ANDY KIM DECLARES VICTORY
After more than 24 hours of counting votes in CD3
CD7 flips to Democrats
Tom Malinowski 50.91% - Leonard Lance 47.54%
CD11 flips to Democrats
Mikie Sherrill 56.10% - Jay Webber 42.79%
In a foregone conclusion engineered by South Jersey Dem machine
And bizarrely, Moms Demand Action, Van Drew 52.24% - Grossman 45.91%
@bluejersey Twitter
Kellyanne Conway changed her Twitter profile
So BLUE JERSEY did too (and we VOTED HERE)
The night Hillary Clinton lost
For my Hillary sisters. From your Bernie sister.
(And why I’m voting Bob Menendez)
Storm over Congress
2018 midterm issues
If there’s a blue wave coming, what are the issues driving it?

Latest Posts

Four Thirty Five

Nope, not AM. Not PM.

House seats.

The US House of Representatives consists of 435 members. The other day I was idly wondering – why 435? why not 434, or 436? Where did 435 come from? The Constitution specifies only that each House seat shall represent at least 30,000 people – so why 435?

Why indeed? Historically, the size of the House was increased after every decennial census, as the Constitution calls for. The last time, though, was in 1911, when it reached its current size. In 1920-21, Congress could not decide on what methodology to use to do the reapportionment and so they did nothing that session. By 1930, they’d apparently decided that they really liked the idea of not watering down their influence and power any further – so ever since then we’ve had just 435 seats in the House (with a 4-year blip to 437 when Alaska and Hawaii entered the Union).

The House of Representatives is supposed to be the People’s House – but a House member now represents, on average, about 660,000 people. That’s way too many – a far cry from the constitutional lower limit of 30,000. It makes Congressional district constituencies so large that no individual constituent is adequately represented in Congress. How often have YOU spoken to your Representative? Have you even MET him or her? Odds are you haven’t. Because they have to reach so many people, over such large geographic areas, it also makes Congressional campaigns so expensive that ordinary citizens without the ability to contribute to those campaigns have become almost irrelevant to them. The limited number of seats leads to rampant dishonesty and corruption of the re-districting process – as we’ve seen in Tom DeLay’s recent indictments in connection with Texas’ redistricting 2 years ago.

It’s time to take a look at true Congressional reapportionment. The US population as of the 2000 census was roughly 282 million. If we went with 30,000 constituents per Member, the House would swell to almost 10,000 seats. Kind of unwieldy, I’ll admit (it would be difficult to fit them all in the Capitol Building). But there are many compelling reasons for a serious increase in the size of the House – if not all the way down to 30,000, at least to something far lower than the 800,000 constituents per member it will likely be after the 2010 census.

I’ll be doing some research over the next weeks, figuring out how this would work and what its likely advantages and disadvantages might be. I’ll be posting my findings and analysis as I go.

Here’s hoping for a more democratic (and a more Democratic) 2006, and I wish you all a happy, healthy New Year.

[Cross-posted from Mapleberry Blog]

Happy New Year!

New Jersey would like to welcome you to the new year by screwing you over yet again. As of January 1st, EZ-Pass users will now pay up to 20% more than before to drive on the Turnpike. First they suckered us in with the promise of saving time and money.

The whole idea of the discount, Orlando added, was to encourage drivers to switch to E-ZPass after its debut five years ago. Now that more than half the turnpike’s drivers use E-ZPass, the need for an incentive is all but gone, he said.

Ahhh…the old bait and switch. Wasn’t this system supposed to save money? How many turnpike employees lost their jobs because of EZ-Pass? Why are EZ-Pass users now paying more than those who don’t use it? Happy New Year!

News Roundup

  • After taking heat for voting to use taxpayer money to send 6 Hamilton school board officials to Washington to witness Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, they backtracked yesterday and decided to pay for the trip themselves – plus now they’re including three actual students on their trip. It took public pressure for a school board to decide to bring students on what they called an educational experience. They should be fired.
  • A vacancy in the Morristown Superior Court needs to be filled, but tradition holds that the hometown senators get “veto power” over the governor’s nominations (a similar “rule” used to hold for Presidential Supreme Court appointments, too – until Bush came to office. Do you think Alito would have passed the “veto test”?). The two Republican Senators won’t support David Ironson, who is Morristown’s Democratic party chairman’s pick. The Daily Record’s editorial board suggests that tradition be abandoned and that whoever is in power should be allowed to pick whoever they want, or for Corzine to just pick an independent. But there is often wisdom in “tradition”, and the national GOP has shown us over the past 5 years what happens when you break the rules in favor of political expediency (particularly when it comes to appointing judges). We need to learn from their foolishness, not copy it.
  • Hamilton mayor Glen Gilmore announced a “fairness and openness” policy for how the township will hire professional services. “Gilmore said the practice has been in effect in Hamilton for his entire time in office, but the new policy will create a paper trail for residents to follow to learn why a particular professional was chosen.”
  • A bill to impose a death penalty moratorium which passed the Senate last month (30-6) but has been held up in the Assembly has now gained Assembly leader Joe Roberts as a cosponsor.
  • We need more Dana Wefers

    PoliticsNJ has a nifty end of the year review of all the winners and losers in NJ politics.

