Author Archive: southernbluedog

Frank Minor: The Failed Anti-Machine Campaign

Congratulations to Senator Donald Norcross on winning the two primary races in CD1. The senator won with 71.9% of the vote. Frank Broomell got 15.3% and Frank Minor got 12.9%.

It’s no secret that I was against Frank Minor’s candidacy. I’m no exit poll expert, but I see that he lost (badly) for many reasons. Some of those reasons include a lack of name recognition, a lack of establishment support, a lack of a real message, lack of money, and poor use of social media. I was really surprised that there wasn’t even a call for action on Tuesday from the Mayor’s campaign Facebook page.

Mayor Minor ran as the “anti-machine” candidate. It didn’t work. It was such a poor message (in this district, at this time) that he even got fewer votes than Frank Broomell, who has no real political experience. Many people thought that Minor would at least perform better considering the success of the “anti machine” candidate in Newark, Ras Baraka. There is one major difference between the races in Newark and South Jersey.

In Newark, there were many reasons to be upset with the machine/establishment. One of the biggest issues is public education. The establishment supported taking away from public schools to give to charter schools. The anti-establishment candidate was a public school principal and was able to rally support around this issue.

In South Jersey, there was no real reason to be passionately upset with the establishment. I know the talking points. Some people are tired of the Norcross family having a stranglehold on the government. I get it. But until the family does something to enrage the 18,264 people who just voted for the Senator, nothing will change.

Gloucester County Jail Closing

I haven’t seen anyone post on Blue Jersey about the Gloucester County freeholders closing their jail and laying off a significant amount of corrections officers.  It’s been touted to save Gloucester County taxpayers a quarter of a billion dollars over the course of the proposed 25 year contract.

It’s a plan created in secret by Gloucester County Freeholder Director Bob Damminger and Cumberland County Jail Warden (and co-chair of the Cumberland County Democrats) Bob Balicki. It was so secret that the Republican freeholder liaison to the Gloucester County Jail didn’t know about it until a couple days before the freeholders voted on the plan. He still voted for the plan, by the way. The vast majority of corrections officers heard of the plan from the media.

The plan calls for Gloucester County to send prisoners to Cumberland County. 33 lucky Gloucester County Corrections officers would remain employed at the Gloucester County Jail to process prisoners and transport them 38 miles to the Cumberland County Jail. If Cumberland County does not have room for prisoners, they would be lodged in Salem County or at several counties north of Gloucester who have shown an interest in taking prisoners.

The corrections officers are understandably upset. A lot of them will either lose their jobs. They’ve created a Facebook page and a website to try to spread their opinions/facts and to organize protests against the Freeholders’ plans. It appears Gloucester County Republican Freeholder Vincent Nestore (the only freeholder to vote against this jail plan) is taking an active role in the Facebook page.

There is a lawsuit being filed by attorney (and constant pain in the Democrats’ butts) Mark Cimino on behalf of the Gloucester DOC unions. Salem and Cumberland counties are also concerned that they’d have to layoff their local employees to make room for Gloucester’s employees. There are a lot of obstacles to this plan – a plan I’m sure will happen some how, some way.

I don’t know what to make of all of this. I like the idea of saving $10 million a year. But I feel for the corrections officers losing their jobs. I don’t like the idea of union busting. I don’t think the county will be saving as much as they think. I think things will get more difficult for the courts and municipal police departments.

I’d love for some of you here on Blue Jersey to read up on the issue and give me some of your opinions/thoughts.

My Election Day

I love this story. – Rosi

I have to admit that I did next to nothing for this year’s general election. I submitted a vote by mail ballot at least a week or two before the election. I have a ton of excuses. I’m busy with my first house, I’m busy with work, I’m busy with family issues, I took the election for granted, etc. Fortunately my lack of participation didn’t hurt much in NJ, other than annoying some of my friends in the campaign world.

Election day arrived and I figured the best thing I could do is at least make sure my family (solid Democrats) got out to vote. My sister voted since she was finally home after years of being away on military business. My brother voted provisional in his town because he forgot to submit his VBM ballot. My mom and grandmother voted. The only person left to vote was my grandfather. The only problem? He was in the hospital.

Follow below the fold for the rest of the story.

