Author Archive: joeynovick

In New Jersey, We Need Sanctity of Marriage Boards

My new Senator (still Senator-elect when this was written this weekend) wants the state to put marriage equality up for a ballot vote. I always feel so comfortable voting on the rights of others, don’t you? But seriously …. who holds themselves qualified to pass such judgment on couples in love? Joey looks down the list, and starts eliminating folks who definitely shouldn’t get a say – – promoted by Rosi

There has been a lot of talk about putting the issue of marriage equality on the ballot in New Jersey.

This is something that Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose , Senator-Elect Michael Doherty, and Assemblyman Michael Patrick King would like to see. “Let the people decide,” they say.

If the Republicans want this issue on the ballot in New Jersey, then I think we need some ground rules on just who should be allowed to vote.

Of course, divorced people should be taken off the voter rolls.  If they can’t maintain the sanctity of their own marriage, who are they to determine the sanctity of other marriages? DONE.

I’d also disqualify anyone who committed adultery or any couple living together in sin. GONE.

Additionally, if anyone is over 45 who has never been married —-they should not be allowed to vote.  If they can’t commit by then, are they really committed to America? BUH-BYE.

While we’re at it, if Republicans want this done on a state by state basis nationally, perhaps we should have the vote done in NJ on a county by county basis. Maybe even on a town by town basis. After all, if we’re trying to protect the institution of marriage, and we’re letting people vote on it, maybe we should put weddings up for a vote, or at least before local officials who are surely committed to protecting the sanctity of marriage in their own towns. Maybe we need —in addition to Planning Boards, School Boards, Fire Districts, and Borough Councils —-a Sanctity of Marriage Board.

The Sanctity of Marriage Board. An elected group of pious and committed community minded folks who can decided who should marry, and who should not. What’s another level of government bureaucracy in state with 566 municipalities?

Currently, a couple shows up to city hall and applies for a wedding license.  All very clerical and merely ministerial.

But maybe it would be better for the happy couple to appear before the Sanctity of Marriage Board and prove to the duly elected leaders of the community that each of them are committed to the institution of marriage.  They could have witnesses too!  Maybe the bride’s mother pleading with the Board for their approval, or a jilted boyfriend seeking a denial in order to get a second chance with the bride.

It’s all quite clear to me now.

Imagine the election campaigns for the coveted spots on the Sanctity of Marriage Board?  An SMB incumbent walking door-to-door campaigning for votes might hear comments like, “Our property taxes have gone down, and I do like the additional trash pick-up day, but how could you let that nice college girl from the Feldman family marry that dirt-bag from the Zansky clan?”

Or, “I set my sister up with a doctor.  A doctor!  And you voted against their wedding.  And now, she’s living by herself in an apartment with twenty cats! You lost my vote, pal!”

Of course, this is all quite reasonable because marriage is too important an institution to be simply left to adults making private decisions about their own future.

Marriage is a sacred institution, so sacred, that it must be put up for a vote.

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

Roundin’ Up The NJ News

Pardner, you’re a busy person. You need a news  round-up you can just nibble on, and then get on with your day.

So here goes, NJ buckeroos:

Highland Park restaurant offers customers ‘pay what you can’ option-Elected officials go there in droves

HIGHLAND PARK — It’s not “all you can eat.” It’s more like whatever you can pay. A restaurant here is offering customers an innovative dining option – choose the size of your portion, then pay what you want. People who can afford to pay extra help subsidize those less fortunate.  A Better World Cafe, housed in an historic brick church, is the fifth restaurant of its kind in the nation, which some are nicknaming “Robin Hood restaurants.”

Who are their most frequent customers? You guessed it: New Jersey elected officials.

Mayor Brian Wahler of Piscataway, a frequent customer, finished his tomato soup, and said that he “forgot his wallet” yet again. Mayor Michael Wilson of Freehold, after his chicken salad sandwich, indicated that he had to “submit a voucher for payment to his Borough CFO”, and that “the check would be in the mail” soon.

Former N.J. gubernatorial candidate Daggett seeks state ban of robocalls

Former independent gubernatorial candidate Chris Daggett’s campaign today asked for a state investigation into automated calls it says “severely damaged our candidacy.” Daggett came in a distant third on Election Day , when Republican Chris Christie won the governor’s race by defeating Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.

Mr. Daggett started an advocacy organization called Ban RoboCallsNJ, and was seeking volunteers to assist in calling other citizens to gain their support. At a press conference last Monday, Daggett said, “I shall begin a campaign immediately to lobby the Legislature and call upon them to ban robo-calls entirely.”

