Tag Archive: Town hall

Adler on the public option

This is a very welcome development from Saturday’s NJ3 town hall: Representative John Adler now supports a public option.

Adler said he supported providing some type of public option in a reform bill, arguing that it would increase competition among private health insurance companies.

“A public option would be a real hammer in some areas without competition,” he said, adding that he also favors permitting insurance companies to write policies to out-of-state residents.

This is great news. I do think, though, that last bit is odd. Out-of-state insurance policies without New Jersey regulation is exactly what cost Chris Christie his lead over the last month. Why would Adler trumpet his support for a right-wing political loser of a proposal? Now, if Adler is just talking about letting in other insurance companies that obey our local laws, I have no problem, but I find it pretty shocking anyone would deliberately seek to recreate the “South Dakota/Delaware” credit card “race to the bottom.” If you enjoyed 25% interest rates and late fees, you’ll love your new insurance policy. Still, he was facing a pretty hostile audience and I have to congratulate him for standing up for health care reform, a public option, cap-and-trade, and the stimulus.  

Imagine how dumb these Republicans are Adler had to deal with. (They do seem to be self-described conservatives.) They supported Reagan and Bush’s massive deficits. They supported another Bush’s deficits. They borrowed the entire costs of their wars.  But today, with a worldwide recession, they want to follow Herbert Hoover’s policies and complain about debt. If we didn’t live here we wouldn’t believe it.

Rush Holt Health Care Town Hall – Middletown

Maybe it was the configuration of the room, which was shallow and wide and not narrow and deep, making no allowance for angry shouters to use their distance from the speaker to intimidate the rest of the auditorium like they did at Frank Pallone’s Red Bank Town Hall last week. Maybe it was the different Congressional District, NJ-12 not NJ-6. Almost certainly it was that this congressman didn’t bear direct responsibility for the health care reform bill containing the much-debated public option, HR 3200, the way Pallone certainly does with the bill coming out of his Health Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

But the experience of sitting in on Rush Holt’s public event on the same topic last week, while contentious, lacked the surging intimdation tactics and the deep lines of people waiting to get in to what had to be multiple sessions each night. Questions submitted by the audience were collected and read aloud by the congressman, who then addressed them. And in some cases, that led to briefer, substantive questions and commentary from the audience, rather than the situation Pallone had in Red Bank, grappling with questions from microphones turned up higher than his own.  

Monday’s Health Care Town Hall Meeting with Rob Andrews

After just reading about all the excitement this summer, it’s great to see Rob Andrews is holding a town hall on Monday:

Date:  Monday, August 24, 2009

Time:  6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Location: Rowan University – Wilson Hall, Glassboro, New Jersey 08028

(Wilson Hall is located off of Bowe Blvd. across from Glassboro High School)

I think it will be well attended.  Yesterday I was in Mullica Hill — close to Glassboro — and some old man was waving a “Stop Obama Care” sign to passing motorists.

As for our side, Obama’s Organizing for America sent an e-mail calling for people to sign up for Andrews’ town hall and 117 212 people have RSVPed already.  

Hope to see you there.  Other people’s experiences suggest you should get there early.

Congressman Rothman should be ready for people to try and “rattle him”

Congressman Rothman announced the upcoming dates and locations of his listening tour around the 9th district. They’re listed on his Congressional website. But these events have the potential to be unlike any in past years, because of a concerted effort to disrupt any public discussion from occuring. Via Think Progress:

The lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, are now pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website Tea Party Patriots, details how members should be infiltrating town halls and harassing Democratic members of Congress:


   – Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”

   – Be Disruptive Early And Often: “You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”

   – Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: –The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”

Think it’s a joke, check out what they did to Congressman Lloyd Doggett in Texas and Senator Arlen Specter in PA. Congress members need to be prepared because the wrong reaction will live on youtube much longer than the discussion they are trying to engage in. It’s one thing to have a discussion about the issues with your representative, it’s quite another to astroturf a crowd with people that have no intentions of discussing anything at all. And it’s a shame too, because some people are bringing up legitimate concerns, but the party of ‘No’ continues to overshadow them too.

Take Back the 5th Town Hall

TODAY: It’s an extraordinary act of faith and commitment to launch a public meeting like this, in as uphill a District as NJ-5, as early in the cycle as Adam, Matthew and Michael and friends are doing this. This is how change gets made and this is where netroots crosses with grassroots. BRAVO — promoted Re-promoted by Rosi

Promoted by Jason Springer: Are you going?

Save the Date: March 1, 2009, 2:30 PM, Demarest Borough Hall

As you all have read over the past few months, myself, Adam Lambert (the artist formely known as clammyc), and Michael Simonson have been involved in organizing a Take Back the 5th Town Hall, which is taking place this Sunday, at the Demarest Borough Hall.  We have a great line up of featured speakers and hopefully we can start a real dialogue towards organizing and defeating Scott Garrett in 2010.  

Speaking will be Paul Aronsohn, a Ridgewood Councilman, and 2006 Democratic Nominee in NJ-5, Jack Kelly, a former Closter Councilman, and Paul Eisenman, head of Bergen Grassroots.  Guests will include Mayor Jim Sekelsky of Ogdensburg, Carl Richko, former Mayor of West Milford, and elected officials throughout the district.

Take Back the 5th Town Hall Reminder

Promoted by Jason Springer:  This is grassroots organizing at its best.  What are you doing in your area?

What:   The Take Back the 5th Town Hall

When:  Sunday, March 1 at 2:30 PM

Where: The Demarest Borough Hall

           118 Serpentine Road

           Demarest, NJ 07627

RSVP (Preferred, but Not Mandatory): E-Mail  msimonson19@gmail.com or call Mike at 201-572-1030

Changing his tune?

I still don’t know all the details of the Steve Lonegan arrest situation, but from what i’ve seen so far I don’t think he should have been arrested. As the story keeps evolving however, Lonegan has definitely changed his tune.  Here is what Steve Lonegan said the day he was arrested…

“The police officer said the governor doesn’t want you handing out literature,” explained Lonegan, who told AP he did not think that Corzine was responsible for his arrest.

Maybe today he is trying to seize on the media attention his arrest has brought to the cause, because he’s certainly singing a different tune…

Lonegan, who has spent the last week in the media spotlight after he was arrested for trespassing while protesting against the governor’s asset monetization plan outside of his Cape May County Town Hall meeting at a school in Middle Township, said that arrest was merely “the tip of the iceberg” in a campaign of intimidation on the part of the Corzine administration and Attorney General Anne Milgram.

Tip of the iceburg?  Campaign of intimidation?  Steve Lonegan may be under investigation, but I just can’t imagine how Corzine is dumb enough to be involved in the arrest situation.   Oh, and then there’s this pesky detail from a witness…

Paul Porreca, a retired Superior Court judge who served in Cape May County and is a member of Lonegan’s group, said he witnessed a verbal altercation between Lonegan, police and a school board administrator over the right of protesters to display placards outside the Middle Township High School. The unidentified administrator claimed the site was not public property and that school board policy prohibited protesting, Porreca said.

There’s also video of the arrest which seems to corroborate the story that Lonegan wasn’t doing much wrong, but also that it was the administrator who was involved.  And then there is the denial from the Corzine administration that the Governor had any involvement at all.  Sounds to me like it was the administrator, not Corzine who was involved in the situation, but I guess Lonegan doesn’t want the details to get in the way of the grand conspiracy story he is trying to tell?