Tag Archive: Bill Pascrell

“A new day dawns on Bergen County”

Sen. Bob Menendez, who now lives in the county, stated the above at the swearing in ceremony of James J. Tedesco as County Executive. Joan Voss, incoming Freeholder Chairwoman, exclaimed, “What a wonderful way to begin 2015.” The ceremony started with the colors, bagpipes and drums with further remarks from Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Bill Pascrell, re-elected Sheriff Michael Saudino (a Republican) and State Senate President Steve Sweeney. The Bergen Community College theater had an overflow audience including Sen. Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and many other state legislators, local mayors, and councilmen (including Republicans) as well as John Currie state Democratic chair and Lou Stellato, county Democratic chair.

Jim Tedesco, a former councilman, mayor, freeholder and always a fireman set a high tone. Echoing Abraham Lincoln he said, “I have pledged to preside over a government of the people, by the people and for the people… It is my contract with the residents that good government will never yield to politics, that solutions will always trump ideology, and the voices of democracy will be heard… The doors of my administration are open to you.” The Oath of Office was administered by former governor and current State Senator Dick Codey who had performed the same task for Tedesco twice before.  

Another “hold your nose” vote to avert a government shutdown

Update Sun. 8:30 am: The Omnibus 2015 federal spending bill passed the Senate Saturday night 56 to 40 averting a government shutdown. Both Senators Menendez and Booker joined progressives and others and voted against the bill. Sen. Booker said the bill would roll back regulations in the Dodd-Frank Act, compromise truck safety, and interfere with the rights of Washington, D.C. residents to change their marijuana laws. Sen. Menendez said, “The rollback of critical Wall Street reform provisions puts taxpayers on the hook to bail Wall Street out again. Moreover, this last-minute add-on – a poison pill written by large financial institutions – sets the table for more attacks on the protections I fought to put in place following the financial collapse.”

Not so long ago the NJ legislature used to have an annual Christmas tree bill which was sprung upon the membership and laden with all sorts of holiday goodies inserted by individual legislators. This week in the House of Representatives with little more than two days to review the bill, leadership sprung their $1.1 trillion Christmas tree bill to fund the government next year and avert a federal shutdown.

The bill narrowly passed 219 votes to 206. Many Republicans did not like the bill for the generic reason that it calls for “too much government spending,” and because the act does not explicitly block President Barack Obama from implementing his Executive Order on immigration. Republicans voted 162 in favor and 67 against.  Many Democrats did not like the bill because it weakens Dodd-Frank consumer legislation and because it increases substantially the amount donors can contribute to political parties. Democrats voted 57 in favor and 139 against.

The House Speaker Republican John Boehner never had enough Republican votes to pass the bill, so he relied on support from Democrats. The White House vigorously lobbied Democrats for passage as did Steny Hoyer, Democratic Whip. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke out and voted against it. Five of our NJ Democrats refused to “hold their nose” and vote for it and instead voted against it.  

“Money makes the world go ’round”: Pelosi, Pallone and Norcross

The MC of the musical Cabaret had it right: “It makes the world go ’round,” which leads us to current House Dem Leader Nancy Pelosi’s friendly relationship with Rep. Don Norcross (CD 1) and not so friendly involvement with Rep. Frank Pallone (CD 6). The tale involves the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Leader Pelosi added an additional Freshman Representative position to the Steering/Policy Committee and secured the votes to ensure Don Norcross was elected. This move is not surprising if you remember that during the campaign House Majority PAC, largely controlled by Pelosi, took funds away from Aimee Belgard’s CD 3 campaign and instead provided money to help Donald Norcross who needed no help. As National Journal pointed out, “In September, House Majority PAC took in six donations, totaling $270,000, from labor unions and businesses tied in various ways to Donald Norcross.” That led Rosi Efhim to conclude in her diary Oh, so THAT’s why Nancy Pelosi’s House Majority PAC dissed Aimee Belgard to plump up Don Norcross.

The House Democrats are voting today on who will become ranking member of the House Committee on Commerce and Energy. Seniority should call for Rep. Frank Pallone to hold that position. However, the Steering/Policy Committee recommended California Representative Anna Eshoo, who is supported by Pelosi. Pallone received more than the 14 votes he needed to force a vote by the entire House Democratic membership. How Don Norcross voted on the Steering/Policy Committee is unclear. What is known is that Pallone has contributed $286,500 from his leadership political action committee, trailing Eshoo, who has handed out $436,200. NJ Representatives Donald Payne (CD 10) and Bill Pascrell (CD 9) have endorsed Pallone for the job. Pallone deserves the position and may even get it. In the meantime Norcross, after succeeding in joining the Policy/Steering Committee, also seeks to join the Energy/Commerce Committee.  

