Tag Archive: Ralph Caputo

NJ Gaming: Moving the dinosaurs up north

North Jersey gambling fever is growing with Bergen, Hudson and Essex Counties eager to get in the game. Both Gov. Christie and Senate President Sweeney are now open to supporting a ballot issue in this year’s or next year’s general election. But does it make sense?

Promises…promises. Feverish adherents are coyly suggesting that it would bring many new jobs, lots of tax revenue, allocate plenty of financial support to Atlantic City, and draw players from across the Hudson. Maybe, but these are just aspirational goals that might never materialize. Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson), are proposing resolution ACR300 that would allow a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to add up to three casinos in the north. It is not yet available for reading and may not mention the “devil in the details.”

What we do know is that the gaming market in our area is already saturated and declining. In this zero sum game a huge loser would be the already struggling Atlantic City which depends on northern and central Jersey for clients.

Ton-loads of money would be spent on promoting/lobbying gambling in the north, particularly by wealthy would-be owners of such properties, but there would be much less money to spend to oppose the measure. You might think that AC casinos would fight back, but most are owned by much larger conglomerates that might want a piece of the action up north. Certainly the city of AC has no money to oppose it.

One can hardly wait until developers demand grants, loans, tax incentives, etc. Why should our government invest in this game when tax revenues for casinos, internet gambling and the lottery are so disappointing? How about more worthwhile investments in our roads, environment and education?

Assemblyman Caputo said, “If you don’t adapt, you become extinct and you become a dinosaur.” Of course, with casinos already becoming dinosaurs, moving them up north is no solution.  

What’s Happening Today Tue. 10/22/2013

Barbara Buono and Milly Silva to be in six counties today: Your opportunity to catch them in person or watch Buono on the Martin Bashir Show. Both seem more confident, articulate, and comfortable these days. (See schedule below.)

Supporters of M. E. Exhale Today: With Gov. Christie’s decision yesterday and a sound ruling from Judge Jacobson left in place, M.E. is on solid footing in NJ. Nonetheless, the Legislature should still pass pass a revised M. E. bill.

The Attorney General yesterday wrote to the NJ Supreme Court saying simply, “Please accept this letter as a withdrawal of the appeal in the above referenced matter [Garden State Equality v. Paula Dow]. With the State no longer pursuing an appeal, the ruling of Trenton Superior Court Assignment Judge Mary C. Jacobson on September 27 is left standing. Judge Jacobson’s ruling is particularly nice because it does not include exemptions or restrictions. It states forthrghly that “This unequal treatment requires that New Jersey extend civil marriage to same-sex couples to satisfy the equal protection guarantees of the New Jersey Constitution.” In effect same-sex couples should be treated no differently.

What’s next: The Legislature should pass a revised bill – something equally simple. It should forgo exemptions that seemed necessary in the past to gain passage, like the reliigous exemptions, which the court did not address. (These exemptions based on  the N. J. Constitution freedom of religion clause , I-4, should be no different for same-sex couples than for opposite-sex couples.) Also there may be need to clarify  the status of Civil Unions. As the Supreme Court never actually ruled on the Summary Judgment and left the basic decision at the Superior Court level there would be additional protection for M. E. with the Legislature’s imprimatur. Christie would be hard-pressed to veto what the Supreme Court left standing, but he might quibble with (conditionally veto) the bill, so a veto-proof majority makes sense and should be achievable in this new environment.


Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 10:45am, Meet the Candidates Event, Rossmoor Clubhouse, 437A Newport Way, Monroe Twp.;  Barbara Buono: 12noon, Campaign event, Hudson County Community College, 70 Sip Ave., Jersey City;  Barbara Buono: 1:00pm, College Forum, Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Rd, Paramus;  Barbara Buono: 4:00pm, Martin Bashir Interview, MSNBC;  Barbara Buono: 6:30pm, Keynote Speech, Rider University, 2083 Lawrenceville Rd., Lawrence Township;  Milly Silva: 7:45pm, fundraiser for Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, Nanina’s in the Park, 540 Mill St., Belleville;  Milly Silva: 8:30pm, Democrats for Hawthorne Campaign Rally, Fire Company #2, 10 Llewellyn Ave., Hawthorne.

