Author Archive: Rosi Efthim

Will Cory Booker endorse Loretta Weinberg for LG?

The hot rumor (Wally broke it) that Mayor Cory Booker will endorse Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) for Lieutenant Governor is ramping up the buzz about how the Corzine pick and the Christie pick for their lieutenant governor running mates will shift the race.

Right now, some of that action has shifted to Bergen County. Senator Weinberg, who bucked her own county party leadership in Bergen, would be a progressive choice who would activate Corzine’s base. And Booker, a national figure now whose signal he wasn’t interested in LG himself boldly telegraphed his own 2013 Drumthwacket intentions, is an obvious major player in the direction this race will take. A potential lightning-rod.

Before Kathleen Donovan’s entry into the LG sweepstakes, conversation about the Christie choice centered on Sen. Tom Kean, Junior and Sen. Diane Allen. Donovan, still a dark horse, is an interesting development because she is an electorally-successful Republican who can generate votes in deep-blue Bergen County, where Democrats show up, but hardly unify.

Donovan was a one-term Assemblywoman who was briefly the GOP state party chair (several months during 1989-1990), one of just a handful of women to run either party. It’s not the worst pick Christie could make, given her ability to garner votes in the hostile waters of Bergen County. She’s on her fourth term as Bergen County Clerk.

Weinberg, who was nationally endorsed by Democracy for America (DFA) in her intraparty battle with disgraced former Bergen Democratic Chair Joe Ferriero, and who loves telling audiences she was a hot-tag grandma (she’s 74) on Blue Jersey, could light up activists in the Garden State, many of whom call her The Godmother of Progressive Politics in NJ.

And Corzine/Weinberg?  ….  Man, that would be a fun race.  

DFA Campaign Training Sat-Sun – open to all, but nearly filled

It’s official – Jon Corzine’s the nominee. And all over the state some very good people are running with him. And some of them need to go zero-to-sixty almost immediately, because they’re running in uphill districts, or for the first time, or against an entrenched incumbent. There are people we’re going to be watching to see whose campaign we believe in, even as we’re still getting used to the privilege of calling Barack Obama President.

But it’s time to get tough. This weekend people are coming from all over NJ – and trainers are flying in from all over the country – to train on new media, messaging, advocacy, fundraising – all the skills we need to drive new victories. The DFA Campaign Training is intense work, and great fun. And this year for the first time it’s in the busy City of Newark, at Rutgers Law School. It’s not too late to join us. Jump to the next page and meet  four who did, and see how they changed everything:  

Unofficial Hunterdon Results not good news for Marcia Karrow

Updated results: Doherty 52%, Karrow 48%, with some Warren County precincts still out. Warren results will be here (click Current Election Results).

Low turnout in Hunterdon County, as almost everywhere else in NJ, boosted Steve Lonegan’s numbers here. But they may have helped drive a victory for the State Senate candidate allied with Lonegan, Mike Doherty. Results are still unofficial for Hunterdon, but here’s what the numbers look like right now, with almost all the county’s votes counted:

Marcia A. Karrow   5,920   47.86%

Michael J. Doherty 6,445 52.11%

Hunterdon is Karrow’s home turf, and if the incumbent of just weeks was to win, it would be here. She lives in Flemington, grew up here where her father had a popular menswear shop on Main Street, and climbed the political food chain here as Raritan Township Committeewoman, then Mayor, then Freeholder and Freeholder Director, then Assemblywoman, then Senator.

Results are not yet in for Warren County, but that’s Doherty country, and his voters are reliable supporters who likely also cast their ballots for Lonegan. Lonegan’s ahead here, but that’s not shocking news. Current numbers: Lonegan 49.86%, Christie 45.80%, Merkt 4.27%.

I am not seeing Warren County results available yet. But just about to go out on another hunt for them. But with 41% of all distrits reporting, Doherty is leading Karrow 52%-48%.

Karrow took some indignant drubbing from some Republicans – and some vets – for choosing Memorial Day to lob a mail piece to voters accusing her opponent of “Surrender in Iraq.” Robo-calls followed that, with the same message.

Doherty is a West Point grad, with 8 years in the Army, and three sons in the military – Army, Air Force, and Marines. It was a move more tone-deaf and less sure-footed than Karrow’s usual style.  A hail-Mary pass.

It may have contributed to her loss.

If Doherty’s lead holds through the Warren results –  very likely –  I’m torn between the horror of being represented by this man for the next four years, and the delicious idea of running some worthy against what may be the starkest dark star in the state of New Jersey.

Corzine’s looking for new media interns & volunteers

Hey, the Corzine 09 campaign is looking for new media interns and volunteers. And that might be you.

This will be about plugging in the internet to every aspect of traditional organizing. The new media arm of the governor’s campaign will be building relationships with online communities, broadcasting Corzine’s message using digital tools, helping to produce online content – including photos, videos and blog posts – and working with staff and volunteers to spread the word using online tools to organize offline events.

