Monthly Archives: April 2012

Our Look at the 2012 Primary and Party Committee Candidates Continues

Heightsonline continues its analysis of candidates’ petitions for the 2012 Primary election. Today, our “Tale of the Tape” for the Spring Lake Heights Democrats.

The SLH Dems have two candidates for Council. Hugh Meehan was defeated in 2011 by Republican James Shuler in a recount that gave Shuler a one-vote lead. In addition to signing the petition himself, Meehan’s petition is signed by Thomas Vorbach, John E. Tully, Richard Carragher, Marlene Howard, Dennis Pearsall, Eileen Eilenberger, Frank Walsh, H. Frances Enright, John Donahue, Juliana Nilsson, and Evelyn Condello. The petition signatures were collected by Thomas Vorbach and the paperwork is orderly and is notarized by John E. Tully. The request for ballot designation is as “Monmouth County Democrat.”

Also running for Council is former mayor, H. Frances Enright. Enright lost the 2011 mayoral race to Republican Butch Maccanico. In addition to signing her own petition, the other signatures are John E. Tully, Frank Russo-Alesi, and E. Jane Tully. The petition signatures were gathered by E. Jane Tully and the paperwork notarized by John E. Tully. The request for ballot designation is as “Monmouth County Democrat.”

For Democratic Committee, the candidates are:

In the First District, John E. Tully and E. Jane Tully. Both Mr. and Mrs. Tully signed the petition. Mrs. Tully signed as the collector of the signatures, and Mr. Tully notarized the form. On the Oath of Allegiance form, Mrs. Tully’s oath is notarized by Mr. Tully, while Mr. Tully’s form is notarized by former SLH resident and past-Council member, John P. Brennan Jr. The request for ballot designation does not indicate the Office to be Filled, but the designation is as “Monmouth County Democrats.”

In the Second District, the candidates are Thomas Vorbach and Eileen Eilenberger. Both candidates signed their own petition, as did H. Frances Enright. Ms. Enright signed as the one who collected the signatures while the form is notarized by Mr. Tully. Again, the request for ballot designation does not indicate the Office to be Filled, but the designation is as “Monmouth County Democrats.”

In the Third District, there is no male candidate. The lone female candidate is Elizabeth Stader and she signed her own petition. The affidavit of the person who circulated the petition is missing from the filing. The oath of allegiance is notarized by John E. Tully and the designation is as “Monmouth County Democrats.”

In the Fourth District, the candidates are Hugh Meehan and Ellen Meehan. The Meehans signed their own petition and the person who gathered signatures was Hugh Meehan, with John E. Tully as notary. The designation is as “Monmouth County Democrats.”

In the Fifth District, the candidates are the Borough’s S.M.R.S.A representative Robert Blasi and Marlene Howard. The candidates signed their own petition and the signatures were gathered by Marlene Howard. John E. Tully notarized. The designation is as “Monmouth County Democrats.”


While the SLH Democrats appear to have a more cohesive campaign than the Republicans, a review of the names shows that the Dems are once again recycling the same old candidates, probably because they have alienated anyone who was willing to do any good for the community. Ms. Enright’s term as mayor was disastrous, with office staff calling her management style “dictatorial.” Ms. Enright never seemed to grasp that in the Borough form of government, the mayor has no power; instead, she attempted to circumvent the Council at ever turn, vetoing legislation that would prevent eminent domain abuse (to the applause of a large land-owner in town), vetoing a pay-to-play ordinance, and continually opening the Borough up to a string of lawsuits. Why this individual would even WANT to run for council is incomprehensible.

Meehan, who served as an elected member of Fire District until the dissolution of that body, is possibly capable, although one would think a potential candidate for local government would attend the twice-monthly council meetings in order to learn something of the issues that are currently under discussion. One cannot speak knowledgeably about something one has no knowledge of.

Of the Committee candidates, 1st District representatives John and Jane Tully are incumbents, although in the last Committee election (2010), Mr. Tully won only by 3 votes over challenger Tom Martin.

Long-time 2nd District representatives Helen and Frank Russo-Alesi chose not to run for re-election in 2012, and heightsonline is sorry to see them go, as they were, perhaps, the last remaining upstanding and honest Democrats involved in local politics. Replacing them are Councilman Thomas Vorbach, whose has the most abysmal attendance record of any Council member in living history. Eileen Eilenberger is at least willing to work, although if one is judged by the company one keeps, voters would need to question if Mrs. Eilenberger is going to do what is right by them, or do the party’s bidding.

