Letters to the editor

For the week of May 2.

A team player,

but not a follower
To the editor:
   Cory Wingerter’s letter to the editor April 25 demonstrates to Millstone Township residents the reason why I rejected his offer to assist me with my election bid for Township Committee and his encouragement to run for the Millstone Township’s Republican Executive Committee. He comments that although Evan Maltz and others, including himself, supported my appointment as chairwoman of the Millstone Township Environmental Commission, I had a "strange way of expressing gratitude."
   By this very inference, it is most evident that Mr. Maltz and Mr. Wingerter expected me to be a foot soldier and to do as they directed. Sorry gentlemen, there will be no quid pro quo with this woman. I am a team player but I will not and cannot be bought or sold as perhaps some of your other appointments can. I will use my leadership skills and expertise to bring issues important to our team (the residents of Millstone Township) before the Township Committee.
   Mr. Wingerter refers to the support both he and Mr. Maltz have received from the Millstone Coalition in their election bids. The residents need to ask "Did Mr. Maltz and Mr. Wingerter express their gratitude to the Millstone Coalition for their support?" I say emphatically they most certainly did. Let’s examine the facts.
   In the fall 2000, the Township Committee revised a strong Land Use Ordinance 00-16 due to pressure from developers. The Township Committee allowed attorneys representing developers to meet with the township engineers to review and discuss the revisions. Members of the Watershed Council and Environmental Commission were not made aware of or given the opportunity to review these revisions until after the first reading. We asked the Township Committee to table discussion so scientific data could be presented to support the Watershed Council and Environmental Commissions’ opinions.
   The Township Committee, headed by Cory Wingerter and Evan Maltz, flatly rejected our request and passed the revised ordinance to satisfy its developer constituency. The hardworking committee volunteers were confused and dismayed at this decision.
   It became apparent to me why the Watershed Council and Environmental Commission comments were ignored when, approximately one year later, the list of contributors to the Millstone Coalition was made public. The contributors to the Coalition, which in fact supported Evan Maltz, Cory Wingerter, William Nurko and Charles Abate, were the very same people who benefited from the revision of ordinance 00-16. I guess, Mr. Wingerter and Mr. Maltz, the Coalition founder, this is the way in which you express your gratitude.
Nancy Grbelja
Republican candidate
Millstone Township Committee
Mayor of Millstone

should start leading
To the editor:
   Recently the political venue we call the Millstone Township government has clearly taken on a whole new meaning. I remain incredulous about our leaderless, dysfunctional and farcical Township Committee and its inability to accomplish anything of worth. It has failed to enact a taxpayer-fair budget or pass an employee-equitable salary ordinance since their introductions many weeks ago.
   One only has to read the executive meeting minutes to note the continual violations of the Sunshine Laws. But to their credit, the cronies of the Coalition Committeemen have been superb at orchestrating personal attacks and rumors besieged on me through persistent staged events.
   The residents should know why I was the only committeeman to vote against Evan Maltz as mayor. I was unhappy with his style of "leadership" — controlling, closed and disrespectful. I noted that most of his mayoral appointments were supporters of his developer-friendly agenda. I felt his decisions were personally and selfishly motivated. I believed he was wrong to eliminate the school liaison position during a time of its utmost need. I lack respect for his creation of the Millstone Coalition, a political organization with numerous hidden agendas. I considered the funding of his Coalition by developers, private land-use attorneys and township-hired professionals to be a true indication of his real agenda.
   During my first 100 days in office and as an insider to many of the township’s dealings, my decision has been consistently validated.
   His supporters criticize me for wanting to reduce wasteful municipal spending, to help our schools, and to provide taxpayer relief by reducing school and municipal taxes. Does anyone know who is "leading" Millstone Township at this point? From my perspective, it isn’t Mayor Maltz.
   Mayor Maltz appointed me to be the town’s finance chairman. As a finance professional, did he expect that I wouldn’t uncover numerous defalcations (financial wrongdoings), improper payments, and weak controls? When I challenged the Township Committee members to authorize a much-needed audit to discover the cause of these frequent problems, they hesitated. I showed them numerous examples of errors and violations of state statue. I persisted and they condescendingly voted to audit their own poor administrative and committee practices. What choice did they really have? Now, their cronies are attacking the whistleblower.
   Interestingly after he voted to move the budget for a final vote, Mayor Maltz remained incognito and absent from this important event and an additionally scheduled budget meeting this past Monday (ostensibly for a long scheduled vacation, but meanwhile selectively attending township events and seen in town throughout this period). If the mayor wants to support an 18 percent expense increase over last year’s actual expenditures, he should vote for it. Is his "convenient" absence to avoid making a tough decision or airing his dirty laundry anything less that an unadulterated abdication of his elected responsibilities? Is this another one of his attempts at remaining "squeaky-clean" in order to get re-elected?
   Sorry, I don’t buy it and neither will the educated voters.
   And why didn’t the mayor return to the taxpayers the $1 million in long outstanding capital projects surplus (paid for by our taxpayers and still unnecessarily on the books since 1989)? Why doesn’t he start explaining to the residents why they were overtaxed for the last five years by him and his Coalition Committeemen, thereby doubling the municipal surplus to $7 million, of which $ 3 million should have been transferred to the schools to improve our kids’ education, purchase land for school expansion, and reduce our citizens taxes.
   Mayor Maltz should tell the voters why he is frightened to vote on the budget and why he told the committeemen at the very last possible moment that he wouldn’t be attending either the next budget meeting he scheduled or the next township meeting. The mayor should stop the games and start performing the duties for which he was elected.
   Perhaps he should stop looking into his political future through the rearview mirror of his campaign strategy.
John Pfefferkorn
Millstone Township
Senior housing plan

