Asbury Park

Grillo: Wards will bring political instability and chaos back to Asbury

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Joe Grillo wrote this column which appears in the Oct. 4 issue of triCityNews. Grillo is the chairperson of the Asbury Park Democratic Organization.)

We know how important these midterm elections are for our country, our state and our region. We have the opportunity to vote in a Democratic bulwark against a White House whose disposition and politics build walls to further divide us. As Democratic municipal chair in Asbury Park, I’m committed to electing Democrats up and down the line to resist Trumpism in all of its forms.

But I’m also asking Asbury Park to fight back locally against permanent divisions that threaten us via three questions for city voters on this year’s ballot. I’m voting no on all three. But I’m most concerned with Municipal Question No.1, which looks to dissolve the current city council and draw up wards each represented by a single councilperson who would run in another (another!) city wide council election next year.

A vote for Municipal Question No. 1 is a vote to bring the political instability and chaos of the past back into Asbury Park.

In theory, the arguments for a ward system are supremely valid, and rooted in genuine and tragically real grievances. It goes like this: With the influx of new residents, rising living costs, and seemingly unfettered gentrification, the historically African-American quadrant in the southwest of the city is shrinking, its community is slowly being pushed out and thus, the argument goes, its political voice must be protected, conserved, and empowered by creating wards. In theory, a ward system would provide institutional representative equity by forcing the city to have a seat on the council just for that quadrant. It’s a valid argument. But creating wards does nothing to address the grievances that threaten the west side, and would create permanent divisions in a city struggling to create unity.

The reality is this: when you look at cities throughout New Jersey, wards become like little fiefdoms. Like Mafia territories. Mini-political bosses emerge. And residents are compelled to kiss the boss’s ring in order to get things done.

You want that pothole fixed? Go see your ward councilman. And, be nice, because if you get on their bad side, good luck with that pothole.

Because other ward councilpersons don’t represent your particular ward, they are less apt to concern themselves with your problems. Over time, wards create permanent divisions between different neighborhoods. Wards are the exact opposite of what we are trying to accomplish in Asbury Park, which is political unity, civic empowerment and social equity.

The second reason I am voting no is because there has always been council representation from the southwest. On every single winning ticket in the past two generations, whether it was Mayor Butch Saunders, Mayor Kevin Sanders, Mayor Myra Campbell or Councilwoman Yvonne Clayton.

I’ll go even further: a ticket without African-American representation from the southwest cannot, and should not, win in Asbury Park. Period.

So let’s keep it real – this is essentially a recall election. And the reason the petitioners are looking to recall the current city council is not because there isn’t enough “west side” representation on the council – it’s because Yvonne Clayton and Jesse Kendle don’t take orders from the petitioners’ small clique, who, in turn, take orders from power bases outside of the city and the county.

The third reason I am voting No is that neither Asbury Park, nor the petitioners, have control over how these wards are going to be drawn up. The county draws up those lines. Wards are drawn based on voter population. Because of low voter turnout in the southwest over the years, its proposed ward will surely also encompass other parts of the city. What happens if the county draws up a ward that includes both the southwest quadrant and parts of the northwest quadrant? How about a south ward that encompasses both the downtown central business district and the southwest quadrant? Not only is that possible, it’s probable. There is absolutely no guarantee that the petitioners looking for permanent representation from a shrinking demographic will get that with a ward system — we have little to no control over how these wards are drawn up.

The final and most important reason I’m voting no is because creating wards does not address or resolve the specific grievances that the petitioners, and the rest of us, are concerned about: comprehensive affordable housing, equitable workforce development, common-sense controls on unfettered gentrification and greater representation from people of color on the city’s numerous committees, boards and commissions.

I support representative equity, which is what a ward system attempts to address but fails miserably. Creating wards does not create equity. Not by burning the whole house down. The way to do it is to support city council tickets that best reflect our growing diversity and then push those representatives to go deeper in identifying and resolving the city’s clear, present and urgent issues of inequity.

These municipal questions are an attempted power grab. Plain and simple.

As both Americans, and as residents of one of the most progressive small cities in America, I believe that we are all tired of political divisions. We’ve come a long way in Asbury Park, and still have a long way to go. But we go it together, not divided.

