Tuesday, April 13, 2010

RIP Joe Locricchio - The Savior of The Manalapan Republicans

There was a reason da Manalapan Democrats, and even some Republicans had such disdain for Joe Locricchio, who passed away last week of apparent health-related issues at da young age of 45.

It's true he had his enemies. Manalapan Democrats hated him because he wouldn't agree to backroom deals. He wouldn't agree to helping out their patronage and having da taxpayers pay for it. He said "No" to pet projects and "Yes" to serving da taxpayers.

There were also certain Manalapan "RINO" Republicans who didn't like him either. When some in da party leadership said "jump," he said "jump on this."

From 1999 to 2003, da Manalapan Republicans had as much power in Manalapan as a horse in a glue factory. They lost elections by landslides, while residents lost tax money by a larger landslide. In 2003, a very rotund Locricchio went door to door, using his charisma and charm and his message to change perceptions of voters to cast a ballot for da Republican instead of da status quo. Taking on a popular incumbent, he lost by a mere 60 votes in a contested recount.

All of a sudden, da Republican party in Manalapan had hope.

In 2004, he ran again, believing his message of cutting taxes and getting rid of local political corruption was da right one for Manalapan. His running mate in da height of da election withdrew, and a young unknown named Andy Boy joined da ticket. Locricchio would not only carry that spectacularly unqualified and young inexperienced unknown over da finish line, he brought home a landslide victory for Republicans who won their first two seats since 1998!

Yes, Joltin Joe Locricchio resurrected da Manalapan Republican Party!

Almost immediately, both "Joltin Joe" and Andy Boy found themselves in da middle of a hate storm. At each turn, they were challenged on their tax cutting pledge to lower taxes that were flying through da rooves of Manalapan homes. With true bipartisan support thanks to a courageous "Dollar Bill," and without making backroom deals they cut taxes for da first time in Manalapan memory. During that time, da then-dynamic duo faced incredible ridicule and in many cases ruthless acts of character assassination against them.

In one truly bizarre case, a former mayor lumbered up to da podium and suggested that both Locricchio and Lucas shouldn't even be on da Manalapan Township Committee -- because -- of all things --- they didn't own land in Manalapan! Joe rented a condo (much like Corzine did when he ran for governor), and Lucas lived with his parents. For those reasons, they were some, at least one, who wanted them to resign!!!

However, as many of his enemies soon began to figure out, Joltin Joe was not one to hide in a corner or take undue scorn quietly. He challenged his attackers, and stood up to da bullies who seemed to work overtime to derail his tax-cutting plans.

Then, there were da causes he championed that were harpooned at every turn by some politicians who seemingly did everything they could to stop what he wanted.

When he wanted to get money for a new home to replace da obsolete home of da Manalapan First Aid Squad, he was rebuffed.

In 2005, he voted for and led a charge for a shared services study, da prelude to a plan to lower municipal taxes.

Joltin Joe was also able to get a special counsel to investigate conflict of interest claims against former manalapan Township Attorney "Conflict of Interest" Kinneally.

Joltin Joe tried to attack corruption with the proposal of a Township Ethics Board, a plan he championed but was defeated by a full Democratic majority.

Joltin Joe also worked feverishly on getting Manalapan to adopt the toughest anti-corruption ordinance in the state. That vote was also defeated, also by a full majority Democratic vote.

Why would da Democrats, led by da Queen, not want to have ethics given more scrutiny in Manalapan? Why would da Democrats, led by da Queen, not want to put a stop to local corruption and pay-to-play?

He was also in favor of da Village, something his former running mate was once in favor of before he flip-flopped and is now against. To be fair, some of his handlers were also in favor of da Village before they too became against it. There are some who say that when Andy Boy flipped on da Village, it was a "Gray" day in Manalapan history.

