Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Letter: Lillian Burry is M.I.A. at FMERA Meetings

I received the following letter today and thought I'd share it:

(Lillian Burry MIA at FMERA meetings)
As I sat in the back row of this past Wednesday evening's FMERA (Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority) monthly meeting, it occurred to me that once again incumbent Freeholder Lillian Burry who is County Freeholder appointee on the board, was absent from yet another meeting.

I was shocked to discover that Freeholder Burry has not attended five out of the last six monthly FMERA meetings. In fact, she has missed the last three meetings in a row.

Those are more missed meetings than the three Mayors of Fort Monmouth's host towns (Eatontown, Tinton Falls and Oceanport) have missed COMBINED in 2014! I was even more dismayed to learn that rather than doing the job she is elected and paid to do, this month she instead was attending a political fundraiser for herself, starring TV personality Geraldo Rivera!

If Ms. Burry can not fulfill her obligations as the Freeholder representative to the FMERA Board, she should resign the position immediately.

As a resident of Eatontown, which is one of the three host towns, attendance at FMERA meetings is serious business. As it is, it’s hard for me to see any progress on my town's portion of Fort Monmouth - no new jobs, no tax ratables and nothing under contract. Then, to have Ms. Burry (who is asking for your vote this November) not even show up is a disgrace.

Zero accomplishments in Eatontown's section of Fort Monmouth and a Freeholder that does not show up at FMERA meetings in order to attend a political fundraiser - that's why I am voting for Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo for Freeholder this year.

I am confident that Luttrell and Grillo will attend the required meetings and fight for the jobs we desperately need from Fort Monmouth's redevelopment efforts in all three towns.

Bob English

Democratic Candidates For Freeholder Go After "The Terrible Trio" In New TV Spot That Begins Airing Today

Monmouth County Democratic Freeholder candidates Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo, are going up on Television today. They are fighting to get the message out to the over 630,000 residents of Monmouth County about how ineffective Republican incumbents Lillian Burry and Gary Rich are. Their TV spot will be running for 2 weeks on Verizon Fios, Comcast and Cablevision through major channels in their targeted demographics.

Pallone Statement to Mark One Year Anniversary of Marriage Equality in New Jersey

Long Branch, NJ —Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) released the following statement on the one year anniversary of marriage equality in New Jersey:

“Today, we celebrate one year of marriage equality in New Jersey and offer a ‘Happy Anniversary’ to so many LGBT couples who were able to marry one year ago. Though the fight for this equality was difficult, thanks to many leaders throughout our state, New Jersey continues to be a national leader on civil rights issues.

“While today is certainly a moment to celebrate, there is much more work to do. LGBT Americans continue to face discrimination in the workplace and in many communities around the country. It is imperative that all Americans are able to enjoy the same rights, and that means putting an end to discrimination in all forms.”

The little-known tool Republicans will use if they take the Senate

If Republicans seize control of the Senate this November, they will use a little-known tool called “reconciliation” to get their way. Robert Reich explains in this new video from MoveOn.org. Please watch and share widely:

It's on us to spread the word. Sign up to make get-out-the-vote phone calls as part of MoveOn's Voters Rising campaign.

NJ WATCHDOG: Christie staff caught misleading NJ court in travel records dispute

For Immediate Release:

What happens when Gov. Chris Christie’s staff is caught lying to a New Jersey court about the existence of public records?

That legal bombshell may explode in Mercer County Superior Court this week in the governor’s battle with a New Jersey Watchdog reporter over travel expense accounts.

Documents surfaced that directly contradict the claims of Christie’s lawyers that the governor and his staff do not use state credit cards for travel and don’t have any records.

“The governor’s office does not use Travel Cards and thus does not have Travel Card statements,” stated Christie associate counsel Javier Diaz in a certification filed with the court. Similar to an affidavit, a certification carries penalties for willful false statements.

Yet an American Express card issued to the state is how the governor’s office paid for $8,146 worth of airfare for Christie’s entourage in January 2013 to the Super Bowl in New Orleans. The four passengers were Christie, his wife Mary Pat, chief of staff Kevin O’Dowd and planning director Daniel Robles.

The statements for the corporate AMEX card, received from another source, were addressed to the "NJ Governor's Office" at the Statehouse in care of Robles. The card was used again to charge $1,687 of additional expenses in February 2013.

“The state should not be playing semantics with whatever it calls the small piece of plastic that is whipped out to pay for the governor’s $8,000 worth of first-class airfare, among other things,” argued the reporter’s attorney, Donald M. Doherty Jr., in a brief to Judge Mary C. Jacobson.

Other hidden records from the Super Bowl trip include a $7,583 invoice for three hotel rooms in the names of Christie, O’Dowd and Robles. Christie's room and hotel expenses alone cost taxpayers $3,371. The name of the hotel and itemized bills were redacted from the documents.

The full story is now online at http://watchdog.org/177595/christie-travel-lawsuit-3/.

Chris Smith: The Gun Lobby's Lap Dog

Chris Smith represents a large portion of Middletown in Congress and he happens to be a Lap Dog that does tricks for treats from the corporate gun lobby to block gun violence prevention legislation.