Instead of building more walls to divide us, let’s keep Asbury Park united.

Vote “NO” on Municipal Question No. 1.

Making Asbury ungovernable: Ripping apart a proposal that would rip our city apart

The following is the Message from the Publisher that appeared in the Sept. 27 issue of triCityNews:

If you’re an Asbury Park resident — or anyone who’s interested in our city — sit back and listen to a tale of typical political idiocy that routinely plagues our tiny metropolis. This week I rip apart a proposal that would rip Asbury apart.

A political faction that can’t win an election collected enough signatures on a petition to get a question on the November ballot that’s as divisive as it gets. I don’t think most people even understood what they were signing.

Asbury Park has five council members (the mayor is a member of council) who represent the whole city. The ballot question would divide our city into three wards with one council member each. Only the remaining two council members would be elected citywide. It’s crazy.

How divisive can you get? Talk about an ungovernable city. Each ward council person will only be interested in their own little section of Asbury Park, trying to get reelected in it, and not care about the rest of the city. This would tear us apart.

Oh, and did I mention that if it passes, the five-member council is dissolved and they all have to face election next year? That’s the real motivation here. This is a recall election in disguise. Those pushing this include members of the now defunct A-Team political organization that lost 13 of the 13 council seats they contested in the last three elections. How about just gaining power the old fashioned way? Like by winning an election fair and square.

A ward system is absurd for Asbury Park. We’re way too small. Large cities have wards — in such cities Asbury Park could be a ward itself. Wards are appropriate for cities with hundreds of thousands of people. You can’t expect a five member city council to represent that many constituents. So you divide up a much larger city into wards.

In addition, a ward type system is almost always found with a directly-elected powerful mayor running a city day-to-day. Like Bill de Blasio in New York. Or Cory Booker when he was mayor of Newark. That type of mayor is similar to a President or Governor. They look out for the whole city. A city council with wards acts like the legislative branch.

That’s not even close to what we have in Asbury Park. We have a five member council elected citywide that sets policy. Our city manager runs the city day-to-day. That’s completely appropriate for Asbury Park.

I certainly don’t want my own ward councilperson. I live in northeast Asbury Park, and we’re doing just fine here, thank you. In contrast, the southwest quadrant of our city faces tremendous challenges — and I want every member of council focused on that section of the city as a top priority. With this ward proposal, two of the five council members’ attention will automatically be directed away from the southwest (assuming that section of the city gets its own ward, as proponents are expecting). In fact, those two other ward council members are supposed to be focusing on their own wards, not the southwest. That’s how the system is supposed to work.

God, this is so stupid. Our city is small enough where you can reach a council member with a problem. Residents call Mayor John Moor all the time and he responds. That’s one reason why he’s running unopposed this year. Councilman Jesse Kendle is also running and is expected to win. They would get new four year terms.

If passed, the ward ballot question will cut short their four year terms after a year, and force both to run again next year. It will also cut short the four year terms of the three councilwomen — Yvonne Clayton, Amy Quinn and Eileen Chapman — and force them to run next year. Total chaos. Some of our council members may find themselves in the same ward, and they just won’t run again as they’re all politically aligned.

That’s what the organizers of this thing are after. Chaos, so they can finally win an election. Excuse me for doubting their sincerity. The petition that got this ward question on the ballot also included a second question, now also on the ballot, to switch our council elections from non-partisan, where all candidates run without party affiliation, to partisan where candidates run as Democrats or Republicans.

In overwhelmingly Democratic Asbury Park, whoever gets the Democratic Party nomination will win. Thus whoever controls the Asbury Park Democratic Party will control the city — the very definition of machine politics. It doesn’t get much more disenfranchising than that. Even current Asbury Democratic Party Chairman Joe Grillo says it’s nuts. But those behind these two ballot questions obviously see a fight to control the Democratic Party as their best ticket to power, since gaining it the old-fashioned way — again, by winning an election fair and square — hasn’t worked out.

There is a five member “Committee of Petitioners” listed on the petition that got both the ward and partisan questions on the November ballot. Interestingly, two of the five Committee of Petitioners say they’re against partisan government, even though they were sponsors of the petition that placed it on the ballot! I’ve yet to hear from the other three if they support partisan government. I suspect I won’t. So just where is this coming from?

