Tag Archive: Freehold

News Roundup & Open Thread for Thursday, September 3, 2015

Parents suing New Jersey’s Department of Education over the use of new state exams and SAT and ACT tests to determine whether students meet graduation requirements. 

Calling it an “unlawful” overreach by the federal government, Gov. Chris Christie slammed President Obama’s new Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut emissions at fossil fuel-fired power plans across the U.S. Is anyone surprised?

Christie seeks financial advisor for state transportation projects. NJ Spotlight adds, “It’s not clear what money will be left to manage if Transportation Trust Fund goes broke at end of next fiscal year.” Is this just another way for Christie to postpone the inevitable? He already has a top-notch transportation commissioner in Jamie Fox.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Democratic state lawmakers urge Christie to sign legislation that would overhaul New Jersey’s voting laws. They ask him “to put presidential politics aside,” but it is unlikely he will as he has already criticized the bill. Nonetheless, it’s a fight well worth fighting.

The Record reports NY NJ Port Authority has $1.75M tab on outside lawyers to shield itself and its employees from an investigation into whether it improperly used toll money from its Hudson River crossings to fix state roads in New Jersey.

James O’Keefe, once and forever one of Rutgers’ most embarrassing alums, gets caught apparently breaking the law as he tries tripping up the Clinton campaign.

Christie slimes Hillary Clinton with his comments on her email scandal, says Star-Ledger editorial.

A $1 million theft of Apple laptops destined to NJ high schools last year: But, NY prosecutors said on Wednesday, a few things had not added up.

The conservative Manhattan Institute says, N.J. pension reform is one of a few in U.S. that saves money in long-term.

An early – and glowing – review of Freeheld: “a true story about a dying lesbian detective, her mechanic girlfriend, and the legal battle that changed New Jersey. This film’s a surprisingly tender love story.”

Chris Christie is a sad fanboy now: He says he used to be Springsteen’s friend, which may just be wishful thinking, but some newly discovered posts from a 15-year-old email listserv shed additional light on just how deep Christie’s devotion runs.  

Freeheld, the feature film about NJ’s Laurel Hester, is cast

urlBlue Jersey was born on Wednesday, Sep 28, 2005 at 8:39pm, when its founder Juan Melli created his account at the blog he built on a new platform called soapblox.

But Blue Jersey became what it is when we joined the fight for marriage equality in New Jersey, becoming a kind of unofficial communications arm of Garden State Equality. And what knitted so many of us together was the fight for her rights of a dying Ocean County police officer named Laurel Hester who wanted the benefits she earned go to her partner, Stacie. First she fought alone, then her best friend – a male officer who hadn’t known she was gay – fought with her. That lady had guts. Then Garden State Equality showed up for her, again and again. As Laurel’s lung cancer made it harder to breathe, GSE and its Steven Goldstein became a voice for her.

Before she died, Laurel Hester’s determination gave life to a movement in a state that now recognizes the rights of its Laurels and Stacies to marry, so they get treated the way they deserve to be. Laurel was GSE’s test of fire, and it was our privilege to help where we could and help GSE tell her story.  An Academy Award-winning short documentary, Freeheld was made and premiered in New Jersey, with and for GSE.

And now Laurel’s story – and Garden State Equality’s – will be a feature film. Here is the cast, according to Hollywood Reporter:

Laurel Hester: Julianne Moore

Stacie Andree: Ellen Page

Steven Goldstein: Zach Galifianakis

Peter Sollett will direct, from a screenplay by Ron Nyswaner, who wrote Philadelphia.

I’m thinking of so many people I’m proud of right now. I can’t wait to see this.  

Random Drug Testing Students is Wrong. Wrong.

promoted by Rosi

I saw this in Bob Ingle’s blog and my blood starts to boil:

Six Monmouth County high schools may have students be subjected to random drug tests. The Asbury Park Press reported they are part of the Freehold Regional High School District – which includes Colts Neck, Freehold, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro high schools.

This is something that all sides of the aisle — strict Constitutionalists, conservatives, libertarians, civil libertarians, liberals, people who don’t give a damn — should oppose.  Outright and without reservation.

  • The government forces parents to sent their children to schools (which I support);
  • The government then wants to take these children’s bodily fluids — blood or urine — against their will because they’re in school.

Talk about government overreach.  They can’t force kids to give up their Facebook passwords but can take their urine?  How is it possibly legal to compel attendance, then compel behavior because of that attendance in the absence of any evidence, accusation or suspicion?

We’ve not just gone through the looking glass, but smoked the caterpillar’s hooka and licked the mercury-laced Mad Hatter’s wares.

I completely fail to understand what benefit this would have except to ruin young lives, even young lives who never did drugs at the school when the school has oversight.  If a kid smokes a joint at a non-school party on a Saturday will test positive on a Wednesday.  A kid who gets tested on Wednesday then, knowing she won’t be tested for a while, gets stoned during match class the same daywill pass the test.

And the kids who failed the tests will lose scholarships, get into lesser schools, see job potential dim.  All because of … I don’t really know what.  

We know definitively that Barack Obama did drugs. He’s admitted it.  If a policy like this were in place his life would have been destroyed instead of being an inspiration to so many here in the US and around the world. There are rumors about Bush, and Clinton tried but didn’t inhale.

We all know many of our high school classmates who are now doctors, lawyers, Mayors, Governors, bankers, mothers, fathers, teachers, principals and otherwise contributing to society smoked marijuana in high school.  And probably after.  Should they all have had their futures damaged by government intrusion into their bodily fluids?

And, if we’re honest, many of us smoked in high school as well.  Should your life have been ruined for that?


