Welcoming back Blue Jersey alum Brian, anytime he shows up. Promoted by Rosi.
My first year in college was quite the, I guess, on-the-spot civics lesson. Due to several events that happened that year (2011), I became a rare millennial who was obsessed with buying printed newspapers.
Over the course of my collegiate career, I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Riordan of The Philadelphia Inquirer. He covered many relevant stories that impacted South Jersey life, and I really do enjoy just about every piece of his writing. I especially like the breadth of his knowledge when it comes to understanding movers and shakers in South Jersey.
One of his most recent columns caught my eye, and has encouraged me to revisit Blue Jersey. I often steer clear of writing these days, simply because of time and other headaches.
Mr. Riordan’s column, My would-be bromance with Phil Murphy proved too taxing, takes a look at our new governor’s budget, and argues that it is already expensive as hell to be a New Jersey resident, so, stop taxing us.
I hear that loud and clear. In all honesty, and not to pat my own back here, I feel quite accomplished and privileged at 24. Despite that, I really could justify living at home with my parents until becoming 30 years old. New Jersey simply is not a welcoming state, and many, many municipalities avidly work against attracting younger home owners to their communities. In fact, most municipalities have become insanely aggressive in recruiting the 55+ community for citizenship.
Perhaps it is my age and my, say, misguided optimism, but that is about where I stop agreeing with my newspaper idol, this time.
Maybe I am not old enough yet to care too much about increases in taxes. Right now, Phil Murphy’s approach to his budget is exactly what I want as a progressive, despite the minor sting to my wallet. I want people to be taken care of when they need to be; end of story for me.
Legalizing marijuana is of course going to be an economic plus for New Jersey. However, we often lose track of how much of a social justice initiative legal cannabis will be for New Jersey, for the United States, and for the 21st Century. Even though I think that the best approach would be for targeted communities to have the sole privilege to grow and sell legal weed, I’m quite excited that my state and my Governor are going to make it happen somehow.
I must state, though, that legalizing marijuana will likely have no effect on our state’s terrible opioid and heroin crisis. In fact, I can envision cannabis being used for opioid rehab (it already is). The opioid and heroin epidemic of the 21st Century was brought on by opioids, Big Pharma, and a few bad doctors. Illegal or legal weed had nothing to do with the lies told by companies, nor the changes in prescribing habits. We suddenly were granted 30 days of pills for a slip-and-fall, which correlated with our suddenly astronomical addiction rate.
One thing I am very concerned about with my Bro, Phil, is the potential for his progressivism to be thwarted by the rather anti-progressive nature of certain Trenton Democrats. We all know they exist, and we all know the creepily conservative platforms and initiatives they’ve promoted. I just hope my Bro is strong enough to work around their obstructionism. And, I also hope Phil is exactly who he campaigned to be.
I must take this time to send a very big BRAVO to the Governor and the new Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal. The work you both are doing in regards to suing bad companies, suing unconstitutional actions by the White House, and auditing the NJ Economic Development Authority’s $8 Billion spending spree are all fantastic jobs. I surely was not a fan of how mechanical the primary elections seemed at the county level, but I’m quite inspired by the early results we have seen. Maybe we can work towards getting rid of “the line”? Anyway…
Speaking of auditing the NJ EDA … That is one area where I am sure that my newspaper idol and I still land in agreement. That entity has benefited a few folks so well, SO WELL!!, that I’m sure it has been added to the ongoing hard drive that is Kevin Riordan’s capacity for local South Jersey knowledge. Hopefully by auditing that entity, “economic redevelopment” can become less contingent on who gets “the line” and who does not. That may or may not rekindle a bromance among many.
Brian K. Everett is a local-level political observer. Seldom does he contribute to the kerfuffle that is New Jersey politics, but when he does, it is because he believes he can contribute to productive conversations, mostly those that are policy oriented.