Tag Archive: Juan Melli

So, this happened.

If only Juan Melli & Bethenny Frankel were flying the Jet Blue plane called Blue Jersey … So, this bounced around Twitter and Facebook last night. But in case you missed it, Blue Jersey founder Juan Melli (now off doing other…
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Deciminyan forgot one ‘Face of Equality” – Juan Melli

Juan MelliThis afternoon, deciminyan posted a photo montage of some of the people who particularly savor the victory of New Jersey’s first day of marriage equality. It was nice to be included among the legislative champions, and the legal warriors. And Steven Goldstein who poured in years of his life. And my friends Marsha and Louise, plaintiffs and newlyweds as of midnight (I’ll post wedding pictures later, I’m still recovering from the party).

But there’s somebody deciminyan left out, somebody he’s never met, Blue Jersey founder Juan Melli, who started this blog 8 years, and 24050 diaries, ago.

Something amazing: The first post Juan, or any of us, wrote about marriage equality was 8 years ago today – Oct. 21, 2005. Diary #119. Here it is:

Same-sex marriage suit filed with NJ Supreme Court
. It was Juan whose Blue Jersey coverage helped the press take notice of Laurel Hester, the police officer dying of cancer whose fight to see her partner receive her benefits helped give birth to this movement. And it was Juan, with our friend Jack Bohrer, who got Blue Jersey’s Think Equal ads made.

Much of what I understand about marriage came from Juan; one of many lessons in life I learned from somebody much younger than I am. Juan “got it” as a newlywed himself in his mid-20s (he and Stephanie have two boys now).

But it was Laurel Hester, who I never met, whose struggle was the gut punch that gave rise to so much that came after and so many of those ‘faces of equality’. Just a snapshot isn’t enough; below the fold, the trailer for the award-winning documentary about Laurel and Stacee: Freeheld.

Jersey Girls Caucus Power List

Loretta Weinberg Binder
Sen. Weinberg looks over the Binder Full of Women

PolitickerNJ’s Power List came out for 2012 a few days ago. It’s a fun list, and we sure did like it when Blue Jersey founder Juan Melli was listed by predecessor PoliticsNJ as Politician of the Year just months after Blue Jersey launched. I don’t always think the same things are important as Politicker does, which is not to disparage them, merely to say when it comes to what’s worth talking about, we have different viewpoints. Nevertheless, fun list. I particularly enjoyed seeing rising Dem leader Vin Gopal show up there.

But Sen. Loretta Weinberg took a closer look. And as you can read in the comment skirmish between her and Politicker’s Darryl Isherwood, the two of them don’t see power quite the same way, and the appearance of so few women on the list – which Darryl defends – is a concern.

Of Politicker’s 100, only 15 are women; there are only 4 in the Top 50. Mary Pat Christie’s highest ranked (6), followed by Christie Communications Director Maria Comella (13), Christie mortgagor Michelle Brown (33) and his Deputy COS for Policy, Deborah Gramiccioni. Weinberg:

PolitickerNJ released their list of “100 most powerful political players in New Jersey.” By the boldface type in the article, readers were warned, “Please keep in mind that, as usual, the list doesnot include elected officials, judges, or former governors.” They forgot to mention, that this year’s list also does not include most of the states most powerful political players who happen to be women. Only 15 women were included in this year’s list of 100. For those lucky 15, many of them are fortunate to have close connections to male “players” listed well above them.

The Jersey Girls List is alphabetical – egalitarian that way. I’m on it. And yes, that makes me stammer a little, blush and kick at the imaginary pebble at my feet. But it’s by no means a Dems-only list. For that would be wrong.

Jersey Girls Caucus Power List, below the fold.

Star-Ledger doubles statehouse bureau staff

Star-Ledger announced some news of the own last night. They’re doubling their staff at their statehouse bureau to cover Gov. Christie, the legislature, and the NJ Supreme Court. And, for their part, Politicker is launching their State Street Wire March 1. More coverage isn’t necessarily better coverage. And we compete with both, for readers and to provide context for those readers. But I’m glad to see this happen in commercial news coverage because they’ve taken a lot of hits over the last few years, and both the Ledger and politicker have, and I read them both.

Three years ago, Star-Ledger laid off 40% of its newsroom staff, which the New York Times noted at the time was one of the largest reductions in a single move by a major American paper. The Times had just had its own round of editorial layoffs – a first for the Times – and was soon to lay off another 100 newsroom staff, and the national paper of record no longer covers New Jersey news as closely as it once did. Across the country newsrooms were and are hurting; advertising down, and costs up – from bedrock papers like the Times and Ledger to smaller, locally-essential weeklies. The Delaware Valley News, which covered the river towns along the New Jersey and Pennsylvania banks of the Delaware, closed three years ago too – the first paper I ever worked for. Around the same time, Politicker’s national expansion took a dive, shutting down 12 state sites. (Juan Melli, who became Associate Editor at politicker.com 3 years after founding Blue Jersey, was out with that round of layoffs).

