Author Archive: Rosi Efthim

News Roundup & Open Thread for Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009

It’s a voting day in some NJ towns

  • Voters in several towns will be asked to approve $440 million in school construction, largely for energy-saving projects. Is your town voting today?

    Daggett wants to talk taxes

  • Chris Daggett unveils his property tax plans 11am today.

    Third Debate

  • With Christie now in, plans gel for a debate on WBGO radio on Oct. 22.

    Blowing through E-ZPass or throwing something besides coins in the basket

  • New Jersey Turnpike Authority is down $13.6 million from toll evasion. And it seems the fines don’t end up directly in the Turnpike Authority’s coffers.

    Likely Secaucus mayor has a suit against the town

  • Independent Michael Gonnelli, who is running unopposed, filed his suit against against former Mayor Dennis Elwell and former Administrator Anthony Iacono 4 years ago.

    Gov. Corzine unveils youth initiatives for Newark & Camden

  • NJ plans to replicate a highly praised Harlem charter school, Harlem Children’s Zone, lauded by Pres. Obama, in Newark and Camden, a preemptive bid for a proposed federal grant that will expand the NYC effort across the country.

    Urban school districts will meet at Kean U.

  • Teachers & administrators will gather to share ideas of how to close achievement gaps between their students and those in affluent suburban districts.

    Rich crust, poor pie

  • Gleaming high-rises and historic brownstones whose occupants have plenty of spending cash, share Jersey City with far more people living close to the edge on modest paychecks, says a study by Garden State Alliance for a New Economy, a coalition of unions and community organizations.

    Local

  • Orange: Voices from the past can now be heard on the streets.
  • Paterson: Reconsiders a curfew.
  • Medford Lakes: Study says millions could be saved by dropping police force or combining it with Medford.
  • Cranford Twp: Skate park plans change.
  • Point Pleasant Beach: Judge rules against putting a mayoral recall on November’s ballot.
  • Harbortown: Under water with water costs.
  • Newark: City scores the Dodge Poetry Festival, a major cultural event.
  • Perth Amboy: Adopts ethics guidelines largely suggested by the Citizens Campaign.  
  • Christie’s health care blunder hits Huffington Post’s frontpage

    Chris Christie, whose real, callous views about people in need of health care have flipped him into a defensive posture, hit the front page of Huffington Post today, in a post by Jack Bohrer, a friend of Blue Jersey’s.

    I love when the NJ governor’s race breaks into national news, because the national Republicans really have a lot riding on this race, and so do we. This year, we have the only incumbent governor in the country up for re-election, and Virginia the only other governor’s race, an open seat. But next year, there are 37 governor’s races. NJ’s the big prize for the GOP. To take down the governor of a blue state is to not look like the big losers they still look like since we took the whole shebang in 2008.

    Jack pegs Christie’s testy, impatient retort to a cancer survivor as the Republican’s Macaca moment. I’m not so sure it rises to that level, although I do think the entire exchange – complete with his unfriendly “Can I finish now?” snap at this woman – should be an embarrassment for Christie.

    Man, this guy gets to be governor, we’re in for four years of Mr. Nastypants.

    Epic diversity fail for the anti-equality all-stars

    Today is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

    And in a stupid move that ends up revealing more than they want you to know about who they really are, NJ’s most virulent anti-gay leaders chose today to stage a press event 11:30am at the State House opposing marriage equality. Yeah. This narrow little bunch, who claim broad religious support, obviously doesn’t have it or someone might have suggested that Yom Kippur isn’t a great day to attract attention to yourself. So much for their diversity.

    My own (shoot me now) Sen. Mike Doherty leads today’s anti-equality squad, which also includes Alison Litell McHose, Steve Lonegan, Richard Merkt, Gerald Cardinale, Steve Oroho, Gary Chiusano, and Carolee Adams of the Eagle Forum of NJ. They must be feeling the tide turning on them.

    New Jersey Family Policy Council, led by Len Deo, is there too, with their mission to restore public opinion, attitudes, and behaviors to reflect a Judeo-Christian worldview.

    And yet, today’s news conference is being held on a holiday unsurpassed in its solemnity for the Jewish people.

    That, from our own Jeff Gardner, who is also GSE’s Vice-Chair. Chair Steven Goldstein is unavailable, observing Yom Kippur.

