Tag Archive: Bob Menendez

Plus Ca Change, Plus Le Meme Chose

As Wally would say. Albio Sires is the former NJ House Speaker, and is now the front runner in the campaign to replace Senator “Pope” Bob Menendez.

Sires is long thought to be some sort of Menendez protege’ and his early actions are pretty indicative of that:

Sires, who is mayor of West New York as well as the 33rd District assemblyman, is barred by state election law from accepting campaign contributions from casinos, cable companies or the tobacco industry.

But federal election law has no such restrictions, and the Sires for Congress campaign has benefited with more than $40,000 in contributions from Caesars Entertainment and Harrah’s Entertainment, Comcast, Anheuser-Busch and tobacco giant RJ Reynolds.

“Albio Sires needs to explain why he took thousands of dollars from casinos and tobacco interests, that are unlawful as Assembly speaker, and then exempted casinos from the statewide smoking ban,” said Barry Brendel, a spokesman for Perth Amboy Mayor Joe Vas, Sires’s opposition in the congressional primary.

Ah… primaries, the only time NJ politicians are kept honest!

The best arguments against the recent smoking ban center around the Casino loop-hole. These nay-sayers are generally right. Why shouldn’t casino workers be offered the same protections offered to the rest of NJ employees under this new law? I don’t think I have to get into the specifics of how such an exception got made.

However, for the fightin’ 13th we have a big business Democrat to replace the one that just got appointed to a more powerful job left. Yipee!

Come On, Bob Menendez, Make My Day

Will he or won’t he?

The Philadelphia Inquirer wonders if newly minted New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez will give thumbs up to Sam “The Sham” Alito for the U.S. Supreme Court. In response, Menendez blows enough smoke to earn himself a mention in the Kyoto Protocol. Now, I wasn’t happy when it became clear that Jon Corzine was going to put Menendez in his old Senate seat, and I complained about it here at long and no doubt wearisome length. Now that Menendez has the prize he spent decades angling for, I can only sit and hope to be pleasantly surprised, and a “no” vote on this fork-tongued, sidestepping legal apologist for the imperial presidency would definitely fall under the heading of “pleasant surprise.”

You hear that, senator? I said “pleasant surprise.” Pleasant surprise! PLEASANT SURPRISE.

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Cross-posted at The Opinion Mill.

Woman for Menendez’s seat

I was thinking along the same lines.  From the Star Ledger letters:

Women shut out

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

New Jersey’s political leaders have a history of discriminating against women. New Jersey ranks 41st among the 50 states in the proportion of women serving in the Legislature. New Jersey has 15 members of Congress (two senators and 13 House members). All are men. Only five women have represented New Jersey in the House. No woman has ever represented New Jersey in the Senate.

Gov.-elect Jon Corzine has picked Rep. Bob Menendez to take his place in the Senate. This leaves a vacancy in the House. Two men, one the Assembly speaker and the other a powerful mayor, are competing to fill the vacancy. There are many women who would do a great job in the House, including state Sens. Nia Gill and Barbara Buono. House candidates do not have to live in the congressional district, so anyone New Jersey resident can run to fill the vacancy.

Powerful Democratic leaders don’t want a woman to represent New Jersey in Congress. Is there any woman willing to incur their wrath and enter the race? Voters cannot send women to Congress if there are no women willing to challenge the males who run both parties.

  — Frederick P. Cook, Blairstown

News Roundup

  • The DCCC says that Rep Ferguson is one of their top targets in next year’s election. I’ve heard that one before. Stephen Brozak, who ran against Ferguson last year says: “If they’re serious about this, they’re going to have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.” Amen, Steve.
  • Speaking to vetarans, Corzine vowed to fight to drop the retirement age from 60 to 55 for career citizen soldiers.
  • Rep Rob Andrews is pushing for tougher standards for drinking water. In the town I lived in South Jersey, we had two main water wells. One failed the standards and one passed, so they just mixed the two together, which improved the quality of the bad one enough to pass.
  • A letter to the editor in the Asbury Park Press chastises Ocean County’s freeholders for refusing to grant domestic partner benefits to a dying veteran of the prosecutor’s office, asking “Why are we still treating gay couples as less than human?” and demanding that the freeholders “should stop looking for excuses and trying to pass the buck.”
  • Menendez is working behind the scenes to try to avoid a primary.
  • Menendez & Andrews voted for House Patriot Act Reauthorization in July

    In watching the Republicans strip civil liberties out of the Patriot Act Reauthorization, it has come to my attention that Menendez and Andrews joined 43 other Dems in voting for the pre-conference report House version that didn’t protect civil liberties.  I’m wondering why I didn’t notice this before.  This would certainly count, to my mind, as not representing the issues of progressives, and I will bear this in mind when for the Dem primary in June.

    We’re going to have to rely on the Senate to filibuster, or maybe to get a 3 month reauthorization and go back to the drawing board.  Please call Corzine and Lautenberg and ask them to filibuster, TODAY.  800-614-2803

    Menendez pick jeopardizes free speech

    Last year by a vote of 286-130, the House of Representatives again voted in favor of a Constitutional Amendment that would essentially repeal a portion of the First Amendment rights to free speech. The Amendment, which would make desecration of the flag a crime, was introduced by disgraced Congressman Duke Cunningham and was supported in the House by NJ Democratic Congressmen Menendez, Andrews, Pallone, Pascrell and Rothman. Only Congressmen Holt and Payne had the courage to oppose it.

