Friday, January 13, 2006


This site has many readers from Howell Township. Many are very opinionated, and I have also let my opinion be known from time to time on Howell politics. This thread is for Howell and Howell Republicans.
Howell Township is Monmouth County's largest municipality in terms of land area, and is second only to Middletown in population. If you find yourself between Colts Neck and Lakewood, or between Freehold and Wall, then you have found yourself in Howell.
Howell is a diverse town, with lush green farmland in the northern sections of Adelphia and Ardena along the Route 524 corridor, strip malls and suburban subdivisions along the Route 9 corridor and some Pinelands.
Such a large and growing community is very important to winning countywide elections.

Howell traditionally has been competitive politically, with Republican leanings in recent years. The trend in the past was cyclical, with control of the Township Committee swinging back and forth every few years. This cycle has been "disrupted" since the new form of government was adopted in 1990, but Howell still swings locally.
The Howell G. O. P. has produced many fine leaders over the years. Among them are Toby Roe, Dave Shaw, Jerry Levine, Larry Butterworth, Marie Cuddy, Aaron Smith, Mary Alice Kelly and Marion Masnick. Danny Massa, who later became a Democrat, also dabbled in journalism with The Booster News. Levine was elected in 1979 on a ballot with Township Clerk Bruce Davis using a "Batman and Robin" theme. Levine later went on to marry Sally Fox, who was also on the Committee. Davis is still Township Clerk.
Until the late 80's the local organization was able to hold together. It was at that time that bitter primary battles began to occur, starting with the G. O. P. leadership withdrawing backing from Mayor Marion Masnick and Committeeman Wayne Stewart in their reelection bid. When Masnick and Stewart won the primary anyway, some leaders refused to back the nominees, resulting in the election of Democrats. It has been said that some well-known Republicans were spotted putting up Democrat signs that year. The vicious primary became the order of the day for several years.
A change in government to the Council-Manager form in 1992 required the entire 5 member governing body to run at once that year; the team led by Harvey Morrell for Mayor was nominated in the primary and was elected that year. Subsequently during the 90's Howell went Democratic.
By the 2000's the local organization was in pretty good shape, and a Republican majority was elected; in 2004
Mayor Joseph DiBella was elected.
In 2005 a rift was apparent again when Robert Walsh ran as an independent against Wayne Lucey for DiBella's unexpired council term; Walsh won.

It is important for Howell Republicans to stay united and avoid any petty bickering if they wish to avoid any more local losses; the County G. O. P. at large also depends upon good pluralities in Howell. Fighting serves only the Democrats. If Howell is to have a freeholder or other higher official, the local organization must be united and not give people the impression that "Jerry Springer Show" type behavior will be brought into the Hall of Records or the State House.


Anonymous said...

I worked for Danny Massa during Konopka's first election. And, it wasn't the Booster that Danny was The Agenda, owned by Vic Scudiery. It operated from a little office on Route 9.

I didn't know Danny was ever a Republican. But, during the first race, between Konopka and Morrell, it was really a matter of one GOP faction feuding with another one (ala Betz and Morrell).

Howell politics is always fun to watch, but never fun to be a part of. I can't imagine what Norine Kelly goes through, but it takes a leader like that to ride herd on a very opinionated and innately divided town.

I never did figure out exactly what Pauline Smith was (R or D). But, I know she was and is one of the smartest people I've had the pleasure of knowing. Same goes for Fred and Maria Portilla.

Anonymous said...

Howell Republicans have to GET united, before they can STAY united.

I doubt that will happen under the current administration, where Joe DiBella and Cynthia Schomaker are at odds with the other two elected republicans and the independent.

Too much crap trickling down from the top...good luck to Monmouth County if they select a Freeholder from Howell.

Honest Abe said...

Danny Massa had The Booster before the Agenda. About 1980. There was also a Fred Barry involved with that paper. He was not only a Republican, he was municipal chairman before Shaw.
Pauline was a Republican councilwoman.
If DiBella and Schomaker are on the short end of a 3-2 split on the council, that would effectively clip his wings, as Howell's form of government is a "weak mayor" form.

