Author Archive: brendanod

S2718: Proof Sweeney is a DINO

Senator Sweeney is the kind of democrat who is enabling our current healthcare system to perpetuate by passing the costs onto the middle class.  Enabling a system that is broken, and instead of challenging republicans to over-hall and fix healthcare for everyone, is going to ramrod legislation that will make the middle class citizens take multi thousand dollar pay cuts.  Pay cut’s that will support our current market driven healthcare system to continue  premium increases of 30% a year that ultimately cause more citizens to be left behind without coverage.

Senator Sweeney is the kind of democrat that supports legislation that will remove bargaining rights for tens of thousands of unionized employees.  Instead of defending the bargaining rights that spawned the middle class, Sweeney will remove those rights and replace them with law.

I wish there was a way we could revoke the “D” after his name and replace it with a “R”, because that is clearly the party he belongs to.

Why I Went To The Public Safety Rally

The number one reason I attended was hypocrisy.  Republicans love to preach about limited government, but what is Governor Christie attempting to do?  Create more laws that do an end run around collective bargaining.  We made a law to cap budgets.  We made a law to cap superintendants salary.  We made a law to require health insurance contributions.  There is legislation to make additional health insurance contributions.  The governor has made remarks conveying his respect for the collective bargaining process, but really this is a covert, dastardly attempt to end collective bargaining.  By the time Christie and Sweeney are done making laws there will be nothing left to negotiate because it will all be superseded by state law.

The number two reason was to engage politicians and tell them so stand up for democratic principles or get out of the way.  At the NJEA rally in May only 3 politicians appeared (I think Greenstein, DeAngelo,  and Coleman).  I realize that we are 3 months away from a primary, but yesterday’s rally had around 40 politicians who decided they were coming back to the base.  Christie fooled many cops, firemen, and teachers into voting for him.  Those votes are gone now.  It was impressive to see a galvanized group of people focused on mission.  The mission going forward has to be to support those politicians willing to stand up and redeploy the legislative branch of government.

Number three was to sound the alarm.  Public safety has taken a beating over the past 18 months, and the beatings will continue.  The mass layoffs have created giant gaps in police and fire coverage around the state.  It is ludicrous to think that police and fire can maintain a service where in some cases there have been staffing reductions of 50%.  You cannot do more with less in emergency services, anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is a bigger liar then Christie.  The radical downturn of the economy causes more reliance on government services. Public Safety is the last safety net for many citizens, cutting government services only deepens the chaos created by recession.

The demoralizing of a workforce is also a condition that will affect the quality of service.  I know this is really the last of Christie’s concerns, but the reality is that he is the leader of the state who expects more out you for less, and shits on you the entire time.  It is no secret that the best employer/employee relationship is one that shares a common respect.  Christie wouldn’t know this because he never had a job.  The motto, “the beatings will continue until morale improves” is appropriate for Christie, because I think he believes it.

Public Safety Irony

As municipal budgets shrink, state aid dissipates, and Chrisite’s aggrandized rhetoric intimidates many to retire, NJ’s police officers and fire fighters have found their ranks dwindling.  This is occuring mostly by lay offs and attrition via mass retirements.  While I suspect this is exactly what Christie wanted to happen, it could not happen at a worse time.

Much like the “trickle down” theory, the great real estate bubble left most of our urban areas behind.  Our social and economic failures always hurt our cities the most, the great recession has only exacerbated the problems for the people who live there.  Christie’s vengeance towards the public sector and backwards political ideology will do nothing but roll the calender back to 1967 for those who have no other options but to maintain residency.

Cities maintain large police forces mostly because our social failures leave many uneducated and unemployed, which leads to crime.  Cities maintain large fire departments because their housing stock is decrepit and very susceptible to conflagration.  The recession has caused those with little to have less.     Less social services and higher unemployment will lead to more crime.  Further dilapidation of the housing stock will lead to more fires.  This isn’t conjecture…we have been down this road.  In the absence of a dexterous society, public safety is the last vestige holding a community together.  It is truly demented to believe that cutting back on education, libraries, social services, medical services,police, and fire will lead to anything positive.  It might sound good on 101.5.  The social realities will become evident.    