    Among the 50 states, NJ has the second-highest percentage of Jewish citizens, behind only New York. Two-thirds of NJ’s 21 counties rank in the top 100 counties in the size of their Jewish population. GSE stresses they don’t expect all public figures refrain from public events today. But there’s an obvious inconsistency in claiming religious support while not recognizing a major holy day.

    Goldstein said yesterday: It is appropriate for me, in these hours before Yom Kippur, to wish everyone well. But that’s too generous for me. I say New Jersey’s anti-equality gang has more than enough sins to atone for, and they ought to head home, STFU, and give that some thought.

     

    News Roundup & Open Thread for Monday, Sept.28, 2009

    NJ Gov/LG

  • Corzine/Weinberg picked up endorsements from Profession Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ-IAFF) & NJ Fraternal Order of Police.

    Speaker’s race

  • Linda Greenstein jumps from Wisniewski back to the neutral corner, and other tales of Codey v. Sweeney.
  • Thigpen pledges Essex Senate delegation for Codey.

    Even 66 years later, NJ never forgets hero John Basilone

  • And now, neither will Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.

    80% of low income people who need a lawyer can’t afford one

  • Report by Legal Services of NJ says young people, single parents, renters and those with jobs are among most likely to need legal assistance.

    At Princeton University

  • 75 veterans met for a 2-day workshop geared for those interested in getting into politics.

    Local

  • Hoboken:Sal DeMao drops from the mayor’s race, leaving a field of 7 candidates.
  • Camden: Mayoral Candidate Forum tonight.
  • Edison: After a yeshiva student was attacked last week, police are increasing patrols on guard against bias attacks during Yom Kippur.
  • Passaic County: Unity in the GOP … maybe not so much.

  • Morristown: Profiles of the candidates for mayor.

  • Weekend News Roundup & Open Thread for Sept. 26-27, 2009

    Gov/LG

  • Christie stumbles: Tom Moran, on how Chris Christie’s ham-handed attempt to paste over his real position on breast cancer care is forcing him to play defense and opening up both an opening for Corzine and a whole area for women voters to ask tough questions of Christie.
  • Corzine/Christie/Daggett: How each campaign’s resources determine what tools they’re using.
  • AP picks up fact that Weinberg’s role seems … bigger than Guadagno’s: “I can go out on my own without trailing behind him,” Weinberg said. Meanwhile, Guadagno’s doing far fewer appearances on her own. (And I can see why).
  • Why Weinberg v. Guadagno matters (as if you didn’t know).
  • Elections matter: Former VP Al Gore lays out the stakes in the 2009 Governor’s race.
  • With both parties and the whole country watching the NJ & VA races, the Democrats are rising in both. Is it enough?
  • Unable to face up to real questions about his personal conduct, Chris Christie tries frat-boy humor.

    Will New Jerseyans invest in green schools?

  • In 25 school districts, voters will decide Tuesday whether to spend $440 million on construction projects, much of it for saving energy – solar panels, new windows and doors, boilers, the largest dollar amount before voters in 4 years.

    Make it easy as we can for vets

  • Democratic lawmakers urge a veterans’ service office in every county.

    State Capital

  • Trenton is competing for grant funding to make sweeping upgrades in streetscape, housing, roads, parkland, and downsizing the government footprint to build a new neighborhood.

    Local

  • Atlantic City: Over the last 5 years, AC’s forked over almost $17 million in overtime to employees.
  • Washington Twp (Gloucester): Energy-saving.

  • Jersey City: La Vern Webb-Washington, arrested in July for political corruption, is too radioactive to be involved in building affordable housing right

    now.

  • Jersey City: Disparities.
  • Perth Amboy to State of New Jersey: Please rescue us from a 13% tax hike!
  • North Jersey: In the economic struggle between malls and Main Street, a wrinkle.
  • Cresskill: Police Chief takes to the water to help some folks.
  • Salem: Rusty water.
  • Monmouth County: Springsteen: The symposium, and the field trip.
  • Tewksbury: Fighting an electrical substation.
  • South Jersey: Rain ruined a lot of crops, say farmers.  
  • News Roundup & Open Thread Dem State Conference Edition Friday, Sept. 25, 2009

    Democrats-by-the-Sea

  • This is the first Dem State Conference in AC in 2 years, as last year was the national convention in Denver. Schmoozing has begun, and today’s capped off by a dinner honoring Gov. Corzine, with Special Guest VP Al Gore. Conf schedule here. Registration here (no, it’s not too late).

