Port Authority: BJ has kept up to date on the shenanigans at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. After attending a sub-committee meeting of the PA in September and full Commission meetings in October, in November and in December, I am really rather astounded at the lack of collective voices of the New Jersey Commissioners. These are all men I voted for as a member of the Judiciary Committee and as a Senator. And before each vote, I took the time to explain to each of these gentlemen that the George Washington Bridge is IN Ft. Lee and is often the reason we have traffic and other problems in many of the communities I represent. And those public conversations all pre-date this latest incident.
Even when I addressed each personally, none of them spoke at any of these meetings. Do they not have a responsibility to ask questions? Should they not be trying to get to the bottom of what took place in Ft. Lee the week of September 9th? Their silence is an embarrassment to New Jersey. The Governor needs to be reminded that most of them are his appointees. Come on guys, you owe us all an explanation! You owe us all your voices to provide some accountability here.
P.S. to our Governor: Please note that there are NO traffic lanes dedicated to the Borough of Ft. Lee nor to the residents of Ft. Lee. There are lanes which can be accessed from Ft. Lee streets and are open to us all. They are well marked and most folks in the area know just how to access them. Did you really believe the story Bill Baroni tried to spin? Didn’t anyone in your office or on the Commission check it out.
And now it’s time for An Open Note to Mayor Fulop:
I was a little suprised about your public comments reported here concerning too much bipartisanship on the part of the Legislature. You’ve done some great things on earned sick leave (I’m the prime sponsor in the Senate) and on gun safety. I’ve publicly congratulated you on these issues. But I think you need a little reminder about what Democrats in the Legislature have actually accomplished in spite of any perceived differences.
1. Marriage Equality. Democrats passed it in both houses of the Legislature. The Governor vetoed it. We were working toward an override when the courts spoke.
2. Gun Safety: We still have one or two more bills to pass in the Senate, and we have the time to get that done. Democrats did pass an excellent bill requiring broad and extensive background checks sponsored by the Senate President Steve Sweeney. And the Governor vetoed it.
3. Democrats passed some great health care bills requiring financial transparency in for-profit hospitals, health care access for women at family planning centers, and a Health Exchange to help New Jerseyans navigate the ACA, to name a few. And the Governor vetoed each of them
4. Democrats passed a bill requiring more transparency at the Port Authority. Wouldn’t that have been nice to have now? But the Governor vetoed it.
5. We in the Senate held off the Governor’s attempted partisan remake of the Supreme Court. What do you think might have happened to that affordable housing case or to school funding or to Marriage Equality, if those early appointments had gone through?
6. And what about that increase in the Minimum Wage? Now there’s an important progressive value. Democrats passed it. And the Governor Vetoed it. And Democrats put it on the ballot with a built in COLA, and it passed.
7. The Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign. I am a Democrat and I worked for and helped raise funds for our Democratic gubernatorial campaign. I, along with all our leadership in both the Senate and the Assembly, endorsed Senator Buono as our candidate. Every woman democratic Senator joined to raise money and speak publicly on her behalf. Did some Democratic Mayors defect? Did others just sit by and neither endorse nor get involved? I think you know the answers to those questions.
So have we been nearly perfect? No. Should we have done more? Abolutely. But on many of the really important progressive issues – starting with the most important – the attempted partisan re=make of the Supreme Court – Democrats have stood up with vigor. As the Majority Leader of the Senate these past two years, I’m proud of what we Democrats have accomplished. We certainly have more to do the next two years, and I’m privileged to be a part of the leadership team with Senate President Sweeney. We welcome your voice and your enthusiasm to the continued building of a unified, strong and progressive Democratic party! That effort needs all our voices.
To All BJ Readers: Merry Christmas. I hope you enjoy the holidays with family, friends and all your loved ones. May we together enjoy a peaceful and healthy new year with the strength and will to continue working for a better nation and a better State of New Jersey for all our residents