“We will be phone banking all this week from my former headquarters, and we need at least one hundred volunteers per week for an effective campaign.” Mr. Daggett indicated that there were no volunteers as of yet, but would be hiring www.dialmycalls.com to assist with contacts. “We need to make use of the new technologies to get out our message effectively and quickly before the end of the Lame Duck session.”



Bloomsbury man snaps photo of I-78 vehicle fire



Scott Papics, of Bloomsbury, was coming home from work at Lowe’s in Flemington about 3:25 this afternoon when he came upon a vehicle fire in the Interstate 78 median near mile marker 9 in Bethlehem Township, N.J. He was stopped in traffic on I-78 East when he snapped a photo with his iPhone.

Amazingly, his phone had a camera and he was so stuck in traffic, that he had time to snap a photo, write this story for the Star-Ledger, file it with the AP Newswire, and broadcast it from his car on to NJN-all before exit 15 on I-78. The Star-Ledger immediately laid off twelve more reporters and six photographers, and began hiring commuters stuck on I-80 and the I-287.

New Jersey residents make their money here, then move out of state.

Cross posted at PolitickerNJ

Seems like everyone makes their money here, and then moves to Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Some to avoid high property taxes and higher auto insurance rates.

Some ’cause, I guess they have to.

Former New Jersey state Sen. Joseph Coniglio has reported to a federal prison camp  in Pennsylvania to begin serving a 2 1/2-year sentence for influence-peddling. The Paramus Democrat was accused of using his role on the powerful Senate Budget Committee to channel millions of dollars in public funds to Hackensack University Medical Center in exchange for a $5,000-a-month consulting fee. He served in the state Senate from 2002 to 2007.

Former state Senate President John A. Lynch spent 2 1/2 years at a federal prison camp in Loretto, Pa., before being released in June to a halfway house in Newark. The once-powerful Democrat admitted in 2006 that he secretly accepted tens of thousands of dollars from a contractor while lobbying to help him develop state parkland.

Sharpe James, the former Newark mayor, is in a federal prison camp in Petersburg, Va., serving a 27-month sentence on corruption charges. The minimum-security facility is about 25 miles southeast of Richmond.

Hopefully when the 44 who were indicted over the summer are done with their trials, some of them will decide to stay in the Garden State.  

Not Only Racist, But Stupid, too.

From NJ.com:

cross posted at PolitickerNJ.com

graffitijpg-c0aa43de6842abec_largeA swastika and the word “Jews” were reported spray-painted on a wall of the NJ Transit train station in Somerville last night.  “This is unusual, we’ve never had anything like this in Somerville before,” said Capt. George Fazio.

Stanley Stone, executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey said the increase of swastikas in central Jersey over the past year have concerned the federation. “Clearly when things like this happen we find it disturbing, but before jumping to conclusions we want to make sure we have all of the information,” he said.

And apparently these anti-Semitic graffiti artists were not only racist. They were stupid, too. They drew the swastika backwards.

“Some of my best friends are Hispanic\u2026”

The tsunami gubernatorial candidate named Christie swept into office many Republican candidates around the state. In my hometown of Flemington, the two Republican Councilmembers-Elect are Michelle Oberst and Marc Haine. Now, prior to the election I did not know either Mr. Haine or Ms. Oberst that well at all.

But now, I know them by their campaign material.

As it will be the case in small towns in New Jersey, the top issues always seem to be the same, regardless of political party: Property taxes. Quality of life. Traffic. Economic revitalization. And property taxes again.

Both sides focus on their ideas, issues, and initiatives on how to deal with these problems—sometimes not much distinguishes the Republicans from the Democrats.

Except for this year.

This year the Republican team of Oberst/Hain sent out a campaign piece that carried the headline:

“Don’t the Elected Officials in Flemington Have Enough REAL Problems to Deal With?”

Under the headline, in a collage, were pictures that included empty Main Street businesses; buildings with graffiti; broken fences and overflowing trash containers.

And a photo of Latino day laborers waiting outside on private property —a locally owned convenience store—to be picked up for a day’s work, perhaps landscaping or construction.

This, to the Oberst/Haine team is a “REAL” problem. In conversations with members of the voting public they described these men as “intimidating”, “menacing” and “ruining the quality of life in Flemington”.

The use of such a photo without the consent of those photographed carries several possible problems—assuming that Oberst/Haine failed to get releases from the nine men in the photo. If you’re going to photograph or publish photos of people, one should be mindful of the “right to privacy”. To allude to the fact that these folks —-conducting themselves in a perfectly legal manner on private property —-are somehow a “problem” can result in “defamation” or “libel.”

