Common Sense For Belmar Liberty Begins At Home

March 31, 2014

Patch Provides Some Answers

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:51 pm

Fired Officer Files Perjury-Related Complaints Against Belmar Officers

.

Perjury Charges For Belmar’s Top Cops? *Updated!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:35 am

An anonymous reader sent these to me yesterday and asked that they be made public.  I have not yet validated their authenticity.

*Update.  Verified as authentic!

BelmarComplaints_Page_2

BelmarComplaints_Page_1

.

Up With Steve Kornacki?

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:26 am

Or Dancing with the Stars?

Mayor Doherty on msnbc:

Steve talks to Alex Witt about Doherty’s appearance:

March 30, 2014

Parties Have Their Place

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:07 pm

But Maybe Not in Belmar

nj libertarian

I attended the New Jersey Libertarian Party state convention yesterday.

While I really enjoy the time I spend discussing the benefits of liberty, and the morality of liberty, with readers of the blog and members of the public, it’s always great fun to be in a room full of people who already get it.  These folks know that being free is a great way to live.  They understand that when we stop using force against each other that we have a lot less to argue about.

You see, to we Libertarians the true measure of a society is the degree to which force is absent as a factor in human relationships.  If you love people you don’t use force against them.

Anyway, they asked me to be county rep. to the party’s state board and I agreed to do it.  So I get to go to a few more meetings this year.  I don’t mind too much because the board meetings are usually at a restaurant so at least I have an excuse to have lunch out.  Plus, I like being with these people.

Of course the main business at the convention is the recruitment of candidates.  I am sorely tempted to volunteer again because it is great fun.  Of the three elections I’ve been in, the one for Assembly, when I ran as a Libertarian, was the most gratifying.  I was even semi-endorsed by the Asbury Park Press.  I think I will someday do it again, maybe for Congress next time.

I did briefly entertain the idea of running for mayor or council as a Libertarian but I am starting to become convinced that political parties, even the one I agree with on so much, aren’t really appropriate for a municipal government.  The issues and philosophies that the parties promote just don’t translate into local issues.  If anything, the parties just muddy the waters.

For example, how many times have we seen legitimate criticisms of this administration simply dismissed as partisanship?  It’s very easy to do that if it’s coming from someone in the other party.  Conversely,  people are loath to criticize anyone from their own party.  This is not the way to get to the truth.  I think partisan government also gets in the way of the voters learning about their candidates as individual people and not just brands like Ford or Chevy.  It creates artificial divisions between people that have nothing to do with running the town.

It also allows for outsiders to meddle in and influence our local politics.  That’s something we can all agree that we don’t need.

I see Highlands voted last November, by a 58% to 42% margin, to change to a non-partisan system.  They join Allenhurst, Asbury Park , Avon-by-the-Sea, Bradley Beach, Deal, Keansburg, Lock Arbour, Long Branch, Monmouth Beach, Ocean Township and  Tinton Falls as towns in Monmouth County with non-partisan governments.

It’s pretty easy to make the change, actually.  Collect a couple of hundred petition signatures and it’s put to the voters.  

Something to think about.

March 28, 2014

Little Urge To Merge

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:07 am

It seems to me that liberals in New Jersey are just a little too enthusiastic about municipal consolidation for it to be about eliminating redundancies and excess capacity in the provision of municipal services.

Sweeney and other liberal proponents are selling it as “eliminating government”.  Hmmm.  Something must be up.  Since when does a liberal want to eliminate government?  What I suspect is that it’s that liberals just don’t like the fact that there are wealthy towns and there are towns that are not-so-wealthy and they think that the people in the wealthy towns aren’t doing enough for the people in the not-so-wealthy towns.  But if all those people lived together in the same town.……voila!

I’ve been saying that if being big made for lower taxes then the biggest towns in the state should have the lowest taxes.  They have the highest taxes.  And a just-released Rutgers study bears this out.

In yesterday’s Press:

Consolidation combat in NJ – Local towns resist mergers as state turns up pressure

It’s been asked for decades: How do you slim down New Jersey’s notoriously massive property tax bills?

Cut back on the number of small towns, some of which are most easily measured in street blocks — or better yet, holes on a golf course. That’s the answer New Jersey lawmakers plan to pursue again this year.

And it’s supported by Gov. Chris Christie, who said during a town hall meeting in Flemington last week that “provincial selfishness,” as well as civil service and collective bargaining rules, are blocking towns from realizing property tax savings through municipal mergers.

But new data coming from Rutgers University could throw cold water on the idea that the savings from rolling together these small municipalities will be as universal as they are often touted.

