Tag Archive: Barbara Buono

The Path Toward Reducing Inequality in NJ – Part II

In Part I we looked at how inequality decreased during the post WW II period and then resumed its rise  – one that is more severe in NJ than nationally. We also looked at the billionaires in NJ many of whose income provides little social benefit, and at a specific New Jerseyan whose corporate “super salary” was disproportionate in comparison with that of other employees.

Reducing inequality is not as simple as increasing taxes on the rich and super rich. We need to strengthen the middle class which in America has just dropped from its long held number one position world-wide. We need to provide more resources for the working poor and those less fortunate. Reducing inequality does not mean reducing the number of wealthy people but increasing the income of those who are not wealthy.

Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the 21st Century, as the Guardian explains, says, “The wealthy are getting wealthier while everybody else is struggling. Inequality will widen to the point where it becomes unsustainable – both politically and economically – unless action is taken to redistribute income and wealth.” Piketty, called a rock star economist, suggests solutions which could be implemented in New Jersey. We are exploring them in this series of articles.  

In Part II we will look at what Americans say about the inequality gap, some of the causes, the very political nature of the subject, and some steps we can take in New Jersey to increase the income of those who are not wealthy.

Protest Slideshow: Outside Chris Christie “Town Hall” in Morris County

Today, in his homeboy territory of Morris County, Gov. Christie is road-testing his milky, Gandhi-mentioning budget plan among the reliably white and Republican folk of Stirling. Scandals – Bridgegate, misuse of Sandy funds, Hoboken mayor-threatening – and fallout are the backstory of every Christie public appearance now, though he skirts questions. On what he knew and when he knew it, Christie has clammed-up and lawyered-up. But Christie’s schtick isn’t working as reliably anymore. Cracks appear in the well-orchestrated mojo propaganda front. There are protesters now, outside and inside the Christie show.

My favorite from today, is the pregnant Ann Vardeman (NJCA) holding the sign about her soon-to-be baby.

“I feel badly about the kids.” David Wildstein, text.

“They are the children of Buono voters.” Christie Deputy COS Bridget Kelly.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Buono’s pick in CD12 open seat primary: Bonnie Watson Coleman

With investigations at both the state and federal level of the Christie administration scandals, and inquiries of abuse of power by the Governor himself, I wonder how many people are re-evaluating the 2013 contest between Chris Christie and Barbara Buono. It was the blowout that Chris Christie wanted, back in November when it looked like he could do anything 16 weeks ago or so. And it was the blowout some Democrats wanted, who quietly undermined Buono’s campaign and her authority as the campaign-year traditional leader of the NJ state Democrats. We now know that some of those Dem mayors who endorsed Christie may have been threatened, or made wild promises. And we knew all along that some of those Dem leaders who worked behind the scenes to weaken her position never wanted Buono to win, to improve their own position in the party’s food chain. And that, shamefully, they might have seen that as easy to do because the candidate they were undermining privately – while celebrating publicly – was a woman. That won’t be forgotten.

That’s how I see the entirely predictable, and yet worth noting, endorsement by Buono of Bonnie Watson Coleman to win the CD12 Democratic primary and follow Rush Holt to Congress.

Calling “Bonnie, Linda and Upendra” all long-time friends and trusted colleagues, Buono endorses her 2013 campaign chair, Bonnie Watson Coleman. From the endorsement:

When I announced my run for Governor in December of 2012, very few people gave me much of a chance. Undaunted, I challenged the odds. When others stood down, Assemblywoman Watson Coleman stood shoulder to shoulder with me, providing counsel and holding the Governor accountable for his failed economic record and far right social agenda.

Even as the days wore on and hope wore thin, Assemblywoman Watson Coleman continued to fight for the values that make up the core of our party.  More important, she did this when many others would not.

Former NJ senator and gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono’s full endorsement is below the fold.

Rebovich Campaign Post-Mortem Canceled – Did you have questions for DuHaime & Palatucci?

So, this is interesting. Looks like it’s not just Chris Christie ducking past hard questions, but some of his nearest and dearest hunkering down out of the light.

