Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Ruth Townley Lawson
(Asbury Park Press)
AGE: 85 LONG BRANCH
Ruth Townley Lawson, 85, of Long Branch, died Saturday, May 16, 2009, at Sunrise Assisted Living, Wall Township. She was a communicant of St. James' Episcopal Church, Long Branch. Mrs. Lawson was born in Long Branch and lived there all her life.
She was predeceased by her husband, Kenneth K. Lawson; and a son, Robert K. Lawson. Surviving are two sons, Richard T. Lawson, Eatontown, and Keith C. Lawson, Ocean Township; a daughter, Kimberly R. Gibson, Charleston, S.C.; and her grand and great grandchildren.
The visitation will be Tuesday evening from 7 until 8:30 p.m. at the Woolley Funeral Home, 10 Morrell St. at Broadway, Long Branch. The Requiem Mass will be 10 a.m. Wednesday from St. James' Episcopal Church, 300 Broadway, Long Branch. The interment will follow in Woodbine Cemetery, Oceanport. You may light a candle of remembrance by visiting www.woolleyfh.com.
For those wondering, Ruth was moved into the Sunrise Assisted Living Facility in early November of 2008, just days after election day. In fact, to fill in some back story, the last time I saw Ruth was the night of November 5th, 2008. I recall Ruth stopping me on my way out to work early in the morning; she got up early to go vote; problem being, of course, that she was a day late. Not having the heart to explain to her that Obama had already won and it was too late to vote, I suggested that she wait for Joy, the nurse, to take her, hoping Joy could explain. When I came home for lunch that day, Joy had not arrived, and Ruth was at the bottom of my driveway; she came to ask me for a ride to the polls. I walked her home and explained that she was a bit late to vote. After Ruth berated me for not taking her the day before, I went home to eat my lunch.
Friday, May 15, 2009
I'm somehow reminded of Pallone noting Palin's husband's many years prior had a DUI. "Not that it matters"
Or maybe that Pallone was/is part of the Congressional "Stop DUI Caucus"?
Or maybe that Pallone filled a seat left by James Howard, of Howard-Barnes anti-drunk driving legislation "fame"?
...not suggesting Mr. Pallone was drunk driving and the Po-Lease let him go easy... "of course"...
Good thing Pallone voted to bailout insurance giant AIG at the expense of We the People. You know, just in case AIG was the insurance company footing that $4000 bill for damage he caused by driving his minivan over a bike after a few drinks.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Steve Lonegan is strong advocate of free markets. I was very impressed by his record of budget restraint as Mayor of Bogota, NJ. He has been a vocal critic of runaway spending and taxpayer funded bailouts, and he understands that we must reject the nanny state and return government to its proper, restrained role. Sending Steve Lonegan to Trenton would be a tremendous victory for the people of New Jersey.
That is why I am supporting Steve Lonegan for New Jersey Governor. Steve is fighting hard in a difficult race, and he needs your help to win. Please support Steve in any way you feel appropriate. You can visit his website, Lonegan.com, to donate, volunteer or receive more information.
At this time when big government forces are grabbing more and more power, we must come together and unite behind principled free market leaders like Steve Lonegan. Please join me in supporting Steve in any way you can and, most importantly, please make sure you get the polls and vote for him on June 2nd.
It's interesting that Murray Sabrin, who Ron Paul "endorsed", doesn't seem to care for Lonegan (or his tax plan) but Ron Paul is endorsing Lonegan.
EDIT I'm curious if wErds have special meanings in this email. The email says "is supporting", not "endorses" which is interesting. Is there a difference or does "supporting" imply an endorsement and funds. Ron Paul's Campaign For Liberty (C4L) PAC might have some cash on hand to "support" Lonegan and surely has the grassroots workers to make calls, send mailings, etc to primary voters. I guess we'll see what "supporting" means, if anything, in the coming days and weeks.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
As sent in an email to a local group this morning with a few minor edits for corrections/updates.
I think Monday's meeting was "ok" at best and left a lot to be discussed and addressed. If I may offer my $0.02, adjusted for inflation, here are a few of my own notes/thoughts and along with a list of action items to move forward with.
Item #1: Is there a way to Open Public Records Act MPs finances, bank/credit ratings/etc and it's ability/past performance to repay loans?
