Tag Archive: Michael Patrick Carroll

Bill to Decriminalize small amounts of Marijuana garners 18 co-sponsors.

22,439 people were arrested in New Jersey for possessing less than 50 grams* of cannabis in 2009.

FreedomIsGreen.Com, a local blog devoted to advancing more enlightened cannabis policy in New Jersey is reporting an an intriguing new bill on the Assembly docket that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in the Garden State.

The bill, which already has 18 co-sponsors (5 from the GOP) was introduced by Assemblymen Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) and Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris), the same bi-partisan duo that introduced the state’s nascent medical marijuana law.

“Hey! MPC Wouldn’t Do That, All Right?”

Let me be the first to welcome Republican Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll to the Blue Jersey family of regular readers. Assemblyman Carroll, an “open and notorious conservative,” has critiqued a pair of pieces here on BJ – one of which was written by yours truly – at his own blog. Unlike his post about us, I am happy to provide a link so you can read for yourself what he wrote.

I’ll let Bill Orr speak for himself, but I’d like to respond directly to Assemblyman Carroll’s reading of my post, “Christie’s ‘Catholic Education'”. Normally, I would have been happy to simply post a comment on his blog, but he doesn’t allow them (gee, I wonder why?). So I’ll take the opportunity to answer the Assemblyman here.

So Is The “Magic” Beginning to Wear Off?

Nothing like a dose of the truth to shine the light on the fact that the Emperor really wears no clothes.

1.  New Jersey Loses Jobs: 13,000 of them according to the state DOL. So much for all those tax cuts to make NJ welcoming to business. So much for the Governor’s veto of the Legislature’s job creation bills.

2.  Property Taxes Increase: A 2010 increase averaging about 4.1% vs. an average increase of about 3.5% in the years 2007 thru 2009. So let’s see – the “tough budget” Governor Christie has increased property taxes more than that “wimpy budget” Governor Corzine.  mmmmm?

3.  The Straight Talking Governor: apparently doesn’t always talk so “straight and honest” – read the New York Times article unmasking Governor Blunt Speaking who seems to embellish  the truth just a little.

more below

Carroll calls me “pathetic” and “ashamed of myself”–for supporting the Anti-Bullying Bill

The New Jersey State Senate and Assembly passed the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights (3466) yesterday with a 71-1 from the Assembly and a 30-0 vote in the Senate.

The single “NO” came from conservative Republican Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll.   Given his history of voting, that’s no surprise.

On his once a month blog, Carroll explains why he thought this legislation was unnecessary, nothing more than  feel-good ‘political correctness’. And he makes some very interesting comparisons: in his opening salvo, he reduces bullying to the kind experienced by the lead comic strip character depicted in the strip Calvin and Hobbes. So you can tell how seriously he takes this issue, and where his argument is going to go from there.

But wait, there’s more:

Carroll then goes on to make no distinction between being bullied because you’re gay or lesbian, and being bullied because you’re a  “nerd”. To quote Ronald Reagan, “Mr. Carroll, there you go again.” Perhaps he’s been watching “Happy Days” reruns too much, and thinking about Fonzie picking on Potsie.

I had an exchange last night with Mr. Carroll on Facebook, as I’ve had on several issues with this conservative libertarian Assemblyman from the 25th District. Remember, this is the same guy who opposes marriage equality, defaults to ideologue libertarianism on every issue, and once initiated legislation to change the name of the town of Clinton to Reagan. But I digress.

This is what Mr. Carroll had to say about me, when I expressed my support for the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights:

With all due respect, that opinion is absolutely pathetic. You should be ashamed of yourself for giving voice to it.

ALL victims of bullying should be treated equally.

Mr. Carroll’s argument is one that is constitutional–that somehow all those who bully should be treated equally under the 14th amendment. I am sure that if the Founding Framers were sitting in the same room with Mr. Carroll, when he issued that opinion, they might call him a nerd, too.

Mr. Carroll thinks that because the “harm” is the same, that all victims of bullying should be treated equally. This is an absurd application of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

The “harm” may be the same, but that should not be the only criteria upon which a law dealing with that harm should be based.

For example, under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, those who perpetrate a fraud against senior citizens are giving greater penalties than if their victims are under 65. Senior citizens being a more vulnerable class of consumers are in need of greater protection–in the form of higher penalties for those who target them. The same argument can be made for bullies who target those who are gay or lesbian or people of color. Perhaps Mr. Carroll has a problem with protecting senior citizens, also.

Similarly, class action suits are set up to deal with an issue where a particular class of consumer is targeted either by an industry or a particular corporation. Each consumer who is wronged may suffer a small financial loss. However, the loss may not be great enough to justify suing the corporation who has perpetrated the wrong. So, in order to punish the Corporation for perpetrating such wrongs against consumers, the law allows such consumers to form a cohesive class–and sue the Corporation as a group. Only in this manner will the Corporation be motivated to cease their wrong action, either by injunction, or by settlement.

Both federal and state law has allowed the protection of special classes of individuals based on color, national origin or religion, or sexuality. I referred Mr. Carroll to the well-known Supreme Court case of United States v. Carolene Products Co.,  304 U.S. 144 (1938)—Footnote Four dealing with the possibility of protecting ‘discrete and insular minorities’.

Certainly a strong argument can be made that the protection of “certain discrete and insular minorities” (such as gays and lesbians) is a regulation that is rationally related to a legitimate state interest, as referred to in the text of footnote 4.

This Thanksgiving season I am glad that we have legislators in New Jersey on both sides of the aisle who can see that these folks in college need special protection. Pathetic? Ashamed of myself for giving voice to it? If I be ‘pathetic’ and ‘ashamed’, I am joined by 100 other New Jersey state legislators who feel as strongly about the topic as I do.

