Author Archive: Rosi Efthim

News Roundup & Open Thread for Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009

Here’s where your local councilman/committeeman probably is now

  • More than 20,000 locally-elected officials are expected to attend the League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic City, which kicked off yesterday. Thursday, electeds will have a joint appearance from the incoming Gov. Christie and the outgoing Gov. Corzine.

    Low Expections

  • There may be trouble ahead for Chris Christie, with a worried and perhaps depressed NJ electorate looking ahead to a future they have little faith in. Even Republicans, only 43 % whom are more optimistic about the state’s future following Christie’s win Nov, 3.
  • Well, actually this guy has a lot of faith.

    Want to preserve marriage in New Jersey?

  • Stay married! says Assemblyman Reed Gusciora. Your marriage will survive equality. Here’s why.

    ELEC database

  • Star Ledger Editorial: Three cheers for N.J.’s Election Law Enforcement Commission. Somebody just cracked a window on those smoke-filled back rooms.
  • Corzine spent $16.4 million of his own money on campaign. Christie? $13,600.

    Your first LG

  • Might be your next Secretary of State.

    Falling prices on milk

  • Will NJ tack on a surcharge to milk to boost dairy farmers’ incomes?

    Sen. Christopher J. Connors “not likely to run” against Adler

  • Last year, Rep. Adler was the beneficiary of a battle between the Burlington & Ocean GOP machines. Connors was OC Chair George Gilmore’s first choice in ’08. If Connors is out, that leaves Eagles player Jon Runyan and Toms River Councilman Maurice Hill, expressing interest in Adler’s seat.

    Menendez and the Cuba embargo

  • Cuban officials are criticizing Bob Menendez for being the top recipient from the anti-Castro U.S.-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee and its donors, citing a non-partisan report.

    NJ Parole Board

  • Says polygraph tests are effective in detecting, preventing violations by sex offenders.

    Okay, then.

  • Your new governor still plans to spend his Saturdays at Delaware Stadium, home of his alma mater’s Blue Hens, in box seats with old pals, and behaving like an “extrovert” at games, giving the other team “as much razzing as anybody in the student body.”

    NJ has the highest rate of autism in the USA

  • I know you know that. But it’s worth remembering, given that sweeping legislation will be introduced in the lame duck session that adds adults with autism to anti-discrimination laws, and creates a voluntary state registry, designed to improve planning and delivery of services for autistic adults, says Speaker Joe Roberts of the bills created by NJ’s Adults with Autism Task Force.

    Require clear guidelines and zero secrecy

  • Courier-Post says taxpayers should demand changes in the state’s Extraordinary Aid program.

    What a creative way for a community to support lower-income people

  • A Highland Park eatery – 5th of its kind in the USA – is a Robin Hood Restaurant.

    Another recount request let over from the Nov. 3 election

  • In Monroe Twp, Democrat Steve Dalina, who lost by a narrow margin, is asking for a recount only of 2 districts inside 2 of the township’s wards, raising questions about whether people voted in the proper district.

    Secaucus Ex-Mayor Elwell

  • Indicted.

    Local News

  • Passaic: Mayor Blanco’s dinner dance for city employees, with a pricetag to his campaign, worries some folks.
  • Moorestown: Revising COAH plan.
  • Plainfield: Might lay off a dozen employees.
  • Bedminster: Joining planning and zoning boards?
  • DNC takes on Leonard Lance & Frank LoBiondo

    DNC is keeping up the pressure on Leonard Lance and Frank LoBiondo, two of the 32 GOP congressmen in America whose District voted for Obama – and his health care reform platform – but who betrayed the interests of their constituents by voting against reform 9 days ago in the House. Full list here.

    The 1-minute radio ads (that’s the Lance one up top, with LoBiondo’s below it) will be running this week on stations that serve both NJ-7 for Lance and NJ-2 for LoBiondo. They give out D.C. office phone numbers for both congressmen and urge listeners to call in “and tell him it’s time to stand up for reform, not insurance companies.”

    News Roundup & Open Thread for Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009

    Tonight on Blue Jersey Radio

  • Special Edition – Lame Duck Session Preview – 8pm

    League of Municipalities conference starts today

  • There will be sessions, there shall be schmoozing.

    You’re a Democrat. So …what do you want to see?

  • Jump in – An Open Letter to the next Democratic State Chair.

    Be your own pay-to-play investigator

  • Now you can track where your local and county politicians get their campaign money.
  • Stile: ELEC goes on offense.

