Entries in Sussex County NJ (21)


Is Gottheimer-loving Shortway all in for McCann?

Harry Shortway is the Mayor of Vernon Township, in Sussex County.  Shortway, a Republican, in 2016 stabbed fellow-Republican Scott Garrett in the back and endorsed Democrat Josh Gottheimer for Congress.  Gottheimer was running on a ticket headed by Hillary Clinton.

Ever since, Harry Shortway has allowed Democrat Congressman Gottheimer to use Vernon as a foothold in Republican Sussex County and a source of endless media publicity.  The New Jersey Herald ran another photo of Gottheimer in Vernon less than a week ago.

Harry Shortway's father -- also named Harry Shortway -- is the Mayor of Midland Park, in Bergen County.  Harry was a retired police officer when he was hired by Michael Saudino to be a Bergen County Undersheriff.

Later this month, the Shortway family is hosting an event for candidate John McCann, at the family business -- Shortway's Barn, in Hawthorne. 

Many see McCann as a Democrat straw man.  The Bergen Record has identified McCann as the "right hand man" to Democrat Sheriff Michael Saudino.  It was Saudino's feud with the Republican County Executive that undermined and ultimately lost Republicans control of Bergen County.  The coup de grace came when Saudino, a one-time Republican, joined Hillary Clinton and Josh Gottheimer on a ticket that crushed Republicans in Bergen County.  McCann remained Saudino's consigliore through all of this and ran for Congress (as a Republican) with Saudino's blessing and while still on the Democrat's payroll.

Sheriff Saudino has formally endorsed fellow Democrat Josh Gottheimer for re-election this year.  All this meddling in the Republican primary has the Democrats resembling the Russians. 


Some Democrats think Sussex County is a "shithole"

By Rubashov

Shitholes... seems like there are a lot of them. 

And how they are defined depends on one's perspective.

When we go to a diner and the soup has a fly in it, the eggs are adorned with someone's hair, the table top is greasy, and we can smell the restrooms (another cozy euphemism, eh?) we say that "we'll never go back to that shithole."

But for others, the bar is set much, much higher.

Like Comedy Central's Jon Stewart, who once said of Binghamton, New York, and its environs:  "This place is kind of a shithole... There was nothing that I passed (on the three-hour ride from New York City) that I couldn’t milk."

Assemblyman Joe Cryan said as much about Sussex County when he was Chairman of the Democrat State Committee.  Even local Democrats -- like Byram Councilman Scott Olson -- mock Sussex County as backwards.  One Democrat candidate for legislator last year said that Sussex County's culture needed changing in order to bring it into line with leftist hotbeds like Montclair.  So much for their claim to a belief in "diversity." 

We get it.  For some Americans, places like Sussex County (AKA "fly-over America") are, to use Jon Stewart's phrase, "kind of a shithole."

In the aftermath of President Donald Trump's alleged remarks about a few Third World nations, some have attempted to define it as "racist" -- the most overused moniker in use today.  So much today is called "racist" that the word has lost its punch, much in the way the word f*ck has (though still blocked by some Internet filters). 

But can we actually define the term "shithole" in any meaningful way?

Actor James Woods made this attempt:  "Rule of thumb: if the water where you live is not potable because local engineers can’t somehow separate well water from sewage water, you live in a #shithole country."

Fair enough.

Writer Scott St. Clair suggested that we turn our attentions to the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics and its studies of each country's level of "open defecation" to determine which are "shitholes" and which are simply borderline.  Does a high level of shitting in the street define one's nation as a "shithole"? 

Many people don't like the idea of characterizing a whole nation that way.  They say that you can't paint with a broad brush like that.  But many of these same people are quick to claim that all white Americans have "privilege" -- ignoring the fact that there are more of them in poverty than any other "group."  Many of these people assume that all white Americans have ancestors who owned slaves (percentage wise, it is far more likely that a black American had an ancestor who owned a slave or was involved in the slave trade).  Black Lives Matter's great misstep was to ignore all those "sovereign citizen" videos on YouTube and to assume that their white fellow citizens were racists instead of fellow sufferers (albeit, for many, to a lesser degree) of a vastly empowered and increasingly militarized regime of policing. 

BLM could have won outright had it not taken a "minority" position.  But when one considers that Al Sharpton and Chris Christie use the same establishment public relations firm, maybe it has gone the way it was supposed to go.  After all, working class black Americans and working class white Americans haven't been at each others' throats like this for decades... while the one percenters are getting richer and richer off a booming stock market.  Go figure.