The only way the ward and partisan questions pass is if there’s confusion on the ballot itself, as the wording on this stuff can get pretty convoluted. Hopefully, people will just vote no and we can move on from this typically Asbury threat of political chaos.

Otherwise, our city will rip itself apart with wards, while partisan machine politics will increase the risks of corruption, infuriate people who are disenfranchised and trigger brutal fights to control the local Democratic Party.

Of course, the triCityNews wins either way. If these questions pass, man will we have a ton to write about!



Asbury coup attempt: Ballot question would force new elections, bring machine politics to city

(NOTE: This commentary from triCityNews Publisher Dan Jacobson appeared in the Aug 9 edition of the paper. Since then, the Asbury Park city clerk announced that the ballot question will go forward in November.)

Hey, if you can’t win an election the old fashion way — by earning the trust of a majority of your fellow citizens — why not just throw the system into chaos, and then rig it to win?

And that’s exactly what a faction who oppose the city council want to do. It appears they’ll have enough signatures on a petition — you only need 273 — to put a question on Asbury’s November ballot that amounts to a mini coup d’etat.

Their ballot question would dissolve the current five member council, cut short their terms and force all five to run again next year. Keep in mind that in the last two elections, those council members won big mandates citywide in landslide victories.

Here’s the outrageous part: The ballot question would change our non-partisan system of government to a partisan one, where a handful of people in the Democratic Party will decide who gets the party’s nomination — and thus wins in our overwhelmingly Democratic city. Right now in Asbury Park, all council candidates run in one column without party affiliation. In a partisan system, you’d have Democrats and Republicans on the ballot.

Coup target: Mayor John Moor

Coup target: Mayor John Moor

These coup plotters actually want to establish machine politics in Asbury Park. Normally, the battle is to get rid of that. Opponents of the council can’t win with the level playing field of non-partisan elections. Instead, they want a partisan system where they could move to take control of the Democratic Party — and thus control who wins elections in Democratic Asbury Park. Even worse, those elected would be beholden to the machine that nominated them.

The coup plotters behind this say they want to enfranchise people. Bullshit. It doesn’t get much more disenfranchising than machine politics where a few party leaders, or just one chairperson, hold the power.

Even Joe Grillo, the current chairman of the Asbury Park Democratic Party, thinks this is nuts.

“Not only do I think that Asbury Park should be non-partisan, but I think all municipalities should be non-partisan,” Grillo said.

The city actually elected a charter study commission to recommend the best form of government for Asbury Park. After an exhaustive study and a ton of public meetings, voters overwhelmingly approved the current non-partisan system the commission recommended. That was only four years ago! Now the coup plotters want to overturn that.

Our open non-partisan system is the opposite of machine politics. All five council seats are elected citywide. No party machine dictates who wins or who has a leg up with a Democratic nomination. Anyone can run, with an equal shot at winning. All candidates run in one column without any party affiliation.

If there’s a crowded field of candidates, and no one gets over 50 percent of the vote for a seat, a second run-off election is held of the top two finishers. That guarantees every winner eventually gets the mandate of a majority vote. That’s important. By requiring all winners to get a majority vote, you unify a city like Asbury Park. It ensures that candidates seek support citywide.

Part of the coup attempt on the November ballot is to create three wards, each represented by a council person. So three of five council members would each represent a third of the city. Yeah, that sounds really unifying. The coup plotters will say that switching to three wards ensures that every section of the city, in particular the southwest, will have a representative. I’ll grant that’s a valid point — when made by someone without a hidden agenda.

But this isn’t about wards — otherwise switching to the machine politics of partisan government wouldn’t be a part of this. Partisan government is the real goal of someone, or some faction, behind this nonsense. Establishing a partisan political machine isn’t about enfranchising the people — it’s about disenfranchising them, by putting power in the hands of a few. It’s about finding a way to take power when you can’t do it with a fair vote on a level playing field.

Meanwhile, the immediate aim of the coup plotters is to dissolve the city council and force new elections, which would happen under their ballot initiative.