All da while, there were some in da very inner circles of da Manalapan GOP'er leadership who were growing weary of Locricchio getting da headlines and giving da newspaper statements. There were also some who believed his support - or lack of support - on issues close to them, despite not being da issues da people wanted - was not good for them despite being right for da voters. All of a sudden, Joltin Joe was being attacked from within by certain members of da leadership.

Then, came a defining moment in Manalapan history that forever changed da perception of Manalapan from a quiet family oriented town to one that some perceived as a hotbed of hatred and racism.

During a meeting in 2006, da GOP'er Municipal Chairman, da Grand Poobah spoke during da public session and what he said apparently did not make da husband of Committeewoman Da Queen very happy. Larry Roth then went to speak, making claims and accusations. When he was specifically quizzed about a certain issue, Joltin Joe asked Lawrence of Manalapan a simple and innocent question. Lawrence of Manalapan thought for a brief second before uttering da words that are now connected to him forever --- "BECAUSE I HATE ITALIANS!"

At that point, da meeting paused. Tapes of da meeting show Andy Boy looked up in utter disbelief at what he heard. Joltin Joe couldn't believe it either, and had no real replay except to say in amazement, "Yea, whatever."

While a certain few started playing da blame game, with da Roth's blaming an Irishman, da Snoozer editor blaming daTruthSquad and then blaming itself, Italian-American groups were outraged and planned protests. And, Joltin Joe, angered by da comment, made sure that unlike a local Snoozepaper, this injection of bigotry would not get swept under da Manalapan Township Committee rug.

This "BECAUSE I HATE ITALIANS" incident also drove a wedge between da Roths and former Committeeman Mr. Anthony Gennaro, who withdrew from da Manalapan Democrats in protest. Knowing da character and integrity of Mr. Gennaro, he obviously discovered something about his former friends that smelled bad enough to warrant him to put on a gas mask around them.

Of course, after that, da Roth's and their supporters turned on Mr. Gennaro in ways that their former 20-year friendship is now factured beyond repair.

That move, simply put, broke da Democratic strangelhold on Manalapan and da Manalapan Republicans had an opportunity to make things even better in town - unless of course - could it have been a backroom deal between some Democrats and Republicans to seize power and control of things to keep da power within their little circle happened? If that was da case, then that too could be characterized as another "Gray" day in Manalapan political history.

Joe would later be forced to step down from politics due to his ongoing health issues. He wasn't perfect. He had issues of weight, he also smoked. He had other issues that would later come to haunt him. He made mistakes. He was human.

As he has passed away now, Joltin Joe truly left his mark on da world. Left behind was a loving ex-wife, and two young boys who God-willing will turn out to be two fine and upstanding men.

At his wake, when if you looked carefully you might possibly have seen daTruthSquad sitting in one of those fancy funeral home chairs during da evening, there was an outpouring of grief at Joe's passing, and support from friends and even those who didn't always see eye-to-eye with Joltin Joe.

No Roth - No Ward - No surprise.

Joe also left behind a great political legacy. He will be remembered as da only Republican ever to serve on da Manalapan Township Committee who NEVER raised taxes during his time in office! He will be remembered for standing up to corruption, and not handing over his morals to those who thirst for power and to control da town. And, he will be remembered for being da person who put da Manalapan Republicans back on da map.

Simply put, it wasn't da Municipal Chairman who put Manalapan's GOP back on da map. It was Joltin Joe who resurrected da party and breathed life into it - and then handed da torch to others to carry da GOP gauntlet forward.

It was his narrow of narrow losses in 2003 that led to da Manalapan GOP'ers landmark landslide victory in 2004. There is nobody else who can lay stake to that claim. He helped inject new blood into a party getting older. He was one of those who helped revitalize da local GOP'ers club - and he never needed anyone else to carry him over da finish line.

Unfortunately for Joltin Joe, there were some GOP'ers who turned their backs on him, whether it be for lust of power, jealousy, or fear he was taking attention away from them. That was also something that led to his downfall. However, though his sacrifices have come a new generation of people who wish to do da right thing.