With massive shifts in editorial staffing have come changes, new ventures like newjerseynewsroom.com, formed out of the ruins of the Star-Ledger layoffs by journalists whose experience “adds up to over 1,000 years”. And into the reporting void, hyperlocals are springing up to catch news a new way, in very focused geographical areas. Citizen’s Campaign’s new NJ Hyperlocal News Association is helping hyperlocals develop, an effort Blue Jersey is involved in, in our own small way.

The latest bad news for newspapers came in a one-two punch over the last few days. It was the last day at work for nearly half of Gannett’s editorial staff with job losses at Courier News, Home News Tribune and Daily Record. One of those let go, Daily Record’s political columnist Fred Snowflack, who outed himself as a Democrat on his way out the door. And – bad timing – that bill that would allow municipalities to post legal notices on their websites rather than requiring them to pay newspapers for the service. Newspapers, the Star-Ledger in the lead, are charging that this is less a cost-cutting option for government and less an effort by government to control their content and cripple them financially. Jury’s still out on that one, for me.

So, I’m liking new reporting muscle at the state house. Good luck, Star-Ledger. Politicker too. Good luck.

Jay Lassiter: Named One of the Top 100 Political Power Players of 2010

Congratulations to Blue Jersey’s Jay Lassiter, who hit #96 on the mostly-annual Power List put out by politickernj. Here’s what politicker had to say about Jay:


Jay Lassiter

Progressive Activist

The Blue Jersey blogger is an iconoclast, tech savvy media artiste, street warrior for marriage equality, and un-intimidated presence in the halls of Trenton power as he aggressively pursues liberal causes. He squeaked out the readers’ choice poll but would have made this year’s list either way.

We’re so damned proud. Provocateur, storyteller and fashion plate, Jay was the first blogger to cover the NJ State House, one of the first bloggers anywhere to become a routine presence in covering any state legislature, as the New York Times noted when they profiled Jay. In an earlier iteration, when the world was young, Blue Jersey founder Juan Melli was named Politician of the Year (2006) and #17 Most Powerful (2007).

… Nobody else but Jay Lassiter would nail NOM like this.

… Or rock out elections on two continents.

… Or go with Loretta Weinberg and get it on video when she did this.

… And who the hell else would dare to do this.

The rest of politicker’s Power List, most of the numbers higher than Jay’s, aren’t like him. Let’s face it. Most of those folks are on the list because they spend their waking hours jockeying for position, or positioning those jockeying for position. Or they bring the money, honey. Jay’s blue plate special is bringing the hearts and minds. He’s Blue Jersey Fresh and Juicy. Congratulations #96.

Quote of the Day: No point in reinventing the wheel

Ever hear the saying, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Campaigns are always trying to replicate successful tactics to reach the voters in the most effective manner. This cycle, the focus is on the advancement in internet operations and a familiar face to Blue Jersey readers tells us that they’re not starting from scratch:

Just last week, Christie, the Republican, unveiled his alternative energy proposals in an online video and social networking blitz partly aimed at green bloggers. The campaign manager for Corzine, the incumbent Democrat, used a video message to tell supporters that a rally with President Obama moved to a new venue.

That tactic is one of several taken from the playbook of the Obama team, which sent regular dispatches from campaign manager David Plouffe, said Juan Melli, who guides Corzine’s new media operation. “There’s no point in reinventing the wheel — you always want to learn from people who do things right,” he said.

Both sides really have pushed new media through the campaign. I used to have a Congressional candidate that would say that to me regularly. It only makes sense that these campaigns would try to build on past successful efforts and I know I’m partial, but I’m glad to see who is leading the operation for team Corzine.

Woo hoo! Juan Melli joins Corzine staff


Juan Melli, founder of Blue Jersey, has joined the re-election campaign of Gov. Jon Corzine, the campaign announced a few minutes ago. Juan, blogfather to everyone here, will be New Media Director for the campaign.

Juan was also PolitickerNJ.com Politician of the Year in 2006, and a former associate editor there.

We are thrilled and delighted. And let me say, officially, that the Governor could not have made a better choice.  

Additional staff hires just announced include former Julie Diaz, of the NJ Obama campaign, as Director of Volunteer Organizing and David York, who worked as Director of Legislative Policy for the Governor, as the campaign’s Director of Policy.