Election 2014: Hoping for Roses from the Mud
What follows here is not a news story. It is a summary of observations in the course of an election season marked by character attacks in local, county and federal races.
Frederick John LaVergne, the Democratic-Republican candidate for New Jersey's District 3 Congressional seat, has leveled voter-fraud charges against Republican Tom MacArthur, asserting that MacArthur still legally lived outside the district when he voted in this year's primaries in Ocean County. He further contends that MacArthur still doesn't live in the Toms River condo he bought to establish a voting address. The full story is posted on Politickernj.com.
The Ocean County Freeholder race promised a rich battle of ideas in light of current and future issues such as tourism revival, job expansion, homelessness, the expected closure of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant in 2019, the potential impacts of Lakewood's unprecedented expansion plans, salvaging Barnegat Bay,and the retrenching of the Joint Base against encroachment, mission movement and Pentagon-directed closures.
Instead, prospective voters were given a litany of corruption allegations intent on tying the board Director to a former contractor for the County.
Final thoughts from incumbent Republican Joe Vicari and Democratic challenger Timothy Ryan are contained here.
Ocean County Freeholder Joe Vicari Pre-Election Dialogue
In Ocean Gate, where residents quietly pulled themselves up by the bootstraps in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Democratic Borough Councilman and mayoral hopeful Chris Theodos has focused almost entirely on incumbent Republican Mayor Paul Kennedy's multiple borough positions in exchange for an annual $15,000 stipend.
Kennedy has not been clandestine about the posts, and has long held that it would cost the borough a lot more if all the spots were filled at acceptable pay scales. What remains to be seen is how many of the positions he covers are actually necessary in a community of about 2,400. He was assessed a state fine, but it hasn't been finalized pending an administrative hearing at his request.
Belmar Borough Councilman James Bean, long a critic of Mayor Matt Doherty, has also thrown down the character gauntlet, at one point lifting a Facebook posting to suggest that the Democrat's relationship with a prominent borough business is too cozy for comfort.
Granted, integrity should be a component of anyone you elect. But in each of these cases, and others like them, nearly all we have are attacks, not a great deal of substance in how to bring about positive change. Generating bad will for an incumbent, or a favorite, is much easier than presenting an effective alternative.
If you are among the anticipated handful of voters who will exercise their right - and on the way, you might consider why so few are expected to do so - you might also consider whether any contender has addressed your problems with concrete plans. If no one has, then there are public meetings at your disposal. Just understand that your matters lose steam when you stop showing up.
It isn't always convenient, is usually isn't a barrel of laughs, and it's occasionally time-consuming. But after all, it's your money. If you don't care how they spend it, why should they?