Tag Archive: nj-5

Anti-social Media

promoted by Rosi

Many members of Congress (and other politicians) engage in some or numerous forms of social media – some are more prolific than others and some in more forms (twitter, facebook, etc.) than others.  Some engage their followers with comments or replies to tweets.

 

And some, like NJ’s Rep. Scott Garrett, use it to broadcast relatively meaningless quotes, veiled insults at Democrats and President Obama (some not even being accurate on basic facts) and other false choices or equivalencies.  His page on Facebook has been around for a while but not one (as far as I have ever seen) comment to a post and no engagement with the roughly 3,200 people who “like” his page (both fans and haters).

 

His Twitter account, started way back in late November 2012, is similar.  Retweets of the Heritage Foundation or Politico or Republican Party talking points, many of which are thinly veiled swipes at someone or repeated on his Facebook feed.

 

If this is outreach, his followers and constituents should be outraged.  This is not joining the 21st century – this is not engagement and this is not listening.  Hell, it is about as little social interaction and still saying that you are using social media.

 

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – nor should anyone who he “represents”.  This is exactly how he has dealt with his constituents for close to a decade now.

Remembering a friend and progressive

promoted by Rosi – I also admired Paul Eisenman

Just a short diary as anyone who has been involved in Bergen County (or probably north Jersey) politics has come across Paul Eisenman at one time or another.  I found out late Sunday night that Paul passed away earlier that day, and although I probably hadn’t seen him in a year or so, I considered him a friend and someone to look up to.

Paul is probably best known for either Bergen Grassroots, which I believe was the chapter up here for Democracy for America – or his tireless work to bring pay-to-play reform to Bergen County.  The stain on the County from the pay-to-play politics had Paul seek out those in either party who would end this practice in Bergen.  His passion – even when I first met him when he was close to 80 years old – was something to admire.  His charisma drew me in as we worked on a few District wide issues over a 3-4 year period and I will always remember him fondly.

There is a lot more that can be said about Paul, but I’ll leave it at that – he was a man that I knew for a few short years, but he taught me a lot during that time and was a pleasure to talk to, learn from and be around.

He will most certainly be missed.

Garrettown- Mass Murder Capital of the USA

In reality, we can pick one of a number of New Jersey Republican Congressmen, especially over the past few years with many lockstep votes, but Scott Garrett has the most consistent voting pattern when it comes to policies that favor environments like the Aurora movie theater massacre, the Sikh temple mass murder in Wisconsin, the Oregon mall murders, the should-be-unfathomable murder of more than 20 elementary schoolchildren, along with teachers and other school officials and the shooting in an Alabama hospital over the past few weeks.

To those who think that this is not the time, they are right.  It is long past time.  To those who think that it isn’t fair to point fingers at Congressmen, voting records, like elections, have consequences.  And Scott Garrett has made it easier for all of these massacres to occur, as well as the ones that preceded them – not to mention those that have yet to occur, but most certainly will occur.

As Bill Orr noted this morning, NJ has decent gun laws as compared to other states, but they fall far short of what they could be.  Scott Garrett, however, might as well be for terrorists being able to stock up on as many of whatever mass killing machine they want without anyone so much as looking into whether they are highly likely to use it to commit mass murder.

His voting record, as noted here, is pretty much a checklist of the biggest factors that can lead to a culture that consists of mass murder after mass murder – and in public places that you, me, kids, families – are all very likely to frequent on a regular basis.  It is no different from living in any country where “terrorism”, bus bombings, suicide bombings or any other mass public murder takes place far too regularly.  This list includes allowing someone to carry a concealed weapon into NJ (even though NJ doesn’t allow it) if they are allowed to carry a concealed weapon in that state, loosening restrictions on interstate gun purchases, banning a gun registration and trigger lock law in Washington DC (even though he always argues against federal overreach to states) and allowing loaded guns in national parks.  He even voted against including those who are on terror watch lists, pedophiles, stalkers and those who have committed domestic violence from the lax concealed carry laws he supported.

Couple that with Garrett’s vote, for example, on mental health parity with physical illness or how he voted against first responders like those who acted on 9/11 and you have you have a caustic mix of dangerous factors, ignored warning signs, lack of ability to spot and deal with a mental health issue properly and where someone who is a clear and present danger to themselves, their family or society as a whole can  go on a massive killing spree without getting detected until “no one could have known” except for all of the clear warning signs.

Voters across Garrett’s district, as well as other voters in NJ and across the country have a right to know what their Representatives are voting for in their names.  The votes have consequences, and in Garrettown, USA, those consequences are a deadly epidemic.

The Unsung Candidates

So, with redistricting behind us, we’re headed toward Election Day with a 6-6 House delegation of incumbents seeking reelection. That means we have 6 chances to increase the democratic majority in our delegation. Sure, some of these chances are better than others. But Presidential years are funny – you might remember we picked up a seat in 2008.

With polls showing both President Obama and Senator Menendez potentially posting gaudy margins of victory here, there should be cause for optimism. And, more importantly, there is good reason to support our democratic congressional challengers in every District. (You remember the 50-State-Strategy, don’t you?)

