Tag Archive: Sean Kean

Jim Keady running for Assembly, not likely to sit down – or shut up

Jim Keady is running for a seat in the NJ Assembly, and will have the backing of Monmouth Democrats, in a district that also includes Ocean County towns. It’s an uphill race, Democrats are in the minority in the 30th District where Republicans Sean Kean and Dave Rible are incumbents. But Monmouth Dems, under Chair Vin Gopal, are growing and Keady – who grew up in LD30’s Belmar, once sat on neighboring Asbury Park’s council, and returned to Belmar both to volunteer and to tangle with Gov. Christie – is not an unknown quantity in the shore towns.

If you want to track Chris Christie’s sinking poll numbers, and the serious bobble of his once-meteoric rise to the top of the GOP 2016 pack, one marker to look at is this moment last October – the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Sandy – when he told a heckler to “sit down and shut up.” That was Keady. It made national news, putting Christie in a negative light and spurring articles reexamining his actual Sandy recovery record, just as the chatter for the 2016 White House ramped up.  

CEC Investigation: There’s A Lot Of Dirt In Them Thar Hills

Eleven months after an inmate was killed at CEC’s Delaney Hall, Governor Christie served as keynote speaker for its 2010 10th-anniversary celebration. He said, “This is where I need to be, because even as governor, you treasure the times when you can come and be someplace where the work is purely good.”

Following the New York Times three-part series, countless other newspaper articles over the years, NJ Comptroller Boxer’s report, an SCI report Gangs in Prisons, information from prisoner advocacy groups, and many Blue Jersey diaries, the need for a full independent investigation of Community Education Centers (CEC) is apparent. Its facilities are not places where “the work is purely good.”

The problem as Charles Stile points out is that founder William Clancy, his family, and CEC since the early 1990’s have donated over $600,000 to elected officials at the state and local level. That’s a lot of dirt and many enriched hills. Essex County has proven particularly fertile ground for CEC, but Clancy’s largesse has included governors of both parties and officials in counties where CEC operates or would like to operate. Particularly troubling has been Governor Christie’s past participation as registered lobbyist for CEC, his frequent visits to the centers where he spews praises, his acceptance of donations, failure to address publicized problems, and his close relationship with CEC Senior Vice President William Palatucci.

In addition to the largesse, which constitutes conflicts of interest for those who might investigate CEC, the problem for any investigatory group is the sheer number of issues to be examined: “pay-to-play,” public safety when inmates “walk away” from a facility, violence, rape, and drugs within the institutions, lack of quality counseling and education, lack of financial accountability and collusion with local authorities to obtain business.  

With so many pockets of enriched hills and so many varieties of dirt, what group is independent enough with sufficient staff and skills to attack the problem?

Charles Mainor (D-Hudson), Chair of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee, is one of two individuals who has called for legislative hearings. How independent can he be, however, as his county houses and receives monies for CEC’s Talbot Hall in Kearny. In Part I of the NY Times series he was quoted as being asked for his estimate of how many people escaped from halfway houses in 2011. “I have heard of no more than three,” he responded. According to state records, the number was 452. Another member of the committee Sean Kean (R-30) in the NY Times article appeared dismissive, saying about the escapes, “It’s not really a problem. It’s a cheaper way of doing business, so that’s why it behooves us to use that option.” In summary, this committee is not a promising group to investigate the matter.

Senator Barbara Buono is the other individual who has expressed concern, stating, “They should be held accountable for their failures.” One of her key staffers said that with the current budget issues on the front burner, she has not yet developed a strategy on how to move forward. She is Vice Chair of the Senate Oversight Committee. Although she has received a combined $2,600 in donations in 2010 and 2011, she has shown the independence and fervor necessary to undertake such an investigation. She has not discussed the matter yet with Chair Robert Gordon (D-38), nor Paul Sarlo (D-36), neither of whom reside in a county where CEC operates. However, another committee member Teresa Ruiz (D-29) is a part of the Essex County Democratic machine which is probably the largest recipient of CEC largesse. With a small committee and an even smaller staff it would be difficult for this group to undertake such a far-ranging investigation.

Because of conflicts of interest and the broad scope necessary, a legislative investigation does not seem the best course. Individual committees, however,  can review matters within their purview and promote legislation. There is currently a Senate bill (S927) sponsored by Jeff Van Drew (D-3) and Steven Sweeney (D-3) which would require the State Auditor to review Department of Corrections privatization contracts to determine whether privatization yields a reduction in costs and whether there was any malfeasance on the part of DOC with the contract. It has been reviewed by two committees, however, the identical Assembly bill (A1880) has seen no committee action. If the bill were to gain passage it would represent a step forward, with some dirt removed, but large mounds still remaining.

There are other more promising venues for investigation which will be discussed in Part II of this diary.  There is a lot of dirt, a lot of hills and we need heavy duty equipment to level the land.  

