Author Archive: joeynovick

‘Twas the week before 2010,

Promoted from the diaries by Rosi

‘Twas the week before 2010, and all through the State,

Not a Politico was worried, about our problems so great.

They were all on recess with nary a care,

West State Street was empty—not a lobbyist was there.

All Politicos went home–to the South and the North,

’cause ‘Lame Duck’ was over, –at least ’til the Fourth.

Both the Reds and the Blues—had new state leaders in place,

And some had their eyes on their Congressional race.

In ’09, Three Wise Men vied for the state’s top post,

Only one could win, and the others would be ‘toast’.

And for the first time, a Lt. Gov would be elected,

Serving at the side of the man who’d be selected.

But the November Election had caused such a clatter,

Talking important issues —like which candidate was fatter.

Driving records, loans to friends, and who paid what tax.

Emails to ex-girl friends and who worked at Goldman Sachs.

While the Governor incumbent, used his own cash,

The other campaigns were paid with taxpayers’ stash.

Did they get their money’s worth in the campaign?

Well, some taxpayers voted, but they mostly abstained.

Christie went after State corruption with political zest,

Some politicos were indicted, some subject to arrest.

“On Sharpe James! On, Bryant! On Manzo, Mims Hackett!

“You’re gonna help me get to my new home, Drumthwacket.”

Christie said he’d cut spending- “I’ll turn Trenton upside down!”

“Things will change when I get to that town!”

“I will never raise your taxes! Never! Not one cent”

But never revealed specifics about what would be spent.

Back and forth the polls said the lead changed hands.

Who would we agree on? Who’d have the most fans?

Their Debate raged on like a “Who’s on First?” routine,

Only thing the candidates agreed on: Bruce Springsteen.

And so in November the result of the Election,

Was that New Jersey had chosen a new, different direction.

Of course, this was not what the Democrats would expect.

But now, Chris Christie of Mendhem is the Governor-Elect.

Some say “He is full of bluster. Will be a lousy state boss.”

“And he’d benefit much from a Dale Carnegie course.”

You can say what you will about the Christie machine.

But any governor contenders must wait till 2013.

‘Tis true that problems won’t change very much,

With taxes and debt and traffic and such;

Still, no better place to live than New Jersey, right here,

“Happy Holidays to all, and to all a Good Year!”

‘Twas the week before 2010


‘Twas the week before 2010, and all through the State,

Not a Politico was worried, about our problems so great.

They were all on recess with nary a care,

West State Street was empty—not a lobbyist was there.

All Politicos went home–to the South and the North,

’cause ‘Lame Duck’ was over, –at least ’til the Fourth.

Both the Reds and the Blues—had new state leaders in place,

And some had their eyes on their Congressional race.

In ’09, Three Wise Men vied for the state’s top post,

Only one could win, and the others would be ‘toast’.

And for the first time, a Lt. Gov would be elected.                   Serving at the side of the man who’d be selected.

But the November Election had caused such a clatter,

Talking important issues —like which candidate was fatter.           Driving records, loans to friends, and who paid what tax.         Emails to ex-girl friends and who worked at Goldman Sachs.

While the Governor incumbent, used his own cash,

The other campaigns were paid with taxpayers’ stash.

Did they get their money’s worth in the campaign?

Well, some taxpayers voted, but they mostly abstained.

Christie went after State corruption with political zest,                 Some politicos were indicted, some subject to arrest.                   “On Sharpe James! On, Bryant! On Manzo, Mims Hackett!

“You’re gonna help me get to my new home, Drumthwacket.”

Christie said he’d cut spending- “I’ll turn Trenton upside down!”

“Things will change when I get to that town!”

“I will never raise your taxes! Never! Not one cent”

But never revealed specifics about what would be spent.

Back and forth the polls said the lead changed hands.                 Who would we agree on? Who’d have the most fans?                  Their Debate raged on like a “Who’s on First?” routine,                Only thing the candidates agreed on: Bruce Springsteen.