Incumbent 3rd District representatives Roy and Kathleen Curnow, sources report, have never attended one Committee meeting since their election in 2010. So much absent were they that when time came to draw up this year’s petitions, no one on the SLH Democratic Committee could even remember their names, not even to call them the “Cunrows” as they had been referred to in the past. No male candidate is running in District 3, probably because residents are not blind as to how the SLH Dems treat their own. Elizabeth Stader is running as the female candidate and at least attends a random Council meeting from time to time.

Hugh and Ellen Meehan are running as the 4th District candidates, stepping in for current Committee members Raymond Critchley and Mary Beth Niecewski. Critchley, readers may remember, was the duly elected Council candidate in the 2011 Primary but then suddenly bowed out over the summer and was quietly replaced by Mr. Meehan.

Fifth District incumbents Robert Blasi and Marlene Howard will run for re-election. Mr. Blasi is currently serving a 5-year appointment as the Borough’s representative to the Southern Monmouth Regional Sewerage Authority, a position which pays $5,000 a year plus full medical benefits. Mrs. Howard is the widow of Congressman James Howard and perhaps the only member of a rogues’ gallery of candidates who truly cares about the people of Spring Lake Heights.

NEXT UP: Comparing the two parties

Heightsonline Looks at the Upcoming Primary Candidates and Their Petitions

With the June 5 primary elections only a few weeks away, heightsonline takes a look at the Spring Lake Heights candidates for Council and for County Committee. While residents are familiar with Council elections, many are completely unaware of the County Committee elections or their importance on local politics.

 “County” Committee is a small misnomer. Each municipality has two political party committees: one Republican, one Democrat. Both committees are made up of two representatives from each voting district. Also, by state law, 50% of the representatives must be male, 50% must be female.

 There are 5 voting districts in Spring Lake Heights, so 10 committee representatives – 5 male and 5 female – are elected to make up the municipal political party committee for the Republicans, and another 10 for the Democrats. Voters will see on the ballot only the candidates from their own district; for example, a voter in the 5th district will not see the candidates running in the 1st district.

 Additionally, while all the elected representatives make up the municipal party committee, they also become the party representatives at the County level for the municipality. So, while those elected do make up the County Committee as per the ballot distinction, they also make up the municipal committee and, therefore, have an impact on how your municipal politics function.

 By law, the Committee representatives are chosen during the primary and assume office on the day after the primary election. They must meet on the first Monday after the election and hold a reorganization meeting, at which they choose a chairman. The chairman may be one of the elected members, or may be chosen by the elected representatives from a party member who is a resident in the community. Once a chair has been chosen, members of the municipal committee attend the County Committee reorganization meeting and elect party representatives at a County level.

 On the municipal level, the elected Committee representatives work to find candidates to run for Borough Council and for Mayor. They also serve the party in the municipality, building rapport with party members. They serve as representatives of their voting districts and may be approached with questions, comments, and complaints about the Borough and its workings.

 The party committees are one of the best-kept secrets in politics – most residents do not even realize they are voting for district party representatives on the primary ballot. In the interest of voter education, heightsonline, under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), requested copies of all the primary candidates’ nominating petitions and the supporting paperwork in order to provide a concise look at the upcoming field of Council and Committee candidates.

 For the Republican party, the Council candidates are incumbent Sara J. King and newcomer Christopher Tienken. King’s petition is in order: signers are Richard Diver, Elaine Maccanico, Darren Maccanico, Gavino Maccanico, Maureen Miller, and Mrs. King herself (as a registered voter, it is perfectly acceptable for the candidate to sign her own petition). The “Circulation of Petition” statement is signed by Mrs. King, stating that she collected the signatures herself. Mrs. King’s petition is notarized by Marilyn P. Krampert and is stamped, signed, and dated appropriately. The request for ballot designation is as “Republican.”

 Mr. Tienken, who remains something of a mystery, having made not only no statements to the newspapers but who has also not attended any Republican Committee meetings, presents a petition with signers: Robert Cindea, Councilman James Shuler, Krista Phipps, Richard Phipps, Mark Steets, Irene Burns, John Lewis, Monica Markowski, Deirdre Slattery Fallon, Allison Hawkins Tienken, and Mary Shuler. The “Circulation of Petition” statement states that James Shuler collected all the signatures therein and paperwork is notarized by Councilwoman Patricia Cindea. The forms are dated appropriately, although the notary stamp is incorrectly placed. The request for ballot designation is as “Republican.”

 For the municipal and county Republican Committee seats, there are several contested races as well as newcomers.

In the First District, Thomas Markowski and his wife, Monica Macklin Markowski, Windsor Terrace, are running in their first bid for a committee seat. Markowski was defeated as an independent candidate for Monmouth County Freeholder in the 2011 general election. Committee seats typically require a minimal number of petition signatures; in this case, the Markowskis signed for themselves. The signatures were collected by James Shuler, and the paperwork was notarized by Patricia Cindea. A request for ballot designation is as “Reg. Republicans SLH.”

