Author Archive: Blue Jersey

March 24: Blue Jersey’s First Ever Money Bomb – For Our Own Jeff Gardner

Jeff GardnerToday, we kick off a 10-day Countdown to March 24th, the day we join progressives in New Jersey and across the nation to raise money for Jeff Gardner’s campaign for the New Jersey Senate. March 24th is Money Bomb Day.

We’ve heard from all corners of NJ that Jeff’s campaign is a statewide progressive priority. Here at Blue Jersey, we’re proud Jeff’s one of our own. Everyone here knows about Jeff Gardner. Rock solid progressive. A fighter. A leader.

Campaigns cost money. If Jeff’s going to unseat a 30-year incumbent, he’ll need our support. March 24th Money Bomb.

So – What’s a Money Bomb?: A grassroots fundraising effort concentrated in a short time period. We’re going to use it to support Jeff by dramatically ramping up, concentrating & publicizing his fundraising.  

What you can do right now: Click “I’m Attending” on Jeff’s Money Bomb page. Then come back March 24th and donate!  

Every contribution counts – $5, $10, or $25  donations add up. If the progressive community shows our real strength – by making Jeff the next Senator from the 35th District – maybe Democrats in Trenton will think twice before they betray fundamental policies the Democratic Party stands for.  

Then, today, spread the word:

On Facebook: Share the Money Bomb event (click Share after you RSVP you’re attending). Then zoom over to Jeff’s campaign page on facebook and hit “Like”.

On Twitter: Tweet your support for Jeff! Use hash tag #GardnerMoneyBomb.  

Until we step up and start electing better Democrats, we’ll never get the representation we’ve been longing for. We’ll never get the type of leadership a blue state like NJ deserves. We are going all-in for Jeff’s campaign. And we need you. Money Bomb March 24th!

News Roundup & Open Thread for Wednesday January 27, 2010

Thanks to Jay for helping out with today’s roundup as Rosi is still having computer fun. The blog wasn’t playing nice, so he sent us the code. Thanks for his patience too.

To revitalize its economy, Camden needs “top down” solutions to supplement the existing efforts of local resident and entrepreneurs. With Camden’s Spanish-speaking population at over 40% (and rising) with city may be poor, but it’s spicier than ever.

We’ve heard it all before, but there is optimism from Mayor Redd’s office about the city’s future, as well.

Secaucus Firefighters

While they didn’t reinstate three firefighters involved in a harassment suit, the council did promote one of them to be Superintendent of Public Works.

There’s poverty here, too.

Does Passaic Mayor Alex Blanco need to work his own side of the street?

When snarky blogposts fail….

A boxed toy horse head for dual-officeholder Steven Sweeney? Not very original if you ask me.

Sticking with Senator/Senate President/Freeholder/Director Sweeney, the Courier Post editorial board is not amused with Sweeney’s stubborn refusal to stick to his word on dual office holding. This article calls out Sweeney’s Freeholder colleagues for tolerating it.

Haiti continued…

For Shore Memorial ER doctor, a week of death, horror and healing in Haiti – and memories of kids’ smiles.”

New Jersey speaks.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver wants to hear from YOU! And that’s why she scheduled bipartisan hearings in Trenton for feedback from residents how to improve the state.

It’s hard out there for a conservative activist…

One day he’s a pimp. Then he’s a telephone repairman. Looks like his next roll might be as prison wife. Stay tuned.

Sarlo wants a Casino at the Meadowlands

They were talking about the horse racing industry, but Paul Sarlo says that racinos aren’t enough and wants you to imagine full casino at the Meadowlands.

Bald Eagles in Middlesex

A pair of bald eagles have been nesting in a pine tree in Old Bridge for a year.

Christie sticks with Fisher

Chris Christie announced that he supports Doug Fisher continuing on as Secretary of Agriculture. He will be the 4th holdover from the Corzine administration in Christie’s cabinet.

This is an open thread, Blue Jersey. Leave a link if I missed something and I’ll update the diary.

Blue Jersey to Marriage Equality allies: Get your Gandhi on!

