Tag Archive: Jeff Chiesa

Poor Acting

For the past two years, New Jersey has not had an Attorney General. John Hoffman was elevated to the post of Acting Attorney General when Governor Christie appointed Jeff Chiesa to the United States Senate to fill the seat of Frank Lautenberg.

The Attorney General is supposed to be the people’s top government attorney, not the governor’s. The Governor has his own chief counsel whose office is in the same State House suite as Christie’s.

Government is based on checks and balances, and in New Jersey the Senate vets the governor’s nominee for AG. But Christie has circumvented the state constitution by leaving Hoffman in the acting position for far too long.

Hoffman’s lack of concern for the people he is supposed to be working for is exemplified by his stubborn defense of the Exxon Mobil giveaway settlement. Instead of defending the governor’s blunder, he should be advocating for the people and the environment in New Jersey.

In many states, the people elect the Attorney General. But that’s not the solution to our problem. With money rather than principle being the prime factor in our electoral process, an elected AG would turn into an auction, with the job going to the highest bidder.

Governor Christie should obey the letter and the spirit of the state constitution and submit a nominee to the state senate for vetting. Whether it’s Hoffman or someone else, the nominee would receive a hearing and be questioned by both parties. Public input would also be part of the process. That’s the way the system is supposed to work.  At least that’s how it should work for a chief executive who respects the constitution and the rule of law.

Thoughts on a successor to Sen. Menendez were he to leave office soon

Following news of a possible indictment, questions arise regarding the ramifications of Sen. Bob Menendez relinquishing his job soon. So far it’s only a possibility, and Menendez says he is not about to leave. Many people would regret losing his voice on immigration reform, but not so much on Iran, Cuba or some other matters. Nonetheless, he has been a reliable voter on the moderate to progressive wing of the Democratic party, and in most cases he and his NJ counterparts (Sen. Lautenberg and Sen Booker) have voted in tandem. Now we face the possibility of a new senator who might be neither a Democrat nor even moderate. Our last elected Republican senator was Clifford Case who left office 35 years ago and was succeeded by Bill Bradley.      

The first step would belong to Gov. Christie who would appoint a temporary senator. The last temporary senator he appointed was the respected but close confidante Jeff Chiesa following the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Christie might like to appoint another close confidante, but many of them could be tainted as part of the governor’s poor performance or even under investigation – all of which reduces their likelihood of winning in a later special election. A well respected Republican with no close working ties to Christie might have the best chance of holding on to the seat.

Christie however has not shown much concern for the role of N. J. senators. He appointed Chiesa not caring that Chiesa would not run in a special election, thus strengthening the possibility that a Democrat would recapture the seat, which is what happened with Senator Cory Booker’s victory.

Christie’s AG’s: Too Many, Too Political and Unelected

Update 10:45am: The Legislature’s Bridgegate Committee session has started, Kevin O’Dowd presented a brief opening statement, and is now being questioned.

The importance of the N. J. Attorney General’s position is signaled in the NJ constitution as it is mentioned four times. One particular clause prevents the AG (and LG) from being summarily fired by stating the AG begins a term of office that lasts as long as the governor’s term of office. Christie, however, views the AG through his own lens. The governor now wants to appoint his fourth AG, Kevin O’Dowd, in about as many years. They all have worked for him previously in the U. S. Attorney’s office and two of them in his Executive Office. He provides them “full treatment” service which includes plum jobs afterward. It is no surprise they are attentive to his wishes. Christie’s Chief of Staff Kevin O’Dowd testifies this morning at about 10:30am before the legislature’s Bridgegate Committee. Live coverage here.

There currently is a bill in the Assembly (ACR134) and the Senate (SCR71) which proposes a constitutional amendment to provide for an elected Attorney General – an idea worth considering as only five states grant the governor the power to select the AG. Because of the “full treatment” his AG’s receive it is no surprise that this office continued fighting in court to prevent same-sex marriage, defended Sandy practices, ignored Bridgegate, and used “gun-buybacks” as its main response to a call for new gun legislation. Our powerful governor also appoints prosecutors, judges, top public defenders and the head of the State police, which seems eerily similar to a “Police State” – all under the governor’s direction. All political and none elected.  

