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Author: Art Gallagher

The Politics Of Disaster Relief

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

Photo Caption - Sandy Inspection TourWhen disaster hits, natural or man made, Americans put aside their differences and come together to handle the emergency.

We saw it with 9-11. Most recently in New Jersey we saw it with Superstorm Sandy.

Once the emergency is over and the federal money is flowing, the politics…partisanship and patronage starts.  We saw it with 9-11. We’re living it with Sandy.

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Moran: NJ’s Full of Greedy Jerks!

Are New Jersey voters (that would be you) greedy jerks or just stupid and impressionable?

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

Hundreds of middle-aged people looking for work at Brookdale this morning. April 4, 2014

Hundreds of middle-aged people looking for work at Brookdale this morning. April 4, 2014

New Jersey voters are either greedy jerks or stupid and impressionable buffoons if you buy The Star Ledger Editorial Board’s (Tom Moran’s) reading of the QuinnipiacPoll released on Thursday.  The poll reported that New Jerseyans favor wage freezes for state workers, by a 53-42 margin, and oppose an increase in the gasoline tax by a 65-33 percent margin:

New Jersey voters are jerks. The new state motto: “Screw you, not me.”

That is how Moran starts off his rant. He finishes by cutting the poll respondents a break. Maybe we aren’t greedy jerks, maybe we’ve been led to think the way we do:

We’ll cut the folks responding to the Quinnipiac poll a break – they’ve been goaded in this direction. Despite widespread reforms to state workers’ pay and benefits during the past four years, not to mention budget cuts that led to historic layoffs of police, teachers and firefighters, Gov. Chris Christie used his annual budget address to continue to blame state worker compensation for our fiscal aches and pains.

Hmmm.  Moran’s frustration is showing.  As the editorial page editor of the state’s largest media outlet, Moran should be the most powerful opinion maker in New Jersey. How could his readers be so stupid?!

Insulting your customers (readers) is a interesting strategy to stop the bleeding of a company (media outlet) that is contracting rapidly and recently announced 167 layoffs which followed millions in concessions from the outlet’s unionized workers and a smaller round of layoffs.

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Quinnipiac Poll: New Jersey Voters Approve Of Christie More Than Obama, Menendez or Booker

New Jersey Voters Disapprove of the State Legislature, 36-48%

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

christie town hall argumentQuinnipiac Poll released this morning indicates that, despite the beating he has been taking in the local and national media since January, Governor Chris Christie has higher approval ratings than President Barack Obama, Senator Bob Menendez and Senator Cory Booker, among New Jersey voters.

Quinnipiac didn’t spin the poll that way in their narrative, but that is what the numbers indicate.  Most of the media coverage about this poll will be negative for Christie. Too many reporters and editors read the spin and not the numbers.

There is bad news for Christie in this poll.  His approval rating has dropped to 49-44% since January when it was 55-38%.

82% of Republicans and 54% of Independents approve of Christie’s job performance. Only 23% of Democrats give the Guv love.

The Governor’s bully rating is higher than ever before. Voters are now evenly split 48-48 on whether he’s a leader or a bully. In January they said he was more of a leader by 54-40 margin.

56% of voters think the Mastro Report, the internal investigation commissioned by the Governor’s Office that exonerated Christie from any involvement in the Bridgegate scandal was a “whitewash.”  Voters are split 46-46 over whether the legislative investigation into Bridgegate lead by Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Senator Loretta Weinberg is a legitimate investigation or a political witch-hunt.

Voters have a net negative impression of the State Legislature that crosses all party lines. Republicans disapprove of legislature 40-45, Democrats 40-43 and Independents 33-53.  The Legislature’s overall approval numbers are negative 36-48.

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It would be great if The Star Ledger…

….put Cory Booker under a microscope like they have Governor Chris Christie and Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Hermann.

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

Booker-looking-upStar Ledger sports columnist Steve Politi has a column this morning that is part of his ongoing campaign to take down Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Hermann; Julie Hermann: It would be ‘great’ if The Star Ledger went out of business.