Regardless of how the votes go today this tale provides insight into the ongoing importance of what Cabaret’s MC calls, “That clinking clanking sound of money money money money money money.”

Election November 4, 2014

FYI – We are also monitoring results on Twitter @BlueJersey.

Revised through early Wednesday morning:


U. S. Senate  

Booker (D)

House of Representatives

Norcross (D-01), LoBiondo (R-02), MacArthur (R-03), Smith (R-04), Garrett (R-05), Pallone (D-06), Lance (R-07), Sires (D-08), Pascrell (D-09), Payne (D-10), Frelinghuysen (R-11), Coleman (D-12)

Republicans gain control of the U. S. Senate.  Republicans 52, Democrats 44, Independent 1 and still undecided 3.

WE WILL HAVE SIX DEMOCRATS AND SIX REPUBLICANS IN OUR DELEGATION (no change in the balance). We are proud of having the first NJ African-American woman congressperson Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12). The other new members of our delegation are Donald Norcross (D-01) and Tom MacArthur(R-03).

Below the fold: Updated Election results


  • Each NJ Congressional District: Who won in the prior 2012 election and by how many points over the challenger, and the most recent poll where available, plus individual winner projections.

  •  The one U. S. Senate race: 2013 results, the most recent poll, and projected winner. (No surprise here.)

  •  National U.S. Senate: Current Senate party membership split, number necessary for Republicans to take control, with an overall projection.

  • National House of Representatives: Current House party membership split, and an overall winner projection.

  •  National Governors: Current party membership split, and overall projection.    

  • Tomorrow’s Elections and Impacts on NJ

    It seems those dang Republicans will take control of the U. S. Senate in January, but not at a veto-proof level. (I hope any Supreme Court members thinking of retiring will do so quickly.) Republicans will retain control of the House and add some compatriots but not reach the veto-proof level. The House could hardly get more dysfunctional. With so many close races, all results may not be known for days or even months.

    With both the Senate and House under Republican stewardship one might expect more conservative legislation. It will be necessary for President Obama to make clear up front what he will veto and to work more closely with congress on other bills to achieve a reasonable compromise. Maybe the Republicans will even realize they need an immigration bill, and it will just barely pass the stink test.

    As explained here it appears that Gov. Christie who has traveled extensively out of state to increase the number of Republican governors has had little if any success. His campaign for the presidency does not seem to be doing much better. So maybe it’s no surprise that during his recent visit to New Jersey he appeared unpleasantly, impatiently, and loudly angry at someone who questioned his management of Sandy recovery.

    More about the elections below the fold including impacts on New Jersey.

    It’s All About Cereal: Tedesco vs. Donovan

    County elections may not grab the big headlines but elections do matter. In Bergen County where the number one concern of constituents is always real estate taxes, an important need now is to support Democrat James Tedesco’s battle to unseat Republican Kathleen Donovan as County Executive. One source likens her to the cereal that has long been on your shelf and you routinely pull down to eat (Donovan served 19 years as Bergen County Clerk) versus a cereal that is better for you (Tedesco’s policies.)

    Getting people to change their cereal is not always easy. Tedesco brings change and strengths to the job. Donovan, still in her first term in office, is already mired by controversies in her past (while Chair of the NY/NJ PA she sanctioned a policy that was a precursor to Bridgegate), her present (her appointment of hospital task force members slammed by freeholders of both parties on Monday) and possibly her future (American Dream Meadowlands.)  


    The Congressional Campaign Dollar Bill Awards (So Far)

    Although congressional elections are more than three months away, it is not too early to award some favorable and not so favorable prizes based on financial reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission for the period ending June 30, 2014. By now challengers need a large war chest to fund their campaign while entrenched incumbents not so much. The Democrat in an open seat which is strongly contested needs substantial cash (CD 3) and the two Democrats in open seats in districts where the results are virtually for-ordained Democratic, not so much (CD 01 and CD 12). While candidates will continue to receive donations, only those in the most competitive races are likely to receive a significant amount from outside independent funders.

    Of course money isn’t everything, but it’s playing an increasingly important role in elections and its sheer quantity continues to expand. A lot of dollar bills there.

    How they’re doing – on the jump page.

    Primaries: Firecrackers, Duds and In Between

    We are three weeks away from the March 31 Nomination Petition Filing Deadline for the Primary Election, and the NJ Division of Elections lists only one candidate as of Sunday who has filed a petition. No fear, there is still time and there are many potential candidates, some undergoing review by their county party.

