Tag Archive: Tom Kean

New PA Reform Bill: This could be the start of something big

NJ Governor Chris Christie and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday patted themselves on the back and each issued a one-paragraph press release of praise for a bill introduced in the NY Assembly on NY/NJ Port Authority reform. The full bill does not appear available yet on the NY legislative website, but I received a summary of the bill from the sponsor. Although what benefits the governors may not benefit the public, it appears to be a positive step forward. It may lead to a long-sought resolution of the impasse following the Cuomo/Christie vetoes of reform legislation jointly passed by the NY and NJ legislatures last year.

The NY Sponsor Assemblyman James Brennan is a Democrat from Brooklyn. In March he called NJ Senator Tom Kean’s alternative Republican reform bill a “nonstarter” because it did not include such items as independent oversight of large capital projects, requirements to disclose the compensation of top officers and an obligation on the part of the chief executive to certify that financial statements are true and accurate. He further faulted the bill for weaker-than-hoped-for protections against toll increases.”

The Star-Ledger today quotes NJ Senator Bob Gordon commending “Brennan for negotiating a bill with Cuomo’s office that contained some of the reforms they worked on together in the vetoed legislation.” But he said the new Brennan measure lacks a requirement that Port Authority officials appear before lawmakers “as needed” to answer questions. That is a reasonable request but should not pose a barrier to a bill we very much need. Sen. Gordon was also concerned “that the proposed leadership structure, starting with a New York chairman, might let the Empire State dominate the agency.” Given the fact that the current and prior Board Chairs have been NJ appointees and that the bill proposes bi-annual rotation between NJ and NY appointees, it seems fair that under the new bill it should be NY to appoint the first chair.

A lot of time and effort has been spent by legislators on both sides of the Hudson River with no result so far. The process is complicated and made more difficult by the power of the two governors to veto. It’s time to move forward and get some legislation passed in order to curb the Port Authority. Additional new provisions are always possible in the future.

See key new provisions of the bill below the fold.

Give Phil Murphy a chance

Apparently it’s not too early to discuss gubernatorial prospects. We already know a lot about Senate President Steve Sweeney and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. Other legislators who might throw their hat in the ring are probably less well known but have a NJ record on which to hang that hat.

How about Democrat Philip Murphy? Personally I don’t yet have any idea as to whether I will support him, but I am more than willing to listen. He has been laying the groundwork to run and has the money to self-finance, so de facto he is in play and subject to scrutiny.

We should not just write him off as another rich man, a carpet-bagger, too like former governor Corzine, or someone who has never held elected office. It might be refreshing to have a governor who appears genuinely concerned about the middle class and has no need to obtain money from political bosses, corporations, and wealthy donors. Murphy does have experience in business (a former Goldman Sachs director), diplomacy (Ambassador to Germany), philanthropy (several New Jersey non-profits), civic engagement (on the board of the NAACP’s Special Contribution Fund) and national politics (former finance Chair for the Democratic National Committee.) In addition he chaired the New Jersey Benefits Task Force in 2005 and co-chaired Renewing our Schools, Securing our Future.

Quote Of The Day: Now that we’ve discussed our wish list…

Other than not paying the bills, the NJGOP doesn’t really seem to want to deal with our budget gap in any meaningful way. Senator Tom Kean went back to the good ole game plan of talking about opposing fees while his Governor proposes them, but in response we have to give the quote of the day to Assembly Budget Chairman Gary Schaer who responded to their world of fantasy and make believe with this: [emphasis mine]

“I would join Sen. Kean in saying I’d like a budget that has no new taxes,” said Assembly Budget Chairman Gary Schaer (D., Passaic). “I’d even go so far as to say we have no income tax, and let’s rebate everyone 100 percent of their property tax. Now, after we’ve discussed our wish list, why don’t we speak about the serious business of the state government: How are you paying for the necessary programs that you want?

I admire the Budget Chairman’s hope that the NJGOP will join him in getting real, but they seem rather content to govern by talking point and straw man while our state gets downgraded instead of dealing with the serious issues we are facing.

NJ GOP is not stronger than Superstorm Christie

Next Thursday June 12th the legislature plans to try a veto override of Christie’s CV of the ‘Sandy Bill of Rights.’ Here’s why it matters. And what you can do – right now. Cross-posted at Marie Corfield. Promoted by Rosi.

DropDead (new Chris Christie version)For those readers old enough to remember, this image is a parody of the fierce reaction to President Gerald Ford’s infamous but false response to NY City’s 1970’s financial crisis. Even though he never said those words, he might as well have because his reaction to the city’s request for financial help was part of his political undoing.

My point is not to rehash what happened 40 years ago so, gentle readers, please limit your comments to current events. If you want the back story, read this NY Times piece. In a nutshell it was a classic case of liberal vs. conservative values locked in a game of Chicken. The only difference is that unlike many of today’s elected officials, both sides blinked: they came together and worked it out.  

Tom Kean’s sexism: The “nice lady” responds. With class.

Until he left the Star-Ledger, Bob Braun was, in my opinion, the sharpest and best columnist there. And now he joins the ranks of NJ political bloggers. His Bob Braun’s Ledger is excellent and making waves. He sure as hell has the Star-Ledger’s number. This is the first of his pieces he’s cross-posting at Blue Jersey. Welcome, Bob. – Rosi

Cross-posted with Bob Braun’s Ledger.

Former Gov. Tom Kean has done a “disservice to every single woman who wants to enter politics,” says Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono. Kean had patronizingly dismissed Buono, a state senator who has served 20 years in the Legislature, as a “nice lady” who is “unqualified” to be governor.

Buono was New Jersey’s first woman state Senate majority leader and first head of the powerful state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Kean, a Republican and strong supporter of Gov. Chris Christie, made the comments in a weekly column in The Star-Ledger in which he and former Gov. Brendan Byrne are paid to respond to questions from an anonymous newspaper questioner.

In answer to a reporter’s question later in the day, Buono answered Kean’s comment:

What Happened The Week of 10/21/2013

October 21 12:01am: Proud moment for equality in New Jersey!

Despite obstacles, Tom Kean Jr. says GOP will claim the senate on November 5. Dream on Senator Kean.

10 days until General Election: If you haven’t already, it’s time to help the GOTV effort.

WATCH: Pallone blasts Obamacare hearing as a ‘Monkey Court”: So true Rep. Pallone.

Poll: Should N.J. keep fighting to bring sports betting to Atlantic City, horse racing tracks? Poll says Yes. Is it really that important?  

Poll: Should N.J. voters approve the ballot question to raise the minimum wage? Poll says Yes. Right on!

Environmental groups’ report card on Sandy recovery: gives Christie and his Office of Recovery and Rebuilding a D, the state Legislature a C-, the state departments of Community Affairs and Environmental Protection an F, and President Obama and three of his federal agencies most heavily involved in Sandy recovery a C+. Seems about right.

Frank Argote-Freyre, president of Latino Action Network: “Chris Christie during the final gubernatorial debate seemed to come out in favor of tuition equality for all students, including those who were brought over as undocumented immigrants at a young age … Its time for our plain-speaking governor to provide greater clarity on the subject. A few passing phrases simply won’t do.” Get on with it Governor.

ACA website vs. ACA: Former stinks but latter does not. Give it time.

Executive Director of the League of American Families John Tomicki: “Allowance of same-sex marriage will cause polygamy in NJ.” A sore loser.

Sheila Oliver appears to be out and Vince Prieto in as Assembly Speaker in next session starting in January. Que sera sera. The bosses and leaders have spoken.