And so in November the result of the Election,                        

Was that New Jersey had chosen a new, different direction.        

Of course, this was not what the Democrats would expect.          But now, Chris Christie of Mendhem is the Governor-Elect.

Some say “He’s full of bluster. Will be a lousy state boss.”

“And he’d benefit much from a Dale Carnegie course.”                 You can say what you will about the Christie machine.                 But any governor contenders must wait till 2013.

Tis true that problems won’t change very much,                          With taxes and debt and traffic and such;                                  Still, no better place to live than New Jersey, right here,

“Happy Holidays to all, and to all a Good Year!

First of the Christie Cutbacks: Lay off One Congressman

Snarkety snark snark – Rosi

During the fall gubernatorial campaign, Chris Christie promised to turn Trenton upside down. Well, he has finally started at least to turn it on its side.

In my first act to cut back waste in government, starting in 2012, I am going to lay off one Congressman. It’s time to trim the deadwood from the Garden State tree,

declared Governor-Elect Christie.

According to a report from an unnamed anonymous source deep inside the Christie Transition Team, the Governor-Elect was still “considering all options” as to which Congressman would be laid off, and would not make an announcement until “late next year”.

The latest population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau shows New Jersey’s estimated population is 8,707,739 – up 3.5%. In more good news, Christie revealed a plan to increase the number of constituents in each Congressional district’s “family”.

Every one loves a larger family, with more friends and more fun. This gives each Congressman an opportunity to help more people. And after all, that is what politics is all about—helping people.

In other reactions to the announced change in the number of Congressman from 13 to 12, the New Jersey Society of The Superstitious (NJSOTS) issued a press release praising Christie for his “wisdom and courage” in removing the “unlucky 13th Congressman”, which they say for years was the reason for New Jersey’s misfortunes.

We’ll now see better days ahead in the Garden State. We’re keeping our fingers crossed,

declared Jose Schlip, the current NJSOTS president.

The NJSOTS over the years has lobbied in Trenton for legislation to require unbreakable mirrors, ladders no higher than one foot high, and funding for the spaying and neutering of black cats.

Buh-bye, and thanks for all the judging.

old_people_illusion

At about the age of 77, my father won a Silver Medal in the Senior Olympics in Ping Pong in Broward County, Florida.

Anna Mary Robertson Moses —Grandma Moses— began painting in her seventies, and painted well in to her very late 90s. In November 2006, her work Sugaring Off (1943), became her highest selling work at US $1.2 million. World famous cellist Pablo Casals, then age 93, was asked why he continued to practice the cello three hours a day. Casals replied “I’m beginning to notice some improvement.”

In 1998, John Glenn became the oldest person to fly in space, and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Shuttle programs, when at age 77, he flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery. Ronald Reagan, just a few weeks short of his 70th birthday in January 1981, took the oath of office to become the President of the United States.

And folk music icon Pete Seeger, who at the age of 90 played on stage with Bruce Springsteen at the inaugural of President Barack Obama.

Valuable accomplishments all. We should be proud of these folks. The septuagenarians, octogenarians, and nonagenarians. And some ceturgenarians.

But if you’re a septuagenarian judge in New Jersey, we’re not proud. It is because of the troublesome and archaic Article VI, Section VI, paragraph 3 of the New Jersey Constitution:

   “…justices and judges shall be retired upon attaining the age of 70 years.”

So, as soon as a Justice achieves the wisdom that aging and ‘sage-ing’ gives us, they are tossed off the bench. Buh-bye, and thanks for all the judging. Your clock has stopped. As Porky Pig would studdder, “That’s All Folks!”. It’s Jim Morrison and The Doors singing “The End”.

Well, with 90 being the “New 70”, and 70 being the “New 50”, and so on, it’s time to change that.

