Friday, February 20, 2009

A Litmus Test for Aberdeen's Town Council

Lately, Aberdeen’s town council has been taking steps, baby steps to be sure but steps all the same, in the right direction. I maintain we should encourage the council so long as it continues to move in the right direction. Others hold we should distrust anything the council does because it has so frequently betrayed our confidence. Both views are valid and founded upon recent events.

  • The town council has recently drafted a pay-to-play ordinance that would open most of the professional services to competitive bidding
  • In the prior election, save Councilman Minutolo who was forced off the ticket, all the council members ran for re-election. In the upcoming election, it appears only the rookie (and lifetime Republican), Councilman Tagliarini, will run again, this time for mayor. (Those who feel they can discount the Democrats in November’s election should reconsider. The Dems are assembling a formidable slate)
  • Councilman Vinci will finally pay his fair share of property taxes and is no longer receiving “consulting fees” from the party
  • The town passed an ordinance to have a separate vote on council members’ salaries so that it would no longer be “hidden” or “buried” in another ordinance
On the flip side,
  • The town council doesn’t need to wait for an ordinance to end pay-to-play
  • Financial shenanigans continue – Bill Shenton, new chair of the Aberdeem Democratic Executive Committee, didn’t just forget to file last quarter’s D-1 report with the state. He and Mayor Sobel created two new committees – One (ostensibly) for Mayor Sobel’s primary campaign and the second (even more unlikely) for Councilman Perry’s campaign. Excluding the names of the campaigns, Sobel's financial filing is identical to Perry's financial filing – identical contributions, identical contributors, identical dates, etc., including simultaneous $1,500 contributions from our good friends at CME. Worse, both candidates will be announcing in the next month or so that they have decided to not seek re-election - $8,250 for two local primary campaigns the party knows won’t happen. (Disclaimer: Councilman Perry is not involved in any party fundraising)
  • The township is pushing through another Cifelli development, this time under the guise of COAH
  • The town continues to reimburse homeowners $1 for confiscated land
(The APP’s recent headline that CME won a $402,259 grant to perform a remedial investigation of the South River Metals site is a rehash of a story from last April.)

Considering the conflicting data, I’d like to propose a litmus test for the town council –
  1. Open all professional service contracts above $5,000 to competitive bidding
  2. Give landowners fair compensation for land seized
  3. Identify all people and entities that contribute to local campaigns and do business with the township
I’m even willing to make this easy on the town council and give the benefit of the doubt for 2 out of 3.

Should anyone complain that my litmus test is too difficult, please let me know which request is unreasonable. >>> Read more!

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Will we ever see any movement with regard to developing the train station area? I'm starting to think it's just a pipe dream. The elected officials in both aberdeen and matawan like to talk about it, but we NEVER see any movement with respect to it. What are they waiting for?

Follow the Money said...

We will continue to see evidence that Kauff and the Dems are still pushing Silver Oaks for the Train Station. Silver Oaks was selected after contributing $5,000 to the Monmouth County Dems through it's Dean Development parent company (proof:http://www.elec.state.nj.us/ElecReport/ContribByContributorsActiveXViewer.aspx?Page=S&CommitteeName=dean+development

This contribution was made while Kauff was the township attorney and Coren was the Manager -- and we remember how vocal they were about Matawan accepting donations.

Silver Oaks and Dean Development are owned by Bill Bocra -- who the Aberdeener wrote a nice biography about last year: http://www.aberdeener.com/2008/04/of-mice-and-men-and-women.html

The arrogance is astounding. And now we know that they've been milking their pay-to-play cow for two campaigns they knew would not happen.

They have no shame.

Aberdeener said...

We don't have the roads to service a transit village. Ignore every political promise until you hear we have secured the money to build more roads.

Anonymous said...

Well what roads are needed for the train station? Why don't they come up with a plan already? If they had any semblance of a plan for what they want to do and the roads needed to support it, they could have asked for funds from the new stimulus plan. I'm not asking them to start work on it tomorrow, but it would be nice to see that some kind of progress is being made.

NSectionJoe said...

In regards to the supposed train station redevelopment plan and having lived in the area for over forty six years now. I can assure you of one thing absolutely. The vision expressed by both of these towns will never be fulfilled no matter what grandiose sketches or miniature scaled models are presented. As a taxpayer I doubt that it will ever happen.

It is not how some have represented in the past as being stalled for questionable reasons or infighting among our community leadership. Or even as some have suggested supposed improper influence garnered from developers of questionable reputation or with less then guaranteed financial means to ensure such a developmental undertaking would ever really be completed.

In my opinion the one and only one reason it will never happen is money. It was suggested by a former Town Manager of Aberdeen that the costs necessary to facilitate such a transit village would be $164,000,000.00. In these economic times and with a state so encumbered by massive debts, such a project would in my opinion never come to fruition, overpriced stimulus plan or not aside.

All that seems to ever be accomplished other then the obvious verbose discussions in newspapers is that the supposed improvements would save our communities and bring forth improved stature or individual or combined town recognition.