What’s Happening Today 12/10/2013

ON THE PORTFRONT (Continued…)

As with most investigations, including those of political corruption, the culprits do not make it easy to unearth the truth. Typically they act slowly or not at all in response to requests for public information. They select an individual lower down the chain of command to be fired in hopes of saving the scalps of those higher up who also were at fault.

Were laws violated?: It appears that the failure to notify local and State authorities was a violation of the law. There appear to be other inappropriate actions in play.

Who did it? Not clear: David Wildstein ordered the lane closures, but did he act alone? He reported to Bill Baroni (who tried to defend the action as a “traffic study” and bears direct responsibility), and both individuals were appointed to their positions by Governor Christie.

Why? Not clear: As others testified, a traffic study could have been conducted without closing the lanes and causing the ensued chaos. Was Wildstein ignorant of the procedures to carry out a study or did he (and possibly Baroni) have other intentions, such as retribution against the Fort Lee mayor?

How:  It appears Wildstein ordered the closure against the recommendation of other staffers and he falsely told them he would inform the Authority’s Executive Director and other officials of what was happening.

What punishment is appropriate? It would seem that rather than accepting Wildstein’s resignation, they should have fired him and possibly subjected him to criminal charges. (By Baroni not firing him, assuring his silence, and possibly offering him a job when the uproar subsides other potentially guilty parties could escape punishment.)

What will prevent it from happening again? The Port Authority is too big for its own britches. It acts in defiance of others by ignoring freedom of information requests and doing as it pleases. Such should be stopped. The importance of its work and the amount of money it collects should not allow it to act outside legal norms and escape scrutiny. While each governor should continue to appoint individuals to the Board, there should be independent members who are not aligned with a governor and who understand the broader mission of the authority. Furthermore, governors should be severely restricted in the number of political appointees they can make. The authority needs professionals on its staff not political hacks.

Congratulations to Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman John Wisniewski who have vigorously pursued this matter. Unfortunately, there is still more to learn.

EVENTS TODAY

Clergy women, religious activists and community members brave the weather today to say “Not One More person in detention or deportation.” Join them at the Elizabeth Detention Center starting at 7 am For more info on this event already in progress go here.

NJ Business & Industry Association Forum: 8;45am – 2:00pm, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is the keynote speaker, and receives an award. Other speakers include former U.S. Sen. Jeffrey Chiesa, Assembly Speaker-elect Vincent Prieto, Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean Jr., Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick and Sen. Paul Sarlo, at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin.  

What’s Happening Today Tue. 12/03/2013

Events today: Board of State Canvassers meets to certify the results of last month’s general election, noon, in the Statehouse Annex’s Committee Room 5. Communications Workers of America union endorses Councilman Ras Baraka in the Newark mayoral election, 12:30pm at CWA Local 1037′s office in Newark. Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, 9:15am holds its annual summit, with speakers Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera and union executive Milly Silva, 11:30am, Crowne Plaza Monroe, South Brunswick. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker visits Cumberland County.

Where Are They Today?

Gov. Chris Christie resigned his job as New Jersey’s U. S. Attorney in 2009 to become governor. He brought with him an extraordinarily large number of former staff members from the Attorney’s Office. Who are some of these people and where are they today?

  • Paula Dow: Christie’s first cabinet appointee served as NJ’s Attorney General for less than two years and then was named to a NY/NJ Port Authority post by Christie after his nomination of her as a Superior Court Judge ended in a political standoff with the Senate.

  • Phillip Kwon: Appointed First Assistant Attorney General. In 2012 Christie nominated him to the NJ Supreme Court but the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his nomination and he also took a job at the NY/NJ Port Authority.

  • Marc Ferzan: Appointed Executive Assistant NJ attorney general. Then after Sandy he was appointed Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding – “the Sandy Czar.”

  • Ralph J. Marra Jr.: appointed to the top legal post at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

  • Marc Larkins Appointed Executive Director of the NJ School Development Authority Board.

  • Lee Solomon: Appointed President of the Board of Public Utilities and then returned to one of his prior positions as a NJ Superior Court judge.

  • Robert Hanna: Appointed Director of the Division of Law in the Attorney General’s office and then head of the NJ Board of Public Utilities, replacing Lee Solomon, where he remains today. Christie also nominated him last year to the NJ Supreme Court, but the Senate has not acted on the nomination.

  • Stephen Taylor: Appointed Director of Criminal Justice in the AG’s office.

