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OCTOBER 6th COUNCIL MEETING

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EVEN THEN HE KNEW HIS FATE . . #2

 

 BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING - 6.08.16

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Monday
Nov212016

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday
Nov142016

Gala Video

I really do hate to pick on the poor bastard but watching these Township videos have become more and more of a mental torture than anyone could have imagined.

Frick and Frack were master and baiter on another Township video. The absolutely funniest thing said during the entire video was when Mayor White showered Chief Kugler with countless platitudes on his expert speaking skills by marveling at his spontaneity without preparation or rehearsal. You younger folks wouldn’t understand this but when the chief speaks he reminds me of Muggs, a character in the original 1943 TV Show THE EAST SIDE KIDS. No I’m not that old. This show was re-broadcast in the early 60’s. Or maybe some might remember the comedian Norm Crosby (Google him). They were both extremely fluent in their standup monologues by interpolating malapropisms. That’s the chief, interpolating malapropisms! Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!!

And then there is the mayor himself who admitted that he can’t remember shit from shinola and therefore needs to have everything he says written down in notes. That would be ok in and of itself if he were actually able to read the damn notes with some semblance of conversational dialogue.

Together they are a Mutt and Jeff, a Frick and Frack of Ceremonies. And the most peculiar thing about that is that they choose to continually showcase it in all the township videos.

Yes you are right, they are not professional speakers. One of them thinks too highly of themselves and the other appears uncomfortable in his own skin. But I guess we should cut them a break and appreciate their willingness to humiliate themselves for the good of the township.

They do their best and I’m sure it is appreciated by all their residents. But how about some of the council members, can’t they speak as “eloquently”? When handing out plaques or certificates, couldn’t they assist the mayor? Why are they consistently left out of the limelight? SBC-TV, Should Be Community” TV has become, Hereeeeeeee’s Frick and Frack TV.

It appears the Township’s 300th Anniversary Gala went off well with mostly congratulatory comments going to the Frick and Frack TV staff with however, the majority of gala-goers enjoying their evening.

Watching their video was torture. I hope for the attendees the food was good! 

Wednesday
Nov092016

The Force Is Not With You

It was with great pleasure that I learned 98% if the incumbents running for office for Township Council and the Township Board of Education won re-election. Every one of them deserved to be re-elected in my opinion. Councilman Camilleri, Councilman Cimiluca, and Councilwoman Mazzer, won for Township Council and Trustee Accomando for BOE. I was equally happy to hear Trustee David Gierek did not make the grade.

This outcome however, was not a sure thing by any means. Politically speaking, this outcome was the great equalizer many had hoped for. The equalizer being a slap in the face to Mayor White. You see, Mayor Robert White did nothing, absolutely nothing, to help or stump for his own party’s candidates. Not only did he not help his party or “friends”, he went way out of his way politically, to see to it that they would have to win on their own. As the mayor has very often said to both his counterparts as well as myself, they only won the first time riding on his coattails. He had different fish to fry this time so to hell with everyone else.

White managed to get his son’s foot in the door while his son probably couldn’t have done it by himself. I’m sure that was his first priority. Their last name would get him in with no other criteria necessary which was obvious during the BOE debate. Now we’ll all get to see if there is more to the man then just his last name. Time will tell. We’ll see how far Timothy’s coattail ride takes him.

Continuing with the BOE, David Gierek apparently either slipped on the mayor’s coattails falling on his face or, as the equalizer many were looking for, White’s political clout wasn’t what he thought it was. As you already know, David Gierek is also the mayor’s campaign manager / advisor. Thrown under the bus by the mayor’s own party last year for wanting placement on the council ballot, plus wanting the position of Athletic Director, the mayor didn’t have the clout then and apparently it has diminished further. This should be a rude awakening for Mayor White that, for the people that matter most, he is not their messiah.

Seems to me that the mayor’s clout has become nothing more than a product of diminishing returns. A concept in that if one factor of his politics (political “low-blows”, for example) is increased while other factors (number of political friends, for example) are held constant, the output per unit of the variable factor will eventually diminish. Bye bye clout!!