If he’s sick, imagine how the rest of us feel

Check out this post from yesterday by Fred Snowflack on Michael Carroll and how he’s handling his vote for the Governor’s budget:

When I reached Mike Carroll today, he said he was “throwing up.”

I wondered if he drank too much after last night’s lengthy budget session.

Nope, he was sick over his “yes” vote on the state budget.

See Carroll decided it would be even worse if he held out because then Christie would need more votes from Democrats and people might actually have felt a little less pain from the budget. If he’s feeling sick, just imagine how the rest of us feel who have to deal with the consequences of his decision and the budget as a whole.

What SCOTUS didn’t say about redistricting

Last week, the Supreme Court handed down an important decision in the North Carolina redistricting case Bartlett v. Strickland. The decision prompted Essex County Senator Kevin O’Toole to threaten a new challenge to the legislative map. Earlier this week, Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll joined the Republican cacophony railing against the legislative map.

Carroll and other Republicans are misinterpreting the Court’s decision in Bartlett v. Strickland. The decision narrows the scope of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits electoral practices that prevent minority groups from electing reprentatives of their choice. An earlier Supreme Court decision, Thornburg v. Gingles, held that only a minority population that is “sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district” can claim that a redistricting plan dilutes its votes and therefore violates section 2. The decision in Bartlett v. Strickland clarifies this requirement, so that a specific minority group (normally blacks or Hispanics) must constitute 50% of the voting-age population in a proposed district to assert a claim of vote dilution under Section 2. Thus African-Americans in the proposed single-member “coalition” district based around Plainfield could not make a claim of vote dilution, but Hispanics in the proposed Newark district could. (note: populations for “proposed single-member districts” are half the population of an average legislative district, because each legislative district elects two representatives to the Assembly.)

Hispanic voters in Newark may make a claim of vote dilution… …but Black voters in Plainfield may not.

(more below the fold)

Quote of the Day: Be Thankful for Slavery

Michael Patrick Carroll is quoted today in an article discussing the possibility that New Jersey may apologize for slavery:

…if slavery was the price that a modern American’s ancestors had to pay in order to make one an American, one should get down on one’s knees every single day and thank the Lord that such price was paid,” Carroll said.

Carroll goes on to compare enforced slavery with the Potato Famine that brought his own ancestors to our shores:

“Far from holding it against the modern British, I delight in the cruelty of their forebearers. Without same, I might be hanging around in Inisfree,” Carroll said, referencing an Irish island.

We should be so lucky.

I was reminded of President Bush’s visit to Goree Island when he visited the “Door of No Return” in the slave market.

Years of unpunished brutality and bullying and rape produced a dullness and hardness of conscience. Christian men and women became blind to the clearest commands of their faith and added hypocrisy to injustice. A republic founded on equality for all became a prison for millions…In America, enslaved Africans learned the story of the exodus from Egypt and set their own hearts on a promised land of freedom. Enslaved Africans discovered a suffering savior and found he was more like themselves than their masters.

Yes, President Bush actually told a country that is 92 percent Muslim that it is a good thing that Christian men and women were so cruel and callous because it forced Africans to give up the religion of their choice and convert to Christianity.

Sort of like comparing being kidnapped, sold, beaten, raped, and killed to leaving Ireland because of largely agricultural failures that were used afterwards for political gain.

With “leadership” like this, is it any wonder that the world has turned against us?

Campaign Update!

Hello Blue Jersey Community and Happy Columbus Day! 

I am happy to bring you some updates on the campaign as we close in on the final few weeks before election day.  Last week, we launched www.DanaWefer.com.  On the new website, you will find my position on several of the issues affecting the 25th District and New Jersey as well as a form to volunteer your time and a button to contribute financially to the campaign.

We have been attacking the incumbents relentlessly for their
opposition to important issues.  To illustrate: both voted against virtually every bill in the package benefiting autistic children and their families.  In one case, Carroll was the only person in the entire assembly to vote against one of these bills.  Voting against these bills, among others, is simply a manifestation of outright hostility towards people they are supposed to serve.  There is an absolute inability to understand that every vote they cast has real effects on real people.

We need change. 

This campaign is going to bring it.

I am privileged to be running this race and  I appreciate all those who encouraged me to run.  If you pledged to contribute to my campaign earlier this year, you can now contribute easily and electronically through the website www.DanaWefer.com.  I truly appreciate your support.  Almost all contributions at this point will be going towards GOTV.

For those of you who are also interested in helping the campaign, I encourage you to sign up to volunteer by filling out the volunteer form on the website.  We are tirelessly building a GOTV infrastructure unlike any that the 25th has ever seen.  We are basing our structure on the successful strategy used in the Morris Township special election early this year, which resulted in the first Democrat being elected to the Township Council since 1974.  As you know, GOTV is fundamentally grassroots, so we need a lot of volunteers on election day and in the lead up to election day.  This is truly a grassroots campaign, and that is why I believe we can win.

I know that with so many people like you contributing to and helping campaign, this will be the year that Democrats take back the 25th!  Thank you for your continuing support!.



Responding to Assemblyman Carroll on National Popular Vote legislation

On Thursday, I wrote about Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll’s remark to PoliticsNJ on the National Popular Vote legislation currently before the state legislature. He responded with some more thoughts on that soundbyte and other reasons for his opposition over at his blog.

Carroll argues that while the Electoral College is not perfect, it is preferable to the popular vote alternative. I disagree.

If you’re interested in diverging points of view on this legislation, please read more below the fold.