2) Ray really beat them over the head with the Stupid Stick for the uncovered dumpsters. John Duffy(?) noted that the track has internal procedures and they "fine" horsemen who don't follow procedures. Can we find out which horsemen/stables/etc have been fined, how many times, at what costs, etc? I think the point to drive to would be that if one stable operator is the biggest (only?) offender, maybe the
solution is force DEP to shutdown a single stable operator, not so much MP. I'm sure with our wonderful free market system, some other stable operator would be more than happy to fill the opening at MP to race their horses and act more responsibly if MP were to ditch one bad operator.
Item #2: Is there a way to OPRA MP's internal fine records or records related to MPs actions against stable operators who violate their SOP?
3) Ray (damn Ray was good!) also got Mr. Duffy to claim that DEP and private inspectors make random stops through the park to ensure that SOPs are being adhered to, dumpsters covered, and all of the "SHOULD"s are completed. Can we have access to those DEP or internal/private inspections? What is the outside consultant saying about MPs SOPs and actual practices? Its great that someone is inspecting the track, but if the inspector finds the same problems over and over again with each visit, and MP is not addressing any violations, then is the inspection helpful? Who is the private, outside, independent agency, and where are their reports/findings?
Item #3: Is there a way to OPRA MP's internal SOP audits and inspections?
4) There were multiple questions about MP's paying of their fines. While I'd hate to distract their finances that could go towards paying a loan, I also noted that most every question, statement, complaint and comment had to do with the double standard applied to MP's actions. For example, if any of us polluted the river, we'd be liable
for the fines/cleanup. MP skirted the questions or just said they could not comment. Fine. However, it might be worth investigating through an OPRA request what communications have happened between MP and DEP over those fines.
Item #4: Is there a way to OPRA DEP or MP records regarding fines for pollution?
As a personal question, I'm still confused, will this retention basin essentially be a pool of raw sewage? If the river itself is "1000s" of times the limits of acceptable levels, and is "clean" storm water, mixed with stable poo-water, mixed with river water, then I'd have to think that straight poo-water from the stables before being diluted in other "clean" waters must be millions of times above the limits?
I also received an email/comment on my blog from someone in attendance
who noted that no one asked:
1) Will Oceanport property owners along the river be given any property tax refunds/deductions due to the pollution?
2) Will Oceanport property owners be compensated for their decreased property values due to river pollution?
(I suppose the same questions can be extended across the river to Long Branch and maybe even up to Monmouth Beach?)
Anyhow, I think it would be a good idea to come up with a list of outstanding questions, comments and concerns and move forward with the assumption that MP is NOT doing the right thing, despite what they say, and assume it will be our responsibility to increase the pressure to see the problems resolved. It was nice to see some of our elected state representatives in attendance, notably NJ State Senator Jennifer Beck (R), Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R), and Assemblyman Declan J. O'Scanlon Jr (R). Although Congressman Holt and Pallone were NOT in attendance, Steven Hildner from Holt's office was in attendance. It might be worth our while to each shoot them an email, or a quick phone call and thank them for getting involved and showing up to the meeting. Holt's office sent a staffer who was in attendance and it was a good sign to see that he'll at least work to get the fed EPA involved, not that I think Lisa Jackson will be any more effective in helping us as part of the EPA than she was in helping us as part of the DEP. A bit disappointing that Pallone didn't make an appearance or leave a letter with a staffer.
However, with that said, I do also want to note that there are folks down in the Lacey area who have been complaining and citing real data that demonstrates that Oyster Creek Nuclear plant has been polluting that area with radioactive waste for years. While I don't intend to get into the debate over nuclear power (which I fully support the use of if done safely like the plants in France), I am concerned that if
the battle those citizens have been fighting, with wide-spread support from the APP and most politicians, isn't going in their favor and is equally or more dangerous than our case, I fear we might be looking at a similar situation where our complaints will go on for decades, fines will be levied, claims for solutions will be proposed but at the end of the day, we'll just be a small group of complainers who are largely
ignored and we don't have the APP pushing weekly articles out reminding folks of our battle and problems. Oceanport's administration is clearly on our side and it seems like our area State reps are on our side so we should try to keep those political forces working for us.
