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Why I Want To Live Free

And then die……in New Hampshire:

 

Last Week

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Belmar’s Insatiable Appetite

For new restaurants.

Is it a bubble?

From Thursday’s Coast Star (Italics added) :

New restaurants get Belmar’s OK

Two, possibly three, at site of new brewery

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Once home to the historic Freedman’s Bakery, the new commercial complex on Main Street where East Coast Brewing Co. is constructing a brewery will see two, possibly three, new additions in coming months: restaurants.

On Monday, in a 7-2 vote, the borough’s planning board approved an application from MB1 Belmar, LLC, seeking to change what was originally designated as a retail or office area to permit certain restaurants.

MB1 Belmar, LLC, is owned by Joel S. Brudner, of MB1 Capital Partners — a Wall Township-based investment firm that is heavily invested in East Coast Beer Co. — the producers of Beach Haus beer, which is the same beer that will be produced in the Belmar brewery.

Mr. Brudner had previously gone before the board on March 24, for a preliminary site plan approval for the site including a brewery, without a pub, and retail space.

The latest application sought approval for two restaurants on the ground floor — one on Main Street, and one facing back toward the parking lot — as well as a third restaurant upstairs.

Given the building’s location, restaurants are a permitted use in the building, though the firm’s initial application to the board made no mention of potentially installing restaurants at a later date.

Mr. Brudner explained that after putting the retail space on the market, given the proximity of the space to the brewery, most of his offers were coming from restaurants — and as such, he wanted to modify the plans.

“In our course of marking the retail space, most of the users were desirous of putting restaurant uses there,” Mr. Brudner said.

Prior to Monday’s meeting, Mr. Brudner said, two leases had been signed that would be in effect pending an approval from the board.

The first is for an approximately 800-square-foot space on the first floor, on the southernmost side of the building facing Main Street, which has been signed by Chris Brandl, owner of Brandl, on Main Street, who plans to open Jakes Cakes — a seafood restaurant…………….

………..Biagio “Bennie” Schiano, owner of Mossuto’s Market, in Wall Township, will take control of the space upstairs……………….

………..The third restaurant is still unconfirmed…………….

 

Personally, I’d be happy to give up every restaurant in Belmar if we could have this back:

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Pulido: Kaye Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Also at Tuesday night’s meeting Brendan Read one of his prepared statements, this time attacking Jim Bean for “suppressing” the vote of former Belmar resident Sam Kaye.  Kaye moved to Ocean Township in 2012.  Bean challenged Kaye’s vote on those grounds, asking the Board of Elections to verify whether he was eligible to vote in Belmar.  Ultimately the Board decided he wasn’t and disallowed Kaye’s vote.

You may have noticed all the screeching about Bean’s “suppression” of Kaye’s vote over the weekend before election day.  It was covered by the Asbury Park Press and WRAT.  It was on the usual suspects’ Facebook pages and the Democrats also distributed a flyer about it that weekend, November 1 and November 2.

Former Belmar Democratic chairman Luis Pulido should have been the most outraged of anyone at Bean’s “suppression” of Kaye’s vote.  After all, it was he who hand delivered Kaye’s vote that Friday, October 31.

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But unfortunately he couldn’t assist in helping to spread the “suppression” story the next day and day after, Saturday November 1 and Sunday November 2, because he was acting as the agent in an estate sale in Belmar those two days. (Pulido owns a second-hand shop in Asbury Park.)

The address of the estate sale?  414 7th Ave.  SAM KAYE’S HOUSE!

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“Everything must go!”

 

I guess Pulido learned sometime between Friday afternoon and 9:00 Saturday morning that Sam Kaye was not returning to Belmar.

Here is Pulido’s bio from a 2012 Monmouth County Democrat press release:

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More “Negativity” Tuesday Night

Well, it started off nice.

Tuesday’s meeting began with five young ladies from Belmar Elementary School performing a mock Borough Council meeting.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and by the end of it I was wishing that they were our real Council.  My favorite part was when one girl expressed her opposition to using solar power for new street lights, saying that solar wasn’t as cost effective as traditional lighting systems.  Although she was out-voted, the other girls respected her opinion and none of them said she was being negative or acting politically or was part of an element that was against light.

Then came our Council.

What I really can’t understand is that this administration repeatedly violates state law and even its own laws, but to its supporters that’s wonderful.  There is absolutely nothing negative about it.  It’s all so good!  But when either Councilman Bean or some private citizen brings any of these violations to light, to them that is just sooooooo negative!  “They are an element and they want to destroy Belmar!”

On Tuesday, the “negativity” began 18 minutes and 39 seconds into the meeting.

