Tag Archive: Trenton Times

Sunday Letter to Trenton Times: Unwire Trenton Now to Promote its Future

To the Editor:

In his Sunday, March 16 Trenton Times op-ed “Take Trenton’s Raw Materials, Make Its Future,” author and local businessman John Boyd, Jr. makes some excellent points. The time is long overdue for our capital city to be completely revitalized and updated for the 21st Century. To enable its turnaround, first and foremost, the city must be broadly connected to the web, for the good of its residents, workers and visitors.

To enable Trenton economically and pump new life into it, as well as make it an attractive center for business and visitors, the city needs a universal, free, high speed Wi-Fi Internet network, or ‘cloud.’ Trenton is geographically compact and would be the perfect place for the state to begin its long overdue urban Wi-Fi initiatives.

Universal, municipal Wi-Fi would help connect its students to the vast learning resources of the web, from Encyclopedia Britannica to online documentaries, lectures and lessons. The state has already committed to constructing a completely new high school for the city, but a quality education must include widespread Internet access. In the 20th century Trenton’s classrooms were the place for education, in 2014 it ought to be the entire city.

Municipal Wi-Fi would help to draw in and assist much needed travelers and tourists. Trenton’s potential as a regional tourism hub is real, and it has numerous historical, cultural and artistic venues to offer. By covering these areas with working wireless Internet, and perhaps designing apps to guide visitors, the city could become more attractive to them. Their presence would enrich our treasury with their sales tax payments, their patronage of local businesses and sheer diveristy.

And most importantly, municipal Wi-Fi for Trenton would directly connect all of its residents and businesses to the Web and all of the opportunities it has to offer. Trenton’s residents, like most of us, currently have only two choices when dealing with getting online: Cable or Verizon Fios. Generally these companies offer quality access to the Internet but at prices starting at $60 monthly. By establishing a free network, people of all classes and abilities will be able to access job openings, government services and email.

Municipal Wi-Fi for Trenton won’t be free, as nothing is. But this is not ten years ago. The cost of constructing a working, high speed cloud has plummeted in recent years with improvements in technology and affordability. The entire city could probably be transformed into a high-speed wireless cloud for under $2 million initially, and then operated less expensively per year once the initial infrastructure is in place. Additionally, a new network will create jobs for those to construct and manage it. For help, the Legislature would have to assist as a safe, viable state capital is in everyone’s interest.

Let’s follow Boyd’s lead. Let’s give Trenton a genuine cyber-makeover to enable its citizens and businesses to join the global economy and help make a capital city we can all be proud of.

Sincerely,

Daniel B. Kurz, M.A.

Princeton, N.J.

Hotshot Reporting 2012: Best Reporting by Traditional News Media

In 2012, there were a lot of things we might never have known if good journalists, good editors and their news outlets had not devoted resources to uncovering them. Sometimes this was simply a matter of going through mountains of paper or on line communication that is public record as a matter of law. But somebody had to do it, which usually means somebody else would rather it stay hidden.

Here for 2012, are some that really impressed us here at Blue Jersey, with thanks to the news organizations, and their editors & reporters for what we now know because of their work:  

Associated Press on Surveillance of NJ Muslims AP’s 24-part 2-year probe of NYPD’s secret surveillance (by the questionably-named ‘Demographics Unit’) of Muslim students, neighborhoods and places of worship in New Jersey.

UNLOCKED: Sam Dolnick’s New York Times exposé  of the consequences of New Jersey’s privatized halfway house system run by Christie pal Bill Palatucci, which led to hearings in both houses of the NJ legislature, Palatucci’s exit out CEC’s back door, and at least one lawsuit, by the sister of murder victim Viviana Tulli, killed at the hands of a CEC escapee.  (Note: Bill Orr tracked the aftermath of questionable policies by CEC for Blue Jersey).

Dolnick was looking at CEC and how Christie and Essex party boss Joe D were connected to it almost 18 months ago.

Star-Ledger brought to light the video of a mentally disabled man getting a beat down by state police as well (as well as the fact that authorities initially cleared the trooper of wrongdoing before Star-Ledger began to make inquiries.

Sal Rizzo at Star-Ledger was responsible for the Ledger’s in-depth examination  of how closely legislation from Christie & NJ Republicans matched bills written by fake-charity American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Trenton Times recently pored over 500 pages of emails and documents after TCNJ employees fall sick during chemical use in roof reconstruction on the campus. And that includes shedding light on internal emails about how TCNJ school officials, concerned staff members might require inconvenient building transfers to somewhere on campus where they wouldn’t feel ill at work, encouraged “hand holding” by administrators and the school’s environmental health officers to get workers to “live with” the odor that was making them feel sick.

