Tag Archive: Caroline Casagrande

GOP Assemblywomen Handlin and Casagrande – Socialists?

In a press release today, GOP Assemblywomen Amy Handlin and Caroline Casagrande showed us how they can oversimplify complex issues by unequivocally saying “a thousand times NO” to a proposed rate increase by Jersey Central Power & Light.

There’s no question that JCP&L’s performance in the lead-up and aftermath to Hurricane Sandy was disastrous. From all accounts, customer communications and speed of response was the worst of all of the utilities serving New Jersey.

But as a publicly-traded utility, JCP&L deserves to make a fair profit, and they have an obligation to plow some of that profit back into infrastructure maintenance and improvements.

If Democrats had called for controls on the profit of a publicly-traded corporation, it would take the GOP about a half a nanosecond to accuse them of being Socialists.

Utilities are highly regulated. Yet the Republican Tea Party mantra is to eliminate regulation and let the “free market” take care of things. Handlin’s and Casagrande’s statements are simplistic at best and disingenuous.

Some of the questions that need to be asked of JCP&L are: Has it invested enough in redundancy and resilience of the power distribution infrastructure? How much of its Sandy failure is due to insufficient investment and how much is due to mismanagement? How much of the problem is due to the BPU’s driving of how the utilities operate?

Of course, the status does not have to remain quo. There are alternatives to the way power can be generated and distributed in the state. We could go back to the days where the utilities were owned and operated by the government. Even today, there are some small utilities that operate this way and their rates are generally lower. But hey, that’s Socialism.

Or, we could look forward. Forward to the day when power is not generated by multi-billion dollar plants that pollute our air and water, or leave radioactive waste for future generations to worry about. We could produce power closer to the consumer, by solar, wind, and geothermal plants distributed across the state, all interconnected by a highly redundant grid – similar to the way the Internet is resilient to local outages. Of course, that investment would not be looked upon kindly by Chris Christie’s Koch Brothers benefactors, but maybe a new governor would be more open to changing the status quo. She’d be labeled a Socialist because a radical change would truly result in “power to the people”, but at least the lights would stay on.

The Electric Chicken and Egg

The practicality of adoption of cars that use no gasoline is a chicken or egg phenomenon. Today’s battery technology limits the range of electric vehicles and recharging stations are few and far between. Consequently, the attractiveness of electric vehicles to consumers is limited, and with little demand, the requisite charging stations will not be built.

To help alleviate that problem, the legislature is working on a bill to provide modest tax credits for the deployment of these charging stations throughout the state. Earlier this week, the Assembly Appropriations committee heard testimony on the bill.

Not surprisingly, some (but not all) Republicans were opposed to this common-sense bill. Assembly members Chiusano and McHose voted NO despite the fact that these tax credits will really create jobs and improve air quality. But the bill passed and was released to the full Assembly where it will be voted upon tomorrow.

Below is some of the testimony – from a charging station vendor and from the Sierra Club’s Jeff Tittel, along with the give-and-take discussion with some of the committee members.

More below the fold…

Will Casagrande’s lies and smears translate into Hebrew?

promoted by Rosi

As reported recently in the New Jersey Jewish News, the dirtiest legislative race in recent memory, featuring a smear campaign against one of the Democratic Assembly candidates, Vin Gopal, was observed by four members of the Israeli delegation from the American Council of Young Political Leaders, a bipartisan nonprofit organization, supported by the U.S. Department of State, that coordinates international exchange activities worldwide for political leaders ages 25-40, who were hosted by ACYPL alumna, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, one of the perpetrators of the smear campaign.

I am embarrassed by this on a number of levels.  First and foremost, this was supposed to be a learning experience for the Israeli delegation.

“This has been an amazing program that will allow us to bring new ideas to Israel. We are learning a lot and contributing a lot, and making contacts that will last for many years to come,” said Shay Even of Ra’anana, a member of the Ra’anana City Council and the Meretz Party.

Other delegation members included Mordechai Ruham of Rishon Letzion, chief of staff with Silvan Shalom, Israel’s vice prime minister and a Knesset member for the Likud Party; Dore Bloch of Jerusalem, head of volunteers and election day operations for Labor Party chair Amram Mitzna; and Linor Deutsch of Tel Aviv, spokeswoman and political consultant with the office of Shai Hermesh, Knesset member from the Kadima Party.

