Author Archive: vincent solomeno

News Roundup & Open Thread for Monday, October 18, 2010

Christie, Dems face off on taxes

  • There’s a lot of finger pointing in Trenton, as Governor Christie and the Democratic Legislature trade barbs over the future of New Jersey tax policy.

    Christie on how to wreck fix the economy

  • As the love affair between the Governor and the mainstream media continues, Chris Christie sat down with USA Today to explain why, among other things, he favors an extension of the Bush tax cuts for America’s wealthy.

    Adler beats Runyan in fundraising

  • Congressman John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) out raised challenger Jon Runyan (R-Beat Farm) $3.03m to $1.12m, with respective cash on hand of $1.66m and $404k.

    First debate in New Jersey Seventh

  • Just three days after the cancellation of their first debate, Congressman Leonard Lance and progressive challenger Ed Postonak will square off. Today, at 11:00AM!

    Little’s Army swamps debate in CD-6

  • Congressman Frank Pallone met Tea Party upstart Anna Little in their first and only debate last night, where he was greeted by a room full of Little’s conservative supporters.

    Room empties for Rush

  • Congressman Rush Holt faced an empty room following the Pallone/Little face-off, as he took questions and answers from the audience Notably, one Tea Party “activist” asked about Barack Obama’s citizenship.

    Cue “All I Have To Do Is Dream”

  • Camden County Republicans seem to think they have a shot at their first seat on the Freeholder Board in two decades.

    Adler endorsed by Inquirer

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer says Congressman John Adler is simply the best.

    APP: Holt for Congress

  • The Asbury Park Press wants two more years of Rush Holt.

    APP: Throw out county incumbents

  • The Asbury Park Press also endorsed a bipartisan set of challengers for the Freeholder Board.

    Man shot dead trying to stop fight

  • A Jersey City man was shot dead last night as he tried to break up a sidewalk fight.

    This is an open thread…

  • The progressive fight in New Jersey’s Sixth

    On Wednesday, Monmouth University released a poll pegging Congressman Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch) twelve points ahead of Mayor Anna Little (R-Highlands) in the race for New Jersey’s Sixth Congressional District.  The results caught many off guard, and they demonstrate just how far Little has traveled in her effort to unseat the eleven term veteran.

    Now is the time to rally around one of the progressive movement’s earliest allies.  For nearly three decades, from the New Jersey Statehouse to the floor of the U.S. Congress, Frank Pallone has been fighting the good fight. He’s championed the environment, equal access to health care, investments in education, and never once wavered in his commitment to middle class families and seniors.  In the present campaign, he faces an opponent who wants to return our country to the failed policies of Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush.  New Jersey deserves better than that.

    In Monmouth County, Anna Little is holding the Congressman to a 49-47% margin.  This Sunday, let’s prove the polls wrong and canvas on Frank’s behalf.  The Republican Party may have been hijacked by Tea Party extremists, but the Sixth District will not be.  A few hours of your time can go a long way to making sure that happens, so please join others who are fired up and ready to go:

    Canvas for Frank Pallone

    12:00PM

    Sunday, October 10

    Airport Plaza Shopping Center

    1390 State Highway 36

    Hazlet

    Take GSP South to Exit 117.  Bear left onto Highway 36 and Airport Plaza’s parking lot will be two lights up on your right.

    SEC charges and why politics matters

    On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) charged New Jersey with improperly funding the state’s public pension fund.  While the acknowledgment of the commission’s cease and desist order satisfies the official accusation, one is reminded of why, despite widespread apathy, politics still matters.

    In 2001, at the behest of Republican Acting Governor Donald DiFrancesco, the Legislature voted to increase teacher retirement benefits by 9%.  The bills proponents believed that the jump would attract a new generation of talent to the state.  There was also an off the record assumption that the increase boded well for a Republican leadership about to exit to the wings of power.  Not to be outdone, many Democrats shared that assessment.  The legislation passed in a bipartisan vote and DiFrancesco obliged, a decision that dramatically altered the state’s financial fortunes.  And what’s worse, it was enacted with inaccurate information.

    The stock market was doing quite well in 1999.  They grabbed hold of a phantom revenue source for the increase – a $5.3 billion jump not reflected in actuarial reports.  Using that unreported sum as the basis for the law’s financing was improper: the gain

    And it could have been avoided.