For this election season White decided to he would use his self-perceived clout together with his puppeteer mentor, Robert Kugler, to hang his party incumbents out to dry at the expense of getting his more important buddy and mentor, Omar Rodrigues, elected, come hell or high water. The people of Saddle Brook were more than smart enough to not allow Rodrigues entry into the big-boys club. So what happened to the mayors smarts? Either Rodrigues has something on White, owes him bigtime, or the mayor is just plain stupid. Who the hell would ever think Rodrigues would be a good thing for Saddle Brook? Apparently a “good thing” was not a factor in White’s decision. The mayor and sidekick Kugler even went so far as to wake the dead and got former mayor and Councilman Ed Kugler to “robo” phone calls to endorse Rodriquez. More salt on the incumbents wounds!!

In preparation for the election campaign season White met with his Democrat Party incumbents, Councilman Camilleri and Councilwoman Mazzer, to discuss their political strategy. It has been leaked by many sources that at this meeting the Honorable Mayor White was hostile and aggressive, in a word, belligerent, to both Camilleri and Mazzer. He informed them that they were on their own, would not receive his “real” endorsement, nor monies for their campaign, since he could not benefit in any meaningful way. He had other people to back and that was his only concern. Additionally the mayor was apparently miffed that Councilwoman D’Arminio was asked by them to be their campaign manager and not himself. Geez, talk about power going to your head, wow!  

Well the fat lady has sung, it’s all over now. All water under the bridge? I don’t think so, not by a long shot.

Councilman Camilleri, Councilman Cimiluca, and Councilwoman Mazzer, will continue to do what needs to be done for the betterment of Saddle Brook. Trustee Michael Accomando will continue to be a strong advocate for the BOE and the children he serves. Trustee White will now have to put his father’s money to work and not where his mouth was. It is fair to give him a shot now that he is in. It’s up to him to prove he’s more than a twinkle in his father’s eye.

Mrs. Robinson will also have to prove herself, which is that she is not the quitter she appeared to be. Time will tell if a mid-course correction was a benefit to your child’s education.

David Gierek will be back at some point, in some capacity, I’m sure. At least until that mayoral clout has not diminished entirely, which very well may be a lot sooner than expected. 

Thursday
Nov032016

“White TV” up for Discussion

For this post I will be discussing food for thought in an ass-backwards fashion. This shouldn’t be a problem for the Township or especially the mayor since this is his normal workflow.

On November 3, 2016 the Township of Saddle Brook held their November Work Session. For reasons unknown, this work session was held on the first Thursday of the month normally reserved for their council meeting with their council meeting then being rescheduled for November 10th. One logical reason for this rescheduling may have been to wait until after the elections. The only logic I can come up with for this way of thinking would be to stymie any possible questioning of the incumbent candidates or Mayor White for his apparent conflict of interest in the elections BEFORE Election Day.

However, that is exactly what transpired at the work session. Mr. Mike Accomando, resident of town, Board of Education Trustee, and candidate for re-election, questioned the mayor as to why the BOE Debate video, produced by the Township, was apparently edited in his son’s favor (the mayor’s son, Timothy White, also being a candidate for BOE Trustee).

Mr. Mike Accomando asked the mayor why only the mayor’s ticket is always shown on Cable TV while his opposition is never shown or given an opportunity to be on TV. The mayor replied with a simple, “That’s not true”. Accomando then used the example of the township’s Trunk or Treat video where the mayor was the only one who spoke, only giving 3 to 5 seconds of facetime to the two incumbent council candidates, but showed video and still photos of his son’s ticket multiple times. When Accomando reiterated his argument of editing taken place when there should have been none, the mayor, apparently losing his professional and likeable demeanor, replied with: “Are you some kind of professional to know it was edited”? Methinks thou dost protest too much would be my take.

Now, between you and me, after you consider all the township videos of the past year, can you fairly say that Mayor White, along with Police Chief Robert Kugler, weren’t the focal point of 99% of these videos? At all the events that were covered, how many times did you hear and see anything from Council President Joseph Camilleri, Councilwoman Karen D’Arminio, Councilwoman  Florence Mazzer, Councilman Andrew Cimiluca, or Councilman Todd J. Accomando? Isn’t SBC-TV, Saddle Brook Community TV more like Saddle Brook COOPERATIVE TV with “cooperative” being defined as: an organization that is owned and run jointly by its members, with its members being Mayor White and his employment of a for-profit vendor?

It has been seventeen (17) years since I, along with a few volunteers, created and built SB COMMUNITY TV. From day one our published Mission Statement was to be a Public Access TV station, an advocate for the people and by the people, to benefit all residents. There is no argument that this is no longer the case.

