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 www.thesopranostate.com for updates AND, see also the 5 star rating revues of the book on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/review/product/0312368941/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 ). 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 http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=NEWS03

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 http://www.marshallcurry.com / or www.streetfightfilm.com) 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.
See http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008803170380

Sharpe James is currently on trial.
See http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/sharpe_james/

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.


Bold, rare whinger said...
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Bold, rare whinger said...

Whenever anyone claims the moral high ground of being able to declare exactly who is “anti-American”, it always raises the red flag of caution for me. Indeed, ironically, such self-proclaimed morality is decidedly anti-American in and of itself. Today, Mrs. Greiner joins a long list of those who have also described others as being anti-American.

There have been those in American history who have also felt the same sense of “morality”, to pass such judgment on exactly was a true American. Father Coughlin. Sen. Joe McCarthy. Pat Robertson. Vice President Spiro Agnew. Jerry Falwell. Buffons all.

Coughlin was anti-Semitic and called Jews anti-American. McCarthy was a meglo-maniac who described anyone who disagreed with him anti-American. Agnew called anyone who disagreed with the support of the Vietnam War anti-American. Fallwell and Robertson have attacked anyone who is pro-choice or gay the same way. Bigger buffoons we have yet to see.

So, when Mrs. Greiner uses the soapbox of her community blog to make the same judgments of others, the same word comes to mind: buffoon.

Those who do not hold the same opinion as Mrs. Greiner apparently are anti-American. If you are of the belief that somewhere in past or in the current state, the US has been a nation that is “exploitative capitalist, racist, sexist, militaristic, or ‘patriarchal’, somehow you are anti-American to Mrs. Greiner. To seek the truth and to assert the truth is not anti-American, Mrs. Greiner. It’s more patriotic than anything you’ve said.

Perhaps, Mr. Greiner you have not heard of the Chinese Exclusionary Act. Or antimiscegenation laws such as the Racial Integrity Act. Or Executive Order 9066, the internment of Japanese Americans. These are the laws that codified the racism that has been so prevalent in American society. The same racism that prevented many people of color from jumping in to the 'melting pot' that you describe. First, you extol the virtues of the achronistic ‘melting pot’ theory of immigration. Then you blame those same people of color who were prevented from entering the melting pot from refusing to subject themselves to that racism. How odd!

There are those people of color who have kept to themselves because of their aversion to racism.

The value of political correctness is nothing more than having the good sense and common courtesy to not be offensive to someone of a different racial, ethnic, religious, or sexuality than yourself. It’s not always referring to everyone who is Hispanic as an “illegal alien”. It’s being a Superior Court judge and knowing that “no tickee, no laundry” is a racially offensive phrase. It’s being a Flemington Borough Councilmember and not referring to an Asian as a ‘chainman’. It’s being a Flemington Borough Mayor and not referring to Hispanics as 'the ethnics'. And, yes, it’s having the good sense to not use an Italian surname to describe state corruption in the title of a book, as if to say that only one ethnicity is responsible for that corruption.

Yes, political correctness is a value you might try sometime yourself.

And, by the way, the election in Newark documented in Street Fight was not a Democratic Primary. It was a May non-partisan election.

Get your facts straight if you’re going to have a published blog.

Betsy said...

The previous responder wrote: McCarthy was a meglo-maniac who described anyone who disagreed with him anti-American. Agnew called anyone who disagreed with the support of the Vietnam War anti-American.

Hmmm, sounds like a certain current occupant of the executive office. Today's class of republicans has failed to recognize that disagreement and questioning the ruling class is in itself the most patriotic thing a citizen can do.

Does money buy morality in your world, Joan? It appears that you believe it does. I can think of no other reason for you to claim NJ is at a morality tipping point as you have failed to expound on your nonsense. Or is it another topic that you are alluding to?

Regarding the current budgetary fiasco, let the borough lay off one or two of their 19 year old over-zealous police officers - it's not like they are needed to fight some imaginary crime wave here in town. We don't the street cleaner to ride up and down North Main St. 10 times a day as I have seen them do in the past. Maybe putting the borough on a diet is exactly what is needed. Realizing that, accepting an austere borough budget does not require reading the ramblings of crazy Republicans as you seem to believe with your constant endorsement of the book with the racist name.