    Ah, managing the expectation game already, eh?

  • Christie says the budget’s in worse shape than he thought.
  • Red ink, red ink.

    “Clearly, New Jerseyans spend too much time on the Turnpike”

  • And sadly, they’re forgetting why we call it the “Garden State”.

    5 years out

  • McGreevey, reconsidered.

    Sweeney v. Codey

  • What Scutari says.
  • What Bowser says.

    Because you can’t look at that many pairs of shoes

  • And not see the people.

    When you hear the coin drop in Atlantic City

  • Grab it! Or lose it.

    Maybe a few months too late

  • FAA is splitting the airspace over the Hudson River into local and distance zones.

    $209M in bonds

  • NJ is approving the sale of bonds to underwrite sewer, water and Open Space.

    At 6am, it’s lights on, and get to breakfast at 7

  • Joe Coniglio’s first morning at Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary

    NJ nominees

  • Awaiting action by the U.S. Senate

    Stop the presses!

  • The news isn’t dead.

    Local News

  • Hoboken: Is somebody going to bring this vote Mayor Dawn Zimmer just cast to court?
  • Newark:West Ward Councilman Ron Rice criticizes the city’s anti-crime strategy in his ward, and lists projects overdue.
  • Somerville Did you see the swastika painted on the train station wall?
  • Morristown: Police still don’t like Cresitello’s plans.
  • Rutherford: Lost by one vote, and now asking for a recount.
  • Jersey City: Editorial in Jersey Journal wants Mariano Vega out of office.
  • Rahway: Price of living there, going up.
  • Clinton Twp: Sewerage authority, no sewer plant.
  • Jersey Shore: Assessing storm damage.
  • All eyes on Sarlo

    UPDATE: Don’t miss the confirmation from Sen. Weinberg in Comments that she has a committment from Sen. Sarlo and the bill will be forwarded out of committee.

    The best news of the day, of course, came via Zach Fink at NJN, who reported today that Paul Sarlo appears to have backpedaled off a statement just Friday that he wasn’t going to bring marriage equality up in the Judiciary Committee unless there were enough committee votes to pass it on to the full Senate. And on Friday, he was saying those votes weren’t there.

    But today, a very different story. A Sarlo staffer acknowledges his boss has his own feelings on the matter but will “not allow his personal views to interfere with the will of the caucus and its leadership.”

    Yes, there are a lot of people in New Jersey that didn’t talk about anything else all weekend. And yeah, they’re not all gay. Sarlo should feel the weight of that, and if any spike of pressure led to a change in his position, then hell, I’m glad. And if it’s true that Sarlo intends now to bring marriage equality forward despite his own struggle with the issue, then I think he deserves everyone’s thanks. And he has mine.

    Here’s who’s on the Senate Judiciary Committee. It isn’t just Democrats who are willing to move on equality. Four Republicans – Senators Bill Baroni, Jen Beck, Kip Bateman and Sean Kean – are with us. Although the opposition disputes even that; they claim it’s only two, that from tonight’s NJN news broadcast (we expect to be able to post that video tomorrow).

    Zach’s post alludes to an internal struggle inside a party still staggering from loss. Damn right. It’s been a crappy month. But I’m not going to accept the loss of the governor’s race as a reason why New Jersey should not move forward to do what’s right. And you shouldn’t have to, either.  

    An Open Letter to the next Democratic State Chair

    I don’t know who the next state Chair is going to be. I hear rumors. Then I don’t hear them. And then I hear them again.

    But no matter who it turns out to be, there are a few things I want to put on the table. I didn’t always agree with Chairman Joe Cryan, but I can’t imagine anyone more driven, more alive, and more vibrant in the pursuit of victories. I hope the next Chair has a lot of Cryan’s qualities, and maybe a little of his swagger too. I admire him. And looking ahead now, a few suggestions for whoever the next Chair is:

    Pretend you’re Howard Dean

    When Howard Dean became DNC Chair, he presided over a transformation in the way the party spent money (on local organizing, not pricey beltway consultants), and a shift in the culture from over-reliance in high Democratic performance areas/states to not conceding any voter, or any state, anywhere. We won everything on the back of that seismic shift. I’d love to see that here.  But more importantly, I hope the next Chair has their own clearly defined idea of what the NJ Democratic Party can be. Imagine something different, cast that line far out in the water, and change everything. Because there’s a lot in this party that needs to change, and everybody knows it. Imagine what’s possible statewide like Dean did nationally. Stick to your guns, and surprise the hell out of everybody. Because that’s what it’s going to take.



