Tag Archive: Michael Patrick Carroll

Too Big to Sue?

After the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection proposed an eight-billion dollar lawsuit based on Exxon’s despoiling of numerous sites in New Jersey, the Christie administration is pushing through a $225 million settlement – less than three cents on the dollar – ending any future remediation or consideration for Exxon’s pollution.

Today, Assemblyman John McKeon, chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, held a hearing to gather facts to try to determine if this settlement is in the best interests of the public.

While such a low cash settlement without much public discussion may seem odd, it makes sense if you look at it through the lens of Governor Christie’s political aspirations. Settling for the low number now, and channeling most of that money into the general fund,  provides Christie with another one-shot gimmick to enable him to boast of a balanced budget, even though that goal is constitutionally required. Waiting for prolonged litigation to force Exxon to pay its fair share would not help Christie, who will be long out of office by the time the lawsuits are settled.

Labels

Democrat. Republican. Liberal. Conservative. Green, Libertarian, Tea Party.

These are labels that the mainstream media apply to politicians. Sometimes they are appropriate. But most of the time they fit like a pair of baggy pants on an anorexic supermodel.

Take our governor. What label fits Chris Christie? Certainly, he’s a Republican, isn’t he? He’s the outgoing chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, delivered a self-serving keynote speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention, and is a top-tier contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

But not all agree. At least by their definition of “Republican.”  

What is Tom MacArthur Afraid Of?

A couple of years ago, Joey Novick and I did a 40-minute video interview with Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, who has one of the most radically conservative voting records in the legislature. We asked some really tough questions on many issues. Carroll did not dance around the questions, the way many politicians do, and gave frank and honest responses.

So while I disagree on almost every issue with Carroll, I have the utmost respect for him. He’s not afraid of the tough questions and is principled in his opinions.

I can’t say the same for congressional candidate Tom MacArthur.

When I learned that he would be holding a press conference in nearby Moorestown, I thought it would be a good idea to drop in and ask the type of questions that Blue Jersey readers might want answered. But when I arrived at the venue, I was immediately turned away.

“We only allow credentialed reporters”, a staffer told me as I was being escorted out. Despite the fact that I have valid press credentials, the staffer said that bloggers were not welcome.

Since the press conference was on private property, they had every legal right to eject me. But it’s disappointing that millionaire MacArthur is so desperate to control his message. I can only conclude that he is afraid to deal with issues, and is simply attempting to buy an open seat in Congress (albeit outside his district) at any cost. The voters of the Third District deserve better.

Remember when Chris Christie was sensible on gun legislation?

Chris Christie assault weapons lit

Until now, Chris Christie has had the benefit of a New Jersey political press that – with a few clear exceptions – responded to his forceful personality by writing about him mainly as a political celebrity. As phenomenon. Reporting on his latest brash moment is a lot cheaper for struggling news organizations than asking hard questions or doing investigative work. And if Jersey voters were dazzled by his cocksure attitude – buffeted by propagandistic public appearances, Stronger than the Storm ads and YouTube moments produced at taxpayer expense – the state press is at least partially responsible for the legend he made himself here.  

Michael Patrick Carroll Calls Red States Leeches

Arch-conservative and Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Mountain Men) has thrown his support to Steve Lonegan to be appointed to the US Senate in no small part because New Jersey pays extra federal taxes to subsidize states run by Republicans.

Not kidding:

“He (Lonegan) will be a reliable vote in favor of judges who will exercise restraint, he will work to repeal Obamacare and he will let the red states pay their own way,” said Carroll.

Human Trafficking Bill Passes Assembly Committee

As a legislator, what do you do after you spearhead the nation’s most comprehensive anti-bullying legislation into law? If you’re Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, you don’t rest on your laurels. Instead, you tackle another human rights challenge.

Today, the Assembly Judiciary Committee took testimony on a bipartisan bill that is being shepherded through the legislature by Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle – a bill to combat a scourge that is often under the radar but ruins countless lives. The bill was heard (and passed) through the Assembly Judiciary Committee today.

Human trafficking is an insidious problem that is pervasive across the country. It enslaves children into the dark world of prostitution and forced labor. History shows that high profile events like the Super Bowl, which comes to New Jersey in 2014, attract these human traffickers and their clients.

While there are already laws on the books and there have been arrests made, testimony at today’s hearing revealed that there have been no convictions for human trafficking in New Jersey in the past six years. Vainieri Huttle’s bill adds fines and additional regulations.

While the two Republicans on the panel expressed support for the concept, they also voiced concerns about the constitutionality of some of the provisions and contended that the requirement to train law enforcement officials was an unfunded mandate. Both (Michael Patrick Carroll and Holly Schepisi) abstained from supporting the bill as written. All the Democrats on the panel voted in favor.

In an interview with Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle after the hearing (below), she addressed the concerns that were brought up and stressed that this bill has bipartisan support. She said she will proactively work with her colleagues in the Assembly and in the Senate, where the bill is yet to be introduced, to amend the language to meet the concerns of all parties. No doubt she will work tirelessly to help abate this human rights problem.



Marriage Equality – For the Record

Following almost seven hours of testimony on Thursday, the members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee went on record with their votes to move the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption bill to the full chamber.  As in the Senate committee, the vote was along party lines, with some Democrats expressing reservations but ultimately voting for equality while other Democrats were solidly in favor.

The two Republicans on the committee had interesting views and their remarks are worth listening to. It still surprises me how a libertarian like Michael Patrick Carroll can be for discrimination and government intervention in a civil rights issue. His argument comes right out of the Santorum playbook – since there is no societal benefit to equal rights, it’s fine to vote against them.

Freshman GOP Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi appeared torn and indecisive. Her rambling remarks argued both sides of the issue but she ultimately voted for discrimination. I don’t know if she can be flipped, but it would certainly be worthwhile if she could hear from pro-equality constituents. In the arc of the history of the New Jersey Assembly, she’ll go down as having cast her first vote in favor of discrimination. I wonder if she wants this to be the legacy of her political career.

The video is 29 minutes long. If you want to jump ahead, here are the starting times for each speaker:

Gordon Johnson (D) 00:00

Reed Gusciora (D) 02:03

Ralph Caputo (D) 05:58

Annette Quijano (D) 07:40

Holly Schepisi (R) 13:20

Michael Patrick Carroll (R) 21:35

Peter Barnes (D) 22:33

Voting 28:01



A Conversation with Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll

To be an effective advocate for progressive causes and social issues, it is important that you know your opponents. Understanding their positions, especially those coming from smart people with whom you may disagree, will help you hone your position and strengthen your arguments.

With that in mind, Joey Novick and I travelled to Morris Township earlier today to have a conversation with Republican Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll. Carroll is a libertarian in the Ron Paul mode, and while most of his views are outside of what we may consider the mainstream, he is firmly entrenched in his principals. Our discussion included slavery, marriage equality, the voting rights act, anti-bullying legislation, medical marijuana, and what to do about Camden’s crime and poverty. Some of Carroll’s thoughts may be surprising or even shocking.