The media is constantly programming Americans to paint groups with a broad brush.  The entertainment industry's portrayal of black Americans are the imaginings of suburban Gen-X writers and is decades off.  So too are its ideas about the South -- while its portrayal of working class America, particularly of those who reside in mobile homes... well, talk about one's perception of what a "shithole" is -- the suburban trailer park must jump in the minds of America's media.

It seems to us that it takes two kinds of people to turn a Third World nation into a "shithole" -- that nation's politicians and the world media.  Rich celebrities like Bono -- a world class tax-avoidance artist -- reap public relations windfalls from advocating for the Third World, sending working class taxpayers' money into the hands of a corrupt political class, who invests it in places like Switzerland.  When anyone notices this, they are called "racist" by the media -- who run heart-tugging appeals that picture suffering children, covered in flies, without proper drinking water.  America's taxpayers see all this media and say, "What a shithole!  We need to help those people!"  The people who live in those Third World nations say, "This place is home, but our politicians have turned it into a shithole and there is no getting rid of them, so we're out of here."  You can't blame them.

Yes, you can't blame them, because they are no different than most Americans in wanting to escape the "shithole" and move on.  In America, the grass is always greener somewhere else.  We are a people on the move.  That's not how is used to be.  A few generations ago, we stayed in one place for so many generations, we developed regional --even neighborhood -- accents.  Once upon a time, there were people in a section of Philadelphia who talked like Rocky did.  Now it is an out-of-date stereotype on SNL. 

That's why so many of our most educated and well-to-do fellow citizens take a relaxed view of illegal immigration.  Lacking loyalty to a place -- leaving it for greener pastures instead of staying to make it better -- is a way of life for many Americans.  And when there is something they don't like, they move.  No wonder they so readily understand when others abandon somewhere, leave it to those who would despoil it, to come here.  The working class and the poor, they can't move as easily and are often left with no choice but to improve their community in order to improve their circumstance.  Of course, they look upon illegal immigrants coming into their community differently than do the rich and mobile.  They see increased competition for jobs, increased taxation to support expanding social services, increased pressure on remaining green space, the potential disruption of established folkways, and the loss of property value (which, for many, could lead to them to ending their days in a substandard nursing home, laying in their own piss).

We might expect the better-off and well-educated in places like Haiti to stay put and help their nation out of its troubles -- but how many rich people stayed in Detroit, Michigan, to help the town that raised them get out of its troubles?  No way!  It is easier to tear the shithole down, street by street.  In the end, there will just be two groups left in Haiti -- the political class stealing the international money that media coverage and the western elites bring them -- and the poor who will be kept poor so that those appeals and the money keeps coming.  Who is to blame the more adventurous of poor Haitians who attempt to follow their middle-class to places like France and the United States?  And you can say just about the same thing for Detroit.

If the nation's moving companies are to be believed, New Jersey is one of America's main shitholes.  The Trenton Democrats regularly screw rural and suburban residents with laws like Abbott funding, COAH, and the Highlands Act -- and strongly favor chic urban areas and the environs of the elites over everyone else.  Lots of people are moving out of New Jersey because of the tax and regulatory policies imposed on them by the political class here.  Not that the political class itself stays.  Rich guys like former Speaker Joe Roberts, Democrat of Camden, get out of this over-taxed shithole the moment they leave office and move to Republican-run states, like Florida. 

Of course, there are a lot of people who come from a whole lot worse shitholes and who would love to get to New Jersey.  So maybe, in the end, what is or isn't a "shithole" is a matter of where you are.

We thought of this when reading a Facebook post by a Republican candidate -- a fellow named John McCann -- who repeated the silly mantra:  "All are welcome."  Yeah, yeah, but this candidate has moved from state to state throughout his life.  He's a lawyer, his wife is a doctor, and they are plenty rich to say "enough of this shithole" if too many people he ends up not wanting to live near take him at his word.  Yep, "all are welcome" until too many of those "open defecators" take advantage of your front lawn, and then... "we're rich honey, so we can move to someplace better."  Only the poor and the working class who can't move get screwed by the silly virtue-signaling of elites like this guy.

Speaking of which, we came across a breathless article on a Trenton-based political website, written by a former official of the administration of Governor Christine Todd Whitman.  This fellow was demanding that every Republican publicly break with President Trump by calling him bad names over his alleged "shithole" comment.  Too bad that he never had anything public to say about all the sexual abuse and skirt-chasing (by both males and females) that went on during the Whitman administration.  It was all far worse than saying the word "shithole."