I'll ask again, what are you getting from that particular nutcase author in exchange for your frequent endorsements?

You write, 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. You do the borough you live in and write about a disfavor with your partisan blog when you add only as an afterthought a note about this upcoming meeting. Are you hoping people will tirelessly slog through your nonsensical ramblings to get to that final paragraph? If so, you continue to be delusional.

What flavor Kool-Aid is on tap today, Joan?

Betsy said...

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

Churchill is right.

What would you prefer, Joan? Fascism?

Oh wait, you are a partisan republican so fascism is precisely the goal.

Courier News Flemington blog said...

One clarificatory point… As I stated correctly on my post, "Street Fight" documents the Democratic primary race of 2002 between Democratic incumbent, Sharpe James and Democratic hopeful, Cory Booker. Sharpe James took the Democratic nomination and won that mayoral race. In 2006 Booker ran again and won the election and is currently mayor of Newark. Betsy is misinformed.

With respect to the other comments posted, I suggest you re- read my post “From Many: One”, posted on Friday, after you view Obama’s speech on race division delivered this Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Obama’s speech http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/

You will find similar ideas in both pieces… such as---

- the failure of political correctness to address real issues because it prevents authentic dialogue

- the necessity for evenhandedness to resolve problems between the races
- - the appeal to the Golden Rule namely---treat others the way you wish to be treated ---as a universal moral guideline in lieu of political correctness

- the need for us all to unite to deal with these challenging times

to name a few glaring consistencies between my piece and Obama’s…

You, folks, are talking a philosophy that is yesterday’s news--- one that keeps hatefulness and racial division and all divisions alive to everyone’s disadvantage. It hurts America, the point of Obama’s speech. We have to move forward with new thinking and ideas that fix the divisions and the hurts on both sides, as Obama notes with his evenhanded assessment of the problems. You might try a more in depth evaluation of the ideas presented and a less hateful one. Were I a Democrat, I would certainly blanch at this kind of support.

Regarding MY so-called partisanship…despite that most Democrats on Boro council in 2007 respected my husband as a fine council member and have personally offered him positions in this year’s government, they worked to remove him from council in the last election. WHY? Solely because he was a Republican…so puuuleeeeease, peddle your partisanship, politically correct indignation elsewhere. Some of you who post here spew prejudice and hate so rampant it should give all readers pause.

MediumPetey said...

Brief correction, and then I will bow out of this 'discussion':

Street Fight was about the non-partisan race between Booker and James in 2002; NOT a Democratic Primary.

The elections in Newark are non-partisan affairs that occur in May, not partisan affairs that happen in November, with Primary being in June.

Your post makes it look like Street Fight was all about inner party squabbles in the Democratic Party. It was not.

And although Mr. Greiner may have been well respected by the Democratic Council members, he was not supported by the residents of Flemington.

The respect that the other Council members have for your husband is not the only criteria that goes in to the decision making of the Flemington residents when voting. It could for them be that he is a Republican [some vote only by Party]; it could be because of his stand on certain issues; it could be because they liked his opponent better. You can never really tell. But don't blame the Democrats for running candidates against your husband. He lost on his own, and lives to run another day, should he decide to.

Sorry to interrupt the fistacuffs between you and "Betsey.".

Betsy said...

Betsy is misinformed.

Uh, Joan, it appears that you are the misinformed one - I didn't post anything about Street Fight. Never saw it and can't comment on something I haven't seen. Nice try however.

Courier News Flemington blog said...

Sorry, Betsy...you are right it was bold, rare whinger who brought up "Street Fight".

