Monday, June 30, 2008

There's a new Sheriff in Town

Literally. Former Monmouth County Sheriff Joe Oxley was recently elected as the new Monmouth County GOP Chairman. Having had only one experience with the previous chairman, Mr. Adam Puharic, I figured it would be an immediate and telling experience if I had just one experience with the new chairman, if not just to see if things have changed, so I attended the Monmouth County Affiliated Republican Dinner Friday night in Spring Lake ($35/person, a price I can afford!) to see if the new party was any better than the old party.

Indeed, things have changed and are going to be looking up for the GOP in Monmouth County. If you've read about my experience at the convention while trying to run for office, I didn't have a very nice opinion of the chairman or the party. I attended this dinner with the expectation that I'd be sitting at a table alone, shunned by all in attendance. Instead, I was welcomed in to the event, a few people noticed me in attendance and came to greet me and congratulate me on a hard fought (losing) campaign and oddly enough, I had three people whisper "don't tell anyone, but I voted for you". Well, your secret is safe, I won't rat out those three people, but thanks.

I ended up sitting with Art Gallagher, Anna Little, future dog catcher Wayne Pominowski and maybe most notably, future Congressman for NJ-D6 and my former primary competitor, (traffic court) Judge Robert McLeod. I had a very pleasant conversation with Mr. McLeod and as I've always insisted, Bob seems to understand the issues and he seems to represent the average resident of New Jersey well. After speaking with him at length, I believe that Mr. McLeod would make a good representative, however, I'm still not certain that Bob has the motivation and drive to reach the tens of thousands of voters he needs to reach in order to defeat Pallone. I volunteered my time and energy to help Bob win the general election, but taking on Pallone is no easy task and getting the press coverage needed to reach the voters will be a challenge.

It was also very considerate (although a little awkward) of Tom Apostle who was doing most of the speaking, to announce that I was in attendance (as if I'm someone) after he announced all of the people who are legitimate, elected someones. Tom also then asked me to come to the front of the room when he asked Bob McLeod to come speak. I wasn't sure if should have grabbed the mic and said a few words or stand next to Bob and look silly.... I chose the later and Bob delivered an interesting speech.

It sounds as if Mr. Oxley has already made some significant changes to how the party handles itself and how the party handles new comers. Mr. Oxley says the locks and buzzer at headquarters in Freehold have been removed, but more important is that Friday's event was welcoming to new comers. It'll be interesting to see how the party does in November, and how Mr. Oxley cleans up the mess that was left for him. Good luck Joe.

Running for Congress: The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents

When I started this blog, I promised to document my run for Congress as best as possible. It won't be easy to recall all of the exciting elements of the experience and I may over explain some non-sense and under explain some important items. Please leave a comment if there is a hole that needs to be plugged, questions about my story or if you met me somewhere and want to add to my story, please comment. This recap may make me look like a genius or it may prove me to be the average no one I have always insisted that I am. It might help me if I ever wanted to run for office again, or it might hurt me if I ever try to run for office again but I'll at least be as honest and open as I can remember the experience. My perspective of the story might be damaging, embarrassing, insulting or give more credit than is deserved to certain individuals or it might not be any of those things and might leave out important individuals or minimize the importance of some people. In any case, what I will write as my time permits is my experience, from my perspective, and I will preface each entry in my blog on the topic of "Running for Congress" with this same disclaimer, or a like disclaimer if I think it needs to change. Here goes...
Part 1 - Running for Congress: The Beginnings
Part 2 - Running for Congress: Getting on the Ballot
Part 3 - Getting on the Sabrin Line
Part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure
Part 5 - The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention
Part 6 - Meeting the Bloggers
Part 7 - The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents
Part 8 - Learning How to Campaign
Part 9 - Steve Lonegan Becomes My New Best Friend
Part 10 - Trying to Capitalize on a FEMA/”BEMA” Meeting
Part 11 - The Last of the "Big Events"
Part 12 - The Calleia Murder Trial and the Wrong Priorities in Media
Part 13 - The Door to Door Effort, and Notable Characters
Part 14 - Primary Day, and Night
Part 15 - Random Observations During the Campaign

At some point soon after the Monmouth Convention, I was also made aware of the Middlesex County convention at The Forge in Woodbridge. I only knew the date, time and location, so I showed up uninvited. At this convention I was permitted inside although only because Murray Sabrin himself handed my girlfriend and I “guest” badges after we were told we’d have to leave if we weren’t invited. Again, Murray, George and team were always polite to me and I think they would have done better on primary day if they were as polite to others. In any case, I suppose being a candidate didn’t qualify me to get in to the convention. No worries, at least I was inside as a “guest” and could see how “the system works” as that other rude woman had implied at the Monmouth Convention. It was here at this convention that I met my competition for the first time.

While standing the near entrance saying hello and begging for even more signatures, Mr. Robert McLeod found me shaking hands with potential voters as they walked in to the event. I doubt any insiders there were going to vote for me, but at least they would see me and know I was working for some thing for some reason. Bob and I talked about my now barely-famous complaint about the Monmouth Convention and he at least took a second, or two at most, to introduce me to the Middlesex County GOP Chairman, who didn’t seem to have time to even shake my hand, just told me “if you get 25% of the people to sign something, you can speak today”.

Something huh? Just anything? Whatever, I had a petition with two-hundred names on it at that point, no worries, I’d get my chance to speak. Of course, when the time came, he announced “anyone wishing to run in the 6th?” I yelled out “me…. Yes…over here”. I suppose the hearing aid wasn’t turned up as he couldn’t hear me. I walked up the side of the aisle “yes….. over here” from ten feet away waving my arms and petition, still nothing and was ignored. I had no worries really, I’m sure no one there was going to like me anyhow and I didn’t have a speech of any kind prepared, didn’t know the protocol and would have been winging it, not to mention after the debacle that was the nomination for the 7th district where some people voted twice and others voted for more than one person, I figured being a second choice would just cause confusion. Remember, these are the “party elders” who were reminded that it was the same voting process as the past twenty years – and they still couldn’t get it right – that’s how corrupt and crappy “the system” really is, maybe that woman was wrong about how “the system works” after all.


Following my being ignored about running in the 6th at the Middlesex convention, some short, little old man came over to me very upset. He dropped a few curses, spit a bit as he was “talking” (yelling) and explained to me how he just got screwed. Him? I was the one who was trying to explain I wanted to run and I got ignored, how did he get screwed? Maybe he was a big supporter of mine who had some bet going on me winning the nomination, maybe he was that blogger Mr. Goldwater?

Being the nice guy I am, I asked what his story was and he explained that he was Peter Cerrato, candidate in the 6th. Well, at least this obnoxious lil’ fella wasn’t the seemingly kind Mr. Goldwater, nice to meet you Pete - good luck, I had no idea you were also running, but your yelling and screaming is scaring my girlfriend and I, can you tone it down, please?

After enduring his verbal berating of everyone in the room for a few minutes, I made my smooth escape from Peter but I could still hear him yelling and complaining to former NJ Governor, Christine Whitman, even suggesting that she and everyone else there should be in prison for their crimes, Peter sure seems like a nice guy that voters would love to hear from, or not. Mr. Cerrato may or may not have just been having a bad day, but he didn’t have that congressional look and friendly personality that I’d expect in my elected official. Good luck Pete, see ya… and it should be no problem beating this clown in the primary race, right?

Having met Bob and Peter, I was certain that winning the primary would be easy. Once voters met these two awkward individuals, I would appear to be a rock star!

At that point, having met my competition, been ignored by the chairman, and being convinced I could still win in June, I left the convention and went down to a St. Pat’s parade in my old hometown of Keansburg after stopping at Perkins in Hazlet for lunch where I added a few extra signatures, including my friendly waitress’ signature. I was able to get some extra signatures from people who thought that they might have been Republicans along the parade route and talked to many voters. Again, I reached more voters that day than Bob or Peter could have reached at the convention so I was surely winning in Keansburg at least at that point.

As another funny note, I should mention that I modified my “line” at the parade to work the “I’m from this town!” angle and essentially what I said was “Hi. I’m James Hogan, graduate of Keansburg High School class of 98 and I’m running for Congress”. No offense to my friends and family in Keansburg, or the residents of, but as one of those “shocking” items, no one asked “and what did you do after high school that qualifies you for Congress, James?” and I suppose being a high school graduate was more than enough; and the thought makes me laugh for some sad and strange reason.

Coming up next - Learning How to Campaign - if you can call what I ran a campaign.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cell towers vs Windmills?