    Major police & fire unions endorse Corzine

  • Despite Christie’s law enforcement background.

    We’re close to approval on a new United States Attorney

  • Senate Judiciary Committee sends the nomination to the full Senate. May Paul J. Fishman show better judgement than the last USA.

    NJ offers new guide for disabled

  • Helping families navigate services, agencies and programs available for disabled adults.

    To take care of their families at home

  • Over 5,000 New Jerseyans have received paid family leave so far.

    No-knock search warrant played a part in the Lakewood incident

  • Four officers in the law enforcement task force were wounded in the gun battle during a raid on suspected gun traffickers.

    “Students, this is your workplace.”

  • Actress Cicely Tyson comes to East Orange, to dedicate the 2nd school named for her.

    This is the way you do transparency at meetings?

  • Hillside residents have clamored for years for Council meetings to be broadcast on local cable. Now, with their electeds still feuding, there are cameras in the room, but they’re pointed at the audience.

    Union advocates boycott of Rutgers speech

  • Union representing administrators, and two AFSCME locals representing 2,300 clerical, lab and maintenance workers call for boycott of RU President Richard McCormick’s annual address.

    New Jersey’s independents

  • Will they act like Democrats this year? Or is this the year it shifts?

    For Obama team, Corzine race is a hands-on project

  • There’s no shoving him aside, like NY’s Gov. Patterson. White House operatives are fully engaged in NJ.

    Local

  • Jersey City: Councilwoman Nidia Lopez asks the court to drop any challenge to her NJ residency. But she’ll pay back taxes in FL.
  • Jersey City: JC official 3 reappointed by Jerramiah Healy to run the city’s largest department.
  • Burlington Twp: If you’re Michelle Malkin, you’re going to think this is incredibly important.
  • Bridgewater: An entire little neighborhood goes up, courtesy Habitat for Humanity.
  • Bayonne New light rail station unlikely to be named for former councilman.
  • News Roundup & Open Thread for Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009

    Democrats-by-the-Sea

  • Tonight the 2009 Democratic State Conference kicks off in AC with an 8pm welcome party hosted by Atlantic County Dems, Sen. Whelan, County Execs Tom DeGise, Joe DiVencenzo & Dennis McNerney & 10 county parties. Hands will be shaken, notes will be taken, and before the night is through, there may be dancing. Register here.
  • Meanwhile, dealers at the venue hosting state Dems stays a union shop.

    Sundance Channel’s Brick City Movie about Newark

  • The 5-night documentary series Brick City last night saw the murders of 3 college students, challenges for the police, a non-profit for Jayda, and the difficult birth of a new High School. Newark Councilman Ron Rice chronicles each night’s film. He’ll post his latest this morning.

    Who Do I Have to F**king Bribe to Get an Award?

  • It’s been a rough summer in Jersey City. Amazing that somebody in Democratic politics still has a sense of humor.

    Once again, Christie’s professional & financial conduct raises questions

  • Christie was owning stock in Cendant Corp. while investigating Cendant Corp. And Cendant pops up in the profile of one of the deferred prosecution agreements Christie was called to testfy before Congress on.

    Mulshine looks at Christie and sees ….

  • Very little.

    NJ Lockerbie families, unsettled

  • Unhappy Libya’s leader welcomed on American soil. So’s a Red Bank rabbi.

    ACORN sues the Rutgers grad sting prankster

  • Sting operation, on viral video, led to ACORN’s loss of White House support.

    Law enforcement

  • State police: Disciplinary actions: down. Citizens’ complaints: lowest in 5 years.
  • NJ Supreme Court-ordered inquiry into how cops use live and photo lineups, an effort to prevent wrongful convictions.

    Follow the money …

  • Here’s a map.