Christie Rejects Arbitration Proposals

Christie was the headliner in many papers today for his outright rejection of the Democrat’s arbitration reform proposals.  The Star Ledger was critical of the governor’s attitude –

http://blog.nj.com/njv_editori…

His typical behavior has created an interesting scenario.  Does Christie stand his ground and try and twist some democratic arms (besides the alliances he has forged with the pathetic Essex Dems) to ram through his own proposals?  Does Sweeney and Oliver hold their ground out of fear their core constituency will turn on them as primaries inch ever so closer??  Thus far the democrats have turned their backs to labor nearly as much as Christie has.  I suspect labor will be very energetic for the primaries and for the general in 2011.  Labor has been hammered by the Governor over the past year.  The governor’s policies and grandstanding has angered the NJEA, police and fire, CWA, ect..  Trade unions were already hurting because of the recession, Christie’s dumping of the ARC has amplified the number of trade labor members going on the dole.

Christie won the governorship because many union members voted their social values and ignored the endorsements of their respective unions.  Those votes are gone now, social values are going to take a back seat to pocketbooks.  I don’t know how much longer the Dem’s can ignor labor.  Often there will be splits between private and public sector unions.  That spilt is gone as well.

Labor is going to be unified, organized, and ready to spend some money as the primaries near.  Christie drew a line in the sand over this arbitration issue,  will the Dem’s push back on this one or let Christie win again?

Trenton Public Library

brendanod has a question for some of you denizens of Trenton and Mercer … – promoted by Rosi

Read this in today’s Times of Trenton.  I have lived in Mercer and Northern Burlington my entire life.  My knowlege of Trenton politics is limited to newspapers, and conversations with others who work or worked for the City of Trenton.

One question keeps going through my mind.  Why can’t the Trenton Library be absorbed and become part of The Mercer County Library System????  Mercer County has a very good library system that operates branches in most of the other municipalities within the county.  This seems ripe for consolidation.  I would think the county has the knowledge,experience, and infrastructure to achieve this.

Obviously, Trenton taxpayers would have to become part of the system and pay into the library tax.  Some sort of deal would have to be worked out for the buildings, books, and everything else that goes into a library.  It doesn’t seem that difficult to me.  

I have never heard of this even being discussed.  Who wouldn’t want this? The County? The City? Both?  I would think no matter what the end result would be better for the citizens of the city.  What am I missing?  The current system appears to be on life support.

I know a few Blue Jersey readers seem to have good knowledge of the inner political machine of Trenton City politics. I was hoping to get their thoughts on this issue.  If we can’t achieve consolidation on this issue, I suspect nothing ever will.

Fake Democrats

Just read Zack Fink’s blog

http://zacharyfink.wordpress.c…

It angers me because it has become crystal clear that the Norcross/Adubato power brokerage purposely let Corzine lose because Corzine wouldn’t play ball with these assholes.  Even worse now, the  Norcross/Adubato team conspires with Christie in order to hold the reigns of power.  This was evident in the RTTT hearings given the subversive rantings of Ruiz and Cunningham.  The brokerage obviously has Booker in their camp now.  I wish we could have a Democratic tribunal and expel these assholes to the GOP where they belong.  

All Star Dems

Who wants in on this list? – promoted by Rosi

Based on the subversive behavior of Ruiz and Cunningham at the Schundler hearing, I think we (progressive community) need to establish a list of Dem’s in  the legislature who have demonstrated loyalty to the party, and overall integrity to the citizens of New Jersey.

I will start the list:

Weinberg

Buono

Wisniewski

Cryan

Sarlo

Greenwald

Greenstein

Oliver

Sweeney

Van Drew

Vitale

Lesniak

Whelan

DeAngelo

Feel free to comment on my choices and please add or detract members you feel worthy or not.

This is a conversation that needs to happen now that we have democratic legislators who have alligned themselves with the governor.  

Hypocritical Tears

I saw the footage yesterday where Gov. Christie was discussing the Clementi suicide.  During the conversation the governor welled up with tears as he related to his own 17 year old child and the unimaginable pain the Clementi family must be enduring.  I don’t doubt for a minute the governor’s tears were not real.  Imagining the torture and suffering of a child that lead to a suicide is unimaginable.

The Star Ledger had one of the best editorials – http://blog.nj.com/njv_editori… – I have ever read today.  The editorial calls for unequivocal equality, including marriage and military.  Two issues that the party of the fastest rising star within the GOP enjoy using as wedge issues to keep religious fanatics voting for them.

The governor must live in some parallel universe.  Why can’t he imagine his children living in the inner city.  Why can’t he imagine his child living in a public housing project with a very young, single mother.  A neighborhood where violence and drug use are the norm.  A neighborhood where dropping out of school is more normal than graduating.  Instead of trying to correct the social problems of this neighborhood, our governor wants to privatize social programs and schools, while demonizing teachers.  He sheds no tears for these kids.

