Monday, March 31, 2008

Town Meeting

By now I suspect most of you are aware that NJ is in serious financial trouble. The governor has offered some plans to address the issue that have not been well received and with good reason as far as I am concerned.

One such proposal eliminates state funding for small municipalities. For those municipalities with 5,000 residents or less, all funding will be cut. This means that under this proposal we in Flemington will lose about $276,000 of state funding. The gov’s rationale for cutting funding to small municipalities is that they can reduce expenses by sharing services such as schools, etc. which Flemington already shares with Raritan Township.

I challenge the governor’s justifications on several fronts. First, I am skeptical that Flemington and like municipalities are less fiscally efficient than Newark, Trenton and Camden, for example, shared services notwithstanding. These cities, peppered with heavy party boss affiliations, need to have their budgets thoroughly reviewed and reined in with an eye to achieving more frugality. Second, there is waste in Trenton that flaunts an arrogance of power directed at the taxpayer and his hard earned money. And I have spoken about this before. It seems unprincipled to cut our funds or tax us further while those in the big leagues are virtually pillaging our coffers. Just how much are taxpayers supposed to subsidize here? Last, is this even legal? Are we, in small municipalities, being given equal protection under the law?

Typically, such cuts are addressed by a cut in services and/or an increase in taxes. But of course none of these alternatives have been discussed yet here in the Boro. This coming Wednesday, April 2, Boro council is holding a meeting at the American Legion on Route 31 at 7 PM. I hope you will attend and learn what the council is doing to address our situation as well as to voice your concerns.

This meeting was again announced in the recent Boro newsletter. BTW: isn’t it terrific, the new format of the newsletter put out by Boro council? It is informative and well presented. Congrats to the council and, editor, Councilwoman Brooke Liebowitz, on a fine publication. I urge you all to grab a cup of coffee and read it. It is well worth your while.

The views expressed on this blog are solely those of the author.

Stay tuned.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Lives They Save May Be Their Own

Teach your children well.

That is one particular aspect of the numerous recommendations made by Teen Driver Study Commission that I heartily endorse.

It comes to pass in the life of every parent that right of passage for both parent and child when little Johnny arrives home, proudly waving his brand new driver’s permit at you. With trepidation we parents watch the count down to “D” Day, Driver Day. When it arrives, we draw in a deep breath and begin the journey to ultimate, mutual liberation that starts with our children driving a car --- we parents, the reluctant, and our little darlings, chomping at the bit.

Typically our children take the driver’s Ed classes at school and pass their written test there. Then, quite often, we send them off for some behind the wheel time with some pricey, professional driving school that all their friends supposedly flock to. They pass their road test and are good to go. So our little darlings think.

Not really, says I who had to slide into the passenger’s seat with my inexperienced daughters for the first time as they took control of the wheel of the family car. Sure that all my insurance was paid up, last confession heard, deep breathing or hyperventilation, if you will, we navigated our way down Main Street. The braveheart in me directed them toward one of those infamous Flemington traffic circles. Wishing and hoping and dreaming and praying, I talked them through it.

This is the moment that instructs the task at hand. Learning driving rules, how to turnover the engine, or even parallel parking do not a driver make. A driver is someone who knows how to address the various road surfaces and varied weather conditions, as well as driver and pedestrian errors. As any seasoned driver knows, being right does not necessarily prevent an accident or worse. As the ominous TV commercials rightfully remind us, we can be dead right. These too are the lessons we parents must teach our children because we are the coaches, riding with them, advising them in city and highway traffic, parking in tight squeeze situations, avoiding deer or even on techniques to keep them from locking their keys in the car---through rain, snow, sleet and the dead of night. This mastery takes practice and repetition. Phase 1 is rule mastery and Phase 2 is practice, practice and more practice.

Why these new guidelines now? Far too many accidents. Years ago in the absence of all these driving schools, dad or mom took you out to practice for hours. That was driver’s Ed, behind the wheel. I cannot tell you how surprised I was to learn how much things had changed when my kids got their licenses some 8 to 10 years ago. I knew brand new drivers who had not navigated a Flemington circle or the corner of Route 31 and Church Street but were ready to drive their good buddies on Route 22, a veritable war zone. You know the new driver ”Back Off World” machismo.

Practice has been sorely lacking in today’s driver training. Almost every teen driver I knew had an accident in the first few months after getting his or her license, luckily not a serious one.

