Author Archive: Senator Loretta Weinberg

800 attend Garden State Equality Dinner

From the Senator we call our hot-tag grandma, honored last night as she should be. Who wants to post pictures of the event? – – – promoted by Rosi

What a great evening!  More than 800 folks attended the Garden State Equality Dinner on Saturday night.  It was definitely the “in” place to be.  Political figures included Governor Jon Corzine, Congressmen Steve Rothman, Frank Pallone and Rush Holt, my colleagues in the Senate Paul Sarlo, Bill Baroni, Ray Lesniak, along with Assemblymembers Valerie Huttle, Gordon Johnson, Jerry Green, Mary Pat Angelini and John McKeon, to name a few.  Senate President Dick Codey was featured on video as was Mayor Cory Booker.  County Executive Joe DeVincenzo also greeted guests.   From my own district came Mayor Tim Eustace of Maywood and Councilwoman Carol Hoernlein from Tenafly.  

The show was great.  Judy Gold entertained us with lots of laughs.  But most important, was our collective commitment for marriage equality in New Jersey.  As the prime sponsor of the marriage bill in the Senate, I was thrilled to have an award named in my honor. Hey, these kinds of things don’t usually happen while one is still alive, so excuse me if I brag a little.  Thanks Steve and Garden State Equality for letting me share your hopes and dreams.  The first Loretta Weinberg Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to my friend and great activist colleague Jeanine LaRue.  Jeanine spoke movingly of her own road to recognition.  Congressman Steve Rothman also shared how he came to understanding with the help of his gay stepdaughter, Alex.

Arriving on the red carpet at the beginning of the evening with TV cameras and official greeters was reminiscent of our own Academy Awards…..New Jersey style!

Now it’s up to all of us to channel this energy into action.  My commitment is to continue working until this bill is signed by our good Governor Jon Corzine.  With your help, we will together share this day by the end of this year.    Get a good night of sleep and make an appointment to see your legislator.    

The Wizard is Back

Promoted by Jason Springer:  The meeting is tonight, but there has been action all week.

Our own Wizard of Bergen, Joe Ferriero is back.  He’s announced he’s canceling his leave of absence so he can preside over a “smooth transition”.

His first action was to “fire” the Party Counsel (Paul Kaufman) because he didn’t like Mr. Kaufman’s legal opinion.  He then appointed a replacement. After all, why leave that action to a new leader?  He has to show that he’s really in charge!   Guess it’s all part of the “smooth transition” idea.

He then announced that he would run a “gala” this Saturday in honor of the Democratic Freeholders.  How appropriate. The indicted leader will be in charge of selling tickets to contractors and county employees.  Maybe he’ll even raise enough money from his adoring audience to pay off some of the debts he’s leaving behind.

Next he authorized and apparently set the rules for a “special meeting” on January 22nd to select his own anointed successor.

None of these actions were presented to or approved by the governing body of our organization.  The BCDO executive committee met on December 8th and with the leadership of our elected public officials voted overwhelmingly to demand his resignation by January 15th.  That same group set a meeting for tonight.  Perhaps together we can find the heart, the brains and the courage to really send the Wizard packing.   Let’s repudiate his unilateral actions and set our own timetables.  Let’s give folks a chance to question and “vet” any candidates for county leader.  Let the leadership of the party set the date and the rules for this meeting.  Call, email or stop by tonight and let our Freeholders and Legislators know how you feel.

Next Tuesday, let’s really celebrate the inauguration of our new President with a new and changed Bergen Democratic Party!  Let’s stand up for all those new Obama voters and give them some good reasons to join with us.  It’s time.  We have much work to do.    


Joe Still Wants To Do It “His Way”.

Promoted by Jason Springer

So Joe Ferriero still wants to do it “his way”.  Resign as requested on January 15th?  Hell no!  Mr. Ferriero chose January 22nd.  He wants a “smooth transition” and chooses to be in charge of a January 17th Bergen Democrat fundraising gala.  He wants to chair the event and I’m sure plans to receive a standing ovation from his adoring patronage appointees.  Then HE decides to have a January 22nd convention to select his own successor.  Vintage Ferriero!