Rabbi sues Freehold for violating his religious freedoms

Doesn’t Freehold have any bigger concerns…

A New Jersey rabbi has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the township where he lives, saying local officials in Freehold Township are conducting an illegal surveillance of his house and restricting his right to pray at his home.

So what serious violation is the Rabbi committing that is warranting any surveillance in the first place…

At issue is whether Bernstein, a rabbi with the ultraorthodox Lubavitch Chabad, is allowed to host a minyon, the necessary 10 men to pray under orthodox Jewish law, at his home on Shabbat, Friday night to Saturday night.  The Monmouth County township says he is violating local zoning ordinances because he is using his home as a house of worship, according to the lawsuit.

He wants to have 10 people over for a prayer because his religion says he can’t drive from Friday night to Saturday night and this requires fines and surveillance…

Bernstein received a zoning violation in February 2007 and a summons in April; in May he filed a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court. The township retaliated by “secretly setting up a video camera,” aimed at the Bersteins’ home, which is operated on Friday afternoon before Shabbat until its conclusion on Saturday, the lawsuit alleges.

I wish this was a joke.  I have to listen to the President tell me to be afraid while they raise a color coded chart and have me give up my toothpaste when I fly and instead of focusing on the real threats, Freehold is doing surveillance on the home of a Rabbi wanting to worship in retaliation for being taken to court?  And now how much money will they have to spend defending themselves from this lawsuit?  Couldn’t they have just given the Rabbi a variance so he wouldn’t be in violation?  Wouldn’t that have been easier, less expensive and possibly a responsible resolution?  There has to be more to this story.

*Update-  In the thread, Rob Usdin posted an additional story providing more information.  While the frame that I gave is incorrect, I think the issue is one that deserves discussion.  I shouldn’t have closed w/ the homeland security end.  I was looking at the resources that were being spent.  I hope people will look past my reactionary initial post and look deeper to the issue.  I feel like it’s gonna come up again regardless of the religion.

ICE raid in Englewood??!!

Update to last night’s entry:
The papers didn’t pick it up. City officials don’t know anything about it. But I’ve spoken with eyewitnesses that saw uniformed men take away 4 or 5 hispanic immigrants from their apartment around the hours of four and six on Monday morning. I’m not sure as to what this means or what comes next or what I should do. Two cars and a van drop by an apartment and take people away and life goes on in Englewood, NJ. Just another day. Numbing. Accion y paciencia. Accion y paciencia. Accion y paciencia. Accion y paciencia. Accion y paciencia…
Come what may. Earlier this evening I was informed that there was an ICE raid in Englewood on Palisades Avenue. I’ve no confirmation of this from any news sources. Just fyi NJ, ICE is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (US Department of Homeland Security; formerly parts of Immigration & Naturalization Service and US Customs). And I will assume that this happened and I am not surprised. After all, the United Patriots of America, UPA (with ties to the Minutemen Project, vigilantes that patrol the border) has intimidated day laborers in Bergenfield. And there’s Bogota, of course!
From an informative email:



Saturday March 31 1:00 PM
Paul Robeson CenterBusch Campus
600 Bartholomew Rd
Piscataway, NJ

Immigrants in New Jersey, as in the rest of the United States, are facing increasing attacks. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids are being stepped up, tearing families apart, detaining and deporting those who have lived here for years. Demagogic town governments are taking anti-immigrant measures. Morristown, for example, is planning to deputize its police as ICE agents.  Massive workplace raids like the recent one in New Bedford, Mass. can happen at any time. A New Jersey radio station, 101.5, has called for people to turn in their neighbors as suspected undocumented immigrants, encouraging vigilantism.

The attacks on migrants are attacks on all of us. They are aimed at maintaining an underclass of workers who are too terrified to assert their rights to decent pay, working conditions and living conditions.  No one, not even the government, wants to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants who are vital to the economy. The attacks and anti-immigrant laws aim to drive down the cost of all labor, benefiting employers, pitting worker against worker, and hurting us all.

We are fighting back, immigrants and native-born united!  We are speaking out against the attacks and the demagogic proposal in towns like Morristown’s and Freehold.  We are starting to organize a Rapid Response Network which will give aid to those confronting ICE raids or employer abuses of immigrants. We are joining with organizations across the country to organize a Second Great  Boycott.

Speak out for the rights of ALL!

We invite your organization’s endorsement and participation in this event and in an April 3 noon press conference in New Brunswick

Endorsing organizations(list in formation):
NJ May 1 Coalition
IRATE/First Friends
NJ Civil Rights Defense Committee
Philippine Forum
United Day Laborers of Freehold

Interested in reading about progressive Morristown:
Town seeks new power over illegal immigrants
Morristown wants to give its police the same authority as federal officers

Much respect to Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo.
Hispanics steamed by shock radio stunt

And from a New York Times Article, good old Freehold.

PUBLIC LIVES; Back in the Fight He Picked Decades Ago
Article Tools Sponsored By
Published: March 17, 2004

CESAR A. PERALES, the president of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, is revved up. But he is not losing his cool. (He is too cool for that.) He is talking about the fund’s wranglings in federal court over the attempt by Freehold Borough in Monmouth County, N.J., to prevent day laborers from gathering at a vacant lot to scout for work.

”The question of the treatment of day laborers is so flagrant, I feel it viscerally,” Mr. Perales says, leaning over to emphasize the point. ”This is to me as horrific as the segregation that the government imposed in the South. We’re seeing local governments treating undocumented workers in a similar fashion, marginalizing them, not wanting them to live where they live. This is a fight that will take a long time.”