Tag Archive: Joe Lagana

Our Ethics Eschewing Governor

Yesterday, I wrote about the misuse of state resources by the Christie for President campaign when it contracted to use the gymnasium at a public high school for the governor’s formal presidential declaration announcement. From the documents supplied by the school, it appears that taxpayers footed the bill for the rental and that state employees were involved in executing the contract.

As the expression goes, “timing is everything”, and today, the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee held a hearing on S-2949, a bill sponsored by Senator Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg that would require “expenses incurred by Governor during out-of-state travel for political activities not be paid with or out of state funds.”

Because my post was also related to misuse of state funds, after reading it Senator Weinberg asked me to come to Trenton to testify in support of S-2949, which I was glad to do.

What’s Happening Today Tue. 11/19/2013

“How can government be made to work?” That question was conveniently in the title of last night’s WSJ-sponsored CEO event which included a presentation by Chris Christie. His answer basically was “Elect me President.” Today he will be elevated to Chairman of the Republican Governors Association at its meeting in Arizona. Such will bring him more moola and opportunities to campaign in other states. Time will tell if he looks like a prince or a frog to the electorate.

How the FDA has changed: Those who have seen the movie Dallas Buyers Club are reminded that when thousands of individuals were dying of AIDS the FDA arrested people for importing DDC (approved for AIDS in Europe but not yet in the USA) as well as other medications not yet sanctioned by the FDA. Now the FDA is permitting the import of a meningitis vaccine (approved in Europe but not the USA) for Princeton University students where seven people have been afflicted but none fatally.  

Our fragile NJ Supreme Court: After unanimous Senate confirmation yesterday our newest member of the Supreme Court is the Cuban-born Faustino Fernandez-Vina, the Camden County assignment judge. He takes the oath of office this morning and joins a court beset by a governor who wants to re-make it. Christie has broken tradition by failing to grant judges tenure –  placing all tenured members in a position of insecurity whenever they decide in a way that goes against his wishes. This also impacts judges in the larger court system. For any future appointments to the Supreme Court, Senators should insist on at least one Democrat to retain balance.

Two new Democratic members of the Assembly are sworn into office: Filling the temporary vacancy left in LD 29 by Al Coutinho (who resigned and then pled guilty to theft) is Eliana Pintor Marin, who, also won the seat in the General Election for the next two years. Filling a vacancy until January created by the resignation (for personal reasons) in LD 38 of Connie Wagner is Paul Contillo (who previously served in the legislature). In LD38 where four candidates for two Assembly seats each garnered about 25% of the vote, Democrat Joe Lagana received the highest ballot count followed by Democrat Tim Eustace who recently was ahead by only some 50 votes. A recount is likely. Go Tim!

Dreamers may soon achieve their dream: The Senate yesterday passed the New Jersey DREAM Act (S2479 – Sponsor Teresa Ruiz) providing the two essential components: tuition equality and access to college loans for undocumented youths living in NJ and brought to the USA by a parent. The identical Assembly bill (A3509 – Sponsor: Gordon Johnson) still has to go through committee. Leadership in both houses seek to present the bill to Governor Christie during the lame-duck session. Christie recently said he might sign-off on such a bill,  but he could also prove meddlesome with a conditional veto. Supporters need to keep up the pressure and email Christie their concern until it is signed into law.

Get Covered America joins Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula for Health Reform Roundtable: 9:30am, Outreach, Informational Session to Provide Asian Americans with the Facts on Affordable Care Act, Raritan YMCA, 144 Tices Lane, East Brunswick. Our beleaguered  ACA Law relies not only on quickly fixing the website glitches, but on enrolling a large number of young, healthy individuals in order to spread the risk pool and keep prices reasonable.

What’s Happening Today Fri. 10/18/2013

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley returns to NJ today to support Barbara Buono’s campaign. The former head of the Democratic Governor’s Association, no friend of Gov. Christie, will attend two events in Trenton. (See schedule below.)

Tying the knot on Monday: On October 10 the Superior Court denied the State’s motion to delay the October 21 start date for same-sex marriages. That ruling indicated that “those who satisfy the requirements to enter a civil marriage” may marry in NJ on that date, ie., get your application filled in now to to wed on October 21. The Supreme Court is now handlling the case, and as of this morning is mum on the matter. Unless it rules differently the start date will remain Monday. Let the wedding bells ring!

Superior Court Judge Faustino Fernandez-Vina sailed through the Judiciary Committee yesterday as Christie’s most recent nomination to the NJ Supreme Court. The rationale of the Democratic legislators for approving him is that he is replacing the departed Republican Justice Helen Hoens, and his appointment leaves the court with two Democrats, two Republicans and one Independent – a balanced court. Democrats are in no rush to review the other two Christie nominees who would put the Court way out of balance.    

Bergen County Politics: This is the county where Steve Lonegan resides and part of which is in Republican Scott Garrett’s Congressional District. It is also where Democratic power brokers have misused the public trust. Yesterday it went 57% for Cory Booker. In the prior Senate race Sen. Menendez won with 58%, and in the last gubernatorial race Gov. Corzine won with 51%. It remains a Democratic county but often with close races, and Rep. Garrett regularly trounces his Democratic opponents. It’s not the land of of the progressive former Representative Steve Rothman. The  Democratic Committee of Bergen County in the past years has often been ineffective. The County Executive is a Republican, and the membership of the Board of Freeholders jumps back and forth but currently has a majority of Democrats. Republicans are pouring money into LD38 to defeat Sen. Bob Gordon, Assemblyman Tim Eustace, and  Joe Lagana. Also, Gov. Christie has devoted significant time and resources to win the county in the upcoming gubernatorial race, and he might succeed.