Why I’m Against the Proposed Camden County Police Department

Camden County folks, do you agree? – promoted by Rosi

This morning I read this Courier Post article discussing the police union organizing the community against the proposed plan to create a county-wide police force to increase patrols of Camden city. I got really frustrated at the city and county for wanting to implement this plan.

Simply put, is union-busting. You won’t get any supporters of the plan, especially the Democrats, to admit that. What happens to the 200+ cops that are barred by state law from being hired by the proposed county police force? If the county hires a certain number of current Camden City police officers, they have to abide by current labor contracts. That would defeat the purpose of creating a whole new law enforcement entity that can start officers out at lower salaries.

This will not save the city (or other state tax payers) any money. The county will be able to hire more cops, but the same dollar amount will be spent on public safety. Any plan put into action needs to put more cops on the street AND save money.

10% Income Tax Cut Doesn’t Add Up

If I’m reading things right, this 10% income tax cut will cost $1 Billion.

I’m not a math genius, but if you split $1 Billion among the state’s 3,553,562 housing units as a “property tax rebate,” each house would get about $280. If I made $50,000, a 10% income tax cut would save me about $80 (depending on who you ask).

A $280 rebate on property taxes that are about $7,000 is a 4% decrease in property taxes. The proposed income tax cut would theoretically amount to a 1.14% decrease in my property taxes.

A great part about giving the homeowners a $280 property tax rebate is that Governor Christie’s wealthy friends can still benefit from this. They, too, would collect this $280 and be able to spend it however they desire.

Even better, the lower-income homeowners would have an extra $280 that is almost guaranteed to be used (in it’s entirety) to support the incomes of those wealthy people. My grandparents would definitely use that $280 to pay for their expensive prescription medicines or their frequent visits to doctors and hospitals. Or they, like other low-income homeowners, would use it to pay for increasing electric/heating/food/transportation bills.

Why do people support a 10% income tax cut?

-They don’t understand history. They don’t understand how our state was affected the last time this happened.

-They don’t know and/or understand basic math.

-They are too caught up in party politics to understand the difference between good and bad public policy.

If we are going to give $1 Billion back to the people of New Jersey, I urge our lawmakers and their leaders to negotiate it into property tax rebates and not income tax cuts. We all know how regressive and oppressive property taxes have become. Let’s do something to ease the burden, not increase it.

Back to School Boycott

Just like everyone else, I started college classes again this past week.  It is going to be tough to take three classes on top of working full time at night, but I’m so close to graduating with my political science degree.  Why does that matter to Blue Jersey? To those of you who actually know me, you’ll be happy to keep up with my hectic life. For those of you who don’t know me, it’s probably not important at all.

What should be important to EVERYONE is the fact that I have to buy some more paper to my printer. Since I don’t like going out to the stores, I generally shop online at Amazon.com. After searching for “printer paper,” the first product that showed up was a ream sold by Georgia Pacific. What’s so bad about that?

Before I buy something online, I like to read the product reviews. On this paper product, there was only one 1-star review.  I clicked on it and found out the following:

Made by Georgia Pacific owned by Koch Brothers who fund Teabaggers.

That tempted a person to say they would buy more of the product, and tempted another person to boycott the product.

I did some basic research on the Georgia Pacific website and found the following from 2005:

In a $21 billion transaction, Georgia-Pacific was acquired by Koch Industries and became a privately held, wholly owned subsidiary, continuing to operate from its Atlanta headquarters.

I don’t think I need to go into the affect the Koch brothers have had on our country and our state. Because I’m not looking at buying high quality paper, this seems like a very good deal for me. It’s an even better deal since I won’t have to pay sales tax or shipping fees.  But my question to you, Blue Jersey, is this: if you knew a company supported the Tea Party, would you boycott their product?

“Sweeney has Strong Words for Christie”

Well, an article written by Tom Moran of the Star-Ledger was posted online a couple hours ago. It is entitled ‘Sweeney has strong words for Christie’. This is a must-read for any New Jersey Democrat. The die-hard Sweeney supporters will salivate over this article. For the sake of full disclosure, I used to be a blind die-hard supporter. Since he’s become Senate President, I’ve become a casual supporter.