    The Future of New Jersey’s Fourth Estate

    Scott also wrote about his report – here. – Rosi

    “The mission of public broadcasting was to create an alternative channel that would be free not only of commercials, but free of commercial values, a broadcasting system that would serve the life of the mind, that would encourage the imagination, that would sponsor the performing arts, documentaries, travel.”

    – Bill Moyers

    Governor Christie wants to eliminate taxpayer support for the New Jersey Network (NJN), our state’s public broadcasting network, and transfer its operations to a non-profit organization.  The Legislature’s established a task force to examine that proposal as well as other options for NJN’s future.  Rather than view this as an assault on public broadcasting, proponents should embrace the current effort as an opportunity to improve service, reach a wider audience, and build a better model for the delivery of public, noncommercial media in New Jersey.

    Now, more than ever, we need NJN.  As policymakers confront the most significant challenges in a generation, mainstream media outlets continue to give short shrift to the issues weighing on our state’s future.  Wedged between two major media markets, coverage of New Jersey public affairs takes a back seat to the goings on in Albany and Harrisburg.  Couple that with the downsizing of print media – historically, the most comprehensive source of state news and analysis – and the need for NJN becomes all the more clear.

    Last week, New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) published a report offering a way ahead for the network.  Co-authored by Blue Jersey’s own Scott Weingart, the report recommends expanding statewide public radio, generating revenue through the sale of NJN’s television broadcast licenses, and a reorientation of the network’s mission so that programs on New Jersey news, public affairs, and cultural life are delivered via cable and the internet.

    Proof positive of the enduring power of radio is the emergence of talk radio as a driving force in the public debate.  For good or for ill, in the last two decades New Jersey 101.5 has emerged as an arbiter of statewide news and opinion for an audience numbering in the millions.  And while other public broadcasting outlets kept pace with the rise in popularity of commercial talk radio, the report finds that our state’s “single-minded focus on television has caused New Jersey to miss out on the rapid growth of public radio during the past thirty years.”  Through the expansion of radio programming, NJN has the potential to grow its audience and provide a significant public service: noncommercial media with a New Jersey focus.

    Furthermore, in recognition of the changing dynamics of television content delivery, NJPP recommends the sale of NJN’s broadcast licenses to generate much needed revenue.  The licenses, in increasing demand as broadband services expand, will soon become an anachronism in the age of cable and the internet.  Such a sale has the potential to create a sizable endowment for NJN, freeing the network from its reliance on tax dollars and becoming “the single most important source of financing and leadership for the independent public-service journalism that New Jersey needs.”

    One may argue that with the predominance of the internet and the 24-hour news cycle, NJN is irrelevant.  It’s true that New Jersey public broadcasting has failed to change with the times, but the trouble is form rather than function.  One hopes that policymakers give careful consideration to NJPP’s recommendations and that their report serves as a starting point for a discussion of the future of public, noncommercial media in New Jersey.  The coming debate need not be about scaling back this valuable service, but reorienting its mission so that it continues to “serve the life of the mind” and “encourage the imagination” of New Jerseyans well into the twenty-first century.

    The full text of the report, “A Future for Public Media in New Jersey,” is available on the NJPP web site.

    News Roundup & Open Thread for Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Christie declines to join sport betting suit

  • Citing limited resources, the Christie Administration has declined to join State Senator Ray Lesniak’s challenge to the 18-year old law banning sports betting.

    First time unemployment numbers spike sharply

  • While overall joblessness may be slightly down, first time applications for unemployment benefits soared to their highest weekly number in two decades.

    MSM hearts Chris Christie

  • The Economist devotes several pages of this week’s issue to singing Governor Christie’s praises, with a healthy dose of criticism thrown in for good measure.

    Shark!

  • For the second day in a row, several New Jersey beaches were closed due to shark sightings. Experts say the animals are attracted by the unseasonably hot weather and abundance of fish.

    Corzine transition finishes well within budget

  • Former Governor Jon Corzine’s wrapped up operations on Monday, spending far less than the $250,000 allocated

    Don’t forget to break!

  • New Jersey law enforcement officers are rightly implementing a crackdown on drivers who disobey the law and fail to come to a halt for pedestrians at crosswalks. The law was enacted April 1.

