Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Motivation to Expose

Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik (1853-1918) describes two types of zealots – the housewife and the cat. The housewife and the cat both chase mice out of the house. The difference is that the cat wants the house to have mice.

I have been accused of being the cat. Some people view me as the Torquemada of Aberdeen, a fanatic hell-bent on finding wrongdoing in every public servant and then destroying their reputations. In my defense, the facts prove otherwise.

Few people remember that I voted for Councilman Vinci. Until the recent school board elections, I never challenged a single board member’s integrity. In truth, when I began this blog, I believed the local leadership to be honest folk, maybe politically bent and wrong-minded on policy but honest nevertheless.

On October 17th, I requested an interview with both Mayor Sobel and Mayor Aufseeser, stating it would be an “honor” to meet with them. Neither one answered my request.

On January 23rd, prior to posting “Something is Rotten in Aberdeen”, I emailed Councilman Vinci and Councilwoman Gumbs for clarification on their respective land deals. Neither one responded.

In contrast, both Aberdeen Township Manager Stuart Brown and Matawan Borough Administrator Fred Carr agreed to meet with me in November despite the fact that I was a virtually unknown blogger at the time. We met over lunch and they each insisted that they pay for their own meals out of their own pockets.

At the same time, members of the school board (on both sides of the aisle) gave me their personal email addresses and have been in regular contact with me. Superintendent O’Malley, Deputy Superintendent Glastein, and Assistant Superintendent Honnick have all been very generous with their time. They are all dedicated public servants.

Despite extreme disagreements with members of the school board, I never personally attacked any of them until the recent school board elections. Seeing the underhanded electioneering techniques of the Barza wing, I could no longer ignore several reliable sources describing Barbato’s and Zavorska’s machinations.

Within the township, I have only directly attacked three people – Sobel, Vinci, and Gumbs.

I have never charged anyone with criminal action. Ethical misconduct, certainly, but never criminal.

I have also tried to be very diligent in writing the truth. I recognize that one falsehood would undermine everything I’ve ever written or said. Again and again, anonymous users have accused me of prevarication but they fail to provide a single example. Of the seventy articles posted, only once did someone point out a mistake. Upon receiving notification, I immediately removed the posting, corrected the mistake, and then re-posted the article a half-hour later after double checking all my other facts.

I’m very reluctant to publish anything without supporting documentation and I normally link to all relevant materials.

I raise the issue now because, this past Friday, some anonymous readers began attacking Joe McAleer, a township employee. At the time, I wrote

“I have never attacked a current or recent township employee. This blog would be severely hampered without the support of municipal employees and I am very grateful for all their help.

I respectfully request that my readers adopt a similar policy. Joe McAleer is a semi-public figure so I have not censored the comments. However, I hope people understand that such remarks could have a chilling effect on the assistance I receive from the municipality. The vast majority of township employees are good people and I wouldn't want them to think we believe otherwise.”

Sure enough, several hours later, I received an email from a high-ranking township employee that reads, in part,

“Honestly, do you think all our employees are stealing from the tax coffers???

Please stop questioning my integrity and the integrity of the people I work with, we are all like you, we put in a hard days work, get a paycheck and go home at the end of the day to our families. You know what our bonus is?? A tray of cookies at Christmas time.

. . . [Y]ou are really stepping beyond what you should be asking.”

(I have redacted portions of the email to protect the employee’s identity.)

This email was sent in response to a question regarding an OPRA request for information detailing certain payments.

For the record, I have never questioned this individual’s integrity. On the contrary, I happen to know he/she is an honest public servant. He/she is also well paid, earning over $100,000 a year plus a hefty pension.

So, let me be clear. I am exposing corruption and unethical behavior because it is rampant in our township. My only targets are chief administrative officers and elected representatives who have betrayed the public trust. I have gone to great pains to not besmirch anyone when unnecessary or unwarranted.

This blog gets over a thousand unique visitors a month. If anyone finds a mistake, a falsehood, or a misrepresentation, tell me and I’ll correct it. My views are my own and I welcome disputes but positions need to be grounded in facts.

Like every other citizen, I demand only one thing of our elected representatives – uphold your oaths of office to faithfully, impartially, and justly perform all the duties of office to the best of your ability. Do that and you’ll never need to worry about the Aberdeener.
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KrisMrsBBradley said...

Though I don't always, 100%, agree with what you post, I never doubt your conviction. I absolutely respect that you believe in what you are doing to the point that you have your name displayed right on this blog. Not many other "controversial" bloggers have the guts to do that. I also respect the fact that you do post links to documents to back up your claims.

