First, AH passed the pay-to-play reform ordinances introduced at the Council meeting last Wednesday despite accusations that the ordinances had "overtones of racial discrimination" and arguments that the ordinances weren't necessary and even unconstitutional. I think the approval of the ordinances is a good thing and while they can't prevent crooked people from doing crooked things (what can?), at least the town and its elected officials have made progress to restore faith in our campaign and election process at the local level. The town ordinances also address the issue of "wheeling" and funneling money from district to district, which the pay-to-play reforms on the state level were lacking.
This was a bi-partisan effort that took over a year of work on the part of council members Stephanie Ladiana (D), Lou Fligor (R) and Planning Board member Benson Chiles, along with guidance from the Borough Attorney, Janice Miller. I think all involved should be proud, as well as residents of the town, as AH recognized long before the recent investigations into County politics that change needed to be implemented. AH did not jump on any "politically correct bandwagon" or cling to recent buzzwords surrounding County politics as mentioned at last week's Council meeting. We were proactive and the fact that there are ongoing investigations throughout town and county governments show how wise our Council and residents were to initiate and support these ordinances. Way to Fligor it out team!
The conspiracy theorists will be dreaming up plot lines again. Councilman Charles Niles (D) resigned his position on the Council due to increasing travel demands from his job. I'm sure our very own Fox and Mulder are on the case now. In accordance with the State law on these matters, three residents have been nominated to fill Niles' vacancy - Stephen D. Noonan, Robert J. Sutton and Ellen Sheehan Duda. All are former Democratic council members. The Council has 30 days to fill the seat.
State Senator Joseph Kyrillos, R-Monmouth/Middlesex has proposed a study to determine the viability of merging some New Jersey municipalities (first item). For example, Middletown and Keansburg would merge into one town. The fact that New Jersey has so many municipalities has been cited as a reason why the state has so much corruption. I suppose the argument is that the more chance for corruption the more corruption happens. I'll need to dig deeper into this argument but
As we live in a major media market perhaps our scandals get more press? CT had its governor scandal around the time of ours last year don't forget. Am I too jaded and cynical that I think this kind of stuff goes on in every state? Of course we need to address problems of corruption, but I'm not sure if cutting down the number of local governments will help alleviate the problem. Perhaps I'm just being selfish - I do not want to be part of Middletown lest the McMansion Monsters start swallowing up our town. Mmmmm....old homes, nice views, thriving downtown. Yummmy.
- Quick, somebody get
Magnum PIFred Rast on the case here in town.
- Middletown still hasn't gotten over its charming downtown envy. Aren't there supplements and prescriptions for this kind of thing?
- PSA: A state wide mock terror attack will take place the week of April 4.
- The Asbury Park Press website doesn't have a great archive tool so I can't link to the article, but it reported on 3/24/05 that results from a traffic study in town were presented to the Borough Council and some plans and concepts may be presented to residents in early April. Stay tuned.
- Keep an eye out for the next issue of The Atlantic Highlands Beacon and read all about what I do in my spare time besides bloggin'.