They’re looking for videographers, photographers, bloggers, and people with general online organizing knowledge. Applicants should have good working knowledge of digital tools, and a good imagination for how to use them effectively.

Oh, and if you’re a social networky sort of person, they want you, too.

Contact: jmelli(at)votecorzine09(dotcom) or via twitter.

News Roundup and Open Thread for Friday, May 15

Delaware’s new gambling laws put the squeeze on NJ

  • There will be craps, roulette and betting on sports in the state to our south soon, and that could be a problem for Atlantic City, and its already flagging revenues.

    United Day Laborers es no más

  • NJ’s first city-sanctioned day labor hiring center is closed, its organizers unable to raise enough money to keep it going. The little storefront in Passaic opened in 2007, but its leader says broken promises from candidates are one reason why.

    But you know, there’s a point to primaries

  • Sen. Steve Sweeney assembled Democratic Party stalwarts from up and down the food chain at a news conference to appeal to three independent candidates – all Democrats and all former freeholders – running off the line to drop out of the Cumberland County freeholder race.

    $600 million open space public measure off table for now

  • Sen. Barbara Buono says inclusion of a bill for state bond measure to borrow $600 million to preserve farmland and open space made it onto the Thursday agenda by mistake. It may still happen, though.

    Clackety-clack Hackensack to Hawthorne

  • Work begins this spring on a 9-stop new rail line for NJ Transit, which critics say may be the least-traveled line in the state at ta projected cost of $150-200 million. Five of those stops are in Paterson, prompting critics to suggest this is a pet project of Paterson’s Rep. Bill Pascrell, who counters the line will spur economic development and make things easier for commuters working in Hackensack.

    Erm, using what as income?

  • Two initiatives would shift some costs of incarceration back onto the inmate, which Sen. James Beach thinks is reasonable, given state costs of $39,000 per inmate. Another bill requires sex offenders to pay for their own ankle bracelets. Inmate advocates point out that they don’t have any money, while ACLU says all this discourages inmates from getting their lives together.

    Say it together:

  • Awww………..

    Jersey City

  • Jersey City’s Ward F election took until Thursday before it was clear, and then only after provisional ballots were counted: Incumbent councilwoman Viola Richardson will face Ronnie-Calvin Clark in runoff. La Vern Webb-Washington lost the second-place vote by just one vote. Ward A’s runoff pits Councilman Michael Sottolano v. Rolando Lavarro Jr..

    So much better than Air Force One

  • Heads up! Sunday morning, there’s a drill planned to simulate a response to an explosion on the PATH train in the tunnel between the World Trade Center site, and northern New Jersey. No explosion sounds, but do expect sirens and flashing lights.
  • News Roundup and Open Thread for Thursday, May 14

    In mourning

  • Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, 25, was remembered today at his Paterson home, as a studious young man who married and gained his citizenship while in the Army, sent money home with each paycheck, and loved being a military man. How he died troubles his family deeply.

    Fix state budget by taxing the wealthy more

  • Better Choices for New Jersey, a coalition of labor and environmental groups, is suggesting Gov. Corzine address state budget problems with higher taxes on businesses and those making over $300,000, higher registration fees for gas-guzzlers and the like.

    Passaic and Bergen counties could lose money

  • A shift in focus for federal dollars, from underwriting the cost of jailing illegal immigrants to beefing up the borders, could leave jails in both counties down about $2 million in federal immigration enforcement funding, which is now used for costs like salaries, jail upgrades and inmate transportation.

    Money for trees

  • If you’re a builder who wants to take down trees to put up your buildings, it’s okay for the municipality to charge you for that, per tree, says the NJ Supreme Court.

    Plainfield utility authority

  • A public forum this week did not go well for the city’s utility authority, with more than 100 people showing up to complain about rising rates, layoffs and utility executives’ attending out of state conferences costing the city tens of thousands of dollars.

    A “one-shot effort to get people back on their feet”

  • A $5.1 million job training program, with a focus on re-training workers for jobs in the medical field, for jobless and temporarily homeless people in Morris County and NW NJ, with an infusion of federal dollars. And Morris is expecting nearly $1 million from Uncle Sam for short-term housing assistance.

    Challenging taxes

  • More than 20,000 homeowners filed tax appeals in Monmouth and Ocean counties this year. That’s a 230% jump.

    Recycling the flat tax

  • Their first debate now behind them, Chris Christie and Steve Lonegan are talking about how they did, and how they want to change your taxes.

    Would you support an open space bond?

