You know they won’t. Not now. The state is too broke and Murphy would never push for it.

But Phil, we’re better than this, remember?

There was a fatality today at the Union toll plaza, a place many of us go through quite often.


More than a decade ago, Acting Governor Codey had the plazas limited to one way and the tolls doubled. Union plaza northbound survived so it could capture all of the people getting on 78 East, and several years later, 78 West. Too much money to pass up to leave the toll plaza only for southbound drivers coming off of 78.

It is horribly engineered. The northbound GSP from 138 to the plaza has some badly designed exits. The short, sharp ramp at 138. The disaster merge for 22 then the loss of a lane just before the rest stop. Next you have the confused tourists coming out of the rest stop and getting rattled at the mouth of the toll plaza because only the right four booths can get you onto 78 East, and the split there often freezes drivers. The crossing over between lanes 3 and 6 is maddening because people are trying to figure out how to get to 78 but all of a sudden realize they don’t (no wait, they do!) have EZ Pass.

The poor signage, poor design and high speed of the locals who know where they’re going make a dangerous mix for the unfamiliar driver.

Like many taxes in New Jersey, tolls were often supposed to be temporary. The temporary income tax started by Brendan Byrne is another example.

As PA has gone to high speed interchanges, perhaps NJ can move to them too. We can rip out the booths, fix the signage and lives will be saved.

Because you know fixing a toll is better than removing them.





Township committee

Two will serve three-year terms.

Patrick Giblin (D) — 4,157

Jean-Albert Maisonneuve (D) — 3,728

Andis Kalnins (R) — 3,452

Richard Buontempo (R) — 3,435

Board of education

Three will serve three-year terms. 

Rita Della Valle — 2,491

Lisa A. Carbone — 3,634

Kristen Mallon — 2,737

Kurt T. Petschow, Jr. — 2,995

One will serve a one-year unexpired term. 

Daniel DeMarco — 3,204



The Dem death grip on the Union County Freeholders continues, as it does with Sheriff.

And the winner of the Governor’s race is Jon Corzine’s Legacy.




I am mystified as to how Moran stays employed. Well, not that mystified, it is the Star Ledger that employs him and I wouldn’t call them the “smart money”. Here’s his 5 Reasons to Vote for Murphy. And it contains a whole lot of stupid.


Let’s look at the top five reasons voters ought to get out and pull the lever for Murphy.

1. Start with President Trump. In the final stretch of the 2016 campaign, Guadagno recorded a mass-distribution phone call urging voters to support Trump, and she is now spreading the same kind of bile on immigration. As governor, we could expect her to make common cause with him on big issues like taxes and health care. No, thanks.

Republicans in Congress are watching this race, one of just two off-year elections in the country. A sharp rejection of Guadagno, with a heavy turnout, would make it crystal clear that their alliance with Trump puts their careers at risk. In this dangerous moment of our history, that alone is a compelling reason not just to vote, but to rent a bus, and drive all your friends to the polls as well.

So, a participating in a robocall supporting the national party nominee is enough to damn Guadagno. Okay.  But I doubt Republican Congressmen are paying much mind to a non-congressional race in a hopelessly corrupt state where Republican emigration has been occurring for years. Someone also needs to remind Tom that gerrymandering is a thing and most congress members will get reelected.

2. Remember the Christie baggage. Guadagno has been 100 percent loyal to Gov. Chris Christie, even his cuts to Planned Parenthood and his veto of sensible gun-control bills.

Lieutenant, Schmeutenant, she should have gone rogue and rebelled. That would have been rewarded. Granted, Christie has been a disappointment. To me mostly because of how little he did. He talked a lot, but little has changed. Plus NJ gun laws are insane. Cross a bridge from PA doing something completely legal and poof, you’re in deep. Just ask Josh Huff.

Read this paragraph twice and tell me where it’s logical. I’ll wait:

3. Murphy is better on property taxes. Yes, Guadagno based her campaign on this issue until her recent lurch towards Trump. But her convoluted plan to pay a portion of property taxes for middle-class families is a fake. At a cost $1.5 billion, it is the most expensive promise made by either candidate during this fiscal crisis, and Guadagno offers no credible way to cover the costs. Wasn’t Murphy supposed to be the reckless one?

