Tag Archive: green

FDU/ Public Mind Poll Has Clinton Up 10 Nationally

Farleigh Dickinson’s Public Mind Poll has Democrat Hillary Clinton hitting the magical 50% level nationally with a 10 point lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump who sits at a terrible 40%. With Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein included…
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Jerry Green’s Bizarre & Maybe Bigoted Attack on Arrested Blogger

promoted by Rosi

Dan Damon is a longtime blogger in Plainfield, a former PR flack for the city, mayoral candidate, general gadfly and community volunteer.  

He’s also usually on the opposite side of issues from political powerhouse and County Democratic Chair Jerry Green, the Speaker Pro Tem of the Assembly. Damon is also a supporter of Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp, who is an on-again off-again ally of Green’s, and is currently very off-again and filed a primary slate against the party line.

Plainfield police have charged Damon with having oral sex with another man in a car in the view of other adults.  Since Damon was appointed to the Public Library Board by Mapp, Green is trying to tie Damon’s legal problems around the Mayor’s neck.  It’s the kind of blunt force attack Green is known for.

But Green’s statement to the Courier News is downright bizarre.  

“I’m shocked that everybody is taking this so lightly,” Green said Thursday. “This is a 75-year-old man having sex with a 23-year-old man who happens to be a Latino.”

“The mayor has yet to come out and say anything at all, which is totally shocking. It’s not that he doesn’t know that (Damon) has a sickness. I’m just hoping nobody gets killed or hurt and that somebody in the administration recognizes that this is a danger to society.”

New Jersey – The Green & Clean Garden State

Christine’s on staff at Sierra Club-NJ – Rosi

What is the future of New Jersey?  Will New Jersey continue to be the polluted view that people get from the Turnpike?  Or will it be a clean, bright and innovative future that will make New Jerseyans proud.  Governor Christie addressed this very topic in last week’s State of the State.  The  governor referred to the “New Jersey of our youth”, “setting a national example” and a “step in a very new direction”.  Now it us up to the governor and New Jerseyans ensure that is the right direction.

The Garden State’s past has been checkered with pollution and dirty industry.  [more below the fold]

Housing bill on the Governor’s desk

After a year-long debate on the future of starter homes for families, seniors, and people with special needs, the Legislature yesterday took the final action necessary to put S1/A3447 on the Governor’s desk for his signature, with an amended final bill passed by both houses.  The legislation has improved substantially since the earlier version of S1 June 2010, but still reduces the number of homes required in New Jersey by over 50 percent.

Under the final bill, municipalities are actually required to provide opportunities for housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-income families, based on a simple percentage of the total homes in the town.  Two key bad features in earlier bills have been removed:

• Municipalities can no longer meet all of their obligations by providing expensive housing for households earning up to 150% of median income.  

• Developers will actually be required to provide housing that is affordable rather than simply paying a small fee to avoid making a development inclusionary.  

In those ways, and many others, S1/A3447 is much better legislation than what was originally proposed by Sen. Lesniak as the replacement to the Council on Affordable Housing.  

The legislation reflects significant input from FSHC and many of our allies, including housing, planning, and civil rights organizations, a broad range of faith communities, special needs and supportive housing providers, and over 100 other groups that opposed the original S-1. With the help of many of you – including many of you on BlueJersey – we shaped the debate through preparing analyses, sharing information with the media, and helping mobilize our grassroots allies. Our many voices persuaded the Assembly – with the leadership of Housing and Local Government Committee Chair and Vice-Chair Green and Jasey, Speaker Oliver, and Majority Leader Cryan – to reject the Senate’s demand that its bad legislation pass by June 30, 2010.  We consider the progress an important accomplishment for the broad movement of New Jerseyans who oppose exclusionary land use practices – which according to a national study by the Brookings Institution are the most exclusionary in the country.

Unfortunately, as with the legislation that passed the Assembly late in 2010, the version that is now on the Governor’s desk falls far short of the number of homes needed to comply with the Mount Laurel doctrine.  As a result of amendments made yesterday, which reduce obligations largely in shore towns, we project that the S1/A3447 will require about 48,000 units of affordable housing to be provided over the next ten years – or an over 50 percent reduction from COAH’s Third Round numbers and a 13 percent reduction from the version that passed the Assembly just a month ago (you can see our complete town-by-town analysis here).

Yesterday’s legislative votes now puts the issue front and center with Governor Christie. While he considers whether to sign S1/A3447, he also faces a court deadline of March 8, 2010 for COAH to adopt revised Third Round regulations – a process that COAH has admitted in court filings it has not even begun.  If the Governor does not sign this bill, and COAH continues to delay, we will seek to have the courts take over the process. If we need to reach that last resort, we are optimistic that the judiciary will keep its promise from the Mount Laurel decisions that, while it does not build houses, it does enforce the constitution.  

Thanks to the Blue Jersey community as housing fight stretches into new year

This was posted just before Christmas. I have to say, this year Fair Share Housing Center has told its story very well at Blue Jersey, and we thank them for that. – promoted by Rosi

It has been quite a year for housing policy in New Jersey. After at least six different versions of housing legislation, one Executive Order that only stood for 10 days before a court injunction, and two other key court decisions, the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) remains in place, and housing policy in New Jersey has an uncertain future. Here’s a look at where we’ve been, where we are going, and the excellent grass roots organizing by so many groups – including the BlueJersey community – that have impacted the past year and will be critical in 2011.

Gov. Christie, of course, promised to “gut COAH” during the 2009 Republican primary to his conservative base. It didn’t come up so much in the general election, perhaps because polls shows that most New Jerseyans support having a range of housing choices in every community. Still, replacing COAH was a goal that most people could agree on as the agency, despite a competent and intelligent staff, had been manipulated due to various politically motivated changes in policy over the past decade.

the ugly details below

Suggestion to Gov. Christie: Go get schooled.

Last month, Gov. Christie said he thought “more science” was needed to convince him personally that the global warming effect is human-caused. Ignoring, or not being conscious of, real science in favor of ‘science’ directed by those who stand to gain maintaining the status quo, is a common refrain from the right. We’ve heard it before in NJ. Rush Holt, physicist and congressman, made an effort to address the Governor’s concerns here at Blue Jersey.

Now there’s another effort to offer some free tutoring on climate change to our Governor, hosted by a coalition of seven NJ environmental groups. Christie has been invited to attend, but you can go, too. It’s open to the public. Given the Gov’s busy schedule, the location couldn’t be more convenient; it doesn’t even require a commute (no fossil fuels burned). It’s at the State House Annex. He’s also been offered a private briefing at his scheduling convenience by the scientists involved.

Available to the Governor
, and speaking at the State House program are Dena Mottola Jaborska (ED, Environment NJ and three well-known experts from Rutgers; Prof. Alan Robock (Dept. of Environmental Sciences) Prof. Paul Falkowski (Institute of Marine  Sciences) and Dr. Jim Miller (Dept. of Coastal Sciences). The scientists will present a clear picture of the problem and discuss how climate change will impact NJ in the coming decades. I hope the Governor goes. We can’t get ahead using the tremendous opportunity green technology & innovation and energy savings present if the guy at the top doesn’t get it.

Climate Change Science Panel

Today: 12 pm

State House Annex, Committee Room 1 on 1st Floor

Open to the Public

Panel Sponsored By: Environment New Jersey, NJ Sierra Club, NJ Conservation Foundation, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Highlands Coalition, NJ Environmental Lobby, ANJEC and Audubon Society.    

S-1…. It’s BAAAACK – and we need your help

promoted by Rosi

As bytheshore73 deftly noted earlier this week, something strange is going on in Trenton on housing issues. Gov. Christie chided Speaker Oliver for not moving on legislation to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) when what the Assembly was doing that day was… well… introducing legislation to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing, that had been shared with members of Christie’s cabinet twice the week before. Is this just an example of the Governor shooting from the hip, or something more?

In part, shooting from the hip. In part, something more… well, more pernicious… and we need your help on that part by calling Asm. Jerry Green at 908-561-5757.

You see, pretty much everyone – builders, civil rights groups, environmentalists, housing advocates, municipalities – agrees that we should get rid of COAH, especially after we won a court decision earlier this month tossing out its current rules as unconstitutional and discriminatory.