  • A new poll says you might, with about 6 out of 10 likely voters supporting a $600 million state bond measure to preserve open space, farmland, and historic sites. Gov. Corzine supports a ballot measure on open space but without specifying a dollar amount. State lawmakers recently doubled the amount from $300 million, to take advantage of low land prices in this depressed market.
  • Woo hoo! Juan Melli joins Corzine staff


    Juan Melli, founder of Blue Jersey, has joined the re-election campaign of Gov. Jon Corzine, the campaign announced a few minutes ago. Juan, blogfather to everyone here, will be New Media Director for the campaign.

    Juan was also Politician of the Year in 2006, and a former associate editor there.

    We are thrilled and delighted. And let me say, officially, that the Governor could not have made a better choice.  

    Additional staff hires just announced include former Julie Diaz, of the NJ Obama campaign, as Director of Volunteer Organizing and David York, who worked as Director of Legislative Policy for the Governor, as the campaign’s Director of Policy.  

    Sgt. Christian Bueno-Galdos, Rest in Peace


    News broke a few days ago about a soldier who opened fire on his fellow troops, killing five, at a mental health facility at Camp Liberty, near the Baghdad Airport.

    It is the worst such attack in the history of the now 6-year old Iraq War.

    Now word comes that one of the soldiers killed is from New Jersey. He is Sgt. Christian Bueno-Galdos, just 25, and from Paterson.

    Army Sgt. John M. Russell, 44, whose father says the Army “broke him”, is accused of his murder. He was nearing the end of his third tour of duty in Iraq, with previous tours starting April 2003 and November 2005. Stress arising from repeat and extended tours is considered a main contributor to mental health problems among troops on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is now facing charges of murder and aggravated assault.

    This is awful in about a hundred ways. Our respect and sympathy to Sgt. Bueno-Galdos’ family, friends and comrades in arms.  

    News Roundup and Open Thread for Wednesday, May 13

    Non-partisan elections

  • Jersey City: Mayor Jeremiah Healy won re-election on the first ballot with 53% of the vote,, with former Asm Lou Manzo a distant 26%. Some of Healy’s running mates will compete in runoffs June 9. In Ward E, Downtown, independent candidate, incumbent Steve Fulop won easily with more than 60 percent of the vote.
  • Hoboken: Dawn Zimmer and Peter Cammarano will face off in a run-off election June 9, as the top two vote-getters in Hoboken. Zimmer’s 36% and Cammarano’s 34% weren’t enough to clinch things for either candidate. Now it gets interesting.
  • More election results in Robbinsville, Bordentown, Hillside, South Orange, Verona and Cedar Grove. Got more, near you? Please post in Comments.

    Jun Choi will run on Line C in Edison

    An arrangement with Roger Bacon, who’s on the ballot in the primary opposing Jon Corzine for Governor, will allow Jun Choi to get on Line C, one column before his arch-rival Toni Ricigliano. Choi, who is running in defiance of the endorsement of the Democratic organization, whom he opposed when he won his first mayoral election in 2005. Jon Corzine’s on Ricigliano’s line.

    In which the right-wing guy isn’t the big $$ guy

  • Three weeks out from the Senate primary contest between incumbent Marcia Karrow (R-23) and Mike Doherty, Karrow has raised more than double what Doherty has, and has about twice as much cash on hand, despite the $5,000 of his own money Doherty pumped in. Karrow’s running mates, Assemblyman John DiMaio and Hunterdon Freeholder Erik Peterson, have also outraised Doherty’s, Ed Smith, who claims he’ll win, pointing to his long experience, including years as Doherty’s chief of staff. Democrat Harvey Baron is running unopposed.

    How do you think they did?

  • Chris Christie and Steve Lonegan squared off last night in the first Republican debate. We watched it together here at the homeblog, and on Blue Jersey Radio.

    Love the rail transportation, the jughandles, eh, not so much

  • A study of Route 202 from Raritan Borough to Raritan Twp. finds worsening traffic, and is recommending short-term, cheap fixes including: re-timing traffic lights, increasing rail service to Hunterdon, adding jughandles to several intersections and installing crosswalks. Hunterdon is underserved by rail and the Flemington Rail Coalition has been advocating direct service to that town. Meanwhile, in Gloucester County, rail’s a little further ahead.

    Don’t build it here, they say

  • With the help of Columbia University Conservation Law Clinic, two environmental groups are suing to overturn NJ DEP’s approval of a housing project on the edge of the Highlands region in Holland Twp., which New Jersey Highlands Council opposed.

    Marching against violence

  • Shalga Hightower, whose daughter Iofemi was one of three young people killed in a Newark schoolyard three years ago, will join a parents and others in a 17-mile march that will wind through 12 cities in Essex and Union counties, beginning in E. Orange and ending in Plainfield.

