Should we change the form of government in Manal-apan? What are the advantages and disadvantages of various systems? Which problems can’t be solved with the current structure?
These are interesting and challenging questions; however, I’ve yet to hear, from either side, a cogent argument as to which proposed form of government is better or more appropriate for Manalapan.
The only substantive argument made by the proponents for a mayoral system is that the current governmental structure “doesn’t have any continuity.”
This argument is specious, at best. People who want to hold on to power always claim that they are “just coming up to speed” or “vastly experienced” or “know how to work the levers.” But as we saw in Marlboro, longevity in office is no guarantee of good government.
The advantage of the current system in Manalapan is that many people get to serve; new ideas and styles can be tried. A mayor knows they only have a year in the job and can’t hang on to power. Other candidates for mayor know they have a chance next year, so they have to act responsibly.
Anyone can be a mayor, there are no magic qualifications or special knowledge required to be a committee member or mayor.
And, more to the point, you can get rid of a lousy mayor after a year. Poor leaders who manage to create so much controversy and dissension that business grounds to a halt can be quickly identified and rejected.
I would like to sign a petition and have an intelligent, coherent debate followed by an informed decision by the electorate, but as usual the debate has degenerated into baseless slurs, legalistic game playing, and intimations of a power grab.
Making technical changes to the system of government in Manalapan will not stop egotism, corruption and unrest.
By voting and frequently changing the people in power we can get rid of poor leaders and give someone else “with at least one new idea” a chance.
Examine motivation for change in government
The debate regarding the proposed change of government (in Manalapan) is finally revealing the true motivations of its proponents.
Township Committeeman Joseph Locricchio would have us believe that he is putting the interests of the citizens above his own political considerations by pushing for a change in government that would cut short his term by one year.
If he were truly acting without self-interest, he would state publicly that he would not seek the office of mayor if the voters ratify his proposed change in the form of government.
In the absence of that pledge, the voters are left to conclude that what Mr. Locricchio really wants out of this process is a full-time position as mayor, with a healthy salary to go with it.
Mayors in other towns who have adopted this form of government are routinely paid in excess of $40,000 per year.
Add in the $20,000 cost to the taxpayers for hiring poll workers (and a larger, unquantified cost to the town for renting the polling machines and polling places and paying for all of the printing costs), plus the added costs of recodifying the town’s ordinances that Rose Ann Weeden (the non-political township clerk) said would be required, and what you really have is a very expensive way to give Mr. Locricchio a full-time job.
And since when is Mr. Locricchio an expert in the interpretation of the state statute on electoral law?
I suspect we are seeing the hand of ousted former township attorney Stuart Moskovitz once again. Who knows more about misinterpreting statutes than he does?
What does Mr. Moskovitz have to gain by supporting this effort? The newly installed mayor would have the right to appoint a new township attorney, and that appointment would last for the duration of the mayor’s entire term. Talk about pay for play.
Eric I. Abraham
It’s time for parents to start talking about teen drinking problem
Alcohol is the most abused drug by children in our community, more than tobacco or any other illicit drug.
In fact, 49 percent of seventh- and eighth-grade students have used alcohol, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. This is a serious problem that is not going to go away by itself.
Recently in Monmouth County, 35 teens were arrested after police broke up two underage drinking parties where no adults were present.
On March 28, Prevention First will hold a town hall meeting at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters in Manal-apan to address this important issue. Now is the time to get involved in solving this problem for our children.
New federal research has shown that children who drink before the age of 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol problems when they are adults.
As a result, the U.S. Surgeon General has issued a nationwide call to action to combat childhood drinking.
Won’t you join the cause at our town meeting on March 28? Visit www.starttalkingnj.com or call (732) 663-1800, ext. 216 if you need more information or wish to make a reservation to attend this meeting, and let us start talking before they start drinking.
