Tag Archives: Cumberland County

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Why is a library sponsoring a sailing trip? FWIW, the A.J. Meerwald is an awesome experience, but there are no books and no reading involved in this trip. I wonder if one were to dig if any tax dollars are paying for anyone to go sailing . . . My hands hurt. Yesterday my neighbor and I pulled out all the bushes by the electrical box. I am now shoveling out roots aplenty . . . Only the government would hire a horseshoer and have no horse . . . It seems to me there is a touch of bias in this lede: Paul Ryan coming to Pa., 10 days, 9 swing states later . . . Amazon/Shelfari has disappointed me. I am having problems with my classroom library account. I requested help more than a week ago. Zero response! My library now resides on a competitor’s site . . . It’s interesting watching a superb organization dwindle . . . It’s summertime. I am a school teacher. This is suppose to be a relaxing time for me. Hardly! I have never been so busy! . . . Watching Ides of March. Wow! Bias doesn’t even explain this drivel . . . I just noticed that I have passed 5000 posts here on this blog . . .

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I dreamt that I lived in a house along Rt. 49 that was a pigsty. I cleaned up that house in my dream. Odd . . . Finally received a jury notification. I welcome doing my civic duty . . . The Levoy opening has been delayed a week. That has caused confusion with the tickets . . . An organized home makes for much happiness. A disorganized home had me searching for a power cord all day . . . Love learning about my sprinkler system. Pretty soon I won’t need “my guy” and his inflated prices. 🙂 . . . Hey! I am in the Top 10 of weight loss at the gym for the contest. I will receive a T-shirt! . . . The Chick-fil-A controversy doesn’t affect me. I have that ability to slough it off as I don’t patronize the joint. As such, I don’t care one way or the other about the current flap . . . Why do I keep seeing CompleteCare in the news? I smell lots of political connections . . . Political numbers mean little me. Cumberland County freeholders are touting lower property taxes for most communities. That sounds great. But much like Verizon, they bundle. It’s difficult to tell how efficient government is when I don’t see what Cumberland County is charging me separate from Millville and the school board. Putting it together is a way of obfuscating . . . Bucketfuls of rain came down earlier . . . I had my leadership eyes awakened today at a five-hour meeting I attended. One learns much by observing . . .

Cumberland County Board of Elections

12-07-24 Cumberland County Board of Elections

I am all for streamlining government. It should be lean and efficient.

The other day I drove down Rt. 49 through Hopewell when I noticed the Cumberland County Board of Elections building. That site weighed on me my entire trip. Why is there a building for the Board of Elections?

Perhaps I am just uneducated, but it seems to me the Board is comprised of political cronies who collect health insurance and a stipend from taxpayers for minimal work. Indeed, elections are important. But how difficult are they to run? The County Clerk prepares the ballot. I imagine the Board monitors the polling places and arranges the volunteers who run them. There is probably a monthly meeting. There needs to be a gathering place on election days to do their business.

Does that necessitate a building? A parking lot? There seem to be two full-time employees. I wonder how important those jobs are. Nevertheless, shouldn’t there be an office at the county offices in Bridgeton that can house these folks without a whole building being dedicated to them that needs to be maintained?

One less property for taxpayers to maintain seems to benefit all us.

CompleteCare Is Completely Clueless

Cheryl Bettigole is the chief medical officer of the CompleteCare Health Network. What is CompleteCare? I can’t quite figure it out. I think it is group of various healthcare services in Cumberland and Salem counties.

Ms. Bettigole has some disturbing ideas.

“Like what?” you may ask. Like:

The study recommended a “fat tax” ideally be combined with subsidies on healthy items such as fruit and vegetables, which Bettigole referred to as a positive “double whammy.”

Why does Ms. Bettigole want a fat tax? Answer:

“We see a tremendous number of people suffering from the impact of chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, and one of the things we see, especially among poorer patients, is trouble affording the healthy foods they need,” Bettigole said. “A lot of these fast foods tend to be very cheap and accessible, so this would be trying to correct that balance.”

Is Ms. Bettigole concerned that a fat tax would affect the poor folks of Cumberland County more adversely than others? Not in the least:

obesity and complications like diabetes and heart disease also primarily affect poorer people, so from a public health point of view I completely applaud this

This healthcare “leader” also has some public policy thoughts.

Noting that a “fat tax” shouldn’t be punitive, and families “making do by cheap calories” can’t just suddenly find it impossible to eat, Bettigole suggested that revenue collected through the tax could fund food stamp benefits toward healthy options, vouchers for produce or farmers market expansions — a particularly feasible and attractive option in agriculture-rich areas of the Garden State like Cumberland and Salem counties.

