Tag Archive: Jim Florio

Governor Florio on Gun Control

A lot of people are talking about common-sense gun control. Former Governor Jim Florio is one person who has done much to ensure the safety of New Jersey citizens. He has stood up to the NRA and has had a big part in ensuring that the Garden State has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. Yesterday, he addressed the crowd at a rally in Lincoln Park in Jersey City.

Rally for Gun Control in Jersey City

While a rally for sensible gun laws was being held on the National Mall today, a group of about 200 New Jerseyans came to Lincoln Park in Jersey City to rally for similar controls at the state and federal levels. Hosted by Jersey City Major Jeremiah Healy, a slew of Democratic elected officials spoke about how to prevent the next Columbine or Newtown.  While the temperatures were very cold, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd or the speakers.

Not a single Republican was on the stand. This should not be. Our children’s’ safety and that of ourselves should not be a partisan issue. Just like the Koch Brothers should not be dictating our energy policies, the NRA and their patrons should not be endangering our kids. As with marriage equality, the GOP is simply on the wrong side of history.

Stay tuned to Blue Jersey. Over the next few days, I’ll post some of the comments from the speakers including Congressman Frank Pallone, former Governor Jim Florio, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Senators Barbara Buono, Bob Gordon, and Ray Lesniak, and Assembly members Joe Cryan, Angelica Jimenez, Connie Wagner, Charles Mainor, and Jason O’Donnell.



“If it Bleeds, it Leads”

That old newspaper adage is exemplified by the South Jersey Times, which picked its top stories of 2012:

  • Woodstown woman dies of heart attack after burglary

  • Camden woman high on ‘wet’ decapitates son

  • Autumn Pasquale’s Murder

  • Crash kills Washington Township teen

  • Millville police officer killed in accident

  • Super derecho storm, death at Parvin State Park

  • Paulsboro train derailment

  • Woman attacks worker over 7-11 sausages

  • Kid forced to eat trash-picked bagel

  • Glass flows like lava at plant explosion

  • Woodstown woman dies of heart attack after burglary

  • Camden woman high on ‘wet’ decapitates son

That publication should be ashamed of itself by sensationalizing tragedy while ignoring some of the positive events in South Jersey:

  • The several non-profits and individuals in Camden working to make the city safer and better, including former Governor and South Jersey’s own Jim Florio celebrating the opening of affordable housing in the city.

  • The election of not one, but two Democrats to the Burlington County Board of Freeholders despite the injection of funds from Sheldon Adelson

  • The ascent of a new, young political star in Assemblyman Troy Singleton

  • The first class of physicians at Cooper Medical School

  • The saving of Rutgers Camden (despite the Governor)

  • South Jersey’s Senator Sweeney’s about-face on marriage equality, and his leadership in getting the bill passed (vetoed by the Governor)

  • Assemblyman Herb Conaway’s leadership in working to establish ubiquitous affordable health care across the state (vetoed by the Governor)

  • Senator Diane Allen’s leadership in combating teacher-on-student bullying.

  • Former Blue Jersey writer and Cherry Hill resident Jay Lassiter’s quest to implement the medical marijuana law despite the Governor’s ceaseless obstructions.

A Governor Returns to his Roots

Several decades ago, East Camden was a middle-class blue collar neighborhood where a young man decided to raise his family. He worked as a night watchman to put himself through law school. In the years since, the East Camden neighborhood had deteriorated into block after block of vacant homes and rampant crime, and that young man left the neighborhood and became Governor of New Jersey. Today, he came back to his old neighborhood for a celebratory announcement. The full story and that governor’s comments are below the fold.

All This Weekend – We’re Playing Rush Holt’s Jeopardy

Last weekend, I attended maybe the most boisterous fundraiser I’ve ever seen: Rush Holt’s live Jeopardy game, with a collection of some of the most well-known people in NJ politics all trying to answer in the form of a question every item of formidable trivia dreamed up by Holt’s campaign staff and the rocket scientist himself. All in the name of fun, all to benefit the campaign of Holt; physicist congressman, 5-time Jeopardy winner, and the only member of Congress to vanquish the IBM supercomputer Watson I was the dork in the back half-jumping out of my seat on every question, but not blurting out loud as the entire audience was instructed to do. I was sitting with Marie Corfield, a Jeopardy veteran herself.

Among Holt’s players: CD3 candidate Shelley Adler, Asm Dan Benson, Sen. Linda Greenstein, Sierra Club’s Jeff Tittel, Princeton professor Sean Wilentz, former state Dem chair Tom Byrne and current chair John Wisniewski and Gov. Jim Florio. Judges were Lambertville mayor Dave DelVecchio, NJEA’s Ginger Gold Schnitzer, and Greta Kiernan, former Assemblywoman and Jeopardy contestant. Rush Holt played both Art Fleming and Alex Trebek.

