned" police officer being a "conflict" when it comes to negotiating with our public service unions.

Funny how these same “Darkside" hypocrites never seemed concerned when Ken Short gave away the store in union negotiations, while receiving taxpayer provided health benefits.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A "Regular" Republican?

The next time someone tells you he or she is a "regular"  Republican, think of this idiot!

Based on his updated comments, perhaps if David paid a visit to Hiroshima, as I did last year, he would understand why "nuking" anything is no laughing matter.