Tag Archive: Hamilton

Daniel Keelan for Hamilton (Mercer) Township Council – About Me & Why I am Running for Office

My name is Dan Keelan, I live in Hamilton Twp (Mercer) and I am running on the Democratic Ticket for Township Council.

ABOUT ME

Though I have closely followed international, national and local politics my entire life (not just my adult life), this is my first foray into politics.

I moved to Hamilton Township 7 years ago when I married my wife, a lifelong Hamilton resident.

In fact, when I proposed to my wife she said to me (almost as an after thought) “I am never moving out of Hamilton Twp!”. She was adamant.

Now some people may consider that “pre-condition” limiting and I admit that thoughts of never living in Ireland or retiring to Costa Rica flitted across my brain. But I was in love – I am in love. And 7 years later I can say that I did get a good bargain – my wife and Hamilton Twp.

My background is Sales and Marketing in the IT world. I worked for very small companies to a very large Fortune 1000 company. In the small companies, I worked with great people who were equally determined to succeed as I was and we turned these smaller companies into mid-sized employers of 100 or more people. It was tough, it was nerve wracking and it was satisfying. I got to work with a Fortune 1000 company because one of the small companies that I helped to start was acquired by them. I ran the Account Development division in the Mid-Atlantic for them, which consisted of about 22 employees and 2 managers who reported to me and had $300 million in revenue. If you want to test your mettle with politics go work for a Fortune 1000 company 🙂

I became tired of the large corporate world and took an opportunity to leave when they asked me to transfer. Today, I am on my own working to start my own company – Consulting on Energy, Solar and Telecommunications.

WHY I AM RUNNING

Despite my lifelong interest in politics and current events, I never thought that I would actually get engaged in the process as a candidate, but something motivated me. Something triggered and now here I am.

I know what the something is, but it only crystallized shortly after my sister-in-law was asked to run for Mayor as the Democratic Party’s nominee.

Location, Location, Location – wasted

Hamilton Township is essentially in the middle of NJ with excellent Interstate & Turnpike access. It has quick access to Newark’s and Philadelphia’s airports, is right on the Northeast train corridor and is convenient to NYC and the shore areas.

Despite this, Hamilton is fairing no better than other towns in NJ and this is because of the “same ‘ole same ‘ole” approach to governance from the incumbents.

Reckless and Unnecessary Tax Hike

Additionally, they are damaging the local economy by driving businesses and residents out of the township due to a reckless and unnecessary 33% tax hike in 2008. They justify this by alluding to a “historical fiscal crisis” which they have never satisfactorially defined.

Waste

They promised to do more with less, but their reckless tax hike has allowed them to raise spending by $30 million while at the same time laying off and furloughing Police Officers and other Township employees.

Public Safety

In March 2010 they furloughed the police department 8 days annually and then in June 2010 they gave Department Directors pay raises.

They hide crime from the residents by not reporting it to the local papers, while paying lip serive to the concept of Community Policing. Many Hamiltonians believe that they live in a safe community…they do not know about the Drive-by shooting, the Home Invasiions, the Armed Robberies, the assaults all because the incumbants do not want to hurt the economy or give the Township a bad name. This is disrespectful to the residents and to the Police Officers who competently servie us.

Partisan Politics

The Mayor and all 5 Council members are republicans who reside in a Democratic controlled County and LD. It is the municipal government that allows political affiliation to get in the way of partnering with their County and State leadership for assistance with funding/grants, implementing Complete Streets or Main Street programs, etc.

Redevlopment Now

They have little concept about proven redevelopment strategies that have been successfully deployed around the State and the country. Concepts such as Mixed Use Zoning, Complete Streets and Main Streets. They have made PILOT a dirty word – and it can be when not properly implemented, which means specific conditions applied to specific areas and types of business.

While neighboring municipalities such as Hightstown, Exing, Hopewell and Lawrence are reinventinf themselves, my town is dying and my opponents are making sure that no one is here to bare witness the funneral.

