Tag Archive: Jen Beck

NJ GOP is not stronger than Superstorm Christie

Next Thursday June 12th the legislature plans to try a veto override of Christie’s CV of the ‘Sandy Bill of Rights.’ Here’s why it matters. And what you can do – right now. Cross-posted at Marie Corfield. Promoted by Rosi.

DropDead (new Chris Christie version)For those readers old enough to remember, this image is a parody of the fierce reaction to President Gerald Ford’s infamous but false response to NY City’s 1970’s financial crisis. Even though he never said those words, he might as well have because his reaction to the city’s request for financial help was part of his political undoing.

My point is not to rehash what happened 40 years ago so, gentle readers, please limit your comments to current events. If you want the back story, read this NY Times piece. In a nutshell it was a classic case of liberal vs. conservative values locked in a game of Chicken. The only difference is that unlike many of today’s elected officials, both sides blinked: they came together and worked it out.  

A Question for our Blue Jersey Progressives:

I’m pulling this up top again for a 2nd look, partly because it was originally posted in the middle of the night when traffic is low. That said, there are 21 comments already, good discussion. – Rosi

We now have 21 (plus) guaranteed votes for marriage equality in New Jersey. Senators Jen Beck and Steve Sweeney have indicated their changing from prior abstentions or “no” votes to “yes”votes. There’s probably one or two more not yet counted. Should we move ahead with legislation (again) if we are not sure of 27 to override a Christie veto? I’m ready to start along with my colleague, Ray Lesniak.  Are you up for the battle to make it to 27? Tell us what you think.

Momentum in District 11

This was posted a few days ago, by LD-11 Assembly candidate Vin Gopal. It’s been a busy news week, but the video after the jump is just as worth watching as it was Tuesday, and here’s some press coverage to catch you up on this campaign. – promoted by Rosi

The 11th Legislative District Democratic team is working hard to make Monmouth County blue again. The new district has 36,000 registered Democrats and 26,000 registered Republicans. This is some of the press we’ve received in recent weeks…

Democrats target Beck failed Public Safety Override

Democrat Gopal Raises 30K in one night

Future of Monmouth County Democrats Front Page Tri City News

Story – Tri City News – Future of Monmouth County Democrats

Meet Ray below the fold…

Jen Beck: Trenton’s Fair-weather Friend to the Gays

One look at 12th district Senator Jen Beck and it's perfectly obvious why she's got “Gay Man's BFF” written all over her.  

She's fabulous, gorgeous and has a big long pony tail that I secretly want to French braid.  She's also a bit of a diva.  Basically what we gays affectionately call a  “fag hag.”  Straight out of central casting.   For better or worse, she just gives off that vibe.

But here's the deal, she's not a true friend to NJ's LGBT community as proved by her NO vote on Marriage Equality.  To make it worse, as a member of the Judiciary Committee Sen. Beck shares a rather unfortunate distinction of being one of only 4 NJ Senators to vote against marriage equality TWICE.  For those of y'all keeping score, YES it does make it twice as bad.

Frankly i was surprised and hurt when she voted NO (for reasons described in paragraph 1) but in retrospect it makes sense: Governor Chris Christie was on the lookout for a LtGovernor at the time and Beck was widely considered to be on the shortlist.  Voting for Gay rights was not gonna score any points with Christie who's admittedly “not a fan” of equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

So it was newsy when Jane Roh reported Senator Beck's evolving position on equality.  In her own words:  

“There are lots of reasons why I ultimately voted no. My position has evolved. I spent a lot of time on this issue, and at the end of the day, I would support it if it came before me.”

Naturally we welcome her change of heart.  Change is good.  

You know what else has changed?  Beck's district.  

more below… 

My Candidacy for State Assembly in the 11th District

promoted by Rosi

When I saw the new 11th District Map, I decided after years of working behind the scenes, I wanted to place my name on the ballot. The new 11th Legislative District has 36,643 registered Democrats, 26,405 registered Republicans and 68,899 registered unaffiliated voters. The district is home to Asbury Park, Long Branch, Neptune, Red Bank, Freehold Borough, Tinton Falls and many other beautiful Monmouth County municipalities. Of the 18 towns in the district, 11 of those towns have 4,000 or more registered voters. Out of those 11 towns, 9 of them have more registered Democrats than Republicans, most of them overwhelmingly. 9 of the 11 big towns in the district have more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Get where I’m going with this? It is a Democratic district. Basically all the strong Democratic towns in Districts 11 and 12 got merged while all the strong Republican towns, including Wall (goodbye Sean Kean!), Rumson, Millstone, Brielle, Avon, Monmouth Beach, Sea Girt, Englishtown, Fair Haven, Little Silver (sorry Declan O’Scanlon), Manalapan, and Oceanport all got thrown into other legislative districts. It really is remarkable what happened here!