I would not necessarily single out just one group of drivers in need of reform. We have seniors who need to be looked out for, cell phone users, regardless of the stiff new fines in play, and road rage in general seems more prevalent. A marked push for driver courtesy all around may reduce numbers of all those so-called proverbial ”New Jersey Drivers”. Although I am not convinced about the efficacy of all the recommendations submitted for review, I could not be happier about requiring probationary drivers to log in 100 hours of practice time, 20 of them being done at night. Absolutely, this guideline is right on track. Teach your children well because the lives they save maybe their own.

The opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of the author.

Stay tuned.

Monday, March 24, 2008

It's about Time

" Open up your mind. Let your fantasies unwind."
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Phantom of the Opera

Einstein once mused something to the effect that America suffered from not having enough taverns. He hailed from a culture that located taverns on almost street corner. These taverns filled nightly with repeat patrons to continue discussion on typically two topics, politics and religion. By contrast, in America these topics were deleted from polite parlor conversation. Einstein felt that lack of beer and banter left Americans rather naive in these two areas.

Well, I am second generation American, descended from the folk who hit the taverns and talked the forbidden topics. So it was not the least unusual for my twenty-something daughters, at Easter dinner, to bring up the fascinating speech presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, delivered last week on race relations. (See Obama’s speech )

In response to the revelation that his longtime pastor and friend, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, made inflammatory remarks regarding white people and white America, Obama took up the task of defining himself in the context of the race issue.

It is about time we had some new ideas floated around in addressing this longtime stand- off between two groups of Americans.

I can speak as a minority member at times but I cannot speak as a black person. Both groups overlap in one area. Facing job discrimination as a female in the 60’s when women were only eligible to be nurses, teachers or clerical workers, I can tell you it is not pretty to be left out of the game. This discrimination cuts you to the bone as a person, your sense of self and worth. Why, you wonder, are you thought to be not capable? Worse, you question...Are you really not capable? Is it really true? These are strikes against you that can trigger the course of a lifetime of tragic personal loss that pervades the entire spectra of what it means to be a person. Nothing should snatch that away, our human dignity and sense of worth. It is death to the spirit.

Equally though ,as Obama points out, white Americans today did not commit these crimes. He noted that as children of immigrants, white Americans feel that America is not handing them any special privilege. I lived my life with two white males, my father and my husband. I watched these men work long hours, hold second jobs, transfer from state to state to keep the money coming to support their families. They worked, not in the" grass is greener" pastures imagined by hardcore feminists but in the heartless mines of corporate America. They did a lot of work they would rather not have had to do. I know first hand for the white male, it is no picnic working to keep food on the table. And it is hard to see the money they earned and need to support their own families, taxed away.

There are two sides to the racial tensions. I congratulate Barack Obama for having the spine to bring that point into the discussion. Race issues cannot be solved in the absence of honest dialogue, which may host more mutual understanding. Through mutual understanding, the tension may start to dissipate.

My young’ uns are virtually colorblind. They do not know the world Rev. Wright grew up in that molded his hatred and anger. Race relations will remain unresolved in the grip of that model. Newer, more colorblind images have to be allowed to enter the American portrait. Unequivocally, these images are found in the innocence and sincerity of a new generation that as I have said, are indeed colorblind. Our black brethren may take comfort in knowing that their white brethren have indeed heard their cry in the wilderness…we took action and it is seen in our progeny.

On the lighter side on race…below are some fun URLs on what is going with black fraternities nationwide. Our younger daughter’s friend, Greggy (wearing the back glasses) , recently came to family taco night and gave us a mini course on stepping. I have provided the URL’s. Stepping is a team activity that is done competitively with fraternities around the country. Greggy’s group ‘Dem Boyz’ has performed in movies and apeared on TV spots like Regis and Kelley. They have preceded bands at concerts like Usher. 'Dem Boyz' works with inner city kids also.

This performance may have been at Rider University. Be sure to turn up your volume. Have fun!

Stay tuned.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hope Springs Eternal

Perhaps it is nature’s way of informing that she is magic. This time of year we cannot escape the life’s lesson nature offers us. Each succeeding day we see her deliver beauty from the barrenness of winter. In Flemington it is first apt to be seen in the blossoming of the forsythia. There are so many forsythia bushes that bloom here you cannot miss this event. I have thought about this cycle of beauty that illogically emanates from that which is not so beautiful. Logical or not, inescapably, we see it in the seasons, as we do with spring that follows winter.