The Rebovich Institute of NJ Politics at Rider University has canceled their 6th Annual Campaign Managers Conference, which was to be a post-mortem on the Christie-Buono race, open to the public. Would have been damn interesting, too. Among the players expected: Mike DuHaime and Bill Palatucci.

DuHaime, Gov. Christie’s idea man, made news a few days ago when his firm, Mercury Public Affairs, hired a lawyer as inquiries into the bridge scandal shift now to Christie’s political operation. Mercury hired Rudy Guiliani’s law firm. DuHaime ran Guiliani’s 2008 White House campaign.

Palatucci – You don’t get closer to Christie than Palatucci. Former partner in law firm and lobbying. The guy who bragged he was so close to GW Bush that he could select NJ’s U.S. Attorney – Christie, who had zero relevant law experience – simply by forwarding his résumé to Karl Rove. Christie’s right-hand man and re-election chair. Went along for Christie’s installation as RGA chair. Former honcho in the poorly-run privatized halfway house system also which is also tied to Christie.

More, plus Ben Dworkin’s event cancellation announcement, below the fold.

Christie the Vi(ndi)cti(ve)m

Cross-posted at A New Jersey Farmer

If Governor Chris Christie thought that Thursday’s news conference, that turned into a two-hour fiasco of alternately blaming others and apologizing without remorse, was going to be the end of the story about the GWBridge lane closures, then he was clearly mistaken. As usual with a scandal, the more we know, the more we want to know.

For example, who actually texted David Wildstein that they were smiling at the traffic jam? This is going to be interesting because presumably it wasn’t Bridget Anne Kelly, the Christie aide who went from loyal and brilliant early in the week to “stupid” and “deceitful” at the press conference. And speaking of Kelly, why didn’t Christie speak to her before firing her? What kind of prosecutor assumes guilt first and worries about whether they’re being just later? Answer: A prosecutor like Christie who obviously doesn’t care about the truth.

Questions about Christie’s political future are also a main topic, as this scandal shows that he either doesn’t have control over his own aides, or that he sent a message to them that this was politically acceptable behavior. In any case, this has severely damaged his national reputation. Conservatives were always wary of him; now moderates might be scared off by a man who has been resolute in the past, but just might have spilled over into vindictive in the national mind.

But the worst aspect at this point is that mayors from across New Jersey are now reviewing events of the past year and wondering if the negative attention they’ve received from Trenton is a result of them not endorsing Christie or running afoul of him because they disagreed with his decisions. This is the atmosphere that the governor has created for himself. Yes, his YouTube videos were entertaining for his supporters, but they are now a liability because, together with this scandal, they show a man who has no tolerance for opposition. That’s dangerous for a man who wants to be president.

It will be interesting to see what new information comes out about this and whether the narrative as we imagine it today has more moving parts to it.

For more please go to:

www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives and Twitter @rigrundfest    

Barbara Buono Statement on Revelations in the George Washington Bridge Scandal

Last Fall saw Democrat after Democrat endorse Gov. Christie for re-election. Many of them were local mayors. It was a stunning phenomenon that weakened the party structure, alienated many Democrats, and guaranteed that the Governor’s win would be not just solid, but the kind of landslide that gets noticed by big-money funder looking at the 2016 Republican field of White House hopefuls. Now, we see what happened when targeted Democrats refused to fall in line with the Christie operation. With today’s revelations that the order to create traffic chaos in Fort Lee through sudden GWB lane closure came from inside Christie’s front office, and with the knowledge of his inner circle, it is more clear that it was deliberate, and it was about political payback. Mess with local lane traffic, suddenly and without warning, to bring Fort Lee to its knees, to punish a mayor who refused to endorse Christie when asked. And it raises the question, Were some of the Democratic politicians who did fall in line with Christie threatened?  

Buono’s statement:

“Right now, we have no idea how far this scandal goes. The Governor has created a culture where cavalierly endangering citizens’ lives to exact political retribution is an acceptable form of governance. It’s beneath the dignity of his office and a breach of New Jerseyans’ trust.

“Everyone who had knowledge of the closing should be terminated immediately and the Department of Justice should conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether other towns in New Jersey suffered because the Governor wanted to get revenge.”

