Author Archive: Domenick Stampone

Pants on fire?

When Steve Rothman decided to move into the new 9th Congressional District to challenge Congressman Bill Pascrell, most political observers knew things would get nasty.  But no one knew the Rothman camp would resort to outright lies.  PolitiFact even went so far as give the Rothman campaign a “pants on fire” ruling for an outrageous distortion of Pascrell’s record on taxes.  Rothman will do and say whatever it costs to keep his seat in Congress – even if that means lying.

Voters aren’t going to be tricked into believing the lies coming from Rothman and his campaign.  Bill Pascrell has a strong record fighting for core Democratic values, protecting the middle class, and pushing back against Tea Party extremists.  Bill Pascrell didn’t run from the fight against the Tea Party, Steve Rothman did when he packed up and moved away from the fight against Scott Garrett in order to take on a Democrat.  The Star Ledger summed it up best: Rothman’s cheap shots are tarnishing his record.  Last week on The Brian Lehrer Show a former Rothman supporter expressed her frustrations, stating: “when it got cleared up, and I found out was really a kind of dirty politics the way he was saying these things about Pascrell, and each one can be explained, I’m voting for Pascrell.”  We need Bill Pascrell in Congress fighting for us like he has his whole career.  

Watch for yourself and don’t believe the lies coming from Rothman’s campaign:

Pascrell: Fighting for LGBT Equality

Dom is the mayor of Haledon. promoted by Rosi

Following President Obama’s historic announcement in support of marriage equality, the progressive community has been reenergized.  His support for this important civil rights issue can’t be quantified.  We all need to follow his lead and fight to elect progressive Democrats like Bill Pascrell that are going to stand up and fight for our LGBT brothers-and-sisters.  As an early supporter of marriage equality myself, I know how important this issue is to our progressive community. Unfortunately, Bill’s opponent is doing everything he can to distort his record to remain in Congress.  I’m with Bill Pascrell this June because I know he is the real fighter in this race standing up for our progressive Democratic values. He won’t cut-and-run from any fight. Don’t just take my word, see why Michael Galluccio is standing with Congressman Bill Pascrell.

Labor gets behind Congressman Pascrell

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Today 21 union locals announced support for Congressman Bill Pascrell in his primary fight.  Bill Mullen, President of the New Jersey State Building and Constructions Trade Council put it best: “Moving your home to challenge one of your own doesn’t make sense.  That’s why we’re standing by Congressman Bill Pascrell.”  And he is 100% right.  Bill Pascrell isn’t moving anywhere.  I can say with certainty that if he was drawn into a district with Scott Garrett he wouldn’t be running from the fight.  He would take it head on like he has every race in his career.  

That is the most disappointing part of Rothman’s decision to move into Pascrell’s district.  There is a golden opportunity to take out one of the most extreme, ideologically driven members of Congress.  A man who wants to drill for oil on New Jersey’s shores, voted against reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act and refused to support funding for Hurricane Katrina victims.  Garrett refuses to compromise on anything and epitomizes everything that is wrong with Washington D.C. right now. Instead of taking this fight to Garrett – someone Rothman disagrees with on almost every issue – he is fighting his own, another progressive Democrat who he almost always agrees with.  

It makes no sense.  

It is no secret that I’m a strong Pascrell supporter.  Since my first race for the Haledon Board of Education right up until my election as the Mayor of Haledon he has been behind me.  Bill Pascrell didn’t start this fight.  But you can rest assured he is going to end it.  

A misleading headline

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Full disclosure I’m a proud member of AFT Local #2375

This past week the Courier News posted a sItory about our ongoing contract negotiations at Raritan Valley Community College titled RVCC professors won’t give up annual salary raise.  The article goes on at length to highlight the salaries of our more tenured professors – people who help make RVCC a top community college institution in New Jersey – but fails to mention the spike in administrative salaries over the past ten years.  Moreover, there is no mention of our more junior members making significantly less than their counterparts across New Jersey.  

Our position has remained consistent throughout negotiations: offering our members a 0% raise is a non-starter.  With the new pension and benefit reforms, 0% is essentially a pay reduction.  Our members don’t deserve a reduction in wages.  All we are asking for are good faith negotiations to reach a fair consensus. We understand that these are tough economic times.  But based upon the salaries received by members in the administration – including the RVCC President, who is making over $245,000 in total compensation – we think there is room for negotiation.  

We remain committed to a fair contract for our members and hope the administration comes to the bargaining table to reach a fair compromise.  Until then, we will continue to give our side of the story.  Before the last negotiation session members of AFT, students, and alumni came together to voice our displeasure with the state of negotiations.  Watch a video of the rally below and please join us on November 29th at 5:00 PM as we stage another demonstration prior to a negotiation session.  

Watch the video here.

In solidarity.  

The cause endures

Thank you, Dom –  Rosi

“For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

-Senator Ted Kennedy, 1980 Democratic National Convention

It wasn’t an easy week for progressives in Passaic County and New Jersey.  I was unsuccessful in my efforts to seek a vacated assembly seat in the 35th District. My friend Jeff Gardner was defeated at yesterday’s convention of the Democratic Committee of Bergen County by Maywood Mayor Tim Eustace.  But this doesn’t mark the end of our fight, it marks the beginning of a new era of progressive politics.  

