Tag Archive: poverty

Blue Jersey Focus – José Delgado

Camden is a city in trouble and many politicians from Governor Christie to Mayor Redd to Senator Norcross and Assemblymen Wilson and Fuentes are getting a lot of press coverage. No doubt, there are a lot of bad people who are taking advantage of the city’s inbred poverty and the Governor’s cutbacks in public safety and education to the detriment of the law-abiding and struggling residents of that city. But the silver lining is that there are also residents who are quietly working below the radar to incrementally improve the situation there.

One such citizen is José Delgado, a retired investigator for the public defender and former long-time member of the Camden Board of Education. I spoke with Delgado this afternoon about crime, education, and the hopes for Camden’s future.



Fewer Jobs, Lower Wages & More Poverty: A Picture of New Jersey’s Economy After a ‘Lost Decade’

Jon Whiten is with New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP). – promoted by Rosi

Do you feel better off today than you did in 2000? Your job, your home, your retirement – do you feel more secure about all that? If you answered no, you are certainly not alone in the Garden State.

New Jersey’s economy in the 2000s did very little to improve the lives of working families across the state, despite income growth during the early part of the decade. As a result, many people are worse off today than they were as we entered the new century.

That’s the top-level message in the newest report by New Jersey Policy Perspective, which we released this morning.

More on New Jersey’s ‘lost decade’ after the fold.  

It’s More Important to Occupy Trenton than to Occupy Wall Street

Unless you have some sort of telepathic connection to the Internet, you are reading this article on a computer. Perhaps that computer is in your home – a place that provides you with shelter and comfort. Perhaps you are viewing this piece on a computer at work – you’re among the fortunate Americans who have a job. Or maybe you’re less well off, don’t have regular access to a computer, and are reading this on a system at one of the many struggling libraries in New Jersey.

Yet, there are hundreds of thousands of your fellow Garden State residents who don’t have the wherewithal to read this blog. They may be homeless or living in substandard housing. They may be too sick because they have no access to health care. Or they may be more worried about whether they can afford the bus fare to get to the food bank so their family can have a nutritious meal.

Reporting on poverty in New Jersey is not as exciting as following our well-to-do governor’s political rants or lamenting the Yankees’ performance. As liberals, we may be going through some self-satisfying self-congratulations about the fact that we are finally seeing activist protests on Wall Street and around the nation. But let’s remember what precipitated these demonstrations – it’s the growing chasm in our society between the rich and the poor – the extermination of the middle class. Hundreds of thousands of your fellow citizens can’t even afford fare to these demonstrations or, if they’re lucky, can’t get time off from their minimum wage jobs.

Scott Garrett to poor children: I just don’t care about you

Come check us out over at Retire Garrett

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As pointed out by our friends at Down With Tyranny, a vote was held yesterday in the House with respect to the National School Lunch Program – a program that is even more necessary now given the state of the economy:

H.Res.362. It expresses the House’s support for the goals and ideals of the National School Lunch Program and “recognizes that our pupils deserve access to high-quality, safe, and nutritious meals in school.” It passed 403-13, every Democrat and 155 Republicans, including the entire GOP congressional leadership voting in favor.

And guess who was one of the 13?

Let’s look at some numbers.  There are approximately 200,000 children living in Bergen, Sussex and Warren Counties.  Of that, there are 12,400 children in Bergen who are on reduced or free lunch programs due to need, over 2,300 more in Sussex County and another 1,900 in Warren County.  That is one out of every twelve children in these three counties who can’t afford a decent meal and rely on the National School Lunch Program.

And this is too offensive for Scott Garrett to support.

Garrett is very good at explaining away his unconscionable votes with a caveat such as “I agree in principle but…” or “I would have supported this, but….”.  Quite frankly, actions speak louder than words.  Time after time and vote after morally reprehensible vote, Garrett shows where his loyalties lie.  This is about struggling families.  And just as his vote against clean drinking water shows, Garrett can’t keep explaining away votes that show a pattern of disdain for the health and welfare of those in his district that he is supposed to represent.

What makes this worse is the fact that the BCDO is choosing to give Garrett a pass without even so much as a challenger to a man whose actions and record are nothing short of abominable.

John Edwards in New Jersey to fight poverty

If you haven’t already heard of Half in Ten, hopefully you will soon. Picking up where his presidential campaign left off, Senator John Edwards, together with ACORN, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Coalition on Human Needs, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, has launched a campaign whose goal is as ambitious as it is simple: to reduce poverty in the United States by 50 percent within 10 years. The plan goes something like this:

(1) Elevate and sustain a focus on the situations facing the poor and middle class today

(2) Build and strengthen an effective constituency to demand legislative action on poverty and economic mobility

(3) Advance specific legislative and policy proposals that will deliver real benefits to struggling American families

There really is no reason the richest nation on earth can’t achieve these goals. We have more than enough money. It’s just a matter of political will, adjusted priorities, and a commitment to get it done.

Edwards will be in Newark today as part of a national tour to promote the Half in Ten campaign, and to join the call for a hike in New Jersey’s minimum wage. He’ll be visiting the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, which has been described as a “think and do tank” with a focus on urban research and advocacy to the advancement of New Jersey’s urban areas and residents. (And, luckily for me, it’s conveniently located just steps from my office – so, I should be able to drop in at lunchtime and report back later this afternoon.)

So – is there anything you want me to ask him?

Vineland-Bridgeton-Millville: New Jersey’s Forgotten Towns and Their Struggling Economies

Imagine, if you would, a part of New Jersey where farmland and marshes take precedent in the landscape over developed cities and towns, and instead of the urban issues that preoccupy cities like Camden, Newark and Trenton, different issues — development vs. an agricultural economy, migrant workers vs. working-class and working-poor New Jerseyans, and urban redevelopment zones and their lack of investment — are dominant. In getting to this triangle of cities in Cumberland County, one could be at a loss in whether they’re in New Jersey at all; after waking from sleep on a trip north, one out-of-state person I know who came to Cumberland County asked what state she was in, after seeing the vast tracts of open spaces, the dense pine forests, and the low-lying swamps and streams that are dotted with old farms. This narrative is about the economic problems besetting three urban areas of this region: the mini-metropolitan triangle area of VinelandBridgetonMillville and what can be done about it.

Ferguson Won’t Give Working Poor A Raise Unless He Gets A Tax Break

For all the talk of Mike Ferguson (R-NJ7) being beholden to Tom DeLay’s crowd, Jack Abramoff, President Bush and the lobbyists who fill his campaign accounts, we often miss the fact that his votes usually benefit himself as the son of rich parents who have already given him a million dollars and will give him more as inheritance.

The recent House vote on the minimum wage is a perfect example.  Ferguson had the opportunity to do good for the working poor of our nation, and instead tried to do well for himself.

The original idea was fairly simple: raise the national minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over the next two years.  This means a person working 40 hours a week with no vacations or days off would get a raise from $10,775 to $15,175 (approximately). 

It’s not a lot, but an extra $4,500 or so is nothing to sneeze at for someone making $50,000.  For someone making $10K it’s a huge increase.  It would also be the first increase in the national minimum wage since 1997.

Just for reference, 2006 federal poverty guidelines put the poverty level for a single person at $14,700.  Even with the increase (and assuming the poverty level doesn’t rise) this increase would mean a person working full time with no breaks would make less than $500 more than poverty in 2009.

Mike Ferguson voted against this bill, refusing to bring it to the floor for an up or down vote.