Tag Archive: Passaic

Meet The People Who Just Created The Biggest Wave Of Paid Sick Day Victories Ever

Here’s a headline – from ThinkProgress – currently bouncing around among advocates and activists like a ping-pong ball. It’s a huge compliment to the coalition working together this early autumn to midwife earned sick day legislation – following the breakthrough cities of Newark and Jersey City – through city after city by ordinance.

New Jersey is now the epicenter of the movement for earned sick leave, which will result in workers having time to recover properly, or care for a sick child, and protect co-workers and strangers from illness. To do the right thing for good health and have a chance to do it without worrying about losing a job.

Congratulations on well-deserved good – and national – press to New Jersey Working Families, NJ Citizen Action NJTime to Care Coalition, NJ Communities United, SEIU 32BJ and CWA. And the residents of Jersey City, Newark, East Orange, Paterson, Passaic and Irvington.

Way to start a progressive wave, people.  

He Said What??

Although it’s not a surprise that a Republican said something stupid what is surprising is that no one in the main stream media really wrote about it.

Last October Congressman Scott Garrett was at an event where a supported made the comment that doing business in the American Midwest was easier because of their “straight-forward” attitude.  

Congressman Garrett had this to add to that;

“Other ethnicities are not that way,” Garrett said. “They’ll say yes to you constantly and then you’ll realize they really didn’t mean it.”

Then in typical republican fashion he tried to back track, but that wasn’t very successful either he clarified his statement by saying that “he meant people in other countries”.  

One of the few places it was covered was MotherJones.com you can read the whole article here: http://www.motherjones.com/moj…  

Teachers on the Edge of Poverty

Cross-posted from Jersey Jazzman.

Bruce Baker has an important post up about the Opportunity Scholarship Act – New Jersey’s voucher bill. Basically, the way the bill is now written, it would be little more than a massive giveaway of tax funds to yeshivas in Lakewood and, to a lesser degree, Passaic; somewhere on the order of $67 million. All voucher supporters should have to answer to Bruce’s arguments here.

But his post also struck me for this:

NJOSA would provide scholarships to children in families below the 250% income threshold for poverty. The text of the bill indicates that eligible children are those either attending a chronically failing school in one of the districts above or eligible to enroll in such school in the following year (which would seem to include any child within the attendance boundaries of these districts even if presently already enrolled in private schools).

Here’s the language of the bill on eligibility:

“Low-income child” means a child from a household with an income that does not exceed 2.50 times the official federal poverty threshold for the calendar year preceding the school year for which an educational scholarship is to be distributed.

What does that translate into for a dollar amount? Well, the poverty level for a family of four in the contiguous 48 states is $22,350. 250% of that is $55, 875.

Waiting For A Democrat To Challenge Garrett

Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-38) is reportedly taking a week to mull a run at Representative Scott Garrett (R) in Congressional District 5. She has said it was important that NJ have a congresswoman and that “people deserve the opportunity to have someone not driven by ideology.” She further states, “I do feel that it is winnable. I think that Scott Garrett has never had true stiff opposition. I think that people deserve a choice between a moderate and an obstructionist.” Lets now take a closer look at this reconfigured 5th CD. Although geographically challenged, CD5 is now more difficult for Garrett and represents a rare opportunity for a Democrat from Bergen County. At least two other known  potential candidates are also exploring a run.

Think of NJ like a snowman (or woman). CD5 is shaped like a cap with earmuffs that rests atop the face and body of NJ. On the western edge the earmuffs reach deep down through Sussex and Warren’s rural, mountainous  areas to CD 7. It’s cap top includes Sussex, two Passaic towns and Bergen. Its smaller less deep eastern earmuff is also Bergen. The face under the cap and earmuffs includes districts 7,9 and 11. To drive through the CD5 you could start at Washington Borough in the south/western section, drive north to Montague (53 miles), then east to Alpine (76 miles) and south to Teaneck (12 miles) – a very long 141 mile trip which would be multiple miles longer if you crisscrossed the area to encompass more or all of the towns in the district. The roads in Sussex and Warren are country roads, and in fact the quickest way to travel the first two legs is using out-of-state nearby highways (in PA and NY respectively).

