Common Sense For Belmar Liberty Begins At Home

April 30, 2015

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April 28, 2015

Where’s 2014 “Dance Mob” Donation?

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One of my readers forwarded this email exchange:


“Belmar Pavilion Restoration”?

Belmar To Have A Councilcat?

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Instant frontrunner!

Doherty: We would be the first!

Dogs worried.




Unofficial results from yesterday’s vote:

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April 27, 2015

Poll Feature Added! Inaugural Poll:

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Sandy Forever

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April 26, 2015

Last Week

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April 25, 2015

Vin’s In

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Please be sure to read all the fine print at the bottom.

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On what criteria do you decide whether to make the check out to “Jersey Promise” or to “Home by Summer”?  Are you supposed to flip a coin?  Is it some kind of competition to see which name is catchier?  Also, who the heck is “” and why are the checks being mailed to Gopal…whose has an address next door to them…instead of to Belmar?

The whole thing seems very strange.  I wish I knew the reason for it.

Anyway, when you’re done on Wednesday, May 6 enjoying the “Delicious Buffet Dinner” at La Terrazzo you can catch a few hours sleep, do a shift at work and then head over to the Beach Haus Brewery on Thursday, May 7 for “free buffet, outstanding music and a tour of the new Brewery.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 6.53.08 PMThere’s been so many of these already.  I wonder if attendance is starting to thin.  Personally I’m getting tired of them and I haven’t even gone to any.

April 24, 2015

Post-Election Donations To Dems

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The borough has posted Democratic April 15 campaign reports on it’s website.  They list the three contributions made to Democratic committees after last November’s election.

First the “Doherty for Mayor” account:

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 4.13.32 AMWith a single $500 donation from Doherty:Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 4.13.47 AM



The other account, “Election Fund of Doherty-Brennan”, received two post-election donations that both seem a little odd:

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The Sperber-Held family is one of the two families that Doherty’s “Home by Summer” charity is raising $200,000 for.  The $500 campaign contribution was made about six weeks before “Home by Summer” was announced to the public.

Barry Zimmerman is a former Belmar councilman.  He moved to Florida eight or nine years ago.  His campaign contribution was made at the beginning of last month and is for $2000 (!).  I have no idea what to make of that.

April 22, 2015

Maybe They’re Part Of The Belmar House Tour

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$4250 Donated To Promote Post-Sandy Tourism Diverted To “Home By Summer”

Page 21 of the Borough’s February 27, 2015 payment of bills list offers up something worth looking at: a $4250 expenditure paid out of the tourism fund to the “Home by Summer” charity created and championed by Mayor Doherty.  (Home by Summer seeks to raise $200,000 to restore one house and build one house for the last two Belmar families that have not moved back to their homes since Sandy.)

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Obviously this is problematic…the Tourism fund contributing to Home by Summer…so the documents related to it were OPRAed by a concerned citizen who then shared them with me.  Let’s have a look.

First, the check:

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 3.05.28 PMAnd the P.O. for it:

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Money collected for the express purpose of attracting tourists to Belmar can’t be spent as charity for individual private citizens.  It is not legal under the New Jersey statute that authorizes the creation of tourism commissions.

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The law gives the Tourism Commission….not the Mayor or Council….exclusive authority to disburse all revenues related to the tourism fund.  And it limits all expenditures to “public” purposes only (that benefit the populace as a whole.)

Did the members of the Tourism Commission vote to use tourism funds for a non public purpose?  Did they even know about it?

Of course this is a problem.  But it gets even more interesting.

According to a press release from the Borough’s website, the money came not from Tourism but from the Jersey Shore Chamber of Commerce!

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(I don’t know why it’s dated 2014.  Everyone knows it’s this year and it’s even called “Home by Summer 2015”.)

So did the $4250 come from the Chamber or did it come from Tourism?  This letter, which was included in the document packet, adds to the mystery:

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I guess Ms. Mars isn’t sure if Doherty is mayor of Wall or Belmar.  Either that or she thinks that Belmar is part of Wall or something.  I’m also guessing the word that was cut off on the photocopy is “check”.

The “Waves of Support” she refers to is a Sandy recovery initiative jointly created by the civic organization Navesink Business Group and  Jersey Promise, a charity created by Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal.

I don’t know what the Jersey Shore Chamber of Commerce’s involvement with this is or why the “designation of funds” change from Tourism to Home by Summer prompted the letter.  And I haven’t seen anything to indicate that the Chamber ever sent “Home by Summer” any money.

Actually, the OPRAed documents reveal that the $4250 that was eventually sent to Home by Summer was originally a donation made by Gopal’s Jersey Promise to the Tourism Commission.

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New Jersey statute does allow for charitable donations from any source to local tourism commissions.

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You would think that for a town that thrives on tourism, a private $4200 donation would be a notable event and whoever made the donation would be publicly thanked for it (particularly if the donor happened to be the chair of the county Democratic party.)  Maybe they could have rescinded the recent 33% increase in the tourism fee that all businesses here pay.  Thanks Vin!

Note, though, that the check is dated 12/19/14.  It sat unmentioned and uncashed for over six weeks.  Finally on February 9, 2015 it’s posted simply as a “tourism fee” from fee payer “Jersey Promise”.  (The regular tourism fee was $75 but increased this year to $100.)

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Two weeks later, on February 23, a P.O. was made to send $4250 from Tourism to Home by Summer.  The check was sent March 3.

Does Vin Gopal even know about this?

If, in January or early February, the town had decided that Home by Summer was more important than Tourism it could have returned Gopal’s check and asked for a new one made out to “Home by Summer”.  That would have been fine.  Why all the shenanigans?  And shouldn’t Tourism demand the money back since it’s not allowed to be spent that way?

Oh…and by the way…what ever did happen to that Buy-a-Board money?

April 21, 2015

Tonight’s Meeting Cancelled

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