Tag Archive: LD-4

Blue Jersey Focus – Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald

Assemblyman Lou Greenwald has been a rising star in New Jersey politics. He’s been the majority leader since January and prior to that was the chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. And he’s on everyone’s short list of potential challengers to Chris Christie in 2013.

I spoke with him today in his law office in Voorhees. We talked about policy, politics, and the special challenges of being a state-wide political figure from South Jersey.

Not as Egregious as Bush v Gore, But Still a Wrong Court Decision

I’m no fan of Gabriela Mosquera. She’s got limited experience and is just not ready to assume the role as a New Jersey Assemblywoman. She’s a loyal soldier to the South Jersey Democratic machine, and would not be an independent voice in the Assembly.  If I lived in the district and were to ever vote for a Republican, Pat Fratticcoli, one of Mosquera’s opponents, would get my vote. But that’s not my call. Nineteen thousand voters in District 4 overwhelmingly selected Mosquera and her running mate Paul Moriarty over their opponents Fratticcioli and Shirley Lovett.

That’s why today’s Supreme Court decision is so troublesome. As the Gloucester County Times reported,

Minutes before the 215th Legislature – including the Fourth District’s Gabriela Mosquera – was set to be sworn into office today, a Supreme Court order issued a stay that keeps the Democrat Assemblywoman-elect from raising her right hand and taking her seat in the Assembly.

I’m no lawyer, and don’t have the insight of the testimony and evidence that the court heard, but for me as a citizen, their decision lacks common sense. Shirley Lovett, the top Republican vote getter, is contesting Mosquera’s victory based on an arcane residency requirement that was shot down by the Supreme Court a decade ago. And while the residency requirement is the law, it’s just plain wrong in my opinion.

The Democrats will continue their fight – after all, this is just a stay, not a disqualification. Let’s hope they prevail and the voices of the voters of the district are heard. And let’s hope that Gabby Mosquera grows into the job quickly and establishes herself as an independent advocate for Democratic ideals.

Bring On The Carpetbaggers

The holy grail of any democracy is the ability of citizens to vote for the candidate of their choice. Some people vote on whether they agree or disagree with the candidate’s platform, but that’s not the only criterion for choosing one person over another.

People may vote for someone based on good looks, ethnicity, past movie star or athletic status, or even the spelling of his or her name. But one criterion that restricts a voter’s choice is the place where the candidate happens to live. That needs to be changed.

Strange Bedfellows

Flying pig

Who would have thought that there would come a time on this blog when I would agree with firstamend07 and disagree with my good friend and former colleague Jeff Pickens? Well, as implausible as it sounds, it’s true – in at least one instance.

It started when Jeff posted an excellent diary entitled “I’m Not Sure I Can Hold My Nose This Time” where he excoriates his Democratic District 4 legislators for their unresponsiveness to some legitimate questions he has asked them. In that diary, Jeff asks what he should do on Election Day to express his disgust. Staying home and voting Republican, he says, are not options. Should he write in someone else? Should he vote for a third party candidate?

I responded in the comments, saying that if Jeff does not vote for the Democrats, he essentially is voting for the Republicans.

DiCicco attempts to fix a problem he will help create

Governor Christie wants to give local towns the chance to get rid of civil service protections as part of his toolkit and get rid of what he calls “unnecessary mandates.” Some of those mandates help ensure that veterans are able to get access to employment opportunities they sorely need. That realization has lead to this bill:

Assemblyman Domenick DiCicco (R-Gloucester) Tuesday announced he will introduce legislation on Thursday that would require all municipal and county governments to extend hiring preferences to veterans, regardless of whether they follow the state Civil Service pertaining to it.

That last line is why he needs this bill. To provide cover as he goes along with the Governor because one of Christie’s proposals would take away civil service protections and the issue has been raised by groups including Veterans for Education. They say that while on the surface DiCicco’s bill looks good, it’s really a disaster:

In reality Civil Service Reform is horrible for NJ’s returning veterans. The advantage to the Civil Service exams and Veterans Preference is that they provide State Mandates to all of NJ’s counties and municipalities and Veterans Preference is easier to monitor and enforce when it’s directly tied to the state.

By allowing each town to do their own thing, Veterans groups believe it would be harder to monitor what goes on because it’s not centralized. Veterans believe that the change will become a huge deterrance to getting jobs they should have access to at a time when they need it the most with Vets having double the unemployment rate of the national average. Of course DiCicco wouldn’t need this fix it bill if he didn’t go along with the Governor creating the problem in the first place.

DiCicco needs to do his homework or find better staff

If Assemblyman DiCicco plans to hold more town hall meetings, I would suggest he get more prepared or he’s going to make the campaign ads against himself. Check out this video highlighting what he just doesn’t know at a recent meeting:

I get that he’s a newly elected Assemblyman and he’s in uncharted waters. As a former staffer, that’s where your advance work can really help out. The least his staff could do is put him at a podium and give him a cheat sheet so he doesn’t look so incompetent and open himself up for videos like this.

There will be a new legislator in the 4th district

4thdistrictAssemblywoman Sandi Love announced yesterday that she would not seek another term in office because of health reasons.

I am very grateful for the opportunity the voters gave me to represent them in Trenton,” said Love. “It has been a wonderful and challenging experience, and there is still a great deal I want to accomplish in the year remaining in my term.”

Love, 63, said she did not want to get into specifics about her condition, but assured it’s “nothing that’s life-threatening.”

“There are other people who I’m sure would like to have a chance to serve,” she said. “Whoever is chosen, I am willing to work with them and share my ideas to help them in any way that I can.”