    Budget cuts to for-profit NJ colleges

  • State officials plan cuts to financial aid for students at several of New Jersey’s for-profit colleges, which include Berkeley College and DeVry University.
  • Underinsured Conf Call Notes

    conference call this morning

    Rep. Frank Pallone

    Rep. John Hall

    Kenneth Colon, Health care consumer from Montclair

    Ron Pollack, Executive Director of the advocacy group Famiies USA

    report “Too Great a Burden”


    I know that there’s


    HC cost skyrocketing, the most compelling factor in the call for health care reform

    Their report focuses on those paying more than 10 percent and more than 25 % of their pre-tax family income on health care.

    Nationally, in 09, we project 64.4 million under 65 years will be spen

    an – – many have health insurance.


    1,465,000 are

    increase of 43% sp

    high health care cost not just a prob of uninsured, but ppl with health insurance. are being hit hard in the wallet because of rising costs, spending more of their family income on health care.

    Clear signal that health care costs must be reformed.


    Chair Health Subcommittee of the House

    primary oversight

    Not only are 47 million w/o health insurance (citing that their resarch shows that the figure may be almost twice that when you consider pppl who have lost if for part of a year)

    Preisdnet obama’s committment

    Putting together a health care reform package to bring down costs

    Obama said wants on desk by end of this year.

    Votee before the augue=st recess

    For ppl now getting to

    Health Marketplace – where fed govt will tap into where got makes sure at affordable rates

    public option, like medicare

    Prices come down, large insurance pool, plus we would subsidize ppl through the health marketplace.


    too many middle class families struggling to afford one of life’s necessities

    cost of premiums, skyrocketing along with co=-pays and deductables, paying more and getting less, difficulties fo ins companies looking to deniy coverage first.

    Check into hospiral or have procedure done, hospital checks and comes back with info that is covered, only to find out that – oops – it’s not covered because of some small print they hadn’t seen.

    Howpicalts considerably underpaid by medicaid.

    Also mentioned public option

    Any corporation should be in this fight, because health care costs


    Falls into a lot of those categories. Has small bix and 3 children. Family decided purchas small plan, and piad extroa for the ability to go out of network, several hundred per month, to be able to choose any doc

    July 07 diagnosed cancer, went to 2 cancer centers, on e in network and one not. The one not was specifically focused on his rare form. After thise high premiums would be subject to 30% up to 10K, then full coverage. They chose that, but got to 12,000 and asked. Got letter that his treatment was beyong “usual and customary” treatement. So, $80,000 bill.

    Went thru appeals project, sent certified letters,a rter insu company said never got letters, then went to NJ Dept. Banking and Insurance, which has already knocked down half that cost. In some cases it was as simple as asking why did you deny after you  had already approved. SAID – it was like they said, okay you’re right, like they were caught.


    Bought policy through individual market, try to fold those in that marke t into the marketplace, economy of scale, but also for a conpany to offer insu thru the fed govt, they would have to submit to a review by the govt of their practices.

    Pre-existing coverage. We would not allow that, they would have to take them whether have pre or not.


    HOw shocking do you think hese stats are.

    Can we assume more and more jersey residents who may not be pay

    in 10% but are getting close.

    PALL: Not shocking, we’ve been hearing for a long time this unsustainable.

    16% gross national product, projected in 10 years could be 26%

    Also plan to do things diff: Stress prevention, electronic recordkeeping, overuse of diagnostic tools, don’t need multiple CAT scans for example in diff hospitals. Cost is also affecting quality, deterirating.

    Preminus v. paychecks (Poll) premiums rising 5x faster than wages. in addition those premiums are purchasing fewer services.


    Can indiv states do anything to buffer this?

    As work to hc reform, what are stumbling blocks

    PALL: States have tried to address on their own, partic to cover all their residents like MaSS. Hard to bring down costs and cover everyone unless everyone is participating across the states. Reduce costs b/c of the econ of scale.

    In NJ, Sen. Fitale who chairs, is welcoming fed involvement.

    POLLA: limitations what states can do, really a

    chronic health

    see more research undertaken about the comparable success of different therapies so we are not spending on what does not work.


    How can taxpayers expect to pay for this

    PALLON: Obama in budget suggeste way to pay

    for cost, half of theat (or 1/4) would be from cost effiecn,000

    eties. Reduce deductions on those making less than $250

    POLLA: a numnber of the key health care providers reduce by 1.5% and WH says that will save $2trillion over next few years. Would be savings to fed, individuals.

    Clear statement by these orgs that they’re prepared to meet the need. Shows that there are many ways

    PALL: I don’t have any doubt we can pay for this with the cuts said yesterday, but a signif sould have to be from new source


    Momentum toward taxing health care as benefit

    state by state – in NY/NJ certainly high, but they are below average compared to other states.

    PALL: I don’t think we’re going to tax indiv health care plans, was suggested by McCain and not supported by OBama. But if empl decided not going to cover employees, we would make them contrib to the hcmarketplace.

    POLLA: health care for children, more generous than other states