Christie/Gudagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 11:00am, a Sandy housing and rental assistance program announcement, Meadowlands Family Success Center, Little Ferry.

Reps. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Frank J. Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Rush Holt (NJ-12), and Leonard Lance (NJ-07) with U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary Patricia Hoffman and PSE&G President Ralph LaRossa: 11:00am, press conference to hiighlight the need to invest in strengthening our power grid systems to prepare for future disasters, PSE&G Building, 80 Park Plaza, Newark.

Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage: 11:30am, Press conference on climate change, its impact, and preparation for the future, Elizabeth Marina, intersection of Elizabeth Ave. and Front St., Elizabeth.

Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com

What’s Happening Today Wed. 08/28/2013

Blue Jersey Badge of Honor: This badge is bestowed upon those rudely insulted by Gov. Christie. Today we bestow the badge on Sen. Bob Gordon (D-38). A few days ago, Gov. Christie petulantly said,”I am so tired of Bob Gordon, I can’t stand him.” Many have served our state, but some, too many to list, have been nastily denigrated by our state’s leader. They must be honored.  

“Christie: Jersey Shore not ready for another major storm” is yesterday’s Bergen Record headline. Chris Palmer posts in Blue Jersey on Facebook: “So according to Christie we’re stronger than storms. But one more will kill the shore. Inconsistent much?”

Help Ed Zipprich, Democratic Assemblyman candidate in LD 11. He needs to raise $3,000 by 9pm Thursday night in order to rent campaign office space. You can donate here and come to the grand opening. Let’s get rid of the three Republican critters inhabiting LD 11.

Trenton voices: Today we hear from the The Citizens Campaign which yesterday brought Trenton residents together: Calvin Thomas: “Individuals that reside and live in the community need to make things happen.” Darren Green: “Instead of complaining about what’s wrong, we need to understand what’s wrong and how to collectively and legitimately resolve it.” Rachel Cogsville-Lattimer: “We have to have a collective voice.” To learn the skills you need to cause change in your community go here.

Rev. Robert Moore, Coalition for Peace Action Director, and a group of prominent Egyptian Americans: 12:00pm, news conference to discuss ideas and planned actions for “A Way Forward for Peace and Democracy in Egypt,” Statehouse, Trenton.

Public Schedules:

Buono/Silva Gubernatorial campaign: 6:00pm, Barbara Buono, Milly Silva, Assemblyman Tom Giblin (D-34), Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-28) and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27), Bloomfield Office Opening, Buono for Governor Bloomfield Office, 73 Orchard St., Bloomfield.

Governor & Gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie: tour focused on the effort to help businesses impacted by superstorm Sandy reopen: 11:30am, Cape May Mall; 3pm, East Ocean Avenue & East Church Street, Sea Bright; 7pm, New Jersey 101.5′s “Ask the Governor.” Was such awesome damage done to Cape May as to seriously impact businesses? I don’t think so, but that doesn’t stop Christie from visiting there on our dime to do campaigning.

U. S. Senate candidate Mayor Cory Booker: This morning, a speech detailing proposals to the criminal justice system, including changes to drug sentencing policy, Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church, Jersey City. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke there eight days before his assassination in 1968.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and Newark Councilman Ras Baraka, a mayoral candidate: 3:00pm, address a rally marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Lincoln Park, Newark.

Email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com.  

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.”

Marriage Equality – For the Record

Following almost seven hours of testimony on Thursday, the members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee went on record with their votes to move the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption bill to the full chamber.  As in the Senate committee, the vote was along party lines, with some Democrats expressing reservations but ultimately voting for equality while other Democrats were solidly in favor.

The two Republicans on the committee had interesting views and their remarks are worth listening to. It still surprises me how a libertarian like Michael Patrick Carroll can be for discrimination and government intervention in a civil rights issue. His argument comes right out of the Santorum playbook – since there is no societal benefit to equal rights, it’s fine to vote against them.

