Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Holmdel Township Committeewoman Serena DiMaso has withdrawn her name from consideration for replacing Freeholder Amy Handlin, according to her letter in this week's Independent.
DiMaso listed her reason as her commitment to Holmdel Township and the realization that her "leadership skills will be crucial to putting Holmdel back on the right track." DiMaso has been mentioned as a front-runner for the mayor's chair when the Republicans retake the majority on the committee at January's reorganization.
Serena DiMaso is to be commended for keeping her priorities straight. She has made a decision based upon serving her constituents. She is an up and comer in the party and is a woman to watch for the future.

My source tells me that Serena DiMaso was chosen as Mayor of Holmdel on 1/2/06, with Dr. Rocco Pascucci as Deputy Mayor.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Last week I reported that Courier was planning an article on Middlesex County Democrat money going to the Monmouth County Republicans. At the time I pointed out that it would be interesting if it was not Jack Morris redux.
I picked up a copy of Courier and it is not Jack Morris redux.
In an interesting and well-researched article, reporter Jackie Corley writes about the connection between Middlesex County Democrat boss and former state Senator John Lynch, and Monmouth County developer John "Jack" Westlake.
This pair have partnered up and, using at least two business names, have made political contributions to, among others, the Monmouth County Republican Organization and several GOP campaigns in Monmouth County.
Illegal? No.
Wrong? In my book, yes.
Stupid? Oh, yeah.
This writer has been aware for several years that Monmouth County is a "battleground county" between the John Lynch faction and the George Norcross/Jon Corzine faction of the state Democrat Party. Recent primary activities in Manalapan and elsewhere have been but a few flare-ups of this intra-party "cold war."
The door was opened for this back in the 1980s when a Democrat-controlled Monmouth County Board of Freeholders appointed Jack Westlake as Clerk of the Board. Although Westlake was only in the job a few years, he and Freeholder Harry Larrison struck up a friendship. Larrison had many Democrat friends, among them County Administrator Robert J. Collins, former Hazlet Democrat boss Eugene M. Melody,Westlake and others.
Although a Democrat, Westlake was soon found at Republican events. This appears to have created the opportunity for Lynch, who appears to have had an interest in undermining County Democrat Chairman Victor Scudiery in order to gain control of the Monmouth County Democrat apparatus. Funding the Republicans, according to the Courier, may have been Lynch and Westlake's way of creating Democrat losses, thereby eroding support for Scudiery.
Ms. Corley's article is accompanied by an editorial by James Purcell who, as an active Democrat himself, takes umbrage at Democrat leaders in one county supporting Republicans in another.
I agree with him.
The purpose of a two-party system is to offer the voter a clear-cut choice in elections. This should not be blurred by backroom deals, or even the appearance of such.
My advice to finance chairs, treasurers, elected officials and candidates is this: Be careful who you accept or solicit donations from.
Just because you receive it doesn't mean you have to deposit it.
This applies to both parties; it was not long ago that the county Democrats under Scudiery were accepting donations from gangsta developer Anthony Spalliero.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


During the 2005 13th District Assembly campaign the print media reported on a phony website called This site, started by Oompa-loompaesque publisher James Devine of Union County, was designed to make one think it was actually the site of Amy Handlin and Sam Thompson. When he was caught, he attempted to pass it off on a "high school student", (Yeah right.) and quickly took it down. The phony site was replaced by an anti-Handlin site which acknowledged it was Devine's work.
Well, the election's over and the site's still up; it is now a "sore loser" site.
He uses some real wingnut "explanations" as to why his candidate, former Assemblyman William Flynn, was defeated in the past election. He neglects the most obvious and logical one, however, that being that Flynn was a lousy legislator when he was in office and the only reason he lasted as long as he did was because he was carried by his superior running-mate, Richard Van Wagner. When Van Wagner was elected to the State Senate in 1983 (Defeating Sen. John Gallagher [R-13]), Flynn had to stand alone with then-Assemblywoman Jacki Walker in 1985. Both were defeated by Joe Azzolina and the late Joann Smith; the district has been Republican ever since.
Devine then whines about the fact that Handlin was endorsed by the Asbury Park Press. This quote is a real winner:

"It is hard to imagine that the best explanation for this is that Handlin got special treatment from Asbury Park Press editor Skip Hidlay because she is Jewish, but that is the most solid theory I have heard."

Ah, yes, when in doubt there's always the good ol' "Worldwide Jewish Conspiracy Theory." I suppose Devine's recommended reading includes The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. (Now available in Arabic.) Mein Kampf is a great book to curl up in front of the fire with, isn't it Mr. Devine? Do you believe that all Jewish employees at the World Trade Center were told in advance by Mossad to take 9/11/01 off? Sicko. This puts you right in company with Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
That quote is a tough act to follow, he doesn't top it, but his closing is priceless, too:

"Donations will be deposited into the personal bank account of this website's owner/operator and will be used to defray expenses for research and reporting about the corrupt politicians to whom this site is dedicated. If funding reaches the level required for disclosure under New Jersey law, a political committee will be established specifically for that purpose. Until then, anyone who wishes to know the names of any or all contributors needs simply to ask."