Smart batch of people. Aggressive players. But playing purely for fun, for a congressman, my former boss, who was as loose as I’ve ever seen him. High point for me was Holt doing Dana Carvey doing, well, you’ll see …

All weekend, I’m going to post the questions I can (some are still top-secret). Want to play? Resist the internet and give us your answer in the form of a Question.

Start you off with an easy category. They get tougher from here. We’ll be posting questions all weekend. Please remember to phrase your answer in the form of a Question:

All This Weekend – We’re Playing Rush Holt’s Jeopardy

Last weekend, I attended maybe the most boisterous fundraiser I’ve ever seen: Rush Holt’s live Jeopardy game, with a collection of some of the most well-known people in NJ politics all trying to answer in the form of a question every item of formidable trivia dreamed up by Holt’s campaign staff and the rocket scientist himself. All in the name of fun, all to benefit the campaign of Holt; physicist congressman, 5-time Jeopardy winner, and the only member of Congress to vanquish the IBM supercomputer Watson I was the dork in the back half-jumping out of my seat on every question, but not blurting out loud as the entire audience was instructed to do. I was sitting with Marie Corfield, a Jeopardy veteran herself.

Among Holt’s players: CD3 candidate Shelley Adler, Asm Dan Benson, Sen. Linda Greenstein, Sierra Club’s Jeff Tittel, Princeton professor Sean Wilentz, former state Dem chair Tom Byrne and current chair John Wisniewski and Gov. Jim Florio. Judges were Lambertville mayor Dave DelVecchio, NJEA’s Ginger Gold Schnitzer, and Greta Kiernan, former Assemblywoman and Jeopardy contestant. Rush Holt played both Art Fleming and Alex Trebek.

Smart batch of people. Aggressive players. But playing purely for fun, for a congressman, my former boss, who was as loose as I’ve ever seen him. High point for me was Holt doing Dana Carvey doing, well, you’ll see …

All weekend, I’m going to post the questions I can (some are still top-secret). Want to play? Resist the internet and give us your answer in the form of a Question.

Start you off with an easy category. They get tougher from here. We’ll be posting questions all weekend. Please remember to phrase your answer in the form of a Question:

Strange Bedfellows: Norcross and Pascrell Reunited Against Rothman

The first time that I ever saw Bill Pascrell, Jr. speak was at the 2000 NJDSC Conference, where he was speaking on behalf of Governor Jim Florio, who was running against Jon Corzine for the Democratic nomination to replace the retiring United States Senator Frank Lautenberg.  I was very impressed with the energy and enthusiasm in which he spoke about his longstanding relationship with Florio and against Jon Corzine and the millions that he was spending to try to buy a Senate seat, not to mention the anti-Italian slurs that Corzine was being accused of making by political gadfly, Michael Cino.

At the time, I thought that Pascrell, his people, and I were the only people who were working for Florio because of the respect that we had for him and everything that his body of work as a Congressman and Governor said about him as an elected official and a person.  It was because of this perception of Pascrell that I had as being cut from the same honorable cloth as Florio that I went to work on his re-election campaign after the Florio campaign ended.

However, I quickly learned that their shared Italian heritage was all that Florio and Pascrell had in common.  Florio was a soft-spoken, well-meaning, intellectual policy wonk, while Pascrell was a tough-talker who cared far more about image and perception (through the mass distribution of his own campaign lawn signs and the wholesale theft of his opponent’s) than policy-making.  In fact, his policy positions were pure Democratic Party boilerplate, indistinguishable from hundreds of other Democratic candidates running across the country.  During this election and the years that followed, I would learn that like Bob Menendez in Hudson County, Pascrell was far more interested in ruling Passaic County politics than advocating for issues of any kind in Washington.

But as disappointing a person as Pascrell became to me, I assumed that his ties to George Norcross, who was the driving force behind Governor Florio’s Senatorial primary election campaign in 2000 were severed on the day that the primary election ended.  In the years that followed, Norcross has tried to build alliances with elected officials and party leaders outside of his base in Norcrossippi and he has been successful on occasion, most recently in Essex and Hudson Counties, enabling him to gain control over the Democratic Party establishment throughout most of the state.  That said, until yesterday, I thought that Bill Pascrell, Jr. was still independent and that Passaic County was still free soil.  That may no longer be the case.

Christie flights triple since Coptergate

helicopterUPDATE: Ledger now featuring this story along with a fresh quote from Christie: “We’ve only used it for business purposes. When I have to use it for political purposes, we make sure we pay it back.”