Honest Abe said...

"He was not only a Republican, he was municipal chairman before Shaw".

Massa, not Barry was chairman.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know anything about the FBI visiting a certain Asbury Rd location about a month or 2 ago?

Anonymous said...

Masnick and Stewart? The original let's pave Howell over from Freehold to Lakewood with apartments, trailer parks and condos while we are vacationing in Hovnanian's condo team? Mr. Dibellopment's hugh density housing policies make them look like land preservationists.

Anonymous said...

Your history is off Abe.

The new form of government began in 1993, not 1990. Harvey Morrell was elected in November 1992 and took office in 1993 and soon declared himself a candidate for sheriff which he lost to Joe Oxley.

Michael Ferguson was the mayor in 1990 but lost his Township Committeeman seat to Mark Ackerman who became the mayor in 1992.

Masnick and Stewart faced a primary in 1987 and there were no more republican primaries until 1991.There were GOP primaries in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2002.The democrats never had a primary.

In 2000 democrat Konopka was elected with republican Schomaker. The 2002 primary was run by Cynthia Schomaker against the regular republicans DiBella, Malave and Tobasco.

You should really take a ride past the lush green farmland in the northern sections of Adelphia and Ardena along the Route 524 corridor and see the predominant crop these days. Houses.

Honest Abe said...

Thanks for the corrections and filling in some blanks. I actually found one of Harvey's campaign flyers in my desk yesterday and it was 1992. He ran with Pauline Smith, Pete Cupo, Aaron Smith and Edward Johnson. All 5 were elected.
I was being somewhat facetious about the rapidly disappearing "lush green farmland".

Anonymous said...

Ed Johnson lost. Patricia Bennett, the democrat won.

Mary said...
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Mary said...
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Mary said...
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Sue Veitengruber said...

Ah, Norine, uh, I mean "mary said"! We all know how much time you spend researching on the web to prosecute your "enemies" and orchestrate the Jerry Springer show, Howell edition. Remember when you emailed me because you found my name on the website of the contest and you wanted to know if it was me that won the cruise, not to mention your own family's genealogy project on the web?

Remember when your candidate's campaign tried to put false information out about Bob Walsh last Fall using information on the web that was actually another Bob Walsh?
BTW, you forgot to change the spelling of "Veitengruber" to "Vitengruber" in a few places. Interestingly, the original story in the Sullivan County Review has the name spelled "Veitengruber". So much effort for what? Pennsylvania, 1856, wow, what a reach. You have proven why Honest Abe calls Howell the Jerry Springer Show.

For the record, I am not related to anyone in the story, no is my husband or his family who has only lived in New Jersey. Yes there are Veitengrubers who we are not related to. Please keep researching. It will give you less time to pay attention to what is really going on in Howell.

Anonymous said...
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Honest Abe said...

Now, now. Let's play like adults here, 'k?

Anonymous said...

Nevermind all that petty business.
I just read on that someone filed an intent to recall Mayor DiBella.
I hope he still gets the
Freeholder spot. Time to lean on friends and connections.
Keep your fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

I sure any of the petitioners would be happy for DiBella to get the Freeholder seat and give up his Mayor seat.

It will be very ugly for the Republicans if they give him the nod and then he endures a full-blown recall.

You might as well give the seat to the Dems.

DiBella's successful run for Mayor was due to the enormous amounts of pay to play money he accepted, outspending the competition 10 to 1.

It was also due to the horrendous negative campaign he waged against the dems.

HOOF announced intent for a recall of the mayor several weeks ago in a full page ad in the Howell Times.

Why is everyone so surprised that they followed through?

Is it because DiBella thought he shut them up by backpedaling away from the 6 acre zoning ?

Howellite said...
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Honest Abe said...

Let's stay away from the home life comments, 'k?

right inside said...

THAT is ridiculous.

Personal Attacks are done by people who do not have anything meaningful to say.

