Tag Archive: Red Bank

Loretta Weinberg, Hotshot Mom

Whenever I introduce her, I call Loretta Weinberg the NJ Godmother of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party. Steven Goldstein calls her his adoptive mom. But Francine Graff, a California blogger, gets to call her Mom for reals.

Blue Jersey’s own Loretta will be named one of five 2012 Mothers of Achievement at a luncheon ceremony Friday in D.C.. And it was Francine who nominated her. Francine blogs at Mothering Heights and she is the mother of Loretta’s grandkids Jonah and Shayna. Loretta’s son Danny hosted a Garden State Equality party at his Hip and Humble store in Red Bank a few weeks ago.

The Senator has a leading role speaking out for and trying to protect legislatively the health and well-being of the women and families of this state, in the face of a governor who can’t get her to go away, who implored the press to go after the Senator with a bat. She says this:

“On behalf of all New Jersey moms, at home in the Garden State and around the world – mothers struggling to find the balance between career and family, mothers who just want to make sure their kids get all the love and support they need to grow up to be healthy, productive adults – it will be my honor to accept one of the 2012 ‘Mother of Achievement’ awards. The role of mothers in today’s society is as important as it ever was, and the struggles in some ways are even greater.

A “feisty Jewish grandmother:”  

Red Bank Councilwoman tapped as LD-11 Assembly candidate

RB_Dems_Vitucci_Pix_037_thumbKathy Horgan, a member of Red Bank’s all-Democrat borough council, tonight accepted the Democratic nomination for Assembly tonight at the party’s convention in Asbury Park. Horgan is taking the place of Asbury Park restaurant owner Marilyn Schlossbach, who dropped out of the race shortly after Hurricane Irene damaged several of the restaurants she owns in Asbury Park, Shrewsbury and Toms River.

Horgan joins a ticket with Senate candidate Raymond Santiago and fellow Assembly candidate Vin Gopal. They’re running against GOP incumbents Jennifer Beck, Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande.  

My Candidacy for State Assembly in the 11th District

promoted by Rosi

When I saw the new 11th District Map, I decided after years of working behind the scenes, I wanted to place my name on the ballot. The new 11th Legislative District has 36,643 registered Democrats, 26,405 registered Republicans and 68,899 registered unaffiliated voters. The district is home to Asbury Park, Long Branch, Neptune, Red Bank, Freehold Borough, Tinton Falls and many other beautiful Monmouth County municipalities. Of the 18 towns in the district, 11 of those towns have 4,000 or more registered voters. Out of those 11 towns, 9 of them have more registered Democrats than Republicans, most of them overwhelmingly. 9 of the 11 big towns in the district have more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Get where I’m going with this? It is a Democratic district. Basically all the strong Democratic towns in Districts 11 and 12 got merged while all the strong Republican towns, including Wall (goodbye Sean Kean!), Rumson, Millstone, Brielle, Avon, Monmouth Beach, Sea Girt, Englishtown, Fair Haven, Little Silver (sorry Declan O’Scanlon), Manalapan, and Oceanport all got thrown into other legislative districts. It really is remarkable what happened here!

Learning By Listening: An Epilogue

A follow-up by the congressman to his post leading up to the Town Halls. – – – Promoted by Rosi

Cross Posted on Daily Kos

We have all seen the news and read the reports about the disruptions and obstructionism taking place at town hall meetings all across the country. However, this did not deter me from coming home from the legislative session in Washington to brief my constituents and neighbors, just as I have done the last 20 years as a member of the House of Representatives.

The health care debate brings out strong opinions on all sides of the political spectrum.  And these feelings surely were on full display at my recent town hall meetings last Monday and Tuesday.  Both in Piscataway and Red Bank, we had huge crowds, as many people waited several hours to come and discuss the pending health care legislation in Congress, among other issues. Emotions ran high in some instances, because clearly we must fix our broken system to cover 46 million uninsured Americans and usher in new medical technologies to increase efficiency and accessibility.

Overall, I think we had a productive discussion about the reform bill and how it will bring costs down.  However, some town hall attendees showed up with no interest in taking part in civil discourse, but rather to simply shout and heckle the other participants.  While this is a testament to the First Amendment and the democracy we live in, we must not let the loudest and most vocal opponents deter our ultimate goal of passing meaningful health care reform.      

Rush Holt Health Care Town Hall – Middletown

UPDATE #1: Dan Preston has photos from the event in a link in Comments – here.

UPDATE #2: Winston Smith had an altogether different view of this event than I did. His diary is here.

Maybe it was the configuration of the room, shallow and wide and not narrow and deep, making no allowance for shouters to use distance from the stage to intimidate like at Frank Pallone’s Red Bank Town Hall. Maybe it was the Congressional District, NJ-12 not NJ-6. And this congressman doesn’t bear direct responsibility for the public option bill, the way Pallone does, with HR 3200 out of his Health Subcommittee, of House Energy & Commerce.

