Category Archives: Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger

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

Middletown matters? Then stop printing bull and learn how to budget properly

I picked up the June issue of Middletown Matters. I did this for one reason: To read Mayor Gerard Scarfenberger’s “message.”

I just put it down and am utterly disgusted. I can only imagine how discomforting this is to residents who know what actually goes on behind Middletown doors.

Firstly, the mayor addresses the “adoption” of the 2008 municipal budget. Um, hello Gerry, you have to vote on that tonight at 8 p.m. in Town Hall. Are you kidding me? So assumptive, it makes me want to puke. Yes, the ridiculous budget will probably get passed because of the Township Committee’s Republican majority (gag), but that is certainly nothing to be proud of.

I was also greatly disturbed by the manner in which the mayor depicts taxes. He makes it seem as if residents “merely” contribute some hundred dollars to the township, while the rest of their tax money goes to other locations. Yes, that is the process — The municipal budget is only a portion of a resident’s tax bill. But in no way does that make deceitful spending, wasted money and fiscal gluttony OK. Don’t make excuses, mayor.

Scharfenberger also bashes Trenton, as usual. Laughably, he notes how Middletown’s budget “process,” if that’s what he wants to call GOP-controlled spending, is lauded and used as a state model. And he thinks spending is poor in Trenton now?? WONDER WHY, if they’re using models like Middletown. I’m scared for my state, and if I lived in Middletown . . . I’d be scared out of my mind.

He also voices displeasure with unfunded state mandates, such as a “truck wash.”

“Thus our ‘reward’ for operating the town in cost-efficient, fiscally conservative manner is to have the small return on all of the money we send to Trenton cut even further,” Scharfenberger writes. I’m not even going there. EVERY municipality had cuts in state aid. I don’t know why the mayor is so worried anyway, Middletown will just bond what it can’t fund, thus leaving a legacy of decades of debt.

Mm, but I think my favorite part of this message was when Scharfenberger said there was a budget hearing during which the mayor, the deputy mayor and township administrator heard from department heads where cuts were made. WOW, not like there are three other people on the Middletown Township Committee or anything. Not to mention a chief financial officer attended that hearing. And an attorney. And a clerk.

Oh, and a great majority of the public. Guess they don’t “matter” all that much, huh?

I feel sorry for any resident who takes this message as it is intended: genuinely. There is nothing true or genuine about it. It’s the perfect example of certain elected officials feeding the public what they want it to know.

All in all, I should have expected this b/s. We are talking about Middletown, after all.

The vote on the 2008 municipal budget will take place tonight at 8 p.m. in Town Hall. Contrary to the mayor’s apparent intentions, the public is invited.

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Filed under 2008 Municipal Budget, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, Middletown

No candy here: Pam Brightbill gave out devil horns during the Memorial Day parade

It’s really a shame Middletown has to suffer through elected officials such as Deputy Mayor Pamela Brightbill.

I was covering the Memorial Day parade today – probably the township’s 50th or so – when I noticed I was actually being waved to Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger.

Side note: Thanks Ger, I really appreciated that. You didn’t make me feel as much like an outcasted, syphilitic leper as you normally do. Then again, maybe I was dreaming and you were waving to someone behind me.

Back to my wonderful experience with Pam . . .

So all of a sudden there they were, Middletown’s finest, right in front of me. The parade procession had stopped and depositied two smiling faces directly within the scope of my lens.

I said hello and asked if they would pose for a picture.

Scharfenberger didn’t answer, being that Brightbill usually takes the liberty. She looked at me and said something along the lines of, “No.” She had that attractive scowl on her face that only Pamela Brightbill can contort through facial expression.

I snapped a few pictures anyway, as she quickly turned away.

As they began walking down the road, a man following them in the procession said, “Pam, why don’t you two pose for a picture?”

Keep in mind these events took place over the course of a few seconds.

She looked over her shoulder at him and gave another one of those prolonged scowls and said some sarcastic remark I didn’t quite pick up. I can only imagine it had something to do with me.

The man said, “What, is she a democrat?” [Gee, I didn’t know Middletown Republicans were known for their dislike of Democrats.]

At that point, Brightbill – still with scowl, now hinted with a sarcastic smile I’m sure she thought was clever and cunning – looked at him, said something along the lines of, “No, she’s with The Courier,” and proceeded to put her finger to her head and make the gesture commonly associated with devil horns.

Pamela Brightbill referred to me as the
devil.

Now I’m pretty sure Pam didn’t think I was still watching. Guess what? I was.

Middletown should be exceptionally embarrassed

An elected official should never, ever make gestures like that of any kind, even if actions were to merit it. Mine did not. I have never deserved to be referred to as “the devil” in my dealings with Middletown elected officials.

I am always respectful and mindful of the difficult plight they face in the township. I have never been anything but pleasant and polite in my passings with Deputy Mayor Brightbill, in particular. In fact, if I recall, it was me who took the liberty to introduce myself to her at a meeting (not a township meeting). She was kind of busy though, being overtly polite to James Hogan, even taking a flyer from him that demonizes Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J.

For her to assume all reporters from The Courier to be Satan-like is quite a statement. I’m also pretty sure she didn’t always think that of J.J. Sullivan III, former Courier Staff Writer.

