Monday, October 06, 2008

knock knock

knock, knock
who's there?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Support Peter Richardson

I recently read the minutes from the Atlantic Highlands Recreation Committee’s January 8, 2008 meeting and saw that the committee will be putting together a formal job description and review for the Director and Assistant Director positions for the summer recreation program. I support the current Director, Peter Richardson. Our daughter has enjoyed the Atlantic Highland's summer rec program for the past two years. During this time she not only got to spend time and play with her friends but was also introduced to new games, sports, children and activities that she otherwise would not have been exposed to.

After recently talking to other parents in town about the program we discovered that much of what the program is today is due to Peter's efforts. We hope his leadership and accomplishments are recognized by the committee and that Peter is the person to direct this important program. My wife and I both look back fondly on our summers spent at summer camp and having gotten to know Peter over the past two years through summer rec, youth hockey and his employment at the local dining establishment, Bella's, we are confident that our daughter is being given the opportunity to create these same wonderful memories.

There's a Recreation Committee meeting tomorrow (Valentine's Day) at 8:00 pm. If you support Peter but can't make the meeting due to, uh, other committments, please email the Borough Administrator and show your support.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Bella's Beat, 12/07

12/7/07 Dave Oberacker from Seeking Homer boogied on down from Hoboken to jam at Bella's. Check back shortly for the next show date.

12/27/07 Carl Nolan said ta-ta to friends and family at a going away bash before he left for Kuwait. I said hello to my first taste of Johnnie Walker Blue. Follow Carl's adventures here.

Monday, January 07, 2008

AH Mayor Fred Rast Predicts Doom/Gloom for US

I'm still trying to process all of this.

Update, 1/15/08:

Below is the text of the speech given by AH Mayor Frederick J. Rast III at his swearing in ceremony on 1/1/08. In a, uh, nut shell, I find the speech ridiculous. In fact, there's really just too much ridiculousness for my brain to process. I trust Rast will provide his recommendation on how to fix Social Security at the next town Council meeting. As an avid hunter and not-so-avid fan of Baby Boomers (see below) I can only imagine what he might propose. If you were born between the years 1946 to 1964 you might want to consider relocating somewhere far away from Atlantic Highlands. Remember though that Rast is a private dick so he'll probably end up tracking you down anyway. And then hunting you for sport. Hippie-hunting season is officially open!


Today should be a very happy and joyous day for my running mates and me. However, as I stand here in front of my beloved family, close friends and fellow residents of Atlantic Highlands, I feel troubled and afraid of the future!

As I look into the beautiful faces of my three grandchildren, I wonder what is in store for them in the future? We live in an environment where so many of our USA citizens, continually do everything they can to detract from our country’s greatness. They constantly find fault in the USA and praise the rest of the world. They blame us, “The USA” for the world’s ills, when the truth is, that we as Americans do more for the rest of humanity, than any other nation.

The United States I grew up in, does not exist anymore! It started to decline in the 60’s, when people who believed more in their personal pleasures and free life style, made it fashionable to hold up Hollywood and Sports figures, as well as some foreign leaders, as their Heroes. They continually condemned and criticized our Military, Law Enforcement and Our Country as a whole. Unfortunately not all USA Detractors from that tragic point in History, changed as they got older! Many became members of our Government and some became Elected Officials. Many of them encourage our youth to continue to run down our nation. Many trained or at least set examples to their children, that the only thing important in life is to be rich and famous. They put their pleasures first, before their Country and Community. They look down on People who are religious, who are community volunteers and those who are of middle or lower income.
When I see the “Political Correct Crowd” making people uncomfortable who wish someone Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukah, it sickens me!

When groups such as “ACLU” push their twisted anti-American agenda into our society, I get outraged! I think it is time for people to realize that we are heading down a very steep, slippery, hill. If we don’t act now and don’t defy the “Political Correct Crowd” immediately, we are doomed as a nation!

In my opinion, every citizen should give back to his or her community as a volunteer, not for money or glory but for our survival!

When a small group complains just because a town may endorse or support a traditional Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any other religious event, we cannot “Bow” to their pressure! We must stand strong and say it is time for the majority to win, not the minority!

All good citizens are tolerant of others in every way. Giving someone a smile and wishing them a Happy Hanukah or Merry Christmas during a religious holiday cannot be wrong! It is an expression of love and well wishing from one person to another, even if its not that persons religious holiday.

Elected officials who are of the “Me First Mindset” disgust me when they make new laws just so they can get their names in the papers or their faces on TV. There are more senseless laws made just for personal recognition of lawmakers, than legitimate ones!

A great example is the law about using a handheld cell phone while driving. It is not a violation to put on make up, read, eat or tend to screaming children while driving. But it is to hold a cell phone.

Careless and Reckless driving violations relate to the actions of the driver, they have existed for well over 75 years. We needed no new law!

Today’s “Political Correct Extremists”, have taught people to blame anything but one’s own actions for their conduct!.

