I am glad that Michael Vitkansas finds amusement while reading other peoples letters that point out the short comings of Middletown’s mayor and others in his beloved Republican Party. Truth be told, Vitkansas is a strong and active member of the elite Middletown Republicans that he tries to protect by spreading misleading and sometimes inflammatory information about others. As a Republican County Committeeman representing his district in Middletown, Vitkansas has often allowed himself to be used as a tool for the local Republican machine and as reward he now sits on a number of local boards and commissions, which makes his invocation of the “patriots of the TEA Party” laughable in and of itself.

In his most recent lapdog attack letter, Vitkansas goes after letter writer Jeff Blumengold for critising the poor job that mayor Gerard Scharfenberger and his GOP majority has done in their planning on how to run Middletown over the past 5 years, by attacking Democrat Sean Byrnes.

In his letter, Vitkansas tries to label Byrnes as a socialist liberal who favors COAH, supports teachers, unions and high property taxes in his attempt to persuade readers into believing something that is just not so.

Those that know Committeeman Byrnes would describe him as a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. Over the 3 years that he has been a Middletown committeeman, Byrnes has made many suggestion on how to reign in the local spending that has resulted in tax hikes of over 39% to the municipal tax rate over the past 5 years, since mayor Scharfenberger has sat on the committee.  He has never voted to supported a Township budget that has included a tax increase, including the most recently adopted 2010 budget which raises the municipal tax rate by 11.8%

Committeeman Byrnes has repeatedly stated over his 3 years on the Township Committee that programs like COAH need to be revamped and revised so that the burden of such programs do not fall onto local taxpayers. Mr. Vitkansas and others that oppose Mr. Byrnes however, point out his vote to rezone the Avaya property in Lincroft that rezoned the property from industrial to residential in order to meet Middletown’s state mandated COAH obligation as proof that he is not sincere or straightforward. Allow me to point out though, that the ones that are not being straightforward and sincere with Middletown residents are Vitkansas and his fellow GOP supporters that attack Byrnes on this issue. After all, it was his friends on the republican dominated Middletown Planning/Zoning Board that came up with the plan to rezone the Avaya property so that the Township would be in compliance with COAH, not Byrne’s’. And at the time mayor Scharfenberger, Pam Brightbill and Tony Fiore, all current Republican members of the Township Committee, approved this rezoning.

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Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean in residency at Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park
Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean at Langosta

Sean Byrnes knows that having a strong middle-class is the backbone and foundation of our State as well as our Country. He realizes that education plays a leading role in establishing that foundation and supports teachers and unions in general, knowing that without them there would be no middle-class as we know it today.  That being said however, Mr. Byrnes has repeatedly been on the record as saying that he supports Gov. Christie’s “Tool Kit”, that reforms need to be made in order to level the playing field during contract negotiations and that state union members should be expected to contribute more to their healthcare costs.

If supporting Committeeman Sean Byrnes and his record as a member of the Middletown Township Committee, in his re-election bid this November labels me as being “socialist liberal” so be it. I love being a socialist liberal who opposes high taxes, government mismanagement and the entrenchment of the long-standing Republican ruling class.

I also happen to think that those “remarkable patriots in the Tea Party movement” that are “growing in numbers more and more with each passing day” are intelligent enough to know the difference as well.


Michael Morris

Middletown NJ

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...