It’s been a rough and tumble few weeks on the road to marriage equality. We’ve seen ups and downs, moments of despair and moments of great hope. Emotions have run high on both sides of the issue.

Last week, State Senator Loretta Weinberg, the bill’s key Senate sponsor, made the case for marriage equality advocates and supporters to keep their message positive, rather than resort to nastiness or threats. She’s right.

When you boil it down, we progressives are fighting now a fight that we’ve fought so many times before in history. Our fight is about positive rights, about affirmational policy, about granting equality where there is inequality, about providing justice and opportunity where there were none. About giving everyone a shot at the American Dream, not just some. About moving our state forward. The other side is looking to deny and prevent and delay progress kicking and screaming if need be for as long as possible. We shouldn’t sink to their level.

One of the striking contrasts at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing of S1967 (which was a judiciously and fairly-run hearing for which Senator Sarlo deserves much credit and appreciation) was the fundamental character of both sides. Marriage equality supporters were committed, loving families and children, ordinary folk just wanting to get on with their lives and be left alone. Clergy and community leaders. Legal scholars. Medical professionals. Legendary civil rights leaders. Both gay and straight spoke. The testimony was heartfelt, moral, and striking.

In deep contrast, the other side resorted to typical fear-mongering and scare tactics. That marriage equality would lead to polygamy and bestiality. That gay people are making a choice and weren’t born that way, so they should be less than equal. That marriage equality would lead to depravity being taught in our educational system. That it would, in fact, cause the sky to fall.

We’ve seen this movie before. We, and people of conscience, know all those things to be terribly false, horrific distortions designed to incite fear and to intimidate. But as Martin Luther King, Jr.–whose legacy endorsed marriage equality recently in the words of John Lewis and through the powerful voice of Julian Bond– said, “Dark cannot drive out dark; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

We must not respond in kind to vicious name-calling and bigotry, as much as it pains us (and it does so deeply). Negativity, name-calling, and threats only close minds that we need to open. Like King said, we must respond with positivity and with making our case. With light, and with love.

Like Gandhi said so many years ago, we must “be the change we wish to see in the world.” Let’s get our Gandhi on. Let’s draw another contrast by making the case that equality and fairness are real family values, while the other side calls our LGBT friends sinners and sickos and shovels hate speech upon them. Let’s rise to the bigness of the moment, not shrink to the smallness or pettiness of the other side. Let’s push forward and not look back. Let’s be positive.

And let’s fight like hell. Because justice and fairness for our LGBT brothers and sisters has already waited long enough.

What We’re Thankful For & Open Thread

  • Thankful the $%@*ing governor’s election is over. But huge thanks to all the people who worked so hard, everybody who voted right, and especially, Jon S. Corzine and Joe Cryan.
  • Loretta Weinberg. Hotshot. Patron saint.
  • That we have leaders willing to do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do. There aren’t too many, but there’s more of them than cynics think. They’re important.
  • Thankful for our troops that are over in harms way – we hope they have a kick-ass day wherever they are in the world – and thankful for all those who’ve come home safely  – however old they are, from every year of service, from every era, and from all the wars we’ve sent them to.
  • Thankful for wifi, wireless cards, and hot spots in great coffeehouses, and our BlackBerrys and iPhones, and our gchat, AIM, BlackBerry Messenger accounts. And we’re glad to shut them off today (mostly).
  • Thankful for good foxhole buddies.
  • Vote by Mail, so that people who have trouble getting out can still cast their vote.
  • The Justice League, the NJ progressive infrastructure, the braintrust – you know who you are –  and everybody everywhere who sticks up for others.
  • New Jersey tomatoes. And cranberries. Silver Queen corn. And all our farmers.
  • The Blue Jersey Road Runners Club. Woo hoo, we got our own runners, man!
  • Thankful the Party Democracy Act has become law. And all the good-government types who got that done.
  • Thankful we found the people we love. And some of us are thankful we found the one we want to marry. And the rest of us can’t wait to dance at that wedding.