But the experience of sitting in on Rush Holt’s event, while contentious, was different. It lacked the manic surges, and lines of people demanding serial sessions. Questions were collected and read aloud by the congressman. That tended to lead to briefer, substantive audience feedback, rather than the set-up Pallone staggered under in Red Bank, grappling with questions from microphones louder than his own.

I saw Holt slip into a reactive posture only once, when he called some shouters “noisemakers.” Minor. Pallone, who I saw through nearly 9 hours on his feet over 2 nights, kept his cool completely. The tamer audience allowed for a better information flow. From both sides. And Holt got the chance to be eloquent.

Asked if public option meant rationed care:

As a matter of fact, health care is rationed right now. Some people don’t get it! And I prefer rational health care, which this would be, over rationed.

Why is this legislation moving so fast?

The situation as it is now is not sustainable. And it’s not morally or ethically acceptable. Further, the economy will not recover as long as we’re saddled with these escalating health care costs. In fact, this should have been done before this time.

To a similar question, about timing:

We’ve been working toward some of the elements of this for many years. It goes back to Roosevelt – Teddy Roosevelt, as well as FDR.

After the Town Hall, Holt met privately with three reporters. One of us asked where all this vitriol and opposition was coming from:

Well, I can certainly point you toward some websites that are the source of misinformation and upset. But where the anxiety of people is coming from is tougher to say. We are living through tough economic times. A lot of people are on edge. And, in fact, a lot of people are living on the edge.

We’re going to try to cover as many of the Congressional Town Halls as we can. Shoot us an email – contact@bluejersey.com – if you know one’s coming. If you go, we hope you’ll write about it here. Holt’s was last Wednesday. But I needed recovery time after the stress of two last week. Two more coming from Holt, both on Saturday, Sept. 12: 9:00am in Somerset & 2:30pm in Tinton Falls.  

Rush Holt Health Care Town Hall – Middletown

Maybe it was the configuration of the room, which was shallow and wide and not narrow and deep, making no allowance for angry shouters to use their distance from the speaker to intimidate the rest of the auditorium like they did at Frank Pallone’s Red Bank Town Hall last week. Maybe it was the different Congressional District, NJ-12 not NJ-6. Almost certainly it was that this congressman didn’t bear direct responsibility for the health care reform bill containing the much-debated public option, HR 3200, the way Pallone certainly does with the bill coming out of his Health Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

But the experience of sitting in on Rush Holt’s public event on the same topic last week, while contentious, lacked the surging intimdation tactics and the deep lines of people waiting to get in to what had to be multiple sessions each night. Questions submitted by the audience were collected and read aloud by the congressman, who then addressed them. And in some cases, that led to briefer, substantive questions and commentary from the audience, rather than the situation Pallone had in Red Bank, grappling with questions from microphones turned up higher than his own.  

The Crucible

Last night’s Health Care Town Hall with Frank Pallone in Red Bank was at once a magnificent exercise in democracy, and an unsettling display of ignorance and free-floating right-wing resentments – abortion, “illegals,” guns – spilling out of people willing to treat politics as sport, and shout down all comers.

A few people came with intelligently-expressed questions, support, or objections. But last night was owned by the loons. It all spun down to rabble early, and it almost never let up.

In 1953, Arthur Miller wrote a play about the 1692 Salem, Massachusetts witch trials, his allegorical commentary on his own time, when when HUAC and Senator Joe McCarthy manufactured enemies of ordinary Americans. Sitting there last night, I was reminded of The Crucible.

In it, Abigail Williams is the teenager who whips the girls around her into a frenzy, shouting out wild accusations, utterly taken by the passion of the moment, and completely manipulated by a girl acting in her own self-interest, and willing to ruin peoples’ lives. When another girl, Mary, is about to prove her a fraud, she whips her friends into a delirious panic, screaming they’re freezing, that Mary has bewitched them. Within moments, Abilgail’s cries are the girls’ cries, and they are all screaming the same word. It’s a neat trick.

Last night’s Abigail Williams was a man in a light blue tee shirt bearing the date the next Congress is seated. His were the words that rifled around the room, in seconds. And it was all stupid.

To a woman fearful of losing her house to medical bills: Good! Lose your house! Lose your house! House! House! Houuuuuuuse!

When Margaret Mead was mentioned: What part of the jungle did you come from? Kumbaya! Kumbaya! Kumbayaaaaaaa!

When a mother tried to say how her disabled daughter and mentally disabled husband were dropped by their insurance: His fault! He couldn’t fill out the form because he’s an idiot! idiot! idiot!

Many times, the room just erupted in disconnected, incoherent drivel:

I wish your mother believed in abortion, Frankie!

Drill, baby, drill!

ACORN! ACORN! ACORN!

And this: Is Ted Kennedy dead yet?

Real objections – and support, and questions – about the public option were drowned out by a mob certain they had no power and so determined to flex it, and so sure their rights to “the First Amendment” were being taken, that they made certain no one else could be heard.