Author Archive: Hank Kalet

Police v. the homeless in Lakewood

This is fascinating. And I urge you to go to the Tent City Project site itself to take a look at the pictures, and read the ideas behind the Project. – promoted by Rosi

Crossposted from The Tent City Project:

The Rev. Steve Brigham was in good spirits today when I arrived at Tent City in Lakewood.

The founder of the camp, known to residents as Minister Steve, was being interviewed by News 12 New Jersey as I approached, a day after an attempted eviction of a Tent City resident landed him in jail.

He explained his side of the story to News 12 and, as we (News 12, the Tent City Project team and some of the residents) walked into the camp from Cedar Bridge Avenue, two unmarked police cars came barrelling through the entrance and sped down the path into the main encampment — refusing to slow down despite there being Tent City residents in their way.

One resident shouted angrily after them and the rest of us rushed to the camp’s center to see what was happening. Police then set up a perimeter, blocking off a large area and searched one of the tents, removing what looked like a bag of baseball bats. Police on the scene wouldn’t comment.

Tax cap a bad idea

Promoted by Jason Springer: Check out Hank’s take on the tax cap and other budget issues. What are your thoughts?

The governor spoke before a joint-session of the state Legislature today and reiterated his desire to see a constitutional amendment be placed on the ballot that would limit tax increases to 2.5 percent — or, barring that, a state law that would do the same.

Gov. Chris Christie calls it tax relief, but it really is nothing more than an abrogation of executive and legislative responsibilities and an admission of failure.

Nothing affordable about this housing reform

(Written yesterday). Promoted by Rosi Efthim

Crossposted from Channel Surfing:

New Jersey’s low-income residents looking for housing can stop looking for affordable housing. It is not going to be built anytime soon.

The state Senate today passed S1, legislation sponsored by Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-union, an awful piece of legislation that panders to the longstanding antipathy suburban communities have had toward the state’s affordable housing requirements since their inception in the 1980s.

The bill, which passed today by a 28-3 vote, claims to meet the requirements of two state Supreme Court rulings — Mount Laurel I and II — and the state laws adopted in their wake, while essentially gutting the state’s affordable housing program.

The buck stops where, Mr. Christie?

Crossposted from Channel Surfing:

Chris Christie has denied allegations that he used his “connections” to force a “lenient plea deal” in a federal tax fraud case saying “he could not have exerted influence over the case because he did not learn of it until Tuesday, when a reporter informed him about the lawsuit.”

Christie’s response was reported in today’s Star-Ledger.

There is no reason to doubt his comments — the U.S. Atorney’s office is a big place. But there is something in his comments that raises other questions. Here is what he said, according to the Ledger:

Christie said he did not actually sign the charging document outlining the crime, which bears his signature, saying that was common practice in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“There were probably 12 to 14 people at any one time who had the authority to sign my name to documents,” Christie said before a campaign event in Ewing. “My name’s on every piece of paper that goes out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. I’m responsible for everything that goes on there, but what the allegation is, is that somehow I used influence to get some better deal, which I didn’t even know about the case, so my influence wasn’t used for anything because I didn’t even know about the case.”

So he knew and was involved in all of the corruption convictions won by his office, but not this? There were a dozen people who could sign off on charges, plea deals and the like, using his name, but he didn’t necessarily have to even hear about this stuff? What else didn’t he know about? This is accountability?

Will we get answers to these questions? Not likely. Why do I say this? Because the Republican candidate “blamed Corzine, who trails Christie in public opinion polls and whose campaign has criticized Christie for other dealings with Stern and Inglesino, who contributed to Christie’s campaign.”

“I understand the desperation of the Corzine campaign. I understand they’re desperate and they’re flailing away, but that doesn’t make it true, and the fact of the matter is I didn’t know anything about this case any of the time I was at the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Christie said.

Hurdles to participation

Crossposted from Channel Surfing:

This move by the Mt. Olive school district, if approved tonight, presages a dangerous trend in public education.

Mount Olive High School students who play sports and some who join clubs will be forced to pay a participation fee next year to make up for budget shortfalls.

The Board of Education must come up with $91,000 in revenue from the fees, and preliminarily announced the fees will be $125 for a student to play an unlimited number of sports and $25 to join nonacademic, nonservice clubs, school board President Mark Werner said at a recent board meeting.

Thus, a student who plays multiple sports and is in multiple clubs would pay $150, the same as a student who plays one sport and is in one club.

“That’s what we’re looking at right now,” Werner said. “However we slice it, we have to come up with $91,000. That’s our mission – $91,000.”

Clean coal coming to New Jersey?

Crossposted from Channel Surfing:

Clean coal may be coming to New Jersey — a Massachussets firm wants to build a $5 billion, 500-megawatt electrical generating facility that would capture emissions, pump them a hundred miles and store them under the Atlantic Ocean.

If approved and built, it would be the first plant of its kind and would move us in a new energy direction, say advocates. It would allow us to continue using coal — the cheapest energy source — without its polluting effect, they say.

But there is a flaw in the reasoning. Finding a way to limit or eliminate the emmissions from energy sources seems a positive step, until it is made clear that there are other environmental problems with coal and other fossil fuels.