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.


Anonymous said...

Your forgetting John Merla. He will be vindicated and all you people who all said he was finished will come back to John kissing his ass and asking him for favors. With all that man did for the republicn Party how soon you forget!

Honest Abe said...

Wrong. Merla's going down. Count on it. I don't see him beating this one. And as for what he did for the Republican Party... You mean like shaming the good Republicans of Keyport, the ones who didn't get caught up in his corruption schemes? Or advancing the Democrats in Keyport? The best thing Merla did for the Republican Party was to leave it!

Honest Abe said...

Asking him for favors? HA!

Sharon Carpenter-Migliaccio said...

I am confused. Cynthia Schomaker expressed interest last year, as did Peter Tobasco, but it will be Joseph DiBella from Howell?

Why would he want it? He has repeatedly said he would finish his term as mayor. Should we be looking for a replacement?

Sue Veitengruber said...

No, Sharon, he would probably hold on to both seat. But first, he has to be nominated and elected.

Howell did not have 100% attendance at the last caucus, and not all of those from Howell supported Cynthia because of her Howell track record. The Colts Neck Crossing Hearing did not help her with votes from other towns. I think Pete Tobasco will sit this one out because he recognizes that the issues in Howell probably do not work in his favor. Pete, however, does know how to mend fences, very well, so he may throw his hat in the ring for Narozonick's seat.

I was very impressed by Serena DiMaso at the last caucus. I think she has a great deal of potential and would serve Monmouth County well. She's a very smart, well-spoken lady. Robert McKenna's letter was very well written. He will probably generate support from the southern and western part of the county.

Almost certainly there will be two seats up in November, although Amy Handlin could hold on to her freeholder seat until after the September filing deadline for vacancies, and this leave her seat to be filled on it's regular rotation in 2007. As long as she gives adequate attention to both positions she would weather any criticism that she is double dipping. After all what could the Ds say? They have a long list of legislators who hold dual positions around the state. Perhaps one way to blunt any criticism would be for her to forgo or donate the freeholder's salary.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, Rosmarie Peters blows all of the discussed candidates out of the water. Middletown is one of the few places where local Republicans did not have problems getting reelected despite having O'Grady on the Committee. If you look at Holmdel, Wall, Hazlet and Howell, they all had very close or losing races that shouldn't have been. Rosmarie will pull huge numbers from Middletown and run well countywide.

Jackie Corley said...

McKenna will pull more seats than Peters on the floor, especially if DiMaso takes the Holmdel votes. And McKenna was a big player in MC Gop for Change, so he'll pick up a bunch of Bayshore towns that are disenchanted with Carton.

Peters may have a better shot than McKenna at a general but that doesn't necessarily speak to what will happen at the convention.

Honest Abe said...

Folks, I have a new post which you might find interesting. It's ao Anthony Spalliero.

Anonymous said...

It's time for change ! We need Gus Toomey on the Freeholders. No more GOP party hacks or empty suits !
Gus will do what is right by the PEOPLE !!

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how many clueless candidates are entering this race. There may be a number of loud mouth anti-Middletown folks, but few of them have a clue. The entire Monmouth GOP for Change had a lot less to do with the political skills of the actor's involved then it did with a long running effort to replace Dowd who had lost touch with reality. Niemann was the default candidate in the effort merely because nobody else wanted the job. Now those who had supported Niemann have turned on him and are already looking for alternatives. The Bayshore group is real weak, particularly in the post-Monmouth 11 world. Plus, Toomey (whoever he is) and Antonucci will split Bayshore votes. That is, if they all stay in til the end. Under the Bayshore theory, Handlin would have lost the convention to Azzolina. Further, the Monmouth line is much weaker then it used to be, as is the organization to deliver it.

Anonymous said...

Abe, Rosemarie Peters is very much a candidate for Amy's seat on the freeholder board.

Sharon Migliaccio said...

I have to agree with Jackie. This is a tough call.

