Author Archive: moorestownmark

Moorestown Town Council Race – Taxes, smoke and mirrors

We have a great town council race going on in Moorestown.  However, there are some interesting discussions, that could apply to many other towns.  The Republicans perpetually run on one platform: taxes, taxes, taxes.  Although they claim otherwise, years and years of Republican control have led to some growth problems, significant decline of the downtown retail area, strained services and overcrowding of the schools.  Don’t get me wrong  – Moorestown is a fantastic town, and I wouldn’t live anywhere else.  Many of us just know that we can continue to improve.

Two years ago, the citizens finally got tired of a do-nothing council, and voted in three Democrats.  This resulted in the first ever Democrat majority for Moorestown.  This new majority actually came with a backbone, and felt obliged to deal with some poor fiscal management.  Tax assessments were way overdue, pensions not properly funded, and  continuous raiding of reserve funds as a general revenue source.  The Democrats demonstrated bold leadership and raised the municipal tax by 15%, because they felt obliged to actually balance revenue and expenses.  Of course there has been the predictable flak, but I really admire the courage of Kevin Aberant, Jon Eron, and Ann Segal.  They did what they firmly believed was right, although very unpopular.  The next year, when they had a chance to actually plan the budget, a very modest 2% increase in the municipal taxes was required.  Meanwhile, during the Republican domination, overall property taxes skyrocketed, because of stress on the public schools.  Asleep-at-the-wheel leadership did nothing while huge developments were built, stressing schools, roads, and services. 

This year, the Democrats came across a very sharp candidate, and chose to only sponsor one candidate, despite having two council positions open.  This candidate, Seth Broder, has gotten behind all the financial shell games, and is taking it right to the do-nothing Republican council incumbents, running for re-election.  This is the big learning that can be extended elsewhere.  Seth has continued to assert, with well-researched numbers that the taxes were kept low artifically by tricks, smoke and mirrors.  The only thing that the Republicans could really claim as an accomplishment was low taxes, and now that seems to be an empty achievement.  There has continuous revelation that the Republicans neglected and raided, just to avoid unpopular tax increases.  It would have taken courage to go to the voters and make the case that the citizens needed to invest in their communities, but that would have required true leadership.  Instead they annually raided municipal reserves, including the water-sewer reserve.  So expenses continually exceeded revenue, but they could pull off the appearance of maintaining a tight ship.  As a result, Moorestown now has a strained infrastructure from unchecked development, and a seriously depleted reserve to deal with those annoying, decaying water mains, pumping stations etc.  Not sexy, exciting stuff, but it’s where real leadership comes in, and pretenders just talk. 

The main message to those outside of Moorestown:  don’t let the Republican dominate this tax and spend issue.  As Seth Broder did, peeling off just a layer or two reveals poor fiscal management, and fiscal shell games that mislead voters.  Take it to them.  They love to paint Democrats as tax and spend, but Republicans nationally have proven that they love to cut taxes and spend even more than the Democrats, and finally, Republicans in Moorestown have been exposed as loving to raid “rainy-day” reserves, and continue to spend.

Part Two will be on the Republican history of no-bids services, and having no interest in finding competitive costs for municipal services (such as health care for municipal employees).  Again, more lessons that can apply to many other New Jersey communities where the Republicans are better at rhetoric and smoke and mirrors, than real municipal management. 

Where’s Jim??? Saxton AWOL???

So where is Jim Saxton?  Has he recently been to any place that an ordinary citizen could actually talk to him?  The weather has been great, so perhaps a needed rest is necessary.  The rubber stamp arm must need a little breather. 

He was at Medford Leas and Burlington County College in the past 4 or 5 weeks, but I can’t determine if he has made any other public appearances.  I’m sure that there are the fancy fundraisers, where he takes the big checks…but how about something where the average voter could attend? 

Anybody seen him?  Apparently he putting the same effort into campaigning that he did to challenge the Republican leadership on Iraq, wanton spending, gay marriage, flag burning, and corruption. 

Enjoy the time off Jim! 

Saxton Claims that Dems will raise taxes by $2000?

We received a robo call from Mr. Jim Saxton with an “A” yesterday, insisting that ALL republicans vote on November 7 because the Democrats have declared that they will “raise your taxes by $2000” if elected. 

Is Mr. Saxton feeling some heat from Rich Sexton, to start the lying game?  Where did the Democrats declare that?

So far, the NJ3rd has been remarkably clean, but now Jim Saxton has taken to lying to scare the base.  That’s the typical hallmark of a close campaign, when the repubs go negative.

However, the real story is that Jim’s feeling Rich’s breath right on his neck. 

Voter Suppression Techniques November 7

Disclaimer:  this posting is only the result of getting fairly slaphappy 10 days before the historic November 7 election.  Ideas and suggestions shouldn’t be taken seriously, unless someone comes up with a really great one…..

Everyone has heard the voter suppression techniques infamous in places like Florida, Ohio, Missouri, et al.  Intimidation techniques, incredibly long lines to vote, unconstitutional purges, aggressive poll challenges, and so forth.  Some of it may be urban legend.  A lot of it is undoubtedly true. 

On November 7, I fully expect to cruise up to my Moorestown polling place, find plenty of close parking, no lines, and lots of smiling poll workers that assume I will loyally vote Republican.  I expect that the total process will take 5 or 6 minutes out of my day.  However, I’m not sure if they will continue the complimentary concierge services or not,  The free car washes have been great, although they smudged my “Range Rover” last time.

If I lived in Cleveland, I would have different expectations.  End of that story!

So for entertainment purposes only, what would be the fantasy Democrat techniques? 