The reason this photo was taken and used is obvious on its face: these folks have brown skin and come from a different culture. The use of the photo is inflammatory, and has tinges of racism. The photo may have served to elect Oberst/Haine, but it did nothing to advance the issue of community race relations.

Epilogue: At Monday night’s Flemington Borough Council meeting, one Oberst/Haine supporter defended their right to use such a photo, and asserted:

 

“About that photo, I am glad it was there. Look, I am not racist. I don’t care. I’m not prejudiced. But the other day I drove down Main Street and counted 22 non-whites on Main Street, 10 whites and two bums. And this is what the problem is. I have lived in Flemington for 38 years and these non-whites are having an effect on my quality of life.”

Indeed.

I hope that Ms. Oberst and Mr. Haine show better judgment on the Flemington Borough Council than they did in preparing their campaign material.  

Murray’s Margin of Error

Cross posted at PolitickerNJ

Patrick Murray is the founding director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. According to their website, “The Monmouth University Polling Institute has become a premier independent survey research center known for its in-depth tracking of public policy and quality of life issues.”

Murray is a frequent media commentator on politics and public opinion—in fact, one of the folks that PolitickerNJ.com asked the opinion of each week to see which gubernatorial candidate “Won The Week”. PolitickerNJ.com named him one of 14 People to Watch in New Jersey Politics in 2009.  He’s got a fancy looking website, with all sorts of numbers and names, graphs and graphics, statistics and such. Polling Institute director Patrick Murray appears regularly on One-on-One with Steve Adubato, and is a frequent guest on all the shows that cover NJ political scene.

Furthermore, according to their website, “The Monmouth University Poll’s standard methodology utilizes a random digit dial (RDD) ‘probability’ sampling design to select survey participants. All telephone exchanges (i.e., area code and first three digits of the phone number) that reach a household are programmed into a computer…after interviewing is complete, the sample is ‘weighted’ to correct for the fact that some respondents are harder to reach than others…. The Monmouth University Poll either tracks or adjusts for geography, gender, race, age, and education to comport with current U.S. census figures of the adult population. This weighting ensures that findings from a sample can be generalized to the full target population.”

One would think that Mr. Murray could predict anything with extreme accuracy, given all the fancy degrees, computers, and statistics training.

But wait, there is this catch-all disclaimer on all the surveys: “All surveys are subject to ‘sampling error’ “—-you know, that “plus or minus” number at the end of the poll that tells you just how much they could be off by. “This poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%” or so is what you’ll hear.

Now, my background—I am just an old, bald, overweight comedian from Brooklyn, with no fancy statistics degree. I don’t have an extravagant office at Monmouth University. I am not on NJN or ‘One on One with Steve Adubato’ each week. I was not named one of PolitickerNJ’s ‘most important’ anything last year or this year. And the same will most likely be the case for next year.

My methods for predicting the results of a contest between two (or more) does not require me to spend hours and hours bothering people of all ages by phone at dinner time, and then weighting the results ’cause I could not get enough of one type of folk or another.

I just go by my instincts. That’s right-from the gut. My keen insight. My unique sixth sense. And that insight told me the Yanks in Six.

With all his fancy training, stats, and phone calls-what was Murray’s prediction?

That the Phillies repeat.

I guess that would be a margin of error of —“plus or minus 100%” percent.

“I was looking at the World Series through (Phillies)red-colored glasses,” opined Mr. Murray, paying off on our bet. The result: one hundred dollars from his pocket to the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang Camps for kids with cancer. And he will be sending on a jar of honey to me, too. How sweet it is.

So, the lesson: If you want accurate predictions of who will win political races in NJ, stick with Murray. (I predicted Jon Corzine by 3 points).

However, if you wish to predict the winner of any World Series where the Yankees play the Phillies, call me.

If anyone else want to donate to the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang Camps for kids with cancer, go to Jump for Joey and follow the links.

A Tale of Two Rallies

I attended two rallies for gubernatorial candidates this weekend. The first was for Governor Jon Corzine, Friday night in Elizabeth, Union County, the heart of Democratic political territory.

The second was Saturday, day for Republican candidate Chris Christie, in Flemington, Hunterdon County, the heart of Republican political territory.

They both had the same smell.

Only difference was this:

The stench Friday night was from the industrial factories in Elizabeth. The stench Saturday day was from the speeches of Christie, Lonegan, et al.

Attending the Democratic rally for Jon Corzine/Loretta Weinberg was Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (the Representative in Congress who represents my mother, Pearl Novick, in Florida, by the way), Senator Ray Lesniak, and scads of local Union County Democratic candidates.