Noting my previous entry about windmills (and for some reason finally noticing all of the cell phone towers between my house and my office) I started to wonder.... Is there a reason that cell phone towers don't double as windmills?

I know NOTHING about windmills, or cell phone towers, but it seems like the base of a cell tower is incredibly similar to the base of a windmill (or could be). It also seems like someone has figured out how to construct these monstrosities without "the public" screaming and yelling. Now, I also don't know how much power a cell phone tower might use, BUT, why isn't someone helping us out and figuring out how to double a cell tower as a power generator? Maybe even some solar panels on the tower for backup? There has to be a good reason someone else hasn't thought of this/done this, or hopefully someone will leave me an email and explain the problem with my concept? Or maybe someone at BigPhoneCompany or BigEnergyCompany will pay me for my brilliant idea and I can retire from my day job. While this may sound strange, I'll note that we do double the use of the "Telephone Pole" for all wiring, electric, phones, cable, fire alarm to the chiefs house.... and the electricity running 3ft above the telephone/cable lines isn't causing interference as far as I know so it seems like we should be able to use wind/solar to at least power cell towers, if not even feed back into the grid.

Just a Random Thought from an Average No One.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Running for Congress: Meeting the Bloggers

When I started this blog, I promised to document my run for Congress as best as possible. It won't be easy to recall all of the exciting elements of the experience and I may over explain some non-sense and under explain some important items. Please leave a comment if there is a hole that needs to be plugged, questions about my story or if you met me somewhere and want to add to my story, please comment. This recap may make me look like a genius or it may prove me to be the average no one I have always insisted that I am. It might help me if I ever wanted to run for office again, or it might hurt me if I ever try to run for office again but I'll at least be as honest and open as I can remember the experience. My perspective of the story might be damaging, embarrassing, insulting or give more credit than is deserved to certain individuals or it might not be any of those things and might leave out important individuals or minimize the importance of some people. In any case, what I will write as my time permits is my experience, from my perspective, and I will preface each entry in my blog on the topic of "Running for Congress" with this same disclaimer, or a like disclaimer if I think it needs to change. Here goes...
Part 1 - Running for Congress: The Beginnings
Part 2 - Running for Congress: Getting on the Ballot
Part 3 - Getting on the Sabrin Line
Part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure
Part 5 - The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention
Part 6 - Meeting the Bloggers
Part 7 - The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents
Part 8 - Learning How to Campaign
Part 9 - Steve Lonegan Becomes My New Best Friend
Part 10 - Trying to Capitalize on a FEMA/”BEMA” Meeting
Part 11 - The Last of the "Big Events"
Part 12 - The Calleia Murder Trial and the Wrong Priorities in Media
Part 13 - The Door to Door Effort, and Notable Characters
Part 14 - Primary Day, and Night
Part 15 - Random Observations During the Campaign

While the woman who told me “the system works” at the convention almost broke my spirit right then and there, my determination lived on and the following day, I recapped my experience at the convention in a comment reply to a PolitickerNJ thread.
My experience with the Monmouth County GOP
posted by JamesHogan

So on Tuesday, I received an email from the Monmouth County GOP
mailing list which had a heading stating:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TUESDAY MARCH 25, 2008
Reminder - MCRC Nominating Convention
The Monmouth County Republican Committee Nominating Convention to be
held at the VFW, 1 Veterans Lane, Port Monmouth (Rt. 36 S. just below
Wilson Avenue, just below Super Foodtown & Dunkin Donuts).
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
For Information contact Kathleen at 908-770-7335
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trying to "do the right thing" as a responsible candidate who has his petition (200+ signatures) completed and in order, I did, as the email would suggest, call Kathleen at the number provided on Wednesday March 26, at 1:19pm. There was no answer so I left a polite, and clear, message explaining that my name was James Hogan and I am a candidate for the US House of Representatives in the 6th District and would like more information on how I can be afforded a minute to address the convention tonight (last night). At 3:34pm, Kathleen returned my call and it was among the most awkward and disheartening phone calls I have ever received.

First, she asked to speak with Brian Unger (who happens to be a - Green Party I believe - city counsel member in my hometown of Long Branch, but Unger sounds nothing like Hogan, so I'm not sure where her confusion comes from) - but since I recognized the phone number, I was reasonably sure that she was indeed trying to call me back and explained to her "no, you've reached James Hogan, I'm a candidate for US House of Representatives in the 6th district - I left you a message earlier". She was incredibly confused so I repeated who I was and asked how I would be able to get a minute to address the convention as I have my petitions in order, am a Republican and this is the first time I'm running for a public office so I'm not sure of all the procedures. It was at this point that Kathleen informed me that I would NOT be allowed to address the convention because I missed the screening a month ago and only candidates who have been screened were allowed to address the convention. No problem, or so I thought, I would just ask for an immediate phone screening; surely if the Monmouth County Republicans can phone screen Andy from Colorado on hours notice, they could do the same for me, right? Not so; I was told that Andy is a party member, to which I reminder her that I too am a registered republican and unlike Andy I have my petitions completed and prepared to be turned in and there are at least 200 republicans who like my message and might want to vote for me. Again, she informed me that I would not be permitted to address the crowd and that they COULD NOT do a screening for me, it was just too late. There was silence on the line as I was pretty sure that the democratic process was not supposed to work this way and even more convinced that I deserved at least a minute, if not just for the time and effort I took to reach 200+ voters in two weeks time, and get their signatures, and even "convert" a few democrats, so I asked if I could at least attend the event and she implied that everyone was invited but I wouldn't be permitted to vote or circulate a petition inside and there wouldn't be a benefit to showing up.

Needless to say, I showed up. I got there at exactly 6pm and stood outside until the last few people were leaving, two and half hours later, at around 8:30pm - asking each and every person to sign my petition on their way in or out. Aside from one incredibly rude woman (who I don't have a name for) who told me that I shouldn't even bother because "the system works", most of the actual members who live in the district were at least willing to follow the democratic process and sign my petition of nomination, but no one offered to invite me inside and give me even just a minute, I'd of settled for 30 seconds if I had to. I did speak to Sean Kean outside for a few minutes and he seemed excited at the prospect of a young guy getting involved with the party, but again, there was no invite to come inside and make a brief presentation, no "let me introduce you to the chairman" or any other offers to invite a new, young Republican into the "party".

I must say, despite the few signatures I did receive outside, this experience with the Republican party, or at least it's organizers, was extremely disheartening. Is this how the party intends to grow and attract new, young, members? Does it take millions of dollars in donations and contributions, like Andy has, to "pay to play" to address the party and get their nomination? I was of the impression that people should be given choices and be free to make their own decisions and vote for the person that they believed best represented them, but according to the Monmouth County Republicans, since I don't have millions of dollars, I can't represent anyone, nor do I deserve the same opportunity as someone who does and moreover, there should be no other choice to vote for last night, one was enough. I was of the impression that public officials were supposed to be representatives of the people - I'm part of the people - an average working class guy - and I don't have millions of dollars to contribute to the party - and that somehow eliminated me from even having the opportunity to speak at a convention of the party I belong to, and the party that the 200+ people who have signed my petition belong to. So I missed a screening a month ago - I wasn't even in the race a month ago - just like Andy wasn't in the race a month ago, but I could, and would, have screened over the phone like Andy did or I could have been screened at the convention because, unlike Andy, I showed up at the convention and could have screened in person before the convention started even. I was simply asking for the party to give me the same opportunity they gave to Andy and was rudely denied.

Does the Republican party care at all about attracting new, young members or just taking money from a rich businessmen who has a questionable background? And does the party believe that average working class people like me, without DUI charges, without cocaine use allegations, without tax evasion charges, who have to show up at our jobs sober, and who don't have million dollar bank accounts - would vote for someone who so obviously doesn't represent the ideals that we posses? Does the party expect us working class people to vote for someone just because they are rich? Is this how the party intends to obey their oath to the Constitution, protect a democratic process, and represent the people?

The current state of the Republican party here in NJ is truly troubling and clearly if this party isn't willing to change it's "pay to play" policy for nomination, in favor of a "most qualified, representative of the people" policy for nomination, it will never win an election, or attract new members, and will die out, literally. Not to mention, I have laid out my stance on a number of the issues on my website, where is Andy's position on anything? Does the Monmouth County Republican party even know who or what they endorsed because as far as I can tell they endorsed a criminal while denying me, an honest working guy with an honest and clear platform, acceptance into "the system". Sad.

http://www.hoganforcongress.com/

Fortunately, a few people who I had unknowingly run into at the convention saw my comment and blogged about it. A friend of mine pointed me to the blog, “More Monmouth Musings”, of Art Gallagher , which then lead me to the blog “Voice Of Reason” of “Barry Goldwater”.