Sweeney makes more than a few references to violence in this article. By all means, as much as I don’t like Chris Christie, there’s no reason to talk about violence like this, even if it’s not a real threat.  And I also don’t like people making fun of the governor’s weight. I dislike the man because of his policies, not his weight.

Other than that, one quote in the article really stuck out for me.

“Listen, you can punch me in the face and knock me down, do what you want,” Sweeney says. “But don’t be vindictive and punish innocent people. These people didn’t do anything to him. It’s like a bank robber taking hostages. And now he’s starting to shoot people.

But follow me below the fold to read why this quote stuck out for me. I’m sure it would have stuck out for you, too.

What Happens Next?

I support the NJEA, CWA, PBA, FOP, and other unions that may be in Trenton today protesting the pension/benefits reforms.  They are standing up against the bullies in the legislature and the governor’s office.  They are doing their best to defend collective bargaining and standing up for the working class.

Let’s assume the legislature passes this legislation tonight. What happens tomorrow?

There may be legal challenges to the entire law or certain parts of the law.  Some may challenge the fact that two topics were placed into one law, which many would argue is unconstitutional.  Some may challenge the freezing of COLAs for retired pensioners.  Some may lobby the legislature to make more changes to the law. Some people may decide to retire. Some may decide to try to find work in the private sector.

But what happens to the rest of us that have to go back to work for the government?

When this is all said and done, I call on ALL the unions and their locals to take some time to explain, in detail, how this legislation will affect each of their members. They have done a pretty good job of explaining that their members will have to pay more money.  But they have done a poor job explaining details beyond that.

I call on the unions to create programs for their members that promote good financial decisions. Since members are losing a significant amount of money, I would love to see a program that teaches members how to create a family budget and how to abide by that budget. You would think that every family should know how to do that already, but with a sudden loss of income, they may need a refresher course.

I call on the unions to promote programs that would assist their members financially. That could mean an expansion of their scholarship program. That could mean that unions use some of their union dues for a financial-hardship assistance program.

There are a lot of positive things the unions can start doing tomorrow.  Naturally they will still be involved in political activism.  We still need someone to finance the voice of the working class.  But what else will the unions do tomorrow?

Gloucester County Improvement Authority Chief Retires

The Gloucester County Times is reporting that Dave Shields, Executive Director of the Gloucester County Improvement Authority, is set to retire.

They publish what I presume is verbatim from a press release,

Shields, who has served as executive director since 1996, has overseen several county improvement projects, including the expansion of the county solid waste complex and recycling center, the procurement of a long-term solid waste disposal program and the construction of the new Shady Lane Nursing Home – rated as one of the best by the state and which recently received a five-star rating by New Jersey Monthly Magazine, according to a release from the county.

This may be a brief posting on NJ.com’s website, so they may publish more details about his career in the actual newspaper.  They seem to have omitted quite a bit, and it isn’t all that positive.  Is he leaving because he’s ready to stop working? Or is he leaving to avoid a disgraceful exit from public life? Follow me below the fold to read what’s on my mind.

Guns Don’t Kill People, Legislation Kills People

THIS JUST IN!!! ASSEMBLYWOMAN BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN IS A MURDERER!!!  

Well, at least that’s what Governor Christie wants you to think.

Here is PolitickerNJ’s coverage of the topic today.

Gov. Chris Christie took aim at Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, (D-15), Wednesday over a bill the assemblywoman sponsored two years ago that allowed for the early prison release of certain convicted criminals.

On March 5, Rondell Jones allegedly murdered Newark resident Eric Thomas in Jersey City, just six weeks after Jones was released under the program. Jones was paroled from Garden State Youth Correctional Facility on Jan. 24, just a year after his conviction on Jan. 22  for the unlawful possession of a handgun and conspiracy for drug dealing, according to the state Department of Corrections website.

Christie put the blame for Thomas’ death squarely at the feet of Watson Coleman, saying Thomas’ death was on her conscience.

Asw. Watson-Coleman sponsored (and Gov. Corzine signed) legislation that allowed certain prisoners to be released from prison under certain circumstances.  Because a person that was released early under this program murdered someone upon their release, somehow Governor Christie thinks it is logical and appropriate to lay 100 percent of the blame on Asw. Watson-Coleman.

Here is vakerr’s diary entry written on July 13, 2010 about the legislation.

Follow me below the fold to read some of my outrage.