Love took the seat in 2007, when then Assemblyman Dave Mayer decided not to run for re-election. The move certainly makes things more interesting in the fourth legislative district.  The district is split between Gloucester and Camden counties, with one seat typically representing each.  With Paul Moriarty from Washington Township in Gloucester County, PolitickerNJ speculated about potential candidates from Camden County:

A long list of possible candidates to succeed Love include: Camden County Freeholder Rodney Greco (D-Gloucester Township); former Gloucester Township mayoral candidate Bill Collins; former Acting Camden County Sheriff William Fontanez; Lindenwold Mayor Frank DeLucca; and Gloucester Township Councilmembers Glen Bianchini, Orlando Mercado, Crystal Evans and Ken Garbowski.  Sources say that the four local officials are not likely contenders for the Assembly.

If Democrats pick Greco, it would open up a seat on the Board of Freeholders.  Greco is up for re-election this year.

Basically, this is just a list of all the potential Democrats. Depending on who the Democrats go with, the domino’s could continue to fall.  Let’s not forget that they are already seeking a new Clerk in Camden County,  with the departure of now Senator Jim Beach taking the former Adler seat in the sixth district. Choosing Greco would mean a new Freeholder and Clerk would be running with current Freeholders Nash and Ripa in November.  

The fourth district has been one of the more competitive districts in the past with Senator Fred Madden winning his election in 2003 by just 63 votes. The Senate however isn’t on the ballot again this year leaving the Assembly seats and the Governor at the top of the ticket in an off year election.  Another factor in the race, with a potential candidate joining the ticket from Gloucester Township will be the local election for mayor, where will be that former Assemblyman Dave Mayer is running for the office. A competitive local election could help to drive turnout in Gloucester Township and Mayer is very well known in town.  He will take on the current Mayor, Republican Cindy Rau Hatton.  This will be a district that gets more attention now than it would have gotten yesterday for sure.

Republicans playing musical candidates in the 4th Legislative District

The full story will be in the Gloucester County Times tomorrow but…

The names on the Republican ticket for the 4th District are changing. The executive committee is set to vote tonight to endorse the new slate.

I’m hearing Shelley Lovett will move up from the Assembly candidate to seek the Senate Seat against sitting Senator Fred Madden.  The move became necessary after Senate Candidate John Jankowski decided to drop out of the race a few weeks ago.  Agnes Gardiner, Vice Chair of the Washington Township Republican Organization and former councilwoman who lost re-election in 2004 will apparently replace Lovett and run with Patricia Fratticiolli against Assemblyman Paul Moriarty and Former Gloucester Township Mayor Sandi Love for the Assembly Seats.  More on this tomorrow.

Gloucester Township GOP Municipal Chair & Treasurer Switch Parties, Senate Candidate drops out

It’s been a rough day for the Republicans in Gloucester Township.  First, their Municipal Chairman and treasurer swtiched parties endorsing the complete Democratic Slate saying…

Simply put, it is no contest. On all kinds of  issues and initiatives, our Democratic representatives have championed the needs of the taxpayers, and they are dedicated to continue being their advocates,” said Mellace and Charles Klingberg, the GOP organization Treasurer, who is also switching parties. “By contrast, the county and local Republican parties and their candidates have been silent or ineffective – or both – on matters important to our hard-working residents That’s why the Republicans continue to lose elections.  They serve up candidates and  platforms that are short on ideas and the commitment to do the hard work required to meet the needs of the township and the region.”

And speaking of losing elections, it doesn’t look like the Republicans will have much hope of defeating Senator Fred Madden who represents Gloucester Township because Madden is now running unopposed after his opponent has apparently dropped out of the race…

Now, Madden is unopposed in his bid for re-election to a second term. His Republican opponent, former Gloucester Township GOP Chairman John Jankowski, dropped out of the race on June 24, and so far, no new challenger her emerged.

Jankowski sent his notice of withdrawal to Camden County Clerk James Beach, whose office confirms they received it on June 29. But technically, Jankowski remains on the ballot, since his letter should have gone to the state Division of Elections.

I’m sure the Republicans will spin it as they’re getting rid of the dead wood or something, but when your elected officials and party leaders switch while one of your remaining candidates drops out, it becomes difficult to claim victory.

Property Tax Reform Efforts Deserve a real debate

The author is an Assemblyman serving the 4th Legislative District

Earlier this month, a Washington Township School Board Meeting was turned into a political spectacle because of a proposed bill that would create a county administrative school district pilot program.

The idea for this bill came as a result of the legislature’s special session on property taxes held last year. The committee that studied public school funding found that, on average, 55 percent of a homeowner’s property taxes go to fund schools. Furthermore, New Jersey has among the highest administrative, non-classroom school spending in the country, and these expenses are a major contributing factor to our highest-in-the-nation property taxes. That said, we as public officials would be remiss if we did not seriously review well-intentioned legislation aimed at reforming the system.

Unfortunately, those attempts at reform suffered a serious setback at the Jan. 16 meeting. I was greatly disturbed by the spread of misinformation which preceded the meeting. This effort – orchestrated by various special interests groups intent on derailing any reform effort – alarmed parents and children and created panic within our community. Most disturbing of all, their scare tactics look to be succeeding in depriving us all of much-needed property tax reform.

The bill at issue would enable one county in our State to consolidate the various administrative functions that are currently carried out separately by its component school districts. So, for instance, instead of Gloucester County’s 28 school districts all purchasing food and supplies separately and negotiating for insurance, transportation and professional services like lawyers and engineers individually, those functions would be carried out centrally by the county administration.