Author Archive: Hetty Rosenstein

Working Families Alliance Brings Ethics Charges Against David Samson

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The New Jersey Working Families Alliance Executive Director, Analiilia Mejia, reported this morning that WFA will deliver a powerful ethics complaint against David Samson tomorrow.  There are very clear conflicts of interest including

1) o As Port Authority Commissioner, Samson voted to approve a $256 million renovation of a train station in Harrison, and part of the renovation involved the Port Authority purchasing land from his firm’s client, electrical company PSE&G. And nearby property owned by PSE&G and a development group also represented by Wolff & Samson will see its value skyrocket as a result – just in time for them to be turned into high-rise office towers and ritzy apartments.

o Samson also voted to grant his firm’s client New Jersey Transit a parking lot lease for $1.00 per year, when NJ Transit had previously paid $900,000 a year to lease the same lot.

(Bizarrely, Samson tried to take his vote after the fact – but was unable to do so because his vote was actually decisive. )

o Samson participated in deliberations and publicly praised the Port Authority takeover of operations of the Atlantic City Airport from another of his firm’s client, the South Jersey Transportation Authority.

The Ethics Commission has the power to issue a $10,000 fine, imprison a violator for up to 6 months, and/or bar the violator from public office for up to 5 years.

WFA has been calling upon David Samson to resign. Governor Christie this week said that he “firmly” and “strongly” supports Samson.

(Disclosure – I am the Co-Chair of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance Executive Board.)  

Chris Christie’s Rubber Room

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Why is David Samson still on the public payroll? Why is Kim Guadagno? Richard Constable?  Michael Drewniak!  If not fired, why aren’t they at least placed on leave without pay? Other employees of Governor Christie aren’t innocent until proven guilty. It’s quite the opposite in fact.

Why? It’s all below the fold.

CWA Burning up the Street

Keep Calm and Trust the Field CampaignYes. Yes, you are. And we’re hearing about it. I’m adding this graphic to your post in honor of all the amazing field folks talking to voters today. – Promoted by Rosi

CWA is out in force today with over 1000 door knockers in Bergen, Newark, Middlesex, Union, Mercer, Burlington and Cumberland Counties.

In addition to these folks in red CWA Votes! hoodies, we have another 45 phone bankers in Trenton and Burlington county following up with union members and making sure they have voted.

There is a lot at stake – the Minimum Wage, standing with our candidate Barbara Buono, saving the Supreme Court by maintaining a Democratic Senate, and exercising our democratic rights for as long as we still have them!

Give Us 5

As we mourn Senator Frank Lautenberg, we can all demand that the Democrats in the United States Senate stand up for a cause Senator Frank supported – democracy and workers rights!

Right now, the United States Government is completely dysfunctional because the Republicans use the filibuster to stand in the way of appointments to the court, and to the Boards and Commissions that oversee Government.

In one of the worst abuses of them all, the Republicans will not approve any Obama appointment to the National Labor Relations Board.  Without a quorum, there is no NLRB.  The NLRB has all oversignt over union elections, unfair labor practices, and private sector labor rights.  Without a National Labor Relations Board – workers have NO LEGAL UNION RIGHTS.

The Democrats in the Senate MUST reform the rules that allow the minority Republicans to effectively shut down government.

Please sign here,… to tell the Democratic Senate to give us 5 members of the NLRB and stop the Republican attack on democracy in America.  

A Marriage Equality Referendum is Still a Bad idea

Assemblyman Gusciora recently proposed a referendum on marriage and various marriage activists are now re-debating this question.

A vote on equality is a bad idea for political and practical reasons.  Leave aside the issue of allowing for a vote on a civil right.  I think that’s a bad thing, but if it were only a theoretical argument over principle, I could be persuaded to do something that got to the desired outcome.  But this is not merely a theoretical issue of principle. A ballot initiative on marriage has 3 major pitfalls.

1. It will bring in tens of millions of conservative and anti-marriage media, staff and organizing dollars during the 2013 election during not only a governor’s race, but when the entire legislature is up for election.  

2. It will bring this money in and bring out a right wing vote, at the very same time we are likely to have the Minimum Wage on the ballot – thus risking not only the Marriage Equality vote, but also risking the vote on the Minimum Wage. People who try to survive on wages of $7.25 suffer fundamental injustice and the cause of justice for them should not be sacrificed on the unlikely chance or correcting injustice for others.