Susan Cohen was told she would not have da support of da GOP'er political machine when she ran for office three years ago. She pulled a page from Joltin Joe and stood her ground -- and not only won, but helped carry over da finish line da running mate that turned his back on her.

Patriotic Americans like Steve Johnson and Butch Budai work tirelessly to help keep da GOP strong, despite objections by some in powerful positions politically. Recently, Joey D stood his ground and voted against a school tax increase. Despite being outnumbered, he pulled a page from Joltin Joe and led a fight to get that tax increase lowered. And he's not done fighting yet. As our readers have seen, there are many who want Joey D to take his tax-cutting ways to higher offices and run for Township Committee. Maybe he should.

Now, there are some concerns with folks like Susan, Joey D, Steve and Butch. They apparently have a problem with authority - or, to be fair, their belief that authority isn't working in da best interest of da people. You see, there are those in GOP'er leadership committees who want these four people to "Baa" like sheep and follow orders blindly. Like Joltin Joe was not, these four are not followers. Instead, they put da people first, and there's no place in their lives for backroom deals and corruption. Obviously, Joltin Joe has had an impact.

Joe, you have passed away, and while your death was a shock to many know in your passing that there were many who understood your message. In your short time here, you were da reason da Manalapan GOP'ers became strong once again. Your plan to cut taxes saved Manalapan residents a lot of $$$$$. Your calls to stop corruption, while not stopping it, slowed it down for two years. And da fact you had enemies showed you were on da right track.

Rest in Peace, Joltin Joe, da resurrector of da Manalapan GOP.


Anonymous said...

Well stated. With all of his shortcomings, Joe had more character and integrity than all the political powers that be in Manalapan put together. If you were under attack in a foxhole, who would you rather have next to you, Joe or people like Lucas, McEnery, Ward, Roth, Hartigan, Stone and Baratta? It's a sad day for Manalapan.

Anonymous said...

True Joe did have his problems, both health and otherwise. But you are right. He did bring hope to a party I am a part of that was floundering under McEnery. His victory did set into motion other victories. And yes, his Republican principles were true Republican principles. He would have never stood for the backroom deals that have happened since he left politics. Right on Squad.

Anonymous said...

Well written T-Squad.

Rest in peace Joe.

Anonymous said...

Squad, you were there in the evening? You do get around.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Squaddo was there. Wasn't Stu at the evening wake?

Anonymous said...

whither one goest, the other shall go.

Anonymous said...

Nice posting Stu.

Anonymous said...

Our prayers go out to his wife and children. Rest in peace Joe.

Anonymous said...

Joe had a lot of troubles, but he was a descent and kind person with a heart of gold and was always one to get you to laugh. That's what I won't forget about him.

Anonymous said...

The Squad is right about Joe's character. He would stand up to anyone. He was a funny person who tried to do the right thing, and he was a Republican's Republican. My prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

My condolences to the Locricchio family.

Not to change the subject, but any info on that school vote coming up?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about Joe. He was a good man.

Anonymous said...

nice sentiment but if you're going to eulogize someone, maybe removing the bitter partisan bickering would have been more appropriate. I think you could certainly reflect on the heated political battles, but it seemed in poor taste

Anonymous said...

Anyone who knew Joe knew he fought partisan bickering the whole time he was a part of Manalapan politics. I guess it must come with the territory. Rest in peace, Joe.

Anonymous said...


While I hate to defend Roth, truth be told it was a sarcastic response to a comment made about him earlier that evening. Listen to the ENTIRE tape of that meeting.

The republican machine decided to turn Manalapan in to a laughing stock by publicizing the event and blowing it 100% out of proportion. All for political gain. If Joe was as great as you make him out to be, he would have said what he knew to be true- Larry was being sarcastic based on comments made earlier that evening.

As for any visual things that went on that night, Where is the video of this meeting?? This was prior to MTTN recording meeting.

Just like the "real press", when events and topics I am familiar with are misrepresented by a "news source" (including bloggers), I have to question all of the information I am not well informed on.