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Belmar’s Disenfranchised Republican Voters

One of several problems with winner-take-all democracy is that the majority, no matter how slim, can use their slight electoral advantage to completely lord over the minority and take them places they don’t want to go.  (And take their money too, while they’re at it.)  This is why the founders gave us not a democracy, but a republic with limited and carefully delineated powers.  (So much for that.)

The plight of Belmar’s under-represented Republicans provides an example.  Not since our current form of government was adopted in 1990 have the Republicans controlled more than one council seat, or 20% of the council.  Although Republicans usually get almost half the vote, in elections almost isn’t enough.

Below we see the last five year’s contested election results using the numbers from Monmouth County’s website.



2008                          1249                        1332

2009                           984                          966

2010 (3 seats)            3515                       2926                         101  (Who was that crazy guy?)

2011                            693                         717

2012                           1374                        946


Total votes                  7815                       6887                        101

Total %                        52.8 %                 46.5 %                      0.7 %


You would think that although they have complete control of the council, the Democrats would be mindful of….and show some consideration for….the 47% of Belmar residents who are not among their supporters.  You would think that if you didn’t understand the attitude of Belmar’s ruling Democrats.  They completely steamroll their agenda through, and do everything they can to marginalize the sole Republican voice on the council, even going so far as to vacate his vote on one occasion.  The mayor dismisses dissenting voices from the public as coming from cranks that are against progress and whose opinions are at best without merit and at worst are actually intent on harming Belmar.  And in a recent letter to the Coast Star, Councilwoman Claire Deicke referred to the opposition as: “negativity perpetrated by a certain element of our population”  and as “the movement afoot to have Belmar spiral down to an all-time low” who “claim to be interested in the welfare of the community“.

This is some fine way to treat half your constituents.  The council majority as it’s currently comprised has little interest in “representing” the people of our town.  It represents itself and it’s supporters and that’s about it.

The rest of us can basically go take a hike.



  1. claire deicke wrote:

    Your comments are blatantly untrue…I represent all of the people all of the time..never have I ignored an e-mail or a request from a Republican..ask Jim Bean what he thinks of my representation…..I explained to you in an earlier posting that my Coast Star comments had to do with your people running to the press after they oprahed borough information/records..I told Ted Ehmann this after he wrote a response to my letter in The Coast Star…..he seemed to understand completely….you, on the other hand, don’t get it, or refuse to get it… have a short memory… …. the town received lots of negative press..also, through my almost six years as councilwoman, many Republicans have come to me with issues/problems they’ve had here in town… matter how large or small the problem, I’ve solved it , or at the very least, attempted to solve it….once again, you’re way off base….Mr Burke came to me with a problem with regard to big produce trucks parking in his neighborhood…..this is a few years back……I worked on solving his problem..don’t know if I was successful, but I tried….your comments are a “fine way” of showing your appreciation for someone who has tried to represent all of the people, all of the time…….I expect an apology……Claire PS My parents, now deceased, were both “dyed in the wool” Republicans……

    Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    Well actually, Claire, I should have drawn a distinction between policy-making and constituent services. I am certain that whenever a constituent contacted you with a problem they needed corrected, or a service they needed from the government, that you did whatever you could for them without any concern about what their politics were. So when I talk about representation, I should have more clearly defined it as political representation.

    And politically, I do think the opposition does get slighted in this town. Aside from your harsh words in that letter, look, for example, at how the beachfront development is being handled. First, all but one of the appointees to the advisory committee were either registered Democrats or Democratic campaign contributors. The lawsuit brought by citizens who are concerned about the legality of the mayor’s plans is dismissed by him as being “frivolous” even though they are being represented by Ken Pringle’s law firm. I think there is a fair amount of opposition out there to such an ambitious agenda for the beachfront, but with those 4 council votes it’s as good as built.

    Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
  3. claire deicke wrote:

    Once again, my letter came as a result of running to the newspaper with whatever was deemed by a few as wrong…….bad press for the town with little regard for the effect such practices would have….residents would say to me,”Why are they trying to make the town look bad?”

    Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink
  4. Tom Burke wrote:

    Since Councilwoman Deicke brought my name into the conversations surrounding this post, I find it my obligation to make a few comments. The councilwoman has again used the phrase “your people”. I find this terminology inconsistent with the message she thinks she is expressing. What is “your people”? To me it sounds like how one might describe a bitter opponent. We are not the enemy, we are Belmar residents who have , what we feel are, valid concerns.
    There is also the perception that “Republicans “or what she refers to as “your People” are “running to the newspaper with what deemed by a few to be wrong”. think the newspapers would be remiss if that were the case. Is it not more likely that the press views the observations as newsworthy?
    Now as for the comments about me. Yes, I spoke with the Councilwoman several years ago about the problems with the restaurant delivery trucks on 10th Avenue. She took notes, and said she would get back to me. Unfortunately, it was not until last week that I heard one word about this issue from her. In fact, well over a year passed from the time of the original complaint until I found it necessary to again question the problem with the Belmar Council. That time it was addressed to each council member, and the only one who did get back to me was Councilman Jim Bean, and, as stated, no response from Councilwoman Deicke.
    As a footnote to these comments, Councilwoman Deicke emailed me along with the administrator of this blog, and Councilman Bean, the following comment:
    “Recently, Brian Magovern and your running mate, Tom Burke and Brian’s political opponent, met at borough hall to solve the parking issues on 10th Ave…….Tom had e-mailed us about the restaurants and parking on his street and Brian responded………restaurant owners were also in attendance…if that isn’t bipartisan representation/collaboration, I don’t know what is…….Tom gets it, you don’t, and Brian is an extremely fine person………Claire”

    One thing is correct, Councilman Magovern did respond to my most recent expression of concerns for parking in my neighborhood, and yes, a meeting was held. I had not looked at this meeting as a bi-partisan activity. Also, no restaurant owners were in attendance as indicated. In fact, as far as I can see, the end results of the meeting have yet to be implemented. If “Tom gets it” it is this: I try to look at things as what is right and what is wrong. I look at the law, borough code, and try to use common sense. I really don’t care to awful much whether a person is a Republican or a Democrat. Getting a just outcome is what is important to me .Having said that, it should be clear why I do not like hearing such things as “your people” and to refer to my meeting with someone to address and issues as a bi-partisan activity.
    I do agree however that Brian Magovern is a fine person.

    Tom Burke

    Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink
  5. claire deicke wrote:

    “Your people” means opposed to Democrats.”my people”.you’re wrong to take exception to these words……I think I did respond to you regarding the produce trucks-sorry you forgot…..I have no animosity regarding Republicans…….as I mentioned my parents were stanch Repbulicans….I have friends in town who are Republicans..(the person who is my best helper with The Mayor’s Wellness Campaign events is a registered Republican)….some of whom acutally support me….sorry you misinterpreted my words….and when I spoke to you and Brian the day of your meeting you told me that restaurant owners would be attending…..Claire

    Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

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