Murphy offers tangible help. He wants to increase aid to public schools after years of frozen funding, a boost he would finance with a modest increase on incomes over $1 million. School costs account for the biggest chunk of property tax bills, by far, so boosting state aid should help contain future increases.

You see, increasing aid to public schools fixes property taxes! By increasing state taxes! On the evil corporations and rich people who have the means and ability to flee the state! This is the opposite way to fix the problem, which is reducing costs and waste if you didn’t realize that already. A side question, which schools would get even more aid? Think Cranford will get anything significant? Ha.

Here’s the next one:

4. Corporate tax loopholes. Murphy would stop the outrageous giveaways to big corporations. That starts by closing a tax loophole, known as combined reporting, that allows New Jersey companies to shift profits to paper entities in lower-tax states, costing the treasury about $300 million a year.

Why does NJ need corporate tax subsidies? Because the normal tax structure is not competitive and companies will leave. Eliminating subsidies will increase the incentive to bail from the state. Subsidies with jobs in the state is better than no jobs in the state because everybody left.

I have said previously, I am not enamored by any candidate, but does this sound like a convincing case?

So, blah blah blah on marijuana… and here’s the big close:

There is more. Murphy would rejoin the regional pact to fight climate change by reducing emissions from power plants. He’d also stop pilfering funds dedicated to restoring toxic sites and green energy.

He has a more ambitious list of liberal goals, like free community college, subsidies for day-care, and tax breaks for the working poor. But he admits all that is contingent on a burst of economic growth, a tacit admission that we can’t afford it all unless circumstances change.

Yes, he has deep flaws, he’ll have to learn the job on the fly, and he may even be a complete flop. His alliance with public worker unions is toxic. It helps explains his backward attitude on charter schools in poor cities, his resistance to the cuts in platinum health benefits for public workers, especially for teachers, and his refusal, at least for now, to embrace the 2 percent cap on salary boosts for cops and firefighters.

With Murphy we’ll have more expensive electricity, or we’ll have to get it from PA, as power plants would likely scale back or close. But we’ll still be good with the grid and that big uptick in economic growth!

And even with a huuuuuuuge public pension gap we’ll still get free community college and more government handouts.  Where will that money come from? Where will the economic growth come from? The Amazon warehouses by the turnpike?

Here is the best sentence of the whole piece: “His alliance with public worker unions is toxic.” This was a trait that Corzine had that baffled me. He loved (literally, it turned out) the public sector unions. He didn’t need their money or was beholden to them to get elected. And he was so awful that a Republican beat him after only one term. In the private sector, a union unchecked can either drive their employer to bankruptcy or make them retreat to a friendlier business environment. With a public sector union, we are the employer. They will push until we are bankrupt or we leave for a friendlier environment.

So after Murphy’s carpetbombing of the Star Ledger with advertisements for over a year, I guess Moran felt indebted to write something nice.

We’re in for a long four years.

I’m rooting for gridlock.


A judge threw out the lawsuit filed by the purchasers of the Westfield house claiming that “The Watcher” letters scared them half to death and the sellers should be liable.


And I think that’s good.

Either it’s the silliest piece of low-grade stalking ever or it was an addle-minded hoax. I have long thought the latter.

With the suit ending, I don’t see any book or movie rights either. That is also good. It would make the Amityville Horror look like a cinematic masterpiece in comparison:


House Foyer, Twilight. Wife in business attire is sorting through the day’s mail. Menacing music as she goes past the gas bill, the electric bill and the ValPak(tm) coupons (gotta get the product placement in). Zoom in on hands and opener as they open the individual envelopes. Show the Watcher letter making its way to the top of the pile. Unsettling music becomes more frenetic. Wife opens the letter. Reads it. Zoom in on face as her eyes widen. Close up as she sets other mail on hall cabinet. She audibly exhales.

Wife: Great. Another letter from that dumbass weirdo.

End Scene.

In the name of public service, if you want to scam your sellers, start the threatening letters before you even make your offer. Make an at-the-asking or slightly above asking offer. Then do a few more letters before suing. Some minor physical property damage would be a plus to make it more convincing.

But even if you do that, I think you’ll still lose.

I have a minor interest in knowing what the Broaddus’ were thinking. I don’t think I would get a straight answer though. Only their lawyer would know for sure.

So long, Watcher.

“The Watcher” 1905?-2017

Been a fun summer, with some of it spent here in town.