Attending the Republican rally were Steve Lonegan (brought in to try and secure the conservative base for Christie—those who voted big time for Lonegan in the June Primary in Hunterdon); Mayor Rudy Giuliani (of course, Christie said, commenting on President Obama coming in for Governor Corzine, that the “Obama visit shows Corzine’s vulnerability.”—so what does Giuliani’s visit say?). Also on hand were Congressman Leonard Lance and the usual cast of local Republican candidates and electeds.

While President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, Senator Bill Bradley, Al Gore, and former New York governor Mario Cuomo have campaigned with Jon Corzine—here are some names you’re never going to see for Christie: Sarah Palin. President George W. Bush. Vice President Dick Cheney.

Go figure.

Friday night, the conversation was about protection of the environment; commitment to women and mammograms; healthcare for families with children; Family Leave Act; property tax relief, and economic stimulus.

The Saturday rally was an ObamaBashFest and CorzineBashFest. They attacked healthcare reform, environmental regulations they provide clean water, providing affordable housing for inner city families. Whether it was Giuliani, Lonegan or Christie himself, the result was always the same—-long on hot air rhetoric, short on substance. Empty suits all. But the all-Republican crowd did not seem to mind.

While everyone else wore their Christie/Guadagno buttons, I wore my “Rosie The Riveter”-style Democratic State Committee button. I was recognized, and there were the usual jokes from some Republican friends about how they had ‘change of party’ cards for me to sign.

One Republican gentleman carrying a Christie/Guadagno sign walked over to me and asked, “Are you Mr. Novick?” I gave him my usual line of, “Mr. Novick is my father. Please call me Joey,” with my hand out to shake. He neither laughed nor took my hand. (Maybe it was because of the flu season.) He said to me, “Do you want a (Christie/Guadagno) sign? We have one rule here: When you come to a (Republican) rally—you carry a sign.” Politely, I declined. He continued to stare me down. I just smiled, and told him to have a good day.

In the end, there were two predictions: Hunterdon County Republican Chairman Henry Kuhl said, “It will be close. But Christie will win by 2% points.” But, of course, this was the same guy who told me 18 months ago that “Rudy Giuliani will be the next president, and Fred Thompson will be Vice president.”  Yeah, that worked out well.

The other prediction came from a Republican elected official who asked to remain anonymous, who said, “Don’t worry. The state Republican Party will figure some way to f#*k up this election. Just wait and see.”

Tuesday, we shall. We definitely shall.  

Blue Jersey Runners Club Member Joey Novick to “compete” in NYC Marathon Sunday November 1st

Update – in a scorching 7 hours 52 minutes and 38 seconds, Joey has finished! Way to go funny man! – JG

Promoted by Jason Springer:  It’s a great thing Joey doing.  I’ll be making my small contribution to his efforts.  Steven Goldstein and his partner Daniel very generously said they would match our efforts if we could get $250 support from here at Blue Jersey. So who else is ready to join us and get Joey’s back for a good cause?

www.jumpforjoey.org!

In 1990, the 36-year-old Joey Novick competed in his first New York City Marathon, and finished in 9:07:24. He traveled through all five boroughs finishing in 23,761st place.

He likes to say he “competed” because it sounds better than “walked very slowly.”

In 1991, the 37-year-old Joey Novick finished in 25,767th place, but his time was 8:15:19.

How many world-class runners knock off almost one hour off their best time in just one year’s time?

Finally, in 1992, when Joey was stretching at the base of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in preparation for his third consecutive NYC Marathon, a big fat man accidentally stepped on Joey’s ankle causing him great pain. In spite of his pain, he finished the race in 8:04:54 at 27754th place.

He is fairly sure that he passed this guy who at 94 was the world’s oldest marathon runner.

And in 2009, Joey is planning to come out of retirement, and “compete” once again to help raise money for a great cause. And so, Joey needs you jump for him so he can run for the Hole in The Wall camps….www.jumpforjoey.org!

In the fall of 1988, actor Paul Newman’s dream of opening a camp for children with serious medical conditions became a reality. By the following summer, children whose lives had been interrupted by illness were able to put their worries aside and enjoy a carefree camp experience.  Soon thereafter, the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps expanded into a growing worldwide movement enabling children to recapture their childhood through the simple, but profound understanding that laughter is the best medicine.

Halloween: New Jersey Style

Promoted by Jason Springer: Happy Halloween from Joey and Blue Jersey.

On most days during campaign season, candidates walk door to door stumping for votes.  But on one day of the year, or more precisely one night of the year, the opposite is true.  On Halloween, the voters bring their children around neighborhoods for candy, and in some instances, they’ll knock on a candidate’s door.