(Huh? Why does he ever have to use state resources to further his own political position? And why is he allowed to borrow against state resources for political purposes?)



Bloomberg/Business Week put some numbers to Chris Christie’s routine commandeering of the $12.5 million state police helicopter this morning. Ordinarily, we might trust a governor to make his own decisions about how to motor around. But this is New Jersey. We’ve had a governor who nearly killed himself speeding without a seat belt. Now we have one who squires around in a chopper, frequently using that 55-foot Homeland Security resource – designed for emergencies and to transport critically injured people – for political or family events. And that’s something the public should nose into, particularly when the governor in question styles himself fiscally responsible, and tells other public workers to tighten their belts and seems to think his constituents laze around waiting for government cheese (which offends us and Tom Moran, too.

Over at Bloomberg, they requested documents, and pulled out the calculators. Whole Christie Airborne for WrestleMania as Helicopter Flights Triple, is worth reading. But I’ll summarize:

Christie choppers to announce WrestleMania (Feb. 16):

  • 36 minutes

  • Cost: about $1,500

  • Time saved: about 36 minutes

  • Other Christie copter trips same week: to NYC for speech to pro-Israel group, Super Bowl rally for NY Giants, Caldwell “Town Hall” where he urged towns to cut costs.

    “Christie, 49, a first-term Republican who has slashed lawmakers’ spending requests and criticized officials who abuse taxpayer-funded perks, has more than tripled his use of state helicopters since June, when Democrats chided him for using the aircraft to get to political and personal events.”                  –Bloomberg

    Christie use of state chopper over 9 months:

  • 64 trips total (reported) = about 1 every 4 days

  • 5 stops to Mendham home or vacation house (each, 50 mi from State House)

  • Crew has to fly anyway. But chopper operating cost = $2,500/hr

  • Half the flights: bill signings, announcements, swearing-in events, speeches, “Jersey Comeback” events. Trips for Hurricane Irene = 3. NYC trips for interviews, receptions, meetings = 9. Trips to comfort family of soldier killed in Afghanistan = 2 (same soldier, arrival of body, then funeral)

    Total cost of Christie state helicopter use since taking office: $217,000.

    Christie actions taken during this time:

  • Asked public workers to cede negotiated benefits to trim government

  • cut out $1B added by Dems in $29.7B budget for schools, police & tax credits for working poor

    What Christie did that makes people pay attention to the chopper

  • Flew it to his kid’s high school ballgame (riding 300 yards in a SUV (taxpayers) instead of the deluxe golf cart made available (free), then Princeton for Iowa GOP bigwigs.

    Below the fold Fun facts! GOP ponies up (not much, only after public outcry).


    Just another dad at a school baseball game…

  • What will happen if Steve Sweeney does not win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2013?

    Contested statewide Democratic primary elections do not happen very often here in New Jersey.  Since I started paying close attention to New Jersey politics in 1997, there have only been four seriously contested statewide Democratic primary elections.  In 1997, then-Woodbridge Mayor Jim McGreevey defeated Congressman Rob Andrews and Morris County Prosecutor Michael Murphy for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.  In 2000, Jon Corzine bought more votes than his senatorial opponent, former Governor Jim Florio, was able to earn.  In February 2008, Hillary Clinton defeated Barack Obama in the Presidential primary election.  In June of that year, Andrews lost his second statewide primary election when he challenged the incumbent U.S. Senator, Frank Lautenberg.

    It appears as if we will have a hotly contested Democratic gubernatorial primary election in 2013.  The most likely candidates at the moment are State Senators Barbara Buono, Dick Codey, and Steve Sweeney.  It is possible that other candidates could come out of the woodwork over the next year or so, but for the sake of this discussion, the names are less important than the questions that the current political dynamic in the state, which has Democratic Party bosses, including but not limited to Steve Adubato and George Norcross, closely aligned with Republican Governor Chris Christie, raises about how serious these bosses are about defeating Christie.

    These bosses and their acolytes in the State legislature have enabled Christie to get more of his agenda passed than our last Democratic Governor, Corzine, and have never even come close to a government shutdown like the one which occurred as a result of the conflict between Corzine and then-Assembly Speaker, Joe Roberts, a Norcross minion, over whether the state sales tax should be increased, and if so, how the additional revenue should be spent.  So it stands to reason that Adubato, Norcross et al would probably prefer to have one of their own (Steve Sweeney being the most likely candidate, but Assemblyman Louis Greenwald is another possibility) as Governor than Christie, but in lieu of that, it would not be safe to assume that they would prefer someone else, like Buono or Codey, over Christie.