If you’re an avid reader of the New Jersey Law Journal, you can see ads for those who have retired from the bench offering their services for Alternative Dispute Resolution. Former Justice Alan B. Handler served as a New Jersey Supreme Court Justice from 1977 until 1999, and now serves in an Of Counsel position with Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer. Former Justice James H. Coleman, Jr. is Of Counsel to Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C, and served on the Supreme Court from 1994-2003. And Chief Supreme Court Chief Justice Deborah Poritz served on the Supreme Court from 1996 to 2006. And now she is of counsel to the Princeton office of Drinker, Biddle & Reath.

If private sector law firms can recognize the value of the judicial brainpower of these Justices, why can’t the New Jersey state government?

We’re forcing some very good people off the bench way before their time—and all for artificial reasons. It’s time to amend the NJ Constitution, and get the wisdom of their years from these folks.

And so, each year tens of thousands of men and women, over the age of 70 accomplish much in their lives. Not every one of them flies through space or paints or plays the cello. Some even are ping-pong champions.

And some are Justices and judges, still with a great deal to offer.

God Does Work in Mysterious Ways

I’m going to try to be a mensch today, so I promoted this. – Rosi

Maybe in order to get some good press, or to remind Jews in New Jersey to light the menorah in their homes, the Lord Our God caused a giant Chanukah menorah to topple into a traffic signal in Monroe.

Although, he prefers to be called by his Hebrew name of YHWH, he says it is “unpronounceable”.

 

Just call me God or Lord or Allah. Whatever. I hear you all. Just try not to take the name in vain. It’s important to me. Not as important as Commandments 1 or 2, but it’s in the top five.

This was state’s largest Chanukah menorah and was supposed to be lit Friday for the first night of the holiday. It was damaged after it fell over and hit a traffic signal on Wednesday in Monroe Township, police said.

   

I was in the state watching My People debate on ‘Marriage Equality’, laughing My Head off that this is even and issue for My People, when I thought that’s just too big a menorah. For Me Sake, it’s a giant aluminum menorah. Stands 32-feet tall and 21-feet wide. What is this —the Tower of Babel? Menorahs are a personal family matter, and don’t need such height, width, and length

.

Rabbi Eliezer Zaklikovsky of the Chabad Jewish Center said he did not suspect foul play, and was alerted to the incident this morning.

“I would have liked it to be up for the first night of Chanukah,” said Zaklikovsky.

 

And by the way, if gays and lesbians want to get married, Who am I to stop them? Stop using My Name-in vain, by the way—Duh!— to stop these folks from enjoying their own Me-Given civil liberties. I have many more important things to do. And so do you. Right now I am working on a few more Commandments to clear up a couple of things You Folks still don’t have Right. Should be ready in a Millennium or So. For now, Laugh more. Hug more. And stop taking Yourselves so seriously. That’s My Job.

 

And now, it’s the holidays. Be a Mensch. Go do something nice for someone.

Republicans Say The Darndest Things

Promoted by Jason Springer

In real life, Gerald Cardinale is a dentist.

In political life, he is a state senator who represents the 39th Legislative District. He also sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

We hope he is less rude to his patients than he was to Thomas Hoff Prol, whom he called a liar at the hearing on the Marriage Equality Monday. Yup, a liar. But that’s just the short of it.

During the vote on whether or not to send the Freedom of Religion and Equality in Civil Marriage bill (S1967) to the full Senate for consideration, Senator Cardinale made a startlingly observation:

…if gays are allowed to marry, then others waiting on the sidelines would choose that lifestyle.

So, according to the good senator, the only thing that separates all heterosexuals from flipping teams is the right to marry. Yup, that’s what he said.

My curiosity got the better of me, and I called his office to ask his source of this assertion. Much to my surprise, he called me back.

The senator was quite courteous, but woefully misinformed.

What is the source for your assertion that gay marriage will motivate more people to turn gay?

I asked.

A study from some [unnamed] group in France. That’s why the French decided not to pass gay marriage,

he said.

Got it. The French also like Jerry Lewis, so go figure.