Well I have some better ideas.  I hope our Executive Committee will gladly accept Mr. Ferriero’s resignation.  Then I would suggest that we put the fundraiser off for a week or two along with the convention.  A postponed convention will also give rank and file committee members time to actually meet and/or question any people who are putting themselves forth for the leader position.   Let’s not run either event with Joe Ferriero center stage.   We’ve waited this long for his resignation, we can wait another week or two to have a real Bergen Democratic Organization “smooth transition” with plans for new leadership.

I know that the Bergen Dems are composed of many principled folks who will be happy to see the Ferriero taint removed from our party. So let’s send a message to all those new Obama democrats that we in Bergen leadership are really turning over a new page.   Make the gala and the convention our own – not Joe Ferriero’s.

Mr. Ferriero is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.  I sincerely wish him well in his quest to clear his name.   But it’s time that we demand he let go on our terms – not his.  The time is now for us to take back and to rebuild our party.  We should start with a fundraiser and a convention with new leadership who will help us join together.

We have much work to do.  Let’s get on with it!  

On Losing to Bernard Madoff

Some of the dust has yet to settle on the Madoff financial scandal, but as we now know the woman known to many as the Godmother of Progressive NJ lost a lifetime of family savings, as did many others. Published concurrently in the Bergen Record.  – – promoted by Rosi

As I contemplate the shocking news received just two weeks ago about the loss of personal money in the Madoff scheme, it has been an unsettling experience.  Trying to keep up with the gentle words of encouragement and admiration received from friends, colleagues and even some folks I’ve never met;  successfully ignoring the mean and vicious (and sometimes anti-semitic) comments made by the crazies who blog anonymously to seemingly spew their own hostilities about the world around them; worrying about my larger family; and even thinking about the fallout from the many charities that will no longer help those less fortunate.  How can someone try to ruin the Elie Weisel Foundation?  Yes definitely shocking!

O.K., that’s enough for the first two weeks of finding out that all those paper returns which I planned to use for my grandkids’ college education or to take them on a trip to Disneyland no longer exist.

I was hesitant to talk about all this publicly before I gave that first interview to the reporter from the Wall Street Journal who seemed to want to get to the bottom of it all.  I wish him luck.  My hesitancy arose from the fact that my life (and that of my extended family) has never been defined by how big we thought our IRAs were growing.  And I certainly don’t intend my future life to be defined in that way either.  I love the work I do as a State Legislator.  I am particularly proud of the part I’ve played in trying to help clean up a corrupting political environment.  I intend to continue in both roles.  I also hope to play a future part in getting our federal government to make sure that the so-called regulators actually do their jobs.

Statement on Chairman Ferriero’s Endorsement

(My good friend Steven posted this for me earlier, but I decided it was time that I join the Blue Jersey community myself. I appreciate all of the kind words and support the netroots have always shown me.)

I hope Chairman Ferriero’s endorsement is a sincere acceptance of all that my running mates and I have worked so hard for – open, ethical politics; a progressive political agenda; and reforming government to put people ahead of special interests and insiders.

If genuine unity is the goal that Chairman Ferriero seeks, all the Chairman has to do is endorse Gordon and Valerie as well.  After all, we share the same priorities and vision.  If Joe is endorsing me for all I have fought for and achieved, then it is only logical that he also endorse Gordon and Valerie.

I honestly wish that his endorsement is an acknowledgement of the reality of the strength and depth of the support my running mates and I have earned from grassroots Democrats, organized labor and progressive groups that include environmental, consumer, human rights, women’s rights and other advocates.

I’m proud to have played a major role in attempting to open the party.  The sad facts of the last few contested conventions and the special election for Senate last year, betray the very core of our Democratic ideals and traditions.

Chairman Ferriero is changing the rules daily.  He is going to have to do far more than flip-flop on changing the rules at the last minute to restore the credibility and legitimacy of our county convention.