How deep is the Freeholder candidate bench? Especially if Ted Narozanick retires?

Who has been "groomed" to step up?

What I have seen are people expressing interest, being passed over, but instead of mentoring those individuals, next year we have the same fray when a seat is available.

If the bench is only 1 or 2 deep with viable candidates, maybe Amy Handlin should step down until we have someone who can deliver a decisive win in the following election

Sharon Migliaccio said...

I meant Amy should NOT step down.

How do you modify on this site???

Sue Veitengruber said...

There is a deep bench of interest. And there are some very good candidates out there. It would make sense for Amy Handlin to stay on the Freeholder board for awhile to provide some transition for the newer freeholders. I have no doubt that Lillian Burry will roll up her sleeves and get right to work on whatever is assigned to her. She's a real dynamo!

Jackie Corley said...

I agree with, Sue -- Lillian is going to be an incredible freeholder. I've met her on a number of occasions and she is a woman of strength and integrity who's not going to take any guff from anyone. Definitely a positive force to be reckoned with.

But it goes to show you that a candidacy can come from an unexpected place. I believe DiMaso and Schumacher were the front runners for the Powers slot before the speeches were made on the floor. Lillian came out of left field and I think the Republican Party is stronger than it would have been had she not come out of the box.

Sue Veitengruber said...

I think Lillian was the front runner from the beginning. Her campaign was more of a quiet "build widespread support" activity, than Schomaker's. Schomaker really did not have a lot of support across the county, although she had a few big names in her pocket. One of the reasons being given to support Schomaker was that "she had it in the bag". Obviously that was not the case because Lillian received AT LEAST 51% of the vote on the FIRST vote!

One thing that hurt Schomaker was her "testimony" in the Colts Neck Crossing hearings in Howell, which interestingly were attended by the former MCGOP executive director, Dan Gallic. And not everyone from Howell supported her. You can't spend four years distancing yourself from the GOP county committee and running a primary against that committee, and expect everyone's support.

I think Serena got a late start and many county committee members were already committed to Lillian. Serena really would make a great freeholder.Her speech was terrific.

Jackie Corley said...

Despite public claims by the MC Republican Party to the contrary, Gallic was still heavily involved in county politics, at least up until the end of this election.

I know this first hand, though I can't really say how since I would get a few good people in the party in trouble.

If Gallic is such a necessary part of the party, fine, keep him on. But why make public statements to the contrary? Because Courier found out about an alleged cult connection? If it was something deemed enough of a PR nightmare to deny Gallic's association with the party, why was it not enough to actually keep him out of the party politics?

I don't quite understand Niemann's desperate need to have Gallic around, but lying publicly about his association with the party irks me more than if they said "bite me Courier," said he was being kept on and did so. At least that would have shown some spine.

Anonymous said...

Gallic is a moron.

Honest Abe said...

How do you modify on this site???

Sharon, there's a button to the right of "login and publish" called preview. You can use that first and proof your comments; otherwise once it's posted it's etched in stone."
Even I can't modify anything after that.

Sharon Migliaccio said...

Your right Sue, deep bench of interest, but deep bench who come truly live up to the standards of our county?

Not deep at all, only becasue the GOP is acting like it has ADD lately.

I have a lot of respect for Lillian Burry, and I would love to see her and the rest of the Freeholders develop a way to bring people up through the ranks.

I'm not seeing that right now.

Too much infighting.

Sharon Migliaccio said...

Thanks, honest abe, I'll try to remember...

Sue Veitengruber said...

Then there is this story on the 21st district convention:

Bramnick wins Assembly seat at muddled GOP special election convention


GARWOOD, February 18 - At least, there were no punches thrown.

That might be an optimist's way of describing the order and civility at tonight's 21st legislative district Assembly special election convention.

After a delayed start, heated floor debate, an impromptu chairmen's meeting, and the appointment of a surprise convention chairman, Jon M. Bramnick of Westfield was finally elected to replace Thomas H. Kean, Jr. in the New Jersey General Assembly.