Santa Paid A “Big” Visit To Bergen County

What A way For Bergen County Dems To End The Year!  Big headlines in The Record about McNerney and two of his top aides getting big salary increases!  Seems that “our” County Executive gave up $10,000 of his salary (originally $134,617) as a “gesture”, since budget problems required furloughs for rank and file county workers during 20010.  So the Democrats lost anyway.  I campaigned for Dennis and the Democratic Freeholders, and now I’m embarrassed by him and, therefore, by my party and my own participation in his campaign.

According to The Record, Dennis’ $10,000 “gift” to the taxpayers of Bergen County was somehow restored to his salary on December 14th along with raises for his two “top” aides, Brian Hague from Middlesex County and Lynne Hurwiitz, the Municipal Chair of Hackensack.  Brian received a “promotion” his last two weeks in office along with a raise of $17,000 and Lynne was also “promoted with a raise of more thant $22,000”.   And to add to my own feeling of dismay, Mr. McNerney “didn’t even know about” these raises (including his own) until a reporter called him.  How pathetic an answer!

We, Democrats – and they are mostly responsible hardworking officials  – owe an apology to the taxpayers of Bergen for this unseemly behavior on the part of our top county official.  This column will serve as my personal apology for the time and effort I put in to Dennis McNerney’s campaign and to the residents of Bergen County for this travesty.

I’m going to return it – probably” saiid Mr. McNerney.  And if he does,  along with the unseemly raises to the “top aides”, I will apologize for my apology!  I would also ask the incoming County Executive Kathe Donovan, to investigate exactly how raises are granted in Bergen County without the County Executive even “knowing about them”.  Interesting!

Speaking of the new County Executive,
she is coming in to office with enormous good willl. I hope her actions will always justify that confidence. However, her first two appointments for County Administrator and Chief of Staff went to two Fair Lawn councilmembers.  Without passing judgment on their qualifications, I do believe their service on the Council should end pretty quickly.  It is difficult to avoid problems when trying to serve two constituencies like this.  Their terms of office do not end until 2013, so I hope they will be asked to resign well before then.

Sorry for spending so much time on politics in my own County of Bergen, but these actions required some extra spotlight.

Taking Christie to task… below the fold.

More Debate Reaction

Not surprisingly, elected Democrats liked Corzine and Republicans liked Christie. First we have the Governor’s running mate, Lieutenant Governor Candidate Loretta Weinberg:

“Tonight, Governor Corzine demonstrated clearly that he is the candidate who will fight for what matters to New Jersey in these tough economic times. He’s fought every day for New Jersey families- expanding health care coverage for almost 100,000 additional children and passing paid family leave. These are the right choices for New Jersey and the right priorities for the next four years.

Chris Christie, on the other hand, is more concerned with lining the pockets of insurance companies than protecting the families and children of New Jersey. Christie has repeatedly said that he would give insurance companies free rein to drop coverage for critical procedures like mammograms and autism treatments.

Time and time again, Christie shows he continues to be wrong when it matters most.”

Congressman Frank Pallone:

“Tonight’s debate highlighted the very clear choice facing New Jersey voters in November. While Governor Corzine has fought for what matters for New Jersey families over the past four years, Chris Christie has been wrong when it matters most.  He said he’d reject President Obama’s stimulus funds, driving up property taxes by $2 billion and now he says he still backs the Bush policies that got our country into this mess.”

State Chair Joe Cryan:

“Governor Corzine proved tonight that he is the right man for the job. He succeeded in passing  the nation’s first economic recovery plan and worked with President Obama to bring over $17 billion in new federal stimulus funds into New Jersey, helping to balance our budget and generate and save over 40,000 jobs. Chris Christie once again showed he would rather score cheap political points than fight for what matters to New Jersey.”

I’ll put more reaction from Democrats and Republicans below the fold. Nothing surprising, but what do you think?

The First Lieutenant Governor: The Republican Stable

As the final weeks of the Republican primary unfold, Chris Christie and Steve Lonegan will be busy campaigning, trading criticisms of one another, and making the case on the air waves and the internet that they alone are best suited to take on Jon Corzine in this November’s gubernatorial election.

Corzine, and whoever wins the GOP nomination on Primary Day, will also undertake the historic task of selecting an individual to run as their respective party’s candidate to be the first Lieutenant Governor in New Jersey history.  Below the fold is a list of ten possible Republican contenders.  It is subjective and, more than anything, written to solicit the opinions of Blue Jersey readers on the strengths and weaknesses of each potential pick.  

Please click the headline, read on, comment away, and look out this Thursday for an analysis of potential Democratic choices for Lieutenant Governor.