Democratic residents of Bergen County: rise up before it’s too late. This November we need a win for Barbara Buono, the LD38 candidates, a new  Sheriff, and three freeholder candidates. Next year we need a Democratic County Executive, a continued majority of freeholders, and the annihilation of Scott Garrett. The time is now to start working to achieve these outcomes.


Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 8:45am, Jewish Community Gubernatorial Candidates Forum, Jewish Community Center MetroWest, 760 Northfield Ave., West Orange;  Barbara Buono: 1:45pm, Bob Burns Show, Radio interview, WOND 1400 AM;  Barbara Buono and Milly Silva: 2:30pm, with Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Campaign Event, 24 S. Warren St., Trenton;  Barbara Buono and Milly Silva: 3:30pm, with Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer, and Trenton Education Association President Naomi Johnson-LaFleur, Campaign Event, NJEA HQ, 180 West State St., Trenton;  Milly Silva: 7:10pm, Paterson Democratic Club 7th Annual Black Tie Affair, The Bethwood, 38 Lackawanna Ave, Totowa;  Milly Silva: 8:00pm, Latinos for Lauren for City Council, Noches de Colombia, 25 Lake Ave., Clifton.

Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 11:00am, New Jersey Career Fire Chiefs Association, The Westin, Jersey City; 2:00pm, announces a campaign endorsement, Sabor Latino Restaurante, Dover;  5:15pm, inducted into the Livingston High School Hall of Fame, The Wilshire Caterers, West Orange.

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

“Obama is a Tyrant” and “bodies floating around of shooting victims”, were just a few of the extreme comments uttered by former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan in the last U.S. Senate debate with Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Democratic candidate Booker offered a strong performance last night – firm, rational, and giving no quarter to Steve Lonegan. In fact he made Lonegan flustered, mad and defensive on occasion. Booker frequently tied Lonegan to the Tea Party and added statements like “You are very much on the extreme on this issue.” Several times the debate became heated with each interrupting the other. Lonegan may have felt empowered as he threw out red meat because there appeared to be a large contingent of like-minded individuals in the audience. However, Lonegan’s rhetoric is not going to win the day with Democrats or most independents. According to yesterday’s Stockton Poll, “Booker leads by 11 points, which is identical to the percentage of respondents who are undecided or refuse to identify who they will vote for. Lonegan is in the position to have to convert all of these to draw the race into a tie with Booker.” With the lottery they say, “You have to be in it to win it.” It’s no different with this Special Election next Wednesday for which turn-out is predicted to be low.

Flags at half-staff today for Nicholas Oresko to mark the passing of a NJ veteran who had been the oldest living recipient of the Medal of Honor. The Army master sergeant, a Bayonne native, was badly wounded as he single-handedly took out two enemy bunkers during the horrific Battle of the Bulge in 1945. He died Oct. 4 at a New Jersey hospital at the age of 96.

No news is bad news: 10th day of the shutdown: For voters in CD 5 this is a petition you can sign here from MoveoOn.org to Rep. Scott Garrett: “From the government shutdown to the debt ceiling, Tea Party Republicans have wreaked enough havoc on our country. Stop holding the country hostage to further your political gains; vote on a clean budget resolution and raise the debt ceiling without demanding cuts to Social Security, Obamacare, or any other vital programs.” The petition will not stop Garrett, but in a district where Democrats and independents often accept apathetically his garbage, it is important to remind him there are many in disagreement with him.

Yardsigns have arrived for LD 38! You can get yardsigns for other districts as well by calling your local legislators. (Not recommended if they are Republicans.) For LD 38 you can show your support for Sen. Bob Gordon and Assemblymen Tim Eustace and Joe Lagana. Pick up your sign (and offer to volunteer) at their campaign headquarters at 31-00 Broadway, 3rd Floor in Fair Lawn.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign says, NJDOT spends more on walking, biking and transit but not enough to improve safety or maintain State’s roads. The full report can be found here.


U. S. Senate candidate Cory Booker, Gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono, and  Lt. Gubernatorial Candidate Milly Silva: 4:30-6:30pm, a joint Monmouth County Voter Rally, 4:30-6:30pm, Bates Elks Lodge #220, 306 Shrewsbury Ave., Red Bank.  

Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 7:45pm, with Assemblywoman Pamela Lampittt (D-6), Camden County Democratic Committee, 2240-15 Route 70 W., Cherry Hill.

Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 11:15am, with former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal (two individuals who are never shy) talk with students at the Boys & Girls Club and make an announcement about a Just Play campaign, East Camden.  

U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker: morning news conference on the shutdown, with Senate President Stephen Sweeney and NJ State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech, Social Security Administration office, Trenton; 7:00pm, fundraiser at the home of Ghulam Suhrawardi with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-CD 6), Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal, and Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula (D-17), Colts Neck, for more info go here.