Wednesday, September 28, 2005

If you have an interest in New Jersey politics and haven't seen this site, you really need to. It's run by Steve Kush, the former campaign manager for Steve Lipski's Jersey City mayoral run. Kush is none too pleased with his ex-client.

How much is Lipski regretting not paying his bill right now?

Man, and I thought Monmouth politics was a wacky sport to watch.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Dan Gallic & the People of Hope

Monmouth County Republican Organization Executive Director Dan Gallic has quite the interesting past:
  • Women's eNews
    "Bucco, a member of the Right to Life Committee, hired a campaign manager known to be a leader in a quasi-religious group called People of Hope that advocates the active submission of women, discourages females from attending college and prohibits women from wearing pants or cosmetics. The manager, Dan Gallic, was quoted in Morristown's Morris Newsbee in late September saying of MacInnes: "The only thing that makes her legitimate is her husband or her husband's money."

  • The Daily Record
    "The People of Hope have had a rocky relationship with the established church and what's worse, some dropouts from the group have called it a cult. Talk about a word with negative meaning. In the eyes of the public, Jim Jones ran a cult, as did David Koresh. Any group called a cult finds it tough to defend itself."

  • The Observer Tribune
    "Daniel Gallic, campaign guru for Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, is a seasoned professional whose background includes numerous political contests and membership in the People of Hope, a controversial, fundamentalist religious group that has been called cult-like and says women are subservient to men...

    "He was previously involved in the abortive U.S. Senate campaign of Republican James Treffinger. Treffinger withdrew from the race and later pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges...

    "In the late 1980s, former Newark Archbishop Peter L. Gerety urged members of the People of Hope to leave the group. The former archbishop said the People of Hope did not adhere to the teachings of the Catholic church. Gerety also objected to the group's affiliation with the Sword of the Spirit, because the group includes members of various Christian sects.

    "At the time of Gerety's statements, several members of the People of Hope quit and later claimed the group operated like a cult, denigrated women and maintained overly intrusive rules on dating, marriage and other issues for its members.

    "Walter Quense of Warren Township, a former co-leader and still an active member of the People of Hope, said in an interview on Friday, Oct. 10, that the group's membership fell but that a core group has remained involved.

    "'Dan (Gallic) is involved, very much so,' said Quense. 'He is a fine young man.'

    "Quense said women are not denigrated and that the opposition was a result of 'personality clashes.'

    He said one strength of the People of Hope is its emphasis on the sanctity of marriage.

    "'If we've had one or two divorces, it's a lot,' Quense said. 'We support each other. We are not a cult. We're not right wing fundamentalists. We believe in the teachings of the Catholic church and the authority of the Holy Father.'

    "At one time, the People of Hope had more than 1,000 members. Quense said the organization now has about 250 adult and 250 young members.

    "Members buy homes near each other and function as a community, sharing all aspects of their daily lives, said Dinolfo.

    "'They are quite controversial,' Dinolfo said. 'People have accused them of being a cult. I know many members and they are wonderful people. They've been misunderstood and maligned.'

    "Dinolfo said the members meet in small groups and share common values, beginning with an unbending opposition to abortion and a focus on family strength. Members are free to leave the group at any time, he said.

    "The People of Hope believe its leadership should be men but that women work with the male leaders. But Dinolfo said the belief in subservient women is not recommended in secular life."

People of Hope

Former members of the People of Hope

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

This is funny

On Wednesday, the Asbury Park Press editors wrote an entire editorial about how Keyport Mayor John Merla, arrested in February on bribery charges, cast the deciding vote on the controversial borough administrator appointment. And essentially, they were using that vote to voice the editorial board's position that Merla, since he is under a cloud of scrutiny already, should resign.

Then on Thursday, the APP issued a correction saying that Merla did not cast the deciding vote.

I love how The Courier is always referred to as "a rag." If we pulled this kind of stunt our heads would be firmly erected on a stake.

Say what you want about my newspaper: whether you like what we're reporting on or not, we always have reams of documentation to support our articles.

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Friday, September 23, 2005

No more press releases

With campaign season in full gear, press releases are spitting out of Republican and Democratic machines in a continuous stream. I wish I had the time to post 'em all, but then I would be doing precious little else.

And let's face it: you check in here for the muckraking more than anything.

Press releases are routinely posted at

New Hazlet candidate

William Kolibas was selected by the Hazlet Township Republican Committee to replace Committeeman Scott Broschart's name on the Republican line this year.

Broschart resigned his candidacy suddenly following heated questioning by Hazlet Democrats at the September 6 Township Committee meeting regarding campaign finance issues with the 2004 Republican Committee race, for which he was campaign manager. Broschart was absent from the September 20 meeting of the Township Committee.

Kolibas will be joining Ric Medrow as the Republican candidates in Hazlet this year. They are running against Hazlet Democratic candidates Jim DiNardo and Kevin Lavan.

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New blogger!

Fellow Courier reporter Matthew McGrath is archiving his stories at Bayshore Planet. Take a look.


Broschart drops out of race

Published in the September 22, 2005 issue of The Courier.

Broschart drops out of race


In an unexpected turn of events in Hazlet politics, Committeeman Scott Broschart resigned his candidacy for the November special election.

In May, Broschart was selected by the Township Committee to replace former Mayor Paul Coughlin. Coughlin resigned in April, two months after he was arrested by the FBI in a corruption sting that netted 11 Monmouth County officials.

At the time, Hazlet Republicans expressed reservations about Broschart’s ascension into government office.

“His work experience is close to nothing. The other Republicans that were nominated for his seat are professionals and own property [in town],” Rich Kohler, a Hazlet Republican, said in an article in the July 7 issue of The Courier.

In the same article, Hazlet Republican Chair Steve Grossman said, “There were qualified candidates. Someone as young as Scott has no real work experience. He has no real life experience.”

Broschart denied that his youth would affect the way he would govern and launched an “Ethics Reform Plan” that included campaign finance reform regulations.

When the Township Committee voted unanimously to approve an anti-Pay-to-Play ordinance, however, Broschart was bombarded with questions from Hazlet Democrats about his own campaign fundraising activities.

In the resume he submitted when seeking to fill Coughlin’s seat, Broschart wrote that he “raised over $40,000 in contributions” as campaign manager for the successful 2004 election of Mayor Michael Sachs and Committeewoman Bridget Antonucci.

In fact, Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) reports show that $20,535 was raised for the campaign, a number later adjusted to $20,831.

“Either you falsified the election report and violated state law or you falsified your resume to become a member of the Township Committee,” Vincent Solomeno, a Hazlet Democrat, said at the September 6 meeting.

In a later interview, Solomeno questioned whether or not Broschart’s appointment was in itself Pay-to-Play.

“He is the one who raised tens of thousands of dollars for the very people who voted to appoint him to his position,” Solomeno said. “What this says is that someone who doesn’t have a steady job, who doesn’t pay Hazlet property taxes can become a committeeman by raising tens of thousands of dollars.”

Anointed not appointed?

When Coughlin resigned his seat and a November special election was imminent, Grossman said he began planning a “mini-convention” for county committee members of the Hazlet Republican Party to select who would run on the Republican ticket.

On July 20, that process was thwarted when Monmouth County Republican Chair Fred Niemann signed off on Broschart’s candidacy.

Niemann, who campaigned for county chair under the promise on enacting by-laws and restoring greater control to municipal clubs, reportedly told Grossman he was unaware of what he was signing.

Under a little-known rule, the county chair does in fact have the authority to select a candidate for a special election, Grossman said. Nevertheless, the rule hadn’t been applied in Monmouth County in 20 years, according to Grossman.

Broschart bows out just under the wire

At a meeting of the Hazlet Republican Club held at the Lakeside Manor on Wednesday, September 14, Committeewoman and Republican Club President Tracey Maffiore announced that Broschart removed his name from the Republican ticket.

