I like when the people speak

I‘m still receiving comments regarding a few of my posts on Middletown Township.

I really wanted to share them in light of recent events, especially because these posts are now hidden down the page.

The comments are comforting, as well as insightful. All of these happened to be posted anonymously. To the authors, thanks! To quell any immediate reactions, I do not know who posts when they do so anonymously.

I still welcome any and ALL comments, on any topic. Or e-mails.

Comment re: Midday dose of Scharfenberger

Anonymous said. . .
“Don’t you just see the strings attached to the Republican puppet now serving as Middletown’s mayor. Doesn’t he realize that he and his Republican cohorts are not the ONLY ONES elected to the Middletown Township Committee???? The two Democrats are DULY ELECTED representatives of the people. WE DID NOT WANT MORE Republicans because we are DISSATISFIED with the Republicans in this town!!!!!!”

Comments re: Middletown Matters? Then stop printing bull and learn how to budget properly

Anonymous said. . .
“Wow! The mayor can read minds. How else would he know weeks in advance about budget vote, clairvoyant even. Let’s not forget this is a budget that carries a 4.1% tax increase, the highest in many years. He conveniently forgets to tell Middletown residents what the tax increase is and that it is the highest tax increase in years. It is hard to believe how public officials can get away with using taxpayer resources as campaign material. But this is Middletown.”

Anonymous said. . .
“Just like the Democrats use The Courier & that Lincroft rag for their campaign material. When did newspaper reporters stop reporting the news all start writing editorials?”

Melissa L. Gaffney said. . .
“Free space, the beauty of the Internet — I can write whatever I want, just like you can. My blog isn’t a “Courier” Web site, nor is it “Courier” affiliated unless I reference an article in that newspaper. Anyway, I think the difference with the Middletown Matters newsletter is that taxpayers pay for that. I’m [sure] some taxpayers would not be happy knowing their dollars go toward the publication of a slanted newsletter. People buy newspapers because they want to. Don’t forget The Asbury Park Press, who tends to favor Republican doctrines and view points.”

Anonymous said. . .
“Melissa, you are correct. Middletown Matters is a “Republican administration rag.” It is not informative about the important things, e.g. It took four issues before any disclosure on the revaluation finally took place and that only after issue was taken with that neglect. Even then the administration spoke out of both sides of their mouths. Journalism should be honest and forthright with the news. The taxpayers should refuse to fund this newsletter. It is currently being used to SHOWCASE an incumbent running for re-election!!!”

*Please note, I did make grammatical corrections to the comments where necessary. Not one word has been changed or altered in any way, shape or form. You can check to the original posts to make sure.

PHOTOS: Taken at Grounds for Sculpture, Trenton, during March 2008. (Melissa L. Gaffney)


Filed under Democrats, Middletown, Middletown Township Committee, Politics, Republicans

Fireworks in Keansburg: VIDEO

Last night, the Keansburg Amusement Park put on a gorgeous display of fireworks for the Fourth of July.

The shoot took place on the pier. I was fortunate enough to be right there as the fireworks went off.

The providing company, Garden State Fireworks, has been around since 1890 and is a family-owned business. I met Danny Minelli, a sales rep and technician.

He told me all about the technical aspects of the event. I had no idea fireworks were so intricate and, to be honest, so darn cool.

Check out this week’s issue of The Courier to read up on the art of fireworks, as well as comments from Hank Gelhaus, one of the amusement park’s owners.

The park will celebrate its 105th anniversary in August. Check back for more on the Keansburg Amusement Park.

Happy Independence Day weekend! Enjoy the video from the last night’s event.

PHOTO: A shell shot. These contain the powder and balls of color, as well as a fuse (the red thing), that create the image we see as fireworks. (Melissa L. Gaffney)

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Filed under Fireworks, Fourth of July, Garden State Fireworks, Keansburg Amusement Park, Pier

Fireworks: Nonpartisan and simply perfect for the Fourth

As I was driving through Red Bank last night, I couldn’t help but see the fireworks and the throngs of people watching them. (No, really, I drove right through them!)

It was July 3 and there was not a seat in the house.

Fireworks are beautiful things, sparkly and loud. Glorifying, really.

The crowd thought so, too.

I couldn’t help but think . . . Fireworks don’t have an affiliation. I think fireworks are the only nonpartisan activity ever.