    In the Senate, 65 Senators supported the Amendment – two shy of the 2/3rds needed for it to pass the legislature. Both Corzine and Lautenberg were opposed. As today’s Trenton Times editorial points out (and Sharon already mentioned), Corzine’s decision to move Menendez into the Senate, brings the number of votes “in favor of this frivolous and harmful amendment” to 66. As they point out, if just one member of the opposition fails to show up for the vote, they will have the required 2/3rds, and our nation will move one step closer towards the authoritarian regimes that our flag stands against.

    “We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents.”
    – Justice William J. Brennan in the majority opinion in Texas v. Johnson

    Menendez accepts; announcement Friday at 2pm

    From the AP:

    Rep. Robert Menendez late Thursday formally accepted New Jersey Gov.-elect Jon Corzine’s offer to serve out the remaining year on his Senate term, Democratic congressional sources said.

    Corzine will appear with Menendez Friday at 2 p.m. at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., to formally announce his choice, the sources said. hey spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement had not yet been made.

    Corzine had decided on Wednesday to choose Menendez over several other candidates, but he did not formally offer Menendez the job until Thursday night.

    Rep Rothman endorses Menendez for Senate; I don’t

    Congressman Steve Rothman (NJ-9) wasted no time in endorsing Congressman Bob Menendez as his choice for Corzine’s vacant Senate seat. He begins with why he thinks Menendez would be a good choice (from a press release):

    As the first person in his family to attend college, Bob Menendez has walked in the shoes of the average New Jerseyan and knows the challenges they face. While other politicians have talked about reform, Bob Menendez has actually lived it – he got into politics as a 19-year old college student leading a petition drive to reform a local school board. He showed his toughness and his independence early when he stood up to a corrupt mayor of Union City, testified against him in court, and had to wear a bulletproof vest because of threats to his life.

    He continues with the REAL reasons why Menendez should be the pick:

    He has a substantial head start in the fundraising race with $4.1 million in the bank, and has the national network in place to build on that success. The district that has sent Bob to Congress seven times is a powerful base for launching a statewide campaign. He represents portions of Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, and Union Counties which account for 42% of the votes in a Democratic primary and approximately 30% of the votes in a general election.

    I’m curious to see how this plays out. If Menendez’s big sell is his money advantage and his ability to quickly line up support behind him, it will be similar in some ways to the way Corzine pushed Codey out of the primary race for governor. Many voters and editorial boards were upset at their options (I wasn’t), and unhappy with the influence of money in the state. Unfortunately, we live between the 1st and 4th most expensive media markets in the country, and being able to raise money is a reality any candidate must be able to deal with.

    I met Menendez once a few weeks ago. We chit chat in Spanish for a little bit which was fun (I don’t get much practice any more), but we didn’t talk much. As a hispanic, I would like to see more minorities and women in positions of power. But much more importantly, I want a progressive Senator that represents me and is not beholden to anyone but the voters. I’m afraid that Menendez has already sold out his constituents to a higher bidder (in this case Wal-Mart) in order to fill his campaign coffers.

    This is a much more serious issue than just accepting $12,500 from a corporation. It’s all about the implied promise of support that comes from that contribution (aka pay-to-play). The influence over our elected officials is strong. This is why people like Joe Biden (D-MBNA) voted for the disasterous bankruptcy bill. What kind of trade agreements would Wal-Mart pressure a Senator Menendez into agreeing to? Who knows – maybe he can’t be pressured into it, but given his history, that’s not a chance I’m willing to take.

    UPDATE: As a Congressman, Menendez voted against NAFTA and was a leader in the fight opposing CAFTA. I still believe that Wal-Mart’s contributions to him led to, directly or indirectly, the opening of 4 new stores in and near his district.

    Wal-Mart buying influence in NJ

    Wal-Mart is a parasite taking advantage of our state. They are spreading their cheap products, low wages and horrible benefits to New Jersey, and passing the buck onto taxpayers. They do it by buying their way in through our elected officials.

    According to the Bergen Record, prior to 1999, Wal-Mart had 20 stores in NJ. Up to that point, they had made a total of $6500 in contributions to NJ politicians. Since then, the number of Walmarts in New Jersey have doubled to 40, and there are 7 more being constructed. Oh, and since 2000, by complete coincidence, Wal-Mart has made almost 50 political contributions to NJ politicians – totaling nearly $250,000.

    While Wal-Mart has almost exclusively contributed to Republicans, they realized that in order to buy their way into New Jersey, they had to buy out Democrats as well:

    The apparent switch in donations from primarily Republican candidates to mostly Democrats in New Jersey occurred in late 2003 or early 2004, soon after Democrats increased their majority in the state Assembly and took control of the Senate in the 2003 election.

    NJ Congressmen Mike Ferguson (R) and Bob Menendez (D) have each received $12,500 in contributions from Wal-Mart.

    I’m sure this is also just a coincidence:

    Ferguson’s and Menendez’s congressional districts, which share a border in northern Middlesex County, are home to six Wal-Mart stores, four of which have opened since Wal-Mart began boosting donations to New Jersey politicians.