Tag Archive: Gordon Johnson

Roy Cho Navigates the Rough Waters of CD 5

Last night Roy Cho, Democratic candidate for Congress in CD 5, opened his Teaneck satellite office to an enthusiastic crowd of some 150 attendees where he said, “We will pull off one of the biggest upsets in the country this year. I may be the underdog but our nation was built by underdogs. I want to get the middle class working again, get the economy moving with better infrastructure, public/private partnerships, more alternative/green energy, and leadership in Washington that puts our interests first.”

As a 33 year old business attorney who lives in Hackensack and has never run for office before, he is launching his first TV cable ad today which can be seen in Bergen County where the vast majority of voters reside. He is in the process of opening eight regional satellites with his main office in Ridgewood. He has raised more money than anyone who has run against incumbent arch-conservative Scott Garrett. He took a leave of absence from his job in February and has been steering a strong course.

The event included a “who’s who” of Bergen officials including Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Chair of the Bergen County Board of Freeholders David Ganz, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37), and mayors, councilmen, and municipal party chairs.

Democrats, independents, and some moderate Republicans, particularly the middle class, should like the cut of his jib. What he needs to win the race in 49 days is even more donors and volunteers – more wind under his sails.

You can learn more about him on his web site, Twitter, YouTube and

as well as gorge yourself on reasons to retire Garrett.

Bail Reform: A Better Course of Justice Needed Now

There has been broad agreement among Democrats and Republicans for years that our bail system requires reform – but less agreement on the precise changes to be enacted. After back-and-forth discussions legislators are nearing an agreement on two bills, but unresolved issues remain which might derail the reform. Also time is running out as one bill calls for a constitutional amendment to be placed on November’s ballot requiring a 60% legislative majority vote by August 4. The Senate appears poised to meet the deadline, but the Assembly less so.

Assuring that the most dangerous criminals have less access to bail and that the least dangerous be provided alternatives are important goals. There is suspicion the bail industry is trying to block the bills. Denying bail to some and providing alternatives to others reduces the income of bail bondsmen.

The paramount issue, nonetheless, is fairness, particularly for those who spend ten months or more in jail on minor offenses because they cannot afford bail. NJ Chief Justice Stuart Rabner has said that the system ensnares the poor unfairly, resulting in unnecessary incarceration and a higher-frequency of guilty pleas. The legislature should quickly resolve their differences and pass these two bills now.  

Snow Day Video #1: Gordon Johnson & Goldie Taylor talking GWB on Politics Nation

Gordon Johnson, who reps Fort Lee in the NJ Assembly, and Goldie Taylor were Rev. Al Sharpton’s guests last night, hours after Asm John Wisniewski revealed that subpoenaed documents showed that the order to shut GWB local lanes came from outside Port Authority.

Johnson talked about how the 5-day traffic chaos slowed response time for police, EMS and the Fire Dept., including an ambulance trying to get to a person in cardiac arrest, and a missing child report police had trouble investigating quickly.

“Whether or not this pans out to be true remains to be seen. But if it is true, it certainly caters to the narrative that Christie’s a bully, that he is very hard on people who might disagree with him politically – for very small slights there may be huge retribution. So it certainly plays into that narrative. We don’t elect presidents like that. We don’t elect mean guys as presidents.”

                                – Goldie Taylor

“It [the order] came from a higher authority.” [snip] “There are words that are used that would imply an improper motive.”

– John Wisniewski, on 5,000 subpoenaed Port Authority documents

But the weightier point Goldie Taylor made, and she’s right, is that media has stoked the Christie narrative of bipartisan success, which doesn’t bear out, particularly given the defining failures in his economic record. Besides, Southern and rust-belt conservatives don’t give a fig for claims of bipartisanship.

What’s Happening Today Fri. 09/06/2013

Campaign Stop Trivia: Thursday afternoon Gov. Christie went to Moonachie’s Robert L. Craig School, much-damaged during Sandy but now open. As opposed to his Town Hall shows, this was a no-glittz affair without music, spotlights, video, banners or even a flag. (Isn’t that a no-no?). The audience consisted of about 250 pre-K through 8th grade students (not a voter among them), a few teachers, Education Commissioner Chris Cerf, District Senator Paul Sarlo, embattled Republican County Executive Kathleen Donovan, the press (including seven video cameras glued on the stage) and Christie’s retinue. Maria Comella, Christie’s Communications Director (in charge of marketing Christie with a large, savvy staff that must make other governors envious) sits patiently at the rear of the gymnasium until she learns the Governor is arriving whereupon she ducks into the back room where he stands with his security detail. After having waited for about 40 minutes the well-behaved kids have started getting a little restless. Ten minutes later Christie walks in, speaks a few minutes, and then answers questions from the students. He acknowledges help from President Obama in repairing the school and even refers once to “the President and me.” There was plenty of space outdoors (and inside) for those who don’t like Christie’s and Cerf’s education policies to carry signs, march and protest, but no protestors were there.

