Tag Archive: Somerset County

Heads-up – Tuesday: Christie in Somerset County for Tax Day “Town Hall”

Tomorrow (Tuesday) on Tax Day April 15th, Chris Christie will be in Somerset County for one of his staged campaign rallies dressed up as a Town Hall. These things are all scheduled during most people’s work time, making it hard for most people to attend and check in with their Governor. But I happen to know that there will be some Somerset Dems there, and some activists from both Working Families and New Jersey Citizen Action. If you’re available, maybe you’d like to join them?

What: Christie Town Hall Protest

When: Tuesday, April 15th at 9:00am.

Where: National Guard Armory, 1060 Hamilton Street, Somerset, NJ 08873

Info & map.

Since it’s Tax Day, people will be protesting outside and letting people know the Governor’s real record: cutting taxes for the rich and corporations, raising taxes on the middle-class and working poor, and blowing taxpayer dollars on politically motivated TV ads. It’s a great opportunity to talk about Christie’s real record on taxes. He’s raised taxes on the working poor, cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, and squandered millions of taxpayer dollars on his own political ambitions, like the self-exonerating Mastro report and glorified campaign ads like Stronger than the Storm.

CD12 Open Seat: Somerset Dems Endorse Chivukula for Congress

Rush Holt’s unexpected announcement last week led to a little avalanche of potential candidates that quickly winnowed down to three who are the most serious, and best prepared; Senator Linda Greenstein, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula. The two women spent their week lining up support in their respective counties of Mercer and Middlesex in the biggest chunks of the district, Chivukula concentrated on making a case for himself as the candidate most like Holt, and best suited for this diverse district, loaded with institutions of higher learning with among the best-educated voters in the country. Chivukula, like Holt slender, formal, focused on energy sources and wonky, is an electrical engineer trying to follow in a physicist’s footsteps. Chivukula was the first Indian-American ever elected to the NJ Assembly, the fourth ever elected to state office in the country. If elected, he would be only the secondIndian-American serving in the House.

He’s made far less news this week as the two women worked the phones, piling up more endorsements than he has. But today, Chivukula – who ran last cycle against Leonard Lance in CD7 – picked up a favorite son endorsement from Somerset County, part of which he represents in his LD17 legislative district. Chair Peg Schaffer describes the Somerset process as open, involving local leaders and resulting in a unanimous decision.

From the endorsement:

“It ultimately comes down to who is going to best replace such an esteemed public servant as Rush Holt, and we strongly believe Assemblyman Chivukula will pick up right where Congressman Holt left off. From his assembly leadership on science and technology issues to his progressive record on the environment, Assemblyman Chivukula is without question the natural fit to succeed Congressman Holt. Furthermore, he brings a thoughtful and solutions-oriented legislative approach to the table, which is sorely lacking in today’s House of Representatives. Making the change from scientist Rush Holt to engineer Upendra Chivukula keeps this seat in capable and like-minded hands.”

Read Somerset County Democrats’ entire endorsement on the jump page.

“I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I don’t agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life.”

UPDATE: Restaurant says the homophobic cheapskates aren’t welcome back.

UPDATE#2: Dayna Morales, a former Marine, is donating funds sent to her by supporters to Wounded Warrior Project.


I must have seen a dozen Facebook hits of this pop up in my news feed before I realized it allegedly happened at a restaurant I drive past frequently, 10 minutes from my house, which was only because my friend Walter O’Brien posted about it last night at NJ.com.

Dayna Morales, the server who says she got no tip and the homophobic message scrawled on the $93.55 check a family racked up, posted at Facebook’s Have a Gay Day. On that site, so far, 2,172 shares of the photo of the check, 6,297 Likes, and plenty of people offering to reimburse her at $1 a pop. Also, thanks for her service (Morales was a Marine), and suggestions people visit the restaurant and request her service. Even before she dropped the check, Morales says the family insulted her, the mother remarking she thought Dayna was a “Dan” because, apparently, of her short hair.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen this. Last month, another gay-bashing cheapskate in Kansas City. Racist asshole at Red Lobster in Tennessee (not to mention the party of 25 kept waiting in South Carolina for 2 hours then denied service because a white customer was “afraid”).

What’s going on? The same thread of holier-than-thou self-righteousness unites all these incidents. Is there some religious institution somewhere telling all the racists and bigots to fan out and hit restaurants?

Want to see the full check? It’s below the fold.

@CoryBooker on the way in to Somerset Dem HQ for @mariecorfield


Cory Booker is on the road to Somerset Dems HQ, the freshly-minted United States Senator making the rounds of key campaigns up and down the state. Also here, is Marie Corfield, who PolitickerNJ gave a shout-out with its Purple Heart Award for hard-charging to take Tea Party Republican Donna Simon’s LD16 seat Tuesday, broken bone and enormous cast notwithstanding.

photo-21I’m living and breathing that campaign right now so I just want to take a second, before Cory Booker gets here to thank the many, many people who have put their pull, their money, their friendship and advice behind one of the best state candidates I have ever seen. That includes Senator Booker, who I don’t think would be here if not for Corfield, who has attracted considerable attention in her race against Simon in the district that spans Mercer, Somerset, Hunterdon and Middlesex.