So that got me thinking.  What are the candidates, state organizations and elected officials giving out this year for Halloween?  I did some checking around and found out that kids this year are in for lots of treats and possibly some tricks.

Jon Corzine is giving out sugar daddies while his running mate Loretta Weinberg is giving out those odd lime-green hard candies that every Jewish grandmother seems to have.

Chris Christie is giving out 3 Musketeers bars.  At first glance, the candy bars look substantive, but on the inside, nothing but fluff.  Or he will be giving out Chunky chocolate bars. Chris Daggett is actually going to take candy from the kids, sell it back to the supermarkets, and use the proceeds to provide property tax rebates.

The Sierra Club’s Jeff Tittel is sure to give out Gummy Worms, Gummy Bears, Cinnamon Bears, Clove Gum, Swedish Fish and Cow Tales. The Casinos in Atlantic City will most likely hand out Candy Cigarettes, since patrons cannot smoke real ones.

Scientist Congressman Rush Holt is giving out Smarties. Steve Lonegan is giving out Almond Joys, because sometimes you feel like a nut. Former governor Jim  McGreevey will be giving out Blow Pops. Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, as the Funniest Lawyer in New Jersey, will be giving out Chuckles.

Future Senate President Steve Sweeney is likely to give out Good & Plenty. While Senator Dick Codey might be giving out Sour Patch Kids and Butterfingers.

The Star-Ledger headquarters used to give out large Milky Ways, but this year, they’re giving out the smaller “fun size” candy bars. Alpha Borough Councilman Harry Zikas, once the youngest Mayor in the state, will be giving out Junior Mints.

U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg is giving out old-time peppermint sticks, but he actually bought them before they got the term “old time” added to their name.

Ellen Karcher, a former state senator who had an agriculture exemption for property taxes on a small Christmas tree farm, is of course giving out Jolly Ranchers. The former Mayor of Hoboken, Peter Cammarano, will be taking a percentage of the candy from each of the kids coming to his door, especially if they have 100 Grand bars.

Former Bergen County Democratic Chair, Joe Ferriero, will give out Marathon Bars, since he is going to not be home for quite a while. And he is going to stand behind those bars, too.

Mayor Cory Booker is actually not going to be home on Halloween, and instead will be trick-or-treating in his city to prove that it’s not scary to walk down the streets of Newark.  On the other hand, Chris Christie’s running mate Kim Guadagno is stepping out of her shell just a little bit and will be trick-or-treating in some of the less desirable neighborhoods of Colts Neck.

And unfortunately, some elected officials are not going to get in to the spirit of the Halloween season at all. Conservative Republicans Congressman Scott Garrett, Assemblyman Mike Doherty, and Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll issued a joint press release saying that they are “not going to get involved in any sort of big Socialist candy giveaway.”

For me, I’m giving out what all comedians do: Snickers.  

“A Keg tapped at both ends.” Well, it’s time to tap back.

(cross posted at www.politickernj.com)

So, there you have it:

Cheese Steak vs. Hot Dog. South Bronx vs. South Philly. The Hudson vs. The Delaware. The City That Never Sleeps vs. The City of Brotherly Love. The Statue of Liberty vs. The Liberty Bell. Philadelphia Daily News vs. The New York Daily News.

Where WC Fields once said, “I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday. ”  And Jay Leno once said, “The crime problem in New York is getting really serious. The other day the Statue of Liberty had both hands up. ”

And just where is New Jersey with all of this? Just as Ben Franklin said, “A keg tapped at both ends”.

Well, it’s time to tap back.

What state will NY Yankees fans and Phillies fans have to pass through? Us. What roads will they have to travel on to get to their respective stadiums between now and next weekend? Ours. Which bathrooms will they be using if they drink too beer much at a game? Which gas stations will they use to fill up their tanks? Ours, that’s whose. Forget ‘Pay to Play’:

New Rule: “Pay to Pass Through.”

Set up EZPass to detect the Phillies ‘P’ and the Yankees ‘NY’ and quadruple the tolls. Charge them to use the bathrooms. If a Yankees and/or Phillies fans stops here for gas, charge’em a  ‘pump your own gas’ surcharge. If they stop to eat in a NJ restaurant, add a World Series travel fee.

We have state debt in New Jersey, and now’s our shot to have help from Yankees and/or Phillies fans pay it down.

So, raise your beer to Ben Franklin: He had the right idea. He was just a century or two too early. And just had no way to pay for it.

(In the interest of complete disclosure, Ben would have most likely been a Phillies fan, where as I am a life-long Yankees fan. Prediction: Yanks in six.)