Apparently Jim Bean is trying to ascertain how many ballots were hand delivered by employees or principals of D’Jais.  According to the resolution approving D’Jais’ liquor license for the 2014 season they were supposed to at the beginning of the season supply the borough with a list of all their employees.

Last week Bean OPRAed the list and was told there was no such thing.

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During his report to Council Bean asked Chief Palmisano if there was or wasn’t a list.  Eventually the Chief said there was a list and that he would get back to him on it.  I don’t know if Bean got his list yet but my guess is that they made the list yesterday.

More negativity came at the 30 minute mark when the Council attempted to pass Ordinance 2014-18, which they “passed” at the November 5 meeting over my objection that they didn’t have a quorum.  I was told at that meeting that it was completely legal to pass an ordinance with only two people voting, but they decided to have another vote Tuesday with an actual quorum “out of an abundance of caution” (i.e. the first vote wasn’t legal.)   Obviously their caution still isn’t abundant enough because they failed to give proper legal notice of the re-vote.  When resident Gene Creamer pointed this out during the public hearing, the Council was forced to postpone the re-vote.  Remember this is not some unimportant, routine ordinance.  This is the repeal of the “responsible bidder” ordinance that the Monmouth County Superior Court is requiring them to do.  So passing an illegal ordinance, getting sued over it and being forced to repeal it, repealing it without a quorum, and then re-repealing it without proper public notice is all great stuff.  Nothing negative there.  It’s only the objections to all this that are negative.

After that things got really negative.

At the 41 minute mark resident Joy DeSanctis had the absolute negativity to ask why without any authorization, and based completely on apparently fabricated information, she was, at the behest of Borough Administrator Colleen Connelly, forcibly removed by the Belmar Police Department from her challenger position at the polls on election day.  She was also ridiculed over the incident on the mayor’s campaign Facebook page.  Even after Ms. DeSanctis read aloud a letter from the County Clerk of Elections apologizing over the incident, saying they never authorized it and asking her to please report if she is ever harassed again in such a way, the Mayor insisted it was all wonderful and that he would do it again if she ever acted as a challenger in a Belmar election.  This is must-see TV.  41 minute mark.

If I were her I would sue.

Later in the meeting I expressed some preliminary negativity over what I suspect is abuse of the vote by mail system here in Belmar but I’m waiting for some more information to become available so I can impart to my readers a more fully developed negativity.

Stay tuned.

Council Meeting Of November 18, 2014

Common Sense Was Right

The original readers of this blog (all five of them) will remember that my original targets were the proponents of the forced consolidation of New Jersey’s small towns.  For the first few months at least half of my writing was on this topic.  Despite the rhetoric coming from liberal Democrats like Chris Christie and Steve Sweeney, and from advocates like the group “Courage to Connect”, I could plainly see it as a scam.  It was a way to blame the taxpayers themselves for high property taxes instead of putting blame where it really belongs, which is union control of our politicians, unfunded mandates from Trenton, the unfair way that state property tax relief is distributed and corruption in its various manifestations.

It was also a way to decrease our representation by having more constituents per elected official.  Having a small number of governments is not the same as having small government as the consolidationists tried to get us to believe.  Actually, having a large number of governments is a way to keep those governments small.  For example, I wouldn’t consider Newark to be a small government town just because there’s only one government in Newark.  It’s the smaller towns that actually have less government.

Just for old times’ sake I present a screen shot from my very first story, posted December 6, 2009.

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I may have been right, according to this just-released study:

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Click on the image to read the report.

NJSpotlight has an excellent summary of the study.  Here are a couple of highlights:

SIZE DOESN’T MATTER — STUDY OF NJ MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT COSTS CONCLUDES
MARK J. MAGYAR | NOVEMBER 17, 2014
Rutgers analysts question ‘conventional wisdom’ that consolidation of state’s 565 municipalities would produce property tax savings

………………….In a study entitled “Size May Not Be The Issue,” Caprio and Pfeiffer noted that the wealthiest suburbs and poorest cities have the highest cost of local government services, reflecting the willingness of affluent taxpayers to pay for a higher level of services and the greater need of poorer populations for more police protection and social services that are paid for primarily with state aid.

Meanwhile, rural communities with low populations that are often considered prime targets for municipal consolidation have the lowest-cost municipal government services per person in the state — directly countering the assumption that “consolidation of small, inefficient municipalities” would lower property taxes, the study said.

“We may need to rethink the conventional wisdom that forcing municipalities into larger organizations will be more effective, more efficient, and/or less costly,” Caprio and Pfeiffer concluded. “It should also give pause as to whether we should be advocating with uncompromising vigor that consolidation of municipalities is a solution to the state’s high property-tax problem.”