Spiritually, we live, each of us at one time or another, barren or void of joy. I recently went through the trauma of total double knee replacements after several years of painful decline in my knee joints. You lose some snippets of your life when you live several years like this, as I did so very young. Awake through the nights that followed, I worked to figure out where to put these legs that felt like painful logs until morning. No amount of support can take this trauma from you. Out of this barren angst blossoms some strength of character. So many people who are ill or traumatized health-wise know that out of illness and human suffering can come recovery and bountiful insight into our own humanness, blossoms of a different sort.

This cycle, reviving life from the barren, is evident in our social lives. This past week in the presidential campaign it surfaced that an acclaimed, dear acquaintance of presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, had made remarks some time ago that were potentially fatal to his campaign due to their close affiliation. Whether he ascends to the White House or not, from that deadly context, Obama gave a speech that I think brings hope in resolving race issues that have been deadlocked for years, new life to resolve on old problem.

This week before Easter we in our family usually visit family gravesites. So my sisters, my mother and I went north to clean up my father’s grave. We planted our lilies and hyacinths. We left a bunny and a note that we missed him quite a lot. The barrenness of his illness and his age were too much to overcome. This cycle of life after void is over for him as it is for us all eventually. As nature manages its perfect balancing act, perhaps he knows that had he lived, he is on the verge of becoming a first time great grandfather to the grandson/nephew/son my family will adoringly embrace this summer.
“ Something's lost and something's gained in living everyday…” as the song goes. Nature's balance is maintained.

Christian ideology recognizes that out of the barrenness of the mind, body or soul, comes resurrection, spiritual and physical, as it is celebrated this week with literal new life out of death, transcending physical death. Christian ideology believed or not, the idea of resurrection of the dead is consistent with the cycles of nature…life continues from what seems lifeless and dismal and not pretty.

Nature perennially instructs us that life is generated from sources that seem lifeless--- the cold earth, our broken bodies, our threatened social aspirations, literal death or our tried and tired spirits. At some point in our lives, as part of nature’s way with us, I believe that all of us navigate adversity, isolated, alone in desperation. At those moments like the French existentialist, Jean-Paul Sartre, we may wonder what is the point of our existence. How should we define ourselves? I know the answer for me but each I think goes the road alone here answering this quandary, maybe taking a lifetime to do so. Aware of this predictable cycle, I have learned that absolutely out of the barren comes the blossom, like the forsythia that blooms here each year out of the frozen ground. This is nature’s way. So when life seems to fail us, we have to hang on because it is nature’s way that from the depths of this lifelessness, life is renewed and regenerated in ways we often cannot imagine. Relief does not necessarily demand all the right circumstances coming together perfectly because barrenness is fertile grounds for regeneration. The loveliest wildflowers that yield the most savored honey grow in the ashes on Mt. St. Helens. Magic? Perhaps, no. Maybe we need to understand that what seems infertile to the naked eye is replete with an exquisite set of circumstances for great growth if we play our hand well. Maybe barrenness is not void of opportunity but rich with opportunity.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Help Protect Flemington

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." Winston Churchill

Churchill is right. We have to know what is going in our own backyards, my friends.

In NJ we are at a point, a tipping point, in the areas of money management and morality. In NJ, they are overlapping issues. Money management and morality, or the lack thereof, are directly impacting Flemington, which is slated to lose all state funding even though NJ collects the highest property taxes in the nation. For us this most likely means that the Boro will either have to cut back on services or raise our taxes. So as conscientious citizens, we have no choice but to educate ourselves as best we are able in order to make judicious long-term judgments as voters to secure our financial solvency and restore some moral standards to state government. The time is now. There is no magic here in keeping our state operating properly, just accepting our civic responsibility to do the right thing and insisting our elected officials do so also.