It doesn’t matter who is setting them off, so long as they know what they’re doing. It doesn’t matter who thought of the idea in the first place, so long as they thought it through. It doesn’t matter who “invented” fireworks, because they probably didn’t care about politics, anyway.

And it definitely doesn’t matter what “party” fireworks belong to, because that philosophy just doesn’t exist in the world of red, white and blue.

How absolutely perfect, then, that fireworks symbolize the Fourth of July. Independence Day.

A day when it didn’t matter what party you were from. Just a common goal.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. The video above is a clip during Red bank’s finale. Listen for what an observer says during the applause.

I echo those sentiments heartily.

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Filed under Fireworks, Fourth of July

M’town hosted COAH press conference: VIDEOS

Middletown Township hosted a press conference centering around the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) and the implications of recent legislation eliminating Regional Contribution Agreements (RCAs).

The following are videos taken during the press conference, which was attended by Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill and Township Administrator Tony Mercantante, as well as other elected officials from neighboring municipalities (Cliff Hoffman from Wall and Fred Rast from Atlantic Highlands).

Jeffrey R. Surenian also attended. Surenian is a lawyer who has dedicated his time to assisting several municipalities in the battle/complications regarding COAH.

Video One — “[Affordable housing now] built in the borders . . . There is a problem with that.”

Scharfenberger talks about the numbers and the impact of COAH.

Video Two — “Units”

“It would devastate us . . . change the quality of life forever,” Scharfenberger says of having to build more affordable housing in Middletown. The mayor also says once this happens, “you can’t go back.”

Video Three — “Cost of units = $18 billion dollars”

The mayor discusses how the taxpayers would wind up subsidizing the effects of the new legislation. Scharfenberger also talks about certain groups who are in favor of such legislation, namely the builders and the New Jersey Regional Coalition.

Video FourA continuation of the above video

Video Four will be up soon!

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Filed under Bill A500, COAH, Fred Rast, Jeffrey R. Surenian, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, Middletown, RCAs

A midday dose of Scharfenberger: VIDEO

Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger also made a few noteworthy comments during the Township Committee’s public session on Monday, June 30.

The mayor says he does not feel a public session is the place to campaign, as the committee (seemingly) conducts business in such an arena.

Scharfenberger also discusses Middletown Matters, the township’s newsletter. He points out what I guess he thinks are “good things” about the newsletter.

Notably, the mayor talks about a “newspaper owner who publicly blasted Middletown Matters,” and how — “not a month later” — committeemen Patrick Short and Sean Byrnes come out “wanting to get rid of it.” (Great clip, around 1:00 in.)

Actually, neither Short nor Byrnes said such a thing during the public session. I’m glad the mayor assumes, as he did with the 2008 municipal budget adoption, their intentions based on political parties.

Next, Gerry talks about raising taxes. He says it’s “all well and good” to say we don’t want to raise taxes. In fact, the mayor says he doesn’t want to raise taxes “ten times a day.”

He continues bashing the “infamous 39,” recommendations and observations from Short and Byrnes regarding the municipal budget.

Scharfenberger knocks his water bottle over around 3:50.

Some more Trenton bashing, blah blah blah. He says he thinks the public has a right to know what is going on at the state level and how it affects the local municipality.

When he mentions the “rudeness,” the mayor is referring to Short.

My favorite line: He talks about how the governing body was elected to do a job and be HONEST.

I would love to know where Scharfenberger got his definition of honesty.

Watch the video.

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Filed under Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, Middletown, Middletown Matters

New council took stage in Keansburg: VIDEOS

The borough of Keansburg had its 18th reorganization meeting today in Borough Hall.

Arthur Boden was selected by the council as this year’s mayor, and James Cocuzza as deputy mayor.

First-timer Anthony DePompa joined Lisa Strydio and George Hoff to round out the council.

The court room was packed to the brim with guests and political figures, including Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, Assemblyman Sam Thompson and Joseph Oxley, as well as many of the Freeholders.

To view my video series of the various committee members being sworn in, click on the headline for my YouTube account.