Trenton Times Agrees With Rush Holt: Calls For Optical Scanners

This from today’s Trenton Times editorial….

We join a broad-based coalition, led by the Coalition for Peace Action, a regional organization based in Princeton, in opposing the bill. We urge the Legislature to, instead, take steps to implement an optical- scan voting system, as so many other states have done.

With optical-scan technology, voters mark ballots by hand — in the manner of taking a standardized test — and the ballots are then fed into a machine to be read.

Not only is the technology reliable, it’s also cost-effective. U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-Hopewell Township, in testimony at the hearing last week, reckoned that, “In purchase costs alone, converting to an optical scan system would likely cost no more than adding printer retrofits to New Jersey’s existing touch screen machines, and probably less.”

Holt, who has long been a leader on voting integrity issues in the House of Representatives, summed up the matter nicely when he said: “Voting must not be an act of faith, it must be an act of record, and independent audit records — voter-verified paper ballots — must be required.”

http://www.nj.com/opinion/time…

“The national trend is clearly to move away from touch screen voting and towards more reliable, less troublesome optical scan voting systems,” Holt testified. “There are only seven states left in the country that, on a statewide basis, use paperless voting systems.”

New Jersey is still one of them.

With the gubernatorial election less than a year away, time is running out. This is a situation that was to have been taken care of years ago. But the deadlines have come and gone, and come and gone again, and New Jersey’s citizens still cannot be certain that the votes they cast will be counted and counted correctly.

The timing of this bill makes it clear that the “fix” was in from the get go.   This has been railroaded through at the last minute in the hopes that they could pull off another delay and that they could get away with it like they did last time.

I am under no illusion that the votes today will go against what is in the best interests of democracy, our budget, common sense and decency.  (Though I would love to be surprised!!!  🙂

Any legislator who is capable of voting for this ugly pig of a bill doesn’t deserve to be re-elected.

No one who cares about the democratic process should be supporting this bill, it’s that bad.

After just a few minutes of real listening and asking a few real questions, Assemblyman Herb Conaway Jr was inspired to speak the truth.  His intelligence and his instincts were/are right on.  Yet, he voted to pass it in committee (out of deference to Quigley) but did say he would vote against it on the floor.   We shall see.

Whatever her motivations were, Republican Senator Jennifer Beck actually voted (correctly!!!) against the bill in committee, let’s see how she votes today.

If the bill passes without some serious amendments; there needs to be a drive to introduce corrective legislation asap.

Despite the “best” efforts of our legislative “leaders”, this issue isn’t going to just quietly go away and die.

Conaway is worth watching again….

Trenton Times Editorial lays the smack down over the current Iraq war debate

The Trenton Times has an excellent Editorial today titled “Shameless Exploitation” and its a pretty damning indictment of the argument going on over the war in Iraq…

You may have seen or heard one of the slick ads. A young former soldier, a double amputee as a result of wounds suffered while fighting in Iraq, declares that if we don’t fight those who attacked us there (Iraq), then we’ll have to fight them here. Let us finish the job, the soldier intones. The emotional film also shows a plane crashing into the World Trade Center.

First, let me thank the soldier for his service.  Now onto the ad:  Of course, you have to get the World Trade Center in there, because what discussion of Iraq would be complete without invoking 9/11 even though they have nothing to do with each other.  The editorial calls them on that too…

The ad is one more example of the administration’s shameless attempts to mislead the American public. If we really want to follow the ad’s message, then it appears that we should be attacking Saudia Arabia. Those who attacked us were not from Iraq; most of the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, our “great” ally. Most certainly, al Qaeda is in Iraq today, but only because the war, according to our own intelligence assessments, has stirred the hornets’ nest of Islamic extremists.

They go on to explain why this “latest assault on reality” will not succeed…

They have no credibility because the architects of the misguided war have never owned up to the mistakes it made in the mad rush to war or for the tragically bungled post-war strategy in Iraq.

Or for the mistakes they continue to make this very day for that matter.  The Editorial closes with a warning to be on the lookout for other shameless efforts in the future…

We should prepare ourselves for more shameless exploitation by these well-heeled groups. They have money and emotion on their side. Certainly not reason or reality.

Let’s hope that reason and reality finally win out.  The only way for that to happen is for Editorial boards, the media and the people to keep calling out the bullshit that this Administration is shoveling.