  • And we’re thankful for karma. Oh, yes, yes, we are.

    What are you thankful for today, Blue Jersey? This is an Open Thread …

  • Diane Allen

    The Blue Jersey community just heard about State Senator Diane Allen’s diagnosis with an aggressive form of cancer.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her as she battles this disease, and we wish her and her family nothing but the best.

    At Blue Jersey today, a 1.5 million milestone

    In the middle of the night we clicked over 1.5 million visits since Blue Jersey started in September of 2005, during the last mad weeks of the last Governor’s race. Since then, over 13,100 diaries have been written, and over 47,700 comments made in those diaries. We’re at 3.8 million page views since we started.

    Statehouse reporting. Very early research on Chris Christie. We launched Blue Jersey Radio. We exposed a sockpuppet on a US Senate campaign. And created the award-winning Think Equal campaign, of ads humorously clarifying why civil unions are not equal.

    The late Laurel Hester, though she never knew it, was our mentor in understanding marriage equality. If this blog has a hero, it’s she. Our coverage of Laurel’s fight to win family benefits for the love of her life, as she herself was dying, won us Garden State Equality’s Laurel Hester Prize for Citizen Courage.

    We hope our loyalties are stronger to forward-thinking, and progressive action than to any Party, including our own. We know you feel that way. When Democrats are wrong, when the Democratic Party is wrong, we’re going to challenge them, because we know you stand behind that. We’re not the conscience of the Democratic Party. You are. And we hope to be your daily reading.

    We hope you’ll encourage people to advertise here (rates negotiable for community members) to defray our costs, and keep the lights on.

    We’d like this 4-year old community to rise. We want to grow our diversity – in every way.  We want you to write here when you have a story to tell, and to post a comment when something you read provokes you. The papers won’t always tell your story; but you can. When you have candidates you believe in, if you don’t find them here, we hope you’ll bring them here for others to discover. Hell, we hope some of you will run yourselves.

    We know a lot of blogs soar, then fail. We’re here for the long run. Thanks to the writers and readers who have been a part of this team, past and present. You made this place.

    Weighty Statements

    A campaign can never control its surrogates, but the Corzine campaign opened the door to a flood of idiocy when they started obliquely referring to Chris Christie’s obviously unhealthy weight problem in an ad last month.  The Corzine campaign seemingly wanted to be sure people knew it, but didn’t want to be called on it.  They tried to do the Rovian dog-whistle thing where they could pretend not to have said what they implied, but the media and Christie partisans glommed onto it in a successful effort to distract from various mini-scandals like abuse of power to avoid tickets, over-paying for hotel rooms and travel, poor policy statements from the primary, etc.

    But when you whistle, dogs hear it and start to bark.  Unfortunately, we now see a series of barks on Twitter and other places.  Democratic state chairman Joe Cryan asked how it would feel to have the heavy Christie as Governor.  Steven Goldstein, who is supposed to be a champion of tolerance, told a joke suggesting people mistook Christie for a large balloon floating over the state.

    Sure, dog whistling worked great for Bush for six years, but it imploded and we see the results.  We’re supposed to be better than that, fighting for the issues that matter for people and not just doing whatever disgusting thing is needed to win elections.  Corzine, who is a good and decent man (sometimes to his detriment), is better than this.

    There are so many issues in this campaign that matter to New Jersey and our future.  A Christie administration would gut education and health care, the foundations of a good place to live.  The environment, contrary to the Tittle-ing crowds, would get short shrift and likely irreparably damaged.  Whatever political good will there is in this state would be removed under Christie’s My Way Or The Highway attitude.

    Added to that, Corzine has a good story to tell.  He has cut the budget by almost 15 percent during his time, and reduced the state workforce.  While there are more types of taxes, there are fewer dollars collected.  Our math scores are up, our air is cleaner, more money is going to property tax relief, and more people — including children — have health insurance while the national trend is for people to lose it.

    There are a thousand reasons to oppose Chris Christie in this election, and just as many to support Jon Corzine.  Christie’s health should be a concern for voters as the health of any candidate is, but it should not be a campaign issue.