  • Deborah Gramiccioni:  Appointed Director of the Governor’s Authorities Unit, then Deputy Chief of Staff.

  • Jeffrey S. Chiesa: Appointed Christie’s Chief Counsel. Then in 2011 Attorney General, replacing Paula Dow. Then interim U.S. Senator following Frank Lautenberg’s death and until Cory Booker became U.S. Senator. Chiesa is now with a prominent NJ law firm.

  • Kevin M. O’Dowd: Appointed Deputy Chief Counsel, then in 2011 appointed Chief of Staff replacing Richard Bagger. Yesterday he was nominated to be Attorney General.

  • Charles McKenna: Appointed Head of Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, then replaced Jeff Chiesa as Chief Counsel.

  • Michele Brown: Governor’s Appointments Counsel, then in 2012 CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.  

  • Paul Matey: Appointed Christie’s Senior Counsel; in 2011 he replaced O’Dowd as Deputy Chief Counsel.  

    Make of this what you will: A raiding of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Christie creating a “Law and Order” governor’s office, Christie finding comfort with loyal former employees, etc. These attorneys have played key (successful and unsuccessful) roles in Christie’s administration. However, in 2011 Christie with remarkable candor and bravado said, “It’s my agenda, It’s not Kevin’s agenda or Rich’s agenda or Charlie’s agenda, or Jeff’s agenda. It’s my agenda…”

  • What’s Happening Today Fri. 11/01/2013

    Sen. Cory Booker and former Senators Jeff Chiesa and Frank Lautenberg. Yesterday at the brief swearing-in ceremony administered by Vice President Joe Biden Cory Booker was accompanied by New Jersey’s senior Senator Bob Menendez. Joe Biden, famous for his bloopers, first referred to Senator Menendez as Frank, then as Fred, and finally as Bob. Democratic Senators were on hand to welcome Booker, whereas the Repubican side of the chamber appeared empty.

    Booker’s immediate predecessor Republican Jeff Chiesa has said he might be interested in running for the Senate sometime in the future. For the present he probably will soon be holding a high-paying job in a law firm. Next year he might be tapped by Christie to serve as Chief Justice of the NJ Supreme Court if Christie denies tenure to Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. Chiesa supported the Republican position on the shutdown until the last minute when he voted to end the lunacy and joined the majority. On the immigration bill he supported the Republican amendments which were defeated, but he did vote in favor of the final bill. He also supported the Farm Bill, which House Republicans do not like. He was active in one of his key concerns to reduce human trafficking. His short tenure from June through October makes it difficult to assess his performance. Somewhat in the mold of Chris Christie (without the swagger and big mouth of  his mentor) he espoused conservative Republican beliefs but was also often pragmatic and bi-partisan.

    Sen. Frank Lautenberg left Booker a prodigious record of progressive accomplishments. Although Booker as Senator is still a blank page, he  fervently espouses most of the same causes. As a passionate orator and hyperkinetic individual, he certainly will be more engaging, entertaining, and interesting than the staid Jeff Chiesa. In addition to his Senatorial duties, Booker also faces re-election next year for a full six-year term.

    ELEC report on spending through October 25: Gov. Christie raised $13.2 million, spent $9.2 million and has cash on hand of $4 million. Barbara Buono raised $2.8 million, spent $2.4 million and has cash on hand of $276,000. Her inability to raise more funds has been a big impediment: she has been able to conduct retail politics but not wholesale politics. Overall Campaign Spending: $107.8 million: Gubernatorial: $21.4 million, Legislative: $48.7 million, Independent Special Intetest Groups: $37.8 milion. The top two Legislative District expenditures: LD 3: $3.7 million and LD 38: $3 million. For more interesting stuff in this report released yesterday, go here.

    PUBLIC SCHEDULES

    Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 7:25am, The Curtis Slliwa Show, Radio interview, 970 AM;  Buono: 10:00am, Opportunity Tour: Jobs and the Economy, Nutley Diner, 372 Centre St, Nutley;  Barbara Buono: 12:00pm, press conference, Imagination Station Playground, Horseshoe Lake, 72 Eyland Ave., Succasunna.

    Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 10:45am, Empire Diner, Parsippany;  11:55am, Tick Tock Diner, Clifton;  1:00pm, Glen Ridge Community Center, Glen Ridge;  2:10pm, Hispanic Statewide Chamber of Commerce Expo, NJ City University, Jersey City;  3:20pm, Lanni’s Appliances, Rutherford;  4:45pm, River Edge Pizza Kitchen, River Edge;  5:45pm, Bergen County GOP headquarters, Hackensack;  7:20, rally, Elks Lodge, Harrison.

    Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com

    What’s Happening Today Fri. 10/25/2013

    Immigration Reform: President Obama calls on the House to act now to pass bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform. The Senate has already passed a bill which the House could vote on (with or without amendments), but the House seems more interested in either passing its own measure or doing nothing. Following the federal government shutdown Roll Call reports optimists say that Republicans, “wanting to win back some of the popular support they lost over the past month,” will press for some type of package. The pessimists say, “Action may be stymied by continued infighting over government spending and lawmakers who have little interest in helping the party resuscitate its damaged reputation.”

    Here is what some New Jerseyans say:

    U. S. Senator Robert Menendez: “Our current  immigration laws have failed us.”

    Rep. Frank Pallone: “Now more then ever, we need a fair immigration plan for the 21st century that provides opportunities to the workers that are here and contributing to the success of the nation.”

    Rep. Rush Holt: “Reform will significantly boost New Jersey’s economy: providing a path to citizenship for some half-million immigrants living illegally in New Jersey – grow their wages, spur small business job creation and thus increase tax revenue and overall economic activity in the state.”

    Paul Boudreau, President of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce: “Many law-abiding businesses find it difficult to find workers with the right skill sets to fill positions, and, as result, they’re “missing a huge economic opportunity” by not hiring workers who lack a legal employment status.”

    Gov. Chris Christie: While he has declined to take a position on the Senate bill, he recently said, “We’re going to have to come up with a solution. You need to provide people with confidence that the system’s going to be fair and that means everybody.”

    PUBLIC SCHEDULES

    Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 11:30am, Radio Interview, Barbara Altman’s Front Porch, WOND 1400 AM;  Barbara Buono: 8:00pm, Newark NAACP 99th Annual Freedom Fund Awards Dinner, Robert Treat Hotel, 50 Park Pl., Newark.

    Christie/Guadagnio gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 10:45am, with Motor Vehicle Commission chairman Raymond Martinez, greets patrons at Sabor Latino Bistro and announces an expansion of New Jersey’s American driver license transfer privileges to include the U.S. territories and commonwealths of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, North Bergen.

    The Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc.: 5:00pm, “Raise the Wage” campaign will join with local elected officials including Rep. Frank Pallone (D CD 6), community supporters and union leaders to hold a press conference and to educate the community about the importance of voting “Yes” on Ballot Question #2 to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage, Asbury Park Train Station.

    U. S. Sen. Jeff Chiesa: 12:15pm, speech at a New Jersey Human Trafficking Task Force summit focused on ways people can help anti-trafficking strategies at events such as the Super Bowl, Trenton War Memorial, Trenton. He remains our Senator until Halloween when Cory Booker is sworn into office by Vice President Biden.

    Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com

    What’s Happening Today Thu. 10/17/2013

    We welcome today our new Senator-elect the Honorable Cory Booker: He won last night with almost all precincts reporting by 55% (713,594 votes) to 44% (579,388 votes.) The turnout appears to be an anemic 24% although all votes, including mail-in ballots, have not been counted. Good riddance to the ugly campaign of Steve Lonegan. And we will not miss place holder and Christie-appointee Senator Jeff Chiesa who on September 30, and on October 1, 8, 9, and 12 voted to impede progress on a Continuing Resolution and on plans to end the debt default crisis. He finally gave up last night and bowed to the inevitable. With his departure and Booker’s arrival there will be 55 Senators who caucus with the Democrats.

    After using a government shutdown as a hostage to kill the Affordable Care Act and threatening to place America in default, Republicans surrendered yesterday. S&P estimates the shutdown has resulted in a loss of $24 billion and will reduce this quarter’s economic growth from 3% to 2%. Although 144 Representatives voted against the Senate compromise, all New Jersey congressmen, with the exception of Scott Garrett ( R CD 5), voted to reopen government and allow the U. S. to borrow and pay its debts. Unfortunately all they did was to kick the can down the road to January and February when the same issues will be revisited.  