Art seems to have blogged about my comment and story first. (Edit: Looking at the timestamps, Barry beet Art to the first punch, but I saw Art's blog first and never really looked at the timestamps until now.)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
James Hogan of Long Branch is running for Congress
He has an amusing tale of his experience with the Monmouth GOP convention posted on Politikernj.
Posted by Art Gallagher at 1:08 PM


And “Barry Goldwater” was the first to quickly reply in a comment of his own.
Barry Goldwater said...
Amusing? or sad?

Thursday, March 27, 2008 1:43:00 PM

The remaining comments would come from other people who would appear often over the next few months, but I didn’t think much of at the time. “Barry Goldwater” then posted about my story on his own blog.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Hogan for Congress: 6th District

Check out politckernj.com for a story from James Hogan about his experience at the Convention last night.

Then check out his website, http://www.hoganforcongress.com/ and read through it.

Why not James Hogan?

Does Bob McLeod have a website yet?

Who? You ask?

Robert McLeod, the screening committee's candidate in the 6th. Google turns up nothing.
Posted by Barry Goldwater at 10:50 AM

Over the following months, these two individuals would express their support for me, blog about my efforts and provide helpful comments and suggestions along the way… and I would use Google to turn something up about Bob McLeod that “Barry Goldwater” seemed to have missed.

As a personal note in case he reads this, I don’t know who this “Barry Goldwater” blogger really is. I suspect I’ve run into him once or twice in person, or maybe I haven’t, but since I’m not aware of any miracles, I’m reasonably sure it’s not the real Barry Goldwater who was blogging about me. I certainly do thank the masked man for his work and maybe someday I’ll be able to thank “Senator Goldwater” face to face. I’ll buy you a coffee and keep the secret for your support kind sir, otherwise, all you get is this one little paragraph as a “Thanks”.

That night of the convention, I had also unknowingly met Eric Sedler of RedJersey who also made several blog entries about my campaign and was one of the first to comment to Art’s blog. Eric even spent the time to “interview” me through email later on in my campaign. Eric’s interview questions were relatively fair, although I think his digestion of my response was incredibly biased due to my dislike for John McCain and my association with Murray Sabrin, an association that seems to merit his bias towards me. Regardless, Eric at least recognized and respected my work ethic and in general had nice things to say about me despite my ties to the Sabrin campaign. Although a public “endorsement” never was made and Eric officially supported the party line, I do believe that Eric was secretly, and actively, pulling for me, if not just to make for great fodder on his website as little ol’ me went after the Big Mean Pallone Monster. I also must thank Eric for at least entertaining my candidacy as he never really bothered to write about the other candidates, ether by choice or lack of effort on their part.

Some fun blog entries to read when you have time:
I'm liking that James Hogan kid running for Congress - Where Art posts my email to him about Mr. McLeod.
Judge McLeod responds to Hogan - Where Art posts some reply from Mr. McLeod.
Jim Hogan responds to Judge McLeod and commentors - Where I mock McLeod's reply with a reply of my own and try to keep the "debate" going
Peter Cerrato: Another candidate for the GOP nod in CD6 - Peter Who? Eric Sedler found out. Scarey!
GOP nod in CD 6: Safe McLeod? - PolitickerNJ's "Wally Edge" says Safe McLeod while noting I'm the only guy working
James Hogan Interview - My interview with Eric Sedler - long
Hogan cracks me up - I toot my own horn, then take a jab at Eric and others
James Hogan: Motivated, Dedicated and Completely Out of His Mind - Art writes a column that gets published in the paper
Primary choices - Is Art going to vote for me?!? Why would he do such a thing? :)


Coming up next - The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents - this time I was actually inside the hall where the convention was being held, wowzers!

Running for Congress: The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention

When I started this blog, I promised to document my run for Congress as best as possible. It won't be easy to recall all of the exciting elements of the experience and I may over explain some non-sense and under explain some important items. Please leave a comment if there is a hole that needs to be plugged, questions about my story or if you met me somewhere and want to add to my story, please comment. This recap may make me look like a genius or it may prove me to be the average no one I have always insisted that I am. It might help me if I ever wanted to run for office again, or it might hurt me if I ever try to run for office again but I'll at least be as honest and open as I can remember the experience. My perspective of the story might be damaging, embarrassing, insulting or give more credit than is deserved to certain individuals or it might not be any of those things and might leave out important individuals or minimize the importance of some people. In any case, what I will write as my time permits is my experience, from my perspective, and I will preface each entry in my blog on the topic of "Running for Congress" with this same disclaimer, or a like disclaimer if I think it needs to change. Here goes...
Part 1 - Running for Congress: The Beginnings
Part 2 - Running for Congress: Getting on the Ballot
Part 3 - Getting on the Sabrin Line
Part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure
Part 5 - The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention
Part 6 - Meeting the Bloggers
Part 7 - The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents
Part 8 - Learning How to Campaign
Part 9 - Steve Lonegan Becomes My New Best Friend
Part 10 - Trying to Capitalize on a FEMA/”BEMA” Meeting
Part 11 - The Last of the "Big Events"
Part 12 - The Calleia Murder Trial and the Wrong Priorities in Media
Part 13 - The Door to Door Effort, and Notable Characters
Part 14 - Primary Day, and Night
Part 15 - Random Observations During the Campaign

Fortunately, no one “challenged” my petition signatures because truth be told, I have no idea if more than my girlfriend and I were really registered Republicans who lived in the district, except of course for those who signed outside of the Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention which I can be reasonably sure were Republicans (maybe not in the district though).

And yes, you read that correctly – I said outside of the convention, meaning physically outside of the building where the convention was being held.

The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention, as I would learn, is some gathering of the “party leaders” where they get together, deliver the same rhetoric in a speech to one another, and ultimately go “vote” for the one person, who they already chose to represent you and I, and is the person that they have already chosen through the “screening” process. This person then gets “nominated”, then gets “the party line” on the ballot and presumably, and sadly, we the people then vote for the person “they” pick while we the people then pretend “we” elected someone to represent “us”.

So why was I physically outside of the Convention if I was running for office and not inside the convention? I wasn’t allowed in apparently.

I had received an email on March 14th from the Monmouth County GOP Mailing list. It’s a free mailing list you can signup for on the Monmouth County GOP website. The email notifies the public, only list members really, that the convention is coming and in fact the email then goes on to say when and where and included the “Offices To Be Considered” as shown below:
(4) Offices To Be Considered.
The office to be considered is: Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders (2 seats).

As an average nobody running for office, I read this email and made the assumption that this convention was indeed in regards to the county freeholder race, and only the county freeholder race, as that is what the email reads, and sent the email off to my trash folder. It made sense to me, County Convention… County freeholder, not something for the federal candidate for Congress which spans several counties, what did I know?

The following Tuesday, March 25th, I received a “reminder” email about the convention, this time with NO details and later in the morning, a phone call from Paul at Sabrin campaign provided me with the details of the convention and Paul suggested I should go there. He then explained the process and that the convention will indeed cover Congressional candidates and suggested I call the number provided to gain access to the event; so I did.

I left a message, on what sounded like a Sprint cell phone voicemail not some office system voicemail, for a Kathleen. My message was along the lines of “this is James Hogan, I’m a candidate for Congress in the 6th district and I would like to attend the convention. Please give me a call back at …”. About 2 hours later, I received a call back from the same number I had dialed earlier and Kathleen was asking for a “Brian Unger”. Huh?

Now being from Long Branch, I recognized the name Brian Unger as one our councilmen. I also recognized the caller ID and after explaining to Kathleen that she reached the correct person, me, James P. Hogan himself, which was confusing enough for her, she then told me that it was too late to attend the convention and only those who have “screened” can attend.

In case you’re not aware, as I wasn’t aware, “screening” is some process where the party big shots get together, go through their book of friends, and decide which friend they want to nominate for the office. They then have this friend come in to the screening committee, they tell this friend exactly what to say, what to do, when to speak, when to say nothing, and confirm that nothing in these people’s backgrounds will be too embarrassing for the party big shots. Other people who want to run, like me, were supposed to go to the screening committee to be shot down by the party leaders who also force you to agree not to run for office on another line or as an independent as a “thanks” for failing their screening process, essentially ensuring that there is no competition for the position from anyone aside from the friend they nominate themselves. Also, in the past, part of the “screening” process was an expensive, complete, criminal background check on you, paid for at your own expense. That background check was eliminated for this year so I wouldn’t have had to “pay to play” just to get through the screening process, which I didn’t even know existed.

