Tag Archive: Kevin O’Toole

“Better Know a (Legislative) District”

Promoted by Jason Springer:  Feel free to tell us about your Legislative District.

New Jersey, the state that constantly has an election looming, will be voting in 2009 for all 80 members of the General Assembly and the Governor’s office.  These races, along with municipal and county elections are all important in building party infrastructure and developing candidates for higher office.  Recruiting viable Assembly candidates, especially in districts that do not lean Democratic is difficult.  

My hometown of Wanaque is part of the 40th Legislative District, represented by Senator Kevin O’Toole and Assemblymen Scott Rumana and Dave Russo.  O’Toole is a moderate Republican from Cedar Grove ,who, fortunately is not on the ballot in 2009, because his presence at the top of the ticket would surely provide a bounce for the down ticket Assembly and local candidates.    

The 40th consists of parts of Essex, Bergen, and Passaic Counties and has a Republican tilt.  This is not a district a Democrat issupposed to win, but is definitely somewhere a Democrat can win if he/she has the right formula of name identification and fund raising ability.  

“A Stroke of Brilliance”

Kevin O’Toole, 8/29/08, on McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as VP:

DENVER – Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz) selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin roused the fighting mood of state Sen. Kevin O’Toole, one of a handful of elected officials who has stood with McCain from the beginning of his presidential run.

“It’s a curve ball, which Democrats were not expecting, and it opens up a whole new constituency,”said O’Toole. “It is a stroke of brilliance.”

Today, 10/10/08, New York Times reports on the just-released Troopergate report:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Sarah Palin unlawfully abused her power as governor by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper, the chief investigator of an Alaska legislative panel concluded Friday. The politically charged inquiry imperiled her reputation as a reformer on John McCain’s Republican ticket.

Investigator Stephen Branchflower, in a report by a bipartisan panel that investigated the matter, found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain.

The inquiry looked into her dismissal of Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, who said he lost his job because he resisted pressure to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce with the governor’s sister. Palin says Monegan was fired as part of a legitimate budget dispute.

The panel found that Palin let the family grudge influence her decision-making even if it was not the sole reason Monegan was dismissed. ”I feel vindicated,” Monegan said. ”It sounds like they’ve validated my belief and opinions. And that tells me I’m not totally out in left field.”

Branchflower said Palin violated a statute of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.

Brilliant! I’m guessing Kevin O’Toole wishes he could have this one back.

Put away that race card

2204877933Charles Stile at the Bergen Record is reporting that Republican State Senator Kevin O’Toole is charging Senate Democrats with racism for saying he scowls too much.  I couldn’t make up something this dumb, so I’ll let Mr. Stiles fill you in:

O’Toole said the press-release primer — actually a satirical jab over O’Toole’s role in a state budget tussle — contained a “veiled racial slur” at his Korean heritage. O’Toole, whose mother is Korean, took offense to its recommendation to “smile more. A lot of the time, you seem angry.”

“You’re obviously an intelligent, up-and-coming senator with lots of great ideas who has rightfully shed the common, lower-house affliction of senatorial courtesy envy. But you seem to be scowling all the time. Life is short — enjoy the trip.”

O’Toole, whose 40th Legislative District includes parts of Bergen, Passaic and Essex counties, said it stoked old stereotypes of Asians as “inscrutable,” humorless and grim. Several staff members had a similar reaction, he said.


Oddly enough, Mr. O’Toole never made any public statement back when State Senator Sonny McCoullough was telling openly racist jokes about Asians and Blacks.  I guess humorous press releases by Democrats are racist but racist jokes by Republican office-holders are just funny.

The thing is that there is no bright line people will not cross to take offense when they want to do so.  I was even told that using a stick figure to represent Barack Obama might make people think of lynching Black people because, you know, people use stick figures in the game “Hangman”.  I thought that was pretty stupid and about as far as someone could stretch to play the race card.  Congratulations, Mr. O’Toole, you beat even that Herculean effort.  Gee, I hope the reference to mythology isn’t construed as racism against the Greeks.


Update  I would like to point out that for a comment to be “racist” it must contain some racial reference.  “Scowling” is not a racial reference.  Many people who are not Asian scowl.  Furthermore the statement by O’Toole that it plays on some stereotype of an “angry” and “inscrutable” Asian person is, in itself, a vast contradiction. One cannot be both obviously angry and inscrutable.  In fact, if one is inscrutable, then no one would ever know that they are angry.  It has nothing to do with how one feels – the press release was obviously disrespectful and made fun of O’Toole, but it was not racist.