I have stayed educated on redevelopment strategies, Police Technology, the Township Budget and the concerns of the various neighborhoods. I am prepared to serve.

Thanks,

dan k

PS: Full disclosure. Until this spring, I was a registered Republican and supported the existing Republican Mayor and Township Council.

I was content with supporting them until I started educating myself in anticipation of supporting them this election year. In doing so, I could not reconcile what they have been doing with my belief system.

Hamilton Township (Mercer, NJ – They Gave us an Enormous and Unnecessary Tax Hike

The all Republican Council’s and Republican Mayor’s current mantra is “4 budgets without a tax increase”.

This mantra is misleading and boarders on an outright lie.

1) It’s Five Budgets not Four, Dummies.

What is important about 4 vs 5 budgets? The incumbants entered office 4 years ago and have introduced their own budget every year while in office, which is 4 years. This year they changed the budget calendar. Because they changed the budget calendar from a fiscal year to a calendar year they naturally had to introduce a transitional budget to cover the period of time from when the the fiscal year ends and the calendar year begins. That is budget number 5.

Why is this misleading? Most voters do not understand the change in budget calendars and the necessity of introducing an additional budget. So, when they hear “4 budgets without a tax increase” they associate that with 4 years, which is the period the up for re-election Mayor and 2 Council people have filled in their first terms in office.

Why mislead the voters? Because the 1st budget included a massive 33% tax hike and they want the voters to forget it.

Here is a link to a Moody’s Investor Services report detailing the ongoing source of revenue from this tax hike paragraph 8: (it is free to sign up if you do not have an account)

http://www.moodys.com/research…

2) It was Your Tax Hike and not the Previous Mayor’s

When asked, the Mayor and the Council constantly claim that they needed to raise taxes to cover an enormous deficit left by the prior Mayor. And even go as far as saying that “the Tax Hike was his”.

Huh? It was an all Republican Council so why aren’t they blaned too?

Huh 2? What was this fiscal crisis? They have yet to clearly define it beyond mismanagement, enormous deficit and misappropriation. The Trenton Times said the crisis was $5 million to $8 million. The Mayor states it was enormous amount exceeding $10 million. The Business Administrator said it was $16.7 milllion.

After 4 years, you have not uttered a word about misappropriations, you have not pursued criminal charges…you have not done nor said anything since your election. And once a year in the Maypr’s Budget Address you mention “fiscal mismangement” just to remind the voters of the “mess” you inherited.

Huh 3? You honestly feel that a $13.3 million permanant tax hike was the proper response to a $5 million to $16.7 million deficit?

3) You raised taxes AGAIN in 2009

According to Moody’s Investor services, and my escrow statements, you raised taxes again by 9% for $5.3 million. Here is the Moody’s report see paragraph 6: (it is free to sign up if you do not have an account)http://www.moodys.com/research/MOODYS-ASSIGNS-NEGATIVE-OUTLOOK-TO-A2-RATING-ON-HAMILTON-TOWNSHIPS?lang=en&cy=global&docid=NIR_15963761

4) You cut costs $4 million a year since arriving in office Great, but you did it based upon misleading employees.

I will get back to this later.

5) You raised Township Fees $1 million a year since arriving in office.

6) The math:

$13.3 million x 4 years +

$5 million by 3 years +

$4 million by 4 years +

$1 million by 4 years +

equals $88.2 million

Back out the $10 million deficit (I split the difference from above)

equals $78.2 million

Back out the sum total spending increases of your 5 budgets over the last budget of the previous Mayor equals $30 million

Net amount remaining is $48.2 million. Where is it? You have not paid off bonds? You have not paid off loans. Where is the money?

And since you have so much more ongoing sources of revenue, what justification do you have for laying off employees and furloughing the remainder?

Linda Greenstein wins big, heads to Senate

One more democrat in the overly androgenic NJ State Senate. Congrats to Senator-elect Linda Greenstein!