You’ll hear from others (and I’ll write separately) about the two challengers given the best chance to win this year – NJ-3’s Shelley Adler and NJ-7’s Upendra Chivukula. And, wow, I hope they do!

But, today, I’d like to give a quick shout out to the four other democratic candidates who are doing their part to bring the 50-state-strategy to life. When they campaign against their opponents, they keep them and their money in-district, and by extension, help democratic candidates everywhere. Win or lose, they deserve some appreciation (and some help):

In NJ-2: Cassandra Shober faces the same headwinds other challengers here have faced: an incumbent with an overrated record on labor, and a conventional wisdom that a democrat can’t win. But, the reality is that this is a district democrats can win and Obama may win, and hardly the worst place to be running for Congress in a Presidential year. Add in that Cassandra has a great background and a core of hardworking grassroots supporters, and who knows – surprises can happen.

In NJ-4: Brian Froelich has perhaps the toughest assignment, going against an incumbent whose radical anti-choice stance never seems to dent his personal popularity. But, could this year’s odd national focus on abortion rights finally shine the spotlight on a Congressman whose positions are more in line with Akin and Mourdock than NJ suburban voters? When the incumbent was first elected 32 years ago, he was given little chance to win. Surprises have happened.

In NJ-5: Adam Gussen has gotten beaten up here and elsewhere for raising too little money to compete against Scott Garrett. And, some of that is deserved. But, I know Adam is campaigning hard, he’s got a compelling story to tell about himself, and about the winnability of this race. And, let’s face it, someone like Garrett deserves to be challenged as fiercely as possible. I really want a surprise to happen.

In NJ-11: John Arvanites has waged a surprisingly aggressive campaign in a district that was radically redrawn as a result of redistricting. The Morris County Democrats who’ve suffered mostly alone under the generations of the incumbent and his family holding this seat have welcomed the addition of large swaths of Essex and Passaic County to help flip this one. Still the underdog, the final outcome of this race may be the hardest to predict. Supporters hope a surprise does happen.

And that’s the rub – New Jersey’s Congressional elections have become extraordinarily predictable. We need to create some surprises.

We expect better than this from Democrats

“I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to my death your right to say it” – Patrick Henry

You may be familiar with that quote, or the one below:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – The First Amendment to The United States Constitution

These are very basic guiding values in this Country. Free speech – regardless of how popular or unpopular it may be viewed as, not suppressing voices that you don’t agree with. But up in the Fifth Congressional District, at least one Candidate, Adam Gussen, seems to think that “free speech” should be based on an artificial and undefined “filter”.

A bit of backstory for those who aren’t familiar with the Fifth District – as of now, there are three candidates, Gussen (the Deputy Mayor of Teaneck, which is new to the District), Jason Castle, a veteran who did not obtain enough signatures to be put on the Bergen County Democratic ballot, and Diane Sare, a LaRouche Democrat who is running in the primary because the LaRouche Party couldn’t get a separate line on the ballot. But all three are running.

Now, Sare’s views aren’t all that popular with the Democratic establishment, and they may not be all that popular in general – she is calling for the impeachment of Obama but also is looking to restore the Glass-Steagall Act, which has a lot of merit. But I don’t want to discuss her candidacy here, since I don’t know enough about it. I want to discuss the defense of free but objectionable (I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt as objectionable for now regardless of whether it actually is) speech by the Democratic Party – especially those who are running for Federal office.

In the article linked above, it was reported that Gussen said the following about Sare:

“I find the LaRouche platforms and their candidates to be offensive and destructive.

“I think that the Democratic Party, while honoring and giving life to the ideals and concepts of free speech, that there is a reasonable level of filtering that could take place. This is noise that should be filtered out,”

Now, I’m not sure where there is a way to find out exactly where the tipping point is for “reasonable filtering” of free speech. For example, let’s say that Sare is calling for impeachment of Obama, and cites his signing of NDAA, which allowed for the indefinite detainment of US citizens on American soil without trial. Did Gussen think it was ok to call for Bush’s impeachment for that very same thing, but it isn’t ok if it is Obama? What is so destructive and offensive that it can trump the suppression of First Amendment rights – especially by a Congressional Candidate?

Now, this isn’t to say that I am supporting Jason Castle or Diane Sare. But it does set off an alarm that a DEMOCRATIC Congressional Candidate supports the suppression of free speech based on arbitrary adjectives such as “destructive” or “offensive”. Perhaps it is the mere calling for suppression of free speech that is destructive and offensive.

How to demotivate activists and lose elections

Hi, my name is Adam L. I live in Bergen County and I have a problem.

I am exactly the type of person who should be writing this kind of post, and sadly, am precisely the kind of person that the Bergen County Democratic Organization, er, the “new name, same garbage” Democratic Committee of Bergen County should be alarmed is writing this kind of post.

