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Dems and Reps Living Together!

These pages became a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s council meeting as the mayor used some skepticism about bipartisanship that I expressed in response to a comment as evidence that Belmar’s Republicans are only interested in politics and don’t want to work with Democrats to help the people.  I expect that is going to be the message pushed by the Democrats in this year’s election.

Just a couple of quick notes about that before I get into today’s topic.

From the day Jim Bean was sworn in the Belmar Democrats put a wall around him.  He was never in the loop.  He was never asked to make any of the reverse-911 calls.  He was never asked to officiate at a ribbon-cutting.  He wasn’t even acknowledged as being a member of the Council at the boardwalk opening ceremony.  Most importantly, he was never consulted anytime about anything ever.  During last year’s campaign Brian Magovern said that he is on the phone all the time talking about the issues with other Council members.  When asked why he never called Jim Bean, he said that it had nothing to do with partisanship and that it was because Bean was only a “junior” councilman and therefore I guess he didn’t have anything constructive to offer.  Well now Janis Blackburn is the junior member so let’s see if Mr. Magovern ignores Ms. Blackburn and starts calling Jim Bean.

Another thing I’d like to say for the zillionth time is that the opinions expressed on Common Sense for Belmar, unless attributed to someone else, are mine only.  They have nothing to do with the Republican Party or any Republicans.  Nobody needs to run around disavowing anything I say, or using it to attack people who have nothing to do with this blog.

Anyway this all started a couple of weeks ago when I posted a video of Christie and Doherty chumming it up recently.  I made no comment on it at all except for titling it “Belmar Bromance”.  To those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, “bromance” is simply a strong friendship between two men.  There is nothing derogatory implied.

Apparently a reader was offended by the term and commented:

“While you may not agree with what the Governor gave approval for, it is the rest of his comment posted here that I feel is important. To me what is material is the importance of what can be accomplished when both parties work together on issues that any community may be confronted with. working (sic) together is by far the best way to have positive results.”

The issue he’s referring to is the bipartisan agreement between Christie and Doherty that not enough people are drinking in Belmar, particularly at establishments that have restrictions on their liquor licenses and also happened to publicly support the Democrats in the last election.

I (remember I means I, not the Republican Party or anyone who happens to be a Republican) replied:

“I have never seen any positive results for tax payers when the two parties work together. The only thing they seem to ever agree on is to borrow more, spend more, and have more wars.”

Well the commenter apparently found this statement to be some sort of outrage and Tuesday night the mayor joined him in the faux indignation.  These people think that the total range of allowable political thought on any issue falls between what liberal Democrats think about it and what liberal Republicans think about it.

Some other bipartisanship by Chris Christie made the news recently.  He and Democratic New York governor Andrew Cuomo overcame their party differences and worked together to scam the motoring public into believing that they were fighting outrageously high Port Authority toll hikes.  Turns out the hikes were intentionally inflated in order to make both governors look good while they were actually ripping us off.  The whole thing was bogus, it was just an act.  But “While you may not agree with what the Governor(s) gave approval for,……….To me what is material is the importance of what can be accomplished when both parties work together on issues”.

BTW, Doherty’s wife, Xxxxxx Xxxxx, is a consultant for Andrew Cuomo.  Search her name with Andrew Cuomo on Google News and you will find that……

Wait!  She’s part of the scandal!


It was a sleight of hand that began with a campaign-style operation that, according to interviews with more than a half-dozen people familiar with the operation, was run out of a conference room on the southwest corner of the 15th floor of the Port Authority’s Manhattan headquarters.

It was referred to as the “war room.”

Running the campaign were former Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni and his aide, David Wildstein, both central figures in the bridge scandal and its first political casualties.

Hanging from the door of the war room was a sheet of paper that warned: “Do Not Enter.” The room was accessible to very few of the agency’s senior staff, but not the New York-appointed executive director, who had fallen out of favor with Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Some of the more than one dozen people regularly inside the room — mostly Christie loyalists placed at the agency — were instructed not to reveal its secrets.