Bold, rare whinger,

I consider a group of professors who extol the virtues of China, the former Soviet Union and North Korea while condemning our country as a racist, sexist, militaristic nation as anti- American. You are entitled to disagree. All your carrying on about McCarthy etc is really off in left field somewhere…

As I stated in my piece, America has sinned and has sinned glaringly. I am not trying to cover up slavery etc by any stretch of the imagination. But America wants to be better. As Obama said in his speech with his background, this is the only country in the world where he could be doing today what he is doing. In the grand scheme of things…that says a great deal positive about this country …perfect??? heck, no, but on the right track…

I treat people with respect, even those who disagree with me and I do not need a script to tell me how to be kind and respectful…I do not call them buffoons. There will always be people who treat others with disrespect. I do not think they care about political correctness… with political correctness in the meantime important issues between groups are left at a stalemate because people are scripted and cannot honestly voice their differences and come to understand each other better…so the people who need to be helped are left languishing as they have been… we need to bridge the differences to move forward together. I do not believe you have read my work carefully enough.

To both bold, rare whinger and mediumpetey,

Regarding the contest, I related it as it was simply depicted in the film, perhaps for the sake of not confusing the moviegoer.If there were further specific nuances involved regarding this campaign, I will not contest that but in the grand scheme of things how is this germane to the discussion at hand, namely Booker's struggle to unseat a very corrupt mayor, Sharpe James? What about the way Booker and his supporters were harrassed and threatened? the way his signs were torn down and how his supporters were frightened about the safety of their businesses...is any of that worthy of our attention??? especially in the context that we are losing funding perhaps while having to continue to subsidize this kind of corruption in our major cities...This is the serious task we have at hand...not becoming serfs, condemning our children to the burden of excessive taxation due to double dipping and the abuse of our state coffers by party bosses....What should be the focus here?


Yes, in the context of which I am incessantly accused of an unfair bias against the Democrats, as if I am not permitted to have my own opinion, it makes a serious difference that the Dems in the community DELIBERATELY RECRUITED candidates to serve up a slate solely in order to unseat competent council members just because they are members of another party. I am not talking about the actions of the electorate here. I am talking about the tactics of the Dems prior to the election, again deliberately recruiting candidates and working to takeout Republicans not because they are incompetent but just because they are Republicans. The outcome of the election is neither here nor there… Talk about your bias…

in general..

If readers are not getting enough coverage from the Dems on Boro Council, take it up with them yourselves. I have more than once graciously invited them to post here like last week, for instance.

MediumPetey said...

Chiming in on the issue of "DELIBERATELY RECRUITED" candidates of the Democratic Party in Flemington:

I have chimed in on this before, back in January when it was more current:

Living in a democratic society compels us to run candidates---even against ones we may respect and like. It simply gives greater importance to the stand that it is the ELECTORATE that chooses the Council members, not some 'deal' amongst current Council members based on 'friendship' or 'mutual respect'. How are we any better than North Korea, Soviet Russia, China or Iran, if we give no democratic choice to the residents of Flemington? Do you really think that Mr. Greiner deserved to not have to prove his mettle to the Flemington residents just because he was well-respected and liked by the other Democratic Council members? I do not understand your logic.

Obviously, the respect and friendship that he enjoyed from other members of Council was NOT the same respect and friendship he had from voters. He lost.

The kind of local government that you seem to want is one based on back-room 'friends' and good ole boy mutual 'respect'. How do we get new blood in the mix unless we allow the residents to decide who should be on Council, and not the Council members themselves.

You mentioned the melting pot analogy for immigration--that each group coming to the US got a chance to mix in with all the others to create something that is uniquely American. Well, the same analogy can be used for Borough Council: that all people should get a shot at mixing in with other Council members to create something uniquely Flemingtonian. Under your way of thinking, Ms. Mastellone or Mr. Novick would not have received that 'shot'---all because Mr. Greiner was buddy-buddy with certain members of Council. Seems absurd on its face to me, and lies in contradiction to the others values you have asserted at times.

And yes, the Democrats DELIBERATELY RECRUITED candidates. That is what political parties do. Mr. Greiner was DELIBERATELY RECRUITED for his seat to replace Mary Melfi. What right does he have to not have to defend it in front of the public? Ms. Edwards was DELIBERATELY RECRUITED to replace Mr. Hauck. Should she also have faced no challenge?

From your posts, you seem like a person who believes in democracy ---except when the negative results of democracy may impact you or those you support personally.

Obviously, the Democratic Party made the right choice by giving the voters a true choice. Under the Democrats plan, true democracy was valued in Flemington. Under your plan, there would have been a 'one-party' system where your husband would have benefited.