That means popular Mayor John Moor, who is favored to win a four year term this coming November, would be forced to run again a year later. Same with his running mate, Councilman Jesse Kendle, who’s up this year.

Meanwhile, the four year terms of the three councilwomen — Amy Quinn, Yvonne Clayton and Eileen Chapman — would be cut short, and they’d run again next year. It’s also possible two or three of these councilwomen would be in the same ward, meaning that one or more won’t be able to run. The coup plotters would love that. Yup, that’s really enfranchising too.

This has nothing to do with empowering sections of the city, as proponents hypocritically claim. This is the opposite. This is a game to reverse the last two elections which the council won by 2-1 margins — and to establish a political machine to control our city government and take power away from the people in every section of Asbury Park.








No TV on Tuesday! Vote in AP Board of Ed race for Joe Grillo and his running mates

No TV on Tuesday! Vote in AP Board of Ed race for Joe Grillo and his running mates

An election in April? With polls open from noon to 8 pm?

Yup, welcome to the Asbury Park Board of Education. It’s the last vestige of wackiness in Asbury Park, and hopefully we can end that distinction this Tuesday, April 25.

There’s an excellent ticket running for the Board — Joe Grillo (above), Eric Pinckney and Carol Jones. Vote for them on Tuesday.

Grillo is, of course, a liberal voice with his twice-a-month column in the triCityNews. He may also be the most open-minded person in Asbury Park, willing to talk and listen to anyone and everyone. The guy brings people together. He’s a civic leader and small business owner. Grillo is the Chairman of the Asbury Park Democratic Party, as well as a member of the city’s Zoning Board. He’s also the development director for the New Jersey Audubon Society, one of the leading environmental groups in the state.

grillo lawn sign SCALEDPut an alert on your phone. Put notes all over your refrigerator. Whatever it takes. Make sure you get out and vote for Grillo and his running mates Pinckney and Jones on Tuesday. (Did I say polls are open from noon to 8 pm?) These Board of Education elections can be decided by a handful of votes as usually no one turns out. Write down their names as everyone is in one column on the ballot, but all the candidates are mixed together, without a designation of who’s running together.

Grillo’s running mates are also of distinction. Eric Pinckney is a journalist, as well as a leader in the LGBT community. Carol Jones worked for decades in the Asbury school system as a nurse before retiring. She’s a knowledgable incumbent on the Board of Education.

The ticket is also reflective of the diversity of our city: African-American and white, gay and straight, male and female.

If everyone who knows and likes these three gets out to vote, they will win hands down. Don’t blow it and forget to vote because you got sucked into some daytime television. That’s no excuse.


On the brink in Asbury Park: A-Team driving toward Council majority, putting city in uncharted territory

On the brink in Asbury Park: A-Team driving toward Council majority, putting city in uncharted territory

(Note from triCityNews Publisher Dan Jacobson: The following commentary written by me appeared in our November 3 issue. We never post content from the paper on-line — unless it’s of critical public interest. That’s certainly the case here.)

So your political organization gets soundly beaten twice, the last time by a 2-1 margin.

What do you do?

The answer is easy: Change your name.

That’s the story of the A-Team slate in this council election. With Asbury Park voters distracted by a train wreck of a Presidential race, they don’t realize that a majority of city council seats are up for grabs on Tuesday. Nor do most know that A-Team candidates are running under a new name this year — and they’re poised to win control of City Hall.

A shift to A-Team control puts us in uncharted territory. In the past two elections, all their council candidates were rejected by voters — people sensed that if they ran the city the way they conducted their campaigns we’ll have complete chaos. These guys have absolutely no idea what they’re doing.

The relative political stability this city has enjoyed for the past 15 years is now taken completely for granted. Political stability may be the second biggest factor in Asbury Park’s remarkable comeback, after the influence of this newspaper. People forget how crazy past city councils could be. Fortunately, through the efforts of the triCityNews, and tons of other concerned citizens throughout the city, the past few elections have gone the right way — but it’s been a hell of an effort and at times a very close call.

So if Asbury Park wakes up the day after this election with the A-Team suddenly in control, don’t say this newspaper didn’t warn you. Of course, we’ll start with a clean slate with them. We’ll judge them on what they actually do. But I say it will be chaos, with legal problems left and right.