Monday, May 11, 2009
The Honorable Lisa P. JacksonAdministratorUS Environmental Protection AgencyAriel Rios Building1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20460-0001Dear Administrator Jackson:As you know, I wrote to you in 2007 when you served as the Commissioner of the New Jersey department of Environmental Protection regarding the concerns of many of my constituents about the fecal bacterial contamination of Branchport Creek in Oceanport NJ caused by the Monmouth Park Racetrack. In response to my letter, your office levied several thousand dollars of fines against Monmouth Park for its violations, and at the time it appeared the racetrack wouldend its practice of dumping waste into the creek.I am deeply concerned that the Monmouth Racetrack continues to dump waste in the Branchport Creek. This practice has caused the bacterial levels to reach a dangerous level which is a health risk to the public and to the environment. Since 2006, health officials have posted signs along the creek warning people to avoid coming into contact with the water because of high levels of fecal bacteria. The declining fish population has demonstrated the environmental effect of this contamination. while th New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has already attributed this pollution to the dumping of contamination waste into the creek by grounds keepers of Monmouth Park racetrack, the NJ DEP has failed to act to stop this practice.Unfortunately, we face a situation in which the state is fining a state agency, as Monmouth Park is overseen by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. New Jersey has not taken the appropriate steps to stop the activities which have made Branchport Creek unsafe for drinking, fishing, swimming, and other activities. Given this inaction, I believe that the federal government needs to step in. I respectfully request that the Environmental Protection Agency use the authority under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) (Title 33Section 1342) of the Clean Water Act to investigate and take regulatory actions to stop the continuing pollution of Branchport Creek.The cleanliness and restoration of Branchport Creek is an issue of importance to me and to my constituents. I look forward to working with you to make the creek safe for future generations.Sincerely,Rush HoltMember of Congress
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
May 1, 2009
Letter to the Editor
Dear Sir or Madam:
Concerned residents that live along Branchport Creek in the City of Long Branch, Oceanport, Monmouth Beach and Little Silver have one more adjective to add to their moniker…confused.
Here are the facts that we know…signs indicating that the water in the creek is contaminated and that humans should not come in contact with it are still up along the banks. We know that this summer will mark the 4th summer in a row that these signs have remained up. We know (at least some of us do) not to let our children or our dogs come in contact with this water. We know that the primary source of the contamination is a result of the lack of responsibility on the part of Monmouth Racetrack, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
We also know that shortly, 1,500 horses will have returned for the summer to Monmouth Racetrack where they reside in antiquated barns and stalls that sit right next to the banks of the Shrewsbury River. We know that fecal bacteria levels, as measured by the County Health Department last year, show counts thousands of times higher than a state limit. We know that the track was fined over $100,000 by the state DEP on two separate occasions. We know that the track and the NJSEA had appealed these fines. And finally, we know that in the last 2 years, the track and the NJSEA has talked a lot about “fixing” the problem…proposed several plans…held public hearings…yet the problem still exists.
What we don’t know is what are track officials, state DEP officials and the NJSEA doing about this problem. We also don’t know whether the track has ever paid the fines levied on them for polluting our waterways. We don’t know when or if those “contaminated waters” signs will ever come down. We also don’t know when, if ever, we will be able to use our once beautiful river in the way that nature intended.
And now, once again, on May 11th, 2009 at 7PM at the Oceanport Borough Hall, track and NJSEA officials, will be holding a public hearing on a “new set of plans” that the track is proposing to “fix” this problem. I urge everyone to come out to hear these plans and demand once and for all that this problem be fixed. This is a shell game that just keeps going around and around with no accountability, responsibility or respect shown by those who are in power at the local, county and state levels. This is an outrage.
