Entries in Newton NJ (5)


On Facebook, two Freeholders contradict their vote for more debt.

Politicians sometimes forget that Facebook is public.  In all that fake bonhomie and throwing around of "likes" they forget.

And so it was a couple days ago, when a Newton councilman reflected on how the sale of a large commercial property in Newton would negatively impact residents in terms of property taxes.  Just days before, the Sussex County Freeholder Board had voted to fund the purchase of that property by the Sussex County Community College, through incurring more debt.

Curiously, two of the Freeholders who voted for that purchase and for more debt put up "likes" next to the Councilman's comments in opposition to what they had done.  Strange.

Now here is a question for voters:  Do you know who your elected freeholders are well enough to identify the names of the two?

Comments are open.


Matteson's absurd attacks on Parker Space

Far Left candidate Kate Matteson will attack her opponent, Assemblyman Parker Space, for almost anything.  We are surprised that she hasn't claimed yet that he had something to do with inconveniently scheduling the solar eclipse.

Matteson is a wealthy one-percenter (a real limousine liberal) who couldn't be bothered to vote in the past.  Now she's a big voice around the county telling everyone how things should be.  Don't you know?  Well according to Matteson, Sussex County is too rural, too backwoods, and we need to become more cosmopolitan and politically correct -- more like her -- and she's here to tell us how to make those changes.

Last week she was at the Newton Green arm-in-arm with someone protesting, carrying a "Black Lives Matter" sign.  Why?  Has there been an incident in Sussex County that we are not aware of?  She even posted it on her campaign website.

And Matteson has refused to comment on the position, taken by several groups she supports, to honor convicted cop-killer Joanne Chesimard (aka Assata Shakur), a terrorist on the FBI's "most-wanted" list.  The Women' March organization issued a statement "celebrating" Ms. Chesimard's birthday, praising her as a "revolutionary" and stating that Chesimard -- who murdered a New Jersey State Trooper in cold blood -- "inspire us to keep resisting." 

But instead of telling us where she stands on this cop-killer, Matteson is attacking Parker Space on her campaign website.  They even posted a year-old photograph of some nut in a swastika tee-shirt and claimed that it was Parker Space's fault that the guy was wearing the shirt.

Did they ever check with Parker to ask if he even knew about it?  Was he supposed to know that some guy in "Newton Shop Rite" was wearing a Nazi shirt?  Should he make it his business from now on to stalk the aisles of the "Newton Shop Rite" to make sure nobody is wearing an inappropriate shirt?  Maybe he should hand out tickets?

Will these leftists never end?  Now they want a wardrobe police!  And they want Parker Space to be Chief Constable of Clothing for Sussex County.  Absurd!

In the same week that these fools were trolling to find something -- anything, even something absurdly unconnected -- to attack Parker Space with, he was putting out three fires -- saving the lives and property of others.  Because that is what volunteer firefighters do -- and that is what Parker and the Space family have been doing for generations.

But Kate Matteson wouldn't know any of that because, until very recently, she couldn't even be bothered to vote.


Sussex County has had some really fringe candidates

Remember Chris Thieme?  Once-upon-a-time he was the "next big thing" in Sussex County politics.  Yep, Chris Thieme, who came out of nowhere to grab 3,000 votes against Gary Chiusano in the 2002 Republican primary for Freeholder.  People called him a "grassroots wonder" and "man of the people."  Some people got so excited about Thieme that they forget to check him out -- to get behind that smiling face and a handshake.  But then a funny thing happened on the way to becoming the "next big thing."  We'll let the New Jersey Herald take over from here:

A Newton man and former Sussex County freeholder candidate has been arrested by federal authorities and charged with attempting to pay a hitman $25,000 to kidnap and kill a Paterson woman, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Christopher Thieme, 35, was arrested on Monday and charged with one count of murder-for-hire and one count of attempted kidnapping.

The murder-for-hire charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and the attempted kidnapping carries a maximum of 20 years. Each charge also carries a $250,000 fine.

"During multiple telephone conversations and text messages exchanged during this time period, Thieme explained to the individual that Thieme wanted the victim kidnapped and held for a week or two, during which time Thieme would empty the victim's bank accounts and sell the victim's real property for his own profit," a criminal complaint against Thieme said.

The complaint alleges that after two dates, the victim attempted to cut off contact from Thieme.

Thieme allegedly told the undercover agent that he would make the victim's death look like a heroin overdose, the complaint alleges.

On Jan. 4, Thieme took the undercover agent to the victim's home and other frequented locations before being dropped off in Caldwell and being arrested shortly after by the FBI.

No, that didn't end too well at all.  Thieme's barnstorming of Sussex County will have to wait seven years, because that's when he is expected to get out of prison.

Sussex County has a long history of fringe candidates who came out of nowhere, unvetted, with no background on offer beyond a smile and a handshake.  "What you see is what you get" they'll tell you, but oh... not really.