    In the House race there is one seat already vacant (Rob Andrews (D-CD 1), two seats where the incumbent is exiting at the end of his term – Jon Runyan (R-CD 3) and Rush Holt (D-CD 12) – a few which might be in play, and others cast in concrete. It is an unusual election because we will end up with at least three newly minted Representatives. We currently have six Democrats and six Republicans in our delegation. An early prediction: at worst we retain six Democratic seats, at best we gain one to two additional D’s with one or two much-needed women.

    In the Senate race according to a March Monmouth University poll incumbent Cory Booker “seems poised to defeat any Republican challenger in his bid for re-election this November. In a contest between him and conservative Republican challenger Murray Sabrin, Booker garners 58 percent of the vote as opposed to 25 percent for Sabrin.” Several Republican luminaries stuck their tow in the water and quickly removed it. Jeff Bell (R) who was Tea Party before the Tea Party existed is also a contender. Booker might end up having no Democrat as an opponent. Although the odds-on favorite, Booker sometimes underperforms in the final vote tally.

    Below the fold are brief comments on each of the twelve Congressional Districts.  

    What’s Happening Today Thu. 01/16/2014

    Today attention is drawn to the Senate and Assembly as their new session begins and they establish Bridgegate panels. The Assembly has formed a committe with subpoena power consisting of eight Democrats and four Republicans chaired by Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). Its legal counsel will be former U. S. Attorney Reis Schar who prosecuted the case against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. In the meantime Senate President Sweeney has announced the Senate will create its own separate panel, which appears duplicative of time, staff, resources and issues.

    It might be more worthwhile to have each committee address separate matters – a two track inquiry. Much attention has been focused on the Christie administration, but equally important (and maybe more so in the long run) is the Port Authority administration which shares culpability. Its staff (naively) implemented the lane closures and did not inform the proper authorities. It’s PR department maintained “radio silence.” Some of its top executives were not sharing information. People appear to have violated procedures, and the result may well be in violation of federal and state laws. The performance of the agency in Bridgegate only highlights broader concerns regarding its overall performance.

  • Track 1 (Senate): The Port Authority: Investigate its exorbitant toll increases, wisdom/fairness of its investments in NJ, its cover up, its PR departrment and others ignoring requests for information from citizens, legislators and the press, its excessive number of political appointees, appointees from different sides of the Hudson not working well together, “culture of fear” indicated by key PA managers, role  and membership of the Board of Commissioners, procedures for  conducting lane closures and/or traffic studies, and its management structure (Why did Executive Director Patrick Foye say he could not fire Christie appointee Deputy Director Bill Baroni?  And what has to be done to ensure the procedures there work as they should?). Most of these issues are not criminal in nature but get to the heart of what appears to be a dysfunctional agency that needs significant reforms – and one which receives billions of dollars from NJ residents. This investigation would be more far-ranging than the efforts of U. S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.)

  • Track 2 (Assembly): Bridgegate/NJ: Investigation of Gov. Christie, his Executive Office members (and some of their reportees), political appointees, election campaign officials and anyone else who appears involved in planning, implementing or covering up Bridgegate. Find out the who, when, how, why and what in this debacle. Some of this effort may uncover criminal and impeachable activities.

    To his credit NY appointee Executive Director Patrick Foye brought the lane closures to an end in September. He was right on point when his Deputy Bill Baroni, in an e-mail said, “There can be no public discourse,” and Foye responded, “Bill that’s precisely the problem, there has been no public discourse on this.” Foye further vowed, “I will get to the bottom of this abusive decision which violated everything this agency stands for.” Nonetheless four months later we have not heard what he discovered. Instead, The office of U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman (NJ) announced that it had opened a preliminary inquiry after a referral from the inspector general at the Port Authority.  

    Read about the “Hall of Infamy,” Rep. Pascrell’s new bill, and the Governor’s schedule today below the fold.

  • Pascrell to GOP Rep: “Are You SERIOUS?”

    ICYMI, this is glorious. Promoted by Rosi

    Heh.  Not to be outdone by Frank Pallone, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) jumps up while blasting Republicans for blocking the Affordable Care Act, then goes after Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) for blabbing yet another Obamacare lie.  Heh.

        GRIFFIN: You asked a question and I’m going to answer it. It’s a false choice to say it’s Obamacare or nothing. There are numerous proposals including one that I’m a co-sponsor of…

       PASCRELL: Are you serious what you just said? Are you really serious? After what we’ve gone through and what we’ve gone through in the last three and a half years? Have you – you can sit there and say, that you had a legitimate alternative after these years? We’ve gone through 44 votes, 48 votes now of you trying to dismantle the legislation. You call that cooperation?

    Here’s the video.  Heh.