    Christie creating his own Supreme Court and … : Today the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to consider the governor’s nomination of Camden County Superior Court Assignment Judge Faustino Fernández-Vina to be an Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Both Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Donald Norcoss (D-5) have stated their support for Judge Fernández-Vina. He is seen as replacing Republican Justice Helen Hoens to whom Christie refused tenure.

    On the Supreme Court today there are currently two Democrats (Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Justice Barry T. Albin), one Republican (Justice Anne M. Patterson) and one Independent (Justice Jaynee LaVecchia). In addition there are three vacancies to which the Chief Justice appoints temporary members. Although initially the new nominee was thought to be a Democrat, it appears he is  a Republican. if he is confirmed there would be 2 Dem’s, 2 Rep’s.  and 1 Ind. – a balanced court. However two other Christie nominees are in waiting and if confirmed would lead to an unbalanced court. Gov. Christie will have put in place four of his nominees, including Patterson. Christie has made clear his desire to reconfigure the court in his image, and he is on the way to doing just that.

    …Threatening the court’s independence: Christie is also doing something no prior governor has done: he is refusing to grant tenure to certain justices which can make sitting members without tenure think twice about their vote on political matters such as affordable housing, marriage equality, and education. The respect of our Supreme Court is in jeopardy as are so many issues important to progressives.

    PUBLIC SCHEDULES

    Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 8:20am, interview, SiriusXM satellite radio’s P.O.T.U.S. Channel 124;  Barbara Buono with Campaign Chair Bonnie Watson Coleman and Democratic State Committee Vice Chair Lizette Delgado-Polanco, 10:00am, a conference call to talk about voting irregularities resulting from Governor Christie’s self-serving special election.

    Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: probably joined by Cory Booker, 2:30pm, a groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of Springfield Avenue Marketplace, Newark.

    NJ Senate: 12:00 noon, Quorum Call, Statehouse, Trenton.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee: 1:30pm, to consider the nomination of Faustino Fernández-Vina to be an Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and other nominees to the NJ Educational Facilities Authority, Committee Room 4, Statehouse Annex. Listen live here.

    The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee: 1:30pm, hearing on the opioid abuse epidemic, Room 1, Statehouse Annex.

    The Senate Higher Education Committee: 10:00am, hearing on the reporting requirements of graduation rates by institutions of higher education, Committee Room 10, Statehouse Annex.

    What’s Happening Today Wed. 10/02/2013

    Booker vs. Lonegan and the election schedule that only Christie could concoct:: With exactly two weeks to go, October 16 is the Special Election date for the U. S. Senate race. Gov. Christie made it particularly “special” by holding it on a Wednesday and not on General Election day. How convenient! We continue to miss Sen. Frank Lautenberg. We wont miss current Sen. Jeff Chiesa (R), but don’t be surprised if Christie appoints him to another position.  

    Now we have the 13th public poll on the race: The Monnmouth Universiity poll which has Booker at 53% and Lonegan at 40% – a +13 point advantage. Previous recent polls according to Real Clear Politics: Quinnippiac (9/22) Booker +12, Kean University (9/19) Booker +19, Richard Stockton College (9/21) Booker +26 and Rutgers-Eagleton (9/09) Booker +35. The race has tightened up, Booker maintains a healthy lead (no “margin of error” concerns), but in this weird election with low turnout predicted it is important that we all vote and help GOTV or else face something akin to the apocalypse.

    Republican candidate Steve Lonegan has been in a persistent and somewhat successful attack mode. There were high spirits at his classic 1938 Bendix Diner event yesterday in Hasbrouck Heights. With some 70 attendees, it opened with a prayer which included a blessing for “marriages between one man and one woman.” Texas Governor Rick Perry, accompanied by plainclothes Texas Rangers, spoke briefly about guns (good) and ACA (bad: “It’s felonious”) and lauded Texas and Lonegan. Steve Lonegan then launched into his stump speech talking concisely, spiritedly, and bluntly about his conservative principles. On the government shutdown he said, “It’s a little inconvenient but not so much so.”

    Senior Lonegan Advisor Rick Shaftan spent a few minutes with me enumerating all the perceived bad points about Cory Booker. When I asked Shaftan twice why he thought Lonegan would win, the four-word response each time was “He is a conservative.” Apparently that’s sufficient. One good point about Shaftan: he likes Joey Novick, but then again so do a lot of people.