Long Branch, NJ
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
TENAHA, Texas (CNN) -- Roderick Daniels was traveling through East Texas in October 2007 when, he says, he was the victim of a highway robbery.The Tennessee man says he was ordered to pull his car over and surrender his jewelry and $8,500 in cash that he had with him to buy a new car.But Daniels couldn't go to the police to report the incident.The men who stopped him were the police.Daniels was stopped on U.S. Highway 59 outside Tenaha, near the Louisiana state line. Police said he was driving 37 mph in a 35 mph zone. They hauled him off to jail and threatened him with money-laundering charges -- but offered to release him if he signed papers forfeiting his property."I actually thought this was a joke," Daniels told CNN.But he signed."To be honest, I was five, six hundred miles from home," he said. "I was petrified."Now Daniels and other motorists who have been stopped by Tenaha police are part of a lawsuit seeking to end what plaintiff's lawyer David Guillory calls a systematic fleecing of drivers passing through the town of about 1,000."I believe it is a shakedown. I believe it's a piracy operation," Guillory said.George Bowers, Tenaha's longtime mayor, says his police follow the law. And through her lawyers, Shelby County District Attorney Lynda Russell denied any impropriety.Texas law allows police to confiscate drug money and other personal property they believe are used in the commission of a crime. If no charges are filed or the person is acquitted, the property has to be returned. But Guillory's lawsuit states that Tenaha and surrounding Shelby County don't bother to return much of what they confiscate.Jennifer Boatright and Ron Henderson said they agreed to forfeit their property after Russell threatened to have their children taken away.Like Daniels, the couple says they were carrying a large amount of cash --- about $6,000 -- to buy a car. When they were stopped in Tenaha in 2007, Boatright said, Russell came to the Tenaha police station to berate her and threaten to separate the family."I said, 'If it's the money you want, you can take it, if that's what it takes to keep my children with me and not separate them from us. Take the money,' " she said.The document Henderson signed, which bears Russell's signature, states that in exchange for forfeiting the cash, "no criminal charges shall be filed ... and our children shall not be turned over" to the state's child protective services agency.Maryland resident Amanee Busbee said she also was threatened with losing custody of her child after being stopped in Tenaha with her fiancé and his business partner. They were headed to Houston with $50,000 to complete the purchase of a restaurant, she said."The police officer would say things to me like, 'Your son is going to child protective services because you are not saying what we need to hear,' " Busbee said.Guillory, who practices in nearby Nacogdoches, Texas, estimates authorities in Tenaha seized $3 million between 2006 and 2008, and in about 150 cases -- virtually all of which involved African-American or Latino motorists -- the seizures were improper."They are disproportionately going after racial minorities," he said. "My take on the matter is that the police in Tenaha, Texas, were picking on and preying on people that were least likely to fight back."Daniels told CNN that one of the officers who stopped him tried on some of his jewelry in front of him."They asked me, 'What you are doing with this ring on?' I said I had bought that ring. I paid good money for that ring," Daniels said. "He took the ring off my finger and put it on his finger and told me how did it look. He put on my jewelry."Texas law states that the proceeds of any seizures can be used only for "official purposes" of district attorney offices and "for law-enforcement purposes" by police departments. According to public records obtained by CNN using open-records laws, an account funded by property forfeitures in Russell's office included $524 for a popcorn machine, $195 for candy for a poultry festival, and $400 for catering.In addition, Russell donated money to the local chamber of commerce and a youth baseball league. A local Baptist church received two checks totaling $6,000.And one check for $10,000 went to Barry Washington, a Tenaha police officer whose name has come up in several complaints by stopped motorists. The money was paid for "investigative costs," the records state.Washington would not comment for this report but has denied all allegations in his answer to Guillory's lawsuit."This is under litigation. This is a lawsuit," he told CNN.Russell refused requests for interviews at her office and at a fundraiser for a volunteer fire department in a nearby town, where she also sang. But in a written statement, her lawyers said she "has denied and continues to deny all substantive allegations set forth."Russell "has used and continues to use prosecutorial discretion ... and is in compliance with Texas law, the Texas constitution, and the United States Constitution," the statement said.Bowers, who has been Tenaha's mayor for 54 years, is also named in the lawsuit. But he said his employees "will follow the law.""We try to hire the very best, best-trained, and we keep them up to date on the training," he said.The attention paid to Tenaha has led to an effort by Texas lawmakers to tighten the state's forfeiture laws. A bill sponsored by state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, would bar authorities from using the kind of waivers Daniels, Henderson and Busbee were told to sign."To have law enforcement and the district attorney essentially be crooks, in my judgment, should infuriate and does infuriate everyone," Whitmire said. His bill has passed the Senate, where he is the longest-serving member, and is currently before the House of Representatives.Busbee, Boatright and Henderson were able to reclaim their property after hiring lawyers. But Daniels is still out his $8,500."To this day, I don't understand why they took my belongings off me," he said.