The study, by Raphael Caprio and Marc Pfeiffer, challenges the idea that New Jersey has too many local governments. More significantly, as it relates to talks about consolidation and service sharing in the Legislature, the study found that on a per-capita basis, New Jersey’s larger towns aren’t any cheaper to run than the smaller ones.

“The data actually suggests that there are no significant differences in the cost per capita of municipal services, the cost per capita of local government and that consolidation is a term that only complicates things,” Caprio said. “People are assuming that consolidation will end in lower costs and it’s not necessarily true.”

.
Why look at the data when something is just such a cool idea?
.
This issue was actually the first topic I wrote about when I started blogging in 2009 and I wrote quite a lot about it in 2009 and 2010.
Here is an excerpt from a March, 2010 entry:
.
.
……….While consolidation may sound like it increases efficiency, a look at the facts shows no advantage. Many people from New Jersey move to Pennsylvania, which has much lower property taxes than we do. In Pennsylvania, 78% of the towns have a population of 5000 or under. In New Jersey the figure is 34%. If Ms. Genovese (a consolidation proponent I was writing about) was correct, then New Jersey would enjoy lower taxes than Pennsylvania The numbers are similar for many other states.

Even within Monmouth County there is nothing to show that bigger towns have lower taxes. Below is a chart with all towns in the county listed from largest to smallest and their effective tax rate in 2008.*

Middletown 1.498 Belmar 1.026
Howell 1.864 Fair Haven 1.565
Marlboro 1.701 Oceanport 1.452
Manalapan 1.667 Neptune City 1.695
Freehold Twp. 1.651 Spring Lake Hgts 1.124
Long Branch 1.443 Highlands 1.812
Neptune Twp 1.521 Brielle 1.257
Ocean Twp 1.418 Bradley Beach 1.159
Wall Twp 1.360 Atlantic Highlands 1.589
Hazlet 1.859 Upper Freehold 1.697
Aberdeen 1.987 Monmouth Beach 1.001
Asbury Park 1.438 Shrewsbury Boro 1.727
Holmdel 1.550 Spring Lake 0.615
Tinton Falls 1.497 Avon 0.857
Eatontown 1.717 Sea Girt 0.705
Colts Neck 1.331 Allentown 2.082
Red Bank 1.554 Sea Bright 0.999
Freehold Boro 1.836 Lake Como 1.258
Keansburg 1.868 Englishtown 1.694
Millstone 1.648 Farmingdale 1.628
Matawan 2.194 Shrewsbury Twp 1.982
West Long Branch 1.596 Deal 0.490
Keyport 1.991 Roosevelt 2.294
Rumson 1.132 Interlaken 1.005
Union Beach 1.896 Allenhurst 0.606
Manasquan 1.064 Loch Arbor 0.676
Little Silver 1.616

*http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/lpt/gtr08mon.pdf

The average tax rate for all towns larger than Belmar is 1.626. The average for Belmar and all towns smaller than Belmar is 1.307. Every town larger than Belmar had higher taxes than Belmar. Nine towns smaller than Belmar had lower taxes than Belmar. The numbers are similar state-wide. I would be happy to provide those numbers to anyone who requests them.

The truth is that small towns have many advantages aside from the great quality of life to be found in them. It is easier to privatize services without union opposition. They can have volunteer fire departments and that small town spirit inspires volunteers to do many jobs that larger towns have to pay people for. They can use part timers and generally pay even their full time staff less. Their budgets are much easier to manage and they have less corruption………

.

Of course many factors affect tax rates, but it seems pretty clear that simply being big didn’t result in any discernible advantage for the towns I looked at.

But actually my primary reason for opposing consolidation is that I’ve been to city council meetings at some larger towns.  (They go on forever.)

 

March 27, 2014

New Jersey’s Constitution Is Perfectly Safe…..

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:02 am

From Space Aliens!

.

Coast Star reporter Haley Behre does a pretty good job of covering my Q&A with Christie:

Belmar resident Dave Schneck followed up Mr. Toman’s question with another one focusing on education. This time, though, the question focused on the school funding formula the state Supreme Court ruled on for the Abbott districts.

Mr. Schneck asked if there is a path the governor could take to “ignore an unconstitutional action” made by the state Supreme Court regarding school funding other than waiting for the opportunity to change the people on the state Supreme Court.

The governor said he has tried.

In the Abbott II [1990] decision, the NJ Supreme Court found the education provided to urban school children inadequate and unconstitutional. In this and subsequent rulings, the court ordered remedies to assure these children a constitutional education. The remedies include standards-based education supported by adequate foundation funding; supplemental K-12 programs; universal preschool education; school facilities improvements and accountability measures.

