Tag Archive: Peter Barnes

Bitter Dregs

I happen to like Wawa coffee much better than I do Starbucks. And the price at the yellow goose is much less than the price at the green siren – about $1.80 for a 16-oz cup.

Governor Christie recently cut $10 million from the state’s aid for legal services to the poor and indigent. Ten million sounds like a lot of money, but it’s 37% less than the cost of a cup of Wawa coffee for each citizen of New Jersey.

Assemblyman Peter Barnes held a hearing of the Judiciary Committee yesterday in Trenton to learn about the impact of the governor’s cuts to an already decimated budget for legal services. Testimony was presented by law school deans whose internship programs to help the poor in Newark and Camden are affected, the head of New Jersey’s Legal Services group, a union representative, and a citizen-advocate.

Killing two progressives with one regressive stone

Ever since it was announced that progressive State Senators, Barbara Buono and Joe Vitale, could find themselves in the same legislative district, progressives have been apoplectic with rage over the possibility that an already regressive Democratic State Senate could be short yet another progressive State Senator when the next legislature is sworn in next year.

However, what nobody seems to realize is the possibility that both Buono and Vitale could find themselves on the outside looking in next year unless they agree to work cooperatively rather than competitively.  How?  Read below the fold to find out.

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano to Chair Homeland Security Panel

“A representative of one of our largest port cities, with proximity to one of the nation’s busiest airports, she fully understands the importance of homeland security to the safety and well-being of our residents.

–NJ Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver

6a00d83451b91969e20120a9635b11970b-320wiDemocrats choose Quijano

Union County Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth) will be the new Chairwoman of the Assembly Homeland Security Committee.

The panel’s responsibilities include oversight of issues pertaining to counter-terrorosim, port security, emergency responders, and (as the name suggests) general homeland security. It’s a powerful position with a lot on the line.

Quijano takes the gavel from Fred Scalera who left office after a half-term to go spend time with a better paying job. Rounding out the panel are Democrats Gordon Johnson (co-chair), John Burzichelli and Vince Prieto and Republicans David Russo and Robert Schroeder.

A Time for Change: Day Laborer Treatment

“Few in our society are as vulnerable as recent immigrants who seek work on a day-to-day basis and have limited English proficiency.”    

            – NJ Governor’s Advisory Panel on Immigration Policy

“It’s a hard life…. We’re just looking for work. We need more people with good hearts who know why we’re here.”

            – Newark Ironbound day laborer

In August 2010 Seton Hall Law School released a report entitled Ironbound Underground which documented that in Newark’s East Ward 96% of local immigrant day laborers have been victims of wage theft, 27% assaulted by an employer, 80% not given safety equipment, and 20% hurt on the job. Then in January 2011 the Law School issued All Work and No Pay in which it expanded its research to Elizabeth, Freehold, Morristown, Orange, Flemington, Bridgeton, and Palisades Park. There it documented among day laborers 48% not paid, 54% underpaid, 26% injured, 35% abandoned and 26% assaulted.

Ironbound Underground concluded, “Our findings demonstrate a staggering degree of workplace violations and exploitation of day laborers by local employers in violation of federal and state law, resulting in a loss of dignity for the day laborer population and a loss of revenue to the public. Yet the day laborers in Newark have found few effective avenues to address the violations of their rights.” The more extensive All Work No Pay concludes: “Community organizations, municipal courts, prosecutors, and state and local officials all have essential parts to play in enforcing labor standards and further safeguarding the rights of workers.”  

With the current tough economy the number of day laborers is increasing, and they are not only immigrants. Local officials should establish hiring halls for day laborers, as they decrease worker abuse. State legislators, in particular the Labor Committee chairs Sen. Fred Madden and Assemblyman Joseph Egan, and Judiciary Committee Chairs Sen. Nicholas Scutari and Assemblyman Peter Barnes, should draft new legislation. Bill S1588, which seeks to set up a division to investigate and address disparities and civil rights violations suffered by immigrants, could be a start. The All Work No Pay report recommends that New Jersey’s Wage Theft statute be updated and include standardization of the procedure which allows workers to file complaints directly with municipal courts, criminal sanctions against employers who retaliate against employees who file complaints, and sufficient fines and damages to deter wage theft.

Blue Jersey Radio Returns – LIVE Tonight at 7:30 p.m. with Assemblyman Pete Barnes


Each week, Blue Jersey Radio streams LIVE with NJ’s latest political buzz, interviews with newsmakers + your stimulating calls. Call-in Number: (646) 652-2773

This Week: Jeff and I welcome Assemblyman Peter Barnes, the newly minted Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. BlueJersey was a loud and vocal critic of the choice, obviously preferring one of Barnes’s more liberal colleagues. That prompted the Assemblyman to introduce himself (and his progressive bona fides) to the BlueJersey community. That’s what’s on tap for tonight.

Listen to internet radio with Blue Jersey on Blog Talk Radio

Our call-in guests help make this show great and we love it when callers share their questions and their wisdom with us. That number again is (646) 652-2773 and we want you to call. So join us tonight for 30 minutes of BlogtalkRadio Bliss.

