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If Josh Wins

We won’t know for sure until Monday but I’m optimistic that of the dozen and a half provisional ballots that the County is examining more of the ones that are deemed legitimate will go to Josh than to the other guy.  He needs to win the provisional ballot count by two votes.  I think he’ll do it.

If I’m right and Josh takes over the far left seat from our far left incumbent it would be really bad news for Matt.  Last year a Council Democrat lost a re-election race for the first time in probably forever.  In his own Freeholder race he lost every district in Belmar.  Yes, Brian Magovern won re-election but he is very well known and popular in Belmar and his victory in my opinion was despite his association with Matt and not because of it.

When you think of all the advantages Tom Brennan had this year  his re-election should have been a cakewalk.  Simply being the incumbent is a huge advantage.  Until Janis I never saw anyone ever lose re-election in Belmar.  On top of that, Brennan has lived in Belmar 25 years.  He is a teacher at Belmar Elementary School and knows hundreds of parents who vote, former students who are now old enough to vote and friends among the staff who live in Belmar and vote.  His gigs at many popular spots and events in Belmar increases his public visibility even more.  His wife Merry is also very well known and popular in town and she herself was on the Council a few years ago.

Then there’s the machine.  Although it was dented by Senator-elect Declan O’Scanlon’s messenger ballot reforms, it is still very formidable with its voter phone number lists, its (highly suspect) absentee voter support and all the patronage that goes along with being in control of the municipal budget, the beach utility and all the other levers of power.

Josh on the other hand has lived in Belmar only five years and compared to the Brennans knows almost nobody.  His work involves no interaction with the public whatsoever.  He hasn’t been much of a presence at Council meetings and I’ve criticized him for that.  As for the Republican machine, well…there isn’t one.

Even if Brennan squeaks this one out this has to be hugely embarrassing to Matt.

But like I said I don’t think he will squeak it out so what would a Vallario victory mean?

As Josh pointed out in his campaign, the mayor could no longer push any bonding he wants through the Council.  Matt’s going to hate that but those of us who’s feet still hurt from going door to door petitioning against some of his previous bonds are going to be greatly relieved.

I’m not optimistic but I’m hoping that Josh (if he wins) and Mark take a more jaundiced view of redevelopment with all the tax breaks the developers get and all the traffic and parking problems they create.  With Matt still having to recuse himself on redevelopment issues for another year, Republican opposition to any new agreements would produce a tied Council vote which would mean it wouldn’t pass.  At least not until the legal curtailment of the mayor’s involvement ends in 2019.

Same goes for liquor license renewals and transfers.  Mark and Josh would be in a position to put tighter restrictions on the way some of the bars in Belmar operate if they want their licenses renewed.   Matt would be powerless to do anything about it during the final year of his current term.

So with the mayor’s authority being seriously denuded by a Josh victory…and by his own campaign violations…would he even hang around?  There have been a lot of rumors about him looking for a job in Trenton with Murphy but I’ve also heard that Murphy doesn’t like him very much.  (Can’t imagine why.)   The fact that he has a $10 million racketeering lawsuit filed against him can’t help either.

On top of that, Doherty couldn’t even get Murphy a win here, with Guadagno taking Belmar by over 100 votes.

Still it would be helpful for the new administration to have Maggie Moran and Kivvit on his side.  He might also rid us of Matt as a favor to Ken Pringle, who is actually friends with Phil Murphy.  So there’s some reason to hope the incoming governor finds some not very important job for Matt to do.  Something, hopefully, where he can’t do a lot of damage.

What would that do?

As Council President Brian would assume the role of Mayor until the current mayoral term expires next year.  Jennifer will probably become Council President.  The local Democratic party, with the Council’s approval, would probably appoint Tom Brennan to finish out Brian’s Council seat’s term.  Personally I think it will be a mistake, with Tom’s liquor license problems and the lawsuit against him, but I think with him having just come so close to winning re-election they would almost have to pick him.

In this scenario, stepping aside as mayor might leave Matt with more power than if he stays.  Assuming he can maintain his seemingly hypnotic  control over Brian, Jennifer and Tom he can then get his redevelopment deals past the Council because none of them are conflicted.  (I happen to think that Tom and Jennifer are both conflicted but obviously it doesn’t matter what I think.)

Call me a dreamer but under the aforementioned scenario we would only have two Council members left that are defendants in the Harmon lawsuit.  Maybe Brian, Mark and Josh would then do the right thing and settle with the Harmons, saving the Borough hundreds of thousands in legal expenses and possibly millions in awarded damages?

I guess I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s see what happens Monday.


  1. Hmm? wrote:

    I do hope your “feeling” is correct. Business as usual if not worse happens if Josh doesn’t get the number he needs. There is so much to love about Belmar. Most especially it’s people and yeah the Ocean is a treasure. A small town has become so divided. I do not recall that so much when Ken was Mayor. I may not remember though, I was much younger then. Happy Thanksgiving to all either way and enjoy this Season of Gratitude and try to work together after Monday. No matter how many votes go either way.

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
  2. Guest wrote:

    #1 – Let’s not forget that Ken Pringle was just as divisive as Matt Doherty, just in a more subtle way and without this blog and other technological advances which now easily expose such behaviors. It was also Ken Pringle who mastered and taught Matt Doherty the use of the D’Jais voters. Now Ken Pringle he is the Golden Boy? Ken Pringle may be more humbled now, but he had his way of ruling Belmar also.

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink
  3. admin wrote:

    BTW I forgot to mention that if Matt leaves I’ll cut my hair. That alone should be reason enough for the people of Belmar to want him out.

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink
  4. Tom Dilberger wrote:

    I’ve got a question. If Matt leaves for a stait position in Trenton, does he have to resign as mayor?

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
  5. OLD MAN wrote:

    #2 Did Ken gets into all those lawsuits? Did Ken lie as much as Matt?

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    #4- No he doesn’t.

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
  7. anon wrote:

    #2 & 5 Let me add, Ken was and is an honest man, also he knew the law and abided by it which led to the avoidance of the type of litigation and expense our current leader seems prone to engender. And I suppose you could say that he was at times a bit imperious but never in an unkind way and certainly not in a vindictive way.

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink
  8. Josh Vallario wrote:

    Dave. I will cut my hair too

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink
  9. admin wrote:

    How would we know?

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
  10. Guest wrote:

    #5 – There were a few lawsuits during Ken Pringle’s tenure. As far as being a liar, I did not state anything to insinuate that.

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink
  11. Anonymous wrote:

    Josh’s scuffy beard will go to the hunting grounds in the sky.

    Cheers Dears!

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 7:40 pm | Permalink
  12. OLD MAN wrote:

    #10 You are and always will be a lackey for the Democrats

    Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink
  13. I’m for Josh but... wrote:

    Where was Josh on election night? How about election night last year? Word on the street is he was out of the country, on vacation for both. This doesn’t seem appropriate. I hope he wins but we should fully know what we’re buying into. Is he really committed to fulfilling his role?

    Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink
  14. Guest wrote:

    #12 – That was the second time you responded off topic. Great debating you over nothing.

    Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink
  15. Anonymous wrote:

    Stale boring dialogue.

    Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink
  16. OLD MAN wrote:

    #13 You are a Matt lackey. But But But But But#14 I’m old so what don’t read it.

    Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
  17. Anonymous wrote:

    What ever feeling you may have about Ken Pringle never did he in any way try to give away the town. We have lost parts of our small town for what? Politics? He was Mayor for a good many years and apologized for a few matters
    None of which endangered the residents or the town. The mayor we have now should have been half as smart.

    Monday, November 13, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

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