In 2011, the state Supreme Court ordered the state to increase aid to the Abbott districts by $500 million.

“They [state Supreme Court] rewrote the budget that the legislature approved and the governor signed. It is outrageous,” Gov. Christie said.

This year, New Jersey will spend $12.9 billion from the state budget on public schools — a record amount — of which 63 percent will go to 31 school districts, he said. The other 37 percent will go to the other 550 school districts.

“If you don’t let them know that 63-37 split for 31 districts and 550 districts is unconstitutional, then they’re going to keep doing it everybody,” he said.

This was the same answer he’s given before about this issue and I find it not very satisfying.

I don’t have a lot of time to write about this right now because I’m supposed to be working, but the state Constitution says that the legislature decides spending policy with the governor’s approval and that the monies collected from the state income tax are be spent for the equal benefit of all students.  Christie agreed totally with me that the state supreme Court is violating the Constitution.  As long as this continues, suburban taxpayers are being hosed.  This is one of the primary drivers of our state’s outward migration.

Christie, in his oath of office, swore to defend the state Constitution.  Well constitutions don’t come under attack from space aliens.  They come under attack from government, on this occasion the state Supreme Court.

Christie wants to wait until he can get more Republicans elected to the Legislature so he can get his Supreme Court nominees through.  Since when is enforcement of the Constitution supposed to depend on who wins elections?  Christie!  Defend the Constitution!  Now!  We can’t wait to change the court!

The Supreme Court doesn’t have an army.  They don’t even have a police force.  What are they going to do?  Shake a piece of paper at you?

Christie has said that he wanted to avoid starting a constitutional crisis.  I say the crisis already exists and it was started by the court.  And every week when the state income tax is deducted from my paycheck the crisis continues.

Potheads To Fix Potholes?

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:12 am

From myfoxny.com:

NJ senator wants legalize marijuana to pay for roads

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey lawmaker wants to legalize marijuana, tax it and use the revenue to pay to fix the state’s roads and bridges.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari announced his plan Monday, acknowledging that opposition from Gov. Chris Christie could seriously hinder it but pointing out, “He’s not going to be governor forever.”

Scutari, a Democrat, said allowing adults to legally buy marijuana to use recreationally would curb the drug sales-fueled crime that grips several New Jersey cities and reduce the number of people who get criminal records for pot possession. He also said regulators could ensure the safety of the pot people buy legally.

Part of his argument is also fiscal: It would save, he said, more than $100 million annually if police and courts didn’t have to deal with marijuana as a crime. It also would bring more money into the state coffers through a 7 percent sales tax, he said. He did not know how much money legalization would generate but said he expects it to be more than $100 million annually.

Under Scutari’s plan, which also is being introduced in the Assembly, 70 percent of the state’s tax revenue from pot would go to a transportation fund. State officials have been wrestling with how to pay for infrastructure upgrades.

“As we’ve seen, trying to get a gasoline tax enacted in this state looks to be an even tougher measure,” Scuatari said.

Twenty percent of the tax revenue would be earmarked for drug enforcement and demand reduction, and 10 percent would go toward women’s health……….

I favor legalization of marijuana, but not because the government can get money from its users.  I favor it because I don’t recognize the government having the authority to tell adults what they should eat, drink, smoke or read.  What you put in your body or your mind is none of their business.

Of course it’s better to spend the $100 million they spend on pot enforcement on almost anything else than what they are spending it on because right now they’re spending it on screwing up people’s lives.  I’d rather see them spend it on bowling balls if they would just leave everyone alone.  On the tax end of it, of course legal pot purchasers should pay the same 7% sales tax as they would pay on anything else they buy.

But why do we need these gimmicks where they earmark certain revenues for certain uses.  Pot smokers pay for roads.  Corporate tax payers pay for “open space”.  Lottery players pay for education (supposedly.)

I work for an auto parts distributor.  I don’t work in the accounting department but I’m pretty sure they don’t say “Ok, we’ll use revenues from selling headlight assemblies to pay for heating the buildings and we’ll use revenues from selling wheels to pay for our phone bills and we’ll use revenue from selling door handles to pay Schneck’s salary.”  It’s ridiculous.

Why can’t they just be straight with us and just figure out how much they legitimately need (with the emphasis on legitimately) to run the state government each year and then figure out the fairest, simplest and least economically disruptive means to collect that amount?

March 25, 2014

Trenton’s March Madness

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:30 pm

And one bright spot……but not really.