That's not what America is about at all. Such one-party system are truly anti-American.

Courier News Flemington blog said...


So am I to conclude from your comments here that you and the Dems do not believe in uncontested elections?

Now for all your say and some of it I will go along with about offering people options... falling into that camp myself under most circumstances ...you still did not address my point about Democratic partisanship...namely if the Dems are partisan, let's not chastise the Republicans if they are partisan. Do we have a deal here?

Let’s talk about this from a more impersonal, academic perspective on partisanhip activities in small municipalities...My objection to what happened last fall is a specific objection that I would not apply across the board in elections for reasons you that you cite, namely about offering opportunities and choice.

From what I have observed specifically in Flemington there is a history of hostility for a number of years but was circumvented by the 2007 council. Sans the old time hostilities, this council dug in and began to address the serious problems facing Flemington and the problems grow ever more serious as time goes on.

Local politics, not like the national ones, harbor few differences between the parties, perhaps negligible, so negligible that local candidates switch parties at times in order to run. And all issues brought to the 2007 council were addressed without party prejudice. It was a highly competent, amicable council. The governance was good. I see many reasons not to attempt to break up the scenario except for the circumstance in which an individual is personally motivated to run…not deliberately recruited or convinced to do so. Speaking candidly, if you convince people to run, this is not about people who are eager to bring their new ideas to the table. This is just partisanship for the sole sake of partisanship and to me it was not in the best overall interest of the municipality. So your point about good governance and strengthening democracy in theory is great… in practice parties need to apply it on a case by case basis in municipalities in which there are few political differences in viewpoints and the governance by admission by both parties is good…the question is will the governance be better with the change? Those who change it must give the voters something better.

I welcome all those who are personally motivated to run from either party...this is the democracy I champion...that is very different from deliberately recruiting to take out competent council members who are of another party, solely because they are of another party...that does not guarantee better governance or really strengthen our democracy...it may just bolster party power at the expense of good governance.

Betsy said...


Backroom deals to fix an election are at the very core Un-American and unpatriotic. They are also very unfair to the constituents of the municipality who have the power of that one vote to express approval or disfavor with their elected officials.

As a resident of Flemington, had I discovered what you are suggesting should have occured last November would be very dismayed. I likely would have made complaints to the state level and attempted to get a recall election underway because no one involved would have deserved to be representing me nor any other resident of Flemington (except for you). They would not have earned their positions.

You claim to champion democracy unless it impacts you personally apparently. Your husband lost and you are still harboring personal grudges over it months later - it's time to get over it. If you are unable to, maybe it's time for professional help to figure out why.

Whether a candidate is volunteering, is recruited, or falls out of the sky, it doesn't matter. The ultimate choice is in the hands of the voters - voters who chose not elect your husband to a full term on Council. It's not up to a select few to make secret deals.

I'll look forward to seeing John's campaign this fall - or do you think he should sit this one out because Sandy is such a great lady and darn it, she really deserves that seat on the dais? Let's hope your suggestions of disregarding the very basis of our representative democracy don't come back to haunt him this fall should he choose throw his hat into the ring.

Brooke Liebowitz said...
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Brooke Liebowitz said...

Just to clarify, during the special election in February 2007, when Mark Legato won, Linda announced at headquarters that evening back in February that she had officially decided to run for Borough Council in the November 2007 elections. She didn't know who the opposing candidate would be back in February 2007, nor did anyone else. Your husband had only been on Council for a few weeks back then. She decided, as is her right, to support the Democratic system and run for Council regardless of who was her opponent. She wasn't "DELIBERATELY RECRUITED" (sic) against Phil personally, she volunteered long before she knew who the candidate would be. Linda is a great addition to Council and I’m glad she decided to run, but she ran for office on her own merits and was not “DELIBERATELY RECRUITED"(sic) to run against Phil by the Democratic Party in Flemington. Linda declared to run in early 2007 before Phil declared to run –which begs the question: Was Phil DELIBERATELY RECRUITED (sic) to run against Linda?