I moved to the fifth legislative district in August 2006, just in time to do a bit of volunteering for Paul Aronsohn’s campaign against Scott Garrett – one of the very worst members of Congress.  I knew nothing about the brewing disaster that Joe Ferriero’s tenure was about to unleash on the County Democratic Party apparatus.  I was able to get a bit more involved in 2008 for Dennis Shulman’s campaign, and started to realize the rot that was forming in the County Party during the following year when I was able to help with the Governor race, the local Assembly race and get more involved in Retire Garrett, the mess of the 2010 Congressional race, the Freeholder race and ultimately getting on the County Committee.

With the recent redistricting and the “new new” leadership of the BCDODCBC, there was hope that with time to prepare, a somewhat better district, a better environment to run and the County Party talking about “the right kind of candidate can defeat Scott Garrett” – I wouldn’t be writing this kind of post in March of the election year.

Alas, I was wrong.

First, there was talk of a potentially tasty showdown between Congressman Steve Rothman and Garrett.  A race that could very well have been won and a race that even the DCCC was willing to plunk down money to fight.  And that was over before we could even start thinking about how great a race that would be.

Then, there was the anticipation of Assemblywoman Wagner running – and the exposure that would bring along with a very solid candidate, who could also attract the attention that comes along with potentially being the only female in the NJ Congressional Delegation.  And unfortunately, Assemblywoman Wagner’s month long decision to “let us know next week” turned out to also be a “no-go”.

With the Giants winning the Super Bowl, the County Committee happened to turn the heat up on the speculation that former Giant great Harry Carson would run.  Certainly an unconventional choice but clearly one that would draw attention to the race like no one else could.  And after another few weeks of speculation, that fizzled out quickly.

Once more turning to the “anyone but the popular Freeholder from another County in the District” card, another relative outsider, Jim McQueeny, was quickly the “next great hope” before pulling out the day before the big announcement that he was in.

So here we are – an elected Freeholder who was clearly being pushed aside for a “better choice that never came” was possibly just waiting for that better choice to come along and then drop out, didn’t get the necessary signatures to be on the Bergen County ballot.  And the BCDODCBC never found that better choice in their minds – leading to months of motivated activists like myself wanting, hoping, waiting and imploring to help out in a race that we desperately want to win – clearly way more than Bergen County Democratic leadership wants to win.

This will also ultimately hurt the County races – not to mention the Senate race and Presidential race – and forget about the once again lost cause of a Congressional race.

With all of the time that could have been used for the least bit of planning (or contingency planning) and the development of a bench that clearly is severely lacking, it is baffling that we have seen these events yhis year.

I have two young kids and a full time job and precious little free time.  So, why would I want to help a County Party that doesn’t want to help itself?

PolitickerNJ: Connie Wagner not running vs. Garrett

According to a report in PolitckerNJ, Assemblywoman Connie Wagner has decided not to run against Scott Garrett for Congress here in the 5th District.

While I would have loved to have seen Wagner run for a number of reasons, it seemed to me (just my gut feeling from some discussions and observations I had) that others were more enthusiastic about her running than she may have been.  This is no knock against her – it is a huge undertaking and commitment to run for Congress, and Garrett has been known to play dirty against his opponents (recall he smeared former opponent and Rabbi Dennis Shulman as anti-Israel).

This creates a void in terms of big name NJ politicos who can raise the attention and money required to mount a successful run against a very well-funded Garrett.  Whether this was in the works for a while, whether this clears the way for former NY Giant Harry Carson to make a run (which has a lot of appeal as well as some potential hurdles), or whether it opens the door for a primary fight among a number of already-declared other candidates remains to be seen.

Either way, this decision by Assemblywoman Wagner to not run (if confirmed) is too bad as it would have brought a different and more high profile seasoned politician to challenge Garrett with more built in and coordinated support from the Democratic Committee of Bergen County.  Hopefully, whoever emerges as the challenger will receive coordinated support that will be needed up and down the ballot – especially with the Presidential and Senatorial races this coming year.  It is a big opportunity for Democrats in Bergen County and hopefully it isn’t a missed opportunity.

CD-5: Teaneck’s Adam Gussen to run against Scott Garrett

Since New Jersey was redistricted late last month, leaving the state with one less congressional district and a volatile, unsettled Democratic Party beginning what looks to be an ugly primary contest between Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman, focus has been on the 9th, the district Rothman declined to run in.

That leaves the 5th an open question; who will challenge  Tea Party darling Scott Garrett?

Connie Wagner appears to have strong and broad support. Among other names, incoming Assemblyman Tim Eustace was early talked up but has since signed on to the (437-member) Draft Connie Wagner for Congress facebook page. Also mulling it over (or being urged in by supporters) are Passaic Freeholder Terry Duffy, Se. Bob Gordon, the victor in November’s most hotly contested race, and (wild card!) NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson.

Adam GussenAdam Gussen, Teaneck’s Deputy Mayor, is the first to make it official, formally announcing he’s in. In the reconfigured 5th, most of reliably-Democratic Teaneck landed in the 5th (it had been Rothman territory).

I don’t know much about Gussen, except that 3 years when he was a councilman ago he filed to primary Valerie Huttle and Gordon Johnson, who serve LD-37 with Sen. Loretta Weinberg, and then dropped out.

Bergen folks, I’d be interested to know your impressions of Gussen and how strong he might be against Garrett.