Tag Archive: Tom Wyka

Christie Anti-Veteran Campaign Gains Another Supporter

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It looks like Chris Christie’s campaign to allow towns to say no to veterans looking for decent homes has gained another adherent.

As reported in another Blue Jersey post by Tom Wyka, a councilman in Parsippany, John Cesaro, voted against allowing a two-family home for formerly homeless veterans because he claimed it would be “social engineering.”

We at Fair Share Housing are not exactly sure what part of letting veterans live in a two-family home qualifies as “social engineering.” It seems a bit more accurate to say that trying to stop veterans from living in your town is “social engineering.”

Fortunately, Cesaro was outvoted by members of his own party to allow veterans to live in Parsippany, showing that there are people of both parties that believe that people who served our country deserve a place in our communities.

But perhaps Cesaro was just following the leader. Just two weeks ago, Gov. Christie stopped homes for disabled veterans from being built in Salem County.

We at Fair Share Housing Center are not sure what the moral or political calculation is that makes politicians like Christie and Cesaro think that keeping veterans out of communities is acceptable. It’s wrong – and frankly offensive. And it’s good to see that people like Tom Wyka and Cesaro’s council mates are not going along with it.

It seemed like a valid challenge

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It’s December – correct?   Peace and goodwill is supposed to reign the day.  Apparently not so in politics.  Last week at an agenda meeting, I had to call out a councilman (John Cesaro) for his ideological grandstanding against COAH as “Social Engineering at its finest” in the midst of a discussion about granting a veterans organization trust fund money to establish a group home for vets.   His response?  …I’m merely being political – and it’s obvious I’m kicking off my 2013 run.

It’s kind of a disturbing scenario to observe elected officials developing a complex whereby they feel entitled to a level of status beyond reproach.  Every critic is merely a “political” enemy.

Shortly after his retort it dawned on me how to draw clear definitions between the need to criticize in the face of being accused of political opportunism,  the entire meaning of running for office, the role of political civility in light of incumbent “status” and reputation, and bundling it all up in the context of a Christmas wish.  This was my response last Tuesday.  Hope it hits the mark…

George Will once said “Some people run for office to be somebody – while others run for office to do something.”

I’ve always considered myself one of the latter despite what some people think.   And given that Mr. Cesaro has offhandedly drafted me for the Council Race in 2013,  I want to be clear on exactly why I run for office.  So I’m going to propose an interesting challenge to prove that.

So here’s the deal – I will not run for municipal office in 2013 provided the following…

Concession of Hope

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Running for Congress 2006 and 2008 was a learning experience of a kind that few people get who might think they understand the process.  Losing by the same percentage each time was also “enlightening” (I’ll avoid the word disappointing for now) – but the favorite analogy I created for this is it’s like hiking a high mountain where the top is obscured in clouds, but the farther you go and harder you work – you get to see a little further up the path, and you’re quite a bit wiser that anyone else that’s never dared to take the walk.  

The votes my running mates and I achieved yesterday are a mile marker up the path.  And we’re standing in the road having taken a long journey and wondering why we still came up short.  What I’ve come to understand through experience is – I don’t lament that realization very long.  I’ve come to enjoy the walk … the process.   We canvassed so much in this race and it was the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done.  How can you deny it if this is really in your blood – meeting voters face-to-face.  My running mates will tell you – that if there was ever an option of what we had to do on any given night – go to a community event – go to a fundraiser – even dialing for dollars (perish the thought) – more often than not – I’d say “let’s walk”  – Let’s cover some more ground – let’s meet some more people that never knew us before.

Parsippany passes pay to play reform

Tom Wyka sends this update:

Tonight at a special meeting held in response to our grassroots petition, the Citizens’ Campaign Model Ordinance against Pay-to-Play was passed by the Parsippany Town Council.

Thanks to all who helped in this effort and who came tonight to show your support!

Contact us to find out how to take action in your hometown!

Tom

The council passed the ordinance 3-1 with the council members up for re-election voting in support of the measure. The council member opposing said the problem should be solved in Trenton and he feels that town-to-town regulations would be “chaotic” as if each town has it’s own DMV.

Tom kept us updated on what they were doing and support for their efforts as the process moved along. Congratulations to all of those involved on their success in passing the reform.  

Two Days – Two P2P Editorials – We’re just gettin’ warmed up

On two consecutive days we’ve gotten press for the Parsippany Pay-to-Play reform effort…

Wednesday – “Parsippany Should Pass Pay to Play Ban”

The Morristown Town Council balked last year at approving an ordinance limiting pay-to-play for municipal elections. Supporters started a petition drive, got the ordinance on the ballot and voters, not surprisingly, approved it. We may see the same thing happen in Parsippany.

After being rebuffed by the council, a petition drive has garnered enough signatures to get an anti pay-to-play ordinance on the ballot this fall. The ordinance would limit contributions from vendors or “professional business” entities to $300 for local candidates and to $500 for county political committees. Total contributions from professional firms would be capped at $2,500.