    Aggressively pursue 21-County Strategy


    Concede no voter. Concede no town. Concede no county. Be the sharpest, cleanest party with a mission that can be understood all over the state. And remember that red county parties need more resources to crack open those places and bring change.  And in an atmosphere of crushing GOP infrastructure, the Chairs, county committees and candidates need all the training, and connection you can give them. Form a Red County Task Force at NJDSC.

    Exist between elections for people – Have cool events

    NJDSC needs a vibrant events arm. Issues Town Halls, Democrat-sponsored book talks with authors on book tours, movies outside in a park in Trenton, or against an outside wall in Jersey City or Camden. Brainstorm. Keep the idea of Democrat alive in people’s minds. Then employ or implore the people who can do it.

    Get the Dem State Conference out of Atlantic City, and out of September

    I’ll say this as plainly as I can: It’s insane to take 1,000 of the state’s most passionate Dems out of play for a whole half-week just as the rest of the electorate is waking up to the fact that there are candidates running. Move the thing to late spring/early summer (after the non-partisan elections). Nothing against AC, but move it out of there or at least revolve it all over NJ.

    Make it a grassroots event, not an insiders’ schmoozefest.


    Move it to a college campus.

    Make it a convention, not a conference. Use the opportunity to develop platform, bump up training, and let the people in attendance help set the direction of the party by involving them in decision-making, platform-writing.

    Make part of the convention open source. Some of the most exciting meetings in the country are run this way.



    Listen to The Citizens Campaign


    New Jersey has an idea factory for vibrant civic engagement and good government. They’re about clean, fair politics, and they have the sharpest tools in the toolbox to get us there. They don’t work for you – and that’s good – but they have all the answers. Same suggestion, by the way, for my GOP brothers and sisters.

    Play with New Media

    Webinars for skills-building. Twitter. Show up on political blogs. Write an internship for a vlogger to travel the state and make short videos asking people why they’re Democrats, or interview vets about the country they fought for, interview workers on labor issues. Experiment. Do stuff I haven’t thought of. This won’t cost you much, if anything. It’s not about that. Do it right and it’ll be fun, and make people see you differently.



    Give the party a platform


    Let the pro-choice ones battle the anti-choice side. Hash out differences on taxes. Make your stand clear on home rule. The party needs to stand for something, and voters need to see what that is. And not inconsequentially, active Democrats need a voice in setting your direction. That’s their route in, how they can buy-in to who the New Jersey Democrats will be.



    Transparency


    You have a nifty website. But it doesn’t do enough. Publish the DNC bylaws, NJSDC bylaws and bylaws of every county party. Everybody needs to know the rules, and how to work them to get done what they want to. Knowing the rules levels the playing field, and if you want us to believe that Democratic is also democratic, you’re going to want to level that field.

    Post on your site every member of every Democratic County Committee and how to reach that person. This party should make it easy for Democrats to see who’s supposed to be doing the work where they live, and if that person’s unresponsive, then the party should make easy for someone to challenge and contribute that work. UPDATE 8/2/10 – State Committee reps should be posted, too.

    Let young people in

    I know the party celebrates its youngest. But I think we can be doing more to provide opportunities, access and resources to them – to College Dems, to Young Dems and to the high school kids working their hearts out in local Dem HQs all over the state. Create committees for them to serve, with real participation, direction and responsibility. Ask the Cory Bookers and the Loretta Weinbergs and the Steve Sweeneys of this party to host Open Houses for kids interested in politics, if they’re not already doing that. Do what we did in the 2005 Corzine Connection part of his campaign: host First-Time Voter events where 18-year olds get access to your Senators, your congressmen, your stars. When national political hotshots come here, don’t just run a fundraiser, tack on a free event for young people to meet that person and ask questions. Be creative. See where kids get interested, then find ways to up the ante for them. Above all, listen to them. In about 5 minutes, they’re going to be running the show. Invest now.

    That’s it for now. There will be more. This is an Open Thread.  

    News Roundup & Open Thread for Monday, Nov. 16, 2009

    Evacuations, dune damage, fishermen lost at sea … thanks, Ida

  • Gov. Corzine declared a state of emergency for the 6 counties slammed by a nor’easter – Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Monmouth and Ocean – and is awaiting a decision from the President on declaring a disaster.
  • Aerial photos.

    Know whose house you spray-painted the “N-word” on?

