Tag Archive: testimony

Sen. Cory Booker questions on passenger rail safety (video)

“PTC,” discussed below = “Positive Train Control”.

Yesterday, the House added funding for video cameras inside locomotive cabs to record engineers who hold the lives of hundreds in their hands and to help investigators figure out what happened in the event of crashes like the Amtrak derailment in Philly last month. That accident injured dozens and killed 8, including 48-year-old Jim Gaines of Plainsboro, the father of two.

The safeguards are a start, but were already largely called for and determined. And the generally-useless and sometimes outright destructive Republican-controlled House voted to cut Amtrak’s budget – by $242 million.

This hearing, on passenger rail safety, was today. Booker is a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee. Updating and making safer our Amtrak system, particularly in the heavily-traveled Northeast Corridor, will take more than money, which is why I’m interested in these questions and answers. But it won’t happen if Congress continues to starve Amtrak of funding.

Being questioned by Booker, below, are Robert Lauby, Associate Administrator for Safety/Chief Safety Officer, for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration. And Charles Mathias, Associate Bureau Chief, FCC, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

My Testimony on “One Newark” Before the NJ Legislature Today

These are remarks as prepared for my testimony today on One Newark. More to come. Cross-posted with Jersey Jazzman.

Mark Weber

Testimony before the Joint Committee on the Public Schools

New Jersey Legislature

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Good morning. My name is Mark Weber; I am a New Jersey public school teacher, a public school parent, a member of the New Jersey Education Association, and a doctoral student in Education Theory, Organization, and Policy at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education.

Last year, I was honored to testify before this committee regarding research I and others had conducted on One Newark, the school reorganization plan for the Newark Public Schools. Dr. Bruce Baker, my advisor at Rutgers and one of the nation’s foremost experts on school finance and policy, joined me in writing three briefs in 2014 questioning the premises of One Newark. Dr. Joseph Oluwole, a professor of education law at Montclair State University, provided a legal analysis of the plan in our second brief.

I would like to state for the record that neither myself, Dr. Baker, nor Dr. Oluwole received any compensation for our efforts, and our conclusions are solely our own and do not reflect the views of our employers or any other organization.

Our research a year ago led us to conclude that there was little reason to believe One Newark would lead to better educational outcomes for students. There was little empirical evidence to support the contention that closing or reconstituting schools under One Newark’s “Renew School” plan would improve student performance. There was little reason to believe converting district schools into charter schools would help students enrolled in the Newark Public Schools (NPS). And we were concerned that the plan would have a racially disparate impact on both staff and students.

In the year since my testimony, we have seen a great public outcry against One Newark. We’ve also heard repeated claims made by State Superintendent Cami Anderson and her staff that Newark’s schools have improved under her leadership, and that One Newark will improve that city’s system of schools.

To be clear: it is far too early to make any claims, pro or con, about the effect of One Newark on academic outcomes; the plan was only implemented this past fall. Nevertheless, after an additional year of research and analysis, it remains my conclusion that there is no evidence One Newark will improve student outcomes.

Drewniak on the hot seat in Bridgegate hearing

The Legislative SCI, jointly chaired by John Wisniewski and Loretta Weinberg is underway now in Committee Room 11 at the statehouse.

NJTV is broadcasting live.

Watch live online via NJ Legislature.

New Jersey News 12 is also live-streaming.

I’m under the weather so not sure how much of this I’ll be live-Tweeting. But live-Tweeting right now and worth following are:

@mattkatz00 of WYNC

The Record’s @MichaelLinhorst

WSJ’s @HeatherHaddon.

Bill Baroni’s testimony today on GWB lane closure: “Smug” and “the dog ate my homework”

The NJ Assembly Transportation Committee requested that several top execs of the Port Authority come before it, and answer their questions about the sudden lane closures on the GWB, and 5-day dangerous traffic snarl that caused. But in the end, only one showed up. Port Authority sent its Jersey politician, Bill Baroni – Christie appointee, Deputy ED, and the highest ranking Jersey bureaucrat in the joint.

It did not go well. Chair John Wisniewski complimented Baroni on his ability to dance past direct questions, and called him smug. Linda Stender got into a shouting match with him. And Senator Loretta Weinberg, who represents Fort Lee, the town that figures into both the massive traffic jam and allegedly its reason, says the explanation amounted to “the dog ate my homework.”

10 AM Open Thread – Marriage Equality Hearing in Assembly Judiciary

UPDATE 7:25: Full Assembly will take A-1 up Feb. 16.

UPDATE 5:10pm: After nearly 7 hours of testimony, the Assembly Judiciary Committee voted 5-2 to send A-1 to the full Assembly for consideration. The vote: YES: Johnson, Gusciora, Caputo, Quijano, Barnes. NO: Carroll, Schepisi. Straight party-line vote.

Steven Goldstein, GSE at Assembly Judiciary 1/2/12
Garden State Equality’s Steven Goldstein in a rare moment of calm

If this post looks familiar, it should: 9 days ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard hours of testimony, then passed S-1 to the full Senate by a vote of 8-4.

Today, Assembly Judiciary Committee hears testimony on A-1.
At the Senate panel session, though there were far more people who showed up and were prepared to testify for equality, about an equal number of pro’s and con’s were chosen to address the committee. This morning, Garden State Equality showed up at the crack of dawn to greet supporters, many of whom arrived wearing EQUALITY The American Dream tee-shirts. Gov. Christie’s response to the rise in the legislature of this issue was the ill-advised and ignorant statement about the civil rights movement which got him a week of the kind of national coverage people usually don’t want.

Assembly Judiciary crowd, ME, 1/2/12
Crowd waits at Assembly Judiciary, many in EQUALITY t-shirts

Two ways (or both) to follow:

  • Follow Blue Jersey on Twitter.

  • Listen LIVE here.

    Please note: You’ll need Windows Media Player, which takes a few moments to download. There’s a link for it on the Statehouse media page. Hearings often start late, so keep refreshing the page until it’s up.

  • We’ll keep this an Open Thread. So if you’re listening or in the audience, please let us know what you’re hearing and thinking.