Tag Archive: Louis Greenwald

Elected Officials at Burlington Unites

In addition to remarks by clergy at last night’s Burlington Unites service, elected officials from both parties spoke last night. Here are some highlights, culminating with Assemblyman Troy Singleton’s inspiring remarks and call to action (at 5:12 in the video).

An Interview with Assembly Leadership

Chairing the Assembly Budget Committee seems to be an excellent path to higher positions in that body, at least for the current Speaker and Majority Leader. Both Vincent Prieto and Lou Greenwald are former chairs of that important committee. So I started off this interview asking them what to expect in tomorrow’s budget message from the governor. We also spoke about related issues like the gasoline tax and the inheritance tax. Education, Atlantic City, and the Port Authority were also discussed.

Imagine – Part Deux

Last week, I posted a diary called “Imagine”, in which I let my imagination take me to a world where Governor Christie was a moderate Republican instead of a presidential candidate bowing to the worst that the GOP has to offer. Driving home from Trenton today, I imagined something else. I thought about how the Special Committee investigating the George Washington Bridge closure could have been more valuable to the citizens of New Jersey had the Republicans wanted to get to the bottom of the incident instead of making this a totally partisan game.

I’m not naïve. I know Trenton is the center of political gamesmanship and that every one of our legislators is a political animal. Every action, every vote, every question they pose is filtered through a political lens. But if politics is their only criterion, they don’t deserve to wear the moniker “public servant.”

Today, I witnessed the worst exhibition of non-value-added partisan politics in the actions of Senator Kevin O’Toole as he read his opening statement during the session called to issue the interim report of the Bridgegate legislative committee. Speaking with venom that would make Rush Limbaugh cringe, O’Toole aimed his rant directly at co-chair Wisniewski with personal attacks on his motives and actions, even comparing Wisnewski’s to Kim Jung Il. PolitickerNJ’s Chase Brush called it a 10-minute tirade, and committee member Assemblyman Louis Greenwald called it “unprofessional.” Greenwald was being kind.

More, including the Democratic response, below the fold.

The Norcrossed Voters of District 1

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The rollout of Donald Norcross’ congressional campaign signifies everything that’s wrong with New Jersey’s boss-dominated politics.

Shortly after the nearly simultaneous announcements of Congressman Rob Andrews’ retirement and State Senator Norcross’ anointment as Andrews’ successor, the Norcross machine published a list of 167 elected and civic personalities that have “endorsed” the candidate.

To me, it’s incredible that such a list could be compiled in such a short time. Have you ever tried to phone or e-mail an elected official directly? Not all of them are easy to get hold of. Yet, in the space of a few days, the Norcross campaign was able to obtain endorsements from each one of them.

There are only two possible conclusions I can draw from this. Either the Norcross-for-Andrews coup was in the planning stages for a longer time than advertised, or many of the endorsements were made unilaterally by the Norcross campaign, knowing that no South Jersey Democrat would dare to buck the machine.

It’s a given that a George Norcross minion would replace Andrews. But shouldn’t the voters of South Jersey be given a choice? What about a well-qualified woman like Pamela Lampitt? A relentless public servant like Troy Singleton? What about Dana Redd or Louis Greenwald? Are these folks less competent than Donald to represent the district in Congress? There are lots of good Norcrosscrats in the District. It’s bad enough that voters must choose from within the cabal. But at least give them that choice.

Slower than the Storm

In a poll released today by Monmouth University, only 10% of the residents surveyed indicated that they had fully recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed are dissatisfied by the progress made to date. Perhaps the Governor should change his campaign slogan to “Stronger than the Storm – Slower than Molasses.”

There are many factors involved in the recovery. One of them is building inspections and related activities that are performed by licensed architects and engineers. According to Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, there were hundreds of these professionals who were willing to do this work on a pro bono basis, but felt they were unable to because of the potential for liability lawsuits.

To that end, Greenwald will introduce, in the lame duck session, a bill to shield these professionals from certain lawsuits, although not in certain cases involving negligence and acts of omission.

Flanked by Jack Purvis, President of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (to Greenwald’s left in the video), and Robert Thiel, President of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers, Greenwald described the need for the bill at a press conference today in Trenton.

What do you think, Blue Jersey? Is this bill a good idea? Will it speed up recovery in a future natural or man-made disaster? Have you had personal experience with Sandy recovery? Are we too much of a litigious society or do we still need to maintain the same level of consumer protection?

What’s Happening Today Mon. 10/28/2013

Buono’s “Opportunity Tour”: Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Barbara Buono today kicks off a week-long “Opportunity Tour” to highlight the need to restore the opportunities that made her story possible. The daughter of an immigrant butcher who rose up to become the first woman Majority Leader in state history, the tour will trace sites that enabled Senator Buono and so many others to overcome their circumstances and succeed in New Jersey. The tour begins this afternoon at the deli shop of Senator Buono’s cousin James Buono.

New Jersey’s 2nd disaster-recovery Sandy block grant, expected to amount to over $1 billion, will be announced at 3:00pm by U.S. Housing & Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Sens. Robert Menendez and Jeffrey Chiesa, joined by Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. and Little Ferry Mayor Mauro Raguseo at the First Aid Building, Little Ferry. Conspicuously absent: Gov. Christie.