And then there are the plans for such an undertaking, plans which always require costly study after costly revised study, costly plan changes after costly plan changes and sadly the unfulfilled expectations of local businesses and residents are always forgotten in the process.

I look at the Transit Village sign located on main Street and find it to be a constant reminder of what is wrong with leadership when it publicly flaunts its supposed improvements, that never seem to materialize or come to fruition.

Once again as a long time area resident and taxpayer familiar with the area to be developed, I would certainly hope it could happen for the good of the local businesses and towns people. I just don't think the monies are there to make it really happen.

Years ago I had a conversation with the lead developer of the Matawan portion of the Transit Village. I told him that I think the plan would go through as long as he built a school for the children that would come from his homes as well as park or two, as well as buy an ambulance, fire truck and a police cruiser or two for the community, in exchange for the large profit they would no doubt walk away with. You can imagine his response.

In the past when developers came to town they did just those types things for the community. Nowadays it is in and out and move on to the next town, leaving school children coming from their housing units and their costs to borne by the already overtaxed community at large.

That is out of the question once again and this is only my opinion.

driver8 said...

What is with the statement:

Disclaimer: Councilman Perry is not involved in any party fundraising) ?!?!?

It sure looks like he was involved enough to sign his name on the last page of that report, certifying the donations.

Anonymous said...

Where is the Cifelli development going?

Mr. Aberdeener, this is the type of good investigation we will miss if you get elected BOE. That is a shame.

DisgrcflDemocraticPty said...

According to previous notices the old Hwy 34 property by the condos just before you leave Aberdeen and at the end of County Rd.

I understand they have named one of the streets *Approvals gotten for this project through the benevolence and trickery of Norman Kauff*.

Is it me or is it just a coincidence that such development approvals come miraculously at this time. The time of course is just in time to fund Norms latest corrupt campaign for his oh so honest Democratic puppets.

Anonymous said...

DisgracefulDemocraticParty is right.

Anonymous said...

I just got the newspaper mailer home - local news. There it was about the 402,000 grant to investigate the property on church st.

CME got that too? Please tell me no. How does County and State government not see this trend of CME jobs done in our town???

TRUTHABOUTKAUFF said...

DON'T YOU KNOW HOW EXPENSIVE CORRUPT CAMPAIGNS ARE TO RUN?
402,000.00 FOR CME PAID WITH TAXPAYERS MONIES WILL FUND THE DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN IN ABERDEEN EASILY. NORMAN KAUFF IS ALREADY SETTING IN MOTION HIS MISINFORMATION AND LIES FOR THE VOTING PUBLIC FOR ELECTION DAY.

I FOR ONE CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WHO GETS TO BE THE SACRIFICIAL LAMBS THIS TIME AROUND FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. JUST LOOK AT THE STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE ULTIMATE EXERCISE IN FUTILITY.

THE IN-FIGHTING REPUBLICAN PARTY AT THE SATE LEVEL HAS NINE CANDIDATES TO RUN AGAINST EACH OTHER. IN THAT PRIMARY RACE THEY WILL SPEND ALL THE MONIES THE REPUBLICANS HAVE AGAINST EACH OTHER. THEN WHEN THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE IS FINALLY CHOSEN THERE WILL BE NO MONEY LEFT. THEN WE GET CORZINE BY DEFAULT.

ISN'T POLITICS AMAZING?

Aberdeener said...

My understanding is that Perry was aware of contributions to his campaign and they were made at a time when he was considering a run for mayor (as noted on the disclosure form). However, he was completely unaware that identical contributions were also being made to a second fund for Mayor Sobel.

My statement that he is not involved in fundraising refers to his 1) not soliciting campaign contributions and 2) being uninvolved with party fundraising activities.

In other words, someone else raised the funds for the account and he simply signed the disclosure forms.

KarenS said...

It is strange how people are looking at Mr. Perry rather then looking at the real problem in our party. No one has to say the name and we all know what he does. Read between the lines people read between the lines. Nothing is as it seems and politics in Aberdeen is sickening and far too costly to all.

Anonymous said...

TRUTHABOUTKAUFF said... THE IN-FIGHTING REPUBLICAN PARTY AT THE SATE LEVEL HAS NINE CANDIDATES TO RUN AGAINST EACH OTHER

Who are the NINE???

StemlerDrckgin said...

It was disclosed on radio station FM 101.5 this week I think on the Gearhart show. Jim reported that the republicans had nine candidates listed and that would bicker amongst themselves taking time and money from the eventual fight against Corzine. I voted for him last time but he has been the biggest disappointment. At least with McGreevey you knew he was stupid. With Corzine he just learned to be stupid when he got to Trenton. I think it is called the TRENTONPOLITICSMAKESYOUSTUPID disease. It happens to every person elected and works under the dome down there on State Street. Doesn't Barbato work on State Street also, another huge self serving egotistical disappointment. I will not be voting for him either. Then again if any politician or school board member is presently in elected office and runs for reelection I will vote against them.

Anonymous said...