Look, for better or worse, Donald Trump is a performance artist.  Always has been.  Like Jon Stewart, he practices what can be called a transgressive art form.  He engages his audience by getting a rise out of us.  By the time his presidency is over, he will probably be running through George Carlin's list of "words you can't say" at the start of his press conferences.  But hey, he is the elected President of the United States and will be so for the next three years unless there is an illegal coup of some kind.  By-the-way, such an act would make the United States of America... officially... a shithole -- politically, if not materially.

Always remind yourselves -- you holier-than-thou pricks in the political and media and corporate establishments -- that it didn't need to be this way.  The Democrat Party could have run an honest primary process.  You didn't all need to conspire to give us the "President" you wanted us to have.  You fixed the Democrat Party primary process but couldn't fix the national election.  So here we are.  Stop complaining about it.


Frankford firehouse fiasco coughs up a candidate

The situation at the Frankford firehouse is shameful.  The guy who runs the Frankford Volunteer Fire Department hasn't fully explained what led to the decisions that ultimately lost his community $360,000. 

This could have been avoided by doing a simple background check.  The contractor could charitably be characterized as a "bad apple" who has had contract compliance issues before.  So why wasn't a background check done on the contractor hired to do the work? 

And why no performance bond?  A performance bond would have protected both the Fire Department and the community it serves.  It would have provided a needed failsafe in the event that this contractor did not perform as promised (which ultimately happened). 

As the New Jersey Herald reported (September 8, 2017):

The community pays for volunteer fire departments through donations and the firefighters themselves -- all volunteers -- pay in their sweat and toil.  It is a difficult and, as has been recently shown, dangerous duty that they freely sign up for.  More care should have been given to the purchase and construction of the new facility in Frankford.  With a bit more transparency, there would have been more community involvement and oversight.  Somebody could have caught this earlier and prevented the current mess.

Instead, the guy in-charge kept his cards too close and there were questions raised about transparency.  And so Frankford is in for a rough time, as the Herald story makes clear:

You might think that such a spectacular screw-up would have led the guy in-charge to offer his resignation or to make some other gesture of taking responsibility.  No, not in this case.

Instead, the guy in charge, Mr. Mike Fox, decided to run a write-in campaign for township committee.  No, we are not kidding.  He even has a campaign Facebook page.

Is it a case of "having screwed up at the volunteer fire department I want to have a chance to move up to bigger things"?  Whatever it is, you got to hand it to this guy, he has some balls.  After a colossal screw-up under his watch, now he wants a promotion.

Well, maybe the people of Frankford will give it to him, but they'd better think long and hard about it first.  We all make mistakes but just because you forgive, you shouldn't forget -- and you most certainly shouldn't reward.


Sex Scandal involving the County Prosecutor's office?

There are many residents of Sussex County who acknowledge that their local newspaper -- the New Jersey Herald -- is too chummy with county insiders on the Freeholder Board, SCMUA, and in county government.  Others disagree, but the Herald has shown a less than even-handed interest in certain stories.

For instance, the Herald has yet to cover the following story.  It concerns a major accusation of wrongdoing in Sussex County.  It appeared last month in The Record of Bergen County, its Passaic County affiliate, the Paterson Press, and on NorthJersey.com -- but not in the Herald.  The Herald must be aware of this, but have been silent on the subject.

Accusations surface in sexual assault case: Was it political pressure or police mishandling?

Abbott Koloff, Staff Writer, @AbbottKoloff Published 5:00 a.m. ET Sept. 29, 2017 | Updated 10:42 a.m. ET Sept. 29, 2017

The woman was getting divorced. The man told her he was in the midst of a breakup.

After a chance meeting over the winter, the two — who had known one another in high school — decided to meet for a drink. It was an opportunity to catch up and commiserate over failed relationships.

But that January night in a Sussex County bar has led to an immensely complicated case peppered with accusations of retaliation, political pressure and mishandling of the case by police.

An investigation, including a review of police and court records as well as interviews by The Record and NorthJersey.com, shows:

  • Sexual assault allegations were brought by the woman to the state police.
  • A trooper filed the charges in a municipal court; they were dismissed the next day in Superior Court, at the behest of the Sussex County prosecutor.
  • The woman, through the police union, claimed she was pressured by the Prosecutor's Office into dropping the charges.
  • The union strongly hinted that prosecutors were motivated by the defendant’s father being a “politically-appointed executive in Morris County.”
  • The Prosecutor's Office denied those accusations, saying that there wasn't enough evidence to pursue the case and suggesting that state police overstepped their authority in bringing the charges.

