Tag Archive: Jay Webber

Dereliction of Duty

In a little more than a year in office, Governor Chris Christie has demonstrated that he is less interested in governing the state than he is in establishing a power base for some future ambitions. Maybe these ambitions lead to the White House, maybe they are simply to enrich his friends. His motives are less important than the fact that our governor is derelict in the duties he signed up for when he was elected.

A Strange Version of Chess Called Apportionment With a Lot at Stake

Chess is not a game for dummies.  Imagine ten people in two competing teams playing on a huge board holding pieces for 40 games where pieces can even be moved from one game to another. The goal of each side within a few weeks from now is to win as many games as possible. However, an eleventh person can set rules, arbitrate between the teams, and even determine winners and losers in specific games. Also the courts have passed their own not always clear laws and may well issue new rulings to affect the outcome.  In some ways this game may be fairer than it is in other states, but whew… it is complicated, perilous, and fraught with impact that will affect legislative politics and the lives of New Jerseyans for at least the next ten years. more below

Let the Redistricting Games Begin

The United  States Constitution is pretty succinct on the requirements for a decennial census:

The actual enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. (Article 1, Section 2)

This sounds simple in theory, but in practice, this clause requires each state to go through what has turned out to be an often contentious, politically-driven kabuki dance. The “gerrymandering” that we learned about in middle school has been supplanted by “packing” and “cracking” of electoral districts as the maps are drawn. (These terms are explained below.)

Republicans, Race, and Redistricting

promoted by Rosi

The Republican Party tends to advocate for “race-blind” policies (like in this recent dismantling by Gov. Christie of an office to work with minority and women-owned businesses). Except, that is, once every ten years when it comes to redistricting when they start to talk a whole lot about diversity and the importance of race-based representation.

So perhaps they should be forgiven for being a bit out of practice on the facts. Like in today’s first meeting of the state’s Legislative Redistricting Commission. There, Republican Commissioner Irene Kim Asbury claimed that the African-American population in New Jersey had decreased in New Jersey since the last Census, thus inferring that African-American representation was less important than representation of growing Latino and Asian populations.

Only problem is – the comments have no basis in reality. More on that – and the broader story of redistricting strategy – below the fold.

Republicans cancel redistricting hearing without telling public

Last week, then-Republican Chair Jay Webber sent a public letter to Democratic Chair John Wisniewski to “get the process jumpstarted” on redistricting public hearings, stating that “we believe those hearings have been delayed long enough” and that they were “eager to hold multiple hearings to listen to New Jerseyans’ views on this once-a-decade event.  

They apparently weren’t all THAT eager though, based on my experience today. More details below the fold.

How To Succeed In Government Without Really Trying

“Big deal, big rocket; thinks he has the world in his pocket.”

      (I Believe in You: How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying)  

THE WEEK THAT WAS: How I Diverted Attention From My Snow Storm Fiasco or How I appeared Busy Although I accomplished Little, or How I Created a Lot of Attention with PR Blather or How I Heaped Praise on Myself That I did Not Deserve

  •  Sign the Anti-Bullying Bill – To appear caring, warm and fuzzy, although I rather like bullying. Besides I can call it a “tough” bill which has a nice ring to it.
  •  Direct attention to Higher Education – Appear to be concerned about our colleges and universities although I don’t plan to help them in any way; plus it’s another opportunity to push my Tool Kit.
  •  Issue another “In case you missed it” e-mail – to show how others love me, and besides Mike does all the work preparing it.
  •  Announce my Transportation Trust Fund Plan – Maybe my best idea of the week because it is so vague, unclear, and  misleading that others will be discussing it for days to come.
  •  Attack the Dems for their Back To Work NJ Bills – It’s always gets attention when I attack them; plus it just gets everyone confused when I assault them for creating bills I might actually like.
  •  Push aside the State Republican Committee Chairman without appearing to do so  – It’s fun and easy to do, so let people talk about that for a while.
  •  Fire seven county education superintendents – Requires no great effort on my part and keeps my favorite pot boiling.

    And now after another successful week and with snow returning to NJ, I wonder where my family wants us to go to escape this dreary weather.  

  • Will the Adubato-Norcross ‘Axis of Evil’ fall apart at the redistricting table?

    Two very interesting articles about redistricting were posted on PolitickerNJ.com today that could provide anyone interested in the redistricting process with some insight into the developing drama as Republicans appear united in their efforts to reclaim majorities in the State Assembly and State Senate that have been out of their grasp for the last decade against Democratic adversaries who seem to be anything but that.