This blog gets people involved in things they should really already be involved with. It gets us thinking and talking. And I have a feeling that's exactly what you mean for it to do.

matawan advocate said...

We agree with Mrsbbradley. Keep up the great blog.

Anonymous said...

Home for lunch so I thought I would check out the ABERDEENER.

I find the most recent subject to be quite interesting and at the same time all too telling.

It seems that some who log on and question the creator of the Aberdeener are likewise free to criticize and point fingers at the Aberdeener and others. That is AMERICA and that is why I love it so. But let us review, as somehow a few who take the time to criticize varying subjects and persons, including myself, care little to question or criticize the more important and costly actions of some of the subject matter itself, as well as the leadership whose decisions and more are brought to light or into question by this site.

Once again that is why I love America, as a site such as this allows people to criticize others yet allows them to ignore the subject matter that is far more important.


Anonymous said...

The community really owes you a debt of gratitude. There are not many people who use their own time and effort to provide what I consider to be a public service. You have created a public forum in which you provide documented evidence of bad public behavior by elected officials and also share your opinions on various policy issues affecting our community. You seperate fact from opinion and provide ample evidence of what you put forth as fact. I thank you and the community should thank you. We are in a time when the newspapers no longer seem to do investigative reporting, making your efforts even more important.

The people like Sobel,Gumbs and Kauff will criticize the messenger because the truth can't be refuted. They will try to reinvent the truth, but your efforts have exposed them for what they are.

You provide a great venue for our community; however, I do agree that others should stop using your site for mean-spirited attacks.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with the above statement. Eloquently stated and to the point. I fully agree that the Aberdeener shines a bright light on the darkness that evades politics, especially at the local level and I appreciate the time and effort the Host expends in informing residents of the shenanigans that goes on in our towns. It’s very disturbing to learn of appearances of malfeasance or possible signs of corruption…going on right in our own backyards. So, I agree with those who have already spoken out about this blog's purpose. This site should not be used to maliciously, unjustly or personally attack individuals. This forum is designed to rise above the "trash talk", so let's keep it that way.
Thanks Aberdeener for the time and effort you put into this blog and I hope that the postings of others haven't created a problem for you, personally. That would be very unfair and unfortunate so I hope others take this point to heart.

Thoughts shared with you by a fellow community- minded individual that wants a better quality of life...one that we deserve to have in this community!

Anonymous said...

I ask again where are the authorities and newspaper coverage? Is it not enough to show Councilman (LAND GRAB) Vinci for what he truly is, a self promoting and self serving soldier of the Democrat Capo Regime who demands or is rewarded by his puppet master Norman Kauff for his crucial vote or his silence.

Shame is not a word that politicians ever use, but they all should be shamed for their actions
on this site and in public.

Middlesex Jim

Anonymous said...

Where are the newspapers? They are hardly interested in biting the hand that feeds them. This story will never see the light of day. And if it does by remarkable chance make it in print it will be a sidebar somewhere where no one can find it.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Warren, you are performing a public service and doing so with integrity. I hope you continue to do so as the readership of this blog grows.

As for all these posts asking "where are the newspapers?", it has been my experience that the current Asbury Park Press reporter covering Aberdeen would rather reprint a statement from the mayor and council than engage in any sort of risky investigative reporting. Too bad - she could make a name for herself. I haven't seen the Independent show up in quite some time and don't even know who the local reporter is these days.

--Paul Rinear

Anonymous said...

Ditto what everybody else said! Keep it up, we need you on our side!

Anonymous said...

New guy in town with nothing to do how about cleaning up your yard. Leaf pick up was in december.

Anonymous said...

Let's get this straight your kids are too young for school. So how would you even know what's going on in the school system. What a knucklehead

Anonymous said...

"they each insisted that they pay for their own meals out of their own pockets"
And, what did you expect? Them to shower you with gratitude for being an "Aberdeen blogger?" They probably do not want to meet with you because they could care less about your meaningless blog. Yeah, you go around and play detective but you talk like you are changing the world? There are people in Aberdeen Township living on food stamps, and you are worried about local policical figures buying you lunch? Why not start a food drive for local families that are suffering the hardships of living in this corrupt town. Stop focusing on issues that ONLY IMPACT YOU DIRECTLY. I've seen your house Mr. Aberdeener, and you don't exactly look like you struggling.

Aberdeener said...


You have misread my statement. I offered to pay for their lunches and they declined.

You are obviously very angry with me. May I ask why?

Anonymous said...

I am not angry at you, Mr. Aberdeener. I am just voicing my own opinion, nothing personal of course.

Anonymous said...

That last anonymous isn't voicing an opinion, he's being an idiot who can't read.

--Jerry R.
Cliffwood Beach