There are three spokes, P.E.G., available to any municipality as defined by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Public access, Educational access, and Government access. At the onset I demanded it be clearly stipulated by the mayor and council of that time that SBC-TV would operate as a PUBLIC access channel. It was unanimously deemed as such by the mayor and council.

Seventeen years later we now apparently have GOVERNMENT access only! Mayor White has exclusively decided to disallow the public access and use the television station as he, and he alone, decides.

Without rehashing the old bull crap from yesteryear, I will just remind you of this.

When Mr. White was initially running for office I was very much in the “in-crowd” politically speaking. Attending campaign meetings, working with press statement opinions, and in-charge of his white4mayor website. Almost every in-person meeting I had with White he was in the company of Chief Kugler. During those times I was handed a pile of bull regarding how White foresaw the future of SBC-TV. It wasn’t until I started to question White about his ethics and handling of certain issue that, probably out of anger for me daring to question, did his true feelings become evident. In no uncertain terms White told me that he would NOT allow public shows as I had done in the past. Not just public for that matter, but no shows at all! No more Chiefs Chat, Mayors Forum, Councilman/woman’s Corner, Soccer Shots, Township In Focus, or any of the other shows we routinely produced. Having my opinion that that was NOT what public access was about, he quickly realized I’d just give him a hard time and not the man for the job. Boy was he right!!

We further argued vehemently about whether SBC-TV should continue operations using township residents and non-residents or hire an outside for-profit vendor. I tried in vain to explain to White that an outside vendor would have no vested interest in Saddle Brook other than money and would only apply itself as much as necessary to stay employed. While residents would have an abundance of pride in their hometown and therefore produce quality videos from their heart.

It has become disappointedly obvious that White knew exactly what he was doing. An outside vendor, together with a Government Access only, would give the mayor total unfetter control of the station to do with impunity as he sees fit.

When was the last time you saw a ballgame on SBC-TV? Wrestling? Track? Concerts? Other than Larry or Omar, when is the last time you watched a show with an alternative view?

Now that the mayor has dismantled the TV station at Coolidge school, where has all the equipment gone? Yes cameras were old. But they did work better than no cameras at all. Three (3), yes three, editing systems. Not state-of-the-art anymore but more than viable, especially for training and learning purposes. Did all this equipment go to the school system? Equipment that could be used by students wanting to learn more about ENG video (Electronic News Gathering), audio & video production and post-production. A stepping stone to web video and live streaming video productions that are now the way of the future. If it has than it would be the first time the mayor hasn’t beaten his chest loudly and publicly about something good he has done.

I said it two years ago and now my fears have come to fruition. Someone other than me has now seen and personally been the victim of an all government TV station. I should say rather one person who had the guts to stand in front of the mayor stand up to power.

This is not my fight anymore. I am long gone from fighting the good and obvious fight. I will always care about what was and what it could have been. But it is in your hands now.

Some of the very people, councilman and woman, are the very victims of this misuse of power and they don’t complain nor do anything about it. So why should you? 

Sunday
Oct302016

BOE Candidates Debate

On October 25th the Township did its best to video record the Board of Education’s “Candidate Debate”. Using minimal equipment, one camera, you were able to watch and listen to each candidate providing you didn’t get nauseous with the camera moving back and forth. A less than professional presentation but it did serve its purpose.

Mislabeled in my opinion, this “show” was more of a meet your candidates than a debate. Each candidate was asked to answer softball questions by a League of Woman Votes moderator with questions submitted my audience members. Unfortunately this snooze-fest came across as more of a lackluster, uninspired, and uninformative event, than it did as an informative one.

It appeared to many whom I have spoken with that it was largely a scripted event. Each candidate, as one would expect, had their bullet points to cover and were able, by virtue of the softball and expected questions, to cover most if not all of them.

After you heard each of the candidates during the 1 hour and 21 minutes devoted to Q & A, what did you really learn? I would venture to say your answer would have to be “essentially nothing”. No question asked could be considered comprehensive, extensively thought out, or thought-provoking enough to require a detailed or extensive if not exhaustive answer. Essentially they pretty much all said the same thing using different words.

There were a few nasty rumors flying around of a suspicious nature during the “debate” with none however able to be substantiated. One rumor was that there was some kind of hanky panky between certain candidate(s) and the moderator to make sure that only previously decided upon questions were asked. Though it is true that many in-depth questions were submitted to be asked but were never used, in my opinion as well as past experience, the League of Woman Voters would never allow such an occurrence. Plus there was no proof of any kind that this in fact occurred.