Clearly, Councilman Even doesn’t realize that there is very little, if anything, that Israelis, who are fortunate enough to have the only real democracy in the Middle East and one of the most (if not the most) dynamic democracies in the world, which provides visibility and a voice for a far wider spectrum of political thought than most, especially ours, could or should learn from the democratic process here in the United States, particularly in New Jersey.  But, of course, the intellectually dishonest Assemblywoman Casagrande disagrees with me.

“We were so excited when ACYPL offered us the opportunity to host an Israeli delegation, which was coming to study American elections,” Casagrande told NJJN. “What better place to learn about it than in New Jersey, where we are famous for our vigorously fought elections.”

LD-11 GOP Liars Caroline Casagrande & Mary Pat Angelini can’t smear Vin Gopal

Can you get yourself re-elected by lying to voters?

LD-11 Casagrande and Angelini go after Vin GopalOf course you can. Candidates circling the ethics drain do it all the time. And that’s what Republicans Caroline Casagrande & Mary Pat Angelini are banking on; if they suggest to enough voters that rising Democrat Vin Gopal is a crook, maybe they can keep their jobs.

The GOP’s clearly concerned that Gopal might win. He’s an effective, eloquent and inspiring candidate. Gopal’s entire team, among other nods, won Democracy for America’s national endorsement (disclosure: it was my pleasure to alert DFA to their strengths). Asbury Park Press endorsed Gopal, too, urging voters to consider him over Mary Pat Angelini.

So. What did Casagrande and Angelini do? They sent mail , produced by NJ GOP but approved by the two of them, that attempt to tar Gopal with the crimes of Perth Amboy Mayor Joe Vas, who went to jail for corruption. This kind of crap is right out of the Karl Rove playbook; create a scary-enough bogeyman and the voters will do what you want.  

Bill to Decriminalize small amounts of Marijuana garners 18 co-sponsors.

22,439 people were arrested in New Jersey for possessing less than 50 grams* of cannabis in 2009.

FreedomIsGreen.Com, a local blog devoted to advancing more enlightened cannabis policy in New Jersey is reporting an an intriguing new bill on the Assembly docket that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in the Garden State.

The bill, which already has 18 co-sponsors (5 from the GOP) was introduced by Assemblymen Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) and Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris), the same bi-partisan duo that introduced the state’s nascent medical marijuana law.

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… 

Christie-heavy GOP Congressional Redistricting Team

Via politickernj, the newly-named GOP congressional redistricting team: Christie confidante Mike Du Haime will be managing (no surprise there). What the Governor wants, his people will try mightily to achieve (though it didn’t work out so well the last time). And the governor loves to hate Frank Pallone. The rest of the GOP team will be filled out by:

  • the rather misinformed Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande

  • Burlington Freeholder Director Aubrey Fenton

  • Cape May Freeholder Steve Sheppard

  • Sherine El-Abd of the 2004 NJ Bush-Cheney team

  • Eric Jaso, yet another veteran of the US Attorney’s office in New Jersey who have been entrusted with so much of the opportunity to plot out former US Attorney Chris Christie’s agenda.  
  • 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!

    Are Toll Collectors about to be Schundlered?

    When the New Jersey State Department of Education was competing for $400 million in federal funds last Spring, then-Education Commissioner Brett Schundler reached an agreement with the teachers’ union on an approach to utilize the money. This didn’t sit well with Governor Christie, who abhors workers, especially those in unions. Consequently, Schundler was fired for having the temerity to negotiate with the union, Christie’s minions modified the grant application at the last minute, and New Jersey lost out on the federal funds.

    This action apparently did not go unnoticed by Department of Transportation Commissioner James Simpson. At a hearing of the Assembly State Governance Committee today, it became apparent that Simpson got the message and in the last several months his office went from cooperation to obstruction in dealing with the toll collectors on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.

    While the hearings, which were held in a packed meeting room, were ostensibly billed as a discussion of the privatization of toll collection services, it became quickly apparent that this initiative is another move by the Christie administration to punish union workers.

    Bounty Hunting

    Why nerdy is better than sexy…

    New Jersey may be on the east coast, but if Assemblywoman Caroline Cassagrande has her way, we can consider ourselves in the Wild West.

    Casagrande is the sponsor of a bill which would allow the state to hire private accountants to identify waste in New Jersey’s government. But there is a proven, better way to eliminate waste (which I will describe later). Casagrande’s approach is flawed on several levels.