Bramnick, a former Plainfield councilman who now chairs the Westfield Republican Party, bested former Assemblyman James J. Barry, Jr., Millburn Mayor Thomas McDermott and Warren Township Planning Board Chairman Dan Gallic on the first ballot.

But his victory was not as smooth as the final margin might suggest.

From the moment it was gaveled to order at 8:30 -- a full half-hour after its scheduled start time -- it was apparent that this convention would not be as neat and tidy as the one-candidate affair last month that elected Kean to the Senate.

Union County GOP Chairman Ronald Frigerio -- who oversaw last month's vote -- had planned to serve as the chairman of tonight's convention. But what was expected to be a routine acclamation vote appoint him to that spot was loudly interrupted by one of the candidates.

Seated in the back of the room -- with his fellow non-Union County committee members -- Gallic demanded that the rules of the convention be voted on before the election of a chairman. Frigerio attempted to sidestep the request, but Gallic persisted, citing Roberts Rules of Order.

Frigerio then asked the Union GOP's counsel to outline convention procedure, but Gallic rocketed from his seat again.

"I don't believe I asked you to serve as counsel!" he exclaimed.

The attorney then outlined the proposed convention rules, to which Gallic offered an amendment: that no candidate who shares a hometown with a current 21st district legislator be allowed to run for the Assembly opening.

Such an amendment would have effectively killed Bramnick's candidacy, as he and Kean are both Westfield residents.

Bramnick supporters vociferously objected to Gallic's proposal, with some shouting derisive remarks at him as he continued his demonstration.

Frigerio then attempted to regain control of the convention, seeking voice votes to adopt the rules and name himself as chairman. Gallic again objected and nominated Morris County GOP Chairman John Sette for the post. The room in chaos, Gallic proceeded to take his own voice vote, and proclaimed Sette the chairman.

At that point, Frigerio left the podium and, after a few minutes of confusion, Republican State Committee Co-Chairman C. Richard Kamin, a former Assemblyman and ex-Morris County Republican Chairman, told the crowd that the GOP chairmen from the 21st district's four counties were meeting to discuss the rules and would emerge with a resolution shortly.

Many 21st district Republicans from outside of Union County had been upset prior to the convention about the way Frigerio had organized the convention.

He had been given that task because Union controls the largest chuck (about 60 percent) of the votes.

But some had complained that Frigerio had not met with GOP leaders from Morris, Essex and Somerset counties
to discuss rules. There was --and remains -- confusion about what procedures Title 19 of state law mandates for special elections, and critics said Frigerio had not addressed these questions.

The frustration of non-Union Republicans might have boiled over when they were forced to wait outside the convention hall for 30 minutes after the scheduled start time. That was because Union Republicans were busy inside, holding a mini-convention to pare their field of candidates down from four to one.

That process itself took two ballots, with Bramnick ultimately beating former Cranford Township Committeeman Phillip Morin, by just three votes, 99-96. Summit Councilwoman Kelly Hatfield was eliminated on the first ballot.

The main convention was gaveled back to order at 9:15, after a 35-minute delay. Frigerio told the crowd that the chairmen had agreed that Kamin should serve as convention chairman.

A voice vote ratified that decision. Kamin then proposed the same rules that Frigerio had originally outlined. Gallic offered his amendment again, but quickly reconsidered and pulled it back.

Each candidate addressed the convention for several minutes.

Barry stressed his Trenton experience and stuck to traditional Republican themes.

McDermott eschewed ideological talking points and instead appealed to committee members to pick the candidate with the widest appeal in the general election.

Gallic -- whose Somerset County residence helped make him a longshot -- used his speech to attack the special
election process, saying it had been more about geography than issues.

"My house lies 150 feet from the Union County border, but it might as well be 150,000 feet," he said.

Bramnick -- speaking last -- tried to play the conciliator, praising his opponents and pledging to serve all four counties.