How do we get informed? Coincident to the toll hike plan announcement, the book “The Soprano State” was released and sold out immediately. (It is back on the stands BTW…See for updates AND, see also the 5 star rating revues of the book on ). The book was thusly named by authors Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure because in the course of their investigative journalism, they concluded the workings of political party bosses were analogous to the mechanisms seen in organized crime. This is our state government, my friends. Also, check Bob Ingle’s blogsite daily for info on NJ state politics and political scams. See

While the book is excellent, words sting less than the pictures that show how this corrupt political mechanism plays out in the real world and the price citizens pay for it. Let’s take Newark. View the film, Street Fight and you will understand why I suspect that Governor Corzine resists cleaning up the political party financial abuses in Newark and Camden and Trenton. Therefore, he targets softies like us here in Flemington etc. to make up the budget shortfall. He attempts to argue that targeting small municipalities will make us more efficient. So we are to believe that Newark, Trenton and Camden are more effective in budgeting than Flemington? Here’s the real issue to ponder...How well would it go over if the Gov suggested Newark share its services in order to clean up its waste?

Street Fight is a documentary that received several awards in addition to being nominated for an Academy Award in 2005. (See / or This film documents the Democratic mayoral primary between 32- year veteran, Mayor Sharpe James, and newcomer, Cory Booker. It is not pretty to see in action in America the corruption and manipulation of struggling people in Newark, trying to get out from under the thumb of Sharpe James.

In the film, I viewed the scenes of the streets. Despite a few pricey building projects in Newark over 30 years, these streets look more dilapidated than when I used to ride through them, over 30 years ago. But still the Mayor has managed to get for himself a Rolls Royce and 2 beachfront houses on the Jersey shore in addition to his home. What has happened here? Why do people keep voting him into office?

The film is an all too real snapshot of the political landscape within the Garden State. It brings colorful pictures to the book Ingle and McClure have written with the intent of blowing the whistle on NJ political corruption, hoping to give NJ citizens a fighting chance to address this corruption with some facts and yes, our righteous indignation.

With the Governor Corzine’s current plan we will continue to bankroll the boondoggles of the numerous “Jameses” of NJ while our local municipal funding is cut. What manner of lunacy is this? Instead of letting the corruption continue to go un-addressed and receive our continued financing while robbing Peter (Flemington) to pay off the “Jameses” of NJ, the Gov needs to roll up his sleeves and do the job right or he is out of here.

We too have a job to do, my friends. We have to educate ourselves and let our elected officials know that we expect this corruption it to be eliminated before we even begin to look at cuts. As taxpayers, we are entitled to return for our investment. We are responsible for getting the job done too by voting out those elected officials who support the good old boy network or will not work diligently to change it. They are in Trenton because we voters put them there.

We must have a healthy skepticism of what we hear coming out of Trenton and do our own homework. Info on the Internet is just a finger’s touch away. We need to share with our neighbors what we are learning about Trenton and the corrupt state of our state. We meet. We protest. We write. We email. We work collectively. We do not let Trenton off the hook. We remember to dream like Cory Booker and know that the dream of a better government is well within our grasp.

Epilogue to Street Fight

Despite Sharpe James’ lengthy reign, Cory Booker did unseat the incumbent in 2006 and is currently mayor of Newark. He is making his mark nationwide as a promising political leader.

Sharpe James is currently on trial.

Please plan to attend the town meeting held by Boro council on the proposed budget cuts on Wednesday, April 2, 7:00 PM at the American Legion, RT 31.

Note: This film is about a Democratic primary in Newark. It is NOT my intention to suggest that the entire Democratic Party operates in the unseemly manner it did in Street Fight.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

From Many,One

Once again ‘tis the season when we enjoy that breathtaking performance, Riverdance, scarf down Irish stew or corned beef and cabbage and maybe even a green potato or two, washed down with maybe green beer or…we throw back a pint o’ Guinness. Aye, there, lads and lassies…we are all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

This little Polish/Russian kiddo grew up in the Irish/British town of Kearny. In this melting pot moment, as a community we celebrated St. Pat’s with the parades of waves of bagpipers and drummers in their clan tartans and their kilts, swinging in the March winds. There was no political statement intended, just community fun.

The melting pot speaks of America as a unique nation filled with the flavors of numerous ethnicities that blended into a one single, solitary main course, the great nation of America. And in those days we were first and foremost Americans and proud to be so. We were, from many, ONE: many ethnicities united philosophically under one American heart and mind and soul.