His personal bank account? REALLY. If funding reaches the level required for disclosure? How do we know when funding reaches the level required for disclosure, Mr. Devine?
How about you do this: Get the proper forms from ELEC (downloadable) and report what you've got already. Anyone contributing to such a website should be prepared to stand up, take the sheet off their head and be known.

Devine is the publisher of several weekly newspapers in Union and Middlesex Counties, namely The News Record, The Patriot and the Atom Tabloid & Citizen - Gazette. I wonder whether the views he espouses at are the same as those on his editorial pages. I wonder if his readers know. I wonder if the towns and Union County, who publish their legal notices know.
If Flynn plays with people like Devine, then it's a good thing the voters of the 13th District rejected him!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Courier publisher and Union Beach Democrat Chairman Jim Purcell wrote an interesting column in his December 14 issue. In it he points out that there are Middlesex County Democrats who are making contributions to the Monmouth County Republicans. Purcell points out that this could be construed as the Middlesex Dems undermining the Monmouth Dems by supporting the Republicans.
Purcell states that this will be followed up by his paper. This assertion is also made by his star reporter, Jackie Corley, who blogs at Bayshore Journalista. Unless this is simply going to be "Jack Morris redux", this can be very interesting. I hope he also covers the Union County Democrat bucks being wheeled to the Monmouth County Democrats.
Purcell's approach is that of a Democrat wronged. He feels that Democrat funds should go to Democrat coffers. Fair enough.
Maybe the money should just stay in Middlesex County.
From a Republican point of view, this can be disturbing, too. If in fact there is Democrat money going into the Monmouth County Republican Party, GOP members have a right to ask whether our party is being co-opted and compromised by the opposition. If this is the case, the rank-and-file must then demand answers from the leadership when reorganization rolls around in June 2006.
Let's wait and see what's in the article(s) and what supporting evidence they use.

In other matters, it has come to my attention that the Monmouth County Republican Blog, along with Bayshore Journalista and Bayshore Planet, may be written about this week by Greg Bean of Greater Media Newspapers. Although it appears that this was met with some panic at the Courier, I welcome the opportunity. The Monmouth County Republican Blog has attempted to stick to the facts, as well as spur debate and be entertaining. I look forward to Mr. Bean's column.

Friday, December 16, 2005


The Asbury Park Press reports that former Marlboro Councilman and Democratic Party Boss Richard Vuola is heading for 50 months, that's four years, two months, in federal prison for various bribery and extortion charges, also for unlawful possession of a shotgun and filing false tax returns.
Vuola, already an ex-con, has a rap sheet going back nearly two decades; it includes convictions for false swearing on a nominating petition and assault on a police officer.
A known associate of gangsta developer Anthony Spalliero, Vuola had been revered in local Democratic Party circles as sort of a beloved "grandfather figure", and has chaired the Marlboro MUA.
The Press promises a more detailed story tomorrow.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


With the retirement of Freeholder Director Tom Powers, the Board of Freeholders must select a new director from among themselves. Amy Handlin, the deputy director for 2005, is expected to resign once sworn in as a freshman Assemblywoman.
The two names being mentioned for the top spot are Freeholders Ted Narozanick and Billy Barham. Narozanick is supported because of his length of service with the county, dating back to the 1950s. Barham supporters cite their man's business experience, youth and the fact that he is part of the new generation of freeholders.
Both men are highly capable of doing the job; the county wins either way. That makes the choice that much harder. Let me know what you think.