So I obviously didn’t “screen” with the committee, because I didn’t know about this screening process and the screening process was never advertised on the mailing list or anywhere else as far as I know. Fortunately for yours truly, I had learned earlier that day after talking to Paul that someone named Andy Unane (which I might be spelling incorrectly), some rich fellow from the Goya foods family, had managed to “screen” over the phone, from Colorado, the night before in order to get considered for the Senate race, so I offered Kathleen my time for a phone screening like Andy, or I could arrive at the convention early and screen in person prior to the event. Kathleen [not so] politely explained that Andy was a party member, to which I replied that I too was a registered Republican. There was awkward silence on the phone but before hanging up on me, Kathleen explained that I could attend the convention, but wouldn’t be able to speak to the audience, wouldn’t be able to “screen” and wouldn’t be able to circulate my petition inside of the convention, essentially that I could attend to do nothing other than observe.

Needless to say, I showed up at the convention around 6pm with intentions of doing more than observing. After leaving work, in my jeans and collared shirt, I stood outside for over two hours until the last people were leaving around 8:30-9pm. I was very polite to everyone and most party members who were in the district were willing to sign my petition. I must say that the party members themselves were very polite to me that night. In fact, if the Kathleen from Keansburg, who I had met that night, is the Kathleen that I spoke to on the phone, then Kathleen is also very polite and I like Kathleen. I don’t blame the Kathleen I spoke to for following the party bylaws and not letting me screen or into the convention, but I can blame the party leaders for allowing Andy to screen and have a surrogate at the convention outside of their own rules. It wasn’t just Kathleen who was polite, through the whole process of running for Congress, the party members were all generally polite, but the party leadership leaves much to be desired. A fortunate item to note is that the Monmouth County GOP chairman, Adam Puharic, won’t be the chairman much longer or is already gone by the time you’ve read this, which is good because he isn’t helping any Republicans as far as I can tell.

I also can’t say that all of the party members were nice as there was one older woman, no idea who she was nor would I recognize her as she ran away so quickly, at the convention who essentially ignored that I was even attempting to speak to her and as she ran away just shouted at me “No Thanks! The system works!” and marched off to the parking lot, full of mostly expensive German cars. I might have drooled on a few of them while I was standing around.

Next - Meeting the Bloggers - what a fun group of people - *IF* they are real people and not computer programs designed to emulate real people! hrm.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Running for Congress: Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure

When I started this blog, I promised to document my run for Congress as best as possible. It won't be easy to recall all of the exciting elements of the experience and I may over explain some non-sense and under explain some important items. Please leave a comment if there is a hole that needs to be plugged, questions about my story or if you met me somewhere and want to add to my story, please comment. This recap may make me look like a genius or it may prove me to be the average no one I have always insisted that I am. It might help me if I ever wanted to run for office again, or it might hurt me if I ever try to run for office again but I'll at least be as honest and open as I can remember the experience. My perspective of the story might be damaging, embarrassing, insulting or give more credit than is deserved to certain individuals or it might not be any of those things and might leave out important individuals or minimize the importance of some people. In any case, what I will write as my time permits is my experience, from my perspective, and I will preface each entry in my blog on the topic of "Running for Congress" with this same disclaimer, or a like disclaimer if I think it needs to change. Here goes...
Part 1 - Running for Congress: The Beginnings
Part 2 - Running for Congress: Getting on the Ballot
Part 3 - Getting on the Sabrin Line
Part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure
Part 5 - The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention
Part 6 - Meeting the Bloggers
Part 7 - The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents
Part 8 - Learning How to Campaign
Part 9 - Steve Lonegan Becomes My New Best Friend
Part 10 - Trying to Capitalize on a FEMA/”BEMA” Meeting
Part 11 - The Last of the "Big Events"
Part 12 - The Calleia Murder Trial and the Wrong Priorities in Media
Part 13 - The Door to Door Effort, and Notable Characters
Part 14 - Primary Day, and Night
Part 15 - Random Observations During the Campaign

At the same time I would hear Murray speak so eloquently about the issues, I would receive a “press release”, sometimes two or three in a day, that was just over the top, ridiculous and some of the press releases were even slightly embarrassing as I wanted to be taken, somewhat, seriously and some of these press releases were just outright non-sense. I don’t know if the subject and contents were Murray’s words and ideas or if they were George’s, Paul’s, someone else’s or a combined group effort, but in general, these press releases were garbage, for lack of a better word, and portrayed the Sabrin campaign as garbage, which then portrayed the whole line under Murray Sabrin, me included, as garbage. It’s interesting that I had Ron Paul fanatics complaining about my platform while those same fanatics were probably fueling Sabrin and his negative, desperate and embarrassing campaign antics.

No offense to Murray, George, Paul or anyone else, but sending a press release announcing that you were going to gamble away donations is scary. I’ll agree that it is a good press stunt to try to get attention but kind of silly to demonstrate that you’re willing to gamble away money and call it an investment in your campaign, or claim that by you doing what the other politicians are doing by making silly “investments” with our money, you were somehow better and more responsible than they were. The press release claim was that instead of investing that money in some reasonable manner, it made sense to demonstrate how to waste money. As a voter, I immediately thought “would my US Senator gamble my tax money away?” If I knew the campaign was going to gamble with donation money, and I only donated $50 or so to his campaign early on, I would have saved my $50 for a tank of gas. The gambling press stunt didn’t just occur once, a second gambling press release betting on horses went out as well, leading me to think of Murray as a compulsive gambler involved in the corrupt sport of horse racing, rather than a serious candidate who understood the issues, I suspect I wasn’t the only one who might have thought this was the case.

These press releases, combined with the “send your tax rebate checks to me” press releases, made it sound like Murray was begging for money but didn’t know how to spend that money wisely. I don’t know how Murray did in the fundraising, but aside from my one or two very early, very small donations, I quickly stopped donating money to the campaign as it didn’t seem that the money was being spent very wisely. I suspect I’m not the only donor or supporter who was turned off by these press releases and the “big media” outlets never picked up any of these press releases. Although the press had given up on Murray, his style of press releases continued.

In addition to these silly press releases, if I knew Godwin’s Law would come in to play in the campaign anytime Joe Penn was mentioned in a press release, I might not have agreed to run on a line with Sabrin. It’s not that I agree with 100% of Joe’s “manifesto”, but then I also don’t disagree with 100% of Joe’s “manifesto” and at least he was willing, seventeen years prior, to make an effort to address the problems. Maybe Joe didn’t have the best answers, or answers I would support, but at least he wasn’t just pointing to problems and throwing his hands in the air saying “oh well, better collect more taxpayer money to throw at the problem”. A manifesto? Sure. A “fascist manifesto”? Harsh, and I believe undeserved, words for someone’s effort to address the issues. Murray didn’t have to agree with Joe’s manifesto, but Murray could have simply addressed the issues and provided his own solutions to the problem, for example “where Joe wants to do this ridiculous thing to solve this serious problem, I propose this solution which makes more sense because…” and voters would have seen the part of Murray I had seen, which was the part that had reasonable solutions to real problems. Rather than talk issues, Murray’s campaign spoke non-sense.

Likewise, if I knew Dick Zimmer would be referred to as a “liberal loser lobbyist”, I might also have chosen to be on a different line, or no line. I did some basic research on Zimmer and his abuse of the farm tax break alone was a major turnoff and enough to sideline Zimmer for a vote from me. Through some Google searching, Wikipedia and old press coverage, there was enough other evidence to indicate that Zimmer was not the candidate for me. Murray could have sent press releases discussing the tax break Zimmer was taking and how to prevent future abuse of the tax break and address the issues, but instead Murray and/or his staff sent several press releases resorting to third grade name calling. The third grade name calling reminded me of the name calling I was a victim to in third grade, and earlier this morning, and just as Zimmer’s tax abuse issue was enough to turn me off of voting for Zimmer, the name calling was probably enough to turn me off of voting for Murray Sabrin. Again, I suspect the name calling was enough to turn off many other voters as well.