Environmental groups: 4 pm news conference to oppose South Jersey Gas’ sponsorship of the Sustainable Jersey South Jersey Leadership Forum. The company advocaties a new pipeline built partially in the Pinelands, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Galloway.

Board of State Canvassers: meets at 10:00am to certify Cory Booker’s election as our next U. S. Senator in room 7 at the  Statehouse Annex, Trenton.

PUBLIC SCHEDULES

Buono/Silva Gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 10:30am, with South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese, Press Conference with the New Jersey Superior Officers Association, South Brunswick Municipal Hall, 540 Ridge Rd., Monmouth Junction;  Barbara Buono: 12:30pm, AFT Retiree Luncheon, Forsgate Country Club, 375 Forsgate Dr., Monroe Township;  Barbara Buono, 2:00pm, with Deli owner James Buono, “Opportunity Tour”: Small Business, Buono’s Prime Meats & Deli, 470 Main St., Little Falls.

Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign:  Chris Christie: 10:00am, unveiling of  a statue of Steve Adubato Sr., North Ward Center, Newark;  Chris Christie: 11:45am, ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Route 206 Hillsborough Bypass.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. and Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long: 9:45am, tour of Ocean Avenue to view buildings and businesses damaged by Superstorm Sandy, starts at Borough Hall, ends at the firehouse, Sea Bright.

Rep. Bill Pascrell: 11:00am, joined by Moonachie Mayor Dennis Vaccaro and Little Ferry Mayor Mauro Raguseo, news conference marking Sandy’s anniversary, Moonachie Borough Hall.

Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald: 10:30am, joined by Jack Purvis, president of the American Institute of Architects state chapter, and Robert Thiel, president of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers, news conference, regarding ‘Good Samaritan’ legislation designed to better prepare New Jersey to respond to the next major storm or natural disaster, Statehouse, Room 109, Trenton.

Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com

Norcrossippi Rising

A Blue Jersey commenter has repeatedly written what I consider insulting remarks about residents of South Jersey and Mississippi. I want to believe that his comments were not meant to be insulting, but nevertheless, that’s how I interpret them. There are many fine and decent people both in South Jersey and in the Magnolia State who don’t deserve such disparaging remarks, regardless of their political affiliation.
 
I love New Jersey. I live in South Jersey, used to live in Central Jersey, and have close relatives whom I frequently visit in North Jersey. The state offers a tremendous amount of diversity – not only in its residents, but in what it has to offer. Most people I know from out of state envision the Garden State the way it is portrayed in the opening scenes of The Sopranos – a series of dirty highways littered by oil refineries and crumbling infrastructure and nice homes occupied by crooks and thieves. But anyone who has lived here knows we’re more than that.
 
So I decided to have some fun with our commenter’s proposition. What would happen if he had his way?
 
Story below the fold… 

Courier-Post Gives Conflicting Accounts of George Norcross

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Cross-posted on Swamp Watch

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An alliance with a powerful person is never safe. – Phaedrus


Long time readers of the Courier-Post were surely surprised to read the February 11th printing of the paper. On the front page was an amazing sight, a flattering portrait and headline of a man the paper had railed against and investigated for the past 20 years – exposing his corruption and decrying him as a “machine boss.” The portrait, headline, and subsequent story of February 11 bore no resemblance to the man previously reported on. He was no corrupt machine boss, but a civic minded benefactor, nay a visionary. The piece was titled “George’s Grand Vision: Norcross Sees Camden Rising”

Within the article are a series of statements that are directly contradicted by established facts, many of which were reported by the Courier itself and other Gannett publications.

The story was written by Jason Method whose byline lists New Jersey Press Media not the Courier, the story also ran in other Gannett publications like the Asbury Park Press. It is not surprising that a Courier reporter was not the author of this story given the reporter the Courier had previously assigned to cover the machine, Jane Roh, had been fired from the paper principally for conflicts created by the Norcross Machine who demanded her firing on a continual basis – at one point with the threat of legal action.

This is actually not a new tactic by the Norcross Machine regarding reporters whose coverage it disliked, as recounted by Philadelphia Magazine:

Other journalists have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with Norcross behind the scenes – he shovels them dirt on his opponents, they get a few days of copy. Reporters who are perceived to betray Norcross are dealt with in kind. His cordial relationship with the Courier ‘s Alan Guenther ended when Guenther wrote a revealing three-part series calling him “Boss Norcross.” This was followed by a smear campaign aimed at Guenther and his father, a local architect whose firm donated more than $11,000 to the Camden County Democrats. Always standing in the background, Norcross let his lawyer do the dirty work, sending the newspaper a seven-page letter that attacked Guenther’s father for “solicitation of no-bid contracts” and other offenses, while outlining the reporter’s “conflicts of interest” and “vigilante tactics.” Guenther declined to comment on the matter, and despite Norcross’s efforts, he remains at the Courier .

Guenther is no longer at the Courier. Though the story itself received a Public Service Award from the Philadelphia Press Association.