As a result of the tangled mess,17 state troopers have been reassigned; a labor grievance has been brought against state police officials; and the Sussex County Prosecutor this week released a detailed, two-page statement defending the office's handling of the case.

New Jersey State Police (Photo: File / NorthJersey.com)

Mike Bukosky, a police union attorney, said in an email that the troopers "used their training and experience to act 100 percent in good faith to assist and protect the parties involved."

Sussex County Prosecutor Francis A. Koch has denied that any members of his staff acted improperly or for "any alternative motive,"  and that they all sought “solely to uphold the law,” and always take into account "victims’ rights." He specified that none of his employees knew the defendant "or anyone in his family."

Sex assault alleged

The saga began when a woman, who The Record and Northjersey.com is not identifying, walked into the Sussex Station of the state police in Frankford on Jan. 31. Her claim: she was sexually assaulted nine days earlier in the parking lot of Boomer's Place, a bar in Hampton. 

A week later, after giving his own statement to police, the man she accused was arrested and charged with second-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.

Ian M. Schweizer, 35, spent one night in the Keogh-Dwyer Correctional Facility in Newton before records show the charges were dismissed and he was released.

Records also show he was living at the same Newton address as his father — Glenn Schweizer, who recently retired as the executive director of the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority.

The case hinged on what appear to be two very different statements about what happened in the early morning hours of Jan. 22 — each version laid out in affidavits signed by a state trooper, Justin DeLorenzo.

Ian M. Schweizer spent one night in the jail in Sussex County before charges against him were dismissed (Photo: Sussex County Sheriff's Office)

Schweizer told police that he and the woman were kissing in the parking lot of Boomer's and that she touched him sexually before he put his hands down her pants, according to an affidavit. DeLorenzo wrote that Schweizer said "he went too far by doing so and it upset the victim at which time the victim entered her vehicle” and “abruptly departed."

The woman, in an interview with The Record, said she knew Schweizer from when they were students at Kittatinny Regional High School years ago.

They planned to get together after a brief conversation during a recent chance meeting, she said, when she told him she had been going through a divorce and he told her he had a young daughter and also was going through the breakup of a relationship.

She said she “never touched him in a sexual way."

She told police she backed away when Schweizer tried to kiss her, according to court papers, and that he grabbed her as she told him to stop.

The affidavit said Schweizer "pushed her against the exterior of her vehicle and forced his hands down her pants" before she "screamed and pushed him away from her. She immediately entered her vehicle and fled.”

DeLorenzo wrote that Schweizer sent a text message to the woman a short time later, at 2:47 a.m. “Sorry if I got carried away,” it said.

“I told him he really scared me,” the woman told The Record.

DeLorenzo filed the related complaints and affidavits on Feb. 7 in the regional municipal court in Wantage.

Boomer's Place in Hampton Township (Photo: Abbott Koloff)

A prior arrest

The woman told The Record that she waited nine days before going to police because she was "in shock" and had been replaying the incident over and over in her mind.

The affidavit says she contacted a friend who worked at the bar shortly after the incident to tell her about it. She said in The Record interview that she decided to go to police because she became afraid after learning Schweizer recently had been arrested for violating a restraining order in Morris County.

Schweizer was charged on Dec. 31, 2016 with simple assault in a domestic violence case out of Mount Olive, where he had been living, according to court records.

He struck a woman in the leg "with an unknown instrument used as a weapon," police wrote in a criminal complaint. The woman suffered an unspecified injury and declined treatment, according to an incident report. Court records do not specify whether a child who lived at the home witnessed the incident but indicate that a child was "present."

In January, Schweizer was arrested twice, on the 18th and the 30th, for allegedly violating a restraining order, according to Morris County Jail records. The status of charges related to those arrests were unavailable this week.

Schweizer pleaded guilty to the simple assault charge on March 27 in Mount Olive municipal court, records show.

Troopers and prosecutors clash over sexual assault charges

In the Sussex case, DeLorenzo consulted with other troopers before filing the criminal complaints, according to the police union. Court records show a municipal judge, Glenn Gavan, found probable cause for the charges.

Bukosky, the union attorney, said that ruling indicated the judge found police actions "to be entirely appropriate.”

It is not clear, however, whether the judge knew that prosecutors had not approved the charges. Gavan did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Koch said his office declined to approve the sexual assault charges — and then moved to have them dismissed — because "the office did not believe there was sufficient evidence to establish probable cause."

