Tag Archive: Safety

Senate poised to address bike and pedestrian safety on New Jersey’s roadways

More diary rescue fron the weekend – Promoted by Rosi.

Within the next few weeks, a vote is expected to come up on a bill that would give those of us who walk and bike around our communities more visibility in the state government. With bill S2521, the state Senate aims to create a Pedestrian Safety Study Commission whose job it will be to “study, examine, and review the issue of pedestrian safety in New Jersey.” It will create a commission whose members will range from members of the legislature to NJDOT officials to members of the public.

Cami’s epic fail in the eye of another epic snowstorm

So, Chaotic Cami, who cannot seem to overcome her own organizational problems (among other things), didn’t get it together to inform parents what was going on for school today until kids were already on their way in, and many parents already on their way to work. Promoted by Rosi. Cross-posted with Marie Corfield.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 8.24.51 AM

The only way you don’t know about this is if you’re sipping umbrella drinks pool-side in Cabo-or, apparently, you’re Cami Anderson.

At 4:33pm yesterday, NJ.com reported:

Blizzard warnings have been issued for northern and eastern New Jersey as a “crippling and potentially historic” storm sets its sights on the northeast.Snow totals could exceed two and a half feet. Drifts could be far higher. High winds will reduce visibilities to near zero.

Before 8pm last night they posted a list of school closings and delays, including early dismissal for Newark’s TEAM and Link Charter Schools. Superintendent robo-calls went out state-wide last night to inform parents of their district’s plans. I got my call. And in case anyone missed any of it, everyone took to social media to spread the news.

I saw a couple of posts from teachers in Newark who were pleading with Cami to make the call-any call: early dismissal, school closed, SOMETHING!

Today is Workers Memorial Day

Pray [mourn] for the dead and fight like hell for the living.

                                            – Mother Jones

Today is Workers Memorial Day. In ciities around the country, and in workplaces, workers killed or injured on the job are remembered. On Tuesday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (3pm, public invited), people will gather to remember co-workers, friends, and neighbors. Here’s how a union friend talks about this annual event:

This memorial service has never differentiated between the union and non-union sector, and this year is unprecedented in that the unionized sector of the work force has reached the long sought after goal of zero fatalities.

Yet, that will not deter the NYC Building and Construction Trades from appearing in full force and recognizing the tragedy of these workers’ deaths, and mourning their brothers and sisters among the unorganized.

There is no event for Workers Memorial Day in New Jersey (at least that I could find). I hope that next year, there will be. We live in a state where unions have taken a deep hits – from elected people in both parties. And our governor fully allies himself with the “conservative” movement to destroy unions. Safe jobs are something unions have historically pushed forward; something to remember as we rebuild after Sandy, and try to get New Jersey back on its feet.

Below the fold, a statement on Workers Memorial Day from New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charlie Wowkanech.  

WSJ: It was David Wildstein – A/K/A PolitickerNJ’s “Wally Edge” – behind sudden GWB lane closures

David WildsteinWall Street Journal is reporting that it was David Wildstein – the former chief at PolitickerNJ, who The Record calls “Governor Christie’s eyes and ears inside the Port Authority” – who engineered the sudden closure of George Washington Bridge lanes that led to traffic chaos, and likely risk to the safety of drivers and ambulances. Wildstein, who started PolitickerNJ and for years wrote about NJ politics under the anonymous “Wally Edge,” went to high school with Christie.

Not long after the closures came suspicion that they were political retribution – from inside the Port Authority from those loyal to Chris Christie – against Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor Mark Sokolich, for refusing to join Democrats endorsing Christie for re-election. Some of the Democrats crossing party lines for Christie have been from areas where Port Authority has presence, including in Harrison, where Democratic mayor Raymond McDonough, endorsed him after the agency committed spending $250M on a new PATH station to anchor that town’s ongoing redevelopment.

