Category Archives: Politics

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

Baroni heading McCain’s campaign in Jersey

Also my thoughts on politics as a religion . . . When did this happen?

You know it’s officially the season when campaign managers begin nesting.

According to an article in The Asbury Park Press, Sen. Bill Baroni, R-Mercer, will head Arizona Sen. John McCain’s campaign in New Jersey.

Baroni is a a rather young guy (about 37, according to his profile on the N.J. Legislature Web site), and I found it rather humorous he would be on board with the 71-year-old dinosaur.

Then again, if Republicanism is a “religion” (which I’ve been told by many Republicans it is), then McCain is relatively young compared to some spiritual leaders. It would also make sense he would draw such a young crowd, i.e. Baroni. Not to mention the two are permanently tied by the “R” following their names.

But please, don’t think I’m comparing McCain to Jesus, Gandhi or any other icon of such magnitude. I’m just saying, if Republicans are naive enough to think politics is the be all, end all of life – a strong point to lean on – I think they will be surprised to find weak points in the fabric of their philosophy.

It does interest me a great deal, however. To any Republican or person of the “red cloth,” answer me this: Do you believe in John McCain, above all else? Do you, too, think the war in Iraq is one of significance?

Most importantly, are you on board for eternity with all this? I’m very interested in the concept of politics as a religion. Is it all it’s cracked up to be? Do people need God, or just a corrupt politician for them to sleep at night? Because, honestly, I haven’t met one yet that isn’t corrupt, even to the smallest extent.

Please e-mail me any responses —

I look forward to reading these, assuming people write in. I also wouldn’t mind hearing from “other parties,” as every perspective in this situation is important (at least to me). Type away!

I always knew politics had its divisions, as does religion. I never truly expected the two institutions to cross paths, as they seemingly have. Should they? Hmm. How many leaders should a person have to answer to?


Filed under Bill Baroni, Democrats, Politics, religion, Republicans, Sen. John McCain

The Courier received a letter regarding my FEMA series

The Courier often receives Letters to the Editor. This one came in recently from a concerned Republican.

His concern is that our newspaper is being used as a platform for Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and his “reactive,” not proactive, response to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) situation in the Bayshore. I applaud your concern! Not many people care enough about FEMA to write such a lengthy, intellectual letter about its coverage in the newspaper.

Robert E. McLeod makes it a point to ridicule The Courier’s “journalists,” stating at one point, “I know it is easier to simply regurgitate Pallone’s press releases, but journalism does have a higher duty.”

It’s ironic, because I actually did a lot of work with Congressman Pallone and have been on the phone with him and his office quite often. No statement from Pallone was ever e-mailed to me, nor did I “regurgitate” it from a press release. I have interviewed the congressman on several occasions.

Fact: Pallone is a Democrat. Wow, really? I had NO idea. Wake up, McLeod. The Bayshore revolves around a political circus. Thanks for pointing out the obvious.

If you’ve been keeping up with my series, and if you’re actually reading the articles other than trying to decipher the headlines, than you’ll see I noted which parties, groups or persons did not return my phone calls.

If you’ll also recall, at one point Assemblywoman Amy Handlin was the subject of a story involving the “Flood map fallout.”

Fact: Most Republicans don’t return my phone calls and pretend as if I don’t exist when they see me in public. I cannot change that fact; I can only continue my persistence in presenting both sides of the story.

As for being Pallone’s “mouthpiece,” all I have to say is that journalists are exactly that: We’re the voice, you’re the bigmouths. Congressman Pallone has been persistent in making his voice heard on the FEMA issue. Other politicians have not.

I will not be accused of being one-sided when the other side chooses not to respond.

Sorry, Mr. Republican. In my opinion, if you’re been following the series, you must be fuming at this point.

As for any “neophyte” such as yourself being able to do the type of research that I have conducted: Yea RIGHT. If you’re so diligent, try checking in with your party and see that the Republicans have done little to nothing on the FEMA issue in almost the entire Bayshore, give or take Union Beach.

FEMA has said outright that any petition really does nothing within the agency – especially halt the implementation of flood maps – other than show that someone went and rounded up a whole lot of signatures. Which, by the way, apparently Handlin has about 1,300 signatures at this point. That doesn’t even encompass half of the newly affected residents who will pay flood insurance, and it doesn’t even touch the actual number of residents in the Bayshore.

I don’t create the party lines. I’m “just” a reporter.

Here’s the letter in its entirety. Enjoy :)

Pallone’s mouthpiece?

To the Editor:

Your paper’s coverage of the FEMA flood map issue confirms its role as the official media outlet of Frank Pallone’s Ministry of Propaganda.