There have been a couple of occasions I know of in the past several years where the Republican Party has approached the Democratic Party to offer to not run another candidate against the Dems if the Dems would not run a candidate against the Rs. The Republican Party didn't make that offer in 2007. They didn't have Phil's back in that election, so maybe you should blame the Rs for not supporting Phil, not the Ds for running a candidate against a Republican candidate who was unknown at the time of filing. Phil was recruited to take Mary Melfi’s place and run for office. PHIL made a choice to run against D candidates who had already filed before PHIL did, not the other way around.

Also, Phil wasn’t the only Republican running that year. Should the Ds not have run ANYONE and give John Gorman an automatic election pass too? Do you really expect the Ds to not run ANYONE against two Republicans? John happened to beat Phil – are you mad at him for running a campaign where two of four candidates would be elected? Maybe John should have sat this one out so Phil could be elected.

Question: Would you support the Republican Party this year to make the same offer to the Ds not run anyone against Erica if the Rs didn’t run anyone against Sandy? Is it up to a few party members to decide who should be on Council, or is up to the electorate? Nothing prevents Phil from running again with Erica this year to DELIBERATELY RUN (sic) against any Democratic candidates we may run. It’s up to the voters, not a few people in a back room deal. I’d be interested in your blogging on that scenario.

Both the Ds and the Rs ran a nice campaign in 2007, and the voters decided in favor of Linda (D) and John (R) and Erica (R) over Phil (R) Joey (D) and Loretta (D). The Rs won two seats, and the Ds lost two seats; your husband just happened to be the one of Rs who lost. So the Rs still beat the Ds two to one in that election; but your incumbent husband wasn't one of them. That's not the Ds fault. Please, stop blaming the Democrats for running candidates, as is supported in the Constitution, especially when Linda decided to run on her own regardless of who her opposing candidate would be. You might as well blame John Gorman for running for a seat in which he was also in competition with Phil.

And regarding Borough Dems on Council not being willing to sit down with you, not only did I invite you to speak with me about the environmental commission, but also I invited you and/or Phil to SERVE on the commission. You were noncommittal. So please don't say that the Ds are ignoring you. I not only offered a time to sit down and meet with you, but I also offered a commission position to you and/or your husband. I don’t know what more I can do to accommodate you.

I stopped visiting this blog months ago because I found it to be personally upsetting because of partisan attacks. You can ask the Republican Mayor and Republican council members if I have ever acted in a non-trustworthy way or played partisan politics. I'm 100% confident they will say no. I have worked very hard to earn the respect of all of my colleagues and constituents regardless of party. I've saved thousands of dollars for the Borough doing the website myself, I've improved the borough newsletter, I've personally initiated, researched and wrote grants that have brought in a HALF MILLION dollars in just my first year on Council for important projects like way finding signage programs, improving our archives and records-keeping so that we are in compliance with state statutes, and making sure our streets are safe for our children and seniors. The Flemington-Raritan school district contacted me to figure out how to put their meetings online like I did for Flemington and for the first time last night for their budget meeting, they put their meetings online and live for the first time with my help and leadership. I also started the first Environmental Commission and we're working on great projects in the future. I've worked really hard to do my best for the borough and to have a good relationship with everyone.

But all you mention of me in your blog is that I didn’t tell your husband three days before his term expired that we should consider broadcasting borough council meetings on the Internet starting with the reorg meeting when he wouldn’t be on Council anymore and attack me for it. I changed my email list at then end of December to include newcomer Linda who would be the sitting councilmember during that meeting, not lame duck Phil. Oh, boo hoo. How awful of me that this deserves a whole column from you trashing my judgment! Never mind that Flemington Borough is now a leader in open government and I’ve gotten calls from national and local organizations curious about how to set up similar live web casts. You take it personally that Phil wasn’t cc’d on the memo to sitting Council members involved in this venture and condemn me publicly for it. Not to toot my own horn, but I should be praised for bringing this service to the public. And I have been from everyone but you.

One of your laments back in January was that now the Ds were in power that the Council wouldn't get along. You're in the audience every session -- have you seen conflict? I know it must surprise you that we can all get along just as well as we used to when Phil was on Council.