PHOTOS: (All Melissa L. Gaffney)

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Filed under Anthony DePompa, Art Boden, Borough Council, Freeholders, George Hoff, James Cocuzza, Joe Kyrillos, Keansburg, Lisa Strydio, Sam Thompson

I’ll ‘save you this little spot,’ Pam

In Part Two of “Brightbill digs a hole,” Middletown’s deputy mayor continues her comment during the committee’s workshop session on June 30, this time elaborating on her participation in the township newsletter, Middletown Matters.

Brightbill says she doesn’t believe there is a “conspiracy” to keep certain members out of the newsletter, that it is open to any member.

The newsletter was a hot topic during the meeting, as Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger assumed the 2008 municipal budget’s adoption in his “message” before it was even voted on.

Committeeman Patrick Short addresses the Middletown Youth Job Fair’s coverage in the newsletter during this clip, and why only Brightbill’s picture is in there when, in fact, both she and Short attended the event.

“I don’t even remember my picture being taken,” she says.

I wonder how many of those instances exist in her world.

Watch the video. I recommend viewing Part One (previous post) first.

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Filed under Committeeman Patrick Short, Deputy Mayor Pamela Brightbill, Middletown Township Committee

Brightbill attacks Short and digs a hole, all in four minutes

I would suggest turning up the volume on this one.

The Middletown Township Committee’s Workshop Session was . . . well documented, to say the least.

Probably one of my favorite clips of any meeting comes to us tonight during the Township Committee’s comment session.

Rather than make an actual comment, Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill decided to interrogate Committeeman Patrick Short, who had excellent responses, in my opinion, to what Brightbill probably threw out there as a red herring – a tactic to distract from any actual issue she might meagerly attempt to address.

The deputy mayor did something “stupid,” in my opinion: She asked a question rather than make a comment. This entire discussion began by her questioning Short if he “discounted” any responses he had received regarding what Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger deemed the “Infamous 39,” some things Short and Committeeman Sean Byrnes addressed regarding the 2008 municipal budget.

The budget, by the way, was adopted by a vote of 3-2.

Although a bit lengthier than most of my videos, Brightbill says a few things I think any viewer should take note of:

1 – I’m still not quite sure what a “charge back” is (around 2:20). Whatever.

2 – Please note how the deputy mayor sometimes glances in this direction; also, how she can’t even defend her own point all that well. There is no rebuttal, only babble.

3 – Apparently, Brightbill “knows” how other committee members are going to vote in advance (3:03, a very notable portion of the video). She said she “knew” Short and Byrnes were going to vote “no” for the budget, and that he and Byrnes knew how she and Mayor were going to vote for the “other resolution.” I’m pretty sure Pam unknowingly admitted that the Township Committee – thus, the township – is governed by a political majority (GOP), not by what’s best for the people.

4 – Around 4 minutes in, Scharfenberger looks rather . . . impatient? Perhaps embarrassed? Maybe just upset. He certainly begins moving around a lot.

5 – My favorite part: Brightbill admits that Scharfenberger assuming the adoption of the 2008 budget in the latest issue of Middletown Matters was a “mistake” and should not have happened.

Enjoy, Middletown. Here’s one of your candidates for Township Committee at her finest.

The following video is “Part One: Brightbill digs a hole.”


Filed under Committeeman Patrick Short, Deputy Mayor Pamela Brightbill, Middletown, Middletown Township Committee

Technical delay, my apologies

Sorry, folks, I’m having YouTube difficulties.

The video referenced below should be up shortly.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Hathaway ‘ex’ tied to Colts Neck? Hmm.

The New York Post’s Page Six Magazine from Sunday had an interesting feature about Raffaello Follieri (Anne Hathaway’s apparent ex) and the recent trouble he’s found himself in.

What I found most intriguing was this — Apparently, Follieri wrote a bad check ($215,000, to be exact) to real estate developer John Morrongiello, for which he was issued a “desk appearance ticket” by NYPD officers.

The kicker, in my mind: Morrongiello is from Colts Neck, N.J.

Follieri has alleged ties to the Vatican, Bill Clinton and even the Mob.

I’d say it’s no surprise he was dipping into New Jersey real estate, especially in Colts Neck. (Have you driven through there recently?)

The Italian playboy did eventually pay up the $215,000 and charges were dropped.

Does make me wonder, though . . .

PHOTO: (From People.com)

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Filed under Anne Hathaway, Colts Neck, Raffaello Follieri