Organizing for Action (OFA) is holding events in New Jersey to tell Congress to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform. 12:00pm, Rep. Chris Smith’s (R CD 4) Office, 112 Village Center Drive – 2nd Fl. Raintree Shopping Center, Freehold; and on Saturday, 12:00pm, Congressman Runyan’s (R CD3) Office, 4167 Church Road , Mount Laurel.  

The Assembly is back in session on Monday at 10:00am and has scheduled the following bills for a vote:

A3680 [Coutinho, Albert/Singleton, Troy+26], NJ Econ. Opportunity Act of 2013

A3797 [Mainor, Charles/Eustace, Timothy J.+5], Firearms, cert-concern reporting of info

A4329 [Bramnick, Jon M./Angelini, Mary Pat], Home invasion-creates crime

AR176 [Chivukula, Upendra J./Bramnick, Jon M.], Baha’i prisoners-immediate release

S2842 [Scutari, Nicholas P./Vitale, Joseph F.+1], Med. marijuana prog.

Public Schedules:

Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: 11:30am, Barbara Buono, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20), and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37): Press Conference to call for New Jersey high-school graduates who are undocumented immigrants brought to America as children to qualify for in-state tutition rates at the state’s public colleges, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, 11 Stone St. New Brunswick; Barbara Buono and Milly Silva: 5:30pm, 22nd Annual “Celebration of Labor” Parade and March, Newark City Hall, 920 Broad St, Newark.

Governor and Gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie: early morning appearance on NFL AM show. He heads to Texas this weekend, Michael Symons says, “where he’ll attend Sunday’s NFL opening-weekend game in Dallas between the Cowboys and Giants – rooting for the home team, not the one that plays in New Jersey. He’s attending with Ray Washburne, a Dallas businessman and finance chairman for the Republican National Committee.”

Senate candidate Cory Booker: has said he is discontinuing his campaign events this week in order to concentrate on Newark crime matters.

What’s Happening Today Thu. 08/22/2013

Lt. Gov.and candidate Kim Guadagno: She began her official schedule this morning in Teaneck with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the grand opening of a food market attended by a handful of the general public. With staff members and security there in advance, she arrived on time in an SUV. Like other ribbon-cutting events, she talked with the management and staff and had a few words afterward. She and Democratic Lt. gubernatorial candidate Milly Silva are required to hold a public debate. A staff member of hers  said no date has yet been selected. Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37) who represents Teaneck was at the event. The Assembly is in recess, but as of now he said that September 9 is the date for the next scheduled Assembly session.

What Barbara Buono is saying:

  •  “By vetoing these commonsense measures to reduce gun violence, Governor Christie chose the NRA and the conservative base of the Republican Party above the families here in New Jersey.” (08/21/2013)

  •  “Just like Tea Party extremist Steve Lonegan, Governor Christie is anti-choice, anti-Planned Parenthood, anti-marriage equality, and anti-commonsense legislation to reduce gun violence. Their unabashedly conservative views are completely out-of-touch with most New Jerseyans. The Christie-Lonegan platform of yesteryear has no place in New Jersey.” (08/21/2013)

    Public Schedule:

    Governor and gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie: 4:00pm, greets employees and makes a campaign announcement, Carlo’s Bakery, Hoboken.

    Lt. Gov.and candidate Kim Guadagno: 8:30am, grand opening of Cedar Market, Teaneck; 10:00am: visits JPR Cycles, Lyndhurst; 4:00pm, grand opening of the Icona Hotel, Cape May County’s Diamond Beach.

    Buono/Silva Gubernatorial Capaign: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono and Lt. gubernatorial candidate Milly Silva: 9:00am, Univision Radio Interview, WADO 1280 AM; Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono: 1:30pm, Tent City Tour, Lakewood’s Tent City, 489-499 Cedarbridge Ave., Lakewood Township; 6:00pm Lt. gubernatorial candidate Milly Silva: LUPE Fund Summer Networking Social, Spanish Pavillion, 31 Harrison Ave., Harrison.

    U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker: 2:00pm delivers a speech about the choice in the October special election, Forem Facility Management Distribution Center, Newark.