Politi has been trying to get Hermann fired since Rutgers hired her to turn around their Athletic Department last spring.  Something about alleged bullying and sex discrimination at a previous job and lying about whether or not she talked to the parent of a Rutgers student who alleged he had been bullied.

CONTINUE READING….

Monmouth And Ocean Senators Ask Congressional Delegation For Sandy Help

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

Jennifer Beck

Jennifer Beck

Six state Senators representing Monmouth and Oceans Counties have written to New Jersey’s U.S. Senators and Members of Congress asking for help in correcting inequities and inefficiencies in the federal government’s response to Superstorm Sanday.

In a letter dated March 31, Senators Jennifer Beck and Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth County, Robert Singer, Christopher Connors and James Holzapfel of Ocean County and Sam Thompson of Middlesex raised six issues concerning Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the Small Business Administration (SBA), FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) grant program.

With all those agencies and initials, how could anything be going wrong?

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Christie: Federal Law Keeping RREM Applicants in Limbo

Pallone says legislation is not necessary, regulators can change the rules

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com 

Governor Chris Christie listens to a resident’s question in Belmar. March 25, 2014 MMM photo/Art Gallagher. Click for larger view.

Governor Chris Christie listens to a resident’s question in Belmar. March 25, 2014 MMM photo/Art Gallagher. Click for larger view.

Governor Chris Christie told the 650 people in attendance at his Town Hall Meeting in Belmar yesterday that he went to Washington last week to ask HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to waive the rule that is keeping Sandy victims from rebuilding their homes while they are waiting to find out if they will be approved for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) grants of up to $150,000.

The RREM program will not reimburse homeowners for work done on their homes prior to their acceptance into the program.  Over 3000 people are on the RREM waiting list for the second round of HUD funding which is expected to be awarded late this spring. They are in limbo, living in temporary housing, paying rent and mortgages, while their ruined homes are dormant.

Christie said that Donovan told him he could not waive the rule because a specific federal law prohibits grants being used to pay for work performed prior to the federal approval being secured.

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Trenton Democrats Poised To Blow Up The Property Tax Cap

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

FirefightersNew Jersey property taxes will likely resume the double digit annual growth that occurred under the McGreevey, Codey and Corzine Administrations if Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto’s version of the of the Interest Arbitration extension becomes law.  Either that, or municipal governments as we know them will cease to exist, succumbing to a long and painful death of higher crime and reduced services and capital improvements.

A 2% cap on interest arbitration awards in labor disputes was a key component of the 2% property tax cap negotiated between Governor Chris Christie, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Prieto’s predecessor, Sheila Oliver in 2010.   It worked.  Arbitrators made awards of less that 2% to police and fire fighters unions and property taxes rose less than 2% per year over the last four years.

The problem is Oliver insisted that the arbitration cap expire on April 1, 2014.  Now, we’re a week before the arbitration cap expires and Prietro is gutting the cap by passing an extension of the law that exempts contracts that were awarded less than 2% during the last three years from any future caps and raises the cap to 3% on contracts that have not been negotiated since 2010.

The math will never work.  If property taxes stay capped at 2% but the primary cost of property taxes, salaries, are not capped or are capped at 3%, municipal services will disappear. Police will be laid off, with the junior, lower paid officers being let go first, leaving the older and more highly paid officers to run drown the inevitable increase in crime.  Towns will go bust.  The state will take over municipal governments and force consolidations.

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Sweeney: Interest Arbitration Will Pass Senate

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

Steve Sweeney (left) and Chris Christie (right)

Steve Sweeney (left) and Chris Christie (right)

Senate President Steve Sweeney told MMM today that he expects a key provision of New Jersey’s 2%  property tax cap that is set to expire on April 1 to be extended.

The interest arbitration provision of the property tax reforms passed with bi-partisan support three years ago caps arbitration awards in government labor disputes to 2%. Since they’ve been implemented the average arbitration award resulted in salary increases for local government employees to 1.86%–the lowest in 20 years. The provision will expire on April 1 unless extended by legislation.