The second rumor was that Mayor Robert White was texting answers or points to be made, to his son, Timothy White. Again, there was/is no proof of any kind that this actually occurred. Though some in attendance swear that this appeared to happen, there is now no way to substantiate their claim.

The appearance of each candidate at the “debate” caused more of a negative for me personally, than any positives. More questions than answered might be a better way to say it. The only one on the dais that cemented the perception I had already was Mr. Mike Accomando. Though shorter in words than I would have liked, Mr. Accomando showed his true colors as a simple but caring father who wants nothing more than a quality education for his children and is willing to work and fight to see to that end.

But take for example Timothy White’s answer to the question, “How many times during the past year have you attended a S.B. BOE meeting?”  Mr. White’s response was “two” [meetings]. Well this answer would then beg the question, how could you then possibly know the problems needing to be addressed or have and particular plans in place? Is the information provided to Timothy White and any plans associated to address problems or foster a better school system come only from his father? How much of the mayor’s perception of things is influencing his son?

This is where I have a big problem with family members being on the same board or council. Timothy White may be a self-thinker, I’m not suggesting he isn’t. But how much of one man’s opinion (his father) may have or can cause him to think or believe a certain way? Robert White was once the School Board President. In many ways and especially by his own words, he would like once again to have influence on the board. Having his son on the board would be a very easy way to have that influence. And that is to say nothing of the politics involved.

The mayor already has his fingers in the cookie jar with his close friend and campaign manager, David Gierek, on the board and now wanting back in. Backing and getting elected Mrs. Robinson would be another “point of influence”. Politically speaking, the mayor would be running both the township and the BOE.

Another case in point would be Mr. Zottarelli. He came across as a nice man who seemed as though he just needed something to occupy his time and figured “what the hell, I’ll run for office”. And again, with his wife Sylvia Zottarelli also on the board as the incumbent President, how can there not be a conflict of interest. Although Mr. Zottarelli said he doesn’t always agree with his wife, that really isn’t the point. As with any authoritative group, be it BOE or Council, laws, policies, and/or procedures, are usually put into place or nipped in the bud by votes in the majority. You can’t tell me relationships of family won’t influence the way they vote. And as I said previously regarding White, that is to say nothing of the politics involved.

My argument has nothing to do with either the integrity or intelligence of Timothy White or Mr. Zottarelli. It’s all about the perception this causes which troubles me. If one wants to always appear above board then you go out of your way to make sure you never put oneself in a position to allow it to look otherwise. Family members don’t belong together on an authoritative board because of the possible perception of impropriety that may occur whether in fact it occurs or not.  

Saddle Brook is a very small community. Residents who have roots in this town are well aware of the “families” who have had more than their share of influence. It has taken over 40 years that I know of for the Township to finally curb that influence by passing an anti-nepotism ordinance.

Though nepotism isn’t the case when an election is involved, the perception of nepotism and collusion is bound to follow in the future. 

Friday
Oct142016

October Council Meeting

No Hamm, just sausage So, how about that Omar? You watch the October council meeting? There you got to observe another professional 4 times councilman, 2 times council president proclamation by a down-to-earth, educated, soft-demeanor man. NOT!

One would have to be completely stupid, shortsighted, and / or terribly ignorant to think he had the right to speak on the subject he tried to argue at the time he tried to argue it. He knew he was wrong. And if he didn’t, he’d be even more pathetic then he already is.

Here is a man trying to run for office again (same $hithead, different day) supposedly knowing full well the rules with all of his professed past experience, deciding that the best way to get votes is to cause an outburst so as to look like the great defender.

The truth is that Mr. Rodriquez wanted one last TV freebee and would be damned if he didn’t get that exposure before Election Day, no matter what. Apparently even while looking like an absolute fool!  

Mr. Rodriquez has proven over the past months that he is exactly the type of councilman you don’t want. Unless of course you’d prefer the mayor and council to go back in history to when they were forced to fight Mr. Rodriquez in court as much as every month at meetings. The present council, although not on the same page with the mayor as he’d like you to believe, are working together in a civil manner. Mr. Rodriquez would be a monkey wrench that would need constant grease to keep him civil and in-check. Obviously the two Democratic incumbents running for office know enough to stay away from this troublemaker by not including him on their ticket. Omar’s signs are Hugh with a very large picture of his inflated head. Headlights coming around a corner and hitting that sign can be very disturbing, even dangerous, to say the least!!