I may or may not have voted for Murray Sabrin when I walked into the voting booth on June 3rd, 2008, but I do believe that sending those press releases cost both Murray, and in my opinion those of us below him on the line, many votes as the press releases just fueled the “Ron Paul guys are whiney lunatics” belief that most people hold. I suppose there is a chance that most are right. I firmly believe that had Murray sent as many press releases addressing the issues, which he knows a great deal about, people would have been amazed by his wealth of knowledge and understanding of the issues. Even if Murray lost, the people would have been well informed and better off. Instead, the people decided that Murray was a negative campaigner, a lunatic if you will, and a fanatic who was unelectable. Those of us on a line with him suffered due to the distaste for him by the public and the media, a distaste caused by his own negative campaign, a distaste that even turned off NJ “conservative leader” Steven Lonegan, who probably could have been the big name that facilitated Murray Sabrin access to free press coverage.

Not to get too far ahead of myself, but it’s also worth noting that several of those press releases contained my name, something which I never authorized or agreed to, although it wasn’t worth complaining about publicly at the time.

If not just to set the record straight, I never attended a John McCain “protest” in Lakewood, NJ despite what the press release claimed. If I had taken a day off of work to benefit my campaign, I would have been out knocking on doors, not “protesting”. Far more could be achieved by peaceful communication than can be done by “protesting” to people who are clearly devoted to a candidate with very different positions. Murray was not going to “win over” McCain supporters with his platform, or his “protest”, but in my opinion if he spent that time going door to door talking about issues to undecided voters, he might have reached voters who would have supported his platform, and mine. The claim that the “experts” want us to believe is that many voters don’t really care for McCain, meaning the Sabrin/Paul platform is at least some alternative, maybe or maybe not a good alternative, but at least they’d of known that there was another choice.

Another item worth noting is that when I signed the “Sabrin Solution”, pledging to not run for re-election if all combat troops were not out of Iraq by September 2010, I did so because I believed, and still believe, that if I can’t get the job that 70% of people apparently want done in my term in office, then someone else should be in office who can get the job done and not take twenty years to do it. We can’t keep electing career politicians like Frank Pallone who aren’t serving the desires and needs of the people and if I can’t get those needs met, I shouldn’t be in office, just as Pallone shouldn’t be in office since he can’t get the job done. Signing the “Sabrin Promise” seemed reasonable as I was never looking to start a new career so I had nothing to lose and it stated a goal I intended anyhow – serve one or two terms, get a few things done, and let the next motivated representative take over with a new list of priorities.

However, there was no mention of this “Sabrin Solution” when I was invited up to Jersey City to attend a “press conference” where Murray was going to make some big foreign policy announcement about the Iraq war. Had I seen the “Sabrin Solution” in advance, or been told about the “Sabrin Solution” in advance, I might not have made the trip to Jersey City and signed it just because it seems like a bold promise from a lowly Congressman or a single Senator. It’s a bold statement that shows dedication to a cause; it’s also a promise to end a war, which is almost impossible to do as a Congressman.

The “Sabrin Solution” was sprung on me when I arrived in Jersey City for the press conference, not something that was discussed in advanced. I stand by the promise I made, if I won the election I would have worked every day to bring the men and women home and I would have not tried to run again if I couldn’t get the job done, but then signing the pledge didn’t really change that position. I’m not sure what the goal of the Sabrin Solution was supposed to be, but it would have sufficed to simply say “we the candidates intend to make getting out of Iraq the first issue to address in office”. When Murray eventually claimed that John McCain endorsed his “Sabrin Solution”, I was reasonably sure the truth had been stretched to the limits and on top of all of the other press releases, I was certain that Murray was costing me, and himself, more votes than his antics were earning him and people were just laughing at us, or calling us names.

A final item to set straight is that there was also an email sent, by me apparently, the day before the primary noting that I’ve been a vocal critic of President George W. Bush and some other non-sense. I’d be able to recall what I wrote in that email if I had actually written the email, or had some input into the email.

from James Hogan
date Mon, Jun 2, 2008 at 1:22 PM
subject Vote to bring our troops home tomorrow

As you know, I am running to replace liberal Congressman Frank Pallone as a Republican for Congress in the 6th Congressional District in New Jersey. I am the ONLY candidate running for the 6th Congressional seat who is pro-life, pro-constitution, pro-2nd Amendment and promising to bring all combat troops home from Iraq otherwise I will not run for re-election.

I have been a strong and vocal critic of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney's abuse of the U.S. Constitution and their failed foreign policy, not to mention the overspending by the Congress.

We don't need another lap-dog in Congress - we need a leader who isn't afraid of straight talk. If you vote for me, James Hogan, I will be a leader not a follower in the United States House of Representatives!

If you:
A) Want our troops home from Iraq
B) Want all human life to be protected
C) Want the 2nd Amendment to be protected
D) Want less government and lower taxes

Then I am the ONLY choice for Congress in the Republican Primary for the 6th Congressional District! My opponents cannot make the same promise to you! That is the reason Dr. Murray Sabrin, the front-runner to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate has also endorsed my campaign.

This will be a VERY VERY low turn-out election since most people don't realize there is a Primary tomorrow - so, YOUR VOTE matters more than ever!

Please remember to vote and to forward this email to all your friends and family who live in the 6th Congressional District (Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset and Union Counties).

James P. Hogan for Congress! For more information please visit www.HoganForCongress.com

If you do not wish to receive any more emails please click unsubscribe.

If you look, the email came from a james.hogan@murraysabrin.com. The email was not from my james@hoganforcongress.com address or any other @hoganforcongress.com address or address I use or have access to, I did not send this email, but I wish I had access to whatever mailing list it went out to.

Again, while I appreciate the effort to help, I would have much preferred if whoever really sent that email, George, Paul, Murray or someone else had contacted me before sending such a message in my name. Truth be told, I’m not thrilled with President G. W. Bush or his policies, but I haven’t been so outspoken about it. In fact, thinking back to the choices, I’m glad he’s the President dealing with all of the problems in the world (not me, don’t elect me for President…this year, wink-wink) and at least we’re not in complete anarchy, or world war, today as I believe we would be had Gore or Kerry been in office on 9/11.

The email wasn’t worth complaining about at the time as it was the day before the primary and I had no means of really complaining, not to mention that I had already seen the writing “Sabrin Line Candidates All Lose” on the wall long ago and it was just one more day before the loss would be official. I think the intentions of the email were good, however, had I been consulted on my own email first, I would have asked that the email explain that I have been an outspoken critic of Frank Pallone and I believe Frank Pallone is the cause of all of my problems – ok, maybe not the mental ones - and I’d of noted the local problems that Pallone has failed to address for twenty years.

But anyhow, even after that “press conference” about the “Sabrin Solution”, where all of three reporters, no idea who they were or where they were from, maybe they weren’t even real reporters, showed up, I charged on and eventually turned in 244 signatures.

Coming up next - The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention - I'll be nice... "yeah right, and monkeys might fly out of my butt" - Wayne's World reference - Score +2!


Update 2008-06-25 11:45am: The actual orginal email, with headers included follows. The notable items should someone care:
1) Return-Path: james.hogan@murraysabrin.com NOT ME
2) Received: from smtpauth02.csee.onr.siteprotect.com (smtpauth02.csee.onr.siteprotect.com [64.26.60.136]) STILL NOT ME
3) Received: from wma2185 (unknown [64.41.121.59]) Not sure what that IP resolves to
4) (Authenticated sender: joe88@dacounsel.com) - Ahh Ha!
5)
http://www.dacounsel.com/bm/2008-06-02MS_JH/2008-06-02.asp?id=6&co=&mn=&salute=&iid=1336307&type=0&sheet=88 some URL with the original message - not my server or a server I have access to

