This is the second part of a three part letter, which was broken up due to length.
Find Part One Here.
Check back with scotchplains.patch.com tomorrow and Wednesday for more on Holden's thoughts.
I’m Holden MaGroin and in yesterday’s piece, I discussed the RVSA, the local SID, and touched on the response to the sale of Shackamaxon. Today I will share links that provide the public comments related to surpluses, refunds on overpayments, and how dissenters within the ranks are dealt with.
There’s seems to have been some political flip-flopping on surpluses.
In March of 1999, then Councilmen McClintock and Marks decried the $69 per year tax increase proposed by the Democrat majority. They are each quoted in the linked article that there should be no cuts in appropriations, but rather the surplus should be used to reduce the proposed tax increase. Former Mayor Papen is also quoted as calling the proposed increase “unconscionable”.
http://www.goleader.com/99mar25/99mar25.pdf (front page)
In what appears to be a change of heart, in June of 2008, when they now had the majority, both Councilwoman Coronato and Mayor Marks opposed Councilman Glover’s proposal to use reserves to decrease the proposed tax increase, with Coronato stressing it’s important to maintain a “healthy reserve” and Marks calling the Glover suggestion “reckless”.
http://www.goleader.com/08jun12/08jun12.pdf (front page with quotes on page 10)
When there was an $800,000 over collection of the sewer fee, once gain voting along party lines, the council decided to keep the overpayment and apply it to future years. Additionally, it was decided that with this much of an overpayment, the council would buy a $125,000 sewer jet truck with the cash instead of bonding it like it is normally done.
As evidence of their influence and tactics to remain in power, I provide the following;
I begin with the first term of Mayor Marks back in 2001. A boyhood friend of Mayor Marks was first appointed as municipal judge and then Township attorney by Marks. In 2010, when Marks was no longer on the council, this attorney was replaced by Mayor Malool and the Council, due to what Malool said was the town’s “current economic situation”.
During the final meeting where attorney Levine said his goodbyes, members of the public also had an opportunity to speak. Below is from the linked Patch article, with the last sentence foreshadowing the coming rift between this old guard and Mayor Malool and Councilman Bratti.
“Others who stepped up to speak about the two men included former Council members Paulette Coronato, Bill McClintock and Joan Papen and former Mayor Martin Marks.
"I've known Brian for over 40 years," Marks said, noting that the two had grown up together. "I would rise in support of Brian Levine today whether I'd known him for 40 years or 40 weeks. He's a great father, a dedicated husband and a tremendous friend. His ability to deal with our public was impeccable."
Marks continued to say that the township of Mount Olive was wise to "gobble him up."
"I commend the wisdom of that governing body," he said. "All governing bodies should be so wise."
The attached provides Malool’s thoughts on the repercussions of her actions in replacing the boyhood friend of Marks and provides insight into the selection process of our leaders getting onto the ballot. Each article also has comments that further articulate what is happening with this party.
“I wasn’t surprised that DePaola was selected,” Malool said. “Bill McClintock handpicked the five associate members who screen the potential Republican candidates. He told me that I shouldn’t even bother showing up to the announcement. The selection was basically fixed.”
While I don’t know the ballot selection process for the local Democratic Party, and some towns have the party bosses choose the candidates, our local Republican leaders will have us believe that the candidate selection process is based on the elected Committeemen of the party.
(See comments on attached link from “Bo”, Councilman Bo Vastine.
Mr Smith...Nancy Malool resigned as Mayor to take a position in State Government. She herself stated this to be the fact. She also stated that she was not given a waiver to continue as Mayor, if she in fact took the job. My question to you is as follows: if you believe her other words to be true...why would you not also believe these words attributed/written to/by her to be true? Subsequently, Mary DePaola is the Mayor because she was the Deputy Mayor prior to Malool resigning. Our Town's succession plan dictates that the party, of the office holder that can no longer serve, put forward the names of three potential replacements. That was done and the full majority of present members voted to name Mary Mayor. Where do you see a conspiracy?
All candidates that were interested in running for Mayor were given the opportunity to screen before the committee. Mary and Nancy both put forward their case for getting the line. A vote was held and Mary got more votes. That is how she got the line. It is really that simple...It is the way the process works.
The Republican and Democratic Parties here in town are comprised of committee members elected by their neighbors. They appear on the ballot every other year during the primary (Democrats one year Republicans the next). There are now 23 districts in town with a male and female member representing each district. So, ideally, you have 46 committee members who vote on which candidate(s) get the official line for office.”
So we are told that we should believe Malool’s words, but her words tell us that the DePaola selection is contrary to the democratic process that Councilman Vastine outlines in his comments.
This brings us to how this group acts towards our citizens and how they campaign.
Back in 1998, under Mayor Papen and through Councilman Marks’ suggestion, Clifford Street was renamed to Shalom Way. When neighbors came before our council to question this, they were rebuffed. Councilwoman Schmidt made a resolution to table the vote to allow more time for discussion, but under Mayor Papen and Councilmen McClintock and Marks, the resolution did not come to a vote. Councilman Marks is quoted as using the term “bigoted” in questioning the motives of the citizens.
http://www.goleader.com/98jun25/sp.pdf (Page 1, with quote on page 2)
Similarly, during the 2006 campaign, Marks used in a campaign pamphlet a smear of retired police officer and Democrat candidate Neil LeStrange. The pamphlet referred to LeStrange as a racist and anti-Semite based on LeStrange’s attendance at a federal, state, and local law enforcement event called “Good Ole Boys Roundup”, 16 years prior, in 1990. LeStrange, in a deposition, stated he was disgusted with what he saw going on and left the event early. This did not stop Marks from using it in his campaign literature. Ultimately, LeStrange sued for defamation, with the outcome being a $10,000 settlement from Marks. I do not know the increased costs of the insurance premium caused by this settlement, or the legal fees incurred by the Township in defense of Marks over this lawsuit, so one can only guess what this expense to taxpayers was.
I believe these people thirst for power like a normal person needs water. I myself like a good cold drink of water, but I’ve never paid $10,000 for one.
Tomorrow we can discuss the current candidate’s history while in office with more links to the articles used.