The incumbent council members up for election are Amy Quinn, Yvonne Clayton and Eileen Chapman — three progressive, pragmatic and intelligent women. Probably the best council slate I’ve seen in following Asbury politics for over 30 years. Their two council allies — Mayor John Moor and Councilman Jesse Kendle — face reelection in two years.

The A-Team candidates this year are Kenneth Saunders, Jr., who ran on the A-Team council slate in 2014, Stephen Williams, who ran on the A-Team Board of Education slate in 2014, and Dan Harris who ran on the A-Team council slate in 2013.

Hey, I didn’t tell them to run with that organization, yet they’re pissed that I’m calling them the A-Team candidates. They’d rather we all forget. You shouldn’t. This year they’re running under the slogan Citizens for Asbury Park.

Of course, with the A-Team being the A-Team their campaign tried to pull a fast one with that new name. Asbury Park has non-partisan elections, which means you don’t run under a party banner and the name you select to appear on the ballot can’t have a party designation.

In overwhelmingly Democratic Asbury Park, the A-Team in the past two elections have sent out mailers and put up lawn signs falsely making it sound like they’re the candidates of the Democratic Party, which they’re not. Just another one of their underhanded moves in our non-partisan elections. So when it came time to select a new name to put on the ballot this year, they submitted the designation “Democrats for Asbury Park” at the last minute. That’s illegal — what a shock — and just before the city clerk drew the ballot positions for the candidates, they had to change it to “Citizens for Asbury Park.”

My biggest problem with the A-Team is well known, and I’ve been vocal about it since their first run in 2013 — their out-of-control abuse of the absentee ballot system demonstrates to me their lack of restraint with the law. Their campaigns in both 2013 and 2014 literally took custody and control of hundreds of absentee ballots — now known as vote by mail ballots — getting them from the county clerk and bringing them to voters.

In what democracy does a political campaign take control of the ballots? It was crazy. Sure enough, the bipartisan Board of Elections — made up of two Democrats and two Republicans — barred the counting of over 300 of these ballots in each of the last two elections, and they were upheld by a Superior Court Judge both times. Appeals by the A-Team went nowhere.

Like they always do, the A-Team cried racism. They’re like Donald Trump saying everything is rigged when things don’t go his way. But the abuse of these ballots was so bad in Asbury Park that it was a major reason the Democratic-controlled state Senate and Assembly in Trenton voted unanimously — 120 Democrats and Republicans — to dramatically tighten the law so the A-Team could never abuse the absentee ballot process again. When do Democrats and Republicans unanimously agree on anything?

I guess all 120 legislators are racists, if you go by A-Team thinking. The Governor signed the law in 2015 so this year you don’t see the spectacle of A-Team campaign operatives bringing hundreds of vote by mail ballots directly to voters’ doors — an invitation to fraud and coercion that the law never intended.

Sure enough, when I looked at the rejected and unopened A-Team ballots from the 2014 elections, I saw about 70 with my own eyes where the signature of the person filling out the ballot didn’t even come close to matching the signature of the real voter on file with the county. In other words, somebody in the A-Team campaign committed blatant ballot fraud.

Yet the A-Team candidates ignore what was done in their name. They still don’t get it. And this inability to restrain their campaign from ill-advised activity that obviously risks legal trouble — not to mention taint a whole election if it were closer — shows the risk of putting them in office. That’s my big problem with them. I don’t care if they’re white, black, purple, green or polka-dotted. I just don’t think they know what the hell they’re doing.

It’s a shame. Because they actually have valuable insights about the city they could bring into the government, particularly about improving the west side. But that’s more than offset by the antics of their past campaigns.

In fact, I saw a video recently released by Dan Harris, one of the A-Team candidates this year, during which he still complains about the rejection of those vote-by-mail ballots. Harris also was the plaintiff in the lawsuit in the first A-Team election trying to get the rejected A-Team ballots opened. That’s my problem with him. He still doesn’t get it.