I would venture to say Pam thinks all Middletown Democrats – maybe even all Democrats on the face of the earth – to be the devil’s bedfellow.

Pam, here’s the thing: With elections coming up soon, perhaps you should take a course in public relations. You’re the one up for reelection, not me. I’m sure the taxpayers wouldn’t appreciate such a gesture, and neither did I.

Let it be duly noted that I have reported the event as it happened. Some might see my description of Brightbill’s actions to be a bit elaborate. Republican or not, it was uncalled for and entirely rude and disrespectful in its intent.

Unless you were there – and you probably weren’t – take my word for it. Pamela Brightbill just made her bed for the next couple of months, and it doesn’t look pretty.

PHOTO: I caught Pam with the finger en-route to make the devil-horn gesture at Middletown’s Memorial Day Parade today. (Melissa L. Gaffney)

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Filed under Deputy Mayor Pamela Brightbill, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, Memorial Day Parade, Middletown

Scharfenberger on MoreMonmouthMusings: When blogs fight back

The Middletown Township Meeting was rather eventful tonight, with the committee taking on the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Council on Affordable Housing and Art Gallagher’s blog.

. . . Yes, that’s correct.

In addressing the municipal budget, resident and M’town Democrat for Township Committee James Grenafege noted an article in The Asbury Park Press regarding the “cell phone tower deal.”

He also mentioned Art Gallagher’s blog, MoreMonmouthMusings, and the post regarding monetization in Middletown.

In his comments to Grenafege, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger said he has been dealing with cell towers for many years and was told by several engineers how towers would be “obsolete” in 10 years or so. This was about five years ago, according to Scharfenberger.

The mayor said this lease is “the best way to protect [Middletown] from something that might become obsolete.”

Scharfenberger went on to say that this is “more than Mr. Gallagher and his blog would know, and is really more than he would be expected to know.”

Coming from an avid observer (me): The mayor’s words were soaked with condescension.

I wonder if Scharfenberger has ever even read Art’s blog firsthand?

Blogging is the way of the future. If the mayor would like to discredit hundreds of thousands of bloggers worldwide by alluding to the fact that blogs are insignificant and should not be referenced (ever), he might want to think twice before he disgruntles the blogosphere.

Particularly when the majority of online journalism is grounded in fact.

Just a thought.

Don’t worry Art, I wouldn’t take it personally. Scharfenberger had nothing better to comment on, considering Deptuy Mayor Pamela Brightbill wasn’t there.

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Filed under Art Gallagher, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, Middletown, MoreMonmouthMusings

What a turnout: Courier exclusive

The Middletown Elks Lodge No. 2179, in conjunction with the Port Monmouth Parent Teacher Association, hosted a very successful spaghetti dinner tonight in Belford.

Former New Jersey Devil Ken Deneyko was there to support the PTA in its effort to raise money for a new school playground.

There were over 300 people in attendance to see Deneyko, take pictures and have a great meal.

A picture is truly worth 1,000 words, and then some.

PHOTO: SMILES Myself, Ken Deneyko, Daniel Scharfenberger and the mayor. (Dennis Boccasino)

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Filed under Ken Daneyko, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, Middletown, Middletown Elks Lodge, N.J. Devils

M’town panel weighed in on drug and alcohol prevention

The Middletown Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse presented “Reaching Out” tonight in town hall.

The room was packed full of fifth-graders and their parents, many eager to question the panel about the use, prevention and consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.

The panel consisted of Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante, Police Chief Robert Oches, Judge Richard Thompson, Superintendent Karen Bilbao and Middletown High School South student Ashley Bedell.

The Wheeler sisters, Erin and Alison, also spoke about their brother DJ, who was killed in an alcohol-related car accident.

The panel, all members of the alliance, opened the event stating why programs like this are important in a community such as Middletown.

The students were allowed to pose questions and, as Mike Slover put it, the session was meant to “hammer” the panel: Slover wanted the tough questions asked.

Some of the questions included the following:
  • Where do drugs come from?
  • What would you do if you knew your child was addicted to drugs?
  • What is the most addictive drug?
  • What is the most common drug in Middletown? and, my personal favorite,
  • How do you [the leaders of the township] deal with the pressure?

The mayor fielded that last question, and his candid answer had the room fit to be tied. As to his answer, he replied: “It’s not so bad. Out of the 69,000 residents in Middletown, only a handful come to yell at me at the meetings.”

The other 68,997 prefer to grumble in priviate, I guess.

On another note, it was a great event I think deserves more attention. These kids are 10 years old: They’re 10 and they’re already learning how to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. When I was 10, I don’t even think I knew what drugs were. My, how times have changed.

Let’s hope programs like these truly do create safer and more comfortable environments for the young people to grow up in.

To read more about the alliance, its programs and “Reaching Out,” pick up next week’s issue of The Courier.

PHOTO: CANDID The mayor and township administrator take drug and alcohol prevention very seriously, as all they could crack were bad jokes the entire night. (Melissa L. Gaffney)

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Filed under Anthony Mercantante, Ashley Bedell, Chief Robert Oches, Karen Bilbao, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, Middletown, Mike Slover, Richard Thompson, The Wheeler Family