How about this? Ms. Bettigole can continue leading her medical group and the elected officials can propose taxes to the citizens. That way, when the overtaxed folks are taxed more, we can hold our elected officials accountable.

Really, a healthcare official proposing taxes to get people healthy rather than promoting the most healthy thing of all: people use their God-given brains to lead a healthy lifestyle. Instead, a government-entrenched crony “leads” by doing what all politicians bereft of ideas do: raise taxes!

Phooey!

Sheriff Bob’s Money

The salary for sheriff in Cumberland County is $107,250 annually. The sheriff deserves every penny of that. I do not begrudge Sheriff Austino his salary.

The problem, however, is not that Austino wants his money. The problem is that Austino ran originally on the pledge that he would accept less than that.

As a matter of fact, his first term he only accepted $75,000 for the job. He stated at the time:

“There’s no reason to be making that much,” Austino said in 2008. “Myself, I already have a pension. And nothing turns off people about government more than to see things like that happening.”

Yet, that is exactly what is happening. Austino now wants his full pay. Again, give it to him.

Austino now says when he ran for re-election this past year, he did not reiterate that pledge. Yes, that is a weasel move. Give him his money.

What taxpayers need to take from this situation are the following:

  • Austino is not to be trusted
  • Pledges for lower salaries are gimmicks. Don’t fall for them.
  • Locally, it’s only been Democrats who have offered these non-binding “elect me” tactics. Recall, Lauren Van Embden made the same move.

Austino stated that,

I had some threats of a lawsuit if I didn’t [take the full salary].

This is one of those throwaway statements that creates problems. Frankly, my gut feeling is this is a lie. One can’t press Austino on it, however, for he will clam up and state he can’t divulge that information.

But remember this. The next time a local Democrat (or Republican) wants to dangle the promise of less money in front of you to get himself elected, use Sheriff Bob’s words: there will be lawsuits if we do that. After all, the county sheriff is not one who would lie about the law. We now know that these campaign tactics are illegal.

At least something good has come out of Austino’s tenure: we now know his weasel political tactics are illegal; he has said so! 😉

Cumberland County: The Money Pit

Cumberland County is usually ranked as the poorest county in New Jersey. We are last in many other indicators that usually highlight a blighted area (teen pregnancy, unemployment, etc.). One of the things often pointed to is the poor public transportation in the area. Admittedly, it isn’t a wonderful system, although there are plenty of buses, CAT vehicles, etc. that the public pays for.

I struggle in garnering outrage for the lack of this public service. Yet, I note that Washington D.C.’s transit system is one I truly enjoy using when I visit so I know public transportation can be good. Perhaps if we had a good system around here, things would be improved. I’ll grant that.

Lots of the parents of my students through the years have worked in Atlantic City. It is difficult to get from here to there. An improved system would probably permit more Cumberland County workers to have jobs there. Likewise, an improved route to Philadelphia would prove beneficial to. The 408 isn’t good enough, apparently.

So, while I will not be out on the sidelines championing building these routes, I note that they would probably be good for the area.

What I would like to know, however, is what is the rationale for NJTransit to consider adding a bus line between Bridgeton and Salem?

After decades without a bus link between Bridgeton and the City of Salem, leaders are hoping to bridge this divide once again.

NJTransit is looking at a bus route between the two cities, and mayors of both are hopeful this will eliminate one significant transit headache.

Bridgeton has nothing going on. Salem, from what I can tell, is even more desolate. Why would anyone look into building a bus line between these two areas?

Adding to the public’s financial burden should always be considered most wisely. I outlined above that routes to AC and Philly could prove beneficial. Public transportation is open to public discourse. If we as a community decide to fund it, it should at least be a prudent expenditure. I see no public benefit to running a regular bus line between these two cities.

If we hope to improve our quality of life in this county and help get residents back to work, we need to focus more energy on addressing our greatest public transit challenges.

That may be, but how in the world is that achieved with what is being proposed?

Do not fall for the distraction; demand an explanation!

County Dump Question

I am sure there is a reasonable explanation to this . . .

On my way into work today I followed a garbage truck down Main Road for several miles. It was a CCIA (Cumberland County Improvement Authority) truck. I got to wondering about it. If the CCIA is a dump and it makes its money from tipping fees from trash collection that is deposited there, why does CCIA have its own trash trucks?

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Millville Public Schools is embroiled in controversy regarding a school board vote. Controversy aside, it is a wonderful learning experience. When articles are written about Robert’s Rules of Order, the public is educated . . . BTW, this is the funniest comment I have read about the issue, although it isn’t quite as simple as that . . . Hallelujah! Sacred Heart is remaining open . . . ‘Twas reading the New Jersey state constitution today. Came across the following:

8. No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense, unless on the presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases of impeachment, or in cases now prosecuted without indictment, or arising in the army or navy or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger.

