News Roundup & Open Thread—Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Good morning, Blue Jersey fam! Just a quick reminder to all Millennials and Baby Boomers:

Gen X is America’s Middle Child, like Central NJ Is the State’s Middle Child

The next president will be a Gen X-er and X-ers, born between 1965 and 1980, are slated to take leadership roles as half of country’s Boomers enter retirement this year.

Also, Central Jersey is back in a big way.

OK. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to work.

Get By With a Little Help from my Friends:

Some advice for Gov. Phil Murphy’s spokespersons: Remember, you’re public servants, “with a responsibility to be honest and forthcoming about the actions of state government,” or so say communications and policy experts Jon Shure and Jayne O’Connor. Bottom line? Don’t let it go to your head.

Get High with a Little Help from my Friends

Gov. Murphy yesterday ordered a 60-day review of New Jersey’s “constrained” medical marijuana program, saying he would consider allowing home delivery, purchases beyond the 2-ounce limit and expanding the number of licensed dispensaries to improve patient access.

But Not so Fast:

One thing that hasn’t been given too much attention is the tepid support of marijuana legalization in the state’s non-white communities. Legitimate concerns abound, including any law’s handling of expungements and criminal justice reform, as well as a general distrust of legalizing what the hostile Department of Justice views as a schedule 1 drug and what that could give a green light to further round up marginalized communities.

Sen. Ron Rice says black people are still arrested at a rate of nearly three times greater than whites for a violation of marijuana laws in states that have legalized marijuana. And he’s not alone. Count Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver as among the voices who have expressed concern.

Senate Leader’s Response to Murphy Agenda is “Positively Reaganesque”

Why are our legislative leaders harshing our mellow when it comes to Gov. Murphy’s bold agenda before anything is even discussed? NJ Spotlight points out that legislative threats of austerity in the face of high property taxes—as opposed to, say, efficient public investment and property tax reform—are a persistent throwback to 80s Reaganomics.

Reggie! Reggie!

New Jersey stepped closer yesterday to rejoining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a nine-state initiative to fight climate change. But how we spend funds from participating in his remains in question.

Should We Beat Ourselves Up?

I mean, why not? We’re so good at it! But seriously, should we be criticizing Democrats for ending a government shutdown based on an empty promise from a GOP leader who left vacant a SCOTUS seat for an entire year?

Well, just days after millions of people relived January 21, 2017, our Democratic leaders are being rightly criticized for making a deal with Republicans to reopen the federal government while kicking DACA down the road.

But, hey, they didn’t give the house away, either, right? And they “veered off a path that could have been politically perilous, not just for the outcome of the immigration debate but also for the midterms.”

Something to consider, for sure. But how do you win if you don’t fight? Shouldn’t protecting residents, ensuring social and financial equity, funding, building, and growing public assets, and ending laws that have been used to intentionally criminalize certain people enjoy overwhelming levels of popularity? We’re not even caving on hard stuff. This stuff should be easy if it were correctly communicated.

Angry Voters May Fuel Turnout, But Please, Don’t Only Run Against Trump

Remember the last time we ran against Donald Trump, like, for reals? It was 2016 and we freaking lost horribly.

Now, it appears anti-Trumpism could fuel at least some turnout among reliably blue voters, but what about within the party’s progressive base?

Look at the numbers: Thirty-eight candidates are running for the state’s 12 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Twenty-nine of the declared candidates are Democrats. No Republicans have yet declared in seven districts, reports NJSpotlight.

Sure, talk about taking back the House and preventing Trump’s xenophobic, racist agenda from advancing, but also talk about how a positive, progressive agenda will work for all voters. Pretty please?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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