Is Rick Shaftan running Steve Lonegan's campaign again?

Steve Lonegan, last year's candidate for United States Senate and one-time Bergen County Mayor, is now a candidate for the U.S. Congress down in South Jersey.  Last year's campaign was noted for its frequent off-color mistakes by Lonegan -- everything from a tweet that Lonegan had to defend as "not meant to be racist", to an election eve meltdown by Sussex County's top political consultant, Rick Shaftan, who was running Lonegan's campaign.  Shaftan bashed Senator Cory Booker for acting "like a gay guy would".  Full coverage can be found here:

There's something about Steve Lonegan's anger and arrogance that reminds us of George Wallace, the late Democratic Governor of Alabama.  Shaftan has always sought to reinforce that image, going as far as donning a Strom Thurmond tee-shirt for their moment of film celebrity in the documentary, Anytown U.S.A.

All this came to mind after Lonegan tweeted his newest campaign attack ad -- against the latest in a long list of opponents, Tom MacArthur of Toms River.  Lonegan attacked MacArthur, a former small town mayor like himself, for "promoting diversity" because a small number of affordable housing units are to be built in his small town.  Now Lonegan knows, as all 500-plus small town mayors in New Jersey know, that they have to comply with state law and allow affordable housing to be built.  And the reason this works for many small towns is that much of that housing is snapped up by seniors on fixed incomes who face having to move out of state, away from children and grandchildren, if they fail to find cheaper accommodation. 

This all brings to mind the 2008 municipal election in Sparta Township, the most overtly racist in Sussex County memory, that pitted incumbent Scott Seelagy against Carey Ann Shaftan, then the wife of Rick Shaftan.  Shaftan's campaign literature equated affordable housing with people of color migrating from Newark into Sussex County.  Shaftan warned against a wave of incoming "mental patients, ex-cons, drug addicts, and others" who would "increase crime and destroy property values."  Shaftan's literature used the same housing motif found in the attack ad Lonegan tweeted.

Shaftan ran on a platform that "no one has a right to live anywhere they want, people have a right to live where they can afford. That is what America is all about."   Shaftan lost that election, but not before a whole lot of people were offended.  Now, six years later, it's déjà vu all over again. 

If Steve Lonegan is serious about winning a General Election, he needs to curb his baser instincts and wise up. 




Memo to Byram Township Council: Talk to your colleague

Scott Olson, Byram’s out-of-control councilman, is at it again.  This time he has retweeted a snide tweet from a friend who appears to be trying to spread a baseless rumor about Governor Christie having an extramarital affair.  Here is what was posted and then retweeted by Byram Councilman Olson:

Susie Madrak@SusieMadrak 4h

How come the national media hasn't caught on to Gov. Christie's own little Olivia Pope problem?

Retweeted by scott olson


“Olivia Pope” is a reference to the television series “Scandal” in which a White House spin doctor (Pope) has an extramarital affair with her boss (the chief executive, the President of the United States).

Shouldn’t Olson’s colleagues on the Byram Township Council have a talk with him about spreading this kind of malicious rumor?  It doesn’t do the reputation of the Council or the Township any good at all.


The pro-tax radical who runs Byram politics

Councilman Scott Olson made no bones about it.  He is supporting the candidacies of Jim Oscovitch for Mayor and Marie Raffay for Council.  And it’s easy to understand why – they supported Olson when he ran for Byram Council in 2011.

Led by Scott Olson, Oscovitch and Raffay make up the current political establishment in Byram Township.   Who is Scott Olson?

Well, you can tell a lot about someone by who he hates, and Scott Olson hates Republicans Governor Chris Christie and Senator Steve Oroho.  Olson runs a blog and he has posted a lot of nasty stuff about the Governor and Senator Oroho. 

Olson’s blog has attacked Senator Oroho for supporting Fair School Funding legislation that would bring more education money to Sussex County to provide property tax relief.  Olson attacks Oroho for fighting for Sussex County taxpayers.

Apparently, Olson wants most of the state income tax money we pay flowing to school districts like Hoboken to provide property tax relief for the millionaires and corporations there.  This ignores the fact that Hoboken has a far higher median income than Sussex County and higher education attainment levels.  Even some Democrats agree that Hoboken is now too rich to get so much of our tax money – but that hasn’t stopped Olson’s blog from attacking Senator Oroho for fighting for us.

Olson’s blog calls Senator Oroho “radical” for proposing legislation that would prevent companies who knowingly hire illegal aliens from receiving state contracts.  So let’s get this straight.  Is Olson advocating giving state contracts to companies who cut costs by BREAKING THE LAW to hire cheap illegal labor instead of American workers or Immigrants with legal work visas?

The Olson blog has opposed giving women the opportunity to have an ultrasound or sonogram prior to having an abortion. 

Olson’s blog has attacked Governor Christie and Senator Oroho for their success in passing the 2% cap on local government spending.  The cap has kept spending down with the result that property taxes have not gone up like they did under Jon Corzine.  Olson obviously misses the “good old days” of huge property tax hikes and wants them to return.

With winter heating costs what they are, it is nice to know that Olson supported the RGGI fuel tax.  He called the bi-partisan legislation to repeal the heating tax “right wing”.

Olson also backs the Highlands Act, in which sate government has taken the property use of Sussex County residents without compensation of any kind.  This is unfair any way you look at it, but Olson doesn’t seem to care about his neighbors and their rights.

Olson’s blog finds it “shocking” that Senator Oroho wants to make English the official language of New Jersey.

Olson’s blog advocates very strongly for abortion.  It has attacked Senator Oroho for suggesting that parents be notified when their minor children receive medical or surgical procedures relating to pregnancy.

Olson has described Sussex County as “militia-friendly” – which is a slur on the people he claims to represent as a Byram Councilman.  Does Jim Oscovitch and Marie Raffay share Olson’s contempt for Sussex County and the residents of Byram Township?  Do they share his agenda?

They should set the record straight and in a hurry.


The Missing D-1: Is Morris ignoring Election Law?

Back on May 16th, candidate Robert F. Morris filed a Form A-1 with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJELEC). By filing a Form A-1, candidate Morris asserted that “the total amount expended or to be expended on behalf of my candidacy by me or by any other candidate, person or committee shall be zero, or shall not, in the aggregate, exceed $4,500 for this election.”

Morris is running for Sussex County Surrogate as an independent. A Sparta resident who formerly served on the Lafayette School Board before being defeated for re-election in 2002, Morris is challenging incumbent Republican Gary Chiusano.

More than two weeks ago, the New Jersey Herald’s Rob Jennings reported the following: “Morris said Friday he has spent $6,000 on his campaign. About $2,200 went to the New Jersey State Fair, where Morris secured a prominent tent near the Sussex County Republicans.”

The Form A-1 that Morris filed with NJELEC also reads: “I am aware that I, as a candidate, am required to designate a campaign treasurer and campaign depository and that I am required to file with the Commission a ‘Certificate of Organization and Designation of Campaign Treasurer and Depository’, Form D-1, no later than 10 days after receipt of any contribution on behalf of my candidacy or 10 days after making any expenditure on behalf of my candidacy, whichever comes first.”

Candidate Robert Morris signed the Form A-1 he filed in mid-May and dated it April 20, 2013. Above his signature are these words: “I certify that the statements in this document are true. I am aware that if any of the statements are willfully false, I may be subject to punishment.”

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