    After a year that has seen the Democrats in Trenton capitulate to our state’s Republican Governor on issue after issue, thanks primarily to overly cozy relations between the Governor and acolytes of Steve Adubato and George Norcross, the two most powerful Democratic Party bosses in the state, the unholy alliance between Adubato and Norcross seems to be fraying at the most dangerous possible time for all Democrats, when division could result in a legislative district map that could guarantee Republican dominance in the state for most if not all of the next decade the way that the last map, conceived by then-Senate Minority Leader, Richard Codey, who would go on to become Senate President and Acting Governor before being unceremoniously ousted from his leadership position in a coup, led by his fiercest adversaries, Adubato and Norcross and their acolytes, enabled the Democrats in Trenton to enjoy the majorities that they have held and squandered for the last decade.

    One article presents the players for each team that will go head-to-head in the weeks and months to come to either draw competing (most likely) or cooperating (highly unlikely) legislative district maps that will determine the playing fields on which the next decade’s worth of legislative elections will be held and infers about the strategy that could lead to the end of Codey’s political career.

    The other discusses potential fractures in the Democratic ranks in general and between Adubato and Norcross in particular that could spell doom for the Democratic majorities in Trenton once and for all.

    NJ-3: Screws tighten on John Adler

    It appears that John Adler and his cronies have flouted the law in an attempt to defraud voters. So the federal authorities should step in and make John Adler finally answer questions that he’s been ducking for a week now.

                                               –  NJ GOP Chair Asm Jay Webber

    John Adler tried to avoid, side-step, then issue a non-denial denial on claims that he and his campaign engineered a fake Tea Party candidate to drain right-wing votes from Jon Runyan. The story, simmering for weeks, broke open on Courier Post reporter Jane Roh’s Oct. 8 blueprint of the scheme with its architect, Camden County Democratic operative Steve Ayscue, and Adler Campaign Manager Geoff Mackler. Adler’s denial is not particularly reassuring. It remains to be seen whether NJ-3 voters buy it.

    Tuesday, NJ GOP Chairman Assemblyman Jay Webber filed a complaint with the FEC charging Adler broke campaign finance laws by recruiting and assisting the sham candidate, Peter DeStefano, who – the jig apparently up – ditched an NJ-3 debate entirely (except as political football).

    While we’re at political footballs, Jon Runyan now stands more likely than a week ago of capturing back for the Republicans the seat they held since 1993, save for Adler’s freshman season. I’m hard-wired to hate that fact, even though Adler’s 2-year House record is uninspiring. Runyan strikes anyone paying attention as unready and unqualified and not even much of a civic participant. It’s a sad-assed desultory choice to support Adler, though I understand those who make it.

    But do we want our elections mucked up with dirty tricks, no matter which side of the aisle they emerge from? This is where the rubber meets the road. I’m not so much a Democrat that I’m willing to check honor at the door so I can get somebody with (barely) a D after their name elected. We’re supposed to be for clean elections, except when we need a little help? For transparency in government except when we run our candidates? Screw that.

    Webber has every right to track DeStefano’s sudden appearance, and to follow the money that fueled it. Webber’s list of accusations are serious stuff: unreported in-kind donations from Adler to DeStefano that exceed contribution limits, with similar accusations against the Camden County Democratic Committee, and companion accusations against DeStefano (if anybody cares).

    I know the argument that the GOP isn’t clean. Please, they invented this crap. Okay, perfected it. I know the argument that Runyan has to be taken out at any cost.  I don’t sympathize. Take him out on the issues, on his own ineptitude. If you think you’re better, then be better. Democrats who engineer this kind of scheme, whether ham-handedly carried out or not, put the rest of us in the crappy position of having to distance ourselves. If that makes me a lousy Democrat, then I’m a lousy Democrat.

    NJ Democrats: What I want to know

    What I want to know is why the New Jersey Democrats could spare 10 lawmakers for a Summit in Atlantic City, to spend one entire day chattering about gambling, horses and tourists. And let Loretta Weinberg and Linda Stender walk into a room by themselves to be ambushed by GOP staffers one-upping them with news that women’s health funding just lost all key GOP support.

    What about this confuses you Democrats, in terms of priority?

    Does nobody in the Democratic Party get the disastrous optics of this? All that Dem firepower all day long to rescue gambling industries that on their best day are fun places to spend leisure money and on their worst are a regressive tax on poor saps we tempt into risking their mortgage money while distracting them with half-dressed women, colored lights and booze? While what’s at stake for the women of New Jersey is maintaining access to health care for at least 40,000 women? That is necessity, not leisure. Are you kidding me?

  • Tell me all you want that the AC Summit was about jobs. Union jobs. Good.

  • Shut the GOP out of your summit because Christie’s Hanson Commission was hand-picked and secretive. Whatev.

  • Suit up to fight off a Christie takeover AC plan that’s GOP incursion on your Democratic-controlled city. If you must.