Unfortunately, over the last 30 years or so our college campuses have been unwisely populated with a team of professors, teeming with anti- American sentiment. They are harsh with America in their lessons to our students on college campuses. Collectively, in their radical viewpoints--- America is an exploitative capitalist, racist, sexist, militaristic, patriarchal blight on the face of the earth. Some of these professors sympathize with bin Laden or bask and regale in the glories of the former Soviet Union or China or North Korea, countries that somehow in their eyes have become beacons of human rights and moral rectitude…examples to be followed. (See “The Professors” by David Horowitz)

Even though many students are not blinded by this extremist anti- American bias they are being subjected to in classrooms what has trickled out of these extremist and perverse teachings into the mainstream of society are its progeny, politicized diversity and political correctness. Instead of a melting pot to be savored, America has become the United States of Victims and their endless list of grievances against America.

Political correctness tacitly assumes that Americans, because of their depravity, must shut their mouths and instead speak with a script imposed on them by the political correct police who believe at heart, we Americans, are just as these professors say we are. We, the people, have come to believe of ourselves that we, particularly white males, are exploitative capitalist, racist, sexist, militaristic, patriarchal blights on the face of the earth who are solely responsible for all the evils in the world. Accordingly, Americans should apologize to all our supposed victims on a daily basis.

Clearly, this is utter nonsense. This view is why political correctness never should be mistaken for a serious ethical guideline or assessment of social moral problems. It condones an ungodly, infantile prejudice against its own people. As a moral guideline political correctness lacks the evenhanded scholarly evaluation that needs to accompany any moral theory. Political correctness damages the people it is purported to help by stifling open discussion of their problems.

Based on this negative image of America, politicized diversity tends not to celebrate the special-ness of a specific ethnicity alone that can enrich us all. This dark side of diversity assumes that all but white males must fight against a racist, sexist, exploitative America to get these depraved white people to accept what by their nature, their inherent sinful nature, Americans will not do out of their sense of moral uprightness. Politicized diversity initiates social wars or refuses to let them end and make way for a new day. The politicized diversity crusader must cast as grounds for battle people’s differing ideologies or questions and fight the supposed battle for acceptance by the recalcitrant, ugly American, as opposed to addressing bona fide differences of opinion and respecting our celebrated freedom of speech and the right to our own opinions, which is true respect for diversity. I ask you---to whom is the racism and prejudice directed in America these days?

Are we really a racist, exploitative nation at heart? I think not. The greatness of America is not a function of skin color. America’s economic successes are a matter of the nature of market forces and their laws like supply and demand. Anyone who follows the history of political thought realizes that America evolved from the democracies of Athens and the citizenship concepts of Rome, the diminution of royal power in Britain and the Christian ideology that all men are created equal, all historical evidence to the contrary.

Has America sinned? Undoubtedly and glaringly. But let those nations and the peoples of those nations that have NOT sinned, cast the first stone… And those sins America has committed will never be overcome and the wounds will never heal if we remain in politicized groups that divide, clinging to ethnicity or gender as sovereign in their lives while refusing to join America as American citizens and contributing their talents to this great, albeit, not perfect nation. For those who have felt marginalized and want to join the club, as Bill Cosby points out…the battles have been fought and great progress made. These doors have been opened. Come on board.

No group has to prove itself as worthy because we are all worthy. And all we need do is treat one another the way we want to be treated, another bit of simple biblical wisdom. We do not need politically correct scripts to tell us what we may think or say.

Rather than divide ourselves with sex and skin color and other superficial differences, let us each be a peacemaker by beginning to recognize the unity we need as a nation in these challenging days. Let us use St. Pat’s Day, the day we are all Irish, to highlight our special backgrounds, while understanding in the grand scheme of things the true melting pot of gold America is and has been and will be.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mark Your Calendars and "The Blonde Guy" Joke

On Wednesday, March 19 at 6:00 PM the Hunterdon Coalition for Peace will sponsor a peace vigil marking the 5th anniversary of the Iraqi war on the courthouse steps. The coalition invites the public to attend and “inform our legislators of their desire to develop a viable plan for ending US involvement in Iraq”. For more info on the Hunterdon Coalition for Peace see Please call 908-806-3346 if you have any questions.

School budgets are coming out and budget meetings are scheduled. A public hearing on the Flemington/Raritan budget is scheduled or Wednesday, March 19, at 7:00 PM in the RFIS auditorium. The budget presentation is online at

The public meeting for the Hunterdon Central budget is also on Wednesday, March 19, at 7:00 PM in the library off Junction Road. For budget info see

A town meeting regarding the proposed state aid funding cuts for Flemington will be on Wednesday, April 2, at 7:00 PM at the American Legion, Route 31.

NOTE : There is a new cell phone law in effect and you can now be ticketed for driving and talking or texting to the effect of a $100 fine, I believe. So be careful out there.