    Local

  • New Brunswick: Battle over competing public ballot questions is over. Empower Our Neighborhoods won, voters to consider a ward system in the city.
  • Hoboken: Candidate Waiters files objection to petitions of Zimmer, Mason.
  • Edison: Two more members of Jun Choi’s administration prepare to leave, as his term comes to a close.
  • Mt. Holly: Goes solar to save energy.
  • Cumberland County: Health officials mistrust census figures on teen pregnancy.
  • Milford: Former Riegel Paper Company plant added to EPA’s federal most polluted list.
  • Bayonne: Longshoremen’s union concerned about tech’s impact on jobs.
  • Montclair: Ban on overnight parking survives.
  • Point Pleasant Beach: Coast Guard drilling and prepared.
  • Rush Holt supports ENDA

    In full disclosure, I once upon a time worked on Rush Holt’s campaign staff. But more importantly, I used to live in the congressional district he represents, NJ-12. But not anymore. Screw redistricting. I wanna live in Rush Holt’s world again.

    This is Holt during today’s hearing on the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA) before the House Education & Labor Committee:

    The federal ENDA would bar job bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It’s based on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, prohibiting discrimination by employers based on race, gender and religion. ENDA extends those protections to persons, based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There are some exemptions: armed services, veterans’ service groups, religious entities, and groups with less than 15 employees.

    New Jersey already has a transgender equality law.

    Christie held stock in a company he was investigating as US Attorney

    Well, well, well. Not two hours ago, as I write this, I said I hoped the Corzine campaign would shift away from personal snipes about tangential stuff like Christie’s girth, to more substantial questionable stuff on the guy’s wobbly ethical compass.

    Like maybe today’s news that Christie held stock in a company even while investigating them as United States Attorney. Star-Ledger:

    Chris Christie bought and sold stock in a travel and real estate company while it was under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office he led at the time, according to public records. Christie, now the Republican candidate for governor, purchased shares of Cendant Corp. in 2004 and sold them in 2005, according to financial disclosure reports he filed with the Justice Department. In 2002, his office had renewed an investigation into Cendant, leading to fraud convictions of two of its former top executives in 2005 and 2007.

    What I haven’t seen anywhere today is that Cendant’s name also pops up in the list of the seven deferred prosecution agreements Christie was called to testify about before Congress, the day Christie went (briefly) to Washington:

    — John Carley. A former Cendant Corp. vice president and Federal Trade Commission lawyer under President Reagan, Carley was on Sen. John McCain’s 2008 New York fundraising team. He oversaw a nonprosecution agreement involving Stryker Orthopedics.

    Why do the same names keep popping up in Chris Christie’s history? Why are so many of them Bush insiders, or high donors to marquee Republican campaign’s like John McCain’s? Doesn’t Christie know anybody else?

    Christie’s answers today on how he came to be holding Cendant while also investigating Cendant seem a little unsteady to me. He acknowledged he saw Cendant on his disclosure reports, but says his financial adviser bought and sold the stocks without his knowledge. He denies making either decision himself. It all sounds plausible. But given Christie’s incredibly casual attitude towards financial disclosure and to the truth in general when he has something to gain or lose, this deserves all the scrutiny in the world.  

    New Corzine ad: If

    Starting today, the Corzine campaign has a new 30-second ad going up on broadcast tv. Called If, the ad spotlights the questionable ethical behavior which has contributed to Chris Christie’s rising unfavorables, as more information about him reaches more voters. The ad focuses on his eyebrow-raising history of committing serious driving offenses and getting off without a ticket or penalty, failing to disclose a sizeable loan or even pay taxes on the interest. The kind of thing you or I would get nailed on in a New Jersey minute.

    There’s been some grumbling that attention to Christie’s driving record is a distraction. But I think it’s key. I lived through Richard Nixon. I’m not down for politicians in an executive capacity deciding they’re above the law. So on substance, I like this ad. I also appreciate that it’s sourced and referenced – which I hope you’ll take a look at – it’s all after the jump.

    Real Clear Politics picked up on the only quibble I have with the ad: playing the weight card on Christie. I think the coy reference in the script – “throwing his weight around” – cheapens the impact and brings it down to a more schoolyard, too-personal, ridicule of the style Ann Coulter made famous and I can do without. We get it. He’s a fat, fat man. Move on to why the fat man would make a lousy governor. There’s plenty to work with.

    Documentation and sourcing for this ad – well worth reading – is after the jump.