With the rain at the July 4th fireworks, my thought was that they didn’t want to make the mistake that they made with the Memorial Day Parade.

Verdict: They are 0-2. We got soaked to the skin. Decent show though but unfortunate that they started early. The next night we went to Clark and had a dry and enjoyable experience. They put on a pretty long show over there and there was plenty of room. Tip: The bridge over the pond on Raritan Road by Madison Hill Road is THE viewing place for those wanting to avoid traffic. There had to be 150 people there.

We have sampled some of the new-ish restaurants. Here are some notes:

River and Rail – Nice atmosphere, meh service bordering on clueless and forgettable food. But it looks like the clientele doesn’t really care as long as they have their Margarita or Coronita in their hands. I don’t understand why the owner is upset about the renovations to the substation, you really can’t see it with the trees lining South Avenue. Maybe he’ll want to be without power for 13 days sometime in order to have the preferred aesthetic.

By the way. RIP to the 1902 trolley station on the PSEG substation property.


Ciao Bello – Doesn’t this mean “Hey Guy” in Italian? Pluses: The eggplant parmesan was floured, not breaded (breaded eggplant parm is a heavy, greasy mess and is a major minus to me when eating Italian). The service was acceptable as was the food. The personal pizza came with a mound of arugula, which was good while being a bit of a surprise for the person ordering it.

Mr. Bin Sushi – They had good quality fish which we enjoyed; they are open surprisingly late. We’ve already been back.

A couple more weeks are left, maybe we’ll hit a few more places before the hordes come back.

Over in Westfield there is a lawsuit filed by recent homebuyers against the previous owners, the title insurance company and a letter writer who self-identifies as “the Watcher”.


The excerpts of the letter as in the articles are pretty chilling, but it seems to avoid making overt threats of harm. It’s like a mix between the Amityville Horror and the old movie “Burnt Offerings”, which I will leave you to Google.

If the first letter was sent five days before closing, and has never been an issue before…you will have to put me in the “this is a hoax” camp. If it is indeed a hoax, it’s not a bad one. But who would be the primary beneficiaries of the hoax?

Let’s suppose for a moment it’s real. Who could the person be? Someone crazy? Sure. There’s never a shortage of crazy people, even in Westfield (see List, John). But why would anyone fixate on a house on a fairly busy through street? Anyone besides a neighbor would be noticed. Someone placing a wireless camera? Possible, but it would eventually be discovered. A losing bidder? Perhaps. But the new owners have had the house up for sale until last week, per Zillow, anyway. They could have bought the house at a discount if they coveted it.


Also, by putting up the house for sale this past February, weren’t the new buyers about to commit the same wrong that they are claiming was inflicted on them? Do you think they would have disclosed the letters and the reason they never moved in?

I doubt it too.

I read the lawsuit. http://documents.gawker.com/the-watcher-lawsuit-1713657328

Having read it, I am more convinced than ever it is a hoax. Of course they are requesting a jury trial. Having served on a Union County jury myself and meeting fellow jurors, they probably have a good shot if they present themselves sympathetically enough.

But here’s the thing, if you’ve ever sold a house before and all of the rigamarole to get to the point of closing, is one creepy anonymous letter five days before closing sufficient enough to establish the precedent of giving the purchasers a free house plus another four million in cash?

Then wouldn’t everyone who has a bad case of buyer’s remorse start sending creepy letters a week before closing?

We’ll see how this pans out. My guess is that there will be a Lifetime movie in a few years.

UPDATE: If this lawsuit prevails, I am considering going into the creepy letter writing business for skittish home buyers. Letters will be creepy but no threats of actual harm or harassment. Just creepy. Options include being a humanized version of the house or Scooby-Doo type of villain. Written using Microsoft Word on Staples paper and Staples envelopes. Mailed with NYC postmark with no fingerprints or DNA (self-stick stamps and sponge for envelope sealing). Package would include series of letters – some prior to closing and some after. Flat fee and % commission based on damages obtained. Upcharges for extra creepiness, use of vintage stationary, use of vintage typewriter or anything requiring research on property history and/or local legends. Communication only via US Mail. Cash only in small used bills.

It could also be the start of a “work from home, make big money” empire.

However, I do have some ethical pangs about such a venture.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

May all of you have a great time with family and friends.

And may the Cowboys lose.

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