It seems this allows for anything . . . More from the NJ constitution:

13. No person shall be imprisoned for debt in any action, or on any judgment founded upon contract, unless in cases of fraud; nor shall any person be imprisoned for a militia fine in time of peace.

Are deadbeat dads arrested? I am no lawyer, but it seems to me we do imprison folks for debt . . . If only:

the landfill is not run by the county, but by a quasi-governmental agency whose sole purpose is to run the landfill

If the sole purpose were to run the dump, then it wouldn’t be indebting taxpayers with bonds for things other than the dump . . . I went off the wagon the other evening and ordered a pizza from Domino’s. I have to say ordering it online and watching the progress via their web site made ordering a ‘za more fun . . . Still loving the Kindle. I think it needs a name . . . What was the result of the TrackRacket lawsuit? It seems like the group is asking residents to call in noise complaints just as it did prior to the lawsuit. All that bloviating and nothing changed . . . Gert just yelled at me. Why? I have her hooked on Storage Wars. 🙂 . . . As I become more comfortable with the Kindle, I explore. I see that The New Yorker is available. I used to subscribe to this. I thought I might like to do so again. Without seeing the pile up of magazines that I need to catch up on sitting on a coffee table, this is doable. Except: the Kindle version costs more than the printed magazine delivered to my house. Not gonna happen . . . Saturday Night Live was well represented at the Oscars: Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Chris Rock, Billy Crystal, Robert Downey Jr., Will Farrell, Christopher Guest, Maya Rudolph, Ben Stiller, and Adam Sandler . . .

On Sam Fiocchi

Cumberland County Freeholder Sam Fiocchi is shiftless.

I documented earlier how disappointed I was when as soon as he was elected freeholder Fiocchi announced he was running for the Assembly. I did not support that move and do not think highly of a man who did nothing but expected voters to elect him to a higher office. Fortunately, reason shone through and Fiocchi was defeated (yeah, that wasn’t the reason, but we’ll hold our hat there nonetheless). But that leaves Fiocchi firmly entrenched in Bridgeton as a freeholder.

Apparently ol’ Sam doesn’t think he needs to work. The Daily Journal yesterday documented how Fiocchi is shunning his responsibility as a freeholder by skipping library commission meetings.

Official minutes from commission meetings show Fiocchi has attended just three of nine monthly meetings this year. The commission did not meet in June and July. Fiocchi does not dispute the attendance records.

The county library is up for elimination again this year. Its group holds meetings to come up with a plan to save itself. Fiocchi serves as the liaison between the library and the freeholder board, both groups who represent the residents of Cumberland County. The Daily Journal indicates Fiocchi hasn’t attended one of the library meetings since March and has attended but three of the nine meetings held.

Fiocchi cries that he doesn’t have time to attend those meetings. Bah humbug! This man was elected (and is paid) to attend these meetings. The Daily Journal posits that Fiocchi has already made up his mind to eliminate the county library. In the end, doing so may be the best option. But how would Fiocchi know what the other options are unless
he participates?

Blowing off his public work further solidifies that Sam Fiocchi has no business representing people. He deserves to be voted out when his term expires. Shiftless politicians should not have a job. Good riddance!

Voted

11-11-08 Voted

This evening Beetle and I voted in our election. She is a second grader who has never missed an election. I am proud of that. 🙂

The Boy voted too with Mommy. We had two vehicles since we had met for dinner locally (to stimulate the economy) to celebrate my FIL’s birthday. As Frank is fond of saying, “If my mother had only waited two more days, I would have been born on the birthday of the Marine Corps.” Semper Fi!

As usual, most of who/what I voted for was defeated.

The Republicans took control of the freeholder board. It is time for them to do something memorable or they will lose control in two years when Fiocchi and Kirstein are up for re-election.

How this area continues to re-elect the Van Drew team is beyond me. I have thoughts about the get out the vote campaigns that I will write about in another piece.

And speaking of Fiocchi, I am pleased that his campaign to step up to the state assembly failed. I did not vote for him. The man totally abused the electorate. After campaigning for two years for freeholder and finally winning a seat, two months later after doing absolutely nothing, he began campaigning for the assembly. Based on what? He is an example of why the public is disillusioned with politicians.

So, what are you going to do for Cumberland County Messrs. Shepherd, Kirstein, and Fiocchi and Ms. Grucci? Doing nothing will swing the county back to Democratic control for another 30+ years. You’re on the clock and we’re watching . . .