Tag Archive: Gerald Cardinale

What’s Happening Today Wed. 10/02/2013

Booker vs. Lonegan and the election schedule that only Christie could concoct:: With exactly two weeks to go, October 16 is the Special Election date for the U. S. Senate race. Gov. Christie made it particularly “special” by holding it on a Wednesday and not on General Election day. How convenient! We continue to miss Sen. Frank Lautenberg. We wont miss current Sen. Jeff Chiesa (R), but don’t be surprised if Christie appoints him to another position.  

Now we have the 13th public poll on the race: The Monnmouth Universiity poll which has Booker at 53% and Lonegan at 40% – a +13 point advantage. Previous recent polls according to Real Clear Politics: Quinnippiac (9/22) Booker +12, Kean University (9/19) Booker +19, Richard Stockton College (9/21) Booker +26 and Rutgers-Eagleton (9/09) Booker +35. The race has tightened up, Booker maintains a healthy lead (no “margin of error” concerns), but in this weird election with low turnout predicted it is important that we all vote and help GOTV or else face something akin to the apocalypse.

Republican candidate Steve Lonegan has been in a persistent and somewhat successful attack mode. There were high spirits at his classic 1938 Bendix Diner event yesterday in Hasbrouck Heights. With some 70 attendees, it opened with a prayer which included a blessing for “marriages between one man and one woman.” Texas Governor Rick Perry, accompanied by plainclothes Texas Rangers, spoke briefly about guns (good) and ACA (bad: “It’s felonious”) and lauded Texas and Lonegan. Steve Lonegan then launched into his stump speech talking concisely, spiritedly, and bluntly about his conservative principles. On the government shutdown he said, “It’s a little inconvenient but not so much so.”

Senior Lonegan Advisor Rick Shaftan spent a few minutes with me enumerating all the perceived bad points about Cory Booker. When I asked Shaftan twice why he thought Lonegan would win, the four-word response each time was “He is a conservative.” Apparently that’s sufficient. One good point about Shaftan: he likes Joey Novick, but then again so do a lot of people.

Two attendees saw a truck in the parking lot painted with “1-800-got-junk,” under which they affixed a sign reading, “YES! Obamacare.” Perhaps an indication of their high spirits, enthusiasm and confidence. Also in attendance were Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-39), Bergen County Exec. Kathleen Donovan and Senator Michael Doherty (R-23).

NJ Court sets up schedule for the State’s application to stay the Summary Judgment order, set to be effective October 21, in the M. E. case: October 1: the State must file its case; October 4: the Plaintiff’s opposition to the stay must be filed; October 7: the State may file its opposition if it chooses. There will be no oral arguments.  

Pubic Schedules (Your opportunity to support or heckle)

Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: No public events.

Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 4:30pm, Groundbreaking ceremony at Rowan University College of Engineering, Glassboro; 6:15pm, addresses the New Jersey Alliance for Action’s Eagle Awards Dinner, Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick.

U.S. Senate nominee Cory Booker: 6:00pm, Reception at the home of Carol and Andy Golden with Rep. Rush Holt, Princeton, for more information go here; 9:00pm, “Run with Cory,” Palmer Square, Princeton.

U. S. senate candidate Steve Lonegan: 6:30pm, fundraiser, High Point Brewing Company, 22 Park Place, Butler.

Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com

Voters Want Integrity, Not Slick Schemes

One of the things I continually hear from the people that I speak with throughout Bergen County is that they want “honesty” from their elected officials.

Integrity is certainly not too much to ask. That’s why I decide to insist that Republican Robert Schroeder immediately resign from the state Assembly as he awaits trial on a litany of criminal charges and a series of civil lawsuits.

A state grand jury indicted Mr. Schroeder for allegedly stealing $1.8 million and writing more than $3.4 million in bad checks. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and severe fines. Lawsuits may force him to repay millions of dollars to his creditors.

Of course we should consider Mr. Schroeder to be innocent until he can defend himself in state court. I firmly believe in our judicial system. But, the appearance of impropriety by public officials is enough to damage everyone’s trust and confidence.