Broschart had attended the Hazlet Republican Club meeting but left before the announcement was made that he was resigning his candidacy.

Maffiore said that Broschart had made the decision to step down because the Hazlet Democrats were using him as a political issue.

In an e-mail, however, Broschart said he removed his name from the ticket so he could focus on his future.

“I need to focus on my career and I'm unsure if I will be residing in Hazlet over the next year. It would be a disservice to the residents of Hazlet if I were to run this year, possibly win and then have to step down if I am forced to relocate,” Broschart said. “In the meantime, I will continue to serve on the committee and fully plan on supporting Ric Medrow (a Republican running for the seat currently held by Maffiore, who is not seeking re-election this year) and the candidate who is chosen to run in my place.”

Hazlet Democrats, however, believe Broschart’s sudden resignation of his candidacy to be a direct result of the questions they raised at the last Township Committee meeting.

“Obviously I feel that our questions about Broschart’s campaign fund raising were instrumental in him stepping down,” said Jim DiNardo, Democrat candidate for Hazlet Township Committee.

DiNardo said that Broschart, as a sitting member of the governing body, still owes taxpayers answers about the ethical questions that have been raised by residents. The Township Committee also needs to be held responsible for Broschart’s appointment in the midst of these allegations, according to DiNardo.

“The Township Committee had a choice. They chose to put up a guy who obviously has some issues with campaign finances. It raises another cloud over Hazlet (following Coughlin’s arrest),” DiNardo said. “We need good government not more questions about the lack of honesty and integrity of our committee members.”

If Broschart had not stepped down by Monday, September 19, only a court order could have replaced him with another candidate on the ticket, according to Grossman. The Hazlet Republican Party will have until Wednesday, September 21 to present the name of the new candidate, who will have to be approved by Niemann.

Many members of the Hazlet Republican Club asked Maffiore to consider running in the special election. Maffiore said it was unlikely that she would run this November, as she took on a new job last year and found her free time severely limited. She said she was heartened by the show of support from other Republican Club members.

Grossman said the club will continue to move forward.

“I wish Scott the best of luck. I think he did the right thing for Hazlet and for the party,” Grossman said.

Kohler said he was pleased by the turn of events.

“I think [Broschart] brought this upon himself. I think we almost had a case of the system running amok,” Kohler said. “Thanks to Steve, we got it back under control.”

With reporting by Christian Alexandersen.

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Bayshore News and World Report

...or maybe not.

Hazlet Republicans will meet tomorrow at 8 p.m. at the Lakeside Manor to decide who will replace Scott Broschart on the November ballot this year.

The three candidates currently in the running are: Dave Tinker, Donna Strickland and William Kolibas.

Want to donate money to the Hazlet Republican party? Click here and you can contribute $25, $50, $100, $250, $400 or a whopping $1,000 directly to... Scott Broschart.

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

THIS JUST IN: Hazlet committeeman resigns candidacy

Hazlet Township Committeeman Scott Broschart resigned his candidacy for the November special election to fill former Hazlet Mayor Paul Coughlin's seat. (Coughlin was arrested in February, along with 10 other officials, in an FBI sting operation conducted by the state U.S. Attorney's office.)

Broschart was selected by the Township Committee to replace Coughlin after the former mayor stepped down. Monmouth County Republican Chair Fred Niemann approved Broschart's candidacy for the November special election.

At the Hazlet Republican Club meeting held tonight, it was announced that Broschart has removed his name from the Republican ticket. The township Republican organization has until Wednesday to submit the name of its new candidate.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Rich Kohler blogs!

Rich Kohler of Hazlet fame has created a blog to archive his newspaper columns and hopefully post some new thoughts on area goings-on, as well. Mr. Kohler has always been an insightful observer and participant of life in Hazlet. Bayshore area folks should bookmark this link.

As for the Journalista, I won't be posting much this weekend. I need to lock myself away from the Internet and outdoor, real world adventures, and firmly in the jaws of Microsoft Word to produce some fiction, lest my agent starts scratching his head and wondering why in God's name he signed an erratic 23-year-old.


Friday, September 09, 2005

Documents for Broschart article

The following are screen captures of documents pertaining to the "Broschart comes under fire about campaign finances" article. (Click thumbnails for larger documents.)

In his resume seeking to fill former Hazlet Mayor Paul Coughlin's seat on the Hazlet Township Committee, current Committeeman Scott Broschart stated that he raised some $40,000 as the Republican campaign manager for the successful 2004 Hazlet Township Committee race. (See circled portion of document.)

In fact, election documents show the total contributions raised to be $20,585.

This amount was amended three months later showing $20,831 was raised.

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Beck & O'Scanlon Release


For Immediate Release
Contact: Kevin Israel (732) 741-4490
September 9, 2005


12th District taxpayers deserve an open and honest dialogue between the candidates

(RED BANK, Sept. 9) - 12th District Assembly challengers Jennifer Beck and Declan O’Scanlon call for a series of eight debates over the final eight weeks of the campaign with incumbents Michael Panter and Robert Morgan.

“With the fall campaign season under way, the taxpayers of the 12th district deserve to hear directly from the candidates,” said Beck, R-Red Bank. “It’s time for Mike Panter and Bob Morgan to defend their record of tax increases and rampant spending.”

”Mike and Bob have had two years in the Legislature, and judging by their failures, that has been two years too many,” O’Scanlon, R-Little Silver, stated. “We look forward to contrasting our property tax plan and comprehensive ethics reform package with Panter and Morgan’s consecutive budgets of property tax hikes needed to pay for their 17% increase in state spending.”

“There are 16 towns in our district and there are nine weeks left,” explained Beck. “Declan and I believe it is certainly reasonable to debate once a week for the next eight weeks, one for every two towns in the district.”

I’m certain taxpayers throughout the 12th District will greatly appreciate such an open and direct dialogue between the candidates,” concluded O’Scanlon.

# # # # #

Visit us at


1997 Bergen Record Article

The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

May 9, 1997


Author: By NEAL THOMPSON, Staff Writer
Edition: All Editions
Section: NEWS
Page: a01

Correction: A graphic Friday incorrectly stated that state Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, and state Sen. Joseph Bubba, R-Wayne, had been convicted of driving while uninsured. The notation on their records referred to an inquiry by the Division of Motor Vehicles into the status of their insurance policies. No violations were found, according to the DMV. (Ran Saturday, May 10,1997 pA

Article Text:

When state Sen. Dick LaRossa proposed raising the speed limit to 65 mph on some New Jersey roads last year, it was a pitch by someone who knows about speeding: He has been ticketed five times for going too fas

Among his peers at the State House, LaRossa, R-Mercer County, is far from alone. An analysis by The Record of the current driving records of New Jersey's 120 state legislators found that nearly 60 percent have some type of traffic violation.

That's almost quadruple the rate of the general population: Fifteen percent of New Jersey's 5.8 million drivers have violations on their current records, according to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Some of the infractions are only indirectly related to driving, such as bouncing a check to the DMV, and many occurred before the legislators were in office, the records show. They include suspensions for failing to pay parking tickets. Although some records date back many years, others co! ver shorter periods because records are expunged after five years without a violation.

Speeding was the most common offense. Fifty-one lawmakers have at least one speeding ticket on their current records, including Assemblywoman Marion Crecco of Bloomfield, chairwoman of the Law and Public Safety Committee, who was clocked at 85 mph in 1978, before she was elected. Twenty-five have been caught more than once, and two have been caught seven times.

"I'm human. Once in a while, we tend to err," said Crecco.

Four legislators have 10 or more motor vehicle offenses on their records, and two accumulated so many violation points that the state suspended their licenses and sent them to a driver improvement program.

Traffic violations are a hot topic of debate in Trenton this year, as legislators work to revamp the auto insurance system.

