Wishing our Blue Jersey community a wonderful 2015, and the continuation of the stamina to keep those voices strong for our shared progressive values.
Go back some years (about 7 or 8)! Scene Teaneck, New Jersey - the town in which I live and work! We had been proud for many years of our nonpartisan government, relatively free of scandal. There, was however, a former Bergen County leader (who shall go nameless) who had plans to take over a gold mine of contracts in one of Bergen's largest and formerly "untouchable" communities! Nonpartisan election had brought us a newly elected councilman who had not yet taken the oath of office, but was escorting Birdsall around town. This same councilman (who had some questio
Along with many other admirers, friends and family, yesterday I attended the wake for my friend, Mayor Timothy J. Driscoll. This morning I will be at his funeral. He was one of a kind! In the field of politics, one doesn't meet too many folks like Mr. D. He stood up to the "bad guys" when they engineered the forgery of his and other's signatures in the Democratic convention which I finally won after a court fight. And, if it wasn't for Mr. D. and the famous "Tenafly Five", I would not be in the Senate today.
He then went on to beat the bosses in a primary (without
What a career: Clean air on planes; gun safety; raising drinking age; protecting women's access to health and reproductive care; protecting workers' rights; fighting for aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy! We could go on and on. Congratulations to Senator Frank Lautenberg for making his future retirement announcement exactly where and when he chose. The last of those sitting members of Congress who served in World War II, a member of the "greatest generation" who, while celebrating his humble beginnings, became a very successful businessman and went on to become a strong voice for...
Ok. So alot of that federal aide money is going out of New Jersey. But more important, alot of the money is staying right here in our state. Only some of those dollars are not going to help rebuilding efforts. No, typical Jersey style, AshBrit and their construction partners, Conti hired " influential marketers" from both sides of the aisle to tell the local municipalities what was actually in the State contract. I guess none of these towns have business administrators, CEOs, or town attorneys to interpret a state contact for them. Let's see if the press will find the amount of f...
It happened about 24 hours before I predicted, but Democrats now have a gubernatorial nominee. Senator Barbara Buono will be a progressive and strong leader for our shared values, and I now look forward to the real election! We will take back the Governor's office for the middle class folks of New Jersey, and Barbara will be our voice for New Jersey's women and their families. I will work very hard to spread the Buono message, while proteccting our democratic majorities in the Legislature. The Democratic Party has come together behind Senator Buono, and it is now time to wi...
It's Sunday, January 20, 2012.
Started off the day with a radio interview on WABC "Religion on the Line" with Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, The interview centered on the cemetery regulation bills we just moved through committee this past week. Did you know that in some cemeteries, your family might have to pay thousands of dollars extra to open a grave site on a Sunday even though you already purchased the plot? Not a very pleasant thought all around!
Then it was off to McCloons Boathouse for brunch to fete Steven Goldstein who is moving on from Garden State Equality t...
The above words were said by President Obama at the inter-faith prayer service in Newtown, Conn. tonight. We cannot be "ready to admit we are helpless in the face of such carnage". If not now, when?" Now is the time. The time is absolutely right and we are not "ready to give up in the face of such carnage".
Our President must lead. We must all lead. We have to pass federal legislation to ban automatic weapons in the hands of civilians. No one needs such WMDs to hunt or to protect themselves. Mayor Bloomberg said, "They are weapons of war". We need to...
If any "mandate" is evident over this past week or two, it is that our election laws need an in depth study and then perhaps an overhaul. I believe the Secretary of State's office did its best to meet the challenges of Hurricane Sandy and election day, but it is obvious many questions should be raised.
While the "provisional", on line and faxed ballots are still being counted, I wonder how many folks who used the latter two processes know that they gave up their right to privacy by casting these ballots? Who will take custody of the emailed and faxed ballots and who will make ...
The week of Sandy! It's been exhausting, horrendous, and astonishing in some ways.
Facebook was my friend and a friend to many throughout the week. I posted every bit of information I was able to attain, and received messages from facebook "friends" who had horrendous problems during the week. It is a great communication tool, and we used it to get help for some in real need. Getting information out was important to so many who only had cell phones or IPads to stay in touch.
President Barack Obama has shown us all what a great leader does in times o...
The week of Sandy! It's been exhausting, horrendous, and astonishing in some ways.
President Barack Obama has shown us all what a great leader does in times of crisis. He has a terrific FEMA agency, and they were on the ground before the storm hit with supplies and equipment. They have been a source of tremendous help with everything from blankets to generators.
The President was great on foreign policy tonight. Calm, clear, strong and inspiring confidence as our Commander-in-Chief. Now we all have to get the work done these next two weeks! We need Barack Obama back as our President for four more years.
The polls are all over the place. The battleground states seem to be moving in one direction or the other. Living in New Jersey, I wish we could charter a plane and fly together to Florida, or Ohio, or Colorado or wherever those "up for grab" places are and hit the ground! I've called and emailed friends and relatives I have or know in these states. I'm working hard in my own district in Bergen for our Senator Menendez, Congressman Pascrell and our Freeholder candidates, Steve Tanelli and Tracy Zur. But the national picture is nerve wracking! So much at stake...
Pascrell vs. Boteachl: Yesterday morning I attended the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Standard sponsored debate at Temple Sinai in Tenafly. The hall was packed and the debate was lively. Rabbi Boteach and Congressman Pascrell are both accomplished speakers! But Republicans have a big problem in figuring out how to handle their far right, anti-women's issues, "let's go to war" party philosophy. And Rabbi Schmuley was no exception. As soon as these questions are asked, the stock answer is "I will be independent". Well, I wonder if that independence prompte...