One got as far as being elected a local mayor before it was found out that he improperly used state time and property and he went to jail, another got six months in prison for corruption, another was convicted of abusing two girls, another had to resign over juvenile Facebook posts -- and all their supporters uniformly expressed shock and could not understand how the person who they had promoted turned bad.  In fact, the bad was there all along only they refused to see the warning signs.

Yeah, yeah, they would say, "maybe that Facebook post was in bad taste, but he is doing it to make a point." And then he went further, and they made more excuses.  Until one day, it went too far...

Take the case of former Byram Councilman Rick Meltz.  He was the quintessential "nice guy" and small town "goodfella".  Everybody liked the guy -- until he was arrested in 2013 for his involvement with New York's infamous "cannibal cop", the NYPD's Gilberto Valle, who planned to stalk, kill, and eat his female victims. 

In January 2014, Meltz pleaded guilty to planning to kidnap, rape, and murder women.  According to the New Jersey Herald, Meltz and his co-conspirators planned to "attack and kill multiple victims, including the wife, children and other family members of a co-conspirator."  Meltz and his co-conspirators also discussed what they referred to as the "snuffing" of "women, children, and infants."  With the FBI's tapes rolling, Meltz dispensed tips on how to kill without getting caught, such as "removing a victim’s teeth to avoid dental identification, taking off the fingers to avoid fingerprint identification, and chopping off and disposing of the head."

Yes, this is the same Councilman Meltz who nearly won the Republican primary for Sussex County Sheriff.  Oh yes, Meltz shouted and hollered about how he was a true patriot -- a Sam Adams if you will -- and how the incumbent was a bad guy who wasn't "one of the people" (like him).  And this lunatic almost won, getting 4,406 to the incumbent's 4,752. 

That was a close call for Sussex County.


Phoebus flip-flops on Gas Tax Question

Speaking at a meeting in Newton Wednesday night, Assemblyperson Gail Phoebus executed an about-face on protecting gas tax revenue for transportation projects. 


When asked how she would vote on Ballot Question 2, Phoebus gave the old "my issues are your issues" response and told those present that she would vote whatever way they wanted her to vote.  Phoebus didn't mention that she had voted for Ballot Question 2 earlier this year, when it was discussed and debated for months on its way through the Legislature.


Was she awake during those legislative proceedings?  Was she playing video games on her iphone? 


Apparently Assemblyperson Phoebus scares easily.  A combination of Alt-Right "Red Shirts" led by Bill Spadea (who was tossed out of the GOP twenty years ago for attacking President Reagan and trying to set up a far-right alternative to the Republican Party) and far-left liberals like Democrat State Senator Ray "Lord of Ass" Lesniak (New Jersey's biggest proponent of left-liberal cultural values) are trying to defeat Ballot Question 2.


For Spadea, it is about power.  If he can derail the vote, he can build his new order movement and split the GOP.  For Lesniak, it is about giving the majority Democrats in the Legislature the power to take the money from the gas tax and use it to do things like replenish the funding for Planned Parenthood that Governor Christie took away.


According to the nationally-recognized, non-partisan organization ballotpedia, the purpose of Ballot Question 2 is easy to understand:


A "yes" vote supports this proposal to dedicate all revenue from gas taxes to transportation projects.

A "no" vote opposes this proposal, thus devoting the same levels of revenue to transportation projects.


The non-partisan organization ballotpedia.org provides the following details:


Amendment design

Question 2 would create a constitutional requirement that all revenue derived from taxes on motor fuels be deposited into the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).[1] Currently, only 10.5 cents of the gasoline and diesel fuel taxes is required to be deposited into the TTF.

Transportation Trust Fund

Question 2 would require all revenue from tax revenues on motor fuels to be deposited into the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). The TTF was designed to fund the Department of Transportation and NJ Transit, which then use the revenue for transportation-related projects.[2] 


Phoebus has consistently voted against placing questions on the ballot that she opposes, so her opposition to a ballot question she strongly supported is a remarkable, although not unprecedented, flip-flop.


It will be remembered that as a Freeholder, Phoebus seconded sending a letter urging support for an increase in the gas tax to fund the Transportation Trust Fund and prevent a property tax increase.  She later voted against the gas tax increase and for the property tax hike.


As a candidate for the Assembly, Phoebus was less than honest when she denied voting to send the letter (she had seconded the motion and voted for it).  She also compounded that untruth by denying it on her campaign literature and website.  


Phoebus' latest flip-flop is even more remarkable because the Assemblyperson must be aware that her Democrat colleagues are itching to get their hands on the new revenues from the gas tax to send them to their urban districts.  During her talk Wednesday night, Phoebus expressed her strong support for mass transit and her wish to expand mass transit into Sussex County.


