Archive for the ‘Blogfinger’s Opinions’ Category

By Alex Merto, NY Times, to illustrate this article below.

By Alex Merto, NY Times, to illustrate this article below.

By Paul Goldfinger, MD, FACC.    (I wrote this piece in 2014 but it could have been written yesterday.)

Since 2014, the damage being done to quality care is becoming much more clear.  By now most of you have gotten a taste of what the ACA has wrought. Yet there has been no discernible public outcry, but just speak privately to nurses, doctors and patients.

I do realize that as long as patients have insurance, they will put up with almost anything.

When someone I know was recently (2018)  in a horrible car crash and wound up at Jersey Shore hospital with serious injuries, he was tended to by a “trauma team” but no physician saw him until the next day;  and mistakes were made.

Here is the 2014 post:

In our Blogfinger series about the Affordable Care Act, I said that practice guidelines without flexibility for physicians to make individual decisions for patients would compromise quality. But since the details of how medicine would be practiced under the ACA was not available, I predicted that once care was actually provided under the new system, we would begin to see the worrisome truth.

Now, in an opinion piece published yesterday  (2014) in the New York Times*, and written by two doctors from the Harvard Medical School faculty, we find out that “financial forces largely hidden from the public are beginning to corrupt care and undermine the bond of trust between doctors and patients. Insurers, hospital networks, and regulatory groups have put in place both rewards and punishments that can powerfully influence your doctors decisions.”

This quote (above) is from the article written by Drs. Pamela Hartzband and Jerome Groopman, both well known authors on the subject of what’s right in the care of patients.

When I was learning to become a competent practicing physician, I was taught that patients should be viewed as individuals. In fact, it is those individual differences that make the practice of medicine so fascinating and demanding. For example, consider hypertension (high blood pressure.) Between the different causes, complicating factors, various manifestations, and the myriad of drug combinations and interactions, each patient poses a unique challenge.

High blood pressure, a extremely common condition, cannot possibly be reduced to guidelines that are suitable for the group as a whole. Doctors must be able to treat each case individually, and, their professionalism must be trusted to make the right decisions. What is the point of spending about 10 years of one’s life becoming a doctor if bureaucrats turn the profession into a mindless field governed by mandatory robotic rules, financial priorities, and staffed by unsupervised non-physicians?

It is now becoming apparent that the new health plan is providing regulations and incentives that compromise the doctor-patient relationship. Physicians have a moral imperative to place the patient’s best interests first. That is one of the prime values for the practice of medicine. But to adhere to that imperative is becoming more difficult.

The cat is now out of the bag.  The public must pay heed  to what their doctors are saying about this situation.  My own doctors, almost uniformly, say to me, “You got out just in time.”  Many have become employees of large corporations.

According to Drs. Groopman and Hartzband, “The power now belongs, not to physicians, but to insurers and regulators that control payment”   In other words, the bottom line is becoming the top line.

To help patients understand what conflicts of interest may be occurring in their care, the authors say, “We propose a …..public website to reveal the hidden coercive forces that may specify treatments and limit choices through pressures on the doctor.”

The Times opinion piece concludes by saying, “Medical care is not just another marketplace commodity.  Physicians should never have an incentive to override  the best interest of their patients.”

NYTimes article    *

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Photograph from “Pioneer Days of Ocean Grove” by Mrs. W.B. Osborn


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @ Blogfinger.   (First posted on BF in 2010)

Several weeks ago we received a flyer about an event sponsored by the Old Corlies Preservation Association (OCPA). It seemed innocuous enough when we posted it, until we read to the bottom where it said, “Hamilton—the birthplace of Neptune and Ocean Grove.”  Hamilton is the site of an early settlement near Old Corlies Road. Its earliest name was Shark River Village, then Greenville, and then it was called Hamilton in 1875, after the founding of OG.  There was a church there, but it burned down in 1940 along with all its historic records.

Their claim was surprising, because it didn’t agree with the usual narrative of Ocean Grove’s founding.  We contacted the OCPA and received an unsigned email linking to a YouTube video. Their claim is based on the assertion that Ocean Grove’s founding father Reverend William B. Osborn, was working for the Hamilton church when he went off to start the community of OG.  This seemed like a pretty flimsy linkage, so we hit the history books.