Every day we are seeing a slow death to the old way of doing things.   Back room deals and political horse trading are becoming a thing of the past.  The process is becoming more transparent, more fair, and more accessible to normal people looking to serve their communities.  In the end this will mean more accountable representation for us all in Trenton.  

I know I’m not done fighting for my core progressive beliefs: worker’s rights, economic empowerment, and keeping property taxes stable while maintaining a high level of municipal services.  There will be other fights and campaigns.  And I know Jeff and I will be at the frontlines in Passaic County making sure we are living up the ideals of Senator Kennedy’s Democratic Party.    

A new campaign for the State Assembly

I am pumped for this, Dom – Rosi

As details began to leak about the redistricting process, it was clear their would be a new vacancy in the 35th District.  Assemblywoman Pou is poised to move up to the State Senate after Hawthorne was lopped from Paterson and I immediately called Chairman Currie to threw my hat into the ring as a candidate for the vacant Assembly seat.  As a former member of the Board of Education, Haledon Council, and current Mayor – I bring to the table a strong set of qualifications and experience.  

I am already making calls around the newly configured 35th District to leaders of Elmwood Park, Garfield, Haledon, North Haledon, Paterson, and Prospect Park.  I am going to take my message to every County Committee member to show why I would be the strongest Democrat to round out the representation for this diverse district.  

Today’s map was great news for New Jersey’s Democratic Party.  But there is still much work to be done.  We need to make sure we are sending strong progressive Democrats to the State Senate and Assembly, and as many Blue Jersey readers know – I can be counted on to stand up to Governor Christie’s regressive policies being waged on our State’s working class.  

Whether it is marriage equality or the right to collectively bargain, my progressive credentials are strong.  

I will keep you updated as the process unfolds and look forward to working with everyone in the Blue Jersey community as legislative tickets begin to form around New Jersey.  

#WIunion

Domenick is the Mayor of Haledon, NJ. – promoted by Rosi

Last December I wrote an op-ed for the Hall Institute of Public Policy about unions and Governor Christie.  The main point of my piece was simple: union members are not the enemy, they are the backbone of our middle class.  We need real dialogue for reform, but that does not mean a wholesale annihilation of a hundred years of progress for expanding worker’s rights.  

Now with the recent events in Wisconsin, unions are again at the forefront of political chatter. But just like in New Jersey, Governor Walker does not want to compromise to save tax dollars.  He wants to totally dismantle the right to organize and collective bargaining.  We all understand the need for give-and-take in reform.  As a proud member of American Federation of Teachers Local 2375 and a local Mayor, I see both sides of the coin.  

more below

Separate is never equal

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As the Mayor of my hometown one of my greatest privileges is performing marriage ceremonies for residents, friends, and family.  It is very special to play a small role in such an important event for people. So when I picked up last Sunday’s edition of the Bergen Record this article caught my eye. What is lacking in the content and warrants a more in-depth look is the real politics of local Mayors performing marriage ceremonies.

The process allows Mayors to refuse performing Civil Unions.  This puts same-sex couples in precarious situations where they are forced to drive hours from their home just to obtain someone willing to perform the ceremony.  I experience this firsthand.  As one of the only Mayors in the greater-Passaic County area willing to perform civil unions, I am often performing ceremonies for people outside of Haledon.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy to help, but it shouldn’t be this way.  This is the definition of discrimination.  

Separate is never equal.  Whether it is banning interracial marriage, segregating African-Americans in the South, or not hiring someone because of their gender, it all falls under the same umbrella of prejudice.  As a society we need to evaluate the message this is sending to our children. This legalized and open intolerance of same-sex couples is shameful.  Whether it is through the courts or in the State Legislature, we need to continue fighting for marriage equality.      

One week out

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Pundits and experts around the country are predicting a wave election for Republicans, wiping out all of the progress made over the last four years.  The only way we can prove them wrong is by helping Democrats up-and-down the ballot on these seven crucial days until Election Day.  As everyone on Blue Jersey already knows, we faced a competitive Democratic primary in Haledon.  Although we always hope to solve issues within our party in-house, the primary was a blessing in disguise.  We had a trial run for our GOTV program, canvassed our entire community, and got our network of volunteers organized and motivated.  

The Haledon Democratic Organization is now a well-oiled operation ready for Election Day.  This is what grassroots organizing is all about.  We had a local leader who was more self-interested than moving the Democratic Party forward. After I stepped in to block a high paying post for him at the Manchester Utilities Authority, there was no reconciling the relationship.  The best interests of Haledon’s residents and taxpayers are always put first in my administration.    

We didn’t complain or sulk when he threatened us with a primary – we got organized and ran candidates for every County Committee seat in our six districts. After winning 10 of 12 on primary day, we now control the local party.  If we want to start moving the Democratic Party forward in Passaic County and New Jersey, it has to start at the local level.  One County Committee seat at a time is the only way to get real, lasting change in our party.