Who Gets the Gavel?

6a00d83451b91969e20120a9635b11970b-320wiWill the Democrats choose diversity?

Leadership battles reveal a lot about a party. And now that Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein is headed to the NJ Senate, there’s a battle brewing over who will take over Greenstein’s gavel as chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

According to PolitickerNJ, three members of the democratic caucus have put their name forward, including anti-choice Assemblyman Peter Barnes.

For obvious reasons, I’d rather the gavel go to Annette Quijano (the current co-chair) or Reed Gusciora (a more tenured committee member) because both are so clearly superior to Barnes on progressive issues like gay rights and choice.

Again, a lot is revealed about the nature and direction of a party based on leadership choices like these. Stay tuned….

Middlesex incumbents rule

Surprise, surprise.  MCDO got their slate together yesterday.  From the Home News:

…all Democratic incumbents were endorsed by voice votes by county committee members who number more than 1,000 from the county’s 25 municipalities…

Spicuzzo, chairman of the Democratic Organization, considers the field of candidates to be a strong one. “I think it is a strong field of candidates, but I also feel that they are capable people in providing good government,” said Spicuzzo. 

Spicuzzo said he is feeling much better than the last election during which he was recovering from a stroke he suffered during a gastric surgery…

And how about the only open assembly seat?

The endorsement of Barnes III for the primary also settled the question of who would fill the term of his father and Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes Jr., who appears headed for confirmation by the state Senate later this week for chairman of the State Parole Board. Barnes Jr. would be required to leave the Assembly if he is confirmed and takes the job.

Legacies rule too.  I like the way the reporter goes along with idea that there is no such thing as a competitive primary. The filing deadline is Apr 10th, but of course, no serious challenge is expected.

Oh, but wait, in another district, Assyman Vas has a challenger – you might remember that Vas was the challenger for the 13th CD against Menendez replacement, Albio Sires.

Barry Adler of Woodbridge will challenge for an Assembly endorsement.

Can challenging in a CD actually make a Mdlsx incumbent vulnerable?

To my knowledge, Vas was the last challenger to take down an incumbent, Arlene Friscia, but my memory is short and I only know very recent history.

I know nothing of Adler, and the only thing I know about Woodbridge is that there are 3 out of 9 women on the council, including the council president, but after Sen. Vitale graciously agreed to the former mayor’s wish to serve as interim mayor, he also agreed to step aside to let former McGreevey treasurer and the current mayor, McCormac, run for the seat last November. 

News Roundup and Open Thread for Wednesday, March 14, 2007

  • The New Jersey League of Municipalities says towns need more than just a 2% increase in state aid.  Extraordinary aid, which many towns rely upon, has been cut.
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer has a very interesting profile of Theodore Z. Davis, the new state-appointed chief administrator for Camden. 
  • In Deptford, a petition is circulating for a referendum to end play-for-play at the local level.
  • A new report, timed to influence hearings on President Bush’s proposed cuts to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, says that 255,000 New Jersey children lack health insurance.  Most of them have working parents.
  • The Courier-Post interviews residents who are unhappy that Middletown’s new website requires visitors to register, and give their e-mail and phone.  Town officials note that theis way they can contact more residents, and new services are available including tax payments.
  • Morristown is applying for a federal program in which their local police officers have the power to check immigration status.  It would be the first New Jersey town to take part.
  • Did you know that Route 130 is now Einstein’s Alley.  It may be the center of a new pharmaceutical industry, and features a new Biotechnology Center. 
  • Former Atlantic City Council president (and Democrat) Craig Callaway was sentenced to 40 months in jail for corruption.  If you don’t remember the details, click on the link, because there’s no way to summarize this case. 
  • Democrat Peter Barnes appears to be on track to become state Parole Board chairman.  The Middlesex County Democratic Organization is expected to endorse his son for his Assembly seat, and to chose him to fill it for the rest of the year. 
  • One Gun Per Month

    If you want to buy Sudafed at your local pharmacy, you have to present ID and sign a log book. By law you can only buy 9 grams per month.

    If you buy a hand gun in New Jersey, there’s no need to register it. You can also buy as many as you want each month. For now, anyway:

    New Jersey could become the nation’s fifth state and the first in seven years to make it illegal for people to buy more than one handgun per month.

    Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, a sponsor of the legislation, represents Jersey City, which like other New Jersey cities has struggled against street gangs and gun violence.

    “I personally can see no reason why anyone would want to go out and buy guns in multiples,” she said. […]

    The proposal comes with New Jersey increasingly concerned about gun crimes, particularly from street gangs. Last year, authorities in Newark, Irvington and Camden seized 114 firearms, up from 86 in 2005. Meanwhile, homicides in Newark have jumped from 65 in 2002 to 113 last year, with nonfatal shootings also on the rise.

    One-gun-per-month laws have been supported by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which contends they’ve cut gun trafficking in Virginia and handgun sales in Maryland. New Jersey Assemblyman Peter Barnes, another bill sponsor, said that’s key because guns are now the weapon of choice for young people.

    Just one gun per month? Seems sensible to me.