Author Archive: NJAgitator

Latino Action Network and Allies File Amicus Brief in Gabriella Mosquera Case

Earlier this week the Latino Action Network joined with the Women’s Political Caucus, Latinas United for Political Empowerment – Political Action Committee, New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, Latino Coalition of Monmouth County, and Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO to file an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in In re Contest of November 8, 2011 General Election of Office of New Jersey General Assembly, Fourth Legislative District, the New Jersey Supreme Court case in which Gabriela Mosquera’s election as 4th District Assemblywoman in November 2011 is being challenged despite her having won more votes than her opponents.

On Wednesday, January 26, 2012 we heard that the Supreme Court has accepted our amicus brief.  

One of her opponents, Shelley Lovett, argues that because Ms. Mosquera moved to the 4th District 11 months prior to the election, she violated a requirement in the New Jersey Constitution that all candidates must live in their district for at least a year. However, a federal judge back in 2002 had held that provision invalid under the United States Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. As such the Secretary of State (Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno) had told Ms. Mosquera that she could run for office, without challenge, and in fact every candidate since 2002 has been told the same thing.

We made three arguments:

Latino Action Network Opposes Opportunity Scholarship Act

promoted by Rosi

Last month, Governor Christie called on the New Jersey lawmakers to pass his version of education reform during the lame duck session of the legislature.  The governor listed four bills as crucial to his reform agenda.  Among those bills was the controversial ‘Opportunity Scholarship Act’ which would provide corporations a 100% tax credit for contributions made to a state run voucher program, which would then distribute the funds.  This legislation would divert from $360 million to over $1 billion in tax dollars away from the public education system to private and religious schools.  As a result of the governor’s announcement, voucher proponents have renewed their efforts to get this bill passed claiming that vouchers would help poor children in New Jersey.

The Latino Action Network opposes the publicly funded voucher bill because we see it as a big gimmick that benefits corporate interests that would do nothing to help poor children stuck in failing school districts.  Not one penny of corporate money would fund the scholarships established by this misguided legislation.

Latino Action Network Announces Opposition to Opportunity Scholarship Act

Latino Action Network Announces Opposition to Opportunity Scholarship Act

For Immediate Release: December 5, 2011

Christian Estevez, Chair, Education Committee – 973-418-7012

Daniel Santo Pietro, Chair, Public Policy Committee – 732-496-9628

The Latino Action Network [LAN] today announced its opposition to the Opportunity Scholarship Act because it would drain money away from public education and give it to corporate interests so it could be doled out to private schools.

“The Opportunity Scholarship Act is a big gimmick that benefits corporate interests that would do nothing to help poor children stuck in failing school districts,” said Christian Estevez, Executive Vice President of the Latino Action Network and Chair of the Education Committee.  “Not one penny of corporate money would fund the scholarships established by this misguided legislation. The state would take money from our public schools and hand it to the corporations, who would then claim corporate philanthropy with our tax dollars.”

Estevez concluded: “This is an educational gimmick of the worst sort. This legislation does nothing to address the core issues of housing and educational segregation. We pledge to work with legislators to address the real issues that hurt so many children of low and moderate-income families.”

Below is the official policy statement of the Latino Action Network with regards to the Opportunity Scholarship Act:

(More Below)

Critics of Coalition Map Miss the Point

This is a fair criticism, though we question whether forward movement on minority representation was the prime mover of that rumor. Either way, there are too many white men repping us all, and the time is well past ripe to change that. – Rosi

The New Jersey Legislative Redistricting Coalition is comprised of the New Jersey State Conference of the NAACP, La Causa NJ, The New Jersey Black Issues Convention, Latino Action Network, the Latino Coalition, the Garden State Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, the Association of Black Women Lawyers, and various community leaders from the African American, Asian and Latino communities.

The New Jersey Redistricting Coalition’s main goal is creating more opportunities for people of color to run for elected office…PERIOD…this is not born out of a desire to gerrymander or create an unfair advantage for one demographic or another.  If leaders of both parties adhered to the law (i.e. the Voting Rights Act) and produced a map consistent with the new Census data that shows significant increases in minority populations statewide there would be no need for the coalition to exist.