Garden State Equality’s FaceBook page:

BIG WIN FOR US IN NEW JERSEY POLITICS: In the most hotly contested state legislative election of 2010, pro-marriage equality Democrat Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein WINS her election for state Senate! Linda has been a target over the years of anti-marriage equality organizations like the National Organization for Marriage and the New Jersey Family Policy Council. Congratulations, Linda! We are thrilled for you.

Democrats Go Grassroots in Mercer

Some of the most watched campaigns in Central Jersey this season are Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein's race for Senate, Congressman Rush Holt's re-election in CD12 and Hamilton Council race of Joe Santo.    

This weekend, volunteers across CD12 and LD14 fanned out across the various communities to talk directly to voters about the importance of electing these three Dems on November 2nd.   These aren't your paid canvassers of years past.

Following the Obama for America model, they are using volunteers within the communities to reach out directly to voters.   As a 2004 Yale study revealed, these kind of personalized door-to-door contacts are the most successful and cost effective ways to get a campaign message across.

Greenstein volunteers prepare to canvass in LD14
Greenstein volunteers prepare to canvass in LD14 at the Hamilton HQ on Route 33

 

At 10am Saturday morning, the Greenstein and Santo HQ’s campaign staff provided lists of voters, scripts of questions to ask, and maps of the streets to be canvassed. Volunteers included a mix of students (Rider, Rutgers, South Brunswick High School to name a few), teachers, state workers, Democratic committee people and a few first time political volunteers. Of course donuts and coffee were also provided to help fuel them on their way, and bottled water to keep them hydrated on the campaign trail.

Is Bill Baroni in trouble in 2011?

Baroni’s base is Hamilton Township, the largest town in the 14th district and famous for its large number of state employees. With Democratic governors, the state senator has managed to avoid greatly antagonizing those workers by going along with the Democrats on occasion.

That just got much harder. We can expect Christie to take positions that are overwhelmingly hostile to civil servants. And to expect a certain degree of loyalty from Republican legislators. There may not be enough wiggle room for Baroni to stay on the good side of the state Republican party and also to get reelected in a Hamilton-based district.

Given the civil service factor and the Norcross/Sweeney machine’s involvement with public employee unions, it would be a major disappointment, a dereliction of partisan duty, even, if the new Senate President fails to recurit a strong candidate to run against Baroni.

A complicating factor is that we don’t know what towns will be in the Hamilton district after the 2010 census. Given the growth in the area, I doubt that we’ll have a district that stretches all the way from Hamilton to South Brunswick (or beyond) as we have the past three decades. That makes it harder for those contemplating campaigns to get moving early. But the party bosses on both sides will have inside information during the bargaining process that will result in the new districts. That makes it all the more crucial for Sweeney to assist in at least letting potential candidates know that they may have an opportunity.

I’m not a fan of backroom dealing, even without the old-fashioned cigar smoke. But everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. The probability that the State Senate will become a beacon of openness in the next two years is approximately zero. So the 14th district seat gives Sweeney a chance to do what he does best and to show the merits of his style of politics.

5/8/06 News Roundup

  • Tom Kean Jr., is focusing on local issues to help him pull of a win against Menendez for U.S. Senate.
  • The Republican-lead Congress’ low approval ratings could be the biggest obstacle to hard-line Republicans. Watch out Fergie! We’re coming for you!!!
  • Scott Garrett also should be watching his back. Both Paul Aronsohn and Camille Abate are putting up a strong showing for the Democratic nomination. Regardless of who gets it, Garrett is going to face a tough challenge come November.
  • Tomorrow is Election Day in Newark. The race, as this point, is between Cory Booker and Ron Rice is as much about Newark’s future as a revitalized metropolis, as well as the issues.
  • The Army Reserve center in Hamilton that houses troops from 462nd Transportation Battalion, the 445th Quartermaster Company and the 1st/385th Regiment Detachment got a makeover, including a new fence, a redesigned entrance and a fresh coat of paint.
  • The color-coded terror alert system is being called a waste of time by lawmakers, as it has rarely moved from “yellow” (elevated) status since it was created post-9/11.