According to our references, Rev. Osborn promoted the camp meeting concept with the support of the Methodist Conference in New Jersey, and it was his energy, commitment, and enthusiasm which resulted eventually in the founding of Ocean Grove.  The idea was first presented in 1867 at a national camp meeting conference in Vineland, and the group appointed Rev. Osborn as their official agent to find a suitable site in New Jersey. After an extensive search up and down the Jersey coast, the site now known as Ocean Grove was chosen by Osborn in 1868. Rev. Osborn named the town and he recruited a group of supporters from places like Farmingdale, Philadelphia and Long Branch.

A group of them set up tents in the summer of 1869 and had the first prayer meeting on July 31, 1869, among the bushes, trees, briars, and dunes at a location now known as Founders’ Park.  In December 1869, the founders met in Trenton and set up the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. Rev Osborn was named as the first superintendent in Ocean Grove and he was also assigned a part time job  to help support his family, performing Sunday services at the church in Greenville (later known as the Hamilton Methodist Church).

Our historical sources give Rev. Osborn credit for the founding of Ocean Grove, but Mr. Ted Bell, Ocean Grove historian, tells us that more research will be necessary before we can come to a definite conclusion about the Hamilton claim. In any case, it seems clear that the claim should be formally evaluated by the Historical Society of Ocean Grove  and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association,  in order to set the record straight.

Editor’s note:  Subsequently, the OCPA gave up its paternity claim regarding Hamilton as the “birthplace” of Ocean Grove.   PG, editor.



1. History of Neptune Township. “Four Score and Five”. 1964

2. History of Ocean Grove. Gibbons. 1944

3. History of Monmouth County, 1964

4. “Pioneer Days of Ocean Grove.” Mrs. W.B. Osborn   c1910. This book was written by Rev. Osborn’s wife, but her first name is not given in the book.

5. “Footprints in My Own Life.”  An autobiography by E.H. Stokes, 1898.

6. Mr. Ted Bell, historian.  Historical Society of Ocean Grove.

7. Mrs. Marion Bauman, director of the Neptune Township Public Library

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On March 12, 2011, 27 Surf Avenue was turned into an empty lot. Another home later was built there. Blogfinger photo by Ted Aanensen, Blogfinger staff. ©

On March 12, 2011, 27 Surf Avenue was turned into an empty lot. Another home later was built there. Photo by Ted Aanensen, Blogfinger staff. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger

This is getting ridiculous. First we had the Manchester Inn conflagration on March 13, 2010 and then there was the destructive Surf Avenue fire on March 11, 2011.  Recently a tent burned down—that’s enough to make anybody tense.

Now we add the Main Avenue fire of February 6, 2015. Throughout Ocean Grove’s history there have been many fires which destroyed tinder box buildings including large hotels and boarding hoses.

But you would think that we would have been able to avoid repeats by using superior technology. Of course, many cases are due to human carelessness, and even Smoky the Bear can’t prevent that.

In 2011, an article in Blogfinger questioned the quality of fire investigations in Ocean Grove by County investigators.  Here is a link to a review of that subject. Hopefully they have improved in that area.  Note that none of these fires were found to be suspicious, not even the tent fire where the electricity and gas had been turned off. Spontaneous combustion perhaps?  And how about the “Friday February Fire of 2015?”  We’re told that it is “currently under investigation.”

Fire investigators article Blogfinger 2011

So now we have another big fire which will leave a large empty lot on Main Avenue, sort of like the large lots we acquired around the Manchester Inn and on Surf Ave. in the past.

In those locations, opulent single family homes went up. Before the Manchester burned there was talk of converting the building into condos, but that was not to be. Interestingly, the owner of that Inn said that rebuilding the hotel was economically unfeasible.

The Sampler was demolished,  and that site remains empty, awaiting construction of two Victorian wannabes. Meanwhile we have another blank space on Main Avenue.

The other double empty lot on the second Beach block of Main Ave. will be where Mary’s Place will be constructed.  I think something burned down there in the past.  (anybody know?)  That zoning story was discussed recently on BF.

So what will happen to the new vacant lots at the site of Friday’s fire?  Based on past experience, whatever happens will not be decided by the citizens, no matter how many hearings are held.  Representative government in this town is in some respects deficient, at least as far as those who live here are concerned.  Transparency of processes needs to be improved, such as in the zoning arena.  But, if we are dissatisfied , whose fault is that?  Just look in the mirror.






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Mt. Hermon Way, 2009. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Mt. Hermon Way, 2009. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Ocean Grove, 2010.  Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Ocean Grove, 2010. Paul Goldfinger photo ©


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Yesterday the OGHOA sent a memo to its members saying ,”Residents are reminded that the Township Committee has passed and will enforce an ordinance requiring all Township residents to keep sidewalks abutting their property clear of snow and ice. The ordinance requires that snow and ice be removed within 12 daylight hours of a snowfall.”