Delivered-To: ZZZZZZZZZZZZ@gmail.com
Received: by 10.142.47.1 with SMTP id u1cs187219wfu;
Mon, 2 Jun 2008 10:20:29 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by 10.100.190.14 with SMTP id n14mr15402273anf.98.1212427227344;
Mon, 02 Jun 2008 10:20:27 -0700 (PDT)
X-Forwarded-To: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ@gmail.com
X-Forwarded-For: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ@ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.com ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ@gmail.com
Delivered-To: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ@ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.com
Received: by 10.100.136.10 with SMTP id j10cs9655and;
Mon, 2 Jun 2008 10:20:26 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by 10.140.251.1 with SMTP id y1mr5125275rvh.195.1212427219894;
Mon, 02 Jun 2008 10:20:19 -0700 (PDT)
Return-Path:
Received: from smtpauth02.csee.onr.siteprotect.com (smtpauth02.csee.onr.siteprotect.com [64.26.60.136])
by mx.google.com with ESMTP id 4si4404532yxd.2.2008.06.02.10.20.19;
Mon, 02 Jun 2008 10:20:19 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: neutral (google.com: 64.26.60.136 is neither permitted nor denied by best guess record for domain of james.hogan@murraysabrin.com) client-ip=64.26.60.136;
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com; spf=neutral (google.com: 64.26.60.136 is neither permitted nor denied by best guess record for domain of james.hogan@murraysabrin.com) smtp.mail=james.hogan@murraysabrin.com
Received: from wma2185 (unknown [64.41.121.59])
(Authenticated sender: joe88@dacounsel.com)
by smtpauth02.csee.onr.siteprotect.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id EA68FE38032
for ; Mon, 2 Jun 2008 12:20:18 -0500 (CDT)
Thread-Topic: Vote to bring our troops home tomorrow
thread-index: AcjE1UST7GQ0kYDoRqiZvRu5BAL1oQ==
From: "James Hogan"
To:
Subject: Vote to bring our troops home tomorrow
Date: Mon, 2 Jun 2008 17:22:43 -0000
Message-ID: <8dbc8a8dbd91452da2ce2e03d765ebd8@dedus.onsus.win2003.hostway>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
boundary="----=_NextPart_000_74A4_01C8C4D5.449AC150"
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As you know, I am running to ...

Running for Congress: Getting on the Sabrin Line

When I started this blog, I promised to document my run for Congress as best as possible. It won't be easy to recall all of the exciting elements of the experience and I may over explain some non-sense and under explain some important items. Please leave a comment if there is a hole that needs to be plugged, questions about my story or if you met me somewhere and want to add to my story, please comment. This recap may make me look like a genius or it may prove me to be the average no one I have always insisted that I am. It might help me if I ever wanted to run for office again, or it might hurt me if I ever try to run for office again but I'll at least be as honest and open as I can remember the experience. My perspective of the story might be damaging, embarrassing, insulting or give more credit than is deserved to certain individuals or it might not be any of those things and might leave out important individuals or minimize the importance of some people. In any case, what I will write as my time permits is my experience, from my perspective, and I will preface each entry in my blog on the topic of "Running for Congress" with this same disclaimer, or a like disclaimer if I think it needs to change. Here goes...
Part 1 - Running for Congress: The Beginnings
Part 2 - Running for Congress: Getting on the Ballot
Part 3 - Getting on the Sabrin Line
Part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure
Part 5 - The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention
Part 6 - Meeting the Bloggers
Part 7 - The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents
Part 8 - Learning How to Campaign
Part 9 - Steve Lonegan Becomes My New Best Friend
Part 10 - Trying to Capitalize on a FEMA/”BEMA” Meeting
Part 11 - The Last of the "Big Events"
Part 12 - The Calleia Murder Trial and the Wrong Priorities in Media
Part 13 - The Door to Door Effort, and Notable Characters
Part 14 - Primary Day, and Night
Part 15 - Random Observations During the Campaign

After already having collected a significant number of signatures, I received a telephone call late one night from someone by the name of George Ajjan, communications director for Murray Sabrin, letting me know that US Senate candidate Murray Sabrin would like me to run for office and be on the ballot with them on a line called “Constitutional Republicans Protecting the Liberty Platform”; interesting proposition. I knew only a little bit about George Ajjan and Murray Sabrin as I had met them once, where I saw Sabrin stump for Ron Paul at a straw poll, and Murray and George both seemed like a nice enough guys with a solid platform and great knowledge of the issues.

Not knowing any better, I agreed to run with Murray on this line, but I had my own questions, that I never asked, that are still unanswered to this day.

First, what does that mean? What is a Constitutional Republican? I had a few people ask me if that was a third party, I too wondered the same thing at times and had, and still have, no idea what this meant. Others wanted to know what this Liberty Platform was. I also have no idea what that meant.

I do suspect, based on common sense, that a Constitutional Republican is simply a Republican who obeys the Constitution. Oddly enough, despite what many of the Ron Paul fanatics might claim, I actually believe that in general, the majority of our elected officials do indeed obey the Constitution. In fact, part of the petition form is even a page where you sign an oath to obey the Constitution. In any case, when someone truly violates the law of the land, we the people, through our judicial and/or voting process can indeed punish these people and based on the number of corrupt NJ politicians we’ve watched go to jail over the past several years, I’d say true law breakers do get caught and punished. Again, I’m not sure what a Constitutional Republican is over just being a Republican, but I suspect based on primary results, many voters didn’t want to vote for this new third party known as “Constitutional Republicans” and stuck with the party they know, the Republicans.

As for the Liberty Platform, I think it has something to do with being pro-life, anti-illegal immigration and maybe anti-war, I don’t really know the details of the platform, besides, I thought the platform to represent was the Republican party platform. By the time I received this phone call, I had about half if not more of the signatures I needed and I even had a website with a few issues online so I assumed these guys had reviewed at least part of my platform, and it was indeed my platform, not the Murray Sabrin platform, and certainly not the Ron Paul platform so I just assumed that my platform somehow met the criteria for this Liberty Platform as well as the Republican party platform, great, people were already getting on board with my positions and now a US Senate candidate was asking me to run with him, I was doing great.
I also suspected that this Liberty Platform was somehow related to the Ron Paul platform, you know, the one that was worth barely 6% of the vote here in NJ? I supported Ron Paul. I still think he is a better choice, for me, than John McCain but I certainly don’t agree with 100% of Ron Paul’s platform, nor do I disagree with 100% of John McCain’s platform. In fact, I’ll even go so far as to say that I don’t agree with 100% of Obama or Clinton’s platforms, but I also don’t disagree with 100% of their platforms either. Overtime, I would get some complaints from the Ron Paul, and Murray Sabrin, fanatics over some of my positions. I think someone even called me a socialist at some point along the way. Imagine that, me as a socialist, or maybe I should investigate what the socialist party and platform has to offer? Maybe I’ll do that some other day, doubtful.

Anyhow, after a short five minute phone call with George, I was now part of this line “Constitutional Republicans Protecting the Liberty Platform” under Murray Sabrin. I suspected that I would have the support of a US Senate candidate and access to some of a Senator’s resources, at list some voter lists, press contacts, maybe help getting speaking engagements, etc and now I was even more determined to make a difference in the political process thinking that I would have a dedicated and intelligent US Senate candidate also working hard to earn votes.

Unfortunately for me, not much support came from the Murray Sabrin campaign. George, the communications director, and Paul, the campaign manager, were both extremely helpful to me personally; I never really had much communication with Murray himself. George and Paul both answered many seemingly ridiculous questions that I had and George even provided some guidance as I designed my flyer. I did all of the design and content work on about three flyers and George noted that one was by far better than the rest and made some layout suggestions, some suggestions I took, some I canned. George eventually provided a “likely primary voter list” and I was invited to a few “press conferences” which just happened to be mid-day while I was at my day job as a software engineer.

By the way, being a software enginer is not some inside joke, I really do sit in front of a computer and write VB.NET code that is used to track cargo containers as they come off of ships in ports around the country and eventually get delivered to warehouses and door locations of your favorite stores, or containers that start somewhere in this country and have to make their way onto some outbound cargo ship. When I claim “I’m not a politician”, I really mean that, it’s not just some gimmick or ploy. When I hear some politician trying to claim “I’m not a politician”, I laugh as I try to think of what other words might describe what it is that these people are then. I’m really not a politician, I mean that, I graduated Rutgers with a degree in Computer Science and have spent the last ten or more years of my life in a cubicle writing computer problems, I’ve never run for an office before and I don’t know “the people”.

I probably could have leaned on Paul and George, along with the other workers at the Sabrin campaign, for more help and resources, and both George and Paul are truly great individuals who helped me very much and I appreciate their help, and I’m sure that if I had asked and if I wasn’t working full time, they would have helped me even more. My “complaint” of not much support isn’t with the people specifically, but rather the campaign as a whole.