And a little humor…

The Blonde Guy

An Irishman, a Mexican and a Blonde Guy were doing construction work on scaffolding on the 20th floor of a building. They were eating lunch and the Irishman said, "Corned beef and cabbage! If I get corned beef and cabbage one more time for lunch, I'm going to jump off this building." The Mexican opened his lunch box and exclaimed, "Burritos again! If I get burritos one more time I'm going to jump off, too." The blond opened his lunch and said, Bologna again! If I get a bologna sandwich one more time, I'm jumping too." The next day, the Irishman opened his lunch box, saw corned beef and cabbage, and jumped to his death. The Mexican opened his lunch, saw a burrito, and jumped, too. The blonde guy opened his lunch, saw the bologna and jumped to his death as well

At the funeral, the Irishman's wife was weeping. She said, "If I'd known how really tired he was of corned beef and cabbage, I never would have given it to him again!" The Mexican's wife also wept and said, "I could have given him tacos or enchiladas! I didn't realize he hated burritos so much." (Oh this is GOOD!!) Everyone turned and stared at the blonde's wife. The blonde's wife said, "Don't look at me. He made his own lunch !!!!
(Submitted by a friend)

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Flemington Gets the Ax

$275,000 and some change, my fellow Flemingtonians, that is the figure Mayor Hauck and Councilwoman Erica Edwards, after attending a meeting with other municipal leaders last week on this very issue, indicated at the Boro council last night that Flemington is slated to lose under the proposed budget cuts. Being a municipality under 5,000, we in Flemington are to get NO state funding this year if Governor Corzine’s budget proposal is allowed to stand. Zip, nada, nothing, zero, zilch. *( See correction below).

The governor, arguing that such a move will enhance the use of shared services, is almost insulting to me. Are we to believe that Flemington and Raritan for example operate with less efficiency than Newark, Camden and Trenton? We have a splendid shared school district and they have that fiscal nightmare of irresponsibility known as Abbott. Yet that money pit for billions of dollars is not under the microscope. Why is not Trenton et al being forced to economize? Too many party bosses with too much strength there, perhaps?

Don’t be fooled. There are plenty of ways to start to reduce NJ spending other than taking our state aid. Again, I ask you to take some time and cruise this site.

“The Soprano State” by Bob Ingle that sold out by the end of the first day it hit the stands is back in the bookstores. Here too you will be educated on waste and corruption in NJ. See also

In view of this prospective loss of state funds, the Boro budget has not yet been finalized. Boro council is hoping to set up a special town meeting in very early April for us to address this major blow to our Flemington budget. Of course, I will keep you updated on this meeting.

At this stage of the game, I cannot imagine that there is a citizen of the Garden State, soon to lose its Department of Agriculture ironically under this vindictive proposal, who is unaware of the overspending in Trenton these last few years. Yet “the in your face attitude” of Governor Corzine, still giving judges raises and pushing to increase paid family leave as if we could afford these upgrades, belies any serious ethical attempt to bail NJ out of the fiscal mess Trenton has made.

My fellow Flemingtonians I have formally studied all kinds of theories in ethics and there is not a one that morally justifies Corzine taking away our funding while he does not address the overspending and corruption at the center of this budget problem. And he is not doing so to date. I can make numerous arguments though as to why what he and his supporters are doing is unethical. But really so can you.

If we small municipalities allow Trenton to skim off the cream, keep our money to indulge its extravagant lifestyle with abandon, do you think we will have an easy time of it getting our state aid restored once we lose it? How long will small municipalities be deprived of funding, 75 years?

Stop the spending, double dipping. Dismantle the outrageous “perks for pals” lifestyle that is endemic to Trenton. ( Click on "Public Payrolls" by muncipalities). Upbraid the frivolous spending identified on the above- mentioned Republican website. After this is accomplished, then the governor might start to offer non- punitive and evenhanded proposals for paying down the debt that will not continue mushroom because the root causes have been uprooted.

We are, I believe, a reasonable people but we must also take responsibility to stop this pillaging of our coffers. I am a child of the ‘60’s. People power works. Our collective voice cannot be ignored.

Should Governor Corzine stubbornly continue on this unreasonable path, we ought to recall him from office for dereliction of duty. We citizens are entitled to responsible behavior from our governor, not punishment for demanding that Trenton clean up its act. As our state’s chief executive officer, he should lead the way.