Please read this post in the context of the fact that New Jersey owns the embarrassing distinction  of being the number one state in the nation for outward migration, and has owned it for three of the last four years.  Also bear in mind that the N.J. Legislature is by a significant margin the busiest state legislature in the country.  Coincidence?……Doubtful.

Here’s a sampling of some of what Trenton will be doing to further advance its plan to evacuate the state.

1) Raise the gas tax.

Now I happen to think that a gas tax is probably the fairest and most efficient way to pay for road construction and maintenance.  I’ve even suggested allowing counties to collect a gas tax and have them pay for county and local roads with the revenues.  And as long as the revenues aren’t diverted to mass-transit pet projects, a gas tax can’t be used for income redistribution.  You pay based on how much you use the roads.  Heavier vehicles, which use up more space and put more load onto the pavement, pay more.  Some of my libertarian friends favor using tolls, but I think toll collection is too complicated and privacy invasive.

My problem  with the proposed increase is that I believe the current gas tax would be sufficient if the politicians would try to make projects as cheap as possible instead of as expensive as possible.  For some reason they think it’s more important to ingratiate themselves with the people they hire to do the work than with the people that are actually paying for all of this.  This is going on even here in Belmar.  So everything we do costs three times what it would if the government wasn’t doing it.

As I said, New Jersey has the highest outward migration rate of any state.  This is in no small part due to the fact that we have the highest income taxes, highest sales taxes, highest property taxes, highest estate taxes, and the highest business taxes of any state.  I guess Senator Ray Lesniak, the sponsor of the gas increase, looks out over New Jersey’s vast tax landscape with great, but not complete, satisfaction.  There is still one form of taxation with which we do not lead the nation.

2) Earmarking $150 million/year for “open space”.

First of I’d like to say that if New Jersey’s lawmakers really want to see some open space they should try looking into the wallets of their constituents.  They claim this tax is pain-free because it simply dedicates 6% of corporate taxes to buying open space.  But all taxes ultimately come from the people, so what they should do instead is cut the corporate (highest in the nation) tax by 6%.  I’m sure the people who earned that money have better things to do with it than buy a bunch of trees.

Not only is the $150 million per year tax causing $150 million a year worth of pain for New Jersey residents, by taking development able land off the market they drive up the cost of the land that is left.  So we have to pay to make housing costs higher.  Where are the affordable housing advocates?

3) Tax e-cigs as much as tobacco.

To all those busibodies that want us to stop smoking:  THIS IS STOPPING SMOKING!!!  Why do you want to be discouraging their use?  You’re killing us.  Literally.

4) Ban smoking from all beaches and state parks.

You know I moved to Belmar because I love the beach.  I live 50 miles from my office but I do the commute 3 days a week because I love the beach.  I’ve lived here 20 years and have so much invested in this place.  In those 20 years I have not left a single cigarette butt on the beach.  I have always stayed downwind of anyone nearby.

I was getting around Belmar’s smoking law by staying on tidal land near the surf where Belmar does not have enforcement jurisdiction.  I guess if the state bans it I won’t have sanctuary there anymore.  I’ll probably just stop going.

Parents who smoke will be faced with the choice of leaving their children to the care of someone else and walking hundreds of feet in hot sand to go stand in the street and dodge cars and bikes.  Or maybe they’ll take their kids with them.  Or maybe they’ll stay on the beach and be miserable the entire time.  Or maybe they’ll smoke and pay hundreds in fines.  Thanks, New Jersey Legislature.  That’s real compassionate, guys.

5) And the bright spot, legalize marijuana!

99% of the harm caused by marijuana is due to the black market caused by its prohibition.  The danger to legalizing in New Jersey is that reports of tax windfalls coming out of the western states that have legalized already will entice the greedy New Jersey lawmakers to tax it so heavily that it will still be cheaper on the black market.  Then they’ll say that legalization didn’t work.

And Christie will just veto it anyway.  Gambling good.  Liquor good.  Pot bad.

Maybe pot needs better lobbyists.

 

Schneck’s Question Of The Governor

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:06 pm

Covered in the Asbury Park Press

(This blog mentioned too.)

*Update: Censorship at work.  Article re-written with my name, photos  and reference to the blog removed.

 

Christie critical of Asbury Park schools.

 

CHRISTIE

March 23, 2014

Need More Convincing?

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:07 pm

Leaked Phone Calls!

New U.S.-supported government in Kiev possibly behind sniper killings of protesters in false flag attack.  Click here.

U.S. State Department officials set up puppet regime in Kiev.  Click here.

Plus:

Reagan’s ambassador to Soviet Union: “Russia responding to hostile U.S. policy.”  Click here.

 

 

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress