Tag Archive: First Responders

Reauthorize the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act

9/11 Ground Zero rescue workers

Today, more than 100 first responders are walking the halls of Congress to lobby lawmakers to reauthorize and make permanent the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named for NYPD detective,the first death by respiratory disease attributed to work at Ground Zero. He spent 450 hours there.

Following 9/11, America fairly throbbed with patriotism, nationalism and enough bloodthirsty revenge that allowed George Bush to launch a war on the wrong guy. We’ve recovered our senses since then, but the names of the people lost at the World Trade Center and Pentagon are still recited out loud, as they should be.

But there are other names and we have a chance to do more than remember them; the survivors and those who rushed in, then stayed to do what had to be done.  

In Flemington tonight: School security plans leaked, Will there be more calls for resignation?

Tonight 7pm is the first meeting of the Flemington Borough Council since an explosive meeting – one week ago tonight – of the school board that serves the same town. We’ll know by tonight if there’s reverb from last week, and whether Republican members of the Borough Council, some of whom were leaked confidential info and apparently didn’t report it, have anything to say for themselves. Here’s what’s going on:

School security documents leaked: At last Monday’s Flemington-Raritan School Board meeting, we learned that Board member Alan Brewer (Flemington) sent details of the emergency security plan now being drafted for all the district schools to 10 Republicans active in Flemington politics. Board member Anna Fallon, who confirmed this leak via public records request, demanded Brewer’s resignation. Board member Robin Behn also demanded Brewer resign. And that was echoed during the meeting’s public comments, including from me. I am a Flemington resident and Brewer represents me on that Board.

Why is that a big deal? What Brewer leaked are plans that first responders need immediately in an emergency, like what hallway kids are told to run down to escape if there’s a shooter in the building, or where the hidden cameras are placed. Now that info has been leaked past the confidentiality of school officials. That plan was expensive and months in the making. But what is far worse is the risk to the safety of children and staff that Brewer might have caused.

Who did Al Brewer leak to: Erica Edwards (Flemington mayor), Brian Swingle, John Gorman, Phil Greiner and Phil Velella (the Republicans on Flemington Borough Council), Bill Reed (Republican Party municipal chair), Marcia Karrow (former state senator), Bob Hauck (former Flemington councilman), Mary Melfi (Hunterdon Clerk) and Elaine Gorman (Councilman Gorman’s wife, who represents her voting district to the Republican Party).

My question to the 10 Republican he leaked to: Why didn’t you immediately report this breach to the Board?

Christie can’t take the heat in Paterson

After this happened in Paterson today, Christie had some trouble with people who disagree with him at his “town hall” in nearby Caldwell and ejected some he didn’t want to hear from. – Rosi

Cross-posted with Marie Corfield.

1 of 4 - PATERSONApparently Gov. Christie heeded the old saying, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen” and high-tailed it out of the Silk City after uttering about 25 words in his swearing in of Mayor Jose Torres. But I don’t think it was the typical Jersey-style summer-in-the-city, +90° hazy, hot and humid weather that forced him out. No, I think it was the approximately 50 Paterson education professionals who showed up armed with their best teacher voices to protest. Clad in red shirts to symbolize Trenton’s bleeding of the school district, they were there to deliver a message to Gov. Christie: state control is hurting their students, their schools and profession, and forcing many education professionals out of their jobs because they can no longer support their families and pay their bills.

911 Tapes Released by Fort Lee – GWB Scandal

Released by Fort Lee this morning, are 10 minutes of 911 tapes covering 28 hours during the time local lanes were suddenly closed off the George Washington Bridge. The incidents called in include an increasingly agitated woman calling several times when an ambulance is slow to arrive. Also included are reports of fender benders on the GWB, an employee at a Fort Lee diner calling in about an elderly customer who lost consciousness, and a motorist calling in a woman slumped over in her car in apparent distress

You will hear this phrase repeatedly: “Medical and personal identification information,” apparently inserted to protect individuals’ sensitive information. Audio:

ICYMI – Watch: Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich

Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, has largely steered clear of public speculation about whether September’s sudden George Washington Bridge lane closures were political punishment from political operatives in Port Authority acting for Gov. Christie, retribution for Sokolich’s refusal to endorse Christie when asked to. Today, everything changed. Revelations the order turn his town into traffic chaos came from a senior staffer in Christie’s front office. Reports that first responders were delayed getting to a 91-year-old woman who later died, a traffic accident with four injuries and other emergency calls.

There are so many jolting pull-out quotes in what Sokolich said tonight, on All In with Chris Hayes. It’s late, it’s been a long day and you should really just sit down and hear it all for yourself.

Endorsements for Bill Pascrell: Firefighters & Police

In the increasingly tense post-redistricting primary contest between Rep. Bill Pascrell and Rep. Steve Rothman, Pascrell has rolled out another series of endorsements, this time of first responder and public safety organizations:

•  N.J. State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, Anthony Wieners, President

•  Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, Dominick

Marino, President

•  N.J. Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association, William J.

Lavin, President

•  N.J. State Fraternal Order of Police, Edward R. Brannigan, President

•  Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, Paul Nunziato, President

•  International Association of Firefighters, Harold Schaitberger, President

•  Paterson Local Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association,

Carlos Pagan, President

•  Clifton Local Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association,

Robert DeLuca, President

We don’t generally post press releases in the form they come to us. But the balance of this release was pull-out quotes from the leadership of the organizations. I thought some of you might want to read those quotes. Below the fold, the quotes.

I’ve Never Been Among So Many Heroes at One Time

Last week’s rally in Trenton was soggy. Today’s was downright cold. But for anyone standing among thousands of firemen, police, corrections officers, emergency response personnel, and even a handful of supporting teachers, the atmosphere was electric. Speakers were union leaders and just about any Democratic politician in the State House – with one exception.

You would think that this crowd would portray Chris Christie as the bogeyman – and you would not be disappointed. But the overriding theme was expressed in the repeated chants of “Where’s Sweeney?”

Senate President Steve Sweeney’s capitulation to the anti-union interests was foremost among the concerns of the endless sea of blue uniformed men and women in front of the State House.

The photos tell the rest of the story.  Click here for more photos.

Police & Firefighters to Rally Thursday

In an atmosphere charged by the Wisconsin resistance, the State House is about to see its second big rally by union labor and supporters.

Firefighters at Rally with Wisconsin Workers at State House, 2/25/11
Firefighters rally in Trenton Friday

On Thursday 11am, comes a second rally. This time, it’s New Jersey police and firefighters: Rally to Take a Stand for Public Safety.

For first-responders, the massive cuts to their labor force are not only about backdoor methods of making collective bargaining illegal, as Hetty Rosenstein charges Steve Sweeney and Jennifer Beck are trying to do. Not only about Christie’s near-daily demonizing of the people who work for New Jersey, and not only about Christie ignoring labor’s collective bargaining rights. Firefighters & police are charged to protect, and deep cuts in state aid have meant massive layoffs, and an impact on how safe we all are.

Boots of laid-off police officers in Camden
Boots of laid-off Camden police officers (APP)

Camden laid off nearly one-half of its police force this year; a third of its firefighters. Yesterday, about 40 laid-off firefighters and firefighters coming off shift rallied outside Camden’s city hall, demanding action from Mayor Dana Redd. Their signs read: Camden’s new emergency # (856) TOO-LATE, and People are dying.

The NJ state PBA’s website is as hard on Democrats in the legislature as it is on Gov. Christie:

On the political front, Governor Christie continues to preach that he has no problem with the “rank-and-file” members while at the same time he proposes legislation that denies those same rank-and-file members their collective bargaining rights, violates their contracts, and reduces pension benefits that they have faithfully paid for during their careers.

Unfortunately, the Democratic majority, with only a few exceptions, has apparently forgotten their core values and has been ineffective in bringing some order and common sense to the table.

“Consequences of Christie”

With Chris Christie spending most of this month out of state for GOP political trips – sometimes with a powerful GOP lobbyist along, sometimes getting in the face of people with questions – NJDSC produced a video primer of our Governor, with some of the things he might not be mentioning as he helps Republican candidates rake in the money in the days leading up to the November election. Here it is, called “Consequences of Christie. Does it tell the story?

Emergency Responders Employment Protection Act

As mentioned in today’s News Roundup, the Assembly Budget Committee will likely approve a bill to protect volunteer first responders from being fired or suspended from their jobs.  It may have already happened, but I’m not listening to the committee, so I don’t know for sure.

Click Here for access to the legislature’s website for the bill.  Click Here for today’s Courier Post/AP article on the topic.

For those of you not familiar, this legislation would protect the jobs of volunteers if they respond to an emergency incident (i.e. large house fire) BEFORE they go to work and are not able to make it to work on time.  This bill does NOT mandate employers allow volunteers to leave in the middle of a work day.  I suggest giving it a quick read for a better explanation.

I urge the Assembly to approve of this piece of legislation during Thursday’s floor vote.  

When that gets done, I strongly urge the Senate (I’m talking to you, Sweeney and Codey) to swiftly pass this legislation so the Governor can sign it into law.

Follow me below the fold (if I can get away with stealing that phrase)…