My Candidacy for State Assembly in the 11th District

promoted by Rosi

When I saw the new 11th District Map, I decided after years of working behind the scenes, I wanted to place my name on the ballot. The new 11th Legislative District has 36,643 registered Democrats, 26,405 registered Republicans and 68,899 registered unaffiliated voters. The district is home to Asbury Park, Long Branch, Neptune, Red Bank, Freehold Borough, Tinton Falls and many other beautiful Monmouth County municipalities. Of the 18 towns in the district, 11 of those towns have 4,000 or more registered voters. Out of those 11 towns, 9 of them have more registered Democrats than Republicans, most of them overwhelmingly. 9 of the 11 big towns in the district have more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Get where I’m going with this? It is a Democratic district. Basically all the strong Democratic towns in Districts 11 and 12 got merged while all the strong Republican towns, including Wall (goodbye Sean Kean!), Rumson, Millstone, Brielle, Avon, Monmouth Beach, Sea Girt, Englishtown, Fair Haven, Little Silver (sorry Declan O’Scanlon), Manalapan, and Oceanport all got thrown into other legislative districts. It really is remarkable what happened here!

Thursday News Roundup & Open Thead

With Mama Rosi’s computer on the fritz, I’m pinch-hitting this morning’s roundup. It’s a little South Jersey-centric today, but that’s just how I roll.  

From the Oink Files
Disgraced Camden County Democrat Wayne Bryant won’t get any pension.  Nothing.  Nada.  
Camden Prison Blues.  
Mayors Dana Redd of Camden, Dave Mayer of Gloucester Twp and Bernie Platt do the NIMBY Shuffle as Camden County Freeholders play hot potato with location of a new prison.
Maybe this time it’ll stick?

DRPA planning makeover for Camden transit hubs.  It’s a lot of money going on here, folks.  pInky takes a peek.  

Something positive from Camden.
I looked far and wide and found this quirky hopeful video about a grassroots group fighting for a better fate in Camden City.  Who knew the inner city could be so Jersey Fresh?
Frantic City.
Gov. Christie signs an executive order to keep Atlantic City casinos open in the event of a state budget shutdown.   Casino workers are now “essential.”  
Some of his  best friends are gay.
And now Sen. Sean Kean wants to kill COAH.  I guess when you’ve got a bunch of gays and lesbians doing the dirty work to gentrifying your district, who needs to bother with policy solutions to affordable housing?
God bless Haiti.
Spare a though for another New Jersey connection.  
A rose by any other name….
It’s a deficit.  No, it’s a surplus.  One thing’s for sure:  it’s yours, New Jersey.
This is an open thread, so if you have something to add, leave a comment.  I’ll update the diary.

An open letter to Sean Kean

Promoted from the diaries by Rosi

To Blue Jersey, yes I posted a diary going all Keith Olbermann on Sean Kean before , but this letter is a little more polite because it is also the one I plan on sending to his office.  I encourage all in the 11th district that care about equality to do the same.  I also encourage anyone on Facebook who wants to see Kean lose his seat in 2011 to become a fan of the following page, Unseat Sean Kean (and Jennifer Beck).

Dear Senator Kean,

I’ve written, called, and emailed you several times over the duration of the marriage equality campaign as it’s an issue that matters to me, even as a single straight woman.  During this campaign, I put aside my own partisanship as a Democrat and was willing to open my mind and vote for you in 2011, thus voting for a Republican for the first time in my life.  I was even willing to send you a campaign contribution.  This is not true anymore.

You spoke on the Senate floor about how the LGBT community increased property values, and drives tourism to your district.  Your no vote on Thursday actually decreased tourism to your district.  By allowing the LGBT community to get married, your district would have benefited from the many same-sex beach weddings that people from New Jersey and New York (a state which rejected marriage equality yet recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states).  Many people spend more on a wedding these days than they do on a vehicle.  Think of all the small businesses in your district, such as caterers, banquet halls, florists, bakeries, hotels, bed and breakfasts, tuxedo rental shops, wedding dress shops, salons, limousine companies, etc. that could use the revenue especially on these economic times.  Think of it as an economic stimulus without the government spending a dime.  All you had to do was to vote yes and allow same-sex couples to get married civilly (the bill provided for religions to refuse same-sex couples the right to get married in that house of worship, just as they already do for heterosexual couples.)  Yet you did not, you put your personal beliefs ahead of what was best for your constituents and the communities that you represent.

You’re Catholic.  I know the Catholic Church’s stance on marriage equality (they oppose it).  You also have a law degree, and any constitutional law class (such as the one I just finished) will discuss the separation of church and state.  Civil marriage is a very different institution than religious marriage.  The Catholic Church would not be harmed by allowing homosexual couples to marry civilly, as they would have the right not to perform that marriage.   As a legislator, you are elected to represent your constituents (think of Asbury Park and Ocean Grove), not the Catholic Church.

You also call yourself a Republican.  Your party is traditionally conservative.  Lately all one has to do is turn on a cable news channel and within five minutes will hear a Republican saying that he or she wants “big government out of our lives.”  Voting against this bill just inserted big government into the lives of many of your constituents.  Do you really want big government telling them how they can live their lives?  Your no vote on Thursday told your constituents that you do.  

I really hope that if this issue ever comes to a vote again that you would reconsider your vote, and talk to members of your own party (including the Governor-Elect) about how this issue affects many of your constituents.  One thing that I can tell you is that you will face an uphill battle for re-election come November 2011 as you did not represent us.  