Stay tuned.

* As per comments posted today by Linda Mastellone, on Wednesday, March 5 ,Councilwomen Erica Edwards and Linda Mastellone attended the NJ League of Municipalities Meeting on budget cuts for small municipalities. At Boro council Monday, it was my understanding that Councilwomen Erica Edwards and Mayor Hauck attended this type of meeting given the unified response to my question about a specific figure asked during work session. I did not understand that Councilwoman Edwards and Mastellone went to this meeting. I regret the error.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Flemington Loses

In spring the young man’s fancy may turn to love but this homeowner’s fancy turns to spring- cleaning. Dutifully I have my rugs cleaned each year. Using the same service year in and year out, we get to talking, the carpet man and I. He goes to the same beach we do each summer. So we compare notes on people and commerce at our vacation hotspot. This year though the talk turned grim, to the toll hikes. He said it well…”These taxes are taking food out of our children’s mouths. “ The phrase and sentiment haunts me.

NJ residents pay perhaps the highest property taxes in the US. There is plenty of money for double dipping pension pay offs. There is money for boondoggling, giving judges and their entourages raises to make them the most highly paid in the nation. There is money for driving school board members in Abbott districts to meetings in limousines. There is $1 million for Jeanne Fox’s (the wife of Corzine's campaign manager) defense against a whistler blower lawsuit against her and the BPU for an $80 million slush fund that was secretly established. I am talking here of the tip of the iceberg. (For other examples of NJ waste see "End Government Waste " at )

With the exorbitant property taxes we in NJ pay, how is it we do not have enough money for the taxpayers and our needs like hospitals, schools, senior prescription drug benefits or small municipalities? Why is it that Flemington as a small municipality may have its funding cut…is it because it is too hard to loosen the grip of party bosses from the bigger ones like Newark or Camden? (See Courier News,, March 7, 2008 “Small towns angered by Corzine cuts”) or

It turns out that the people some of our elected representatives pledge to serve upon taking office are themselves and their friends in Trenton. They do keep their promises to one another, this Trenton gang of marauders. Instead of using the swords honed of metal like the Huns did when they plundered the villagers, some elected officials and their party bosses slyly use legislation honed by greed to legalize their plundering of the state coffers. I cannot urge you strongly enough to read “The Soprano State” that details this culture of greed and corruption that has made Trenton a scar on the face of NJ, to borrow from the “DaVinci Code”. Also see

This literal highway robbery will take food from our children’s mouths and college from their future and jeopardize our retirement security. It will force NJ residents to move elsewhere so the tax base will continue to shrink making the tax burden greater for those who must remain here. This overspending and then borrowing to pay our debts is not a problem that can be relegated to armchair discussion with no action plan on our parts. We must be vocal to our representatives that we will not stand for this mistreatment.

Here’s a form of protest…let’s start to pay our taxes in pennies...that’s about all we will have left for ourselves when a state spends several billion more a year than it has with ne’ery a thought about the unconscionable burdening of its taxpayers as it promotes the wealth of that privileged class of state party bosses and their kith and kin.

Wisdom tells us that the fox will clean out the hen house rather than clean up the hen house. So NJ needs a physical Department of Justice occupation here in Trenton. We need a freeze on NJ legislation while federal attorneys take over Trenton and review NJ legislation for conflicts of interest, propose new legislation on ethics, eliminate legislation that is robbery in disguise and review all bond schemes that side step the legislature’s power of the purse such as those floated by the NJ Turnpike Authority.

We need judicial review and the impeachment of justices whose rulings disregard the state Constitution.

We need our governor at town hall meetings, telling us how he will preserve the services to the people we rightfully deserve in return for our tax dollar. This is not a charity organization, the state of NJ. We expect some bang for our hard earned buck. If the governor is not committed to an appropriate distribution of tax dollars and an ethics based budget, he needs to be recalled for dereliction of duty.

Ridding NJ of those who are bleeding the life out of it is the kind of spring- cleaning I would like us all to undertake.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"Council Meeting Just Around the Corner" lit n up's Bright Idea

On January 11, 2008, after the re-org, lit in up posted the comment below.
(“The Re- Org That Wasn’t”, January 4, 2008)

lit n up said...