The Caprio-Pfeiffer analysis runs directly counter to the arguments advanced by Republican Gov. Chris Christie that municipal consolidation — starting with the merger of his hometown of Mendham Township and neighboring Mendham Borough — makes sense, and the push by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) to take a “big stick” approach to shared services by forcing municipalities to adopt cost-saving shared services or face a loss in state aid…………………….

………………………Their analysis concluded that previous studies suggesting that smaller municipalities are inherently inefficient — and, therefore, that municipalities with fewer than 2,000 residents should be encouraged or forced to merge, as former Assembly Speaker Alan Karcher once urged — were skewed by statistical analyses that included resort municipalities. These 50 Shore towns have disproportionately high per capita costs for municipal services not because they are inefficient, but because their year-round population is low and they have to spend a lot on police and other services for the thousands of tourists who flood in every summer.

With the Shore towns excluded, the cost of municipal services per person in municipalities with less than 3,600 residents is not appreciably different for municipalities with 11,500 to 40,600 residents — and lower than the cost for cities and suburbs with more than 40,600 residents that make up the top 10 percent of municipalities by population…………………..

………………The study also questions the validity of the often-cited statistic that “New Jersey has more municipalities per square mile than any other [state] in the country,” which is used to justify the “folk hypothesis” that New Jersey has “too many municipalities and too much government.”

That statistic, however, simply reflects New Jersey’s status as the most densely populated state in the country, Caprio and Pfeiffer noted. With 15.6 government units per 10,000 population, New Jersey actually has about half as much government as the national average, and lags just behind New York (17.7 government units per 10,000 residents) and far behind both Pennsylvania (38.5) and Delaware (37.2).

In fact, New Jersey ranks just 34th in the nation in the number of general governments per capita, the study pointed out.

Groups like Courage to Connect NJ have held up the recent consolidation of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township as evidence of potential cost savings and service improvements that can be achieved through municipal mergers.

However, Caprio and Pfeiffer assert that the fact that the Princetons were the first successful consolidation since Vineland and Landis Township merged in the early 1950s shows that New Jerseyans do not believe mergers will save money. The problem is that both municipalities need to save money for a merger to go through, and the anticipated cost savings are usually smaller than the increased taxes that the more affluent of the two municipalities will incur………………

BTW, the high per-capita cost of services in resort towns should be offset by the fact that half the properties in towns like Belmar are summer homes whose owners pay full property tax but use significantly fewer services than year round residents.

The Anti Common Sense Blog

A new blog about Belmar just began publishing.  It doesn’t seem like it would be much fun to read, but anyway it’s there so I thought I would let you know about it.

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It is run by an anonymous administrator and doesn’t appear to allow comments.

Its first post brags that Doherty got more votes for mayor than any mayoral candidate in Belmar ever received.  Of course no other mayoral candidate ever engaged in the kind of vote-by-mail abuse we saw this year and that the State Assembly might move to outlaw.  I strongly believe it changed the outcome of the council race this year.

The post also repeats the dishonest practice of attributing remarks sent by commenters to me.  Of course the folks who read this blog know what was written by me and what was sent by commenters.

I don’t know if I’m going to bother engaging with them (him? her?), especially since it doesn’t allow comments.  I’m sure it will be the same kind of blind adoration of our leader we’ve all gotten used to here in Belmar.  I don’t care about it anymore and really don’t want the distraction.

For as long as I continue my work, my purpose here will be to continue to bring information and perspective to my readers that is not available anywhere else.

Last Week

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“This Vote Will Be Legal”

Public hearing on 2014-18, November 5, 2014:

Schneck:  Um, two members of the Council constitute a um, a quorum?

Magovern:  Well we had three, that’s a quorum, uh the Mayor had to recuse himself, so we have a vote of two, um

Washburne:  The answer is yes, the vote can go forward.

Magovern:  I think he’d want an explanation of why the two would be allowed.

Washburne:  I’m unaware that Belmar has a ordinance preventing a vote by a simple majority, so that’s my thought, that’s why the vote can go forward.

Magovern:  So in other words let’s vote with all…

Schneck:  Don’t you need to have a majority of fifty percent plus one of the um, Council present to pass ordinances, right?

Washburne:  I’m sorry?

Schneck:  Don’t you need to have at least fifty percent of the Council present to pass an ordinance?

Washburne:  Well there is, there is fifty percent present, just one person has recused himself.

Magovern:  So you’re basically looking at sixty six percent….in other words this vote will be legal.  (Nods head in the affirmative.)

Schneck:  Well I’ve heard that before, all right, thank you.

On the agenda for November 18, 2014:

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