Here’s the story: What their campaign would do is approach a voter, tell them they could bring them a ballot and have that voter fill out the form requesting a ballot — but leave blank where you designate the person who’d bring the ballot to you. The A-Team would later fill in that name with one of their operatives — which I say is illegal right there. The law was designed for shut-ins who need someone to bring them a a ballot. Not for a campaign to take custody and control of hundreds of ballots and bring them to voters. It was crazy.

For obvious reasons — like potential fraud and coercion — I say a voter can’t let someone else designate who will bring them a ballot by leaving part of their ballot application blank. And ultimately that’s why no Judge was ever going to let the A-Team have those ballots counted. Yet A-Team candidates — including the three running this year — refuse to accept there was something wrong with what their campaign was doing. Dan Harris in particular continues to defend it to this day, even though the state law was changed to finally settle the matter.

And there’s more. In the 2014 election, when this year’s A-Team candidates Saunders and Williams were on the A-Team slate, their mayoral candidate actually sent out a mailing the weekend before the election with a completely made up statement from U.S. Senator Cory Booker that Booker was supporting him — which the Senator quickly took to Twitter to condemn. Fortunately, both this Publisher and even the idiots at the Asbury Park Press were able to use social media to get the story out — and again demonstrate the lack of restraint by the A-Team. That was the year voters rejected their council candidates by a 2-1 margin.

But the A-Team candidates running this year didn’t disavow the leader of their ticket or ever criticize him for that bullshit with Cory Booker. And they will never accept that perhaps their decision to join that ticket, with a candidate like that leading it, is a poor reflection on them.

A-Team mailer from 2014 with made-up Booker endorsement

Last minute A-Team mailer from 2014 with made-up Booker endorsement (click to enlarge)

So are they suddenly different this year? It sure didn’t look that way from the very beginning when they illegally tried to use the name “Democrats for Asbury Park” as their ballot slogan in this non-partisan election.

I will give them credit for one thing — since their attempted bullshit with that ballot slogan a couple months ago, they and their campaign have not done anything underhanded or ethically-challenged in past A-Team fashion. Of course, after this paper hits the streets I won’t be shocked if their campaign puts out lawn signs and/or campaign literature a day or two before the election falsely making it sound like they’re the Democratic candidates in this non-partisan race, just as the A-Team campaign has done in the past two council races.

Hey, just telling it like it is. After all, we’re the triCityNews. We’re here to help.

Wake up Asbury Park! A-Team candidates on Board of Education ballot this year

Last year, Asbury voters decisively rejected the A-Team slate for Mayor and Council by a landslide 2-1 margin. The repudiation was throughout the city. And it was well deserved. That crew is completely out of control.

Yet on the same ballot, two out of three A-Team candidates for the Board of Education won, giving the A-Team majority control of that board. No wonder it’s completely dysfunctional.

How could they win? It’s simple.

Board of Education candidates don’t have slate designations next to their names. So unlike the mayor and council race, voters didn’t know who was from the A-Team and who wasn’t. If they had, the A-Team board of ed candidates would have been trounced last year by margins as large as their running mates for mayor and council. Instead, they won a majority that now controls the Board of Education.

So don’t be asleep on Tuesday, November 3. There are three A-Team candidates running for Board of Education. Write down their names, and vote against them: Christian Hall, Kenneth Saunders, Jr. and Sheila Etienne.

Their victory — and continued control of the Board of Education — depends on voters not knowing their affiliations and not knowing they’re running. That’s how they won last year. The electorate obviously doesn’t want this group in office, as evidenced by the A-Team’s landslide defeat in the race for mayor and council. [And their defeat in the council race the year before that, for that matter.]

Board of Education candidate Saunders was one of the A-Team council candidates who was defeated last year. That should automatically disqualify him from holding office. Hall is one of their leaders on the Board of Education. I’m not familiar with Etienne, but I’m not impressed with the political company she keeps.

There are only three candidates running against the A-Team seeking the three Board of Education seats. I’m not going to even confuse you with their names. But they seem normal. Well, at least normal as far as Asbury Park standards. I’ll leave it at that. Vote for them.

My problem with the A-Team? Where should I start?

Their campaign violated election law in 2013 and 2014 in how they took custody and control of hundreds of vote by mail ballots through the use of so-called messengers who were A-Team supporters and operatives. A Monmouth County Superior Court Judge agreed with me in each of those two elections, and he refused to open about 300 ballots controlled by their campaign in those years.

