Tag Archive: John Brammick

What’s Happening Today Thu. 12/12/2013

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING:

  • Chairman of the NJ Democratic State Committee John Currie: “Given his inconsistent positions on tuition equality for undocumented immigrants, Governor Christie is adding insult to injury with his decision to use Ellis Island for his inaugural event.”

  • Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-20) calls on Governor Chris Christie “to support the expansion of the drug courts in New Jersey, citing the success of the program that diverts substance abusers from the criminal justice system to treatment.”

  • Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) joins 165 House Democrats “urging Speaker John Boehner not to adjourn the House for the year without bringing up an extension of federal unemployment insurance, which is scheduled to expire December 28.” In New Jersey, it means more than 90,300 people will cease to receive unemployment insurance almost immediately.

  • U.S. Senator Cory Booker: “Our nation must have comprehensive immigration reform. It is a matter of urgency — for our economy, for our safety, for growth and wellbeing.”

  • NJ Keep It Green: calls upon the Assembly “To support revised legislation to dedicate a small percentage of sales-tax revenues to fund preservation programs rather than advancing a $200 million stop-gap bond measure (A4541) that would provide only one year of funding.”

  • Star-Ledger Editorial Board: On the Portfront: “Now that Foye has testified, Baroni and Wildstein should get subpoenas, too. The goal should be to find out what happened on the bridge, with an eye toward any communication with the governor’s office. Full disclosure is a top priority.”

  • Matt Taibi (Rolling Stone): “Apocalypse NJ: All over America communities are failing … But in Camden chaos is already here… It’s a major metropolitan area run by armed teenagers with no access to jobs or healthy foods. The first thing you notice about Camden is that pretty much everyone you talk to has just gotten his or her ass kicked. Instead of shaking hands … they show you wounds or scars.”

    NY/NJ Port Authority Chairman David Samson, the top person at the authority, appointed by and closely affiliated with Governor Christie, has said exactly nothing about the Fort Lee lane closures.

    Senate & Assembly Committee Meetings: There are 19 meetings today as the Legislature nears the Holiday season and the end of its current term. Here are just a few bills under consideration:

  • Senate Environment and Energy: 10:00am, SCR146, Amends Constitution to require State’s participation in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and S3069 to make “it more difficult for the state to pull out of another multistate plan to promote the development of electric cars and zero-emission vehicles.”

  • Senate Budget & Appropriations: 1:00pm, S2606, Establishes pediatric respite care program licensure requirements. (Has bipartisan support.)

  • Assembly Appropriations: 2:00pm, A1393, Makes companies repay state development subsidies if they don’t uphold the grant’s terms.

  • Assembly Budget: 10:00am, A4225, Tuition Equality Act: Provides In-state tuition for certain foreign-born New Jersey high-school graduates in the country illegally.

    For more information on today’s legislative meetings, go here.

  • 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.