One bill being considered would eliminate insurance penalties for speeders caught driving less than 15 mph above th! e speed limit. The bill's sponsor in the Assembly is Sean Dalton, D-C amden County. He has been caught speeding three times all before he was elected.

"I've become a better driver since I've joined the Legislature," said Dalton. He said there was no correlation between his past offenses and his support of the bill.

The Legislature also is considering a bill that would eliminate insurance surcharges for minor traffic infractions. The Senate sponsor: LaRossa. He said there's no connection between his bills and his record, and he attributed his speeding convictions the last one in 1988 to "youthful exuberance."

"That was almost four years before I was sworn in," he said. "I would respectfully ask the question: What's the point?"

Among the findings by The Record's analysis of legislators' driving records, which were provided upon request by the DMV:

Nine legislators had their licenses suspended for not paying parking tickets. They include Assemblywoman Joan M. Quigley, D-Jersey City, in 1994 and Sen. Berna! rd Kenny, D-Hoboken, in 1995 both sponsors of a bill to "give greater protection to motorists" whose licenses are suspended for failing to pay parking tickets.

Nineteen lawmakers have violation records that add up to 10 or more points. That's 16 percent of the Legislature compared with 2 percent of all state drivers with that many points.

Assembly Majority Whip Christopher "Kip" Bateman, R-Somerset County, and Assemblyman Craig Stanley, D-Essex County, have carried 12 or more points on their licenses at once, prompting the state to send them to a driver improvement program. Bateman, who was elected in 1994, took his class in 1993. Stanley took his in 1992, four years before his election.

Stanley's 14 offenses nine of them since 1990 give him the most of any legislator. His driving record runs 11 pages and includes three violations for driving while his license was suspended and three for speeding. "I know that looks bad," said Stanley, a first! -term Democrat from Irvington. "But 10 to 15 years ago, a lot of us d id things that we wouldn't necessarily do now." Stanley's most recent speeding ticket was issued last year.

Two lawmakers, Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, R-Monmouth County, and Assemblyman Francis Blee, R-Atlantic County, were convicted of drunken driving. Both violations occurred more than 15 years ago, before either was elected.

Fifty legislators have no violations on their current records. They include North Jersey Sens. Gerald Cardinale, Byron Baer, John Girgenti, Louis Kosco, and Henry McNamara, and Assembly members Paul DiGaetano, Nicholas Felice, Rose Heck, John Rooney, and Charles "Ken" Zisa.

Others haven't had a ticket since joining the Legislature. But, then again, lawmakers enjoy exemptions that average drivers only dream of: special license plates and immunity from arrest while traveling to state meetings.

"I've never heard of any legislator abusing that privilege," said state police spokesman Al Della Fave. But John Tiene of the New Jersey In! surance News Service, a consortium of New Jersey auto insurers, said it would take a "bold police officer" to knowingly ticket a member of the Legislature.

Still, 34 legislators have been ticketed in office, led by Sen. William E. Schluter, R-Mercer County, chairman of the Joint Committee on Ethical Standards, whose seven violations date back to 1976. He was elected in 1968.

Sen. Jim McGreevey of Middlesex County a Democratic candidate for governor was ticketed for speeding in 1990, his first year in Trenton, and for careless driving in 1995.

"Jim McGreevey is not unlike a lot of motorists in New Jersey who have to deal with congested roadways and other driving obstacles," said Rich McGrath, a spokesman for McGreevey's campaign. "We make no excuses. He's made his share of mistakes on the road, and he's paid the required fines

Copyright 1997 Bergen Record Corp.

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Three Releases from 11th District R's

(Send any Bayshore area campaign releases to jcorley @ and I'll post 'em.)

Looks like Assemblymen Corodemus and Kean have the pedal to the metal in this post-labor day election season. These are releases from yesterday and today:
For Immediate Release

September 8, 2005
Steven J. Corodemus (732) 744 - 1998
Sean T. Kean (732) 241 - 9718


Atlantic Highlands & Wall Township, NJ: Eleventh Legislative District Democrat Assembly candidate Jim Reilly took $2,000 in campaign contributions from the political action committee of former U.S. Senator Bob Torricelli months after revelations that Torricelli had taken illegal gifts.

Reports filed by Torricelli with the IRS and by Reilly with the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) show Reilly accepted a Torch PAC, Inc. check for $1,000 on August 25, 2001. Reilly accepted a second $1,000 from Torricelli on November 3, 2001.

Torricelli was forced to resign from the U.S. Senate in 2002 after he was forced to admit he took gifts from friends and associates including a Rolex watch, Italian-made suits and a big screen TV from a businessman who sought contracts with the U.S. government.

Torricelli’s acceptance of those gifts became public in February 2001.

Federal law and congressional ethics rules prohibit lawmakers from accepting gifts worth $50 or more.

Reilly was a legislative aide to Torricelli in 1998 and 1999.

“We need to judge Jim Reilly by what he does, not what he says. Reilly says he’s for higher ethics, yet he took $2,000 from Torricelli after Torricelli’s acceptance of illegal gifts had become public,” Assemblyman Steve Corodemus said.

“Reilly and Doherty have no credibility on claims to be ethics or campaign finance reformers. As far back as 2001, they were taking campaign cash from people and companies they knew, or should have known, had violated the public trust,” Assemblyman Sean Kean added.


For Immediate Release
September 9, 2005
Steven J. Corodemus (732) 744 - 1998
Sean T. Kean (732) 241 - 9718



Atlantic Highlands & Wall Township, NJ: Assemblymen Steve Corodemus and Sean Kean today said that eminent domain can be a useful redevelopment tool in the Eleventh District if it is exercised responsibly, property owners are fairly compensated and there are parameters for what areas are subject to this power.

"The recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion on eminent domain has raised legitimate concerns about government’s power to seize private property," said Assemblyman Sean Kean. "In our district, eminent domain has the potential to have a positive impact on some communities – if it is used properly."

"We need to create a formula that fairly compensates property owners not just for the price of their land, but for the burden caused by the loss of that property," Assemblyman Steve Corodemus said. "If we do that, and statutorily limit this power to areas that are clearly in need of redevelopment, this tool can be used without threatening property rights."

Kean and Corodemus pointed out that Democrat mayors in at least two Eleventh District towns – Asbury Park and Long Branch – are using eminent domain as a key part of redevelopment efforts, and that any effort to limit the scope of that power must be carefully constructed not to jeopardize those vital projects.

They noted the irony of Matt Doherty and Jim Reilly expressing concerns that people will lose homes through eminent domain while their Democrat allies have blocked Republican efforts to consider a property tax relief plan and have refused to schedule a special session to deal with that important issue.

"If our opponents really care about residents losing their homes, their party should stop blocking our efforts to provide guaranteed property tax relief," said Corodemus. "People are being forced out of their homes by skyrocketing property taxes and the Democrat Party doesn’t even care enough about that issue to schedule a legislative session to deal with the problem."

"Steve and I agree that there needs to be protections for homeowners against intrusive seizure of property by government, but how will people in the 11th be able be afford to live in their homes if taxes keep rising?” Kean asked. “The Doherty / Reilly Democrats continue to block a special session of the legislature on property tax reform.”

Questioning the sincerity of their opponents on the eminent domain issue, they challenge Doherty and Reilly to put people ahead of profits and condemn efforts by their fellow Democrats to use eminent domain to reward campaign contributors.

Recent newspaper stories highlighted efforts by some Democrat Party leaders to seize privately owned land in Linden to make way for a project to be managed by private developer, Joseph Morris, who has donated $120,000 to Democrats in the past four years. “Far too often in recent years we have heard Democrats spout all the right rhetoric, but then do the wrong thing”, Corodemus said. “Actions mean more than words and the Democrats in Trenton have failed to act on this issue – just as they have on many others.”