Continue Reading…

O’Scanlon: Reinstate Regional Contribution Agreements To Help Sandy Victims

Assemblyman urges Bayshore residents to ask Senate President Sweeney join the bi-partisan effort

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

Declan O'ScanlonAssemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, issued a statement today welcoming Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik’s support of Regional Contribution Agreements (RCA) for use in getting Sandy victims back into their homes, and called upon residents of his Bayshore district to question Senate President Sweeney the use of Affordable Housing Funds when Sweeney visits the district for his Town Hall meeting in Keansburg on Thursday afternoon.

“Recently, Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik suggested that RCAs could be used by towns to help their neighbors continue to rebuild in the devastating wake of Sandy . My Republican colleagues and I have been calling for the use of RCAs for years and I am excited to hear that Mayor Hornik is on board. When the Democrat leadership in Trenton killed the RCA program it was bad, short sighted policy that many of us knew would come back to bite us. Its flaws are now magnified by the plight of Sandy victims as many towns struggle with the economic burdening of rebuilding.

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Old Bridge Attorney Seeks GOP Nomination in CD-6

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

Anthony Wilkinson

Anthony Wilkinson

Anthony Wilkinson, 48, of Old Bridge, will compete with Hari Eppanapally for the Republican nomination to represent the 6th Congressional District on Saturday, March 22 when the Middlesex and Monmouth County Republican organizations convene separately to nominate their candidates.

Wilkinson, the married father of two children, 26 and 17, is a partner at CoffyLaw, an Intellectual Property and Business Law firm in Freehold.

A Michigan native, Wilkinson moved to New Jersey in 1990 upon his graduation from Yale Law School where he was an editor of the Yale Law and Policy Review, a director of the Yale Moot Court of Appeals, and a founding director of the Yale Civil Rights Law Association.  He received a undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1986.

Continue Reading…

Dem Donor Seeks CD6 GOP Nod

MMM: Candidate For GOP Nomination Against Pallone Is Democratic Fundraiser/Donor

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

Hari Eppanapally with Cory Booker and Upendra Chivukula

Hari Eppanapally with Cory Booker and Upendra Chivukula

Hari Eppanapally of Livingston will be seeking the Republican nomination for congress in the 6th congressional district next Saturday at the Monmouth and Middlesex nominating conventions.  His prior political experience is as an active fundraiser for Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula’s 2012 congressional run against Republican Congressman Leonard Lance in the 7th congressional district.

Eppanapply contributed $2500 to President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign

MMM hereby endorses Eppanapally for the Democratic nomination for congress in CD-6.

Really. Eppanapally has a better chance of beating Frank Pallone in the Democratic primary than he does of beating Pallone in the general election.

The Vice President and member of the Board of The Financial Policy Council, a free market oriented non-profit think tank and policy advocate, Eppanapally would be a much better congressman than Pallone.

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Tesla Wants Special Treatment

The problem is, they’ve already gotten special treatment

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

TeslaTesla Motors, the manufacturer and retailer of electric powered cars, boasts on its website that it is “redefining the way cars are sold.”

They’ve been selling new cars in an unconventional way in New Jersey for one, two or four years, depending on who is telling the truth.  They have a problem now, because the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission suddenly adopted what Tesla is calling a “new rule” that is consistent with decades old law allowing only franchised new car dealerships to sell new cars in New Jersey.

Instead of visiting a new car dealership where you test drive a car, haggle with a salesperson, wait for the salesperson to come back from pretending to talk to his/her manager, make a deal, get passed off to the business manager who bumps your interest rate, tries to sell you undercoating, credit insurance and an extended warranty and then wait a while longer to drive home in your new car, you can’t buy a car at Tesla’s two stores in New Jersey.

Tesla’s New Jersey stores are inside the Short Hills Mall in Short Hills and the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus.  You can’t get your new electric car at one of those stores.  You can’t even order it at the store.  You can only look at a car and talk about it.  If you want to buy one, you have to order it online and wait for it to be built in California before you take delivery. If you want to test drive one, you have to an request an appointment online.  It might take a day or two for a representative to get back to you with an appointment.  Test drives and new car deliveries are done out of the company’s service facility in Springfield.

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Lonegan Should Challenge Pallone

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

Frank "Monkey Court" Pallone

Frank “Monkey Court” Pallone

Steve Lonegan is not going to win the GOP nomination to replace the retiring Congressman Jon Runyan in New Jersey’s third congressional district.