Wildstein is one of at least 50 people who got jobs at Port Authority after recommendation from Christie, or hiring by Christie appointees. He is Interstate Capital Projects Director, a slot created when he came on at a salary of $150k. Port Authority is frequently cited as byzantine, unaccountable and non-transparent, and full of high-level people placed there simply to be loyal to Christie’s political interests. Wildstein was hired by former GOP senator Bill Baroni, Christie’s top appointee at the agency. Wall Street Journal sets the scene:

24-Bill Gun Package in Assembly – @BlueJersey will live-Tweet

Here are some tools to follow along with the discussion today in the NJ Assembly on an audacious package of gun safety bills proposed by Democrats:

Follow our live-Tweeting coverage of the gun safety hearing in Assembly Law & Public safety – click @BlueJersey.

Follow hashtag #NJSafeGuns and hashtag #NJGunSafety.

Listen Live here to proceedings in the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee. Hearing is scheduled to begin 10am, but may begin late. Keep refreshing the page until “pending” becomes “listen”. You will need Windows Media Player, and there’s a free download at the bottom of the Legislature’s media page, linked above.

Read more here about the gun safety initiatives proposed today by the Democrats.

Bills are listed here.

Hat/tip Deciminyan for the live-Tweeting.

Nuclear Meltdown: Don’t say they didn’t warn you

Here’s a remarkable quote on nuclear safety:

GE says the Mark I design has operated safely for more than 40 years and has been modified periodically to meet changing regulations. No nuclear plant could have avoided a meltdown after being swamped by a tsunami and losing power to cooling systems for an extended period of time, the company says — and at least one expert CNN spoke to agrees.

Thinking in terms of tidal waves is a mistake. General Electric just told you that an extended loss of power will cause ANY nuclear power plant to melt down, and as the rest of the CNN article says, the plants are not capable of containing all the resulting radioactivity. That’s why I went from mildly pro-nuclear to against it.    


Keeping America Safe

On the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the current terror threat and precautions is yet another reminder (and reason) for a discussion about “keeping America safe”.  The hundreds of billions of dollars spent on wars of aggression, and the tens of billions of dollars lost to fraud and waste in Iraq and Afghanistan –  even tens of millions supposedly going directly to the Taliban and other insurgent groups – are more evidence of how our reaction to 9/11 not only failed to keep us safer but wasted precious resources that could be used to actually keep this country safe.

Republicans (and now a growing number of Democrats) in Congress – both now and over the past decade – are/were more concerned with writing blank checks for billions of dollars, not just putting this country at further risk, but ignore the real things that put American lives at risk and fail to keep us safe on a day to day basis.  The threat of attack is nothing new – it goes back at least to the 1950s, where students had drills to hide under their desks and more recently in the 1980s with the Cold War.

One, Two, Three, Four: NRC now concerned about multiple reactors at same site

The New York Times is reporting that the NRC has new concerns after the Japanese nuclear disaster:

the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission acknowledged that the agency’s current regulations and disaster plans did not give enough consideration to two factors that had greatly contributed to the continuing Fukushima Daiichi crisis in Japan: simultaneous problems at more than one reactor at the same site and a natural disaster that disrupts roads, electricity and other infrastructure surrounding a plant.

I don’t think there’s anything to add to that except that it is now obvious that neglecting those factors is not only foolish but dangerous. Fukushima has certainly changed my opinions on the safety of nuclear power. We have three reactors at a single site, and as the NRC made clear in the public meeting I attended, it will issue a new site permit for a 4th reactor without considering the safety of the other three. I hope this policy changes soon. By the way, the NRC also revealed this week that emergency equipment at nearly a third of the nation’s reactors had serious problems.

I am happy to note, however, that the Salem reactors got high grades in their regular annual NRC safety review.

Police & Firefighters to Rally Thursday

In an atmosphere charged by the Wisconsin resistance, the State House is about to see its second big rally by union labor and supporters.

Firefighters at Rally with Wisconsin Workers at State House, 2/25/11
Firefighters rally in Trenton Friday

On Thursday 11am, comes a second rally. This time, it’s New Jersey police and firefighters: Rally to Take a Stand for Public Safety.