 In the Second District, the committee candidates are Patricia and Robert Cindea. They have signed the petition, as have Christopher Tienken, Allison M. Hawkins Tienken, Mary Shuler, James Shuler, and Deirdre Slattery Fallon. The “Circulation of Petition” shows that all signatures were collected by Patricia Cindea. Mrs. Cindea’s paperwork was notarized by new Borough Clerk Jay Delaney, who failed to stamp or seal the affidavit. Mr. Cindea’s paperwork was notarized by Danae Fisher, who overlooked an error: the Oath of Allegiance states that the candidate resides in Ocean County. A request for ballot designation is as “Reg. Republicans of SLH.”

 In the Third District, there is contested race. Incumbents Maureen and Raymond Miller are challenged by Katherine Kelsey and John Lewis. Ms. Kelsey’s petition is signed by herself and John Lewis; James Shuler collected the signatures and Patricia Cindea served as notary. A request for ballot designation is as “Republican.”

Lewis’s petition is signed by himself, Patricia Tumminia, Anthony Tumminia, Margaret Conrad, and James Black. Lewis collected his own signatures, and notary is Mary Ellen Karamus. A request for ballot designation is as “Monmouth County Republican.”

 Incumbents Maureen and Raymond Miller present a petition signed by Judith Linton, Robert Linton, Maureen Miller and Hank Young. Maureen Miller states that the signatures were collected by her and Sara J. King is the notary. A request for ballot designation is as “Republican.”

 In the Fourth District, incumbents Sara J. King and Richard T. Diver are running unopposed. They have signed their own petition, in addition to: Elaine Maccanico, Darren Maccanico, and Gavino Maccanico. Sara King states that she collected all signatures, and the forms are notarized by Marilyn Krampert. A request for ballot designation is as “Voting Dist. 4 Republican.”

 In the Fifth District, incumbent Patricia Van Ness is running unopposed. She has signed her petition, as has Sherlie Anderson, and Robert Moore. Ms. Van Ness states she collected her own signatures, and Sara King is notary. A request for ballot designation is as “Republican.”

 A review of the petitions for the Republican candidates gives voters a glimpse into the party. Longtime chairwoman Sara King appears to be challenged by a faction led by Mrs. Cindea. This is indicated by the division of paperwork. Typically, each candidate circulates his or her own petition and the same notary signs and notarizes everything, usually at a committee meeting. The only exception would be where the notary is also a candidate; this must be signed in the presence of a different notary.

Mrs. King’s petition for Council, as well as her joint petition for Committee with Richard Diver, and committee petitions for the Third and Fifth districts are consistent with past practices for the SLH Republicans. This group has worked well together in the past and has served the community well for many years.  

 However, the petitions for Tienken for Council, as well as the First, Second, and Third District committee petitions show an organized effort by Mrs. Cindea and John Lewis to put new candidates into the roles of local and county committee. Additionally, sources report that only Mrs. Cindea has had any extensive contact with Council candidate Tienken.

 On June 5, SLH Republicans need to ask themselves if they are happy with the direction their party has taken over the past few years. In this time, the SLH Republicans have gone from being a minority on the Council to the majority. Under Mrs. King’s leadership as local party chair, the borough saw its first Republican mayor in almost 30 years, a significant achievement.

Republicans who feel their party would be better represented by the likes of local gadfly John Lewis, whose antics in front of the local school board are not unknown to most residents, would do well to ask themselves if these are the same sort of fulminations they need behind the scenes at the political party level. They would do well to choose wisely!


NEXT UP:  A look at the SLH Democrat’s slate.

Candidates File Petitions for June Primaries

Democratic and Republican candidates filed petitons today for the upcoming June elections.

For the Republican party, incumbent Councilwoman Sara King filed along with newcomer Christopher Tienken. Tienken is a professor at Seton Hall University and a school administrator. This is his first bid for office.

For the Democratic party, previous Council candidate Hugh Meehan filed to run. His running mate will be former Mayor H. Francis Enright.

Enright will be remembered as the Mayor who was ordered by Judge Lawrence Lawson to “Comply … or go to jail” when she attempted to bypass a previously agreed to Council settlement brought about by her attempts to violate the 3-year term appointment of Environmental Commission chair, Kathleen Crippen, who brought suit against the Borough. The former mayor’s actions cost the Borough $3,500 in legal fees for the plaintiff, plus an equivocal amount in fees for the Borough.

heightsonline will be closely following the 2012 primary race.