Since this might sound confusing and contradictory, let me explain. I find the Murray Sabrin platform to be nearly the same as the Ron Paul platform, slightly different in places, just as my platform is similar to their platforms in some places. I suspect that there should be similarities between any and all Republican candidates so I didn’t think this was a big deal. The similarities in platform obviously made the Murray Sabrin platform attractive to me personally and Murray does indeed understand, regardless of what the “experts” say about him, the details of the economics and policies and Murray can run on the Ron Paul platform word for word if he wanted because Murray understands the Ron Paul platform and all of the theory and economics about it. I personally am just an average working class dope and to understand the economics and background on the number of policies these guys understand would be impossible. Regardless, I do have a decent understanding of the local issues, can balance my checkbook and spend within my limits and I even consider myself an informed voter and taxpayer, good enough prerequisites to qualify me for office; plus I have an opinion and there is a saying about opinions and everyone who has one. More important, unlike the average [person] with an opinion, I was wiling to put my opinions in writing and then go knock on stranger’s doors and tell them my opinions, as if my opinions are what matters. As for the likeness between Murray’s platform and mine, I suppose that Murray is anti-war and pro-youth rights and since he seems to understand the economic crisis and even have some solutions, I was sold on supporting Murray and since those are the “key issues” where we’re different from the other Republicans, it made sense to work together.

When I agreed to run with Murray this is what I knew, and all I knew. As time went on, it became clear that when Murray Sabrin spoke about the issues, Murray Sabrin was going to prove to be the guy best suited to represent me, and probably all of NJ. The other candidates just didn’t speak well in debates, didn’t seem to provide any real answers and in fact had more complaints about what the other party has done rather than solutions and explanations of what they would or could do in the future. It was troubling to think that the other clowns might beat Murray as they just couldn’t talk about the issues the way Murray could talk about the issues.

I had a lot of free time last night, so part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure is about to be posted.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Which Politician Will Break Wind First?


CNN is reporting that a Wind farm is to be built off Delaware shore by a company called Bluewater Wind.

At a cost of $1.6billion ($1,600,000,000) to power 50,000 homes for 25 years, I'm calculating that is an average cost of $1280 per home per year. Split over 12 months, you're looking at about $107/month in an electric bill just to break even. I would say that overall this sounds promissing on the financial front since, if I'm reading the article correctly, the claim is that 50,000 homes is "only" based on 16 percent of the wind farm's capacity. Assuming that the other 84% of capacity can be sold to industrial and commercial business, I'd have to think that the ROI for Bluewater is VERY good and it sounds like cheap electric for us consumers. The only question is which politician will side with the environmentalists first and fight the development of this wind farm? You know it's coming sooner rather than later and you know those hippies won't consider that the alternative to wind offshore is wind turbines in their backyards, or nuclear energy, which they'll also fight. Bluewater encourages you to contact your local politician and beg for them to permit this wind farm to be built. Maybe I'll break out the ol' typewriter for this one...

FWIW - it appears Bluewater has plans for NJ as well.

From One Salutatorian to Another


Sticking with my "a day late" approach to blogging, the Press of Atlantic City ran a story Friday Mainland principal cuts off salutatorian's graduation speech which explains that a "school employee" (no name/position given) cut the Salutatorian's microphone when her speech shifted from a pre-approved speech to her own, off-the-cuff speech.

As the former Salutatorian of Keansburg High School Class of '98, first I congratulate Mrs. Jennifer Chau on her graduation from High School and her dedication to her education. Earning the privilege to speak freely at your own highschool graduation does not come easy and is a privilege that I understand the work and effort it takes to earn. Again, I commend you for your work ethic and earning the ability to speak.

Second, I offer these words of wisdom to Jennifer and all others - don't let the man keep you down! (I know, how trendy and ridiculous) Say what you want, the way you want to say it, where ever you feel like saying it.

Had some "school employee" just let Jennifer lambast the administration for whatever reasons, right or wrong, Jennifer's speech would have gone down in history the way of me losing my first tooth, undocumented, unknown and out of the public eye. Instead, by taking the communist approach to free speech, some "school employee" has earn Jennifer the platform that is the media to get her message out.

Free speech is a pillar of freedom. Jennifer not only has the right to free speech, but she went one step further and earned the ability to exercise that right at her high school graduation. Her speech may have upset a few and it may have inspired a few. I don't necessarily think Jennifer should be using her high school graduation speech to blast the administration, however, she does have that right, and through her hard word, she has the opportunity. She wasn't yelling "FIRE" into the mic, she wasn't delivering "hate speech" or inciting a riot and she has every right to speak freely on time that she earned to speech. She did not just yell out from the audience and interrupt the ceremony, she did not impede on anyone else's right to speak (like the "Don't Taze Me Bro" guy) and there is no reason that the salutatorian should be denied her right to deliver her speech on her time.

R.I.P. George Carlin

As noted everywhere and I'm late posting, George Carlin passed away this past weekend, June 22nd. I always enjoyed listening to Carlin's comedy and hearing his blunt perspective of the world and while he will be missed, his observations and words will live on in truth for years to come. Some quotes that are notable....

On Having Hope
I don't feel so confined. I frankly don't give a fuck how it all turns out in this country - or anywhere else, for that matter. I think the human game was up a long time ago (when the high priests and traders took over), and now we're just playing out the string. And that is, of course, precisely what I find so amusing: the slow circling of the drain by a once promising species, and the sappy, ever-more-desperate belief in this country that there is actually some sort of "American Dream," which has merely been misplaced.
On Concern for the Issues
So, if you read something in this book that sounds like advocacy of a particular political point of view, please reject the notion. My interest in "issues" is merely to point out how badly we're doing, not to suggest a way we might do better. Don't confuse me with those who cling to hope. I enjoy describing how things are, I have no interest in how they "ought to be." And I certainly have no interest in fixing them. I sincerely believe that if you think there's a solution, you're part of the problem. My motto: Fuck Hope!
On our Elected Representatives
Now, there's one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: 'The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.'
RIP George.

Running for Congress: Getting on the Ballot

When I started this blog, I promised to document my run for Congress as best as possible. It won't be easy to recall all of the exciting elements of the experience and I may over explain some non-sense and under explain some important items. Please leave a comment if there is a hole that needs to be plugged, questions about my story or if you met me somewhere and want to add to my story, please comment. This recap may make me look like a genius or it may prove me to be the average no one I have always insisted that I am. It might help me if I ever wanted to run for office again, or it might hurt me if I ever try to run for office again but I'll at least be as honest and open as I can remember the experience. My perspective of the story might be damaging, embarrassing, insulting or give more credit than is deserved to certain individuals or it might not be any of those things and might leave out important individuals or minimize the importance of some people. In any case, what I will write as my time permits is my experience, from my perspective, and I will preface each entry in my blog on the topic of "Running for Congress" with this same disclaimer, or a like disclaimer if I think it needs to change. Here goes...
Part 1 - Running for Congress: The Beginnings
Part 2 - Getting on the Ballot
Part 3 - Getting on the Sabrin Line
Part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure
Part 5 - The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention
Part 6 - Meeting the Bloggers
Part 7 - The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents
Part 8 - Learning How to Campaign
Part 9 - Steve Lonegan Becomes My New Best Friend
Part 10 - Trying to Capitalize on a FEMA/”BEMA” Meeting
Part 11 - The Last of the "Big Events"
Part 12 - The Calleia Murder Trial and the Wrong Priorities in Media
Part 13 - The Door to Door Effort, and Notable Characters
Part 14 - Primary Day, and Night
Part 15 - Random Observations During the Campaign

Challenge number one was to convince at least two-hundred people to sign a petition that would get my name printed on the ballot. While some people might think that getting two-hundred signatures on a petition sounds easy, and I did think this would be easy at first based on my results considering an independent run, the petition needed to be turned in by April 7th meaning I only had a month to get them together and these two-hundred signatures must be signatures of registered Republican voters within the district, not just any voter in the district, like the independent petition, which would have been easy.

To be quite honest, back on March 8th, I had no idea what towns were even in the district. I had started a petition to run as an independent, had over one-hundred signatures, but most of the signers were family/friends who turned out to be democrats and weren’t willing to “convert” to Republicans. I was able to convince about fifty of them to switch to the Republican party, if not just to sign my petition and vote for me in June, and then I even offered to help switch them back to Ds or unaffiliated. I probably should have run as an Independent, unfortunately, it’s seemingly impossible to win an election as an Independent as voters seems to go vote R or D, even if the Independent candidate has a better platform and better character, so knowing that much about voters, running for office as a Republican was the only option that made sense since I planned to win.

So off I went to the streets of Long Branch, my home town, with nothing more to work from other than a list of supposedly registered Republican voters that I had from being a volunteer “precinct leader” for the Ron Paul campaign. There doesn’t appear to be a long list of Republicans in Long Branch, but I had enough addresses to at least get my two-hundred signatures. It was still reasonably cold in March and a few times I ended up getting rained on, one day I even got hit with a few snow flakes, but what kind of a candidate would I be if I let those things slow me down?