It goes on to say that summonses will be issued to those who do not comply, as was done last winter. The OGHOA also warned those who are away when there is a snowstorm to make “arrangements for snow removal.” This is a big issue because so many OG houses are vacant much of the time  in the winter.

This HOA memo makes it sound like the ordinance was just passed earlier this year. However, ordinance 13-2 was actually written in 1988 and it has never been changed.  It’s not clear that it, like some other ordinances in town, was ever enforced in the past. The law also says that if you do not comply, the Township will do the work for you and then slap a lien onto your property tax bill.


This notice was left for and OG homeowner last March.  Blogfinger file photo.  ©

This notice was left for an OG homeowner last March. Blogfinger file photo. ©

Rick Cuttrell, the Township Clerk, was less rigid about the possible enforcement of this law, especially given all the logistical problems that would occur. He said, “If you don’t do it, you are at risk.” He said that last year there was a complaint by Ocean Grover Ken Buckley of Broadway who slipped on some sidewalk ice and nearly had a terrible injury. Ken asked for better enforcement of the ordinance for safety reasons, and the Township Committee promised to do just that.

Cuttrell reminisced about how he and others who grew up in the Grove went around town to shovel walks. But these days, that is an uncertain proposition. He said that the hardware store in town has a list of properties that they take responsiblity for.

Whenever there is a significant snowfall or ice storm in Ocean Grove, the NTPD usually has its hands full with traffic problems, downed lines and accidents.   And the Township usually is overwhelmed by trying to plow and clear the streets, much less the sidewalks.  Also, to “clear the ice away” is impossible in freezing weather.  The best that can be done for ice is to sprinkle ice melt on it.

It’s hard to imagine how this ordinance can be enforced predictably and equally, so there may be some issues of equal justice under the law.

In addition, there are some questions having to do with signage and moving cars to the correct side. Remember, there is to be no parking on the north and west sides of our streets, some of which have signs, while others do not. But regardless of signs, this rule is supposed to be followed.  Then how will the towing be handled?

In Part II of this article, we will be discussing enforcement issues surrounding snow storms, including parking and towing,  with the NTPD.

As for the Home Groaners Association, it was so nice of them to send that one paragraph warning around. But have they given any thought to the problems inherent to this situation and all its ramifications? Maybe their next meeting should be about this problem, taxes, winter crime, solutions to flooding, etc instead of worrying about health insurance.

KATE AND ANNA McGARRIGLE: “Talk to Me of Mendocino”

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This flier is available at the Neptune DPW office on Heck Avenue.

This flier is available at the Neptune DPW office on Heck Avenue.  It will be more annoying and legible if you click on it.

When we wrote about the new single stream recycling program in August, 2013, we tried  to get the Township to spell out what is allowed and what is forbidden. But we never received the list of specifics that was promised to us. Monmouth County  has a very specific list, but the Township was evidently winging it, with no specifics to worry about.

BF recycling article 8/12/13

Today we put out two plastic trays, but the truck left them at the curb. Other plastic items were not refused including a plastic liner for one of the two curbside rejects.

Two plastic trays rejected by the recycling pickup on Wed. Oct. 8  Blogfinger photo

Two plastic trays rejected by the recycling pickup on Wed. Oct. 8 Blogfinger photo

So we went to recycling headquarters at the DPW office on Heck Avenue, Neptune. There we were given a color printed flier  (a “Residential Guide to Single Stream Recycling”)  that details the do’s and don’ts of recycling. We were  assured that this information had been made available to everyone back when the program was initiated in May, 2013, but somehow we missed the memo. Also the recycling web address (neptunetownship.org/departments/public-works/recycling) didn’t work, and we could not find any details on the Township web site.  They also have fliers for electronic waste and paint disposal.

However, this flier contains some very interesting information, and it is apparent that we all need to examine our trash very carefully if we are to comply. Here are some of the highlights or trashlights:

1.You need to examine plastic containers to be sure that they all have #1 to #7 within a small triangle on the bottom.  They would like you to rinse out all the glass and metal containers.

2. Plastic bags are not permitted. Don’t even place your recyclables in plastic bags. Most plastics are not allowed.

3. No items, such as pizza boxes, can be recycled if there is food on or in them.

4. No electronic devices such as TV’s or computers can be put out; they must be taken to the Recycling Center on Heck Avenue near the High School.