Monday, December 12, 2005


I wasn't going to go here.
So, why, over a month after the fact, am I writing on this topic? Because I've followed it in the papers, on other blogs, and just by talking to my fellow Republicans throughout Monmouth County.
Right after his loss to the Bozo-coiffed Jon Corzine, Doug Forrester blamed his defeat in the gubernatorial race to the unpopularity of President George W. Bush. I guess it was Bush's unpopularity that drove New York City's Republican Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg from office in a pounding defeat by the Groucho Marxesque Democrat Fernando Ferrer.
Oh. What's that? Bloomberg won? A landslide? Really? Guess that shoots that theory full of holes.
Bush was a minimal factor here, if at all. But there were many factors here that all New Jersey Republicans should pay close attention to, unless they want to see New Jersey become a total one-party state.
One factor was Forrester and his campaign. This is described very well in the Nov. 16 Asbury Park Press by Carl Golden, the former press secretary to two governors. Although Forrester tried to remain on message with his "30 in Three" property tax reform plan, towards the end he was seen as casting about, on stem cell research, abortion and the public statements of the former Mrs. Corzine, not to mention Forrester's going into defense mode over Corzine's attacks upon his business. Forrester should have had Corzine on the ropes on a multitude of issues, not the least of which is Corzine's ties to the Democrat bosses. But Doug blinked.
Other reasons go beyond Forrester or any one candidate.
What reasons? Hmmm. Well, how about party organization. In the major democrat counties (Hudson, Essex, Middlesex, Camden) there was a concerted get out the vote operation. The Democrats know their voters, and they know how to get them out, with paid "volunteers", buses and other methods which they find to be tried and true. These counties work towards a goal of putting the Democrat over the top statewide, whether it be for President, Governor or U. S. Senate. Republican counties are often happy simply to have the candidate carry their county, as if that county exists in a vacuum. So the Republican nominee may post a plurality in say, Monmouth or Sussex Counties, but it won't be nearly enough to offset the numbers in the Democrat counties. Still other counties, like Burlington, are very happy to elect Republicans to county positions, but regularly go Democrat for statewide office.
Party building. This is very related to party organization. The Democrats have been working hard to expand their party into formerly Republican areas, using every means at their disposal. "Wheeling" occurs when a party boss in one county writes a contribution to the party in a different county. While both parties do it, the Democrats have it honed to a science. So you have money from the Camden Democrats going to the Bergen Democrats, and from the Union Democrats to the Monmouth Democrats. (This happens on the town level too, folks.) The result of this is that the once Republican Bergen County is now strongly Democrat. Other areas where they have made inroads include Passaic, Union, Atlantic and Mercer. Not long ago places like Gloucester were Republican, and there are people alive today who can tell you about the Republican stronghold that was Camden County.
In contrast, Republican gains in Democrat counties have been more fleeting, as the few Republican Hudson County Freeholders elected in the 1980s; Republicans in Middlesex were able to gain a short-lived majority under the leadership of County Chairman Sam Thompson. And Mercer County just lost its last county-wide elected Republican, County Clerk Cathy DiCostanzo. Mercer Republicans actually had a pretty long run with County Executives Wilbur Mathesius and Robert Prunetti, but were never able to hold on to freeholder seats.
No organized popular statewide opposition. What I mean is like in the 90s with Hands Across New Jersey. While property taxes and corruption continue to bedevil the New Jersey taxpayer, along with high auto insurance which just never seemed to go away, there is no organized forum, populist if you will, for people to vent their frustrations. Certainly nothing big enough for the politicians to take notice. "Hands" began as a result of peoples' frustration with tax increases levied by former Democrat Governor James Florio; it mushroomed into a non-partisan movement which ultimately led to Florio's 1993 election loss to former Somerset County Freeholder Director Christine Todd Whitman. Although there are certainly major issues today in New Jersey, it seems that the Hands (that were) Across New Jersey have folded (If I'm wrong, please correct me!) , and nobody has felt strongly enough to start something new. A shame. Hands could have kept both parties in line.
I could keep going on. But the bottom line is, if Republicans want to ever see the inside of the Governor's Mansion again, or to be a U. S. Senator from New Jersey again, our party must actually stand for something, become much more dynamic and be more organized on a grass-roots level. Including turning blue counties red.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Spalliero Trail

Time to move on for the time being from Freeholder speculations. The ensuing "Howellanche" of traffic and comments was welcome, but there's other news going on out there, too.
Today we return to the ongoing tale of Monmouth County's gangsta developer, Anthony Spalliero. The Asbury Park Press is running a four-part series this week on the ups and downs of Spalliero's corrupt career.
An interesting characteristic of his career is the trail of violence which follows him. The latest example is that of the late Petra Johnson, Spalliero's ex-comare who died in Florida on November 20. It appears that Johnson, a recently recovering alcoholic, fell face-first into a trash can and inhaled the plastic bag, suffocating. Two black eyes were said to be the result of a fall while walking her dog.
Some have said that Johnson's death is an eerie parallel to the apparent suicide of Marjorie Alexander, mob boss Peter Gotti's moll.
Others, too, have not fared well when they crossed Spalliero.
In September, there was the 22-year-old Brookdale College student whom Spalliero attempted to "take for a ride."
In 2004, on Thanksgiving Day, County Corrections Officer Allan Brunner is said to have committed suicide in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Keyport. Brunner was to be interviewed by the FBI the following day with reference to political corruption in several Monmouth County towns. Eleven officials of both parties were later arrested in the big "Operation Bid Rig" bust. Some of these officials have had ties to Spalliero.
In 1998, Lino Fasio was killed along with Eric Shibla in a mysterious plane crash. Fasio had gotten into a vicious contest for control of the former Marlboro Airport. Spalliero wanted to build houses on the site. Fasio's plane allegedly struck a bird and crashed.
Maybe it was a bird that put the bag on Petra Johnson's head.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Some people are starting to express interest in the Freeholder vacancy expected when Amy Handlin resigns.
We have already heard from Rosemarie Peters; will she or won't she? A member of the Republican Committee reported to me that she had received a 2-page letter today from former Wall Township Mayor Robert McKenna. McKenna, who was active in the movement to replace former County GOP Chairman William F. Dowd, mentions hearing from Holmdel Township Committeewoman Serena DiMaso. And today I got an anonymous comment posted on this blog stating that former Aberdeen Township Committeeman Gus Toomey was throwing his hat in the ring. "Uncle Freddy" mentioned in the previous post some names from around the county such as Upper Freehold Township Mayor Salvatore Decidue, Hazlet Township Committeewoman Bridget Antonucci and Howell Township Mayor Joe DiBella. So far, nothing official from the last four, but that can change.
There is also an opening expected when veteran Freeholder Ted Narozanick is expected to not seek another term on the board.