    Senate candidate Steve Lonegan: 10:20am, Geraldo Rivera live interview, 77 WABC.

    If you have an item for this column email it to me the evening before at Billorr563@gmail.co

  • Questions for the Acting Education Commissioner

    Yesterday, I posted the opening remarks delivered by Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf at the Assembly Budget Committee.

    Following his remarks, there were several hours of questions and answers. The videos posted here are in two parts – the morning session below, and the afternoon session below the fold.

    I don’t expect anyone except the most fervent edunerds (thanks for the term, Rosi) to watch the whole thing, but below the fold is an index of the initial appearance of your favorite assemblycritters.

    The discussion falls into three categories:

    • Political posturing

    • Kowtowing to special interests

    • Dealing with local constituent issues

    There was no real discussion on the merits (or otherwise) of charter schools, funding religious schools, or the education-industrial complex. To be fair, this was a budget hearing, not a hearing of the Education Committee. But things like sending taxpayer dollars to unaccountable for-profit entities and religious institutions do have an impact on the budget, especially when the outcomes are so nebulous.

    Jason Castle (CD5): Spirited, Gutsy and Lucky

    Jason Castle who served in the Marines and is now running for Congress in the 5th CD, had a little help from Lady Luck on Friday. He is running in the primary against Teaneck Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen who gained the endorsement of the Democratic Committee of Bergen County (DCBC), led by Lou Stellato, after Castle did not register in time to compete for the endorsement.  Nonetheless, in a time-honored ritual on Friday the Bergen County Clerk shook a box over his head and pulled out a slip that read “Bergen County Democrats 2012 (BCD 2012)”. And thus Castle gained the first line on the Bergen ballot, and the DCBC picked up the next line.

    Following redistricting more of Bergen County is now in the 9th CD, with the remainder in  the 5th CD. BCD 2012 consists of a slate with Rep. Bill Pascrell (running in the 9th CD), two Bergen County Freeholders, and Jason Castle (running in the 5th CD). It’s hard to say how much value there is to Pascrell in getting the first line in a county which has always supported his competitor Representative Steve Rothman with a high vote count. And the second line, where Rep. Rothman appears as the CD 9 candidate, will also include President Obama and U. S. Senator Menendez.  

    Nonetheless, it should help 3930 year old Jason Castle who is building a coalition of community leaders, party organizers and active citizens across the district in his campaign against the moderate/conservative Gussen. Castle’s recent endorsements include Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37) and NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson. Castle already has the party line for Warren and Sussex County. He also has an active website and facebook page, whereas Gussen has neither. Castle’s campaign staff has confirmed he filed a current quarterly report with the Federal Election Committee although it’s not yet on the website. It’s unclear whether Gussen has likewise filed the report, but his campaign activities appear so far to be insipid.

    There will be a debate between the two candidates at Ethical Culture Society in Teaneck next Wednesday at 7:30 sponsored by Bergen Grassroots. (Space can be reserved by calling 201-692-9600 or paul@bergengrassroots.org.) Curiously most campaign gatherings for CD 5 in Teaneck take place in the area of CD 9 as the CD 5 area is amost exclusively residential.  

    The recent activities on the part of Castle place him several steps closer to success in the primary. There remain many steps and a leap for him to be victorious in the November election, but he is showing himself to be spirited, gutsy and lucky.  

    Decriminalize Pot: “The Punishment Doesn’t Fit the Crime”

    My object all sublime

    I shall achieve in time

    To let the punishment fit the crime

    – Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado

    15 Democrats and three Republicans in the Assembly have joined to sponsor a bill to decriminalize possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana. There will be a Judiciary Committee hearing for the bill (A-1465) on Monday at 10:00 AM in the State House Annex. The effort, led by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-15), already has an impressive number of initial bipartisan sponsors. However, 23 additional assemblypersons are needed to assure passage. The complete list of sponsors so far appears below the fold.

    As the Star Ledger points out, “Currently, those caught with small amounts of marijuana for personal use face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, in addition to a possible driver’s license suspension and hundreds of dollars in court fees. While possession of more than 15 grams and less than 50 grams constitutes a disorderly charge, possession of 15 grams or less under this bill will only call for a fine and possible drug treatment.

    Three members of the Judiciary Committee are already sponsors: Chair Peter Barnes (D-18), Ralph Caputo (D-28), and Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25). You can call or email the other members: Vice Chair Annette Quijano (D-20), Gordon Johnson (D-37), John McKeon (D-27) and Holly Schepisi (R-39).

    As Assemblyman Gusciora says, “The punishment really doesn’t fit the crime.”