Cardinale continued,

Their Real Agenda [that’s how I imagined the spelling in my head with a big R and big A]—is to teach young people about the gay lifestyle in school.

Finally, he said,

How do we know three people can’t get married under this bill? Or a mother marries her son? Or maybe two people of the same gender in a non-sexual relationship getting married for the benefits? Know what I mean?.

I sought a clarification.

Two people of the same gender in a non-sexual relationship getting married? You mean like Felix and Oscar?

‘Yup, like Felix and Oscar,”

he chuckled.

If there was an amendment to prevent that from happening, I would have supported this bill.

Wow! Is that all it would have taken to get his vote!

Just how did the Senator get so homophobic? Maybe it has something to do with being a dentist. Say ‘Ah!.  

The Mahatma and Ms. Poritz

On the wisdom and clearly the forward-thinking of Justice Deborah Poritz’s dissent in Lewis v. Harris, the case which led us here to the NJ legislature, in the fight for real equality in marriage.  – promoted by Rosi

Mahatma Gandhi said, “In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.”

And Marriage Equality is a matter of conscience. It is a fundamental right that should be the law of the land.

I must harken back to the Lewis v. Harris decision, where Chief Justice Poritz was way head of her time. The Chief Justice wrote her own dissent, and called for same-sex unions to be called “marriage”, and not the made-up construct of ‘civil unions’. For those Senators and Assembly members considering the issue of marriage equality—here are some things Chief Justice Poritz had to say, that may help make the issue more clear.

“I can find no principled basis, however, on which to distinguish those rights and benefits from the right to the title of marriage, and therefore dissent from the majority’s opinion insofar as it declines to recognize that right among all of the other rights and benefits that will be available to same-sex couples in the future.”

“Under the majority opinion, it appears that persons who exercise their individual liberty interest to choose same-sex partners can be denied the fundamental right to participate in a state- sanctioned civil marriage.  I would hold that plaintiffs’ due process rights are violated when the State so burdens their liberty interests.”

“[The plaintiffs] ask to participate, not simply in the tangible benefits that civil marriage provides — although certainly those benefits are of enormous importance — but in the intangible benefits that flow from being civilly married.”

[Quoting from Chief Justice Marshall, writing for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court], “Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.”

“When we say that the Legislature cannot deny the tangible benefits of marriage to same-sex couples, but then suggest that ‘a separate statutory scheme, which uses a title other than marriage,’ is presumptively constitutional, we demean plaintiffs’ claim.  What we ‘name’ things matters, language matters.”

“By excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage, the State declares that it is legitimate to differentiate between their commitments and the commitments of heterosexual couples.  Ultimately, the message is that what same-sex couples have is not as important or as significant as ‘real’ marriage, that such lesser relationships cannot have the name of marriage.”

“Of course there is no history or tradition including same-sex couples; if there were, there would have been no need to bring this case to the courts….'[t]he argument is circular:  plaintiffs cannot marry because by definition they cannot marry.’ “

“…if a State passed a civil union statute for same-sex couples that paralleled marriage, it would be sending a message that these unions were in some way second class units unworthy of the term ‘marriage'[,] . . . that these are less important family relationships.”

“It is no answer that same-sex couples can be excluded from marriage because ‘marriage,’ by definition, does not include them.  In the end, ‘an argument that marriage is heterosexual because it ‘just is’ amounts to circular reasoning.'”

“…Loving teaches that the fundamental right to marry no more can be limited to same-race couples than it can be limited to those who choose a committed relationship with persons of the opposite sex.  By imposing that limitation on same-sex couples, the majority denies them access to one of our most cherished institutions simply because they are homosexuals.”

“New Jersey’s statutes reflect both abhorrence of sexual orientation discrimination and a desire to prevent same-sex couples from having access to one of society’s most cherished institutions, the institution of marriage.”

“In any case, it is clear that civil marriage and all of the benefits it represents is absolutely denied same-sex couples, and, therefore, that same-sex couples’ fundamental rights are not simply burdened but are denied altogether.”