The Council gets along great right now, we work together, and we try hard to serve the borough. And that’s what the electorate asks of us. I and my Democratic colleagues have equal respect for both parties on Council and know that we are working for the borough and totally overlook party politics. I wish that you would present that picture to the borough. For those of you reading Joan's blog who think that the Ds are being unreasonable and unfriendly and not open to suggestions from the public, I invite you to watch our Borough Council meetings on www.ustream.tv to see for yourself how, even without Joan’s husband, we are all very collegial.

I know I have a lot to offer the borough and am proud of what I’ve accomplished in the last year. In light of my accomplishments and the non-partisan good-will I’ve generated, I hope you, Joan, will support MY running for Council unopposed. I’m up for reelection next year, and, Joan, feel free to recruit a non-partisan Republican with experience in grant-writing, web development, graphic design, program development, interpersonal communications, public relations, special events planning, and sponsorship garnering ability. If you can’t find such a candidate then I’m happy to accept your thesis, that I, like your husband, should run unopposed during the next election.

Brooke Liebowitz said...

Quote from Joan: "Regarding MY so-called partisanship…despite that most Democrats on Boro council in 2007 respected my husband as a fine council member and have personally offered him positions in this year’s government, they worked to remove him from council in the last election."

I also want to respond to this. I was the council member who personally offered Phil a position in local government -- as OEM chief or environmental commission member, which was declined. I think Phil is great. I really like him and I used to like you too, Joan.

I just don't know what you would expect from the Democratic party. Don't run anyone against BOTH Phil and John? I doubt that the Republican party would give Mark and I the same courtesy when we are up for election next year. Phil didn't run by himself and he chose to run after the D candidates had already filed. I honestly ask you to clarify what decision the Ds made to run candidates was so egregious and offensive to your sensibilities. And please explain why it was okay for Phil and John to run against D candidates who declared before they did. In the long run, the best bet is for both parties to run their own candidates and let the voters decide. I'd like to hear your argument against this. I only hear you complaining that Phil lost, not that John won. If Phil and Linda had won instead of John and Linda, would you be so critical?

Linda in NJ said...

Well, Brroke, Betsy and Mediumpetey all beat me to it, but I just want to add one thing.

Running for Council was a profound honor for me. That I got to participate in our government is something that millions have suffered and died for, that many have risked their lives for. And I hold their sacrifice high. We live in a great country. If you, like I, are watching "John Adams" on HBO, or if you read the biography, the hardships and risks the Founders deliberately put themselves through is hard to understand.

But sacrifice they did. It can be convenient to tuck their actions away in a history book. But their actions reverberate today. In December, Benezir Bhutto, former PM of Pakistan, came home to run again. Conditions were perilous, and she risked her life, but she did it for love of country. In the end, she was assassinated. Struck down because she had the audacity to offer Pakistanis the option of candidates. The OPTION. That's why she died.

I live in a country where the opposition isn't assassinated. Where citizens are free to choose.

I made a decision to run for Council to offer a choice. To meet the voters, tell them how a Mastellone on Council would differ from a Gorman or Greiner and in what ways. There was a real platform. The voters had a real choice.

I have tried to move past the vitriol you spewed in December's blogfest. I have worked with you on an important issue. Have I once been rude or unkind? Never. Yet you continue to see me as divisive. Guess what, Joan? I'm not the divisive one.

And I hope Erica runs a serious and hard campaign against whomever runs opposite. She has the right. So will her opponent. Benezir Bhutto died to protect that choice for her people. We must never forget on who's shoulders we stand.

MediumPetey said...

You're all wrong. Joan is right.

In her own words:

"Choice is the keystone of American politics and choice is the key to the success of our political system or its failures."

Joan Greiner, Courier News Blog
Politics Is Perception
December 18th, 2007

In 2007, the Democratic Party in Flemington gave the residents a choice, which as you aptly stated is the "keystone of American politics". They chose Linda Mastellone, John Gorman and Erica Edwards over Phil Greiner and Joey Novick. This "choice is the key to the success of our political system or its failures."

You're so right. Stay tuned.

Betsy said...