The Lackawanna Cut-Off Rail Project is almost completed but could end up being scrapped if the gas tax revenue that should rightfully go to transportation, ends up in the pockets of urban Democrat Party bosses.  The Andover Township council is pushing strongly for this expansion of mass transit in Sussex County and their efforts will be for naught if Ballot Question 2 is defeated.


There are countless examples of how funds raised for one purpose are misused for another.  The diversion of fees from the state's 9-1-1 program would not be happening if there was a Ballot Question 2 protecting how it should be spent.


Ballot Question 2 is the only way we can make sure that the revenue raised from the gas tax is spent in the way it was intended to be spent -- on transportation projects like roads and bridges and the Lackawanna Cut-Off Rail Project.  Sadly, Gail Phoebus is missing on this when it counts.


The Lackawanna Cut-Off Rail Project is doomed without a YES vote on Ballot Question 2.


Update:  In this morning's New Jersey Herald, Assemblywoman Phoebus denies knowing in January 2016 that there were negotiations on-going that included a gas tax increase.  This is, of course, less than honest.  In November of 2014, then Freeholder Phoebus seconded a motion by the Freeholder Board to send a letter in support of an increase in the gas tax. 


The Minutes of the Freeholder Board meeting, including Phoebus' motion and her vote to send the letter, can be accessed below:




According to New Jersey Herald (November 25, 2014) reporter Bruce Scruton, Phoebus and her Freeholder colleagues clearly understood the need for a gas tax increase:


“I never thought I'd be in favor of increasing taxes."


"They do need to cut some costs down there, but the roads and bridges need to be funded.”


"Most of the ideas being considered by the state Legislature are on some form of tax or 'assessment,' whether from raising the state's gasoline tax, a sales tax on gasoline or possibly an assessment on the suppliers."


In the light of Phoebus' vote in November 2014 and these comments, Phoebus' comments today in the Herald appear to be willfully misleading.


Is the Tea Party anti-First Amendment?

Earlier this week the Skylands Tea Party ran a paid advertisement in the New Jersey Herald inviting members of the public to attend a rally on Saturday, October 22nd.  It was accompanied by a press release, which formed the basis of the following NJ Herald story:


Rally planned for Newton Green Saturday in wake of gas tax hike

New Jersey Herald: Oct. 17, 2016 12:01 am

NEWTON -- The Skylands Tea Party and New Jersey Taxpayers' Association will hold a rally on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Newton Green to demand a forensic audit of NJ Transit, the Transportation Trust Fund and Port Authority in response to the approved 23-cent gas tax hike signed by Gov. Chris Christie on Friday and set to take effect Nov. 1.

"We, the people of New Jersey, have been overtaxed and poorly governed for far too long," states a joint news release submitted by Harvey Roseff, vice president of the NJTA.

"The increased gas tax, one of the largest tax increases to ever hit the family, was a bridge too far and is unconscionable. Tax policy can't fix management problems -- the problem festers and grows."

The public event is scheduled to run 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We are inviting friends and families to stand tall and ask for low-cost, efficient government to become the governing priority," states the event announcement.



This was followed by an email from the Skylands Tea Party on October 18, 2016:


"We the People of this Garden State are staging a protest on Saturday, October 22nd.  It will be held at the Newton Green on the corner of Route 94 and Spring Street, beginning at 11:00 AM and ending at 1:00 PM."


That's an open invitation to a public meeting on public property.


But when some of the organizers of the rally found out that folks who don't necessarily share their point of view were thinking of taking them up on the offer, they flipped.  Sources claim they went to the Newton mayor's office with their concerns. 


We don't know what action the Mayor, a political ally of Assemblyperson Gail Phoebus, took.  What we do know is that a Newton police officer called people and suggested that they do not belong at the rally.  We don't know why these people where targeted or who gave their names to the police.  What is clear is that these people do not share the Tea Party's point of view.


How is that for silencing the opposition?  How is that for bullying the First Amendment? 


Anyone who uses armed government officers to eliminate the presence of opposing viewpoints, inconvenient as they may be, is nothing more than an old-fashioned Fascist.  Speech should be met with speech, ideas with ideas, not by men with guns.


Of course, we can understand the concerns some in the Tea Party might have for what some of their members might do to anyone at the rally who holds a different opinion.  Tea Party members have been going overboard using violent and pornographic images and language on social media to describe anyone who disagrees with them -- like this charming Tea Party member from Sussex County:


"All 545 sitting in DC right now are guilty of treason. And all those living who have sat over the past 2 decades, since the signing of NAFTA are, too. That is our reality, they should all be indicted, dragged out in chains, the evidence a matter of congressional record and unimpeachable. And all should be subject to all the consequences the law provides up to the firing squad."

If the Tea Party allows its members to behave this way then they should take responsibility for them.  They should not seek to protect them from any alternative opinion that might result in them going off their meds.  And they certainly should not be involving armed government officers in what should be a civilized, human-to-human exchange of ideas.