    An Open Letter to Steve Sweeney & Dick Codey from Blue Jersey … and the voters

    Two years ago today, New Jersey enacted a civil unions law by a wide margin. Compelled by the New Jersey Supreme Court to deliver full equality to same-sex families, the Legislature copped out and chose to demean thousands of New Jersey families (denying over a third of them equal rights like health benefits, hospital visitation, financial security, and more), because they were politically afraid to support marriage equality. A few legislators bravely spoke out in favor of true equality, realizing you cannot have Equality and Diet Equality, you can only have true equality or a sham.

    Were some legislators justified in the political fears that led them to support civil unions over true equality? No.

    A new poll, commissioned by Gannett (the news org that operates the APP, the Home News Tribune, the Courier Post, and other papers) shows that New Jersey voters support marriage equality 50%-40%.

    Now, we’ve heard excuses from policymakers before: that, trust us, civil unions will actually work and provide equality (two state government reports, here and here reveal otherwise). When Garden State Equality released a poll showing New Jersey supported marriage equality 50%-42%, gaining six new cosponsors for marriage equality in one fell swoop, some said the GSE poll was biased and couldn’t be trusted. We were told we can’t debate this hot-button issue during a presidential election year.  And we were put off again when the recession hit, that the economy is our prime focus, even though an academic study shows marriage equality could bring a quarter of a billion dollars in consumer spending to pump up New Jersey’s economy.

    Every time, there’s been an excuse from legislators too politically afraid to stand up for what’s right. But that’s all they are: excuses. There are no excuses anymore. Gannett has no axe to grind here, no political agenda. And it is straight-up reporting that the voters of New Jersey respond favorably to marriage equality, based on credible and unbiased polling. If the poll is at all biased (which we doubt, as Monmouth University is a renowned, fair NJ pollster), it likely skews to the right. The numbers remain. A strong majority of New Jerseyans support marriage equality.

    So, we’re paging Steve Sweeney, Dick Codey, Diane Allen, and other members of the New Jersey State Senate who have appeared lukewarm or quiet on the issue of marriage equality. Senators, you have no more room for excuses. Fundamentally, you either support full equality or you don’t; you must either stand up for what’s right or cave in to baseless political fear and timidity. New Jerseys same-sex families have suffered because of civil unions; that’s not in doubt. You can either recognize that suffering and fix it by enacting marriage equality this year, or you can turn a blind eye.

    The truth is, there are no half-assed attempts at equality. It’s time for members of the New Jersey Senate to stand up and be counted, and it’s time for members of the Blue Jersey community to turn up the heat and call these wavering senators today.

    Senators, the voters would like to hear from you.  

    Another new general counsel at BCDO

    Word is that the BCDO has replaced their general counsel yet again (Update: This has been confirmed.). If it’s true, Joseph Ariyan would be the fourth BCDO attorney in less than six months. Ariyan was the Democratic senate candidate in the 39th legislative district in 2007.

    Former BCDO attorney Dennis Oury was replaced by Paul Kaufman on September 11. Joe Ferriero fired Kaufman on January 15 and replaced him with Joseph Marinello.

    For LoBiondo, 99.39% isn’t good enough

    Josh Marshall adds up the Republican criticism of the stimulus bill and finds that they’re “not willing or able to criticize any of the substantial amounts of spending in this bill.”

    U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, for example, “signaled [sic] out the following examples of provisions within the House bill that do not meet the explicit requirements of immediately stimulating the economy:”

  • $1.9 billion for high-level physics research;

  • $1.5 billion for universities to improve their biomedical research programs;

  • $600 million for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to purchase new satellites to improve weather forecasts;

  • $600 million to buy new cars for federal government workers, adding to the existing inventory of 640,000 vehicles; and,

  • $335 million for education and prevention programs regarding sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Add it all up, and if you include the criticism of the smoking cession plan — an additional $75 million — it works out to $5.01 billion, or 0.61% of the entire bill.

    LoBiondo joined all other Republicans in the House in voting against the stimulus bill.