“The question of access to civil marriage by same-sex couples “is not a matter of social policy but of constitutional interpretation.”  Opinions of the Justices to the Senate, 802 N.E.2d 565, 569 (Mass. 2004).  It is a question for this Court to decide.”

Three Questions for America, Professor Ronald Dworkin says, ‘…We can no more now create an alternate mode of commitment carrying a parallel intensity of meaning than we can now create a substitute for poetry or for love.  The status of marriage is therefore a social resource of irreplaceable value to those to whom it is offered:  it enables two people together to create value in their lives that they could not create if that institution had never existed.”


“On this day, the majority parses plaintiffs’ rights to hold that plaintiffs must have access to the tangible benefits of state-sanctioned heterosexual marriage.  I would extend the Court’s mandate to require that same-sex couples have access to the “status” of marriage and all that the status of marriage entails.”

So, if Chief Justice Poritz were able to give testimony to the Legislature, she might share her thoughts in this way.

Follks, do the right thing.

New Jersey Banks get great end of year economic news

Banks profit from investments in government; available work force in New Jersey grows.



If you’re a New Jersey bank that has invested money with the New Jersey state government, you just got great news. Your investment in New Jersey just climbed to a record $33.9 billion, according the FY09-report.

“We’re extremely excited about this news, and think this is a real opportunity for all New Jersey banks,” said John E. McWeeney, Jr, Co-President & Co-CEO NJ Bankers Association. “The total increase went from $31.86 billion in the previous year, to $33.9 billion. That’s an increase of $2.04 billion—quite a jump for anyone invested in this lucrative New Jersey governmental investment product.”

The good news for banks was presented to the state’s Commission on Capital Budgeting and Planning on Dec. 4. Its figures are preliminary, said Tom Bell, a spokesman for the Treasurer’s Department. The state is expected to invest an additional $200 million in general obligation bonds for the fiscal years 2010, 2011 and 2012, the report said. “This type of investment is predicted to continue to be very lucrative for banks,” continued McWeeney.

Finally some tax relief

In further good news for New Jersey taxpayers, the State Treasury reports that tax receipts will plunge, and state revenues dropped 11.6 percent below official projections in October—-“so state residents will be paying less taxes than the year before by almost 12 percent. Finally some tax relief,” continued the report.

Environment for Business in New Jersey continues to grow positive direction

The available work force in New Jersey recently moved forward by .4% from 9.3 percent to 9.7 percen, the state reported today. “This means good news for our current business community, and those businesses looking to come to New Jersey: a great pool of affordable available workers, looking for employment,” the report stated.

“That is significant because we’re now at the same level as the nation, and we’re just shy of a double-digit” available work force, said James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. Since December 2007, New Jersey has added 155,700 people to the available work force—when the rate was just 4.5 percent. Today it is more than doubled to 9.7 percent, a major jump forward. Economists cautioned, however, that the figures could still change.

“We shouldn’t make much out of those month-to-month changes because they’re all falling within the margin for error,” said Patrick O’Keefe, an economist for the J.H. Cohn accounting firm. “I’m reduced to quoting ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ The numbers get curiouser and curiouser.”

Joan Verplanck, President, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said, “Times are challenging, and everyone is looking for ways to save money.” Certainly, the ever growing New Jersey available labor force is a great way for business to save money on employees.”

Let’s be Democrats…and support Marriage Equality. It’s what we do.

Promoted by Rosi Efthim – – Sometimes people who are working hard every day forget the principles and ethical structure that binds them with others also working in politics toward doing what’s right. Here is a very good reminder of who we are as Democrats. For it is written …

Let’s be Democrats…and support Marriage Equality.

It’s what we do.

This is from the DNC Platform, adopted at the National Convention just a year or so ago:

Renewing America’s Promise  Democratic Party Platform, 2008:

A More Perfect Union

We believe in the essential American ideal that we are not constrained by the circumstances of birth but can make of our lives what we will. Unfortunately, for too many, that ideal is not a reality. We have more work to do. Democrats will fight to end discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion,  sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and disability in every corner of our country, because that’s the America we believe in.