That’s why Mr. Schroeder should resign now. His fellow Republican lawmakers – state Sen. Gerald Cardinale and Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi – should join me and also insist that he resign gracefully.

Although it would boost their credibility – I doubt Cardinale and Schepisi will speak up because I have a sneaking suspicion that Bergen County’s well-greased Republican machine wants Mr. Schroeder to warm his Assembly seat until after the June Primary.

Why? It’s part of a slick political scheme – if Schroeder steps down after the Primary, Bergen Republicans can appoint Bob Auth to fill the unexpired term. Auth – who has been Sen. Cardinale’s aide and chauffeur for years – can march toward the Nov. 5th general election as an incumbent, rather than an unknown.

These kinds of political shenanigans are what make hard-working people cynical. No wonder people tell me they are fed up with politics and politicians.

Uncovering and ending schemes like this are among the reasons I am running for N.J. Senate against Mr. Cardinale – integrity and honest representation are not too much for voters to expect. Learn more about my campaign at www.bidwellforsenate.com.

Is LD39 winnable?

Good article in PolitickerNj leaves me with the impression this district might flip to Democrats. Republicans are at each other’s throats, Bob Schroeder is a major embarrasment to the GOP, Gerry Cardinale is ten years younger than Frank Lautenberg but appears ten years older. There’s also a good chance Rob Hermansen won’t go away quietly and may primary Schepisi and Auth for Assembly. He’s a strong candidate and could do considerable damage to the GOP ticket.

It seems to me that with a strong ticket and some serious money this district could change from red to blue and retire Gerry Cardinale, who looks like he needs a bib along with his bowl of Farina for breakfast.

Winners and Losers in Today’s Minimum Wage Vote

Today, the New Jersey Senate passed a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour and would include a cost of living adjustment. The bill, which has already passed in the General Assembly, goes back to the Assembly on Monday to match the language of the Senate bill. It will then go to Governor Christie’s desk for signature.

I have no doubt that the Governor will veto the bill – not necessarily because he doesn’t think New Jerseyans deserve a decent wage, but because he is loath to alienate his big business corporate contributors to his presidential campaign.

While there was two hours of repetitive debate on the bill, a companion resolution, to amend the state Constitution, was passed without debate. With an anticipated veto by the governor of the original bill, the amendment will require passage in two consecutive years, and would then be put on the ballot in the November 2013 election. So relief to people earning poverty-level wages would not come until early 2014.

During the debate on the original bill, the Democrats argued that given New Jersey’s high cost of living, keeping the minimum wage at its current level only sustains poverty. Without an automatic cost of living adjustment the extreme difficulty, a large number of our fellow citizens will continue to struggle. The incremental dollars that go to minimum wage workers would be spent in New Jersey on essentials, and would stimulate small business.

The Republicans disingenuously harped on the impact of Hurricane Sandy. Rebuilding will require huge sums of money, and now is not the time to raise the minimum wage, they contend. Yet, Senator Paul Sarlo and others pointed out that the GOP would vote against a Cost of Living adjustment even if there had been no storm.

So who were the winners and losers in today’s debate?

My Thoughts on the Harris Hearing

My thoughts after a day of live-blogging the Harris confirmation hearing:

In the end, it was the clumsy handling of Bruce Harris’ preemptive recusal on marriage equality that sank the nomination of what was to be the first openly gay member of the New Jersey Supreme Court. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the governor’s staff are feeling the Wrath of Christie right about now for their bungling of the nomination. I’d like to be a fly on the wall the next time Governor Christie has a conversation with Assemblyman Jay Webber, who was central to the leak leading to Harris’ recusal.

Six months ago, who woulda thunk that the Democrats would vote against a black, openly gay nominee and the Republicans would be gung-ho for his nomination? But even Senator Jennifer Beck, who has occasionally exhibited an independent streak from the Christie dogma, fell in line and was blind to the political shenanigans that the Christie is imposing on the Court. It was odd to see an über-conservative like Senator Gerald Cardinale uncomfortably promote the elevation of a minimally-qualified gay attorney to the state’s highest court.

