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By Invitation…..

Katrina Clapsis.


My friend Katrina has come under a fair amount of fire in the comments section these last few days so I invited her to write a post explaining why what she does is a good thing not a bad thing.  I present:
Let me start this letter by thanking Dave for giving me space on the blog to tell you my thoughts. I think the comments made here about the July 17th meeting video make clear more than ever how important open dialogue is to a free society.
A lot of people said encouraging things about me in the comments for which I’m very grateful. But there are also many who find me a “negative know it all” and other unflattering things. How I will respond is quite simple. Every one is entitled to their own opinion, including Better Angels.
Yes, it seems our town is more divided than it’s ever been. Some in their opinions feel that I’m a source of that divide, that I’m not positive enough. To this I can say only that asking questions of my public officials is my obligation as a resident of Belmar and I take that obligation seriously. The point of Better Angels is not to ignore problems when we see them. It is to work together as neighbors, when we can, to solve problems together instead of seeing people as Democrats or Republicans or as from this side or that side. .
Some have said they don’t like my “tone”. I’m honestly not quite sure what that means but I can tell you that I’m not trying to be mean to anybody. Anything I do say, whether at a meeting or on the blog, is my honestly held opinion. I express it to the best of my ability and realize that it may not always be perfectly eloquent. But I ask my questions and express my opinions openly and with sincerity. Yes, I have learned that by standing up for what I believe, or asking difficult questions, I make myself open to criticism. So be it. But I hold my elected officials to the same standard. If they don’t want their official actions, including their voting records, to come under any scrutiny they shouldn’t run for office.
They also shouldn’t run for office if they don’t believe that the public has a right to know everything the government is doing and why. No matter who the voter is, Democrat, Republican or neither, more information, more transparency, is always better than less when deciding whether to support an incumbent candidate or their challenger. I don’t understand how any fair minded person could disagree with that.
As far as the anonymous comment situation, I’m not especially fond of it whether I agree or disagree with the commenters. But I also realize there are a lot of people in Belmar that are afraid of retribution if they comment openly. I get that. So if any of the “anonymous” commenters out there would care to discuss or debate anything with me I’m always at the town hall meetings or riding around town on my bike. I’m always happy to talk.
But please don’t ask me to stop asking questions or giving my opinion. I will not stop and I will not be marginalized by people who disagree with me.
Thank you. Have a great Sunday everybody..
Thank you Katrina.  I invite any member of the Council or any member of the Better Angels to contribute to the conversation.


  1. Unfortunately Belmar has always been a town surrounded by controversy. Going back to the days when Ken Pringle launched a recall against them mayor Maria Hernandez over the midnight bar closing.
    There have been many, many issues since then that have divided the residents. I know of no other shore towns that are clouded by so many lawsuits and injustices.
    The unique thing about the Doherty now McGovern administration is that they have no respect for the residents of this town. They are conniving and self serving and if it wasn’t for Katrina and this blog most would never know about the unscrupulous things going on.
    Belmar has taken huge steps backward from the progress that was made getting rid of the numerous bars on Ocean ave and building nice homes. I am hoping the Angel’s can bring this town together and back under control! I applaud people like Katrina and her efforts.

    Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  2. Sandra Caputo wrote:

    Katrina is a champion for Belmar and so was Joy.

    Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink
  3. Guest wrote:

    Reminder – There are former politicians and people connected to current politicians in that group. Sorry, I do not trust bias people to “listen”.

    Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink
  4. Tom Dilberger wrote:

    Hi Katrina, Good essay. I especially liked that “don’t like my tone.” That translates into don’t confuse the issue with logic and reason – after all this is the 21st century.
    I’ll keep my distance from Better Angles because many people don’t like my tone either. I wish you the best.

    Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink
  5. An Observation wrote:

    This Democratic Party is just following the rest of the bunch of Socialists, Its all about me and what I want ie Matt’s decisions that led to lawsuits and hatred of people that disagree ie the tree planting. There a lot of people in town that like to drink so they don’t oppose the problems the bars create plus they don’t live near them so they don’t care! Michelle Obama said “when they go low we go high” hey tell that to Maxine Waters and the kids that broke windows at Stanford. They are all very unhappy people who take their hatred on every one else. You disagree with them you are a racist bigot, they have no idea what that means.

    Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink
  6. Great wrote:

    5 – They hate because they are afraid that they may no longer be the great receivers.

    Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink
  7. Aileen Fahy wrote:

    #3 and Anonymous: You are saying the same thing but on different sides of the political spectrum. What’s the result? Noise. If you don’t think change can happen why even complain? Belmar’s Better Angels group aims to listen to the noise and bridge the divide, not by cheerleading for the town, not by bitching on this blog, however both means of communicating are completely in one’s right and understandable.

    These days it seems as though people think finding the truth is not only impossible, but pointless. Sticking with a person you agree with at first glance, someone you like personally, trumps standing steadfast with your ideology. This is dangerous. But we can get to the truth. I am a democrat who is sometimes maligned by bloggers here as well as Belmar’s leaders. Better Angels is precisely what I need to learn to communicate better, while continuing to hold leaders accountable. I’ll continue to need reminders to behave. That’s what Better Angel’s is here for. As for finding the truth…I have found that my democrat leaders have made decisions I disagree with. Those are: trying to loosen pay to play laws, not sharing revenue from PILOT projects, agreeing to give our public buildings (municipal building, police station and gym) to a developer, allowing a private company to block off usage of a public pavilion, running a smear campaign pointing to a candidate who, while on the school board, raised taxes. I will continue to find the truth, and be uncomfortable with the nice people who made the decisions with which I disagree. I use Better Angels in order to do this fairly and honestly. If people are still going to see this group or the people in it negatively, it would be a shame, but at this point, so be it. Katrina and I will continue to prod each other and support each other. I am so grateful she’s in this group.

    Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink
  8. Anonymous wrote:

    A very simple step in the right direction would be to go to a non-partisan form of government. People can vote for the person and not the party.

    Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink
  9. elemental wrote:

    I would like to see a supporter of the former and present mayors and council members who were behind the violations of the civil rights of the residents of Belmar, stride boldly up to the microphone at a meeting and defend those actions. Who has the guts (and mindlessness) to support a bunch of scofflaws and followers of a self-serving politician. Vote for Magovern and Nicolay? That is downright stupid. Sorry, call me intolerant.

    Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 7:41 pm | Permalink
  10. Heartfelt wrote:

    Katrina’s words are heartfelt. From what I understand, no one wants her to stop asking questions at council meetings. What I hear is folks want her to not make assumptions about matters that put council and other borough staff in a bad light; to be more objective. She would get an idea about something that she thought would happen, or would decide that a council person couldn’t vote on a certain topic when they in fact could. I think being on the Angels committee is good for Katrina because her thinking might be changed to a more positive side of matters. I do think her remarks above are great!

    Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 8:35 pm | Permalink
  11. An Observation wrote:

    #8 That still does not hold council members and Mayors accountable for their actions. Presently you cannot sue Municipal Mayors or council members for misconduct in office or incompetent behavior or unethical actions, that law needs to change!

    Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 10:09 pm | Permalink
  12. Guest wrote:

    I agree with #8. I’m still waiting to hear Ken Pringle’s response to why the current government setup in town was made since from what I’ve read, the town used to exist without party affiliation.

    Monday, July 23, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink
  13. Anonymous wrote:

    #10-I agree. Katrina expressed herself beautifully in her commentary. She should continue voicing her opinion at council meetings. But not with anger in her voice with attempts to carry out “gotcha” moments. It’s like she would dig deep to find mistakes made by local government officials. Sometimes ( not all the time) she’d go with bits and pieces of information with no connection and would come up misinformed.In the long run she’ll be an asset to the Angels as she will be surrounded by people who want the best for Belmar.

    Monday, July 23, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    #11, I don’t think you can sue for misconduct because it’s criminal. Not only is official misconduct by a public servant criminal, there are mandatory sentencing guidelines.

    Monday, July 23, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink
  15. ms.perspicacity wrote:

    A Clap-out for Katrina:

    Katrina’s got swagger
    Strong spirit to stagger
    She needs no dagger
    Viva Katrina!

    Monday, July 23, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    #14 You are assuming they are convicted.#11 is a quicker way of getting rid of the shenanigans instead of voting them out which we know does not work, or assuming they investigate for criminal actions look what happened to Bob Menendez. We need a quicker way to get rid of these clowns quickly instead of spending money suing for civil rights violations.

    Monday, July 23, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

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