"I expect to represent each and every person in the same way," he said. "I will never ask you where you live. I will ask how I can help you."

The results suggest that geography was a major factor in shaping people's votes.

There were 167 eligible Union voters, and Bramnick won 137 votes. The Union votes he didn't win apparently went to Barry, who won 51 total votes. His home of Morris County had 31 voters at the convention. Essex had 24 voters present, almost identical to McDermott's total of 25. And Gallic's tally of 19 was close to Somerset's 16 voters present.

Interestingly, there were 196 Union voters at the mini-convention; according to official tallies, the drop-off came largely from Cranford -- Morin's hometown -- where 22 of 44 voters left between conventions.

Afterwards, Gallic called the special election process "heavy-handed" and said it prematurely forced candidates and their ideas from the race in the name of geographic interest. He refused to rule out a primary challenge this year.

"I would have to assess my support in the grass-roots," Gallic said. "My strength is in the grass-roots."

Barry said he lost a number of votes when the convention was rescheduled from last Saturday to tonight because of the snowstorm. The former four-term legislator and state Consumer Affairs Director said a primary is on the table.

"A primary election is the best way to select candidates to represent a district," he said.

Of the defeated candidates, only McDermott ruled out running in the primary.

As for the newly elected Assemblyman, Bramnick predicted the contentious nature of the convention wouldn't hobble his efforts to represent the entire district.

"I have to work so people from every county feel as if I'm their representative, and I'm sure I can do that," he said.

Bramnick brushed off questions about a possible rematch with Barry and Gallic in a primary.

"I hope in a couple of months we can sit down and talk and we can figure out what their needs are," he said. "They seem like good guys."

Anonymous said...

Now that Mark Coren is retiring from Aberdeen is a good opportunity for us to bring him back here in Howell. He was our first and best manager and had been named "Manager of the Year" by his peers. We need him amd we need him now to clean up this mess!
Hell, I would even put him up for freeholder in Handlin's place.

Sharon Migliaccio said...

OK, but does Mark Coren want to come back to Howell?

There are many professionals that avoid Howell like the plague.

No wonder, I have visited many municipalities that conduct themselves with docorum. In fact, I spoke at one municipalities and after the meeting adjourned , the council President came to me and APOLOGIZED for the meeting running late. The time? 9:15 in the evening.

Howell's council meetings don't end until 11, 12 1, 2, you name it.

Jackie Corley said...

It's my understanding that Mark Coren is retiring for good.

Anonymous said...

Coren is a crook.

Anonymous said...

And your understanding Ms Corley is based on the fact that Courier is the Aberdeen Administration's "house organ?"

Jackie Corley said...

Exactly, Anonymous. That's why I went to Mike Borg's house and wrote a positive story about the Aberdeen Republicans the Thursday before the election.

I interviewed Mark yesterday. He said he hasn't ruled out returning to township management, but he doesn't have much of a desire to do so. At any rate, he's definitely taking a year to relax before he figures out what he's going to do.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't have much of a desire to return to township management either, especially with all these investigations! Must be tough being a town manager nowadays. I'd take a year off and wait for all the hullabaloo to die down a bit.

HOOF said...

Looks like Mayor Joe DiBella is having a hard time in Howell. Pg 7 of The Howell Times 12/16/05,FULL PAGE AD about the mayor's involvement in the MasterPlan, his doublespeak, and a call to residents to RECALL anyone on the council who votes for downzoning 2 acre to 4 or 6 acre or increased buffers.

Stop Mayor Joe DiBella and his band of Pirates before it is too late! the header cries.

Some serious problems in Howell for the mayor...some serious problems for the republicans at the county level.

Does the county need more problems?

Anonymous said...

DiBella is a political ladder climber. How is it that he was able to move to Howell and leave the scandals of his former elected political life in some other town? Now that he's in a scandal again, I wonder if he will put his house up for sale and move to another town to seek elected office.