Smith got a "Thumbs Down" from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and has REFUSED to support common sense gun legislation such as a National System for Background Checks that would keeps guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers and terrorists.

See who else is a Lap Dog for the NRA and the corporate gun lobby

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Please Help Us Keep Sandy Hook Undeveloped: Sandy Hook development - comment period last day 10/22

Please Help Us Keep Sandy Hook Undeveloped

Submit Your Comments Here to the NPS by October 22nd

New Jersey Audubon has enjoyed a 30-year relationship as a Park Partner with the National Park Service through the Sandy Hook Hawk Watch (beginning in 1979).  Our long-term involvement and presence have given us the opportunity to observe and document the changes and impacts that have affected Sandy Hook.

Our concern regarding the proposed relocation of the maintenance facilities stems from our awareness that Sandy Hook has grown from a 1,665-acre barrier peninsula to more than 2,100-acres that provide spectacular, undeveloped ocean and bay beaches found nowhere else in Monmouth County.  Preservation and protection of these habitats must be a priority, along with the recreational opportunities provided to the birding community and the public in general.  If you would like more information on Sandy Hook, its natural resources and NJ Audubon's position to protect and preserve Sandy Hook, please read our letter to the National Park Service.

Again, the public is invited to submit comments to the National Park Service regarding the proposed relocation of the maintenance facilities at Sandy Hook and the deadine line to submit comments is next week, October 22nd.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

President Obama's Weekly Address 10/18/14: What You Need To Know About Ebola

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President discussed what the United States is doing to respond to Ebola, both here at home and abroad, and the key facts Americans need to know. There is no country better prepared to confront the challenge Ebola poses than the U.S. and although even one case here at home is too many, the country is not facing an outbreak of the disease. Our medical professionals tell us Ebola is difficult to catch, and is only transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is showing symptoms. The President made clear that he and his entire administration will continue to do everything possible to prevent further transmission of the disease domestically, and to contain and end the Ebola epidemic at its source in West Africa.

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 6, 2014 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

I can't believe that I haven't posted a video of the Middletown Township Committee meetings since the August 18th,2014 meeting. That's probably because the last few meetings haven't lasted very long and nothing of note has taken place much like this one from Oct. 6th, which lasted only 25 minutes.

There were two discussions of note that I found somewhat informational. The first being that the township is looking to add some type of coffee shop at the Middletown train station that would possibly be housed in the Arts Center building. The second was that Middletown has an over-abundance of leaf mulch and wood chips that they are looking to either sell or give away to other towns.  So if you need some late season mulch before the winter sets in, go get it before it is carted off to other towns.

As always, you can download a copy of the Meeting Agenda that contains the discussion items and the proposed resolutions and ordinances that were voted on or presented during the meeting. A box around an item is a link, bringing you further into the document to that resolution or ordinance. At the end of the resolution there will be a link bringing you back to the agenda. Attached to this agenda is also the monthly bill list, so that everyone can see how the Township is spending our tax dollars.

Police Auxiliary Accepting New Applications

From Middletown Alerts:

The Middletown Township Police Auxiliary is accepting applications for new members through November 2014. The township's Auxiliary Officers are highly-trained volunteers who serve the community in a variety of police-related tasks. Meetings and training are held on a regular basis.

Poricy Park Haunted History Walks

From Middletown Alerts:

Sundays, October 19, 26; 6:00-7:00pm & 7:15-8:15pm

Trek through the trails of Poricy Park as your specially trained guide regales you with haunted history and mysteries of Monmouth County. Sponsored by Jersey Shore Ghost Tours. Appropriate for adults and children ages 9+. Paid registration required in advance. Limited space available. Visit ppc.wildapricot.org for online registration. Walk-ins, please call ahead for space availability at 732-842-5966. Fee is $12 adults & children over 12; $10 children ages 9-12; 60-minute haunted excursion.

APP LETTER: Smith on wrong side of women’s issues

The following is yet another anti-Chris Smith letter that appeared lately in the Asbury Park Press:

In response to the Sept. 20 letter regarding Rep. Chris Smith’s views on important issues, he is especially out of touch on women’s issues.

Smith voted against Equal Pay for Women, voted against the Violence Against Women’s Act, voted to outlaw the birth control pill and voted to block private insurance and flexible spending account money from covering contraception. He also wrote a bill (HR3) to redefine rape to forcible rape, which would decriminalize statutory rape. Drugged and raped, date rape and even incest of children would no longer be rape under Smith’s definition.

Smith is against a women’s right to choose even in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. He voted for fetal personhood, which would ban all oral contraceptives, in-vitro fertilization and stem cell research. It would also criminalize a women’s choice, regardless of the reason.

Incredibly, Smith has not lived in New Jersey for more than 30 years. He is not one of us nor has he shared our collective experience as a community with regard to 9/11, Hurricane Irene or superstorm Sandy. Having not lived through Sandy must be the reason Smith pledged not to support any climate change legislation unless it included a tax break for the biggest polluters, the Koch brothers. It’s nice he helped David Goldman get his son back in 2009, but that does not excuse his attack on women’s basic rights and all the rest.