With no experience or knowledge of what I was doing, I knocked on each door and delivered my “line” which was something along the lines of:
Hello. My name is James Hogan. I’m trying to run for Congress here in the district against Frank Pallone. I’m not a politician; I’m actually a software engineer who works in a cubicle and I just want to represent average, working class people. I’m just looking for signatures on my petition, it only gets my name on the ballot, and you can go to HoganForCongress.com to find out where I stand on the issues. This isn’t a vote for me, and you can obviously vote for anyone you want to vote for, this just gets my name printed on the ballot.
If it wasn’t that speech, it was very close to that speech. I should just ask my girlfriend, who was my only dedicated help during my campaign, as she found it humorous that I delivered the same exact line, with the same exact results, time after time; and the results were shocking.

The first shocking observation I had was that most, but not all, of the people I approached were willing to sign their name and address on a piece of paper without asking a single question after I delivered my “line”. Curiously enough, if you haven’t seen the state authorized petition form, these people were essentially signing their name on a page with twenty blank lines (ten “petitions” per page, two lines for each person) that provides no additional information as to what is being signed. The form just asks for printed name, address, city and a signature. These people could have easily been signing a petition to give away their first born child to slave labor, most never looked or considered what they might be signing, which worked out well for me as I breezed through signatures and didn’t have to work too hard to convince people to sign. In general, no one asked to see the rest of the petition and nothing on the form they signed indicated who or what they were signing for; they could have been signing a petition for James P. Hogan, or for Marsha Brady (Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!) and this was clue number one that most people just didn’t care about the political process and most of these people wouldn’t remember me, or vote for me. In fact, no one, not a single person, asked me for proof of who I was or proof that the form was legit, not one single person. Good thing I’m an honest, upstanding citizen otherwise I might have slipped a few “I hereby sell my home and property, as is, for $2 to James P. Hogan” as some houses I visited were impressive to say the least.

Second, since I had to verify that the people who were signing were Republicans, I had to ask and verify that the signers were the people on my list and that they were still registered Republicans. Sadly, most people had no idea if they were registered Republicans, others insisted that they were life-long Democrats despite indeed being the person who’s name I saw on the paper I had indicating they were Republicans according to the state; I had them sign my petition anyway; even more interesting were the number of people who had no idea that they were registered to vote at all! Clearly, voting is just not a priority for the majority of people, even in a year when we’re told by the “experts” that “everyone is watching”, most people just didn’t want to be bothered about their Congressional candidates. This was clue number two that most people just don’t care about the political process and I shouldn’t count on votes from these people even if they signed my petition.

Lastly, or the last shocking item during the signature phase at least, was the overall lack of support from the people on the meetup group who convinced me to run for office to begin with just weeks ago. Despite dozens of emails and even a few phone calls from people who were pledging their time and resources to help, there was only the sound of crickets to be heard when it came time to hit the streets. Perhaps I shouldn’t say that, four people, none of whom were part of the core group who convinced me to run for office, did indeed collect a whopping thirty-five signatures or so for me. Some of the signatures weren’t even from people in the district but I turned them in anyway; others were missing city or printed name so I guessed at the city and tried to figure out the name from the signature. Maybe this admission qualifies me for some fine or jail time, so in my own defense, I’m making this up of course and all of these were 100% legit to the best of my knowledge, true story. The signatures these few helpers gathered for me is much appreciated, but clearly I didn’t have the support of the dozens of people or the hundreds of people on the meetup who were claiming they wanted “freedom”, whatever that is according to you, or the next guy in line, because even among the meetup full of supposed freedom seekers, there were often heated debates over some policy; never with a solution suggested, just complaints vented.

Some people on the meetup who read this will say “but you never called me for help” and to those people I say, the meetup is mailing list and I sent plenty of emails begging for help. The few people I did call just wanted to chit-chat about all kinds of random non-sense and really just cost me time I could have been knocking on another door. Sorry, but the goal was simple, get on the ballot, and to get on the ballot, I had to ask people, live in person, to sign a petition. The hours of phone calls and meetings some of you were suggesting just wasn’t needed with a month to get the job of getting on the ballot done. Even if I did call, I do not believe a single one of these people would have come out to help my campaign. Had I won the nomination, then there could have been plenty of meetings and talks to figure out the exact platform to move forward with and how best to represent the majority of the people, not just the interests of the fanatics from the meetup who were more than likely not even Republicans.

Now. to prove just how easy getting on the ballot could have been, had even just a dozen people on the meetup each convinced their immediate family and two friends to sign a petition and those dozen people handed me twenty signatures each, I’d of been on the ballot, and turned in more signatures than any other candidate in the district. Getting on the ballot should have been an hour of work at most. Instead, I spent two or three weekends collecting signatures. In fact, I was able to get almost one-hundred signatures just in family and friends alone, maybe all I really needed was a second person who had a family and some friends. Even without their help, getting on the ballot, or at least getting the two-hundred signatures was relatively easy, and if you are interested in running for Congress, aside from being time-consuming to get together with these people, since you need a physical, written signature, it’s easy enough to get two-hundred people to sign some piece of paper as long as you put in the time. You too can get on the ballot if you want to run for Congress.

Next: Getting on the Sabrin Line - I'll write about this today and try to get it posted tomorrow.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Big Brown feces to Pollute the Shrewsbury River, Earn $100,000 for his Contribution


In case I haven't already been accused of beating the dead horse into the ground over Monmouth Park's role in polluting the Shewsbury River, I'm now hearing news that Big Brown will be coming to Monmouth Park in August to add to the horse feces already polluting the river. Even better, it appears that Monmouth Park will be paying Big Brown's handler's $100,000 as a bonus for coming to town, a bonus that sure would go a long way in paying that 2 year old unpaid $35,000 fine and cover some of the cost of an improved waste management system.

To set the record straight, I'm glad that Big Brown is coming to town. I'm not a fan of horse racing but I recognize the name and I know that having a Big Brown appearance at the track means a large crowd which hopefully means some people will stick around the area for a while, spend some money at the local small businesses (I highly recommend the Brazilian Rodezio Grill on Oceanport Ave across 36 from the track), maybe even stay at a hotel in the area (Big Pimpin' at the Holiday Inn). Generally, the track and the business that the track brings to other businesses in the area is great. I even moved in down the street from Monmouth Park because I like being close to attractions, sure being as close as I am adds to the cost of property but it adds to resale value as well, the last thing I want as a property owner is for Monmouth Park to close shop.

However, as a tax payer, I'm very concerned about the amount of MY tax money that the DEP spends to monitor the pollution coming from Monmouth Park rather than addressing the problem. I also don't want MY money given away to Monmouth Park through some grant so that the problem can be resolved while Monmouth Park apparently has $100,000 to give away as a "bonus" to a horse.

Further, as a human, I've very concerned about the amount of pollution in the river from Monmouth Park, and the duration that the pollution has been permitted - going on two full years. I used to allow my puppy to swim in the river, but can no longer do so. I used to launch my Kayak from the boat launch but can no longer do so. I used to fish in the river but can no longer do so. My ability to enjoy a river than is "protected" as a federal waterway has been diminished while the track apparently makes money, DEP turns a blind eye while using MY tax money to operate and local politicians fear Monmouth Park closing and the loss of revenue from the park more than they fear the health risks to us humans who try to use the river.

Being a good neighbor in terms of profits for area business and entertainment for race fans is not an excuse for pollution. If you or I decided to go dump raw sewage in the river, we'd not only be fined, but imprisoned for polluting a federal waterway.

Despite repeated phone calls and emails to the NJ DEP and the Governor's office, it doesn't appear that anyone at the state level is interested in getting involved and stopping the pollution. Frank "Mr. Environment" Pallone sent a weak letter to the track's owners about a year ago and forgot about the problem. In good news, it sounds like our Freeholders are proud of the horse racing industry in Monmouth County, maybe I'll give them a call?


It's easy to point the finger at the do-nothing Democrats in Trenton and their do-nothing DEP, but it doesn't help when the Republicans in Freehold aren't addressing the problem either and I doubt the City of Long Branch, West Long Branch or Oceanport have the funds or authority to do anything about the problem other than post the danger signs. The solution seems simple - move the stables away from the river, build a better "first flush" waste management system and advance past the 1960s design of the site. Costly? Sure. But if I was in the business of making lead paint, I'd of been forced to change my business, at my expense.