“If our opponents can’t stand up to their party’s leaders now, why would we expect them to when they get to Trenton?” Kean asked. “We are taking action by standing up and offering solutions to problems like eminent domain and property taxes. All our opponents and their party have offered is empty rhetoric.”


For Immediate Release
September 9, 2005
Steven J. Corodemus (848) 466 - 0366
Sean T. Kean (732) 241 - 9718



Atlantic Highlands & Wall Township, NJ: So did Jim Reilly’s Democrat Party bosses manipulate New Jersey’s homeland security dollars for political purposes or not? The answer, it appears, depends on when you ask him and who he wants to blame.

When asked about Reilly’s own role in the process in the August 25 edition of the The Coast Star, Reilly’s spokesperson said that Mr. Reilly had no knowledge of how those funds were distributed.

Later, in the very same story, Reilly’s spokesperson contended partisan politics probably entered into the attorney general’s decision-making process. So it was the attorney general’s fault?

Last year $7.8 million of the $8.3 million in homeland security grants distributed by the state went to Democrat legislative districts. Over the past three years 93 percent of the funds went to Democrat districts. None of the money went to the 11th District.

Reilly, who staffed the Assembly Homeland Security & State Preparedness Committee for the Assembly Democrats, has said that despite his role on that committee he knew nothing about how these homeland security grants were distributed.

Assemblymen Steve Corodemus and Sean Kean said that as it has become apparent Reilly’s party bosses used this fund as a pot of political pork, they believe he is seeking to find a scapegoat.

"First our opponent denies any knowledge of the process, now he wants to cast blame elsewhere," said Assemblyman Steve Corodemus. "It is clear that he has no desire to put the blame where it obviously belongs, on the Governor and the Democrat leadership for whom he worked in the Legislature."

"The residents of the 11th District were cheated by this process and their safety was put at risk," said Assemblyman Sean Kean. "A real leader would demand answers and take steps to correct this problem as Steve and I have done, instead of trying to provide cover for their party bosses."

Kean and Corodemus noted that the lack of homeland security aid also has forced Eleventh District municipalities to shoulder more of their own public safety costs at local taxpayer expense. Just one more way Reilly and his Democrat bosses have contributed to the property tax problem.


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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Broschart comes under fire about campaign finances

(Published in the Thursday, September 8, 2005 issue of The Courier.)

Broschart comes under fire about campaign finances


What was supposed to be the passage of an anti-Pay-to-Play ordinance led to allegations of wrong-doing by a sitting committeeman at the Tuesday, September 6 meeting of the Hazlet Township Committee.

Committeeman Scott Broschart, 26, who was selected to replace former Mayor Paul Coughlin despite questions by both Republican and Democrat leaders about his qualifications for the office, initiated “Operation Public Trust” in late June 2005.
The ethics reform package proposed by Broschart included Pay-to-Play regulations and an anti-nepotism ban. The anti-Pay-to-Play ordinance was passed unanimously by the Township Committee at the meeting.

However, Democrats charged that Broschart had severe campaign finance issues of his own to answer.

In his resume seeking to fill Coughlin’s vacant seat, Broschart wrote that he “raised over $40,000 in contributions” as campaign manager for the successful 2004 election of Mayor Michael Sachs and Committeewoman Bridget Antonucci.

In fact, Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) reports show that $20,585 was raised for campaign.

When Democrat candidates for Hazlet Township Committee Kevin Lavan and Jim DiNardo attempted to question Broschart regarding the sum of money during the public portion of the Thursday meeting, Sachs refused to allow either man to speak on the issue.

“It’s political and has nothing to do with the business of this town,” Sachs said.

In an interview outside the meeting room, DiNardo disagreed with Sachs’s assessment.

“I feel it does matter to the citizens of Hazlet because Scott Broschart was the one appointed to the committee,” Lavan said. “I think it was a political appointment. The other two people who applied for the position had better resumes. We had one fellow in town (Coughlin) arrested because of illegal money, now we have a second person who took his seat having questionable financial actiivity himself. We have to take the political black cloud off of Hazlet.”

DiNardo concurred, saying, “I’m not happy with what’s happening. We’re not getting any answers from the Township Committee.”

Lavan said he and DiNardo filed a complaint with the Board of Elections and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office in regard to potential violations of the state’s election statutes.

“Where exactly is this missing $20,000?” DiNardo said.

Vincent Solomeno, a Hazlet Democrat, was able to make more headway during the public portion of the meeting, posing questions to Broschart about his conflict of interest in serving as a campaign fund-raiser “to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars for the Hazlet Republican Party” and serving as the proponent of Hazlet’s anti-Pay-to-Play ordinance.

Broschart denied engaging in the practice of Pay-to-Play, noting that he had an obligation to raise funds as campaign manager and was not a member of the governing body at the time he raised money. He said he trusted the Township Committee to make fair and ethical decisions.

“You were engaged in Pay-to-Play and now you’re a member of the township committee supporting Pay-to-Play reform. I think it’s hypocritical,” Solomeno said.

Solomeno also publicly questioned Broschart’s claim of raising $40,000 for last year’s campaign.

“Either you falsified the election report and violated state law or you falsified your resume to become a member of the Township Committee,” Solomeno said.

In a later interview, Solomeno questioned whether or not Broschart’s appointment was in itself Pay-to-Play.

“He is the one who raised tens of thousands of dollars for the very people who voted to appoint him to his position,” Solomeno said. “What this says is that someone who doesn’t have a steady job, who doesn’t pay Hazlet property taxes can become a committeeman by raising tens of thousands of dollars.”

Rich Kohler, a Hazlet Republican, was the first to raise questions about Broschart’s campaign fund-raising claims in his column in The Courier in its May 19, 2005 issue.

In the column, Kohler wrote, “In [Broschart’s] capacity [as 2004 Republican campaign manager], he sent several arrogant and hostile campaign related e-mails to members of the Hazlet Township Republican Campaign Committee. These letters were barely written at a fifth-grade level…Although I supported both candidates, I limited my involvement in the campaign as a result of Mr. Broschart;s irresponsible correspondence and his lack of regard for the value of positive leadership. Rewarding this type of leadership with ordained political power will most likely lead our township in a negative direction.”

Kohler noted that questions about Broschart’s financial management of the 2004 campaign should be answered, especially in light of the Township Committee’s decision to propose anti-pay-to-play regulations.

“How can he pass the legislation if he has this hanging over his head? The money question needs to be answered,” Kohler said.

Following the Township Committee meeting, Broschart said DiNardo’s and Lavan’s decision to file a complaint with the Board of Elections about discrepancies in the 2004 campaign was “a political ploy aimed to get press for the campaign.”

Pay-to-play and the November election

At the Tuesday meeting, Kohler and other Hazlet residents questioned whether or not the township’s pay-to-play ordinance had “any teeth.”

Hazlet Township Attorney James H. Gorman acknowledged that Hazlet’s ordinance was essentially similar to the state’s anti-Pay-to-Play ordinance, which goes into effect January 1, 2006. The Hazlet ordinance would put the regulations into effect earlier but would not go beyond the state’s legislation as such a step would be nullified by the state when its bill went into effect in January.

“There are other bills pending [at the state level], which may or may not even be passed, that would allow municipalities to set different standards for Pay-to-Play bans,” Gorman said. “Right now, I don’t see why we should spend any money, time or effort on regulations that would be nullified by state legislation in three months. The state has effectively said, ‘This is all you can do.’”

Hazlet resident Eugene Gere questioned whether the introduction of the anti-Pay-to-Play ordinance was merely politicking during election season.

“From a political angle, this will just allow candidates to grandstand. There are real problems that are not being addressed. There are no anti-wheeling provisions. I’m not sure what we’re really getting with this,” Gere said.

Ric Medrow, a Republican who is running for Hazlet Township Committee, said the baby shouldn’t be thrown out with the bathwater.