should be heard
To the editor:
   At the last Millstone Township Committee meeting, a disservice was done to all residents of Millstone. Ken Pape, a Millstone resident and attorney, recently sent a letter to the Township Committee requesting time on a future agenda for a presentation. But thanks to the opinion that evening of Bill Kastning, Steve Lambros, Roger Staib and supported by Committeeman John Pfefferkorn, the residents will never see or hear that presentation.
   From what I understand, Mr. Pape intended to present a conceptual plan for moving the Little League ball fields, lights and all, and developing a senior only housing development in their place. The ball fields were to be moved and developed — at the developer’s expense — to a larger 100-plus acre site near Route 195. I have heard the site would have included the same amount of ball fields, including lighting, parking, a field house restrooms and additional soccer fields.
   Issues of density, zoning deed restrictions, septic design and surrounding residents’ concerns would need to be addressed and solved by the developer, at his expense. But we the residents of Millstone Township, unfortunately will not have the opportunity to see and hear this proposal, because of the intimidation tactics of Mr. Kastning, Mr. Staib, Mr. Lambros and Committeeman Pfefferkorn. The Township Committee voted not to hear the presentation (Mayor Maltz was not in attendance for this meeting). But don’t take my word on this, tapes of the all township meetings are available to the public, so you can hear for yourself.
   As a resident with aging parents, I am interested because I would love to have my family have this opportunity to move to my town. Since this would be a seniors only development, the taxes collected would add money to the township and school coffers with minimal additional services. Are Committeeman Pfefferkorn, Bill Kastning, Roger Staib and Steve Lambros the official spokespeople for the homes surrounding the Little League fields? If so, not wanting to explore this option, are they then withdrawing the ongoing lawsuits against the Little League because of the lights?
   This could become be a closer home for parents, an aunt, an uncle or other loved ones. Perhaps, some of the residents would welcome the relocation of the Little League fields and have senior housing built in their place, maybe they wouldn’t, but it would be nice to have the opportunity for us to decide for ourselves. It is most appropriate to consider this viable option to eliminate the problem with the ball fields and their ongoing legal battles.
John Mele
Republican candidates