3. It entirely shifts the focus from Christie’s veto of Marriage Equality and instead of the election being a referendum (in part) on the Governor’s bigotry in vetoing Marriage, it is a referendum on our side’s ability to overcome right wing corporate money.  Worse yet, it permits every Republican in the New Jersey Legislature to vote Yes to allow the Referendum, when they voted No on Marriage.  (No wonder they want us to do this!)

There is a plan.  The organizing work in this State and throughout the country is working.  We will win in court, or we will override the Governor’s veto, or we will win with a new Governor.  

The arc of moral universe is long – but yes – it bends toward justice!  We will win this fight, as we have won past fights.  

There is something we should use the ballot box for, however.  We must reward our friends and punish our enemies by only electing true champions of  justice, fairness and equality in 2013.   The truth is, there is someone who is responsible for there not being equality in this State and that is the same person who is responsible for New Jersey having the 47th highest unemployment rate and New Jersey eliminating school breakfast for poor kids and New Jersey cutting women’s healthcare.  That person is Chris Christie and he should be the focus of the 2013 election.  

Christie’s Secret Plan to Sell the New Jersey State Lottery and Destroy Small Business

Hetty is NJ director of CWA. Promoted by Rosi

In a few days “bids” will be due on a secret plan to sell the New Jersey Lottery. It isn’t being called a sale or “monetization” as Corzine called it, but that’s what it is.  It’s being hidden under the cloak of privatization of sales and management.

I’ll get to the details in a second.  This is a bad deal and the fix may be in.  But we are building public support to defeat the plan.  For starters, you can head on over to Sign our petition to tell the governor we need to stop this deal to prevent fraud and harm to locally-owned small businesses.  Follow our campaign on twitter, @BigGambleNJ. And most importantly, call the governor and your legislators and demand that they do everything they can to put a stop to this.

Here’s what the Governor is doing. The winning bidder will pay the State $120 million to buy I mean to “manage” lottery sales.  The State will get its legally required cut of lottery sales, which means that the contractor has to expand sales and cut corners in order to make its profit.  

All the experienced State Lottery workers will be laid off, and the contractor will handle lottery sales.  In order to expand the sales they will favor Big Box stores and chains and online lottery sales so that they don’t have to go out and visit tiny newsstands and gas stations.  They can charge fees for lottery machines and to fix the machines. Governor Christie estimates that the winning bidder will make $1 billion.  

This will have a devastating impact on small and local businesses throughout New Jersey that depend on lottery sales.  If people buy lottery tickets from Walmart instead of their town newspaper store, they also don’t buy gum, cigarettes, coffee and a snack for the road from their local store.  The deal is a business killer.

Pass the Democratic Leadership Budget Plan

What do you think, Blue Jersey? – promoted by Rosi

Once again the New Jersey Democratic Legislature is in a tough spot. Our very, very smart and very, very Republican, and very, very GroverNorquistianLetGovernmentDrowninTheBathtub Governor figured out how to put them on the spot, yet again.  Here’s what he did.  He certified budget numbers that assume that the State is going to have over 8.4% growth in income taxes and 6% growth in other taxes, and he inflated by $100 million+ money that will come from the foreclosure settlement and he is pretending that doing a switch with the Transportation Trust Fund is not borrowing more money – not for growth or to rebuild the infrastructure – but so that he can claim that there is enough money to provide for a ridiculous income tax cut for rich people.

The Governor knows that there will not be this level of aggressive growth, but when it doesn’t happen, the tax cut will be in place, and in the first year he’ll make some cuts and by the time it all rolls in, he will have cut aid to local government by more, he will have gotten his Supreme Court and created a flat school aid formula, and  by then, it will be too late.  Proposition 13 in New  Jersey and worse.

For a short while it looked as if it was going to work, and if the smart people don’t prevail it could still.

Deliberate false budget projections should be illegal – but in New Jersey – playing fast and loose with monetary facts dates back to our last Governor who had Christie in her name. (Remember the 30% income tax cut and the Pension Bond?  The two greatest causes of the mess we are in now!)  What exactly should the Democrats do?  Should they say you are lying about the amount of money and make cuts to services themselves?  That would be insane.  Should they buy into a bargain with him and turn his income tax into a property tax cut and leave the budget in shambles?