    Two attendees saw a truck in the parking lot painted with “1-800-got-junk,” under which they affixed a sign reading, “YES! Obamacare.” Perhaps an indication of their high spirits, enthusiasm and confidence. Also in attendance were Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-39), Bergen County Exec. Kathleen Donovan and Senator Michael Doherty (R-23).

    NJ Court sets up schedule for the State’s application to stay the Summary Judgment order, set to be effective October 21, in the M. E. case: October 1: the State must file its case; October 4: the Plaintiff’s opposition to the stay must be filed; October 7: the State may file its opposition if it chooses. There will be no oral arguments.  

    Pubic Schedules (Your opportunity to support or heckle)

    Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: No public events.

    Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 4:30pm, Groundbreaking ceremony at Rowan University College of Engineering, Glassboro; 6:15pm, addresses the New Jersey Alliance for Action’s Eagle Awards Dinner, Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick.

    U.S. Senate nominee Cory Booker: 6:00pm, Reception at the home of Carol and Andy Golden with Rep. Rush Holt, Princeton, for more information go here; 9:00pm, “Run with Cory,” Palmer Square, Princeton.

    U. S. senate candidate Steve Lonegan: 6:30pm, fundraiser, High Point Brewing Company, 22 Park Place, Butler.

    Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com

    What’s Happening Today Tue. 10/01/2013

    Breaking Bad: Congress used to pass budgets, which proved too difficult so it shifted to continuing resolutions (CR’s). Last night it could not even pass a CR so this morning is breaking bad. The TV show of the same name, with a chemistry teacher who became a meth cook kingpin, took many dark turns and ended this weekend on an almost uplifting note. No such luck for Americans from a congress where one group can threaten a government shutdown or a federal default if it does not get its way on some totally separate issue. The Republicans, hell-bent on destroying the American Care Act, stood together, including New Jersey’s Sen. Jeff Chiesa and all six Republican Representatives, as the pingpong-like game of shooting the bill back and forth continued. To add insult to injury, on a Dept of State and embassy security funding ammendment where the vote was 384 Aye to 37 Nay, Republican Rep. Scott Garret (CD 5) was the only member of our entire delegation to vote “Nay.”

    Ironically the bill could have passed had House leadership presented a clean bill (just the CR) to its members, but those with presidential ambitions, Tea Party members, and fear of the Tea Party won the night. Spoiler alert for those who still plan to view the final T.V. episode of Breaking Bad. When Walter White dies, it is to the tune of Badfinger’s “Baby Blue”: “Guess I got what I deserved.” Apt for the Republicans, but in addition to the mayhem they have now brought us, they live on to bring us further dark turns and machinations as they work to resolve the shutdown and move toward the next debt ceiling crisis with a similar threat.

    Breaking Good: The ACA enrollment starts today offering health insurance for the many New Jerseyans who are uninsured, expanding Medicaid, and providing subsidies. Another irony is that there was never any chance of hallting enrollment into Obamacare, as funds had already been dispensed to the states, it is a mandated program, and the President would have vetoed defunding or delaying tactics. Go to this federal website or call 1-800-318-2596 to find out more about our health exchange. Your Health – Your Choice. (Be aware there may be a slowdown and glitches as the enrollment rolls out.)

    Public Schedule: (your opportunity to jeer or cheer)  

    Buono/Siva gubernatotorial campaign: no public events.

    Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 11:00am, Speech at Ramapo College regarding a campus construction project, Mahwah; 12:30pm, a campaign stop at a senior citizen picnic with “Democratic” Senator Brian Stack who endorsed Christie, Bella Vista Senior Apartments, Union City.

    The always articulate Texas Gov. Rick Perry: 11:00am, endorses and joins Republican U.S. Senate nominee Steve Lonegan, town hall meeting about “Obamacare,” Smithville Inn, Smithville, and 1:30pm, Berkeley Township Recreation Center, Bayville, and finally 5:00pm, rally at the Bendix Diner, Hasbrouck Heights. Will Perry be able to remember the third location?

    U.S. Senate Democratic nominee Cory Booker: 2:30pm, An invitation-only speech on how to make higher education more affordable, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison. One suggestion: insist that colleges live within their budget and end the exorbitant tuition increases, which do more harm than the outrageous loan programs.