The State's problems are for another forum - except for the similarity that the opposition has to get its act together. We might locally end up have for non-incumbents run for the dems who have few visible faults except for possible allegiance and funding from the Kauff machine. Most people won't see the visible connection enough to vote against those four.

On the other side of things we have a fractured local Repub party on life support. That group is ill enough to allow a former Kauff loyalist to run things.

This is so sad - Do you go with the organized group with fresh candidates but tainted money and a dangerous control majority; or the others that are led by a corrupt blowhard.

So so sad.

DisgrcflDemocraticPty said...

Few possible faults are you out of your F'n mind? Let us look at just a few of the supposed few faults.

Complete and total lack of accountability and not one independent thought amongst them.

C.M.E. parking lot mess for Gerard Ave. that cost us more money for C.M.M and the Kauff retirement fund.

Vincis intersection.

Vincis land grab and tax stuff.

Manager Brown ousted by Kauff.

Councilwoman Gallo ousted by Kauff.

Kauff ousted by Kauff. Perhaps a little premature although...we can always hope. Can't we?

Pool club slips through for $850K could have been a major center for town recreation but Kauff would not make any money from that one. Right Normy?

Developers running amuck with Kauff's shall we say inside track for approvals and legal guidance. All for a parking lot shakedown fee, to be denied later.

And the list goes on and on and on.

These would be the visible faults our brave anonymous thinks do not come back to our Democratic leadership. The ultimate oxymoron if you ask me are the words democrat and leadership. And I am a D.

Anonymous said...

I may be a little late on this queston but what did happen to the pool club. I don't understand why the township gave it up. Or was it just another way the let the childern of Matawan and Aberdeen down. It had to be making money I know when ever I would drive by in the summer the lot was full of cars. I don't understand what people think about when they do the things they do.

Aberdeener said...

The pool club had fallen into disrepair after management failed to maintain the property. The new owners intend to convert the property into a year-round health club.

Anonymous said...

The Pool Club was never owned by the Township. It was owned by a private entity created when Levitt built Strathmore in the early 60's. Technically it was owned by bondholders, most of who had dissipated over the years and more recently was managed by a small group of bondholders/members.

That private entity failed to make needed capital investments over the years and it had to borrow money to stay open the last year it was in operation.

The property is deeded as recreational property and that can not be changed by zoning but I wouldn't put it past Kauff to try to finagle a way in for developers.

Operation as a pool club or any type of year round recreational facility will require millions of dollars in investment. The community is lucky if a member of the greater community has the resources and effort to do that.

tiredofexcuses said...

That amount of property in that area should have been bought for the town. The fact that that rat bastard Kauff would have tried to get his hands on it would have been a given. Right Normy?

The fact that it was deeded as recreation would have probably been fought for to keep the Kauffster and his 'close personal friends from making money off of it. Then again the new manager may have stood up against that type of ethical lapse. Who knows?

Anyway the pol club sold for $800,000,00 and would have needed monies from taxpayers. Wait I remember them talking about putting $650,000.00 into the old senior center. Now that means you could have sold that building and used those monies to at least buy the pool club and then apply for grants and really make it something for the taxpayers to use and enjoy.

Wait I forget this is Aberdeen. Such a purchase would have required numerous studies, by C.M.E., paperwork from C&C Planners among many others to be rewarded as Kauff' close personal friends yet again. Lets see with the $800,000.00 to buy the property plus the fees for Kauff' friends that brings the total to? Lets just round it off adding the campaign kickback and money for Vic and the county boys? Hell just make it an even $2,000,000.00 in taxpayers monies. To the Kauffster that is a bargain.

I just cannot wait to see how such political mathematical equations get to supervise the spending of the stimulus money.

DOOMED I TELL YOU WE ARE DOOMED !

Anonymous said...

What on earth are you people talking about? You are now mad at Kauff that the Township didn't buy the poolclub? But in the same breathe are complaining about how Kauff would have ripped off the Township if they did buy it?

This makes no sense? Which is it? Did you want the township to buy the pool club or not?

Anonymous said...

Town buying the pool club would be an embarrassment. The would do a bunch of engineering studies and then decide it was better suited for a certain developer's homes, and then nothing would get built because not every dime was milked by the Engineers at CME.

Aberdeen development might actually happen if Kauff was out of the picture. He's a small town leech who has been successful in bleeding multiple towns with Aberdeen as his bunker.

Kauff and his team of idiots might believe in what they are doing - buy, who knows, so did Bernie Madoff. Kauff must go to protect our democracy and way of life in Aberdeen -- before Vinci and Sobel commission a statue in front of township hall.

Anonymous said...

But the town isn't buying the pool club. So why are we talking about how if they did buy it, it would be a corrupt action?

This is like saying, it would be corrupt if Aberdeen built the Empire State Building in town.

Since they aren't buying the pool club, nor did they even enter into negotiations to buy it, why are we arguing over how corrupt it would be if they did? Out of all the things to complain about, this is the silliest of them all.

Anonymous said...

At least the pigeons would be able to do to a Kauff statue what he has done to the taxpayers all of these years. That is what he deserves for sure.