One outsider was granted access.

Maggie Moran, then an employee of a large regional labor union led by a Port Authority commissioner, helped mobilize hundreds of union workers who flooded public hearings that were scheduled at times and places that made it difficult for the general public to attend. Drawing from scripted messages, laborers wearing orange T-shirts spoke favorably of the toll hikes at the hearings, providing Christie with a talking point.

“There were more people who spoke in favor of the toll hike than against it,” Christie said after the hearings, not mentioning the union workers………………..

Orchestrated backing

An intensive campaign began at the Port Authority.

Among those allowed in the war room was Dominick Fiorilli, a political operative who was installed at the authority by the Christie administration and given the title director of new port initiatives. Fiorilli worked in Christie’s office, as of Dec. 31 of last year as an aide to the governor, according to payroll records. Hunter Pendarvis, a former Christie aide; Jamie Loftus, a former campaign aide to Sarah Palin; and Andy Hawthorne, a director of marketing, were also allowed in the room, sources said. All were among the 50 Christie loyalists placed at the agency by 2011.

Long-term agency employees, such as general counsel Darrell Buchbinder, deputy general counsel Christopher Hartwyk and chief financial officer Michael Fabiano, also appeared in the room from time to time.

They all either declined to comment or did not respond to messages.

For nearly two weeks, there were three meetings each day: one in the morning, one in midday and one in the evening, multiple sources said.

“They drafted press releases, endorsement and comments for blogs and comments sections of news websites,” said one source familiar with the operation. “They also orchestrated the public hearings, picked the most inconvenient times and locations for the hearings and prepared testimony outlines for various speakers for the public hearings.”

Moran, the director of business development for Laborers International Union of North America, attended most of the meetings. Port Authority Commissioner Ray Pocino is a vice president for the powerful union, which endorsed Christie for reelection at his first campaign event, and he signed off on Moran’s involvement. Moran was also former Gov. Jon Corzine’s chief of staff and served as an adviser for Cuomo’s 2010 campaign. The union did not deny its inside access.

“LIUNA Vice President Pocino has an entire staff dedicated to supporting infrastructure investment and economic growth, so supporting the Port Authority fare increase was a no-brainer,” a LIUNA spokesman said in a statement Friday. “Maggie [Moran], along with many other staff at the union, was involved in all aspects of building a coalition in support. We are proud of the role we played in the effort to finance infrastructure investment in our region.”

Their role was most evident at eight public hearings, all scheduled for one day. The hundreds of union workers, many of them organizers, showed up to hearings wearing orange T-shirts with the slogan “Port Authority = Jobs.” They were given talking points beforehand, and many repeated the same refrains, according to a review of transcripts posted on the Port Authority’s website. Dozens also attended multiple hearings in different venues and posted comments in an additional online hearing, making sure their voices were counted more than once.

The Port Authority commissioners didn’t attend the hearings, scheduled on Aug. 16. Instead some of the Port Authority executives who were shut out of internal deliberations were assigned to run the hearings in out-of-the-way venues.

One longtime executive assigned to one called them “a sham.”

At an evening hearing in Staten Island, where tolls are exceedingly unpopular, former Borough President James Molinaro started the proceedings by standing on the stage of the school auditorium and lambasting the Port Authority. A public-relations employee assigned to monitor the proceedings for the Port Authority waved to the hearing officer, chief operating officer Ernesto Butcher, and told him, “Bill Baroni is watching. He said to cut the guy off,” a person familiar with the exchange said. When Butcher refused to stop Molinaro from speaking, the public-relations employee approached Molinaro on the stage and asked him to end his comments, incensing the local politician.

“It was an example of the tight control, the electioneering, a campaign that did not speak to the real issues,” a person familiar with the episode said.

A report issued in September by the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office, concluded that the Port Authority’s toll hearings “did not provide sufficient, convenient, accessible opportunities for the public to comment on the proposal.”………..

Yeah, sorry I disappoint some folks in town.  I refuse to be a moderate.  I won’t put up with even a moderate amount of grifting.

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