    Christie takes aim at…superintendents

  • Governor Christie travled to Spotswood yesterday to criticize compensation levels of many of New Jersey’s public school superintendents.,

    This is an open thread…enjoy it over lunch…

  • Lautenberg Joins College of Cardinals

    The Record’s Herb Jackson reports that U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg has been selected to replace the late Robert Byrd as chair of the Appropriation Committee’s Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

    In assuming the chairmanship, Lautenberg joins the ranks of the College of Cardinals, the powerful group of subcommittee heads who control spending measures in both the House and Senate. At 86, he is the oldest member of the upper house.

    American Legion Jersey Boys State: A Week That Shapes a Lifetime

    Since 1945, New Jersey’s American Legion has conducted a week long seminar in state government and politics for young men about to begin their senior year of high school.  The program was designed to increase understanding how public policy is made and to instill a greater sense of civic duty in young leader’s with the potential to do great things.  In the sixty-five years since its inception, American Legion Jersey Boys State delegates have become notable public and private sector leaders.  Much has changed along the way, most importantly there’s now a Girls State program that runs parralell to the Boys State experience.

    At the age of sixteen, I  

    Afternoon News Roundup & Open Thread for Monday, June 28, 2010

    Budget vote today

  • The New Jersey Legislature is set to approve Governor Christie’s $29.4 billion budget.

    Small business hikes scrapped

  • Conservative Republicans prevailed upon the Christie Administration to scrap increases in businesses fees, a last minute change that all but guarantees passage of the state budget.

    GOP senators get their act together

  • After fears that Governor Christie’s budget might be derailed by members of his own party, Republican lawmakers signalled this weekend they now support the budget.

    Opinion: U.S. Supreme Court removes bite from anti-corruption law

  • Columnist Bob Braun examines the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the law that netted the likes of former Mayor Sharpe James and BCDO chair Joe Ferrierro.

    Humor: Conservatives defend Christie cuts

  • The group Americans for Tax Reform argues that Governor Christie’s  cuts in aid to municipalities are not tax increases.  Despite the fact, of course, that school districts and municipalities must find a way to recoop nearly $2.5 billion from local taxpayers.

    “With friends like these…”

  • The New York Times details the transition former labor leaders have made from staunchest ally to skeptical critic.  Steve Sweeney included.

    Legislature weighs NJN’s future

  • With Governor Christie’s proposed budget halving funding for New Jersey’s public television and radio stations, the Legislature votes today whether to establish a commission to determine NJN’s future.

    R.I.P. Robert Byrd

  • West Virigina Senator Robert Byrd, the longest serving member of Congress in United States history, passed away this morning.  Senator Frank Lautenberg is now the Senate’s oldest member.
  • News Round Up & Open Thread for Monday, June 7, 2010

    It’s Primary Eve

  • Experts expect tomorrow’s primaries to set the stage for a hotly contested general election campaign here in New Jersey.  Don’t forget to vote!

    Thousands turn out for Asbury Park Pride Parade

  • Asbury Park celebrated its 20th pride parade this weekend.  Organizers declared the event a success.

    Sources: Bayonne Mayor to head HCDO

  • Anonymous sources tell PolitickerNJ that leaders of the Hudson County Democratic Organization have settled on Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith to succeed Jersey City Mayor Jeremiah Healy as County Chair.

    Leonard Lance takes the gloves off

  • Matt Friedman’s piece on ignoring the Tea Partiers missed one important development. Leonard Lance is running a radio ad hitting back at long shot challenger David Larsen.

    Ingle: Republican joins Dems in SCI fight

  • Columnist Bob Ingle writes that Assemblywoman Allison Little McHose (R-Sussex) intends to oppose Governor Christie’s efforts to cut funding for the State Commission of Investigation and move it under the administrative control of the Comptroller.

    Teachers salaries grow, but slower than the rest of us

  • A Daily Record study finds that while public school teacher salaries have grown in recent years, they lag behind increases among other workers.

    2 New Jerseyans arrested in suspected terror plot

  • Federal officials arrested two state men on their way to terror camps in Somalia.  The individuals are suspected of planning an attack against American soldiers.

    New Jersey mourns loss of state trooper

  • Trooper Marc Castellano was struck and killed by a passing vehicle yesterday.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

    This is an open thread…