For first-responders, the massive cuts to their labor force are not only about backdoor methods of making collective bargaining illegal, as Hetty Rosenstein charges Steve Sweeney and Jennifer Beck are trying to do. Not only about Christie’s near-daily demonizing of the people who work for New Jersey, and not only about Christie ignoring labor’s collective bargaining rights. Firefighters & police are charged to protect, and deep cuts in state aid have meant massive layoffs, and an impact on how safe we all are.

Boots of laid-off police officers in Camden
Boots of laid-off Camden police officers (APP)

Camden laid off nearly one-half of its police force this year; a third of its firefighters. Yesterday, about 40 laid-off firefighters and firefighters coming off shift rallied outside Camden’s city hall, demanding action from Mayor Dana Redd. Their signs read: Camden’s new emergency # (856) TOO-LATE, and People are dying.

The NJ state PBA’s website is as hard on Democrats in the legislature as it is on Gov. Christie:

On the political front, Governor Christie continues to preach that he has no problem with the “rank-and-file” members while at the same time he proposes legislation that denies those same rank-and-file members their collective bargaining rights, violates their contracts, and reduces pension benefits that they have faithfully paid for during their careers.

Unfortunately, the Democratic majority, with only a few exceptions, has apparently forgotten their core values and has been ineffective in bringing some order and common sense to the table.

We failed the people who cleaned up 9/11. Will we fail the people cleaning up the Gulf?

In the aftermath of 9/11, we saw thousands of workers develop devastating respiratory conditions and other illnesses as a result of exposure to toxic dust that filled the air in the days and weeks after the twin towers fell. To this day, these peoples’ plight continues to add misery to the ongoing tragedy of 9/11. What makes it even worse is that these people were assured the air was safe.   As we all know now, it wasn’t.

Today, sadly, history may be repeating itself in the Gulf of Mexico.

(Thank you to Ligia Ercius-Dipaola, who posted this video on the NRDC Action Fund Facebook Page)

Amazingly, despite reports like this one, BP “continues to pretend that – just like an oil spill of this magnitude could never happen – there also could not possibly be a worker health concern.”  While the potential health hazards posed by chemical dispersants and oil itself are debatable, it is clear that significant risks existed.  

Already, we’ve seen evidence of the impact that spilled oil can have on human health. For starters, an increasing number of workers and residents in Gulf Coast areas have reported “suffering from nausea, vomiting, headaches and difficulty breathing.”  Considering that oil contains “petroleum hydrocarbons, which are toxic and irritating to the skin and airways”, as well as volatile chemicals “which can cause acute health effects such as headaches, dizziness and nausea” it’s no surprise that these symptoms are appearing.

(Thank you to Gary Chattem, who posted this on the NRDC Action Fund Facebook Wall)

So now, with the “60 exposure-related complaints filed with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals”, not to mention the “overwhelming evidence that many of the compounds found in crude oil are dangerous,” shouldn’t BP be protecting the people who are cleaning up this mess? If they aren’t doing so, why aren’t they?

The bottom line is this: people along the Gulf Coast deserve to know the facts regarding the dangers they are facing and how to protect themselves.  It’s bad enough that their economic livelihoods are in danger of destruction in part due to BP’s greed and recklessness.  But if their lungs and other organs are damaged by oil and dispersant particles in the air, more than their economic livelihoods could be damaged.

None of us should ever forget that this disaster was brought on, at least in part, by BP cutting corners to save a few (million) bucks, and by the government’s failure to prevent the company from doing so.  As a result, the unthinkable has happened.  We must learn from those grave mistakes, not repeat them.  That means, in the long term, ridding ourselves of our dangerous, destructive addition to oil.  But what must happen now – right now – is for BP to stop cutting corners with the health of the people cleaning up the Gulf.

At the minimum, BP must switch its philosophy from “hope for the best” to “do whatever it takes, whatever the cost, to make sure people are safe.”  If BP won’t “make it right,” as the company’s ads like to say, then the government should force BP to do so.  In the words of one Venice, LA mother: “I’ve got the two most beautiful children in the world. If something were to happen to them, how could I look in those baby blues and say, Mommy didn’t know?”  It’s a great question.  What’s the answer, BP?