The 1993 Playbook That Just Won’t Work

Thus far, the parallels between the gubernatorial campaigns of 1993 and 2009 appear striking.  On the one hand, the Democratic Governor has toured New Jersey in an effort to present bold, politically risky solutions to the enormous challenges confronting state finances.  On the other, Republicans have exploited popular resentment of our state’s high cost of living and opposed efforts to achieve fiscal solvency.  Yet those who think the coming campaign will mirror the anti-tax revolt of 1993 should consider the consequences of that election and its significant impact on our state’s current fiscal health.

On Thursday, New Jersey lawmakers, lobbyists, and business leaders made the annual Chamber of Commerce sponsored train trek to the nation’s capital.  State Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth), rumored to be on Chris Christie’s shortlist of candidates for Lieutenant Governor, criticized Governor Jon Corzine’s handling of fiscal issues.  Pointing out the failure of his asset monetization plan, she asked, “What’s his legacy?”

Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, himself in hot pursuit of the Republican gubernatorial nomination, believes the state’s problems can be solved by implementing tax and spending cuts with the zeal of a “kid in a candy shop.”

Senator Beck, Mr. Lonegan, and their fellow Republicans fail to recall their own party’s legacy of fiscal irresponsibility.  In the aftermath of Christine Todd Whitman’s 1993 victory over Jim Florio, Republicans enacted the very policies that led to our present predicament.  According to a 2001 report published by New Jersey Policy Perspective, Whitman Administration budgets were:

… dangerous to the state’s economic health. New Jersey cut its income tax more deeply than other states and reduced more than 40 other taxes. This tax cutting went along with increased, not reduced spending. So, despite unprecedented prosperity, New Jersey never got its budget in true balance, usually spending $400 million more than its current revenues.

The use of one shot revenue sources, increased borrowing, and the numerous withdrawals from so-called savings accounts ultimately resulted in a reduction of aid to municipalities and an increase in property taxes.  The last time Republicans controlled the State Capitol they robbed Peter to pay Paul, growing the size of government while taking credit for significant cuts in income taxes; cuts that only transferred the burden to towns strapped for cash in the face of shrinking assistance from Trenton.

Governor Corzine announced in his 2008 State of the State Address that New Jersey needed to restructure “our fiscal practices, balance sheet, and most vitally, our culture” or “our options, our priorities, and our future will be continually constrained.”  One year later, he faces criticism over his inability to win passage of proposals such as the monetization plan and pension payment deferrals.  However, upon considering the Governor’s quiet success at reigning in runaway budgets through spending cuts and state workforce reductions, a different picture emerges.

New Jersey’s budget for Fiscal Year 2009 spends $600 million less than it did last year.  That is the largest year to year decrease in state history, and three times larger than any reduction in the past.  Moreover, it dedicates $650 million toward debt reduction, resulting in a savings of $675 million over the next five years.  Perhaps most importantly, this budget moves us closer (from $1.8 billion to $600 million) to eliminating the use of one-time revenue sources, a gimmick employed in the past by Democratic and Republican Governors alike.

According to a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Mr. Lonegan would veto programs that he believes are wasteful or “out of step with his conservative view.”  Like most of the naysayers in his party, specifics are not the former Mayor’s strong point.  However, the question begs to be asked, where would Republicans cut?  Would they reduce the $16.7 billion – fifty percent of the overall budget – allocated for property tax relief?  Or would they prefer to cut the $11.5 billion allocated for aid to public schools?  

Through consolidation of departments, this year’s budget already reduced the cost of state government by $300 million.  The size of the state workforce has been reduced by 2,000.  Legislative pork in the form of Christmas Tree expenditures have been eliminated.  There are no new taxes, and none of the existing ones have been raised.

The failure of Governor Corzine’s asset monetization program does not erase the significant progress he has made in restoring sanity to fiscal policy.  Christie Whitman won in 1993 because she painted Jim Florio as a tax and spend liberal instead of recognizing him as the pragmatic problem solver that he was.  As the present campaign unfolds, Republicans will look to the same tired playbook.  It is important for Democrats to push back against these criticisms, point out the Governor’s record of responsibility, and remind voters what happened the last time Republicans were in charge of New Jersey’s purse strings.  In some ways, 2009 may resemble 1993, but it diverges in one crucial respect: we know how the story ends.

10 memorable Jersey political moments, 2008 + POLL!

Re-promoted for a Merry Christmas. If you’re reading today, maybe you have 10 minutes to reflect on the year in NJ politics. Enjoy and don’t forget to take the poll! -JG

What better way to celebrate a memorable year than with a top 10 list?  As a blogger, activist and campaign worker, this was my perspective as seen (entirely) thorugh the lens of my wecam or iPhone.

Hopefully something for everyone.  Take the poll and share what would make your top ten list!