Freshman GOP Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi appeared torn and indecisive. Her rambling remarks argued both sides of the issue but she ultimately voted for discrimination. I don’t know if she can be flipped, but it would certainly be worthwhile if she could hear from pro-equality constituents. In the arc of the history of the New Jersey Assembly, she’ll go down as having cast her first vote in favor of discrimination. I wonder if she wants this to be the legacy of her political career.

The video is 29 minutes long. If you want to jump ahead, here are the starting times for each speaker:

Gordon Johnson (D) 00:00

Reed Gusciora (D) 02:03

Ralph Caputo (D) 05:58

Annette Quijano (D) 07:40

Holly Schepisi (R) 13:20

Michael Patrick Carroll (R) 21:35

Peter Barnes (D) 22:33

Voting 28:01

Will The Essex County Freeholders trade the liberty & well being of 1200 people for $50 mill?

promoted by Rosi

The Essex County Freeholders have placed a resolution on the agenda for the 9/7 meeting to approve a new contract with ICE that would increase the number of immigration detainees at the Essex County Jail and Delaney Hall to 1200.  

According to the Essex County Executive, Joe DiVincenzo, this contract is a “home run” because it would generate $50 million/year in revenue for the county.  However there has been no discussion of the human misery that will be inflicted in order to realize this financial benefit.  

Bill to Decriminalize small amounts of Marijuana garners 18 co-sponsors.

22,439 people were arrested in New Jersey for possessing less than 50 grams* of cannabis in 2009.

FreedomIsGreen.Com, a local blog devoted to advancing more enlightened cannabis policy in New Jersey is reporting an an intriguing new bill on the Assembly docket that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in the Garden State.

The bill, which already has 18 co-sponsors (5 from the GOP) was introduced by Assemblymen Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) and Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris), the same bi-partisan duo that introduced the state’s nascent medical marijuana law.

Assembly Democrats Rally Mashup

As thousands of New Jersey’s first-responders – firefighters, police, corrections officers emergency medical services members & many of the people they protect every day – rallied outside the State House, many of their signs expressed their disgust with Senate President Steve Sweeney, members of NJ’s other legislative body were out in force at yesterday’s massive rally.

Below, in video shot by the Assembly majority office, Democratic legislators look out at a sea of blue:

Assembly Democrats Voice Their Support for Workers’ Right to Collectively Bargain from NJ Assembly Democratic Office on Vimeo.

Rumbles in the 28th and 29th

In yesterday’s Star Ledger, Jeffery C. Mays and Jonathan Casiano tell the story of Cory Booker’s statehouse showdowns, coming this June. In the 28th and 29th districts, Booker is eyeing four incumbents, which is making a lot of people unhappy.

U.S. Rep. Donald Payne thinks Booker doesn’t understand the historical role of Essex county mayors.

“There’s always been an accommodation made for the mayor of a person or two after working with the party … but no mayor has ever come in and in just six months dictated an entirely new line, ever,” Payne said.

Booker says he wants to work with Payne and others to find “consensus candidates.” But it’s not looking so good.

It seems Senator Sharpe James (LD-29) might retire this year, and Booker would like to replace him with Newark Councilman Anibal Ramos. But Assemblyman Bill Payne has already announced that he is running whether James retires or not.

Meanwhile, Ron Rice, Sr., (LD-28) is definitely running for re-election and Booker is supporting Bilal Beasley, an Essex County freeholder and Irvington councilman. And here, Booker is opposed by Steve Adubato and Rahaman Muhammad, president of the Service Employees International Union Local 617, in “an effort to prevent Booker from taking over county politics.”

And in the Assembly, Booker is pushing his former deputy campaign manager Grace Spencer over Wilfredo Caraballo in the 29th, and Essex Freeholder Ralph Caputo over Oadline Truitt in the 28th. Truitt has strong backing from the Payne family.

Will consensus candidates emerge? Will there be a hard fought three-way primary in the 29th’s Senate race? Only time will tell … oh, and of course you, Blue Jersey. What do you think?