“I’ve never seen a perfect piece of campaign finance legislation. We can’t let that be an excuse for not cleaning up dirty money in politics. You have to start somewhere,” Medrow said.

Also, Medrow noted he was interested in expanding pay-to-play regulations to include developers looking to build property in town.

Broschart was selected by Monmouth County Republican Committee Chairman Fred Niemann to run for the second committee seat up for election this year, making Broschart, by default, Medrow’s running mate, despite concerns issued publicly and privately by high-ranking Hazlet Republicans about Broschart’s candidacy.

Nevertheless, Medrow feels he has much to offer to Hazlet residents and has been knocking on doors since the beginning of the summer.

“It’s essential that you get out there and talk to the residents and get to know their concerns and let them know what you’ll do as an elected official to ease those concerns,” Medrow said. “I’ve knocked on 2,200 doors so far. I’ve been out when it was 104 degrees and I’ll be out when it’s 47 degrees. The residents of Hazlet deserve that.”

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Official Blogging Action

Hey Bayshore,

Looks like one of your sitting municipal officials has gotten into some blogging action (warning: the contents of this page may be offensive to some).

Comments enabled

As per the AH Muse's suggestion, I've enabled public comments on the blog.

Any weird, profane, threatening or otherwise uncouth comments or blogger icons will be deleted. Those who have seen my personal blog or read some of my fiction know I've got the mouth of a longshoreman. But then again, I'm not an elected official. I'm a wordsmith. If you can't stomach some of the things I write, you can show it with your pocketbook by not purchasing my newspaper or the fiction collections my work appears in. You can even write letters to the editor of my newspaper, should you so desire. Freedom of speech is one of the rocks upon which this country was founded.

Nevertheless, this blog is, to a certain degree, related to my day job, so I need to keep a spit shine to it.

Also, just so you're completely aware, I do track the IP addresses of everyone who visits this site.

Now that the warning label has been safely afixed, let the games begin!


Gee whiz, batman -- two 11th District R releases!

(And again, I'll post any releases e-mailed to me by any Bayshore area candidate. My e-mail is jcorley @ gmail . com)

Here you go:
For Immediate Release
September 7, 2005
Steven J. Corodemus (732) 744 - 1998
Sean T. Kean (732) 241 - 9718


Atlantic Highlands & Wall Township, NJ: Eleventh District Democrat Assembly candidate Matt Doherty took a $500 campaign contribution from NJ’s Secretary of State less than a month before she was found to have violated state ethics rules for failure to disclose her involvement in a political consulting firm that reportedly collected hundreds-of-thousands of dollars from the 2004 Kerry Edwards campaign.

NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) reports show that on May 13, 2005, Doherty accepted $500 from Regina Thomas.

On June 8, 2005, NJ’s Executive Commission on Ethical Standards found that Thomas violated ethics rules by not disclosing her interest in IEM Message Management, a Democrat campaign consulting group.

The Secretary of State is a constitutional officer who is banned from active involvement in partisan politics. As a cabinet officer, Thomas is also required to file an annual report detailing her assets and business interests. She failed to report her ties to IEM.

“Mr. Doherty says he’s a reformer pledged to bring a higher standard of ethics to Trenton. He says Trenton is broken and he’ll fix it. That’s talk. What Doherty does is take campaign money from a Trenton insider who was formally reprimanded for violating state ethics rules,” Assemblyman Steve Corodemus said.

Corodemus emphasized that Doherty took the campaign cash when he knew, or should have known, that Thomas was under investigation for ethics violations.

“Mr. Doherty had a chance to refuse the money and prove he’s for change and higher ethical standards, but he took the cash from a Trenton Democrat insider who practices lower standards. He must be judged by what he does, not what he says,” concluded Assemblyman Sean Kean.


For Immediate Release
September 7, 2005
Steven J. Corodemus (732) 744 - 1998
Sean T. Kean (732) 241 - 9718



Atlantic Highlands & Wall Township, NJ: While maintaining their vow of silence regarding their own party’s failure to address the property tax issue, Democrats Matt Doherty and Jim Reilly are now refusing to support a constitutionally guaranteed 30 percent cut in property taxes.

Meanwhile, Republican Assembly candidates Steve Corodemus and Sean Kean have been fighting to convince the Democrat leadership in Trenton to hold a special session to consider this 30% in 3 property tax relief proposal.

Corodemus and Kean challenged their opponents to answer a simple question: Is there a property tax crisis in New Jersey and has the current Democrat leadership in Trenton contributed to that problem?

The first step to correcting any problem is acknowledging that the problem exists and identifying the cause, Corodemus said. Unfortunately, because of their support from the Democrat bosses in Trenton, our opponents can’t even get past step one.

Steve and I know the answer to that question, Kean said. There is a property tax crisis and it has been fueled by Democrat policies that have frozen state aid to our school districts and slashed property tax rebates.

When it comes to the Democrat Party’s record of increasing property taxes by more than 20 percent in the past four years, our opponents are oddly silent, Corodemus said. Yet ironically, they also refuse to support a realistic, comprehensive plan to cut property taxes by 30 percent in three years.

As the handpicked candidates of Assembly Democrat bosses like Albio Sires and Joe Roberts, Matt Doherty and Jim Reilly have refused to acknowledge that Democrats in Trenton have failed miserably on the property tax issue.

They even recently sent out a mailer saying they support a special session to address the issue, but when Corodemus, Kean and the Assembly Republican caucus showed up in Trenton in August for just such a session, Doherty and Reilly’s Democrat bosses refused to allow the session to take place. Where were they when the taxpayers of Monmouth County needed them?

While our opponents try to sidestep giving an answer to that very simple question, Steve and I will keep fighting for property tax relief and reform, Kean said. We have identified the problem and have a plan on the table that will provide a comprehensive long-term solution. Only the Democrat leaders who appointed Doherty and Reilly stand in the way.


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Bayshore News You Can(Not) Use

Not much new in Bayshore Journalista-ville. I spewed-forth a 1,000-word story on the ruckus that was the Hazlet Township Committee meeting last night, and I'm mighty tired.

The whole mystery of the $20,000 discrepancy between what Committeeman Scott Broschart said he raised as 2004 Hazlet Republican campaign manager and what was actually raised has yet to be fully explained. The Hazlet Dems have filed a complaint with the Board of Elections and the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. I guess it's wait-and-see now.

In Middletown, Anthony Spalliero, everyone's favorite alleged politician-briber, was taken into custoday yesterday "following an altercation with a young woman in a Brookdale Community College parking lot," according to the Asbury Park Press.

In other area news, William Flynn and Michael Dasaro, Democrat candidates for the 13th District, have bowed out of the Clean Elections program, citing the high fundraising threshold. The pair have pledged to abide by spending limits and other regulations proposed by the Clean Elections pilot program.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Overpriced NJ

Two New Jersey locations ranked among the top 10 overpriced places in the U.S. in 2005, according to Forbes.

6. Bergen/Passaic
8. Middlesex

'Nother Press Release

11th District Republicans:
For Immediate Release

September 6, 2005

Steven J. Corodemus (732) 744 - 1998
Sean T. Kean (732) 241 - 9718


Atlantic Highlands & Wall Township, NJ: Assemblymen Steve Corodemus and Sean Kean today called on Matt Doherty and Jim Reilly to explain why they were singled out for a $5,200 campaign contribution from the Lyondell Chemical Company adding that Doherty and Reilly must refuse to accept any campaign money from an Assembly Democrat PAC that took $27,000 in campaign cash from that same company.

Lyondell is a major manufacturer of MTBE, a gasoline additive that the federal EPA says is a “potential human carcinogen.” MTBE is responsible for contaminating 1,500 municipal water sites in 28 states. It is estimated that it could cost taxpayers $140 billion to clean up the water supplies contaminated by MTBE.