  • It was somebody who might someday have to rush into your burning house and save your sorry life, you idiot.

    A Jersey advocate for National Guard & reservist soldiers from Princeton

  • Will kick off his big new job talking Fort Hood.

    This sounds right

  • Bonnie Watson Coleman says NJ can save money and reduce recidivism by mandating educational and jobs-training programs that give people a better shot at breaking the “pervasive cycle of arrest, release and re-arrest,” a “failed system that wastes lives and costs taxpayers dearly.”

    Christie

  • Carla Katz on Labor: 5 things the Governor-Elect can do.
  • Getting ready to talk about taxes.
  • Holy unrealistic expectations, Batman!
  • Fix the finances first.

    The ex-governors club

  • If you’re looking for Jim McGreevey, you can find him working weekends at All Saints Church in Hoboken, getting ready to become an Episcopal priest.

    Snuggies, blankets, and steely determination

  • Homeowners who won’t turn turn on the heat.

    Reform eminent domain

  • Star Ledger editorial

    Joe Coniglio

  • Heads to prison, today.

    Education

  • Corzine’s Education Commissioner talks public preschool, national standards, national test and using technology to motivate students, and a parting hope that Christie takes the time to study the issues.

    Jersey not so fresh

  • Some of our farmers in many of our counties had a rough growing season.
  • It was a bad August.

    Delaware River dredging

  • Economic worry in friction with environmental worry.

    Local News

  • New Brunswick: Vote on the ward system initiative is probably heading toward a recount request.
  • Phillipsburg: No more with the ferret rescue?
  • Independence Twp: A little municipal civil disobedience.
  • Medford: Rocking that fire department.
  • Hudson County: But, btw – Busiest firefighters in New Jersey.
  • Monroe, Old Bridge: Election recounts?
  • Delaware Twp: What, is somebody starting a collection or something?
  • Atlantic City: Getting ready for a summit to save Atlantic City’s economy.
  • Reverse Town Hall?

    It was an angry crowd that met Rep. John Adler Saturday at his first Town Hall since he voted to scuttle the public option when the House debated and passed it last weekend. But this time, the crowd was upset because the guy they sent to Congress is standing against the public option. Adler is one of the 39 Democrats voting no, and the only one from New Jersey. Pro-reform advocates from NJ Citizen Action and Grassroots 4 Change both showed up in numbers in Willingboro.

    Several dozen constituents rose to address the congressman yesterday, and nearly all were unhappy with his vote.

    Burlington County Times:

    “You were one of the first to support Barack Obama, and we looked at you as our Democratic congressman who would vote to make a change,” said Rev. Charles Levi Martin of Willingboro. “I love you, but I don’t like your vote. You gotta change your vote.”

    Adler’s position, which he telegraphed well in advance confounds and troubles some of the people who labored to get him in office, in NJ’s only congressional challenger victory last year. We have certainly been critical here of his position.

    Adler’s reasons for balking at the public option plan passed just days ago – largely about cost-containment and well outlined in this balanced review by Tom Moran – seem cheesy in light of the need for reform and the connection to personal bankruptcy and a cratering economy that uncovered and rapidly rising health care costs are. Adler seems dedicated only to the idea of a perfect bill, one that goes lighter on the landscape than he feels this one does. The strongest health care advocates started out on day one with their legislators already having compromised a single payer plan right out of the equation. Given that, it’s hard not to see Adler’s vote in the more conservative waters of South Jersey as political calculation, and a weak attempt to insulate himself from the inevitable GOP mission to snatch his District back when Adler stands for his first re-election in 2010.

    Still, an overhaul of our health care system has a few steps to go before it gels, and there is at least the suggestion that Adler, his issue of cost-containment now on the record, may yet come to support a public option plan.

    Adler still says he has “expressed support” for a public option, and notes that he has supported other Obama initiatives, including the federal stimulus package, stricter govenment oversight of banks and lending institutions and a new energy bill. But it isn’t clear whether that was enough for his audience Saturday. Evelyn Liebman, of NJ Citizen Action, urging Adler to correct his course:

    I urge you to reconsider your vote so you will be on the right side of history.

    Yeah. Like the lady said.

     

    Weekend News Roundup for Nov. 14-15, 2009

    Next up: How can I help you pollute?

  • Christie’s transition team is seeking input from business on regulations, and how they affect their business. Gaudagno will lead a “red tape” task force to review regs and mandates in local communities, a 90-day project to start on the day they’re sworn in.