not telling the truth
To the editor:
   Over the past two-plus years as chairman and now vice chairman of the Environmental Commission, I have tried to keep politics out of the Commission. I have worked with individuals of both differing political and environmental philosophies, and generally speaking, we have worked through our differences in a professional and dignified manner.
   I was deeply saddened to read Republican candidate and current Environmental Commission Chairwoman Grbelja’s vicious and inaccurate April 18 letter to The Messenger-Press. She attacked the current Mayor Evan Maltz, who with my recommendation, appointed her Environmental Commission chairwoman this year. In addition, she attacked our Township Committee liaison to the E.C., Deputy Mayor Cory Wingerter, who has been nothing more than helpful and supportive of our commission.
   Mr. Wingerter has provided us updates into township happenings, advised us on the possible pitfalls of our projects, obtained other town’s model ordinances for our review, attended many county and state meetings reporting back to us on important environmental information, has sponsored environmental events, and whenever possible, advanced our efforts.
   It is my opinion that Candidate Grbelja is a dishonest and deceitful individual, and now knowing whom she has aligned herself with, I am not surprised. I say this based upon my recent first-hand experience with her. Let me give you the facts, and you decide.
   Approximately a week before this article came out, I called Candidate Grbelja when I heard of her filing a petition to run for Township Committee. I was curious to know her current positions, as working with her over the years, she seemed to be middle of the road regarding recent Republican election issues. I told Ms. Grbelja that I had been honest and up front with her over the years, and wanted to ask her a few questions. I said that I hoped she would be honest and up front with me. Her response was "absolutely."
   I asked her if she intended to run with support of Mr. Staib and align herself with that "group." My question was based upon her having essentially the same signature on her petition as Mr. Staib, the other "Regular Republican Candidate." Her response was that she hadn’t thought about it and that she decided to run after seeing an advertisement for Republican candidates.
   I then told her I was glad to hear that she had not made any decision. I told her that before she made any decisions, she needed to know some facts. I proceeded to tell her about Mr. Staib’s most recent tactic in which, as chairman of the Republican County Committee he, through deceitful means, kept the incumbent Republican mayor, Evan Maltz, off the Republican line in the upcoming primary. Great Republican he is, impacting Millstone’s Republicans ability to easily choose for themselves who they want to vote for by manipulating the voting sheet. Mr. Staib is sneaky and deceitful!
   Ms. Grbelja listened, and appeared surprised when I finished. I concluded by telling her that I wanted to be sure that she didn’t think I was speaking behind Mr. Staib’s back, and offered to meet with her and Mr. Staib any time and any place to articulate the same information, amongst other things. My final advise to Ms. Grbelja was to run as herself, and not align herself with anyone until she clearly knew the facts. She thanked me for the information.
   Well, that’s what you get for trusting someone like Ms. Grbelja. As anyone can clearly see from her letter, her positions and alignment with the Staib crew, came about long before I spoke with her. She deceived me, and didn’t ever have the character to tell me what she felt. As further proof of my position, she was called, as she states by Deputy Mayor Wingerter a day after submitting her petition. Yet she avoided returning this calls. In her only communication, by e-mail, she said she was busy and couldn’t meet for lunch. She probably was; probably busy composing her letter of dishonesty and deceit, and obviously did not want to speak with him.
   If I were to respond to every inaccurate item in detail, I would need several pages of this newspaper. For the sake of time and space, I would like to address just one other point of Candidate Grbelja.
   In Candidate Grbelja’s letter she also attacks the formation of a new Republican club. Her reason is, "I don’t choose to align myself with an organization made up primarily of former coalition members." Keep in mind this comes from an individual who didn’t even attend the meeting. The fact is, Ms. Tara Clarke will be responsible for spear-heading the formation of the club. Ms. Clarke is new in town, and has never had anything to do with the coalition. During last year’s election she, in fact, challenged the need for the Coalition.
   How insulting this must be for Ms. Clarke whose only intent is to help form a new Republican club. Additionally, I must add one other fact: there are no "members," as the club has not been officially formed. Individuals who attended the kick-off meeting simply filled out a form indicating they would be interested in being involved with a Republican club.
   One final point: the Republican club disbanded a few years back because Candidate Staib and his "gang" so disenfranchised the members, that they stopped coming. It’s too bad that Candidate Staib and his "gang" gave Ms. Grbelja the wrong information for her letter, so what else is new.
   If Ms. Grbelja doesn’t begin to think for herself and get the fact straight she will continue to embarrass herself and lose any credibility she may have left. Unfortunately, I think it’s too late.
   As I said in a letter I wrote to the local newspapers after the fall election, "take the time during the upcoming months to review the information sent out by Mr. Pfefferkorn. Look into the facts, and be prepared, as you will surely see the same dishonest tactics employed by Mr. Pfefferkorn and his supporters for next year’s election."
   Well, here we go! The "gang" that now supports Ms. Grbelja and Mr. Staib is the very same group that launched deceitful and dishonest attacks on Mr. Bellotti during last year’s election. As they use to say in Hill Street Blues "Be careful out there," especially with the Staib gang in town!
   In closing the Grbelja/Staib "gang" have now labeled themselves the "Regular Republicans." Well, if dishonestly, deceitfulness, and lack of character are how you define yourself, you can be a "Regular Republican" too! Somehow I don’t believe that George W. Bush and our other great Republican leaders had these types of individuals and characteristics in mind when they called themselves "Regular Republicans."
John Finley
State was to blame

for grant snafu
To the editor:
   Greek orator Demosthenes stated, "A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true."
   So it is with Millstone Township Committeeman Cory Wingerter as illustrated once again in his letter to the editor in last week’s Messenger-Press. Although Mr. Wingerter has selective memory with respect many issues, I wish to set the record straight on the status of the watershed grant.
   The DEP watershed grant of $50,000 was approved by the state in year 2000. The township has documentation from the DEP Watershed Management agency confirming this fact. However, this agency was remiss, by its own admission, in processing the appropriate payment paperwork. Those in the state who were accountable for this faux pas are no longer with the agency.
   I have been working (now as a private citizen) with the new chief of the Raritan Bureau, Kerry Kirk Pflugh, to resolve the roadblock. Unfortunately for Millstone Township, it got caught up in the transition to a new administration and the significant budget issues facing the state. Ms. Pflugh has assured me that Director of Watershed Management Mary Sheil and DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell will give our grant proper attention due to the fact that the state was at fault for not processing the payment.
   However, given the severe budgetary constraints and new Division of Watershed Management directives, the scope of work submitted may need to be revisited, and rather than awarding the grant from "319" funds, it may get funded through "Action Now" projects.
   As Mr. Wingerter and the other committeemen well know, I was never evasive and I was always up-front on the status of the grant. Had the "baby been thrown out with the bathwater," as Mr. Wingerter postulates, then I would no longer be following through on this matter. If Mr. Wingerter had sincerity in doing what was best for the township, then Mayor Maltz and he would be pursuing this matter through official channels. Instead they chose to the politically incorrect route.
   In overall response to Mr. Wingerter’s letter, I choose to cite John F. Kennedy’s words: "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
William Kastning
Mr. Kastning is a former member of the Millstone Township Committee.