    But you did not look good doing this. You let the conversation in the papers be about your decision to shut out the GOP. No less outrageous than the governor’s choices, but way more public, and thus more publicly petty. Particularly when you start trotting out old turf wars North v. South, which was some time after the bugler dressed in a red costume get-up opened the summit like he was blowing the start of some race. Do you feel me here?

    Legislating with the Governor from Hell must be demoralizing and frustrating. But it’s time to get your act together. And leaving two women legislators hanging in the wind to advocate for the most at-risk members of half your citizenry is not it.

    I don’t know if the Dems have the legislative strength to overcome this veto, now that Christie pulled the leash on GOP senators Diane Allen, Kip Bateman, Andrew Ciesla, Christopher Connors, Sean Kean & Robert Singer, and stopped them thinking for themselves. Is this override just a sinking ship you don’t wanna be on? If so, think again. You want to be Democrats, you’re going to have to show up for women, and for people at risk. You’re not going to do that, you’ll have to call yourself something else.

    Because the GOP’s dominated by the Christies and the Jay Webbers, for whom Roe v. Wade isn’t settled law, it’s law they don’t feel like recognizing. Access to birth control and the prevention of unplanned pregnancy isn’t access to health care for them, it’s an excuse to inflict their opinions about morality on the rest of us on women, never risking their own lives. Forget pap smears, breast cancer screenings – that’s not even on their radar.

    We see you Dems who came out for women. Thank you. But, Democrats, for most of you – Your house is burning, and you left your women inside while you went to the track. Get straight.  

  • Transparency & Accountability – Who runs the Democrats? An Open Thread …

    A letter came to light today, via politickernj, from a Somerset County Democratic state committeeman to John Wisniewski, suggesting Wisniewski resign from the NJ Assembly, and bylaws be drawn to keep elected officials from serving the state party committee forevermore. And at least one Democratic County Chair – Somerset’s Peg Schaffer – is on board with that.

    Frankly, that’s a hard case to make. Joe Cryan, Joe Roberts and Bonnie Watson Coleman all ran the Party from the Assembly. And Asm Jay Webber runs NJ GOP. That begs the question why the hell the Dems should alter bylaws for what only may be an issue right now – if it’s an issue at all.

    And the public relations here is dicey. Awful, maybe. I’m sure Joel Shain – former Orange mayor, who once primaried and lost to Dick Codey – didn’t intend this, but a letter asking the Democratic State Chair to demote himself and have less power than he is already perceived to have, well … not cool. Even though, face it, with notable exceptions the Democrats have a serious swagger deficiency, despite their number advantages. That’s what Shain’s getting at, asking Wisniewski to choose, and pick only the Party. But I think there’s another problem.

    Transparency & accountability: Try to find the state committee folks who represent your county, people in Shain’s position –

  • I don’t see their names on the NJDSC website, with other Party contacts.

  • Or on the  NJ Democrats facebook group page.

  • Or the wiki.  

    Note: NJDSC parliamentarian Regan McGrory is thorough & very responsive to requests for info. I’ve asked her for that list, and I expect to post it – but I think those names should be listed on their site, and nobody should have to ask for it.

    Who runs the show? The reality is that the state committee is a rubber stamp. In theory, NJDSC’s primary function – and Wisniewski’s –  is to enact the will of its members. And committeemen like Shain are elected to express that will – our will. And the Chair’s supposed to be guided, at least in part, by those locally-elected to the state Party. In practice … very different. The state committee may have power they don’t exercise, and at any rate we never hear about it. It’s top-down, all the way. We know that the people running the show – really running it – are the professional Dems, the class comprised of high-level state electeds, and Democratic staffers. They’re good people – don’t get me wrong, from time to time, Blue Jersey even lobs a person or two into the front office – and they’re fully committed, good Democrats. It’s reasonable that key daily decisions are made by them – they’re there every day.

    The problem is, in their party capacity they’re not answerable – except to each other, and for their jobs. They don’t report to you. County & state committee people can be a key to change, and greater accountability, but they have to hear from the rest of us that we expect that. And the beginning of expecting them to exercise their power, is seeing who they are, and locally contributing feedback to them. And I expect the NJDSC to work overtime to promote that.

    A good start …I want more: The Party Democracy Act has been a lever to dislodge centralized control, giving party activists (on both sides) a better shot at tracking what really goes on. It’s a good process. And if the state committee is actually nothing more than a rubber stamp – except on rare occasions when they make news, or shock the hell out of the party Chair – then maybe we should be asking why that is, and how actually to have our voices heard when our Party takes action, defines itself, or does battle with an impudent Governor who thinks it’s his way or the highway.

    I’ll post the elected members of the NJ Democratic State Committee, reps from all 21 counties, when I get it. Meanwhile, consider this an Open Thread on Shain’s letter to John Wisniewski.

    Blue Jersey, what do you think?   Text of the letter is after the jump.