5. Paint cans, including latex ones—even empties, must go to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility at 3211 Shafto Road in Neptune.  (No appt. necessary)

6. No scrap metal, plastic lids/caps, window panes/mirrors, Styrofoam, paper-to-go containers, batteries, ceramics, stickers or food.

7. The reverse side of the flier is about pickup zones, but it is not relevant for OG which has Wed. pickups for recycling for the entire town of OG.

Any questions?  Call 732-776-8797  x602  or email to dpw@neptunetownship.org   (or, 1-800-TRAS)

So, I’m curious. Have any of you suffered rejection at the hands of the Neptune recycling men?   Also, has anyone been punished for putting an illegal item, like a tuna on toast, into their recycling can?   If there is no enforcement, can the Town realistically expect people to pay attention to these details?    And finally,  can  recycling be considered purely voluntary,  and can you recycle your green can?

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger



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Coaster, page 31, July 11, 2013

Coaster, page 31, July 11, 2013

In an insensitive and mean-spirited article in yesterday’s Coaster, the paper has dredged up a piece of insulting, nasty material on page 31.  Did they think this article is funny?  Why did they choose to run this highly offensive piece? What is the point?  And how can they dismiss a horrid  (and  undocumented ) NY Times quote as “playful.”  If they wanted to write about Ocean Grove history, do you think they could have chosen something else?

This is clearly an attempt to ridicule and demean a respected Ocean Grove Christian organization. The image reminds me of caricatures of Jews in 1930’s Germany.

This is not the first time they have offended the Grove. You might recall the brouhaha about a photograph that portrayed our town as a post-Sandy battle zone, unworthy of tourist attention. Here is a link to that BF article:    May 17, 2013

And don’t forget  when the  Coaster insulted Ocean Grovers by their assertions regarding gay/CMA issues in the Grove and trying to relate those issues to the FEMA controversy.  Here is a link to that BF article.   March 28, 2013

The Coaster should apologize to the CMA and to the town of Ocean Grove. We don’t need such harsh negativity coming from our local newspaper, especially  when we are still struggling to  bring our town back from the Sandy devastation.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger

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It’s 9:30 a.m., Sunday July 7, and two guys are using high decibel equipment to cut the grass and blow the debris off a nearby property.  The noise is deafening and destroys the beauty of a breezy sunny morning. When they finished with the grass, two other workers at a neighboring house joined in a loud percussive duet with hammers—banging away at a porch roof.

People are already out, bike riding, strolling with friends, children playing in the park, and dog owners airing out their best friends. Perhaps some are still sleeping after a late Saturday night carousing in the Grove.  They probably have their windows open enjoying the still cool fresh air.

Is it asking too much to get some noise relief, at least on Sunday morning.?  It’s not a religious issue. It is part of an Ocean Grove tradition—what’s left of it.   Can’t  we all enjoy one morning free from the  din that disrupts the peace every other morning?

This is really about respect for each other, or perhaps we could say that it is about disrespect.

Anyhow, if we can ban second-hand smoke on our beaches and in our parks, then how about a noise ordinance, at least  for the summer months, on Sunday  (or dare I say Saturday and Sunday)  mornings? We really could use some Sunday kind of love, but keep the volume down.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger


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Saturday, June 15, 3:30 p.m. The mini-me section of the remaining boardwalk is busy at the north end, near the pavilion. People are walking north and taking a left turn to the Craft Show or heading toward Asbury Park. Others (see photo) walk south and then vanish.

The beaches at the north and south ends are busy. But center city, i.e. the sandy-grassy strip area which used to be boardwalk is almost desolate. In the past, the boardwalk would be busy along its entire length on a sunny June Saturday, but now, it seems that the foot traffic, which used to walk to and fro in that middle area, has dissipated. Hardly anyone is walking along in the sand and on the grass.

Maybe it’s just because of the Craft Show. We need to watch this phenomenon, because it may be a harbinger of economic slowing. Maybe the CC should study the pedestrian traffic at the beach front.- Maybe we should withhold judgement until July—-Paul, editor @Blogfinger


This photo is just south of the Pavilion this afternoon, June 15, 2013. The good news is that there are lots of young adults in town—more so than I have ever seen. The town is getting older, but the Grovers are getting younger. Are rock concerts in the GA far behind? Will Mick Jagger perform here before he needs a hip replacement like Johnny Mathis? —PG photo.