It gets even worse. I went out to Freehold and looked at rejected unopened vote by mail ballots controlled by the A-Team from last year’s election and about 70 of them were clearly fraudulent. The signatures of the person completing the ballot and claiming to be the voter clearly did not match the real voter’s signature in the voter registration records. It was absurd. Actually, it was an outrage. What is this? Jersey City in 1933?

Who committed that crime? I don’t know. But I know that someone did it in the name of the A-Team — such as for Saunders last year who now seeks reelection to the Board of Education. Saying you didn’t know about it isn’t good enough. All A-Team candidates should be held responsible for these excesses.

The conduct of the A-Team campaign with these messenger ballots was one reason the state Senate and Assembly voted unanimously [meaning all Demcrats and Republicans from all corners of the state] to change the law to stop campaigns from taking custody and control of large numbers of ballots like the A-Team would do it. As a result, they won’t have that advantage this year. Thank God.

I could go on about the A-Team. Like their completely falsified endorsement by Senator Cory Booker of their mayoral candidate just before last year’s election. Fortunately, this blog was here to blow the whistle on that.

Yeah, I can hear it now. I’m a racist because I oppose the A-Team. That’s all they can say when people criticize them. And I guess so are all the Asbury Park voters — from all over the city — who decisively rejected the A-Team last year in the mayor and council race. They must all be racists too. What else could they be?

Those reading this post should go do their civic duty and defeat the A-Team candidates for Board of Education — Christian Hall, Kenneth Saunders and Sheila Etienne.

Booker condemns A-Team in Asbury Park; slams campaign tactics as “unfortunate”

Booker condemns A-Team in Asbury Park; slams campaign tactics as “unfortunate”

booker endorsement cleaner screen shotDemocratic U.S. Senator Cory Booker condemned the A-Team slate on his Twitter feed on Friday, slamming their campaign tactics as “unfortunate.”

Booker was responding to a mailer [right] falsely stating that he endorsed A-Team mayoral candidate Remond Palmer. No such endorsement has been issued.

When Booker was questioned about the mailer on Twitter, he replied: “That is unfortunate. I did not endorse anyone in this race.” [Booker's Twitter responses are below.]

The disputed mailer says it’s paid for by “Asbury Park Democrats, LLC” with an address at 1104 Asbury Avenue, Asbury Park.

The address for Asbury Park Democrats, LLC. at 1104 Asbury Avenue is the same address listed for Darryl Hammary and Diteko Hammary on filings with the Election Law Enforcement Commission. They are listed as treasurer and chairperson respectively for an independent PAC called “Asbury Now” that supported A-Team candidates in the 2013 city council election.

Joe Grillo, Chairman of the Asbury Park Democratic Executive Committee, said the local party organization has no connection to “Asbury Park Democrats, LLC.” The local party is not endorsing any candidates in the Asbury Park municipal or board of education elections, Grillo said.

The Monmouth County Democratic Organization posted on its Facebook page on Saturday that neither Booker or the county Democrats are making endorsements in the Asbury Park elections:

Please note that Senator Cory Booker nor the Monmouth County Democrats have made an endorsement in the race for Mayor or City Council in Asbury Park. Asbury Park is a nonpartisan race and both the Monmouth County Democratic Organization and Senator Cory Booker are NOT involved in this race in anyway and on behalf of any candidate. We encourage all voters to vote this Tuesday for the candidate he or she prefers. There are several outstanding candidates running, several of them are Registered Democrats and Democratic County Committee members.

The mailer includes a photo of Booker with Palmer and a statement that reads as follows:

Dear Neighbor,

As your United States Senator, I’m working everyday to help our President give the people of Asbury Park the help they need — whether it’s affordable healthcare, or federal funds to give police and firefighters the resources they need to keep us safe. That is why I’m proud to support Remond Palmer for Mayor of Asbury Park. Remond is an Independent Democrat who stands up for what he believes in.

Yours in Service,

United States Senator Cory A. Booker

Click below for Booker’s responses to two inquiries about the disputed mailer.booker sun response

booker response—————————————————————————-

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