QoTD: On using the world’s busiest bridge, and all the cars on it, as a political weapon

Barbara Buono’s quote is actually two days ago, via Twitter. But it sticks out today as especially relevant after an Assembly panel spent much of the day listening to Port Authority ED Patrick Foye try valiantly to stop the agency’s bleeding with the resignation of one guy, Christie’s man David Wildstein:

.@PANYNJ lane closure abuse of authority story remains untold: David Wildstein the Scooter Libby of Christie Adm.

                                          – @BarbaraBuono

And this, a few minutes ago, is what John Wisniewski –  whose  Assembly Transportation Committee questioned Foye, other Port Authority execs and experts all day today – just said about Chris Christie on Maddow:

.“He can’t be trusted to run a toll bridge, how can he be trusted to run a country?”

                                         – John Wisniewski

What’s Happening Today Fri. 12/06/2013


Attitudes on carbon pollution may be changing: During Sen. Barbara Buono’s campaign for the governorship, the NJ chapter of Americans for Prosperity (whose director for many years was the ill-fated Steve Lonegan) said, “Cap and Trade is dead. Yet this is the very kind of scheme that Senator Buono supports.” Well, good for her! Governor Christie had followed the Republican orthodoxy when he ended NJ’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The NY Times now points out that “More than two dozen of the nation’s biggest corporations, including Walmart, G. E., Microsoft and the five major oil companies, are planning their future growth on the expectation that the government will force them to pay a price for carbon pollution as a way to control global warming.” AFT is funded by Koch Industries, a major player in oil refineries, which has spent a lot of money over the years campaigning against those who accept the science of climate change or advocate carbon pricing. If Walmart and Exxon accept cap and trade as inevitable and Christie acknowledges “climate change is real and human activity plays a role,” we might yet succeed in putting a price on carbon pollution and reversing the disastrous path we are are currently following.

Off-shore wind turbine energy projects are one approach: Yesterday Environment New Jersey, Sen. President Steve Sweeney and Sen. Jim Whelan joined to urge Governor Christie and the Board of Public Utilities to get off their rear ends and implement the 2010 law which calls for the establishment of off-shore projects. Environment New Jersey estimates that carbon pollution could be reduced by 825,000 metric tons in 2018 – equivalent to carbon pollution produced by 171,000 cars. In spite of the fact that our southern NJ coast has the high winds needed, other states may well leap ahead us if we do not seize the moment. Yes the investment is not inexpensive, but it could be far more beneficial in the long run that many other State commitments, including those to Revel Casino.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

I had an opportunity to talk with him in 1996 at the XI International AIDS Conference in Vancouver, Canada where the meeting theme was “One World One Hope” – appropriate for people working together in the AIDS epidemic, and not inappropriate for a man who united individuals throughout the world. Already in somewhat fragile health, he displayed dignity, conviction, and concern. With his own nation wracked by the AIDS epidemic he took time to ask about HIV in NJ and what we were doing. I remember to this day the African garb he was wearing, his gentleness, the twinkle in his eyes,  and his warmth.


Governor Christie: goes to Northern Idaho for a fund-raising, VIP reception for Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter this evening.

Enroll America: brings its ACA “Get Covered America” campaign to Elizabeth for a health panel hosted by the National Council of Negro Women, Grassman Hall, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, 655 E. Jersey St, 9:00am – 1:00pm.

Thank you Senator Buono

For running a campaign with class and dignity.  Even as you were being betrayed by the Christiecrat bosses north and south.

For sticking to a progressive agenda.  Which bore fruit with the 61-39 win on the minimum wage vote.

For taking on what you must have known would be a no win assignment after the media swooning over Christie simply because he stood besides Obama on an inspection tour.  

You are a far better person than the DiVincenzos, Stacks, Norcorsses, Adubatos, and the other traitors who either officially, or unofficially, supported Christie.  And who sought to undermine your campaign with attacks like the party chair brouhaha.  And you are 100% the Democrat they are.

Your courage and dignity will not be forgotten by true Democrats.  And their betrayal will be long remembered.