Howelllite, you OBVIOUSLY have nothing meaningful to say!

Honest Abe, the above post should be removed. How crazy!

Honest Abe said...

I believe you're right, Right Inside. (Interesting how some people do go out of their way to validate my "Jerry Springer Show" analogy.)
It's gone!

Anonymous said...

How can anyone think that because Joe DiBella won against an unknown (Farkas) who never held a council seat or any other position that he should be a spokesmen for the county? The only one with less expirence then Farkas is DiBella himself. He needs a map to get around town.

Anonymous said...

First, Gawron was not directly involved in DiBella's arrest and, therefore, did not engage in conduct that is protected. Second, DiBella never challenged the legality of his arrest. Instead, he questioned the manner in which the arrest was handled in light of the nature of the underlying offense.

It is undisputed that DiBella was unhappy with the manner in which the arrest was effectuated. He was not happy with the way the arresting officer treated his wife or his father. Further, he questioned why he could not have been contacted by phone or in person (DiBella, as public safety director, had an office located in police headquarters)

DiBella hates cops said...

Kelly said that at one time he had a good relationship with DiBella, and that he had campaigned on behalf of DiBella and O'Brien. His relationship with DiBella worsened in March or April 1997 (the provisional appointment of Garbowski was announced on May 21, 1997), however, and animosity between the two developed by early summer 1997. Kelly called DiBella a liar at a public meeting of the Mayor and Council in 1998, and publicly called for his resignation. Kelly also acknowledged that he has filed suit in federal district court against the Borough of Sayreville and former chief Sprague in which he seeks compensatory and punitive damages, opposing his involuntary disability retirement ("I was fired."). In fact, in a letter written by Kelly just a few weeks before he testified (R-7), he expressed his opinion that the Mayor's and Council's actions towards him were "unconscionable and mean-spirited." Kelly testified that it was his opinion that the Mayor and Council have a personal vendetta against him.

Sayreville said...

It was not one ticket. It was a lot of parking tickets. Dibella had some silly police commissioner placard that he thought would absolve him from having to obey the laws that everyone else follows. Dibella was given a courtesy call when he did not pay the tickets and still continued to ignore the fines. He refused to show up for court and the judge had enough. He issued a bench warrant for his arrest.Dibella admitted to not paying the parking ticket, for which a warrant was issued but he thought that his arrest on this newspapers called Dibella,after they had received an tip that DiBella had been arrested. He really expected the police to ignore the judge's orders beacuase he was the police commissioner.

Still not admitting that he was wrong in failing to pay the ticket, Dibella called the police chief and expressed his unhappiness with the arrest and the tip. Dibella wanted the arrest to be looked into by the chief and something done about the officers because Dibella felt that the the arrest was inappropriate and "unconscionable." He wanted the officers involved fired.

This snot nose twenty something kid tried to run the Sayreville police department with his big deal BS in political science. Dibella even said that he "did not view education and formal police training as significant factors" in employing police. He wanted officers who would work with him.

Good luck Monmouth County. You will need it. Just don't send him back here.

More from sayreville said...

Detective Anderson, SPD, knew of the existence of an arrest warrant against DiBella from the City of South Amboy, issued on April 22, 1997, for failure to pay fines on a parking ticket. He mentioned the warrant to Detective Zabrowski, SPD, who said, "I know him pretty well, I'll have him take care of it." Anderson contacted South Amboy Municipal Court to make sure that the warrant was still active, and then Anderson talked to Zabrowski, who said he had talked to DiBella but DiBella must not have paid his fines. Anderson knew that DiBella was the Public Safety Committee chairman and that DiBella had an office in the police station. Anderson said he went to the address on the warrant, DiBella's parents' home. Not finding DiBella there, he went to DiBella's residence, but DiBella was not there. When DiBella returned home, he was told of Anderson's visit and he went to police headquarters. Anderson placed DiBella under arrest. The arrest process took about one-half hour.

Anonymous said...

How many parking tickets???