When a person takes a gun and kills people, it is not their fault, it is the gun manufacturers fault, for making the gun. Someone puts hot coffee between their legs while driving and gets burned, it is not their fault. It is the company who sold the hot coffee to them.

Global warming extremists within the last several weeks announced that they think there will be a great flood due to the Earth’s polar ice cap melting, possibly within 10 years! Some people are making large sums of money preaching doom and gloom, dealing with Environmental issues. They don’t mention however, that the Polar Ice caps on “Mars” are also melting at the same rate as the Earth’s. Why don’t they demand SUV’s stop being used on Mars or could it be the elliptical patterns of Orbit of the Earth, Mars and other planets are nearer the Sun at this point in time?

Another thing the “Global Warming Extremists” have said is that people of the Jewish faith, should not light candles on the menorah. In Australia they want to “genetically alter” cows, pigs and sheep so when they FLATULANTE there is no methane gas coming out, just like kangaroos. I wonder how much taxpayer’s money was given to capture kangaroo FLATULANCE, to check for methane?

Also one of these groups said if you have over 2 kids, there should be a “carbon dioxide tax” levied upon the parents, to cover for the additional carbon dioxide that the kids will expel over their lifetime. Of course we as humans expel Carbon Dioxide as part of our breathing process.
Please someone get a Big Net!

We all agree that we should protect the environment, man should not pollute and we should do everything we can to save our Natural resources.

The clear thinking majority, has to speak up and the madness must stop!

This is the real reason I ran for mayor. I want to bring back common sense to government. I have no desire to get publicity, I will never be on an ego trip! I am Fred Rast, a local town boy, who was elected mayor. I don’t expect I will always make the right decisions, so you my fellow citizens, don’t expect it of me!

I guarantee that I am going to make some people unhappy about the way I provide leadership, as your mayor. I also pledge that I will accomplish things that have to be done! I will always, have the best interest of the majority of our people at the forefront of every decision I make, popular or unpopular!

I will not personally and will not stand for other elected officials, to micro-manage the operations of our town. The professionals we have, at all levels of our town’s operation, know better than I do, how to do their job. We as elected officials are here to make sure they do their job in an honest, economical and very town sensitive, manner!

We are now a Mayor and Council for all citizens, no longer representing a political party but representing all citizens. I hope all of you work with me and our council, give us time and we will keep our town solvent and a wonderful place to live.

Our town, unfortunately gained the reputation in recent years, as being one of the most unfriendly towns in the area. Unfriendly, towards Investors, Small Builders, Real Estate People, General Contractors and Homeowners trying to improve their property! Complaints range from extremely expensive permits, an over abundance of red tape, long delays and unreasonable thinking committees, who openly show their lack of willingness towards construction, expansion and improvements in our town!

Complaints about Board Members badgering and treating people as though they were criminals who appear before them have been occurring for years. I intend to make sure all members of committees, boards and utilities who have expressed attitudes unfriendly to people who come before them, based on their prejudices or preferences understand this will not be tolerated. Some individuals openly have spoken against projects and applications long before they even heard all the testimony and voted on applications. Members of Boards must have an open mind, be fair, honest, nonpartisan and never allow their personal preferences to prejudice their decisions.

The Council and I, will work very hard to make Atlantic Highlands a Destination place that will attract and keep businesses in our town, as well as bring customers to those businesses. We will do everything in our power to enhance First Ave and Home-based businesses, so that they can provide more local jobs, continue to pay taxes and provide services locally, so that our residents need not travel, to get life’s needs. Remember if commercial rateables are successful, it reduces the property taxes homeowners have to pay!

We will continue to work hard on the remediation of our sewer system, to stop infiltration of ground water. This will drop costs of processing sewerage, thus reducing our Sewer Rates.
We will insist on private clean up of contaminated property by owners or responsible parties in town!

We will ensure that all of our publicly owned parks are maintained and kept available for maximum use by our citizens.

We will work very hard to build a badly needed public library in our town, in the most economical way possible.

We will spend our tax dollars on necessary things that will protect and enhance the lives of all our citizens.

We will always respect and protect the rights of Private Property Owners, with a rare exception if the owners actions create a direct threat to their neighbors or if the owners actions, are in violation of our laws.

We are going to conduct a complete review of our ordinances, rules and regulations to update where necessary, to amend where needed so that everyone can understand them and to shorten the Bureaucratic delays such ordinances, rules, and regulations have been found to cause!

As I said earlier “In my opinion, every citizen should give back to his or her community as a volunteer, not for money or glory but for our survival”. Therefore I have created a Senior Citizen committee headed by two of our former mayors, who truly love our town, Mayor Helen Marchetti and Mayor Robert Schoeffling. They will co-chair this committee of volunteer Senior Citizens, over 65 years old, who will be asked to help us with projects needed by the Borough in an effort to keep our town’s expenses down. We will ask experienced, community loving seniors, to become directly involved in the operation of our town. The co-chairs will identify a cadre of seniors, who’s experience in various areas of expertise, can again be used for the benefit of our community. With their help, often we can save or reduce the cost of outside “experts” or professionals wherever possible. Thus saving all of us, Tax Dollars.