That move set off a dispute between the two agencies.

The State Troopers Fraternal Order filed an amended unfair practice charge with the state Public Employment Relations Commission, known as PERC,  a little more than two weeks ago.

The complaint alleged that some troopers were improperly moved out of the Sussex barracks because they pursued the woman's sexual assault complaint against the wishes of prosecutors.

According to a union letter to the state, at least seven of the troopers had been based in that county. They included DeLorenzo, who filed the sexual assault charges in apparent defiance of prosecutors, and Darran Crane, a union representative.

Bukosky said this week that some of the 17 reassigned troopers were sent to Sussex County to replace disciplined officers.

The union said in the grievance that Schweizer's father had “political ties” but did not accuse him of taking any actions to intercede in this case on behalf of his son. It also characterized Schweizer's statement to police as a "confession."

Schweizer's attorney, Robert Schwartz, denied that characterization, saying it “was not a confession” and “did not fulfill the elements of the crime being charged.”

Schwartz also noted that a Superior Court judge later did not approve a request by the woman who made the accusations for a final order of protection, checking a box indicating the allegations had “not been substantiated.”

This week, Koch, the Sussex County prosecutor, took the unusual step of addressing the allegations in some detail, saying in a statement that he felt "compelled to respond" even though the labor complaint was directed at state police officials who disciplined the officers and not at his office.

He said he made the decision to drop the charges after reviewing affidavits and taped interviews. He also pointed to new legal requirements — part of the bail reform law that went into effect on Jan. 1 — requiring police to get an assistant prosecutor’s approval before filing charges for indictable offenses.

The prosecutor said during a Feb. 8 Superior Court hearing that his office wanted to “more fully investigate this matter,” according to a court transcript. This week, he said he doesn't anticipate filing charges in the case.

Superior Court in Newton, Sussex County (Photo: Abbott Koloff)

Explosive charges by the union

In its grievance, the union alleged that members of the Prosecutor’s Office tried to get the woman to agree with their decision to dismiss the charges, telling her the defendant was remorseful and “didn’t ‘fully’ rape her.” They added that a jury would not believe she would have been able to fight him off, as she told police, because he is 7-feet tall. Schweizer is 6-foot-7, according to court records.

“They were trying to get me to say it didn’t happen,” the woman said in her interview with The Record, adding that she filed a complaint against the Prosecutor's Office with the state Attorney General's Office. "I know the truth, and that’s what matters.”

Assistant Prosecutor Seana Pappas and Lt. Jennifer Williams participated in the interview with the woman, which lasted 2 1/2 hours, according to the union.

In a phone conversation with DeLorenzo, Pappas allegedly threatened to "start a war" if the trooper went ahead with the charges. The union said troopers also received calls from First Assistant Prosecutor Greg Mueller, who allegedly said there would be repercussions for their actions, and from Koch himself saying that he intended to dismiss the charges.

The union alleged that unidentified “members of the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office” contacted high-ranking state police officers about the matter leading to "every member of the Sussex County State Troopers Unit involved in the case” being transferred on or about March 1 “in retaliation” for actions taken related to the sexual assault charges.

The state police have not yet filed a response to the grievance and declined to comment on the case, citing a “pending internal investigation.”

The state Attorney General’s Office also declined to comment.

The dispute will now work its way through the administrative law system, with a conference set for October.

Joe Malinconico of Paterson Press contributed to this article.


Rasmussen Poll: 67% say NO to the NFL

Americans appear to have had enough.  A new poll by Rasmussen shows 67 percent of Americans in opposition to tax breaks for NFL teams and their owners. 

Rasmussen polled this question nationally: "Do you favor or oppose giving tax breaks to NFL teams?"


In response, 67 percent answered "NO", just 18 percent answered "YES", with 15 percent undecided or not sure.  More women opposed tax breaks than men: 68% NO, 13% YES, 19% Not Sure. 


Non-white/non-African-American voters were strongest in opposition.  They answered 70% NO, 16% YES, 14% Not Sure.  African-Americans were strongly opposed however: 62%, 22%, 16%. 

There was very little difference between the parties, with Republicans and Democrats in opposition to tax breaks at 71% and 69%, respectively.



Looks like the wheels are coming off all those efforts by rich, suburban, pseudo-leftists -- who have troubled so many of our public spaces with their attempts at becoming local B-list celebrities.  Your attempt at making a fashion statement has suffered a backlash.  Congratulations!