In 2002, a California jury found Lyondell guilty of the irresponsible manufacturing and distribution of MTBE saying that Lyondell acted with malice by neglecting to warn customers of the dangers of MTBE water contamination.

On June 30, 2005, the NJ State Assembly and Senate passed (A3469/S2018), a measure to ban sales in New Jersey of MTBE groundwater contaminant. Corodemus and Kean voted for the ban. It was signed into law (PL2005) on August 18, 2005.

“Why were Doherty and Reilly singled out for a $5,200 campaign contribution from Lyondell? Why them? Why on June 20,?” Corodemus said.

According to NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) records, since January 2004 Assembly Speaker Albio Sires received $1,000 from Lyondell, Democrat Majority Leader Joe Roberts $1,500 and Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald $1,500.

On June 23, 2005 the Democrat Assembly PAC set up to fund candidates like Doherty and Reilly took $23,000 from Lyondell. Since January 2004 the Democrat PAC has taken a total of $27,000.

“Will that $27,000 find its way into Doherty and Reilly’s campaign coffers or pay for in-kind contributions,?” Kean said. “It could if they take any campaign money from the New Democratic Leadership PAC.”

Doherty and Reilly have made campaign finance reform and disclosure a cornerstone of their campaign. Doherty has said he has “an unwavering commitment to a clean environment” and Reilly says he has a record of “bringing suit against dangerous environmental polluters.”

Corodemus and Kean said that if Doherty and Reilly accept New Democratic Leadership PAC money it will be tantamount to accepting “laundered” money from Lyondell and will prove they are neither campaign finance reformers nor environmentalists.

“The people of the 11th legislative district await Doherty’s and Reilly’s response,” they added.


February 11, 2004 Lyondell gives $1,000 campaign contribution to New Democratic Assembly Leadership PAC accepts Jersey Assembly

October 13, 2004 Lyondell gives $1,000 campaign contribution to New Democratic Assembly Leadership PAC

March 16, 2005 Lyondell gives $2,000 campaign contribution to New Democratic Assembly Leadership PAC

June 20, 2005 Lyondell gives $5,200 campaign contribution to Doherty and Reilly for Assembly

June 23, 2005 Lyondell gives $23,000 campaign contribution to New Democratic Assembly Leadership PAC

June 30, 2005 NJ General Assembly/Senate votes on A3469/S2018, a bill to ban the sale in New Jersey of Lyondell’s MTBE carcinogenic gasoline additive.

August 11, 2005 Jim Reilly says, of the $5,200 campaign contribution from Lyondell accepted by Doherty and Reilly for Assembly, “We returned it immediately.” – 88.1 FM Restore Radio interview with Maureen Nevin

August 18, 2005 MTBE ban signed into law PL2005



Press Release

My Labor Day weekend was spent getting much-needed nappage and working on miscellaneous literary projects.

Here's a press release pertaining to the 11th District (attack on Democrats by third-party Republicans) that was sent out Friday:
For Immediate Release
September 2, 2005
Wall Township Mayor Edward Thomson 732 713 9935
Neptune Township Mayor Thomas Catley 732 496 0737

Week 3 & Democrats Still Remain Quiet

Wall & Neptune, NJ: Neptune Township Mayor Thomas Catley joined Wall Township Mayor Ed Thomson at the Wall Allaire Airport for a press conference stating their unified opposition to the Democrats partisan politicking with Homeland Security money.

“We stand here at the Wall Allaire Airport, to make a point that Wall Township was unjustly looked over for political patronage. Wall Township asked for $199,000 dollars and we received not a cent. Other towns such as Freehold, Manalapan and Marlboro received a combined $540,839 or 100% of what they requested. What makes these towns more qualified then Wall Township? First we were shortchanged and now we don’t even get a fair explanation,” stated Wall Township Mayor Thomson.

“Since 2002, 93% of all State Homeland Security Money was funneled to Democrat Assembly districts. The Attorney General’s office has acknowledged that the Governor’s Office played a role in deciding who would receive grants and didn’t. These facts are irrefutable and the Democrats have not provided a sound explanation for their actions,” stated Neptune Township Mayor Catley.

“The Trenton Democrats have created an environment of legalized patronage. The facts speak volumes of how deep seeded this goes. Beginning with the Governor and Attorney General, all the way down the food chain to local boy Jim Reilly. Each one played their part to divert much needed Homeland Security funds away from the 11th district,” concluded Mayor Thomson.

The Mayors highlighted that a lack of Homeland Security money will results in less security, higher taxes and cutting recreational/ civic activities. This is the second occasion each official went on record against the unjust distribution of Homeland Security money. The Mayors are waiting explanations from Governor Richard Codey, Attorney General Peter Harvey and Mr. Jim Reilly as to why they intentionally shortchanged their municipalities of much needed Homeland Security money.



Friday, September 02, 2005

Dueling Banjos on First Avenue

There is a bit of a debate going on between the Atlantic Highlands Muse. and the Atlantic Highlands Herald regarding whether or not the McConnell Property tract issue is being used for political fodder.

(Full disclosure: the AH Muse asked me to provide a copy of AH Mayor Peter Donoghue's letter to the editor printed in the August 25 issue of The Courier. I haven't covered the McConnell Property tract issue since it first arose over six months ago, but at the time, I got the sense that none of the council members, Republican or Democrat, were pleased with the original proposal put forth by K. Hovnanian. I don't know the specifics of how the plan has changed since then.)

If you haven't already, join the AH Herald forums. It's a great place to discuss topical issues affecting the Bayshore.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Keansburg: Fundraiser for hurricane victims TONIGHT

(Press Release)

Borough of Keansburg
Contact: Borough Manager Terence Wall

September 1, 2005

In light of the terrible tragedy which has struck Louisiana, Alabama and Mississip, the Borough of Keansburg is establishing a fund drive to help out the Hurricane Katrina victims.

"We have to do something," Deputy Mayor Drew Murray said. "To see this on the TV everyday and not do anything would be another tragedy. Whatever we can do, however much we can raise, the time is now. As Americans we help our own. Whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated by the ravaged communities."

The Mayor and Borough Council will be holding a fundraiser until September 14. Any monies collected will then be given directly to the disaster relief fund from the Borough of Keansburg.

Fundraising will begin tonight at a free concert by Disturbed The Nation at the Raritan Lot on Beachway, beginning at 7 pm. Another concert will be held tomorrow night as well at the same time and location.

"Local businesses are helping out however they can, sch as Home Run Embroidery, who has donated shirts to the Mayor and Council with 'Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund' printed on them to wear while they are collecting money," Murray said.

Monetary donations can also be droped off at, Borough Hall, 29 Church Street, Keansburg, NJ 07734

Emergency Supplies

(Press Release)


The Keansburg Fire Department in association with the Keansburg Office of Emergency Management and the Keansburg Police Department will be making an emergency supply collection for the victims of Hurricane Katrina which hit the South.

These items MUST BE COLLECTED BY THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 8, 2005, at the locations listed below, to be shipped on September 9, 2005 by Hecht Trailers, who has donated the use of 2, 48 foot trailers and drivers to bring to the victims.

· Toilet Paper
· Paper Towels
· Diapers
· Baby Wipes
· Toothpaste
· Body Soap
· Antiperspirant
· Combs
· Brushes
· Shampoo
· Razors
· Shave Crème
· All Personal Products
· Clothing of all kinds (Must be new) Men’s, Women’s, Children’s, Babies
· Monetary donations are accepted in the form of Check or Money Order made out to the AMERICAN RED CROSS.