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Attn FEMA:  This is Ocean Grove--look at us as people, not as a "private non-profit"     PG photo on Mt. Hermon Way. Click left to enlarge the point

Attn FEMA: This is Ocean Grove–look at us as people, not as a “private non-profit” PG photo on Mt. Hermon Way. Click left to enlarge the point

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

The Ocean Grove -FEMA Kabuki dance goes on.  It’s like torture because so little real information is provided by the various parties. Why does FEMA reveal so little about how it makes these decisions?  Why did FEMA approve us in 1992, but not now?

FEMA, in this situation, is like an onion—you can try to peel back the layers, but all it does is make us cry.  Why is there such secrecy?  A blackout on detailed information just creates a vacuum and causes people to believe that sinister forces are at play.  Are they?

What did State Senator Jennifer Beck mean when she said that FEMA is “splitting hairs” by denying the Grove their boardwalk, while approving other beach towns around here?  She seems to be the only public official thinking creatively about the situation. Just yesterday, in NJ.com, she said,  “The Ocean Grove boardwalk has been recognized as public property since at least 1908 when a Monmouth County court ruling exempted it from taxation because it had been designated a public highway.”  Wow!

What did the Governor mean when he said that he would get involved if we received a FEMA appeal denial?  Is there some sort of secret blueprint to help the Grove, or is he just posturing for the voters?  Since FEMA is a federal agency, perhaps the Gov has his eyes on some other source of financial help.

We tried to reach Sen. Beck, but so far we are waiting for her return call.  We also tried to reach Mr. delCampo, but it seems we will have to wait until the community leadership meeting tomorrow night to hear the official CMA position.    Of course, the CMA has to play politics as well—they must be careful how they navigate these waters.

Meanwhile, the citizens of Ocean Grove are learning a new dance step—it’s called “doing the sandy strip,” as they figure out how to maintain a beach-town lifestyle that revolved around their boardwalk, going back to the origins of the Grove over 140 years ago.  They are baffled as to why they, taxpayers just like the ones in Belmar, Seaside, Asbury,  Lavallette, Spring Lake, and Avon, are not able to rebuild their boardwalk with FEMA money.

Why are they being singled out?   The Ocean Grove boardwalk provides the same services to  OG citizens as do those in other towns, so why is FEMA allowing a regulatory technicality to prevent fair treatment for the folks from the Grove?  The reason FEMA has given seems flimsy through the eyes of taxpayers.  FEMA has focused like a laser on the Camp Meeting Association, calling them “private-non profit” like a robotic mantra, without turning their attention to the people of this town who are as deserving of help as anybody else at the Shore. Why should it make any difference that the boardwalk is privately owned?  It is a public facility!

And as for the press,  today’s Asbury Park Press provides a fluff piece to follow up on the denial, but they have made no effort to really dig into the situation. The big-time local press, other than NJ.com,  hasn’t done any real investigative reporting on this issue—I guess this is not important enough, but this isn’t the first time that OG has made news which could have a ripple effect all the way to Washington.  It happened during the 1979 battle over who would run this town. That one went up to the front door of the Supreme Court. Then the gay-Methodist controversy over discrimination at the Ocean Pavilion in 2007 also had national implications.  And most recently, we had the battle over the Neptune High School (church vs state) graduation in the Great Auditorium.   Maybe this time, Congress might want to see if individuals in FEMA have an ax to grind when it comes to the small-town American place called Ocean Grove.

Meanwhile Grovers, keep dancing—here’s some beach music:


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Blogfinger is currently running a poll which asks, “Should there be a prayer at the start of each Home Owners Meeting?” We have over 130 participants so far, with 52% voting no, 44% voting yes and the rest are undecided. There are a variety of reasons why someone would vote one way or another, but having 52% vote “no” means that Ocean Grovers are very careful to be respectful towards their neighbors, because no one has publicly complained about that prayer.

Religion has played a central role in the life of Ocean Grove, and does today, so it is not surprising that there is a tradition of prayer prior to Home Owners meetings, even though the organization itself is secular.

Ocean Grove is a unique, quirky, fascinating and diverse town, and most of its residents prefer not to disturb the delicate balance. We have had some clashes, such as the pavilion controversy, but most Grovers are used to the religious practices here; they see them as part of the fabric of life and they don’t want to quarrel, even those who are not so keen on religion themselves. It is interesting, however, that this poll, if conducted 25 years ago, would likely have had few “no” votes. Many of the new people in town now are second homers who seem more inclined toward secular life styles. The poll does strongly suggest that the demographics here are evolving, and it gives us a bit of data to consider when we wonder “who are we?”

We hope that our poll will offer folks the incentive to discuss these matters. But there is no argument at this time, it is not our intention to start one, and the OGHOA is a private organization that will choose its own policies.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

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