But, as you might imagine, there are widely divergent views on what comes next.

find out why below the fold

Court throws out COAH rules, provides blueprint for housing reform

Not sure everyone saw this, from Friday. – promoted by Rosi

Today, the New Jersey Appellate Division invalidated the Council on Affordable Housing’s (COAH) Third Round regulations. The court required a return to basic constitutional principles to remove exclusionary zoning barriers to new homes for families, seniors, and people with special needs of all incomes.

Basically, the court said three things, agreeing with Fair Share Housing Center and several homebuilders who had appealed the rules and rejecting a challenge by the New Jersey League of Municipalities:

(1) The need for homes must be met in a fair and predictable way;

(2) The plans to build homes must be backed by sufficient economic incentives for for-profit builders and/or realistic plans with non-profits, not just paper promises; and

(3) Municipalities may not implement exclusionary policies contrary to sound planning.

These three principles are the backbone of the Supreme Court’s Mount Laurel I and II decisions, and produced the nation’s most successful policy ever for homes affordable to both low- and moderate-income families and the middle class. A Lincoln Institute of Land Policy study found that the policies in place in the 1980s and 1990s under both Democratic and Republican governors successfully produced enough homes to keep housing prices affordable at all income levels, while comparable states saw skyrocketing housing prices.

Then for the past ten years a series of delays and maneuvers came up with multiple sets of unworkable rules. Now, the court has ordered a return to a simpler system based on what worked in the past, and given the Christie Administration five months to implement it.

Of course, the Administration and some members of the Legislature, particularly Sen. Ray Lesniak, spent this spring doing their best to come up with yet another totally unworkable set of rules through the proposed S-1, leading to opposition from everyone from the NAACP to every Catholic Bishop in NJ to the Sierra Club to the Mental Health Association. The Assembly decided to stop the bill after the outpouring of opposition and analyses that found the bill unconstitutional.

Now, Sen. Lesniak has reacted to the decision by stating that S1 will be back with “some improvements, some refinements and some clarifications.” Of course he also “declined to elaborate” on what those might be, continuing a bizarrely secretive process that has so far involved passing bills without the text being publicly available and denying the NAACP the right to testify. The process, according to Lesniak, will move fast, with a bill passed in the next 30 days (the latest in a series of urgent deadlines).

While we certainly support housing reform that works and that meets the constitutional principles that the court reiterated, the court decision today only reinforces why S-1 was unconstitutional and unworkable – nearly all of the key flaws in COAH’s rules that the court invalidated are shared by S-1. Perhaps the “improvements, refinements, and clarifications” might change that – but if they aren’t public, it’s hard for anyone to know.

In any event, we will keep you posted as this issue progresses, and applaud the court’s decision for recognizing that, especially in economically difficult times, New Jersey simply can’t afford job-killing exclusionary zoning.

Assembly refuses to rush S-1; plans to work on comprehensive housing policy for the fall

Thanks for the shout-out. Promoted by Rosi Efthim

June 30 has come and gone – the day that Gov. Christie and Sen. Lesniak had set as their deadline for passing S1, the deeply flawed and unconstitutional proposal to overhaul New Jersey’s housing policy. Thanks to an upswell of opposition to S1 and to the leadership of Speaker Sheila Oliver, Majority Leader Joe Cryan, Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee Chair and Vice-Chair Jerry Green and Mila Jasey, and Assembly Economic Growth Committee Chair Al Coutinho, S1 did not pass. Instead, the Legislature will work on alternative approaches to changing New Jersey’s housing policy over the summer.

Looking back, June was quite a busy month for those who opposed S1:

June 3 – S1 voted out of Senate Economic Growth committee. Although there was a strong showing of opposition from a wide range of groups, Sen. Lesniak did not allow any testimony at the hearing.  

June 3 – Statement released by every Catholic Bishop in New Jersey in opposition to S1 and support of Mount Laurel doctrine.

June 7 – Star-Ledger editorial opposing S1 process; further editorials throughout June from Asbury Park Press, Courier-News, Home News Tribune, New Jersey Law Journal also oppose the bill.

June 9 – Over 100 civil rights, environmental, special needs and supportive housing, religious, and labor groups release statement in opposition to S1.