Keansburg Fire Company
Main & Manning
Keansburg, NJ 07734
732-470-6276 (Bill)

New Point Comfort Fire Company
192 Carr Avenue
Keansburg, NJ 07734
732-915-2964 (Steve)

Keansburg EMS
192 Carr Avenue
Keansburg, NJ 07734

Keansburg Police Department
179 Carr Avenue
Keansburg, NJ 07734

Jesus Fellowship Church
(VFW Bldg)
161 Ramsey Avenue
Keansburg, NJ 07734

Keansburg Borough Hall
29 Church Street
Keansburg, NJ 07734

Hecht Trailers
2075 Rt. 9
(1 Mile South of Rt 70)
Toms River, NJ 08755
732-349-1900 (Mark)

Anthony’s Pizza
65 Church Street
Keansburg, NJ 07734


On a personal note, I just found out that I've been promoted to associate editor of The Courier.

I'm basically still a reporter, but with a better name tag. But still, an exciting day for the journalista, overall.


Beck & O'Scanlon Release

(Got this via e-mail. I'm going to stop just linking to releases and only post what I get e-mailed me. Any Bayshore-area campaigns who want their releases posted, please shoot them over to jcorley AT


For Immediate Release
Contact: Kevin Israel, (732) 741-4490
September 1, 2005

Gas tax: Yes or No???

With gas topping $3.00 will Panter and Morgan finally come clean?

With gas prices hitting the $3.00 a gallon mark, and industry experts calling for possibly higher prices, supply interruptions and gas lines reminiscent of the 1970’s, 12th Legislative district candidates Jennifer Beck and Declan O’Scanlon today called for their opponents, Mike Panter and Bob Morgan to join them in signing a pledge not to increase the gas tax after the election in November.

“We’ve been asking since the middle of June whether or not our opponents intend to vote to raise the gas tax after the election” said Beck. “They’ve refused to answer for months now. With a gas crisis now underway, they can’t avoid the issue any longer. It’s a simple question: Will you vote to raise the gas tax? Yes or no?”

O’Scanlon also demanded an immediate answer, stating “that these guys would fail to answer a question on a fundamental pocketbook issue before an election is an insult to the voters of the 12th District. We have no problem saying it: we will not vote to raise the gas tax. Their silence speaks volumes.”

Beck and O’Scanlon were referring to the long rumored plan for the Legislature to increase the gas tax by 10 to 15 cents when they reconvene after the election, with voter’s ire safely in the rearview mirror.

“When asked about the gas tax, Jon Corzine wouldn’t rule it out, which was bad enough”, O’Scanlon went on to say. “But at least he gave an answer. Apparently these guys are too busy taking credit for supporting things that never actually become law to do the same.”

Beck said it was part of a pattern. “These guys have shown time and time again that they take their marching orders from party bosses in Trenton and elsewhere. The Democrat leadership wants this tax increase, and by their silence on this issue, it’s apparent that Morgan and Panter are either going to support it, but are afraid to say so in an election year.

“Declan and I are beholden to nobody but the voters of the 12th District and between now and Election Day we intend to make that very clear.”



Green candidate challenges freeholders to end pay-to-play

Green candidate challenges freeholders to end pay-to-play


Brian Unger hopes voters will paint their election ballots Green this November: Green Party, that is.

Unger, who is running for the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders on the Green Party ticket, has recently made waves with his call for tough anti-pay-to-play legislation on the county level.

Unger proposed a reform package he titled the “Public Accountability in Contracting Act” (PACA). The Green Party candidate’s proposal would forbid the awarding of contracts over $10,000 to individuals or businesses that contribute more than $400 to freeholder campaigns. It would also prohibit current contractors from contributing to campaigns of incumbent freeholders. Additionally, Unger’s plan calls for a four-year ban on contracts with businesses or individuals who have made political contributions to freeholder campaigns.

On September 22, 2004, then-Governor James E. McGreevey issued an executive order, effective October 15, 2004, prohibiting state contractors who receive more than $17,500 in contracts with state agencies from contributing to a gubernatorial campaign or a state or county political party committee.

A bill approved by the state legislature on June 16, 2004, to take effect on January 1, 2006, would prohibit contractors who receive more than $17,500 from counties or municipalities from making campaign contributions to county or municipal political parties or candidates running for office in that county or municipality.

Unger said the state legislation is filled with loopholes, and he criticized the Board of Chosen Freeholders for not passing a stronger resolution at the county level.

“There is a grass-roots movement in the towns and counties to do the tough, honest work that the state legislature doesn’t have the moral or ethical fiber to do,” Unger said. “There is a bill in the [New Jersey Legislature] now that would allow municipalities and counties to continue to adopt their own [anti-pay-to-play] measures, but it’s not going anywhere because no one’s looking, and there isn’t enough pressure to move the bill forward into law.”

Unger said the all-Republican Board of Chosen Freeholders is incorrect in believing that anti-pay-to-play legislation cannot be passed at the local or county level before the state acts.

“Mercer County has adopted pay-to-play reforms, other counties are considering them, and many towns including Long Branch and Belmar have already done so. The citizens of Dover Township are going to referendum to force their government to adopt more stringent measures,” Unger said. “We need this measure now because the state’s legislation is weak and only in effect from January to June of each year. So it’s important that as many towns and counties as possible adopt the toughest pay-to-play and wheeling legislation. Every county in the state should do this. It could help steamroll the legislature into meaningful action.”

“Wheeling” is a practice whereby contributors give money to a political action committee (PAC) and, in turn, the PAC gives money to the candidate the contributor was actually looking to give money to. Wheeling places a degree of distance between a candidate and a contributor, particularly when a direct contribution would give the appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest.

The state’s provision only prohibits “wheeled” contributions from January 1 to June 30 of each year.

“Wheeling allows contractors, vendors and party bosses to secretly contribute to campaigns without proper disclosure. With cash gifts hidden, the contributors influence legislation, the award of contracts and patronage jobs, etc.,” an August 25 release from Unger’s campaign stated.

Contractors and contributions

Political contributions by county contractors frequently find their way into freeholder elections.

Money from the Monmouth County Republican Committee is used to heavily finance Republican freeholder elections. For example, during Rob Clifton’s and Amy Handlin’s 2004 general freeholder election, the two Republican candidates each received $50,598.12 in in-kind contributions, about 40 percent of the total money the pair received at that time, from the Monmouth County Republican Committee, according to New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) reports.

Under Monmouth County Republican Chairman Niemann’s watch, the Monmouth County Republican Committee raised the $430,035 in contributions over $400 from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005, excluding money contributed to the county party by election funds of would-be office holders.

Of the $430,035 the Monmouth County Republican Committee collected during Niemann’s time as county chair, $75,570 came from companies that received a contract or multiple contracts with the county, as approved by the Board of Chosen Freeholders, from June 2004 to April 2005.

Additionally, according to the Monmouth County Republican Committee’s July 15, 2005 quarterly ELEC report, the organization received $37,000 of the $37,500 raised that quarter from the Monmouth Leadership PAC. Notably, $37,000 is the maximum a political action committee can donate to a county political committee. The $37,000 contribution was made on June 13, 2005.

The Monmouth Leadership PAC is billed as a non-partisan ideological committee created to promote the candidacy of strong leaders in Monmouth County. In fact, the Monmouth Leadership PAC shares the same P.O. Box with the Monmouth County Republican Committees well as many of the same contributors.

An end to wheeling?

Unger said that wheeling funds from various county political committees and PACs can be stopped through relatively simple legal measures.

Unger’s proposal would require that any business or individual applying for a county contract of over $10,000 submit a certification stating that they did not give funds to county candidates through outside individuals or committees.

“A simple cross-check with ELEC contribution reports would indicate if improperly wheeled money had come to the candidate. Certifications are a common regulatory mechanism widely used by state, federal and local governments. The process would halt wheeling for any contractor that wanted a county contract,” the release from Unger’s campaign stated.

At the very least, Unger hopes voters will look to the Green Party when they go the polls this year.