But so far they say he is doing rather well with backers. This can probably be attributed to Mayor White being his primary backer. Why would the beloved Mr. White want to associate himself with this 4 times councilman, 2 times council president is beyond me. However, White has said many times right after he was elected that he owes Omar for his win. So I guess the mayor’s backing is just a political favor having nothing to do with him believing Omar has any particular virtue or talent. Therefore it would be safe to say the mayor isn’t considering the ramifications to the township and its residents either. Obviously the mayor is considering only one thing right now and that’s getting his inner circle, his son, Robinson, Gierek, and Omar, into office.  

Did you also happen to notice that the mayor practically took all the credit for getting the Anti-Nepotism Ordinance passed? Politically that was a smart thing to do considering most residents would be totally unaware that it was Councilwoman Karen D’Arminio who got the necessary votes. Cimiluca and D’Arminio were always in favor of getting it pasted. And if you remember, after Chief Kugler made a plea at a past council meeting to NOT pass the ordinance, an insubordination that was left unchecked by the mayor, the mayor stated in a newspaper that whether to apply this ordinance to the police department would be a consideration for the future. This bit of wiggle room is not what Karen D’Arminio nor Todd Accomando promised during their campaign. Now, with the passage of this Ordinance, anti-nepotism can be applied to EVERY department head without bias interfering or only one person having the authority to enforce it. It’s now a law which applies to everyone employed, equally with no Executive Order introducing extenuating circumstances.

Kudos to Mrs. D’Arminio as well as the rest of the council for seeing the potential jeopardy involved in an executive order and putting into place a completely fair and equitable remedy. 

Tuesday
Oct112016

Can't stand the heat?

OMG I made a mistake. My apologies to the esteemed President of the board of education, Sylvia Zottarelli. I “ass-out - of-u-me d” her son was running for a seat on the Board of Education when, within 5 minutes of my post going live, she corrected me via a text message that it is in fact her husband who is running. She was quite PO’d at my comment. I personally don’t see that I said anything terribly wrong other than the obvious but she did have a right to be annoyed that my facts were incorrect. The “fact” that I named the wrong family member was my error. The “fact” that that doesn’t change a thing regarding my intention to state the obvious, as with White, that family members together on a board or in power within the same municipality is not a healthy way to run things.  

Mrs. Zottarelli and I disagree. We disagree on most things now. There was a time in our past when Mayor White was running for office that we both agreed on most things. Neither of us liked how White was going about things. But, as with most things in politics, once White’s friendship became a valuable commodity for Mrs. Zottarelli that of course all changed. And that is ok with me. I have been around it and mixed up within it (politics) for over 35 years so it comes as no surprise.

What I am much more surprised about is the unladylike way in which Mrs. Zottarelli wrote within her text to me. Being the President of the BOE, a trustee in the real sense, a trustee of your children’s moral, ethical, and educational aptitude, I would have not expected to be spoken too in such a manner. I feel compelled to leave in her expletive deleted’s for no other reason than to show her lack of ability to use the English language in a more accomplished, intelligent, and “schooled” manner.

Below is your Board of Education PRESIDENT’S own words:

(Copied & pasted from my phone)

Hey douchebag if you insist on trash talking me and now my family get your fucking facts straight.... thought you learned your lesson from Halko's kid with your BULLSHIT apology.... you are truly one of the lowest forms of life... I have laughed at the bullshit you have wrote about ME in the past but now your talking about MY kid and that's crossing the line ... but I should say it's a good thing shows how fucking pathetic you are..... its not my son”.

Since it is not her son we are talking about then “your talking about MY kid and that's crossing the line” doesn’t apply then does it? (The use of the word your and not you’re is also a subtle sign).

I am not going to get into her reference to “Halko’s kid” other than to say that in an old blog post I made reference to his son when I shouldn’t have. And yes I did apologize for it. Just because the father is an ass in my personal opinion, doesn’t mean his son should be mentioned. Especially when what I repeated was purely hearsay and could not be established as fact. I sincerely regret that whether Mr. Halko or Mrs. Zottarelli believes me or not.

If this example is the type of character of the men and women who run our schools then your vote means a hell of a lot more then you could imagine!

In politics your words and actions are fair game.