Mary Pat Angelini
Driver asks local pedestrians to show some common sense
I have been a resident of Marlboro for the past 15 years, and the ongoing problem with pedestrians is appalling. Pedestrians, friends of, or family have my full sympathy for what they have to face on a daily basis.
My sympathy also goes out to us as drivers who have to deal with you pedestrians. My opinion on the matter is yes, there should be something done about the crosswalks and sidewalks. But the question is, will the pedestrians take advantage of them?
I am faced with pedestrians constantly crossing the median between traffic lights or even walking on the inner shoulder of the median waiting for a chance to cross between traffic. Mind you, dressed in black. You are putting your life at risk on your own, not because of crosswalks.
We as humans point fingers, blame it on crosswalks and sidewalks, but the fact is that if you were to obey the laws and traffic lights, this matter wouldn’t be such a danger for you and me. You pedestrians know who you are that I am talking about. You are mature intelligent adults without common sense.
It’s time for Reform Democrats of Marlboro to move on
It has been several months since the Marlboro Township Council election in November, and since that time, the Reform Democrats of Marlboro, led by Steven P. Sukel, Barry Denkensohn and Steven Glickman, still haven’t been able to accept that their candidates lost the council election, and have attempted to convince Marlboro residents that the resounding win by the Republican council ticket was somehow due to the amount of money spent on the campaign. I can shed some light on the subject for Mr. Sukel.
Instead of focusing on the reasons why his candidates lost, he should focus on the reason for the clear mandate for the Republican candidates.
The Republican candidates swept the council elections for one reason: the quality candidates that the Republican ticket presented to the voters and the hard work performed by a grass-roots organization composed of a cross-section of all ethnic, cultural and political groups in our township.
With registered Democrats outnumbering registered Republicans in our town by a 2-to-1 ratio, much of the support for our candidates came from Democratic voters.
Fortunately, in this election, we had a candidate who was willing to “put his money where his mouth is.” Steve Rosenthal did in fact put a substantial amount of his own money into the campaign. He did so because he firmly believed in the cause that Mayor Robert Kleinberg and the Republican Township Council have been fighting for over the last two years and was willing to spend his own money to do so. How many of us could say that we would do the same?
Mr. Sukel would like us to believe that a candidate using his own money to finance his campaign is a negative thing. In his letter appearing in a recent edition of the News Transcript, Mr. Sukel describes Steve Rosenthal’s use of his own personal money to finance the campaign as an “unusual approach to campaign finance.”
This statement may be the only accurate statement contained in his letter. I will most certainly admit that an individual using his own funds to fund a campaign on the local level is highly unusual. As I said before, it takes a certain type of individual who will spend his own hard-earned money to become a council person – a job that takes numerous weekly hours of commitment and for the most part goes unnoticed and unappreciated.
I suppose Mr. Sukel believes it is a lot more “usual” and acceptable to accept campaign funds from political cronies such as Sen. Ellen Karcher, Jon Corzine, and the daughter of an attorney who has one of the most active law practices representing residential builders of any attorney in the township. A review of the Reform Democrats of Marlboro’s ELEC (Election Law Enforcement Commission) reports will reveal that they did just that.
I would also like to point out that while complaining of being outspent by nearly 2 to 1 in this election, Steven Glickman, in his campaign against Robert Kleinberg two years ago, outspent Mayor Kleinberg 2 to 1 – and still lost. Why wasn’t the amount of money spent on the campaign an issue during that election?
Maybe it’s because they were the ones doing the outspending or maybe it was because they received a majority of their money from political action committees and land developers.
Those of us who know Steve Rosenthal take Mr. Sukel’s misguided assertions personally. I take exception to Mr. Sukel’s comment that Steven Rosenthal “bought the election.” (What Mr. Sukel must really be thinking is how he can get a person like Steve Rosenthal to run in the next election so that the Reform Democrats don’t have to rely on builders, political cronies and political committees to raise campaign funds).