Robin Nowicki


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Democrats seek bipartisanship in Middletown

Out this week in the Independent is an overview of the candidates running for Middletown Township Committee. Below is an excerpt featuring the comments of Middletown Democrats Patrick Short and George Mardinly.

"... Democratic challenger Short agrees that the issues vary across neighborhoods in Middletown. He said he is running to help bring another voice to the committee to help raise new questions about those issues. 
Patrick Short
“Middletown has been ruled by one party for a very, very long time,” Short said. “ … I’m more concerned that there’s only one party affiliation than which party it is.”

In 2006, Short was elected to the committee as the sole Democrat, where he sought to raise questions that he said often went unasked.

He said the “larger picture” is bringing different perspectives to the committee through party diversity.

According to Short, some pressing issues facing Middletown that demand immediate attention include the Bayshore recovery, reducing traffic in Lincroft and finishing the incomplete bridge on Bay Avenue.

Mardinly echoed his running mate’s point of view, emphasizing what he said was the need to break the single-party dominance of the Township Committee.
George Mardinly
“Any good government is based on the diversity of opinion,” he said.

One of the universal concerns across all of Middletown’s neighborhoods remains the balance between investment in infrastructure and controlling taxes, according to Mardinly.

“If any of these things are going to be attended to in addition to all of the ongoing expenditures, it all comes from tax money,” he said.

In order to ensure the township’s taxes remain stable, Mardinly said it is important to prioritize spending and make decisions based on facts and data.

“You have to look at the numbers and the priorities, and then go from there,” he said. “The goal here is to work together, see what the economics are, and then see what can be addressed and what needs to be addressed in a sensible way.”

Read the full article from the Independent.

A Labor Hero

The following is from Congressman Rush Holt's newsletter

When Mary T. Norton was elected to Congress in 1925 from New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, she was only the fifth woman elected to the House, and the first female Democrat.  She was the first of only two women to represent the 12th District. (Florence Dwyer was the second.) Altogether only five women have represented New Jersey in Congress. In her congressional career, “Battling Mary” served as chair of four committees, most notably the House Committee on Labor from 1937 to 1946, where she helped enact the groundbreaking Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 – which established the 40-hour work week, outlawed child labor, and established the first federal minimum wage – and fought for equal pay for women. That struggle for fair wages and equal pay for equal work continues.

White House Report on Antibiotics

Recently the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its report on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance, a problem of growing concern to the medical and scientific community. Since the onset of widespread use of antibiotics in the 1940’s many infections that were often fatal are simply cured. In recent years, though, doctors and researchers have seen a trend: bacteria develop resistances to these lifesaving antibiotics, and people die as a result. 

Recently, the number of bacteria that are resistant to some - or in a few cases all - of the commercially available antibiotics has risen. There is a troubling trend of overuse by both the medical and agricultural community, which has further exacerbated the issue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 50 percent of prescribed antibiotics in the U.S. are at best not optimally prescribed, or at worst not needed at all. In addition, the overuse of antibiotics in the agricultural community has led to an additional spike in antibiotic resistant bacteria, which harm human health.

Bacteria continually evolve so we must invest in research for new antibiotics. However, to exacerbate the risk to humans by selecting for resistant strains through overuse of antibiotics is irresponsible. The PCAST report brings attention to the deadly seriousness of the problem, and the report contains numerous recommendations about such things as detection of resistant bacteria and more research, although I think the report could have been stronger in condemning the overuse.

My Mailbag

I like to share with you occasionally some of the letters, emails, and phone calls I receive about various issues. It may be instructive to know the huge range of concerns of your neighbors in the 12th District. Here are several communications:

Roslyn from Monroe wrote about the recent Supreme Court ruling on Hobby Lobby, and expressed her concern that the ruling opened the door for private companies to use religion to discriminate against female workers and dependents. I let Roslyn know that I am a cosponsor of legislation that would override the Supreme Court’s decision and reinstate the right to contraceptive coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act – for all women, regardless of where they work.

Gertrude from Hopewell e-mailed to support the EPA’s proposal to protect clean water by closing polluter loopholes that have left drinking water for more than 1 in 3 Americans at risk. I wrote back to let Gertrude know of my support for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Rule, which will identify and protect interconnected wetlands and streams vital for downstream communities.

John in Hightstown wrote that the granting of US citizenship to children born in the US to foreign nationals is more generous than the practice in some other countries and should be stopped. I pointed to the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and said there seems to be no ambiguity that children born here are citizens. Furthermore, to deny them the valuable opportunity to take part fully in the opportunities and obligations of our country would deprive those who have done nothing wrong themselves, and would even punish ourselves by creating a more restrictive society.

Rush Holt
Member of Congress

Monday, October 13, 2014

What would happen under a Republican Senate?

  The Daily Kos -  The answer is in the video above. As Reich explains:
  • Unemployment benefits will not be extended to the long-term unemployed
  • No minimum wages—no living wages for that matter
  • Continuing education cuts
  • Continuing decay of our country's infrastructure