Silly Petey,

That's only if it doesn't actually affect her fortune in life. Once it does, it becomes a personal crusade. It's like abortion - republicans claim to be anti-choice unless it is their teenage girl. Then it's anti-choice only for everyone else.

Courier News Flemington blog said...


I am sometimes at a loss to understand what you are talking about…I really am…I have never suggested that anyone cut any deals…where do you get that from??? People can unilaterally decide what they are going to do and just do it without cutting any deals. I have said this much I believe in the comment sections of previous posts. On recruiting, Brooke, I would not be happy if the Republicans went out to look for candidates just to see if they could vote you off council because you are a Democrat because I think you are a tremendous asset to the Boro, your personal feelings regarding me notwithstanding. I know people who would probably not run against you and do not need any deals to be cut to make that decision. I do not see why it is so dreadful to think this way...and, furthermore, understanding this is not rocket science. You folks saying I advocate cutting deals is so out in left field...if you knew me at all, you would understand how ludicrous this sounds...

Let me be clear...I am not referring to Linda with respect to my remarks about recruiting. I too saw Linda at council meetings and I believe that both she and Joey ran because they were personally motivated to do so. I fully support all people who run because they are personally motivated to do so as I have stated previously. I do not know how to be any more clear about this.

So I want to know if the Dems out and out reject the idea of uncontested elections.

On a personal note...I do not intend to dignify the rest of this commentary but to say that the responses are knee jerk, running off willy-nilly in all possible directions, concluding things about what I have said that you have no basis to conclude based on the positions I take. I say what I mean to say and no more and scratch my head about the extrapolations and embellishments you freely undertake and then argue against …positions I have never taken. Your posts reflect little serious attempt to understand another point of view.

And the double standard here…for instance, Betsy tells ReagensRight at one point it is her duty to challenge Bush but woe be tide to the person who does not see things the way Democrats on Boro council and their supporters do. There can be no possible civil airing of ideas that differ and that is too bad.

Courier News Flemington blog said...


On February 11, I e mailed the entire Boro council, informing them about the water articles John and I worked on together as a courtesy. In that e mail I also asked all Boro council members if anyone of them might do likewise for the Environment Commission, Police and Shared Services. Sandy and you responded that you would do so on the Police and the Environment Commission, respectively. I was very excited about doing the pieces as a community service. So I responded that that was great and indicated that I could be flexible time wise. Out of respect for your busy schedules, I indicated there was no rush here, but wanted to do it in the next few weeks. You at one point, after I made an inquiry about the bike race and bike safety, suggested the first week in March. Today, still nothing from either of you about scheduling a time. I have been waiting for both of you to tell me a time suitable to your schedules. I never heard back from either of you. Meanwile, I am criticized about not giving the Dems equal time and am unfairly biased.

Regarding your offer to serve on the Environment Commission, I responded very quickly that I was considering it but had some reservations along the lines that I did not fully understand its mission (which is why I wanted to do a piece on it for the rest of the community). I was not sure I felt qualified because I did not know its purpose all that clearly and I was concerned about the time committment due to health issues. I was concerned I could not manage it health wise. I do not see this as indifference but as asking reasonable questions about a job I was asked to undertake. I did not know what this work would entail and told you this, thinking you would answer my concerns. You did not respond to my inquiries or even acknowledge my response. I never heard a word about it or got any answers to my questions.

When I asked John to give me background on the water issue, he gave me a date and met me. Then together we scoped it out.

I am happy to forward you the e mails to refresh your memory

Brooke Liebowitz said...

I responded to your email on Wednesday, February 27, telling you that since the EC was a new venture that I was unsure of its exact responsibilities. I wrote that I would be attending the ANJEC training conference on March 29th for new ECs. I also INVITED you to attend with me so you too could have a better understanding. I never heard back from you.

I am happy to forward you the e mails to refresh your memory.

I give up!! You can say what you want about me in your blog. My positive actions, however, speak louder than your negative words. Good luck to you - I wish you all the best.

Courier News Flemington blog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Courier News Flemington blog said...


I did not get that e mail..never saw it and from previous email exchanges, you know I do respond to my e mails promptly...don't know what happened there...

I would appreciate your forwarding it to me...