Here’s my first idea:

For November 7, rent a squad of white Taurus or vans.  Put them at polling sites in strong Republican precincts.  Plaster official-looking and terse “IRS Mobile Audit Team” Signs on the signs.  Hire actors in black suits and equip them with clipboards and briefcases.  Do lots of roaming around the parking lots, and be eager to meet incoming luxury cars?

Second thought:
Send out letters in heavy Republican areas, pre-election day, warning voters who have second homes, that new challenges will be made so that voters with residences in Moorestown and on LBI will need 6 forms of documentation to prevent double voting.  “Please be patient”, the letter will read, “We expect only 30 or 40 minutes to confirm the validity of your documents” 

Of course I’m only being ridiculous…I know Democrats who are affluent and have second homes.  (But I also know who is more likely to be affluent and have second homes…)

Post YOUR ideas!  Deadline is November 7!

NJ-3’s Jim Saxton: Not Big on Diversity

I was just checking out Mr. Saxton’s TV ad (posted on his website), and thought it interesting.  Run this ad anywhere outside California and the Northeast, and you’d think it was a Democrat’s ad.  No mention of Iraq, no mention of his 100% rating by Christian Coalition, no mention of opposing stem cell research funding. 

But one thing that occurred to me after watching it, was the homogeneity.  I thought to myself, “did I just see nothing but fair-skinned Causcasians?”  No Latin Americans, No Arab Americans, No Indian-Americans, and No African Americans?  I played it back again, and I was wrong!  At the very last frame, an African-American man is waving at the very far right of the screen! 

But what can be expected of someone who is given very low scores in civil rights legislation.  NAACP has given Mr. Saxton scores less than 30 consistently.  Arab-American associations give him a consistent goose egg, and Latin-American assocations generally him him scores in the low 30s. 

NJ 3rd District Canvassing Update

I just completed a four hour shift canvassing for Rich Sexton in Mt Laurel.  The targeted neighborhood turned out to be a neighborhood nearly 90% “undeclared”.  This means an independent flavor, and reflects a neighborhood with a high percentage of voters who do not vote in the primary, as they have not made a party declaration.  This then also suggests lighter voters, as they do not vote in party primaries.  In other words, this is prime territory, because it is rich in independents, and it is rich in people who tend to skip non-presidential elections.

The great news is that we received many strong commitments to vote for Rich Sexton.  Again, the absolutely number one issue is Iraq.  And nearly everyone is opposed to the “stay the course” non-strategy.  This canvassing is the classic GOTV that wins elections, and if the concerned people of south Jersey show up and help with this critical GOTV, Rich will unquestionably pull out the win.  This is the stealth element of the campaign, and it flies right under Jim Saxton’s radar. 

Everyone who cares about this election should spend a minimum of one hour per week talking to voters.  There are still a surprising number of voters who are disgusted by the current Congress, but do not even know who is running in the 3rd District.  This is what GOTV overcomes.  Without GOTV, Jim Saxton gets default votes, by people who would not vote for him, if they understood his unflagging support for “STAYING THE COURSE”.

BTW, has anyone heard about canvassing efforts for Jim Saxton?  I have yet to discover anyone who expresses any passion or excitement for him.  It seems that his voting base is almost entirely based on casually informed voters, and a base of Republicans terrorified of a Democrat Congress. 

No Debate Mr Saxton? Then Just One Question Please….

Mr. Saxton (with an “A”):

We know you that you will avoid Rich Sexton’s challenge to three debates, at all costs.  Your campaign manager essentially admitted that to the Burlington County Times. 

You would think that competent leadership is willing to engage in civil debate on important issues that face our country.  Competent leadership would help our electorate to better understand the issues, and better understand the choices before them. 

Mr. Saxton, since you won’t debate Rich Sexton, I’ll just pose one question for you:

Do you believe that the American people should accept “staying the course” in Iraq? 

Nearly 2700 wonderful American lives lost.
Nearly 50,000 Iraqi lives lost.
Over one billion in tax payer dollars per week.
More terrorists in Iraq than four years ago.
No plan to finish the war, no end in sight.

Mr. Saxton:
Do you believe that the American people should accept “staying the course” in Iraq?

Thank you Mr. Saxton

NJ 3rd: Sexton/Saxton – how the “E” will win

Let Mr. Saxton fixate on the names.  Let the “A” be his strategy.  Rich Sexton can win this campaign, no question at all, as long as his supporters, hit the streets and hit the phones.  This is a campaign of grassroots supporters, and that’s how it can be won, by the classic, hard fought “get out the vote” effort.  I spent last Saturday canvassing door-to-door in Mt Holly, Jim Saxton’s own backyard, and the mood there is ripe for an upset.  At least 80%  people that we talked to are deeply concerned about the war in Iraq, and they are not happy!  There is anger and frustration.  Once we explained that Jim Saxton has fully supported the Iraq war, and supports staying the course, we saw the support for Mr. Saxton drain away.  When we explained that Rich is a Navy veteran, and supports a strong defense, we almost always closed the deal.  We received a number of commitments to support Rich, once we talked through the issues.  Mr. Saxton’s support is wide but paper thin.  There is no discernible passion out there for the incumbent.

The 3rd District is definitely winnable for the Democrats.  The mood is ripe for a change.  The key to success is simple, but requires immense effort.  The key is that everyone who wants a change in Congress puts effort behind that desire.  Spend an hour or spend a day working for Rich.  This is the asset that Rich can leverage and Mr. Saxton can not. 

Contact the campaign office today, talk to Paul, the field director (field@richsextonforcongress.com), and offer your services now.  Then, talk a friend into volunteering.  Challenge that friend to find another volunteer, and expand the effort.