    Rubber, meet road

  • Christie won by complaining about taxes, but offering no detailed solution.Now that he’s going to have to, he’s bringing in some firepower, a transition task force dedicated to taxes and budget, led by venture capitalist Robert Grady who served both Gov. Kean and George W. Bush, and former Assemblyman Richard Bagger, who once chaired the lower house’s Appropriations Committee.  
  • Christie says no income tax hikes.

    Yo – Where’s the average Joe?

  • Mulshine on who should have been put on Christie’s transition team.

    Christie

  • Charismatic, some find him.
  • Among the Republican set, speculation rampant on jobs in Christie administration.
  • With the punch Ocean and Monmouth delivered to Corzine, the shore gains new clout.
  • I’m thinking this is unlikely: PETA wants Christie to go vegan for a month.
  • The view from inside the victory.

    An open letter to John Adler

  • Susie Wilson, a leading authority in sexual & HIV/AIDS education, and teen pregnancy prevention – and a contributor to Adler’s campaign – remembers a time John Adler showed courage, a contrast to his “timid” reason for voting against the public option.

    But whose “one voice” were they speaking in?

  • In the debate over the public option on the House floor, Members echoed each other and spoke in one voice. Turns out some of that was scripted by Genentech, including the words of congressmen Pascrell and Payne.

    Municipalities in crisis

  • State aid to cities and towns – who gets what gets questioned.

    The time is now

  • Steven Goldstein on the essential timeline for marriage equality in New Jersey.

    Also for lame duck

  • Changes to the state’s “one handgun a month” law may be discussed.

    In housing for the elderly and disabled

  • In Newark, in New Community Corp. housing, bedbugs, rodents, equipment failure, issues with staff.

    League of Municipalities conference

  • Hopeful Republicans await Christie, Corzine will speak too, but the cloud of recession still hangs over the 16,000 or so local officials due to hit Atlantic City this week.

    Whoa …

  • Mumps!

    Local News

  • Bergen County: Remember when Bergen County was the bellwether for NJ elections?
  • Jersey City: Steven Fulop says it’s the belly of the beast for political corruption.
  • Morris County: A little gun-hoarding going on, eh?
  • Atlantic City: UNITE-HERE Local 54 members accept contracts in 6 casinos after 2 months negotiations.
  • Hanover: Probation for the guy who tried to bribe the former mayor with $20K for a zoning favor.
  • Englewood: Expectations of incoming mayor Frank Huttle III.
  • Friday the 13th Edition News Roundup & Open Thread, Nov. 13, 2009

    Star Ledger takes on both governors

  • Editorial indicts Corzine for his “very Jersey move” of delaying the pain in crafting a contract with state workers, rather than solving the problem. Then indicts Christie for threatening to invoke the Disaster Control Act to break the contract which the workers negotiated in good faith.

    How you pay for stuff you don’t realize you pay for

  • Pay-to-play loopholes in campaign finance laws at the state and county levels leaves the biggest government contractors in NJ getting lucrative, taxpayer-funded work while simultaneously making huge contributions to the candidates who vote to approve their contracts.

    Skeevy, if true

  • Jersey City assistant comptroller arrested in a multi-county sex chat sting, for trying to “chat” with police posing as young girls in an online chat room.

    Blue Mass, Red Mass

  • They were in the room together yesterday, first time since Election Night, just a couple of governors, chatting.

    Smooth

  • Corzine vows a smooth transition.

    Too clever

  • Charlie Stile: A new network of ethnic political action committees, deployed for the Bergen Democratic freeholder campaign, let some donors effectively contribute three to six times more than what is permitted by law.

    In the NJ Highlands

  • 16-mile underground gas pipeline approved by the Highlands Council.

    $5.6 million the state didn’t have a week ago

  • Former Tyco board member Frank Walsh, Jr. will pay $5.6 million to the state to settle a 2002 suit saying the state’s pension funds suffered because of fraud and insider trading that occurred at Tyco when the company bought the now-bankrupt commercial lender CIT.

    Local News

  • Jersey Shore: Storm coverage.
  • More storm coverage.
  • Cherry Hill: Cherry Hill African American Civic Association plans to break down some barriers with its first hip hop symposium tomorrow.
  • Collingswood & Camden: Collingswood police chief resigns to become Chief of Investigators with the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office.
  • Somerset & Middlesex Time for residents to weigh in, and advise the Planners.
  • Hunterdon County: Hampton mayor Rob Walton wants that vacant Freeholder seat.

    You know you wanna …

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