I’ll update later after the Senator gets here. Meanwhile, read this exclusive interview Jersey Jazzman snagged with the teacher Christie wagged his finger at last night.. Hottest news in the last 24 hours. And Dave Weigel of Slate and MSNBC – who covering Christie and took THAT picture of Christie arguing with yet another constituent – just arrived to cover this.  

A look at the new NJ-21 (and a brief history)

by Stephen Yellin

First, a friendly welcome to the residents of Kenilworth, Chatham Borough, Bernards Township and Far Hills (all 919 of you in the last case) to the 21st Legislative District of New Jersey. I hope you find your accommodations comfortable, as you’ll be staying here for the next 10 years. 🙂

Second, we in the 21st bid a fond farewell to Chatham Township, Madison and Millburn, which will now have a Democratic delegation to represent them in the form of Dick Codey, John McKeon and Mila Jasey. While this Berkeley Heights resident is more than a little jealous to be less than a mile away from having this awesome trio as my delegation, I take comfort in knowing that my friends at Drew University will get to know another awesome ex-Governor a lot better in the year ahead*.  

Transparency & Accountability – Who runs the Democrats? An Open Thread …

A letter came to light today, via politickernj, from a Somerset County Democratic state committeeman to John Wisniewski, suggesting Wisniewski resign from the NJ Assembly, and bylaws be drawn to keep elected officials from serving the state party committee forevermore. And at least one Democratic County Chair – Somerset’s Peg Schaffer – is on board with that.

Frankly, that’s a hard case to make. Joe Cryan, Joe Roberts and Bonnie Watson Coleman all ran the Party from the Assembly. And Asm Jay Webber runs NJ GOP. That begs the question why the hell the Dems should alter bylaws for what only may be an issue right now – if it’s an issue at all.

And the public relations here is dicey. Awful, maybe. I’m sure Joel Shain – former Orange mayor, who once primaried and lost to Dick Codey – didn’t intend this, but a letter asking the Democratic State Chair to demote himself and have less power than he is already perceived to have, well … not cool. Even though, face it, with notable exceptions the Democrats have a serious swagger deficiency, despite their number advantages. That’s what Shain’s getting at, asking Wisniewski to choose, and pick only the Party. But I think there’s another problem.

Transparency & accountability: Try to find the state committee folks who represent your county, people in Shain’s position –

  • I don’t see their names on the NJDSC website, with other Party contacts.

  • Or on the  NJ Democrats facebook group page.

  • Or the wiki.  

    Note: NJDSC parliamentarian Regan McGrory is thorough & very responsive to requests for info. I’ve asked her for that list, and I expect to post it – but I think those names should be listed on their site, and nobody should have to ask for it.

    Who runs the show? The reality is that the state committee is a rubber stamp. In theory, NJDSC’s primary function – and Wisniewski’s –  is to enact the will of its members. And committeemen like Shain are elected to express that will – our will. And the Chair’s supposed to be guided, at least in part, by those locally-elected to the state Party. In practice … very different. The state committee may have power they don’t exercise, and at any rate we never hear about it. It’s top-down, all the way. We know that the people running the show – really running it – are the professional Dems, the class comprised of high-level state electeds, and Democratic staffers. They’re good people – don’t get me wrong, from time to time, Blue Jersey even lobs a person or two into the front office – and they’re fully committed, good Democrats. It’s reasonable that key daily decisions are made by them – they’re there every day.

    The problem is, in their party capacity they’re not answerable – except to each other, and for their jobs. They don’t report to you. County & state committee people can be a key to change, and greater accountability, but they have to hear from the rest of us that we expect that. And the beginning of expecting them to exercise their power, is seeing who they are, and locally contributing feedback to them. And I expect the NJDSC to work overtime to promote that.

    A good start …I want more: The Party Democracy Act has been a lever to dislodge centralized control, giving party activists (on both sides) a better shot at tracking what really goes on. It’s a good process. And if the state committee is actually nothing more than a rubber stamp – except on rare occasions when they make news, or shock the hell out of the party Chair – then maybe we should be asking why that is, and how actually to have our voices heard when our Party takes action, defines itself, or does battle with an impudent Governor who thinks it’s his way or the highway.

    I’ll post the elected members of the NJ Democratic State Committee, reps from all 21 counties, when I get it. Meanwhile, consider this an Open Thread on Shain’s letter to John Wisniewski.

    Blue Jersey, what do you think?   Text of the letter is after the jump.