    Among the “candidates with promise” is Dana Wefer, a second year law student who ran for freeholder in Morris County and got 41% of the vote. Dana knew that the odds were against her. No Democrat has been elected freeholder in Morris for 30 years, but Dana has always worked to improve her community, and that’s what this election was about.

    The Morris County Democrats have witnessed her years of dedication and contributions and asked her to run. She sacrificed valuable grad school time to make sure that her ideas were heard and to challenge the corrupt entrenched Republicans. Dana has shown yet again that anyone – regardless of age – can make a difference. We need more people like Dana Wefer, and just as importantly, we need to support those with the courage to do what she did. Thanks, Dana.

    Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

    Arctic Refuge Action — which is a bunch of groups — is still running an ad on PoliticsNJ.com that congratulates NJ’s congressional delegation for stopping the drilling in ANWR. Of course, the House has voted to approve the drilling and four of our Republican members of Congress went along.

    Here’s the ad:

    This is kind of like my pet peeve on boycots, only in reverse.= People often boycot a company long after the company came around to do the right thing, essentially punishing them after they fixed the issue. In this case, Arctic Refuge Action is rewarding politicians who went directly against their issue. It’s just stupid.

    You can write to Arctic Refuge Action at info@arcticrefugeaction.organd tell them to take down the ad and put up one that is a little more timely.

    News Roundup

  • New Jersey residents now have strong protections against identity theft, including the ability to “freeze” credit reports.
  • PA Gov. Rendell is threatening to shut down PATCO – the commuter link between Philly and South Jersey, if New Jersey doesn’t agree to dredge the Delaware river an extra five feet deep – from 40 to 45 feet. The estimated cost is $300 million, though it could cost as much as a half billion. Pennsylvanians are afraid they will lose port commerce to Newark Bay and New York harbor which are being deepened to 50 feet.
  • Maplewood Township’s Committee is thinking about installing surveillance cameras in town to reduce crime, but Curmudgeon at the Mapleberry Blog argues that it’s a bad idea.
  • UMDNJ has appointed a federal monitor to take charge of their financial situation, in order to avoid prosecution by United States Attorney Chris Christie for Medicaid fraud. UMDNJ is the first public university to ever be under federal oversight.
  • Hamilton’s school board is wasting over $2200 so that six school board members can go on a field trip to watch Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito’s confirmation hearings in Washington.
  • For the 8th year in a row, Burlington County’s freeholders approved a 3% increase in the fee to drop off trash at the landfill, for a nearly 27% increase in 8 years. The fees directly translate into higher taxes for residents.
  • Danny Provenzano: Life imitates ‘The Sopranos’

    One of the things I appreciate most about The Sopranos is the fact that its writers have obviously done their New Jersey research. Allowing for the occasional slip-up, like that boneheaded “Pine Barrens” episode, the show’s writers are so diligent that I can sometimes spot their research footprints. Thus, when a mobster gets a freaky scare while digging up a body beneath the Newark Bay Extension, I know somebody on the staff spent some quality time with Robert Rudolph’s excellent book The
    Boys from New Jersey
    .


    In that vein, this Star-Ledger
    news story
    reminds us that fictional gunsel Christopher Moltisanti and his dreams of making it in Hollywood have a real-life parallel in Danny Provenzano, now serving a 10-year sentence on racketeering charges.

    Does this Mean the Field is Full-Up?

    COUNCILMAN STEVEN FULOP: STATEMENT ON 2006 CONGRESSIONAL RUN

    “After serious consideration, I am officially declining the opportunity to be a candidate for the open seat in New Jersey’s 13th Congressional District. At this point, I think it is best that I continue my work serving the people of Jersey City as their councilman.

    I recently had the opportunity to personally meet with both Mr. Sires and Mr. Vas and I am confident that either candidate will work effectively on behalf of Jersey City on the federal level. I look forward to a spirited debate of ideas in the upcoming months.

    I would like to thank all of the people who have encouraged me to run over the last few weeks. Your calls, letters and kind words of support were humbling and I’m honored to have such broad support not only in Jersey City — but throughout the district.”

    10-1 says he is angling for a state legislature seat.