Why can’t the governor imagine his child is poor and lives in the south or the midwest.  This child decides to join the military, because it offers the only job opportunity currently available in a recession, caused by Wall Street and bank thieves that the GOP placates to.   The only problem with this job opportunity is that it was made up.  It was a big lie fabricated to pursue twisted ideology. Thousands of these kids have returned home in flag draped coffins.   Gov. Christie is “touring” the country, stumping for candidates, in appreciation for the guy who appointed him to his last job and to further this ideology.  He sheds no tears for these kids.

Why can’t the governor imagine his child was an Atlantic City police officer.   An officer that managed to graduate high school, with the help of a teacher who is now unemployed due to layoffs.  An officer that got the job fair and square, through civil service.  An officer that was patrolling neighborhoods to make them safe, so that other children could escape the drugs and violence.  An officer that was patrolling the streets and keeping order to maintain and improve the tourism business.  An officer that was making a good wage so that she could raise her own children and provide them with a safe, comfortable home.  This officer was laid off yesterday.  He sheds no tears for these kids.

I Almost Vomited This Morning

History is the only way to learn the future. Mainstream NJ media and the 101.5er’s are trying their best to bring weapons of mass destruction to NJ.

The Times of Trenton and The Star Ledger were loaded today with three Governor Christie “puff” stories.  He is not even in the state and his bullshit still flies off the shelves.

Story #1 is Christie the bully, bullying a bully in California.  Christie yelling at a guy (who is not an NJEA member) who aggressively asked a difficult question towards a GOP canidate at a fixed “town hall” event,  where tough guy Christie sticks out his fat finger and yells at the guy is a front page story?  Newspapers aren’t supposed to be part of fan clubs.

Story #2 is the Facebook guy, Oprah, Booker, and Christie collaberating to fix Newark schools.  Somehow Christie got a headline out of this.  Newark is in trouble and I think it is awesome a private benefactor has taken interest in assisting a broken machine.  Christie really has very little to do with this. Yes he has to sign off on state control of the school system and let Booker have control, but what choice does he have.  Christie views urban areas as a drain on society and would support bulldozing them into the nearest river if he thought he could get away with it.  He is the low man on this totem pole.  Christie should of been a asterisk in the story, instead he headlined.  Newspapers aren’t supposed to be part of fan clubs.

Story #3 is how Christie is going to lay off 1300 state employees. Conveniently a study comes out on how NJ should really lay off 20000 employees.  This story is sickening because all it is an anti-labor tactic to gain the upper hand in contract negotiations.  Talk to any state employee and you will find that they already are operating at skeleton crew status.  Corzine’s hiring freeze has been extremely effective at reducing the ranks through attrition.  20000 is an absurd number.  Christie should have had the study print a more realistic, absurd number like 5 or 10 thousand.  It would have been enough to threaten, harass, and bully the organized labor he is targeting.  Newspapers aren’t supposed to be part of fan clubs.

I know the shock and awe analogy has been used already, but it is really true.  If Christie wanted to start a bullshit war the bombs would have started dropping in preparation for the land assault and occupation, all under the watchful eye of NJ newspapers.  Maybe they do deserve to go out of business.

Privatization

promoted by Rosi

Saw this article today in the Star-Ledger: South Brunswick driver suspended after denying missing twins were on her bus.

These type articles about incompetent drivers are unfortunately,  common.  For those familiar with Passaic Ave. in Roseland, my wife had another story told to her today about a family friend who had their  5 year old who was dropped off by a school bus company and left by himself on Passaic Avenue!  The child was hysterical, but had a safe outcome.

Getting the cheapest labor we can find has its drawbacks.  The lowest bid is not always the best deal. We bitch and moan about the overpaid teacher or fire fighter who lives next door, but remain silent or unaware about the custodian or school bus driver who has been laid off and replaced by non-union labor that drives, feeds, and maintains the schools we entrust our children to.  

I am not saying that every non-union replacement worker is bad, or that every union member is the best employee.  What I can say is that privatization equals profit for somebody, and it is typically not the employee who profits.  History has proven time and time again that greed is willing to overlook ethics.  Who do we think is going to drive a school bus for 9 bucks per hour, 32 hours per week (to avoid the employer paying benefits)?  What person can possibly live the American dream making 12k per year (9x32x180 days) with no health or retirement benefits?

This is what we have become, and what Governor Christie desires.  The right to work?  The right for employees to have no voice in their working conditions?  The right to find the cheapest possible labor?  The right to turn profit on our children and school districts?  The right to expand the void between the haves and have nots?

We feel better because the $9 per hour driver will be terminated.  The driver will find another job as a driver or accept another job for less pay.   Paying people less is not the solution to lower our taxes.  One way or another we will pay.  I just hope my kid gets dropped off at the right stop.