Ok: That's not a trick question. We already found out from another Diary on BJ that we can't put Senator Joe Kyrillos in that moderate camp. So I nominate former Governor Christie Whitman whom I saw being interviewed on a Sunday MSNBC program saying that "her party" has gone much too far to the right particularly on women's health issues. Too many litmus tests, she said.
Then there's Senators Diane Allen and Jennifer Beck. They both supported marriage equality and Senator Beck sometimes gives us a vote on veto overrides. All three do have their gender in ...
The Governor loves those vetoes! He CVd the Port Authority Transparency and Accountability bill, prime sponsored by Senator Bob Gordon and me in the Senate, and my colleagues, Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson in the Assembly. He "re-wrote" the bill to include such autonomous agencies as the Passaic Valley Sewer Commission. I certainly can't imagine that this was another very cynical move by Governor Christie.
I really thought that Governor Christie could do nothing that would suprise me.
The "Jersey Comeback": Just retire the banner to the same warehouse where Pres. Bush stored "Mission Accomplished".
Veto Women's Health: Just keep saying "we can't afford it, even though the federal government pays a 9 to 1 match.
Veto For Profit Hospital Transparency Bill: Just say the public doesn't need any more information on how their health care dollars are spent.
But this next one takes the proverbial cake:
Gov. Cristie proposes $10,000 fine for unauthorized release of NJ revenue data. In other words, only His Majesty, King Christie, can release NJ revenue information. Anyone else will be fined $10,000! When Assemblyman Prieto said this was an assault on the checks & balances of our government, King Christie's chief palace spokesman called his statement, "dramatic, partisan nonsense". Don't like the news? Just ban it! We are definitely functioning in an alternate universe, and you can bet that we'll be moving for an override of this outrageous conditional veto.
Now let's talk about something, his Majesty, has thus far refused to do: Medicaid Expansion.
In 2014, the Affordable Care Act, will expand medicaid to most people with incomes up to 133% of the poverty guidelines of $14,404 for an individual and $29,326 for a family of four. This will also include childless adults. The feds will pay 100% of the tab for all newly enrolled folks for the first three years; 95% for the next year; 94% for the following year and 90% for each year after 2020. If NJ adopts this reform, our NJ Family Care insurance program could cover an additional 234,000 individuals. What's the hold up? King Christie!
On a brighter note: I was honored with an award from the Foundation for Open Government (FOG) along with Mayor (and fellow BJ writer) Alex Torpey for my work on updating of the Open Public Meetings and Open Public Records Acts. These bills will finally be ready for a full Senate vote by the end of the year. The audience was interesting. In chatting after the presentations, I discovered I was speaking to a group which included the head of a Taxpayers Association; some Republican County Committee members; a few very conservative individuals along with a fellow panel member who is libertarian. We were united in our common belief that good government must be open government. It was refreshing to spend time agreeing with folks on an issue which united us rather than the many which might divide us. By the way, they were equally outraged at the Governor's CV and his $10,000 fine idea. So there I was, being honored by a group of respectful conservatives. It was fun, interesting and energizing. They'll help us get these open government bills passed, and might even help us line up votes for the $10,000 fine CV. Thank you FOG for bringing us together and for your continuous fight for open government.
Scott, The Pizza Man iterally "lifted" our President.
Let's help him continue to "lift" our country.
"Them": We had fun cause we were so homogenius. Are we at war? Hardly noticed. Women's rights? We all had mothers, and we all loved them. Access to birth control has something to do with jobs and the economy? My my, that's an interesting observation.
"Us": Diversity and inclusion. Celebrate and honor our veterans. Guarantee women's reproductive freedom, and yes, that is an economic issue. Corporations are not people. Our President stemmed the huge job losses, and yes, we're better off than we were when Bush left office 4 years ago. Economy improving slowly; the war in Iraq is over, and we have a plan for leaving Afghanistan. Women can have access to health care and they receive their birth control with no co-pays. Yep, GM is alive and Osama is dead!
Being a New Jersey delegate at the Democratic convention in North Carolina was an honor and privilege. The only additional thing I could have wished for was a little extra sleep. The NJ delegation was diverse and energetic. John Wisniewski, Paul Penna and the many volunteers for the State party worked hard and kept things rolling along. Fun spending time with the likes of Governor Brendan Byrne and Ruthi as well as younger folk like Jeremy Feigenbaum. Hanging out on the "front stoop" with Rosi wasn't too bad either. Having Jason Redd along to his first convention was also great to watch. Hearing Bill Clinton (it's the arithmatic, stupid) as well as our VP, Joe Biden and yes, "I am the President" - Barack Obama was an exceptional treat.
Governor politics were certainly a subtext. My guess: Cory Booker is very close to jumping into the fray. Going along with him to the LGBT caucus was like traveling with a rock star. Folks all along the walk into the convention center stopping him asking for autographs and posing for pictures. Interesting to observe.
Spent part of Sunday morning at a Citizen Action gathering hearing Celinda Lake talk about the upcoming election. It's the independent women and the "waitress moms" who will be the deciding factor in this election and also in the next. She shared some good insight! That Jersey Girl Caucus is ready, willing and able to talk about all the issues important to NJ's women and their families.
Then in the afternoon, I attended the Bergen County 9/11 memorial observance where we honor those lost on that dreadful day by reading their names aloud. On Tuesday, September 11, we will again be reminded of the 3000 men and women murdered at the World Trade Center. We must continue to honor them.
Next Sunday starts the observance of the Jewish high holy days. I wish all our readers a sweet new year filled with peace and much good health.
before he skipped town. CV'd the Hospital Transparency Bill, the Privatization Accountability bill among others. Am off to Trenton tomorrow for a press conference to talk about government transparency and Christie's refusal to see it happen in our state.