All one has to do is type “FEMA” and “flood plain maps” into the Internet search engine of choice and up pops volumes of articles from across the country addressing this controversy. Every salt water and fresh water coast or river bank has been under review by FEMA pursuant to Congressional mandate. The most recent flurry of activity appears to have begun in 2001/2002 but some of it appears to have started in the late 1990s.

When it reaches a Congressman’s district the voters start to complain about the impact of the new maps on their flood insurance and the value of their property. The Congressman scampers to propose some “remedial” or palliative legislation or regulatory moratorium such as Pallone has done. Such actions are always “reactive,” yet your paper presents Pallone’s as proactive. That is misleading.

Interagency conflicts between FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers – or any other set of overlapping agencies – are not new. Pallone is not directly at fault for the current “problem,” but it is a creation of Congress, a body of which he has been a member for 20 years. It should have been no surprise to someone in Washington who has had the vantage point to watch this controversy unfurl across the littoral and riparian regions of the country.

If a technical neophyte such as myself can discover all of this information during an hour or so on the Internet, one has to ask why your “journalists” could not have done the same. Subheading a full page article “Veteran congressman takes federal agency to task about new maps” depicts as decisive action what is simply an after-the-fact attempt to cover one’s political nether regions now exposed to a foreseeable controversy. It is a reaction to an event which should have been no surprise, if one were paying attention.

I know it is easier to simply regurgitate Pallone’s press releases but journalism does have a higher duty.

The issue posed by the new flood maps is not new; it has simply taken this long to hit the northern Monmouth Bayshore. Pallone’s actions at this point are simply another example of his penchant for grandstanding. The Courier is apparently ready to provide the podium and assist him in scripting his presentation.

Robert E. McLeod
Republican Candidate for 6th District

Leave a comment

Filed under Bayshore Flooding, FEMA, Flood Map Fallout Series, Politics

Instinctive? More like self-humiliating

Everyone’s doing it. At least we know all the politicians are.

N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer is linked to a prostitution scandal. Former N.J. Gov. James McGreevey is a ‘Gay American.’ Former President Bill Clinton ‘didn’t have sex with that woman.’ Say what you like and over any book they put under your right hand, but let’s face it: Americans have sex and they like it dirty.

The most recent of the sex scandals involves Gov. Spitzer. According to, the Governor has been accused of “paying for sex with a high-priced call girl.” His wife is ‘standing by his side.’

The picture now plastered on every online news page is priceless: he looks emasculated and she might just be dreaming of a world where men don’t exist. I would be, anyway.

But ex-wife of former Gov. McGreevey Dina Matos says that “it’s instinctive.” She also told Matt Lauer that “It’s very easy for people on the outside to criticize and say, ‘I wouldn’t have been there. Why is she there? He disgraced her,'” but that there are many other factors to consider.

Oh really?

Because I’m pretty sure that if my husband had paid for a prostitute, I would make sure that was the last time he ever rose to the occasion.

I don’t care that they have children (three daughters ages 13, 15 and 18). I don’t care that it’s ‘instinctive’ to want to stand by someone. I really don’t even care that Gov. Spitzer is a politician.

What matters in sex scandals is how they make people feel, not to mention how you now look to the entire country.

I would feel awful. Then I would be slightly enraged. And then I would leave him, take my beautiful daughters (and his money) and tell them that “Daddy and Mommy can’t be together anymore. Daddy didn’t respect Mommy, himself or you.”

Even though Clinton was practically impeached (or whatever it was they discussed in Congress for a gazillion years), I have to admit that I still like the man. He was an excellent president. In fact, if anything, I didn’t respect him for not telling the truth, not necessarily for having sexual relations with another woman. (What are we, stupid, Bill? The stains, the lipstick, come on.)

I even questioned ole’ faithful, Hilary. What was her deal? I guess to portray a sense of unity. To show a united front in the ‘fight against integrity.’

I still believe that the U.S. can save its integrity. There’s a conscience somewhere in here. What Americans will not stop doing is having sex. And that’s fine.

Let’s just keep in mind our roles in every situation. And feelings, as cushy as that sounds. Your actions not only affect you but everyone connected to you. Mrs. Spitzer (soon to be ex, I hope) has to deal with this in front of the entire country.

It’s instinctive to want to feel like an idiot and humiliated? I don’t think so.

Prostitution involved or not, politicians are an easy target to ruin. They’re also the horniest targets, apparently.

PHOTO: From, Mr. and Mrs. Spitzer. Poor guy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dina Matos, Eliot Spitzer, Politics, Sex