“Council Meeting Just around the corner"

Since the council meeting is just around the corner, I hope that the council has their act together. I hope that the bickering witnessed last time is over and that the council that worked so well together last year reemerges next week. I hope egos and attitudes can be set aside and that our elected officials will be grown up enough to do what is in the best interest of the borough residents, business and employees. I hope that personal preference is set aside and assignments are based on experience and merit. Just because we voted for you once, doesn’t mean we will vote for you again.

Joan, maybe you could do us all a favor, and give us a venue to share some our comments to council before Monday night.”

January 11, 2008 7:21 AM
Post a Comment

Let me apologize, lit n up. I did not see this comment until today when I was going through my posts and collapsing the comments. If there is any type of venue I can set up via this blog for Boro council meetings, I am only too happy to do so. Please tell me what you may have in mind here…

As far as getting info to Flemington residents, this blog is underwritten by the Courier News, a major central NJ newspaper. As an agent for this news medium, I have asked all Boro council members to sit with me and explain in more detail certain issues that are pressing in Flemington, as Councilman John Gorman did recently with water, a very serious local, national and international issue. I look forward to bringing more in depth information about Flemington to Flemington residents. We should take full advantge of the opportunity for information sharing and citizen input that the Courier News is offering our Boro.

On the flip side of the coin here, as a resident you offered information on state code regarding bike safety. Because of the info you provided on this blogsite, Mayor Hauck expedited a course of action that has resulted in an ad hoc committed organized by Cpl Chris Foley that is currently meeting to address the issue of visibility and bikers.

To fulfill your request, for instance, I am happy to reserve a post site on this forum totally devoted to Flemington residents in order to raise questions or make comments to Boro council, i.e. “Ask Boro Council”… Is this along the lines of a venue to bring questions to Boro council that you have in mind here, lit n up ???? Just a thought.

Again, lit n up, I offer my apologies for missing your request and, folks, this forum is open for ideas here, one and all. There is another council meeting just around the corner and I can set up a post site in a flash…Standing by and please

Stay tuned.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Pennies for Your Thoughts

OK. Readington is not Flemington. But from the point of view of discussion and the Washington Post that ran the story, the fine distinction is neither here nor there.

Last week in Readington, evidently some 29 merry pranksters, specifically 8th graders, coordinated and executed a plan to pay for their lunches with 200 pennies as a protest for the shortened lunch period. (See Below). Superintendent Jorden Schiff slapped them with a 2 day detention as punishment.

Well, you guessed it. Were I superintendent, I would have commended the students for their creativity, their ability to organize, and coordinate and make a point, perhaps a bit disruptive but not intended to be disrespectful or harmful while at the same time explaining to them---point made and that should it continue there would be consequences that were specifically spelled out.

In a playful way these students did what students are expected to do from time to time, namely... think on their own, act on their own, create and, yes, even challenge authority and take risks. They did so in a bemusing way. The road to educate is fraught with much disruptive meandering.

This repressively politically correct society has “dumbed” down creativity in thought and expression. Instead educators and politicians are generating a bumper crop of students who are to march to the cadence of good little test takers while we know in the depth of our souls that mindless obedience is not the stuff of American politics and ingenuity, necessities of life in this highly globalized world.

As a college student, I taught religious classes to high school students who were, of course, poked and prodded to attend by their parents. Come Halloween, they egged my car. The next class I came and laughed with them, somewhat impressed that they wanted to get a rise out of me. At least they were not sleeping in that class. We bonded then and there, they and I, and as I have learned once you have bonded with your students, the learning really begins for both teacher and student. In Readington, as I sit from a distance, I see an opportunity to bond with these little ones lost and a punitive, alienating relationship begun that may descend to the ranks of the younger students as they observe the consequences meted out for any bit of rebellion.

By protesting a shortened lunch period maybe the Readington Penny Gang was trying to tell the adults something they had tried to say in other ways but were not heard. I wonder.

Schools need to give their students a fair amount of latitude to express their viewpoints, political correctness notwithstanding. Superintindent Schiff says he punished these students to teach them how to express their views without being disruptive. I fear all he has taught them is that if you get on his wrong side, you will be punished. So, indeed, were I the superintendent facing this little gang of protestors, I would have met with them with respect and, given them kudos for their creativity and organizational skills, basic gutsy-ness, heard their complaints and addressed them, rather than pounding them for the very qualities that make us human and specifically good Americans. Also with a wink and smile, I would warn them very clearly----don’t push your luck here.

Stay tuned.