That’s what we believe in. The Republicans don’t.

This past week, here is what the NJ State Republicans supported, from the Politicker column of Richard J. LaRossa, “Money Trumps Principle”:

“Let me start by saying that there was a big victory for movement conservatives at the Dec. 1 2009, NJGOP meeting that was held at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton, NJ.

   Led by recently elected state committeeman, Rob Eichmann from Gloucester County, conservatives were able to get a resolution adopted by the NJ State Committee, regarding same sex marriage.   Thanks to Committeeman Eichmann, the NJGOP has officially taken a stance against a same sex marriage vote in Lame Duck and is officially in favor of placing the issue on the ballot to let the people decide.  That motion was adopted unanimously!”

He called it a  “big victory for movement conservatives”.

We promised equality to those of different sexual orientation. The NJ State Republicans have officially taken a stance against same sex marriage. And “That motion was adopted unanimously!”.

LaRossa thought that deserved an exclamation point. I think it deserves an asterisk, as a footnote as to the difference between our two parties.

So, come on Democratic Party folks in the Senate. Remember why you’re Democrats. We believe in equality. They don’t.

Let’s keep our promise on equality. It’s what we do.

Roundin’ Up The News 12.2.09

Here you go, folks—a round up of the top stories from around the Garden State in small bites you can almost taste.

N.J. Governor-elect blasts Democrats, Senator Paul Sarlo gives pre-emptive response.

TRENTON — Returning from a Thanksgiving vacation, Gov.-elect Chris Christie today quickly ended any illusion of harmony in the gubernatorial transition.

With rhetorical flourish, the Republican criticized three main issues: He tore into Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine’s “wildly off” budget projections, his nomination of “unqualified” Middlesex County Sheriff Joseph Spicuzzo to sit on the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, and various Democrats’ lame-duck maneuvers, including weighing bills that would require spending.

In a pre-emptive response to the Governor-elect’s criticism of the three issues, Senator Paul Sarlo declared, “Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.”

The Governor-elect could not be reached for further comment.

Hapless NJ Nets’ move to Brooklyn gets boost

The New Jersey Nets planned move to Brooklyn advanced  Tuesday when the team owner received favorable ratings on the bonds he must sell to build an arena and a court knocked down another appeal of the project, according to a report in The New York Times. This was surprising considering the New Jersey Nets are lounging in last place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference at 0-17.

An anonymous source from the bond-ranking service said “We have used the same metrics here that we used to measure the economic status last year of Lehman Brothers, AIG, and General Motors. And we feel confident that the best is yet to come. The Nets will turn things around very soon.”

In other Nets related news, NJ Nets players approve of choice of Kiki Vandeweghe as new coach, who will apply immediately for TARP bailout funds from the Federal government ” so the team can afford better player, like Jason Kidd.”

New state Senator Michael Doherty targets Highlands Council.

Michael Doherty became the state senator for the 23rd District, which includes all of Warren County, on Nov. 23 in the Trenton legislative chambers. Senate President Richard Codey administered the oath, and Linda Doherty held the Bible.

Michael Doherty says he will press for the abolition of the Highlands Planning Council in his new position as state senator for the 23rd District.

In a time of economic downturn, the Highlands “has added great uncertainty to economic activity this part of state,” he said. Senator Doherty is sure to be one of the more conservative members of the upper house.

Mr. Doherty, who has a strong belief in smaller and smaller government continued, “I would also like to see the eventual dismantling of COAH, the dismantling of beaches of New Jersey by allowing off-shore oil drilling, and maybe even the eventual dismantling of counties of Warren and Hunterdon, and the entire northwestern portion of the state.”

Finally he stated, “Perhaps an itsy bitsy government would be best at every level.”

Joey Novick can be reached via email at joeynovick@earthlink.net.