“The two major political parties in power cannot agree on who loses and who gains. Neither has been able to get the upper hand politically and both have successfully stopped tough, credible legislation from passing year after year after year,” Unger said. “The Monmouth County Freeholders are wrong. They can adopt pay-to-play reforms now and they should. Our home county is the political corruption poster child for the entire state. We need to be out front leading the fight for clean honest government.”

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Report cards are in on state legislators

Published in the September 1, 2005 issue of The Courier.

Report cards are in on state legislators


How big of an advocate is your legislator for you?

The New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG) released its election-year scorecard on New Jersey legislators on Tuesday.

NJPIRG is a state advocacy organization that lobbies on behalf of public interest issues such as the environment, consumer rights and campaign finance reform, among others.

According to NJPIRG’s website, the 2005 scorecard rated senators on 12 votes and members of the assembly on 13 specific votes or stated positions relating to public interest issues.

In the 11th District, Assemblymen Steve Corodemus and Sean T. Kean, both R-Monmouth, received a rating of 76.9 percent. Corodemus lost points with NJPIRG for voting against the Clean Elections Pilot Program, the Energy Efficiency Act, and reestablishment of the Office of the Public Advocate. Kean lost points for voting against the Clean Elections Pilot Program and the reestablishment of the Office of the Public Advocate, as well as for voting in favor of the Developer’s Fast Track Law. Notably, Corodemus and Kean introduced an alternate Clean Elections Pilot Program bill correcting perceived inadequacies in the legislation that was eventually passed.

State Sen. Joseph Palaia, R-Monmouth, received a score of 66.7 percent. The 11th District senator lost points with NJPIRG for voting against the Clean Elections Pilot Program and the reestablishment of the Office of the Public Advocate, and for voting in favor of the Developer’s Fast Track Law. Palaia was absent for three of the votes marked on the NJPIRG scored.

In the 12th District, Assemblymen Robert Morgan and Michael Panter, D-Monmouth, received perfect scores under NJPIRG’s checklist. State Sen. Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth, received a score of 90.9 percent from the organization. Karcher lost points with the group for not supporting NJPIRG’s designated public interest position to bring to the senate floor a pay-to-play vote enabling local governments to keep statutes stronger than the state’s pay-to-play regulations.

In the 13th District, Assemblyman Joseph Azzolina received a score of 76.9 percent from NJPIRG, and Assemblyman Samuel Thompson received a score of 61.5 percent. Azzolina lost points with the group for voting against the Clean Elections Pilot Program, and the reestablishment of the Office of the Public Advocate and the NJ Clean Cars Act requiring carmakers to sell a portion of cars that use advanced pollution technology. Thompson lost points for voting against the NJ Clean Cars Act, the Clean Elections Pilot Program and the reestablishment of the Office of the Public Advocate; for supporting the Developer’s Fast Track Law; and for not co-sponsoring Fast Track Repeal Law legislation.

State Sen. Joe Kyrillos, R-Monmouth, received a score of 58.3 percent from NJPIRG. Kyrillos lost points with the organization for voting against the Clean Elections Pilot Program, the Energy Efficiency Act and the reestablishment of the Office of the Public Advocate; for supporting the Developer’s Fast Track Law; and for not co-sponsoring the Fast Track Repeal Law.

Abigail Caplovitz, legislative advocate for NJPIRG, said that the organization was pleased with the overall scores of the state legislature. She noted that a third of the members of the state’s governing body received a score of over 90 percent, which they counted as an “A.” Legislators who scored under 60 percent were noted by the organization as having particularly low scores on public interest issues, Caplovitz said.

“This scorecard shows that NJ in general has a large number of legislators acting in the public interest,” Caplovitz said.

Visit for more information on the organization.


Courtesy NJPIRG, the organization’s explanation of the
votes it scored. Visit for more information.

S2351: NJ Clean Cars Act: Would clean up smog and cancer causing air pollution by requiring carmakers to sell a small portion of cars that use advanced pollution control technology. The pollution reduction is equal to taking 2 million cars off New Jersey’s roads. Voted January 12, 2004: S2351 (A3393)

S1: Highlands Water Planning and Preservation Act: Preserves 400,000 acres in the State’s northern region, which holds almost half our water resources. Limits development of another 400,000 acres in a surrounding region. Voted June 10, 2004: S1 (A2635)

A1: Clean Elections: Establishes a pilot project to test the efficacy of public financed elections in New Jersey. The pilot will include two districts in 2005 and four in 2007. Voted June 10, 2004: A1 (S3)

S1368: Developer’s Fast Track Law: This law requires New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection to evaluate and decide on permit applications within 45 days. If the DEP does not deny the permit in that time, the permit automatically issues. This short review timeframe means that complex projects will not receive the kind of thoughtful review necessary, risking “rubber-stamp” permits. Equally bad, this timeframe makes meaningful public participation in the review process nearly impossible. Scheduling, publicizing, holding and responding to a public hearing can take 45 days, notwithstanding all of the other pieces of evaluating a permit. Voted June 17, 2004: S1368 (A3008)

S2157 / A3650: Co-Sponsors Fast Track Repeal Law: Unlike the other components of the score, this one is not a vote because this bill did not come up for vote. Instead, we’re tracking the legislators who have indicated support for repealing the developer’s fast track law by sponsoring the repeal legislation. (S2157 / A3650)

A516: Energy Efficiency Act: Reduces energy use in the state by about 1% by setting minimum energy efficiency standards on eight common household and commercial electronics such as exit signs, standing lamps, commercial washers and more. Voted January 24, 2005: A516 (S332)

A1500: Pay to Play I: Then-Governor McGreevy issued an executive order banning pay to play at the county and state level. The legislature then codified this executive order by passing A1500. Codifying this legislation took two votes; the original version of A1500 was not clearly constitutional, so Acting Governor Codey conditionally vetoed it, and then the Legislature passed it including Codey’s conditions. Votes in favor of passage in both situations were counted as the public interest position in this situation. A1500 (S2052)

A3013: Pay to Play II (Assembly Version): The statewide pay to play standards, when they take effect, will invalidate all existing local pay to play standards. They will also prevent localities from passing stronger standards even if they previously had stronger standards. This “enabling” bill would remedy this problem, and allow localities to protect their stronger standards. Voted November 15, 2004: A3013

S1698/A3013: Pay to Play II (Senate Version): The statewide pay to play standards, when they take effect, will invalidate all existing local pay to play standards, and prevent localities from passing stronger standards even if they previously had stronger standards. This “enabling” bill would remedy this problem, and allow localities to protect their stronger standards. The bill was not moving in the Senate. Supporters used an unusual parliamentary move to try to force the Senate to act. The Senate responded by voting to prevent the bill from being voted upon, ensuring that it would continue not to move without forcing Senators to vote against it. Vote to table: June 27, 2005: S1698/A3013

A1424: Public Advocate: Reestablishes the Office of Public Advocate which assists state residents with problems and concerns and acts to remedy problems on their behalf. Voted June 23, 2005: A1424 (S541)

A4001: Identity Theft Prevention: Provides comprehensive identity theft protection. Voted June 23, 2005: A4001 (S1914)

SCR113: Reduce Diesel Air Pollution: Gives $160 million to clean the buses and trucks as mandated by A3182. Voters must ratify this funding by passing a ballot issue in 2005. Voted June 20, 2005: SCR113 (ACR228).

A3182: Reduce Diesel Air Pollution: Cleans up 30,000 school buses, commuter and transit buses and publicly owned trucks. Voted June 27, 2005: A3182 (S1759).

A1077: Anti-SLAPP Suit: Protects citizen activists who speak out against corporations, developers or any other powerful entity that would hope to intimidate them for speaking out. SLAPP suits, or Strategic Litigation against Public Participation, are not uncommon in NJ. This legislation was not acted upon by the Senate. We will be working to pass it this session. Voted July 2, 2005: A1077

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