Anybody who knows Steve Rosenthal personally will attest to his selflessness, philanthropic endeavors, and his community volunteerism.
My recommendation to Mr. Sukel is to use all the free time he appears to have to write letters to the News Transcript to write something more constructive, such as his views on how Marlboro can acquire Marlboro hospital in a cost-effective way or how we can make life more enjoyable for the residents of Marlboro. His post-election rants serve no purpose. Election season is over.
In his letter, Mr. Sukel states that his position is not sour grapes. Well, enough, Mr. Sukel. Your sour grapes have turned to “whine.”
and Tragni 2005
Government now lacks meaningful checks and balances
Kleinberg Team appointee Michael Messinger’s article demonstrates why it is important for Marlboro residents to keep a close eye on the all-Republican Kleinberg Team.
The News Transcript published a letter from Marlboro’s Reform Democrat chair Steve Sukel arguing that the Republicans bought the 2005 Township Council election by exploiting a loophole permitting candidates to run as a single ticket while allowing each candidate to make unlimited contributions benefiting the combined slate.
Mr. Sukel wrote that the Kleinberg Team spends large; referencing their extreme spending buying the 2005 election (outspending Democrats 2-1) and the fact that they have raised taxes every year since gaining control over government.
Now holding every elective position in Marlboro’s government, they immediately broke their campaign promise to not use deferred school taxes to fund Marl-boro’s budget, doubled recreation fees paid by our children, and raised bulk garbage removal fees, all by votes without opposition. The point was to underscore the cost of government completely controlled by a single party that conducts public business in an echo chamber without meaningful debate.
The Kleinberg Team responded as usual, changing the subject, distorting arguments and ignoring inconvenient facts.
Mr. Sukel criticized the Kleinberg Team for raising the municipal tax controlled by a government in which they now hold every elective office.
How the Kleinberg Team responded to this simple argument crystallizes in one simple case why Marlboro can’t trust them to completely control our government.
Changing the topic to school taxes, the Kleinberg Team blames the state Legis-lature and the state Council on Afford-able Housing for decreased state aid and budget restrictions and the need to provide more affordable housing, reminding Mr. Sukel that state government is controlled by Democrats.
Changing the subject to school taxes allowed the Kleinberg Team to sidestep their annual hikes to municipal taxes although one wonders why they also ignored the seemingly related issue of their broken promise regarding their use of deferred school taxes to plug their budget gap.
But no honest discussion about the need to raise school taxes or to build more affordable housing is complete without mentioning the impact inflicted by the corruption of Marlboro’s government by Republican Mayor Matt Scannapieco and his planning board. How many more children are in our school system because of the bribery and extortion committed by Marlboro’s Republicans and their appointees? Now that is a worthwhile discussion.
While the Kleinberg Team typically likes to claim credit for the FBI work done that started before they took office, raising the topic of corruption occurring under Republican control of Marlboro’s government seems inconsistent with their newest argument that total control of government without a loyal opposition is a good thing.
Marlboro is now in a double bind situation. The council should provide meaningful checks and balances over the mayor’s administration. Yet with all seats of council held by members of the Kleinberg Team, there are no checks and balances within the council itself, making it impossible for there to be real oversight of the administration.
Complete government control without a loyal opposition providing balance is risky in any situation. But it’s even more dangerous in an environment that does not provide for close media scrutiny. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the Reform Democrats of Marlboro and served as the co-campaign manager in the most recent campaign.
Slow pace of road projects is baffling to local motorist
Yesterday, I had an amazing sighting. No, not a bald eagle or a spotted owl. Even more rare – I saw someone working on the Route 9-Throckmorton Street road project.
The Empire State Building took less than 15 months to build in 1930. As the road project approaches the end of its second year, I can’t help but wonder what they knew then that we don’t know now.
One thought: Maybe instead of starting a bunch of road projects in the area and having them all progress at a snail’s pace, they should focus on one or two and actually finish them before the next Winter Olympics.