The party bosses in Ocean and Burlington Counties that comprise the district have settled on endorsing former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur.  Ocean County Republicans with the stones to defy Chairman George Gilmore are lining up behind Toms  River Councilman Maurice Hill, a retired Navy rear admiral.  If Lonegan continues to compete for the nomination in the party conventions, he’s likely to come in third in Ocean and second in Burlington.  Lonegan does not have an organization to compete with the Ocean and Burlington Republican organization should he run a primary race against MacArthur.

Lonegan should stop fighting fellow Republicans in Ocean and Burlington and come north to Monmouth and Middlesex where we need his considerable talent.  If Monmouth GOP Chairman John Bennett and Middlesex GOP Chairman Sam Thompson have not been on the phone pleading with Lonegan to take on ObamaCare author Frank Pallone in the 6th Congressional district, they are missing an opportunity.

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A New Shore “Situation”

Scharfenberger ‘officially’ welcomes “The Situation” to Middletown

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of MTV’s Jersey Shore fame, and his family opened a tanning salon in Middletown yesterday.

MMM is not in the habit of giving free advertising to people who drive Lamborghinis, and the company did not respond to our ad pitch, so we did not cover the ribbon cutting.

But NJ.com and USA Today-Monmouth/Ocean edition couldn’t resist the spectacle.

Gerry Scharfenberger is the only member of Middletown’s Township Committee of non-Italian American descent.  Gerry did the honors at the ribbon cutting and said the right things.

“The goal is always to fill vacant storefronts, so whenever that happens it is a positive thing,” he said. “And if the star power they have is able to help them and the other businesses here, that’s even better.”

But the expressions on Gerry’s face in the pictures at NJ.com tell another story, which prompted MMM to look further into the situation.

Why wasn’t Mayor Stephanie Murray presiding on the high profile ribbon cutting?  She finds the situation offensive.

“While I wish the business  success for the sake of the existing businesses in the shopping center, I don’t personally support Mr. Sorrentino as his insensitivity and disrespect toward women (calling women “grenades” for example), is appalling and offensive, Murray said, “Additionally, as an Italian-American who loves and lives at the Jersey shore, the image Mr. Sorrentino projects is equally offensive.”

Committeeman Tony Fiore is also not happy with the situation.

“While Mr. Sorrentino has the right to open a business anywhere he chooses, Mr. Sorrentino has done nothing to help promote a positive image of the Jersey shore or Italians who live or visit the Jersey shore,” Fiore said,  ”In my view no self respecting Italian who grew up in NJ, lives at or loves the Jersey shore would help promote his business. While I wish him like any other business in Middletown success, he shouldn’t expect Middletown to embrace the circus that he is bringing to the Middletown.”

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Pelosi endorses Pallone’s opponent for leadership spot

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

Pallone town hallMajority Leader Nancy Pelosi has passed over Congressman Frank Pallone and thrown her support to Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of California in the internal Democratic caucus campaign to select the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to a report at TheHill.com.

Eshoo, who has served two terms in the House less than Pallone, is currently the fifth ranking Democrat on the committee.  Pallone is the third ranking Democrat, behind Chairman Henry Waxman and John Dingell.  Both Waxman and Dingell are retiring at the end of the 113th Congress.

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An Attitude of Status Quo

By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com

Christie TVGovernor Chris Christie came charging into Trenton pledging to turn it upside down in 2010. He made a left turn onto the Boulevard of Compromise in 2011, cruised the boulevard through 2012 and rode the waves of Sandy through 2013.   Now he’s hit a dead end on the bridgegate to nowhere.

The message of the FY 2015 Budget Address is ‘No Change.”   Christie warned of the looming crisis we sent him to Trenton to fix and offered no solutions. No reductions in government.  An increase in spending. Christie lamented that he couldn’t spend more because of commitments made to people who are no longer working and to repay money that has already been spent.

Christie meekly suggested that more pension and benefit reforms are necessary in order to grow the state government. State Senate President Steve Sweeney said, “We’re not doing it.”

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