Not a geographically friendly area for a congressperson, but such probably has not bothered Rep. Garrett as he spends little time doing retail politics. Following redistricting, however, he now has about 161,000 new constituents from Bergen County, including from Hackensack, Fair Lawn, Lodi, River Edge, Maywood, Bogota, and part of Teaneck. Now pesky Bergen County provides 72% of his constituents, and most of its towns are an hour or more drive from his home in Wantage. He will by force have to spend time particularly in the southern area of Bergen with new voters who are unhappy Democrats and with Republicans who don’t know him and may not like what they see.

Assemblywoman and Deputy Speaker Connie Wagner from Paramus, should she decide to run in the 5th, is conveniently located near the center of Bergen County where 72% of the CD5 voters live. She already represents 82,935 CD5 residents in Paramus, Lodi, and Fair Lawn. She has served on the Bergen County Board of Freeholders and the Paramus Council. She will have to spend some time in the more distant conservative Sussex and Warren counties making the point that she can better represent their interests, and she will have to reach out to the more Republican towns in Bergen CD5. (See my recent diary detailing Garrett’s extreme positions and why a more moderate approach can gain traction in CD5.) She will need to amass over $1million in campaign donations as Garrett, according to the Federal Election Commission, as of 9/30/11 reported he held $1,564,354 in cash.    

For further information on Assw. Wagner and two other potential candidates, Duffy and Carson, see below the fold.

Clocks start again on NJ foreclosures

New Jersey continues to be the ‘Wild West’ of foreclosure consulting. Hair stylists are required to undergo more government scrutiny than foreclosure consultants.

                                                    – Asm Gary Schaer, Passaic

Gary Schaer says families faced with homelessness are turning to foreclosure consultants and ‘rescue firms’ in a last-ditch effort to hold onto their homes. Unfortunately, he says, some of them are nothing more than fronts for elaborate schemes to rob homeowners of their hard-bought equity. Schaer’s the sponsor of the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act (A-359), which passed both houses unanimously, and has been waiting for the Governor’s signature since June 29, when it got final legislative approval.

The bill requires foreclosure consultants and distressed property purchasers who contract with owners of residential properties in financial distress to adhere to certain practices in providing foreclosure prevention services to owners.

Among the bill’s provisions are some rules for short-sales. In short-sales, the generally accepted percentage banks try to recoup is 82% of the fair market value. Schaer’s legislation advocates parity; that vulnerable homeowners should get the same renumeration as the big banks. He calls this a necessary protection, given that many property owners have received just pennies on the dollar for their distressed property – and sometimes nothing at all.

In December, NJ Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner ruled that 6 of the state’s biggest lenders had to demonstrate they were treating homeowners fairly during foreclosure proceedings.  The order slowed filings in the first half of this year to a near halt. A ruling Monday in NJ Superior Court allows many of the state’s biggest mortgage providers to continue with foreclosure proceedings.

A lot of New Jersey families are living on the brink. It’s obviously in the best interest of the state to tighten up regulations that impact anything as serious as foreclosure. The bill’s been sitting on Christie’s desk for weeks. New Jersey Citizen Action and NJ Legal Services both back it. Support’s also come from the NJ Bankers Association, NJ Realtors Association, and NJ Land Title Association. The NJ Department of Banking and Insurance has urged legislators to sign it. Christie should either sign it, or come up with reasons why not.

Clock’s ticking.  

Countdown: 8 Days till the Jeff Gardner Money Bomb on March 24

Okay, bean sprouts. We’re now just 8 days out from Blue Jersey’s first-ever money bomb, and it’s for Blue Jersey’s own Jeff Gardner.

What’s a money bomb? Think of it as a juiced-up, concentrated grassroots effort to raise $$ for a great candidate – Jeff Gardner for Senate. Here’s where Jeff’s money bomb is going:

  • LD-35: Jeff’s home district (Paterson-area).

  • Statewide: Jeff’s status as a statewide progressive priority means support from all over NJ.

  • National: Democracy for America (DFA) is all over this, and progressive & LGBT groups all over the country will likely jump in, too.

    In other words, this is a big deal. Want in? Any contribution you can make – $5, $25, 250, anything – puts power behind Jeff’s race, and makes you part of this chance to send a better class of Democrat to Trenton, where he is sorely needed.

    What we’re going to ask you to do is sign up now to RSVP that you’ll jump in with a contribution on March 24th, Money Bomb Day for Jeff. More than 55 people already have.

    RSVP now to join the Jeff Gardner for Senate Money Bomb March 24th!

    Blue Jerseyans, DFA’ers, friends, Thank you. You amaze me every day.

    Jeff Gardner, on NJN’s Reporters Roundtable