I have also created a new committee, headed by former Councilwoman Kim Spatola, to coordinate efforts towards the promotion of Atlantic Highlands through beautification projects, advertising projects and a cooperative effort between the Chamber of Commerce, Arts Council and other groups who have our community at heart!

I promise that I will openly explain to those citizens interested, every project that I will be implementing and/or supporting over my tenure as Mayor.

Atlantic Highlands must remain a town where anyone, of any race, creed, religion, national origin or personal beliefs, can walk our streets safely and unmolested. The only people who should fear our town’s streets, must be people who wish to do our citizens harm! Towards such goals I will be encouraging Public Safety projects as needed!

Thank you all for coming today, God Bless you, Your Families Our Town and Our Great Nation!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Local Effort Being Made to Buy N.Y. Ferry Service Catamarans

Ed. note: some contents of the original Asbury Park Press article have been, uh, updated. The original article can be purchased here.

Asbury Park Press
December 18, 2007

A Wall Street executive said Monday he is working with local investors to buy four high-speed catamarans used by SeaStreak America Inc. to ferry passengers from Monmouth County to New York.

The possible bid from a group led by Michael Gooch, a Rumson resident and chief executive officer of the brokerage service GFI Group Inc., could ease fears that the boats will be sold to Trinidad and Tobago as part of a bankruptcy reorganization.

"Myself and other investors are not really, frankly, interested in being ferry operators," Gooch said. "We're just interested in seeing a quality ferry service continue."

The move comes as the future of the ferry service remains in doubt. SeaStreak's parent company, Sea Containers Ltd. of Bermuda, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy more than a year ago after it became burdened by debt. Among the creditors are unnamed banks which own the high-speed boats and charter them to SeaStreak.

Reports surfaced last summer that Trinidad & Tobago was prepared to offer $30 million for the boats to begin ferry service in the Caribbean nation.

Some 2,000 people a day take the boats — 400-passenger vessels that travel more than 40 mph — from Highlands and Atlantic Highlands to Manhattan, and the possibility of losing the service has unnerved them. Commuters say the ferry ride gets them to New York in about half the time it would take if they drove or took the train. Many of them said it is a major reason they live in Monmouth County . They worry that replacement boats would be much slower.

Losing the boats "would be an absolute disaster," said Robert Picard, who takes the ferry each day to get from his Rumson home to his office in midtown Manhattan. "There are no boats around that could replace those four."

In addition to working with investors, Gooch said he has talked to a ferry operator about taking over the service and investing in it. He declined to name the operator. But he said he is close to making what he called a "preliminary, nonbinding bid."

Gooch said there is little to prevent the vessels from being sold to Trinidad and Tobago — or to any other buyer. So local legislators have asked government agencies to intervene if the vessels are sold to a foreign country — if only to give Gooch and his investment group more time.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. asked the U.S. Maritime Administration to block the vessels' sale to a foreign country. But Shannon Russell, a spokeswoman for the agency, said, the agency only regulates the sale of U.S. vessels that weigh more than 1,000 gross tons, which is bigger than the SeaStreak boats."

There's nothing that the Maritime Administration can do to stop this sale if, in fact, it happens," Russell said. "It's not against the law. It's nothing that we regulate."

In New Jersey, state Sen. Joseph M. Kyrillos Jr., Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck and Assemblyman Sean Kean, all R-Monmouth, last week wrote Attorney General Anne Milgram and asked her to investigate legal grounds to block the vessels' sale to a foreign country.

Lee Moore, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, said attorneys are reviewing the letter.

Gooch said other hurdles remain. Namely, the local investment group won't pay more than what the boats are worth, making it unlikely that it would get involved in a bidding war that would make it a money-losing venture.

The group approached a sample of the ridership to survey their thoughts on potential new services to increase revenues. Services mentioned in the survey include additional food and beverage offerings such as pork roll, egg and cheese sandwiches for the morning commutes and selections of gourmet hot dogs, beers on tap from local brewers and single malt scotch tasting events on the afternoon and evening routes.

Vessel naming rights are currently being negotiated should the group move forward with the purchase. Fantasies, a gentlemen's club in Keyport, is considering sponsorship of the current SeaStreak New Jersey. Gooch said other local business being approached include McLoone's Restaurant Group and Ray Cantena Motors.

Willie Graber, a spokesperson for Fantasies' management would not disclose how much his clients have bid for the vessel's naming rights but joked that the sponsorship would be paid for with singles. "We're still negotiating so there's really nothing to comment on at this time. SeaStreak's clientele ride in the lap of luxury, we want to put our brand in their laps," Graber said.

Gooch summed up the group's mentality at this point, "individuals are willing to put up money to save the service, but not lose money. They want to know if they did invest, it would be professionally run and the economics make sense. We're trying to put that together."