The council has refused to adopt the ordinance. Its reluctance is hard to understand. Why would the council not want to make a public condemnation of pay-to-play? That would be both good policy and good politics.

Now that the petition in Parsippany has enough signatures to get on the ballot, the council has another chance to do the right thing.

Thursday – “Christie’s Corruption Fight” (and his own backyard)

Ah, but the difficult thing is bringing the changes about. You know there will be push back, perhaps even from his own party

For instance, its clean image notwithstanding, even Republican Morris County is not immune to the problems Christie wants to end. There are always,

it seems, a number of freeholders (there are currently two of them) who retain their municipal jobs, and thereby, put themself in potential conflict. There are also Morris County elected officials who hold full-time public jobs. And as for pay-to-play

– the practice of vendors and professionals getting government contracts by making campaign donations … we just saw the all-Republican council in

Parsippany refuse to adopt an ordinance that seeks to control

it. The council, of course, is not alone. The freeholders have refused to ban the practice as well, arguing, oddly, that it does not exist in Morris County. The observer is left to wonder why something that does not exist can’t be banned.

Sign up to support the cause as we move ahead…

www.BetterNJGov.org

Tom

DO try this at home …

To the Parsippany Troy-Hills Council:

Over the past few years – the subject of Pay-to-Play has been debated across our state.  This corrupt process, where government contracts and jobs are doled out based on campaign contributions from job or contract recipients, is a major concern to all residents of our state, county, and town.   The Daily Record noted recently that while necessary actions to ban this practice statewide have not materialized in the state legislature – there is nothing standing in the way at this time from taking action right in our own communities.

The enormous waste of taxpayer money that has actually occurred, and can potentially take place, because of these corrupt practices should be of great concern to every citizen and elected official.  With this concern in mind – I would like to introduce to the Council a model ordinance, drafted by Citizen’s Campaign, a non-partisan citizen empowerment group, for your consideration and adoption.

The Key components of this legislation are as follows …

>   Sets limits on contributions from professionals, such as attorneys, auditors, and engineers in the year prior to negotiations.

>   Bans all political contributions by contractors from the beginning of negotiations through the performance of the contract.

>   Limits contributions to $300 to town candidates and local political parties, $500 to county political parties, and limits professional firm to $2,500 in aggregate.

>  Individuals who break the law, or try to circumvent it are banned from receiving no-bid contracts for 4 years.

Please keep in mind that my intention to put this ordinance in place is not to insinuate any past or present wrongdoing as Citizen’s Campaign advocates a no-blame approach to adopting these measures.  However, this is a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate to the citizens of Parsippany your dedication to preventing situations that violate the public trust.   I look forward to discussing this ordinance with you at your convenience.   Please feel free to call me to discuss your ideas or concerns at 973-xxx-xxxx.   I look forward to working with you on this important issue.

Sincerely,

Tom Wyka

… And the Rest

Before the Professor and Maryann got their due in the Gilligan’s Island theme song, they were known collectively as “the rest.” And that’s about how some of NJ’s House races, and the Senate race, must have felt this year.

With the Obama campaign sucking up so much of the oxygen (and money, and energy, and ultimately the very PA-bound volunteers themselves), most of what was left over was focused on the “hot” races in NJ-3, NJ-5, and NJ-7. Like so often in the past, if you weren’t running in one of the hot races, then you found yourself with scant attention being paid to your campaign.

In the case of Senator Lautenberg, and our 7 Democratic House incumbents, no news was good news. New Jersey’s voters delivered a solid double-digit win to its senior Senator, and sent the Magnificent 7 back to Washington with an average margin of victory of over 40%. But for Congressional Challengers in NJ-2, NJ-4, and NJ-11, it was a different story altogether.

We look at each of these races in more detail below the fold.  

Moving Forward

Tom Wyka offers his own campaign post-mortem, with a promise to stay involved, some plugs for others doing good work, and a nice bit of well-earned thanks to the people who powered his unsuccessful bid. Tom is a bright, passionate, eminently decent guy of whom we have not heard the last, thankfully. -JG

Unfortunately the Obama campaign did not have a lot of coat tails for NJ Congressional races overall. It reminds me of an interesting article I read by David Sirota a while ago (click here to read about the idea of “presidentialism”). There’s a lesson here for us: we need to get people thinking about not just the White House, but also about Capitol Hill – all the way down to townhall – and carry a strong consistent message to all levels.  

Wyka TV Ad for the final week

Here’s Tom Wyka’s ad — Hopeful

Tom Wyka always tells everyone that will listen, how he was inspired by the late Senator Paul Wellstone. A graduate of Camp Wellstone, Tom is following in the foot steps of many a great progressive democrats, wishing to run a people powered campaign, a campaign that values boots on the ground over Washington DC consultants and big time media buys. In spite of soliciting small donations from average voters, and not big donars, Wyka for Congress has raised enough money for TV and radio.

Heres the ad that has been playing in NJ-11 this week.