Sincerely

Caroline Lastname, aka tabbycat31

And the hypocrite of the decade goes to……

I headed to Trenton today for the fourth time in with the faint hope of witnessing history.  Instead I witnessed a community denied the basic civil right of marriage.  Throughout the campaign for marriage equality, I also learned where the pockets of the LGBT population are.  By using logic and common sense, one would think that the senator who admits that his district is “the gayest in the state” would vote in favor of allowing his LGBT constituents to marry.  But clearly logic does not exist in Senator Sean Kean’s (R-Monmouth) mind.  

In the last five years, the city of Asbury Park has made a miraculous comeback.  For the first time in over a generation people want to move to and visit Asbury Park.  People are no longer afraid of walking down the streets of Asbury.  One group of people is largely (and correctly) credited with Asbury Park’s comeback.  And Bruce Springsteen has nothing to do with this group.  The group is the gay and lesbian community, who invested in Asbury Park’s comeback.  Now the city has a boardwalk with many new businesses, hotels, restaurants, and entertainment.  The gay community is as essential to Asbury Park’s comeback as water is to an aquarium.  Unfortunately the one person that Asbury Park counted on to be an ally in Trenton just threw the community where he works (in his non-government job) and his constituents under the bus.  Today, Senator Kean, you threw your friends who own a restaurant in Ocean Grove, and helped you celebrate being elected, under the bus.  I hope that they have the dignity to no longer call you their friend.  

Today, Senator Kean, I am ashamed to call myself your constituent.  I first contacted you Senator about the issue of marriage equality over a year ago, when I realized it could be on New Jersey’s radar.  I received a letter in response completely flipping my view and thanking me for “supporting traditional marriage” and was absolutely disgusted.   (On a side note, can anyone in a traditional marriage who’s marriage was negatively affected by someone else’s same sex marriage please contact me.)  As a legislator, you are welcome to disagree with me on an issue, but you have an obligation to listen to my opinion because ultimately you represent me.  You did not listen to my opinion and instead flipped it, and that Senator is unacceptable behavior.   I thought you would be a complete long shot on the issue when I first volunteered at Garden State Equality, and was pleasantly surprised to see you on the fence.  However today on the senate floor, I saw more flip-flops from you than I see on a summer day on the beach.  You had our hopes up and then let us down.  

Senator Kean, after admitting that you represent “the gayest district in the state” why on earth would you vote against your constituents?  On the senate floor today, you mentioned that this issue impacts “only a minority.”  But Senator, do you realize that more than the minority care about marriage equality?  I’ve been fighting for marriage equality since June, and this is an issue that has no impact on me whatsoever.  I’m a straight woman who is perpetually single.  I take my right to marry for granted.  But there are several people who have been in committed relationships for years that would love to get married, but New Jersey is keeping them from doing so even if their religion allows it.  

Do you not realize that the gay community is very politically active?  You do realize that your vote today possibly cost you any political future, including your senate seat.  And don’t think that your district is always Republican either, as President Obama carried the district in 2008.  The fight has just begun, and this will be the first of many articles I write on the political future of Sean Kean.  As a progressive community (gay and straight), we now have to mobilize.  We need to find a candidate who can defeat Sean Kean, and make him regret his vote on marriage equality.  If there was ever a call to action, this is it.  As soon as I hear any news on a potential challenger to Sean Kean, I will update the Blue Jersey community.  

Political Roundup

So very much happened in politics these past few days. Here’s a bit of a roundup:

  • 8-term incumbent Assemblyman Steven Corodemus (R-11) announced he will not seek re-election. This is now a very competitive district.

    In 2005, Corodemus and 11th district running mate Sean Kean held off a furious, well-financed Democratic challenge in the state’s fourth most expensive race. Corodemus won by just 1,649 votes after winning by nearly six times that margin the previous election.

    Lend a hand: the briefing on the 11th district is still up for grabs.

  • In Washington, Sen. Lautenberg is leading on homeland security. On Thursday, he introduced the Surface Transportation and Rail Security (STARS) Act of 2007, with transportation security measures to improve people’s safety as they travel by trains or cars, and improve cargo safety as it is shipped by trains or trucks. The provisions originally appeared in the SAFE Ports Act, but were stripped out by House Republican leaders in the 109th Congress.

    On Friday, Sen. Lautenberg and Sen. Menendez were two of five Senators to re-introduce the 9/11 Heroes Health Improvement Act of 2007. The bill provides medical and mental health monitoring and treatment grants to those whose health was affected at Ground Zero and Fresh Kills as well as those who responded to the Pentagon attack.

  • Wally Edge points out that Menendez goes from 100th in seniority to 90th in the new Senate. (Lautenberg is 73rd.) Meanwhile, New Jersey’s most junior member of Congress, Rep. Albio Sires, is the most senior new face in Congress, since he was briefly a member of the 109th.
  • Former Middletown school board President Patricia A. Walsh has announced she will seek the Democratic nomination for the 13th district Assembly seat. The 13th is currently represented by Republicans.