June 10 – S1 was passed by the Senate. Senator Rice, Turner and Weinberg voted no.  The following Senators abstained or did not vote:  Allen, Madden Jr., Ruiz, Ciesla, Norcross, Vitale, Doherty and Smith. Sen. Norcross shortly after criticizes the bill as unfair to South Jersey, and Sen. Weinberg releases a statement explaining her no vote.

June 15 – A coalition of over 15 groups propose an alternative approach instead of S1 in a Trenton press conference, including the NAACP, Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, New Jersey Regional Coalition, Sierra Club, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Supportive Housing Association, and Coalition on Affordable Housing and Environment.

June 17 – The Assembly Housing and Local Government committee held a hearing on S1.  Everyone who signed up was able to testify, providing the first open public hearing on the bill.  The hearing took almost four hours, and large flaws with the bill were vocalized with overwhelming opposition to the bill. At the end of the hearing, the committee decided not to take a vote.

June 24 – The Assembly Budget committee voted out A3055, extending suspension of statewide non-residential development fee to October 30, 2010, to the full Assembly. After Assembly votes to pass the bill with overwhelming support, Senate refuses to hear it.

June 26 – Despite vocal statements by the Christie administration and Sen. Lesniak alluding to having the bill on Christie’s desk by the end of the month, Speaker Oliver quoted by the Star-Ledger stating, “[S1] will not get a vote in committee this summer but we hope to get it to a point where we can vote on it in the fall.”

As we celebrate an interim victory, we look forward to working with the wide range of groups opposed to S1 and legislative leadership this summer to come up with a better approach to New Jersey’s housing policy, expanding on the joint proposal presented at the June 15 press conference.

We would like to thank Assembly Speaker Oliver, Majority Leader Cryan, Committee Chairs Green and Coutinho, and Vice-Chair Jasey, along with Sens. Norcross, Rice, Turner, and Weinberg, for their efforts to slow the rapid movement of the bill. We now hope that they will work to see that the best possible bill presented to the Legislature in the fall.

Most of all, we thank those 100-plus groups, and all of you on BlueJersey who worked hard to stop what seemed like, in the words of the Asbury Park Press, a “runaway train” and had faith in the democratic process. There were so many people who we would have never met except through BlueJersey that played a critical role in stopping S1 – thanks so much to all of you! As I said at the Bloggers Breakfast at the DfA training this Sunday, nobody should understimate the power of the BlueJersey community to help push important public policy in NJ.

Special thanks also go to the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, which partnered with us in leading the opposition to S1.  

We know we have a long road still ahead of us, and we look forward to walking it with you together.

S-1 Standoff: Assembly Leadership Holds Strong

The process of how New Jersey should handle the need for affordable housing changed when there was an organized uprising of people calling for a more open process than what Sen. Ray Lesniak wanted to allow. We owe a lot to activists who flooded key legislators’ offices with calls demanding more transparency. And we owe a lot to those legislators who listened. But it’s not over. – promoted by Rosi Efthim

With the clock ticking towards Gov. Christie’s artificial June 30 deadline for passing the much-reviled S-1, the Assembly Budget Committee yesterday called the Governor’s bluff. Gov. Christie had come up with the June 30 deadline because that is when a moratorium on commercial developers paying a 2.5 percent fee on new development for housing trust funds is due to sunset. But everyone in Trenton knew that it was possible to extend the moratorium without simultaneously passing S-1. And yesterday the Assembly Budget Committee unanimously voted out a bill that would do just that.

The reaction: instant fury from Sen. Lesniak and Senate President Sweeney, who vowed not to allow the bill, A3055, see the Senate floor even though it is likely to pass the Assembly Monday with near-unanimous support. Lesniak and Sweeney supported the Governor’s fake deadline, with Lesniak calling the four month extension of the moratorium “an absolute waste of time.” Never mind that Lesniak himself authored the original bill imposing the year-long moratorium last year, and has been railing against its end for the past six months. (The fee comes from the landmark 2008 housing legislation A-500, and ironically was pushed by the non-residential developers themselves as a way to standardize such fees, which have been around for over two decades, across the state).

What is going on here? More after the jump.