Blue Jersey Celebrates the Inaugurals

(Trenton) — I wanted to share some of the flavor from today's Inaugural festivities.  Kinda like the Assembly itself, our latest Vlog is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.  Enjoy!

I had a major video crash today and lost some great footage. Apologies to Grace Spencer and Wayne DeAngelo who were so kind to say hello.

(Note to self: when it comes to video you're NOBODY unless you've had your first painful crash.)  

Come 2008, in the new State Senate, Minority Women outnumber Minority Men in Trenton.

Diversity has come slowly and painstakingly to the New Jersey state legislature, no doubt, a legislative body that often serves as a pipeline to NJ’s congressional delegation.  Some with little conscience for social justice might say “we” are post-race or post-gender and thus shouldn’t even bother with a diary about this kind of thing, but we progressives know better, especially in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision that, for all practical purposes, overturns the 1954 Brown decision.

In the state senate, the new gender breakdown among the minority membership of the upper chamber will be radically altered, and not just the minimum 4-3 split.  It could likely be an even more significant 5-2.  It would be yet another sign of the turnover this election cycle, and points to one more way the dynamic in the Statehouse will be different come January ’08.

How Low Can Politics Go?

Cross-Posted from ShapTalk.com:

Recently, the Bergen County Republican Organization (BCRO) developed and funded campaign literature that stated that Deputy Minority Leader/State Assemblyman Kevin O?Toole (R-40) was ?the Republican Al Sharpton.?  The paid mailer claimed that when it came to redistricting, O?Toole?s seat was protected because of his ?Asian/Korean? descent.  The mailer included a grainy, black and white side by side photo of Assemblyman O?Toole and Reverend Al Sharpton.  The photo of Mr. O?Toole is one that showed him a bit unshaven, so that his facial hair was comparable to Mr. Sharpton?s. 

Surprise! There were ethics questions before 2004.

The seven legislators named in the ethics complaints today are: Senator Joseph Kyrillos, Senator Peter Inverso, Senator Robert Singer, Assemblyman Chris Connors, Assemblyman David Wolfe, Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole and Assemblyman Richard Merkt.

We have a 15 page pdf including all the complaints (or in text format below the fold). I haven’t had time to browse through it carefully yet, but each complaint details specific budget items purported to be conflicts of interest.

Who’s in Districts 25, 26, 39, and 40?

Cheers from your northern neighbor.  With campaigns sparse this coming year, I might be looking to cross the border and help out with some Northern New Jersey state races.  In particular, I’m curious to see if there will be any viable challenges to the Republicans in Districts 25, 26, 39, and 40 (the four closes to my home in Orange County).  Have there been any announced challengers yet?  If so (even if not), who of the incumbents are most vulnerable?

Thanks in advance for any help.

BiPartisan Budget Cuts?

Hot off the press, we get a release from the Assembly Republicans (careful with your mouse, the ink is still wet). The release claims that the bonified valiant Republicans have saved the day with $2.2 billion in cuts, so that we need not raise the penny sales tax!

To think that just yesterday Senator Bob Littell was sounding like Doomsday was upon us! The tosser could have just picked up the phone and given a ringy-dingy to his buddies DeCroce et al. in the Assembly!

Anyway, tucked into the cute release is this:

Republican Budget Officer Malone and fellow budget committee member O’Toole said that this cut list has been the product of a deliberative, bipartisan five-month long budget process.

“Our budget committee met for five months and both Democrats and Republicans have meticulously studied the Corzine spending proposal,” said Malone, R-Burlington, Ocean, Monmouth and Mercer. “As a result of that process we have been able to identify areas where we can achieve legitimate savings in this budget.”

“Republicans and Democrats on the budget committee have utilized the budget process to uncover waste and to determine what programs we can cut,” said Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole, R-Essex, Passaic, and Bergen. “These cuts reflect the hard work of the budget committee toward making responsible, thoughtful spending reductions.”

WOW! So, here is the $20,000 question.

If indeed these cuts are of a “bi-partisan” nature, why aren’t Democrat signatures on this press release?

Bonus snark: If I were a certain Senator, I would ask for “the details” of these cuts. Cuz contrary to the promise at the end of this release :

A detailed list of the proposed spending cuts by department is attached to this press release. The list will also be made available today on njassemblyrepublicans.com.

It ain’t there yet. The short list they provide in the release adds up to $513 million in cuts. Which leaves us with nearly $1.7 billion in detail-less cuts.

UPDATE: And neither is this press release. It’s there now.