Not being a lawyer, I can’t comment on Harris’ qualifications. But putting the political games aside, it seems to me that Harris was chosen not for his lawyerly skills, but for other reasons. Harris was touted as an expert in one narrow field of law – certainly not a disqualification – but it seems that there are many attorneys out there with stronger résumés.

The person whose opinion I trust the most is Senator Loretta Weinberg. Here are some of her comments to reporters after the hearing:

Closing Remarks on Phillip Kwon

Below is a video of the closing remarks by each of the senators and their vote in the confirmation hearing of Phillip Kwon. It begins with the Republicans. The Democrats follow, starting with Senator Weinberg at the 24:10 mark.

Senate Bill 1 – Celebrating Marriage Equality (video)

Yesterday’s Senate session was historic – the passage of S1, the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption bill.

Due to some technical glitches, the audio feed from the Senate was not of high quality, so it’s best to listen to this video using headphones. My apologies for the sub-par audio, but you’ll be watching one of the most significant events in the history of the New Jersey legislature.

Even if you don’t view the entire 35 minutes, fast forward to 34:07 to see the vote and especially the jubilant reaction of Garden State Equality’s Steven Goldstein.

Time marks for the  senators’ remarks are:

Senate President Sweeney – 00:00

Senate Majority Leader Weinberg – 06:01

Senator Ray Lesniak – 18:39

Senator Gerald Cardinale – 20:15

Senator Richard Codey – 26:01

Senator Barbara Buono – 29:32

Senator Jennifer Beck – 32:30


I observed the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today and expected fireworks in the hearing to confirm Bob Hanna to be President of the Board of Public Utilities, but instead of fireworks, we got a dud.

Hanna’s confirmation was a love fest, and the committee unanimously advanced it to the full Senate for final approval. From what I can tell, although Hanna has had limited experience in the world of utilities and telecommunications, he’s a well-respected lawyer and public servant, and there’s no reason to deny the Governor’s appointment of Mr. Hanna to the BPU.

But our state senators are not shrinking violets (more on this later), and this hearing was a golden opportunity to raise some concerns and get Hanna’s response. No doubt he agrees with the Governor on the important issues facing the board, but he should have been asked about the state’s withdrawal from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (right after the Governor had a secret meeting with the Koch Brothers), the impact of the Governor’s de-emphasis of renewable energy in the state’s Energy Master Plan, and the Governor’s hidden tax increase when Mr. Christie took the money from the Societal Benefit Fund (a surcharge on your utility bill) to help balance the budget instead of investing those dollars in clean energy.

Madness in Trenton

Ask my wife. Or ask any of my friends. I rarely get mad. I’m one of those folks who “goes with the flow” no matter what happens around me. So why was I feeling so livid when I left the Senate session today?

At that session, several dozen of Governor Christie’s line item vetoes came under consideration for override. In the end, none were overridden.

While continuing to give tax breaks to millionaires, the governor panders to the Tea Party by slashing funds for women’s health, legal services to the indigent, help for the blind and dyslexic, and Medicaid assistance for poor families.

Civics 101

On the recent Abbott decision, Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen) said, “Only the Legislature can appropriate and spend the taxpayers' money, not the executive branch and certainly not the Supreme Court.”

While his sentence is grammatically and factually correct, it has nothing to do with the Abbott decision. The court neither appropriated nor spent the taxpayers’ money. What they did is exactly what their job is – they interpreted the law. A law that is part of the New Jersey State Constitution as codified and implemented by the legislature and signed by the governor.

So let’s cut the crap about this being an “activist” court. Activist courts are those that overturn election laws to prevent recounts in presidential elections and those that amazingly define corporations as persons.

If there’s a problem with the New Jersey Supreme Court it is that some justices lack the decency to recuse themselves when the case involves their benefactor in the governor’s office.

Senator Cardinale and his cronies need a refresher course on Civics 101. And the mainstream media needs to do its job in exposing the conflict of interest on the court.