Monthly Archives: September 2009

Fair Haven Dems Will Be Holding An Event Oct. 3rd.

Please Join the Fair Haven Democratic Municipal Committee and our neighboring Two River Democratic Clubs for an afternoon of food and drink overlooking the Navesink River with:

Congressman Rush Holt

Candidates:

Fair Haven Council – Matthew Cohen and Margo Tikijian
County Freeholder – Sean Byrnes
State Assembly – Michelle Roth and John Amberg
At the home of Cory and John Hoffman 54 Gillespie Ave Fair Haven
October 3, 2009 4:00-6:00pm
RSVP (732) 784-8008 or info@fhdems.org (Suggested Donation $25 per person)
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Filed under Congressman Rush Holt, Fair Haven Democrats, Fair Haven NJ, fundraiser, hMargo Tikijan, John Amberg, Matthew Cohen, Michele Roth, Sean F. Byrnes

DNC LAUNCHES NEW WEB AD: "Chris Christie: Bad Temper, Bad Policies"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2009

The DNC today released a new web ad that highlights a testy exchange Chris Christie had with a cancer survivor at the New Jersey Politics forum at Rider University on September 16, 2009 – exposing once again Christie’s explosive temper. The exchange highlights Chris Christie’s health care plan which would allow insurance companies to offer “mandate free” policies which would allow insurance providers to drop mammograms and other vital preventive treatments.

Unlike Christie, Governor Corzine stands with President Obama in support of a health insurance reform plan that would provide Americans with security and stability. Chris Christie’s health insurance policies would reduce the quality of care, limit access to coverage and would only serve to pad insurance company profits.

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Filed under Chris Christie, DNC, Gov. Jon Corzine, health insurance, Health Care, hot temper, insurance industry, mammograms, mandate free, quality care, Ryder University

Independent Candidate for NJ State Assembly District 13, Sean Dunne

For the benefit of those who live in New Jersey’s 13th Legislative District and in the spirit of being “fair and balanced”, I thought that I should let people know that there is a 3rd party candidate seeking to upset Republicans Amy Handlin or Fred Thompson for their seat in the State Assembly.

Holmdel resident Sean Dunne is running as an Independent this year.

Sean sent me an email, reaching out, in hopes that I would give him and his campaign a mention. He said a few nice things about me and the MiddletownMike blog in his email (let’s just say he knows how to be politically correct).

I responded back to Mr. Dunne by letting him know upfront that I was a democrat and that I would be supporting his Democratic opponents Jim Grenafege and Bob Brown while I pointing out to him that his positions on the issues weren’t that different from Jim’s and Bob’s.
He responded with some nice words of understanding and goods words for both Jim and Bob and added:
You and I do have something in common. We both want Handlin out. I personally think Thompson has been there far too long, and I just think that Handlin has done nothing, besides raise fines for underage drinking at the arts center. Here’s my point: If Handlin rushed out legislation to punish underage drinking after the unfortunate event at the Arts Center, why has she not done anything meaningful to punish corruption when it happened right under her nose? I have noticed that Democrats do focus on Handlin, and I can understand why….”
So with that, I decided I would thank him for his good words and tell you a little about him and his campaign.
His “bio”, which can be read at his website www.votedunne.org states;

“…Sean grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey. He attended Monmouth County schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. After graduating from James Madison University, Sean moved to Ireland where he lived for nearly ten years. He completed postgraduate work that led to the completion of his Doctorate in Sociology in July, 2008….”

On the issues, Sean would like to see mandatory minimum sentences for corrupt politicians and term limits. He would like to end the careers of political entrepreneurs – those who see public office as a financial opportunity and he feels that members of the State Assembly are over paid for the part-time work that they do. He feels that at $45,000 a year, Assembly members are over paid. Their salaries should be immediately cut to $35,000 which would save the State $800,000 annually.
Sean Dunne also sent along this letter to the editor that he wished for me to post:

As an Independent Candidate for State Assembly in District 13, I have
had the opportunity to speak with many people who live in our area.
Many are disenchanted and disillusioned by the rotten corruption that
sits at the heart of New Jersey politics. No amount of advertising
from Republicans or Democrats is capable of convincing voters that
either party has taken the necessary steps to prevent the corrupt
practices that several members of both parties have engaged in
throughout the years.

Albert Einstein told us that “The world is a dangerous place, not
because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do
nothing”. I’ve asked the people at their doorsteps if Assemblyman
Thompson or Assemblywoman Handlin of this District have done anything
to end the culture of corruption in New Jersey. Their answer has
consistently been, “no”. Voters can do something about the corruption
that raises the already high cost of living in our state. They can
vote for an Independent that will fight the rancid corruption that has
been found within both political parties. I ask all readers who also
believe that Republicans and Democrats “look on and do nothing” about
the issue of corruption to join our fight and vote Sean Dunne for
State Assembly on November 3rd.

Dr. Sean Dunne


I would like to wish my new friend Sean Dunne good luck in his quest for the State Assembly. His positions on issues are not that much different from my own thinking and those of his Democratic opponents. In the future it would be nice if Sean Dunne, Jim Grenafege and Bob Brown could work together to help solve issues that effect the 13th district and New Jersey as a whole.

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Filed under 13th Assembly District, Amy Handlin, Bob Brown, Democratic Candidate, Fred Thompson, Holmdel NJ, Independent Candidate, Jim Grenafege, Monmouth County, Republicans, Sean Dunne

Rick Bolger Candidate for NJ State Assembly District 11, Op-Ed: An Alternative to School Regionalization

More than two years ago the State legislature enacted a law designed to encourage local school districts to merge, regionalize, consolidate and/or share services. While I agree with the concept, this piece of legislation represents everything that is wrong with our State government.

First, the law created a new level of bureaucracy in an already enormous Department of Education.

Second, it authorized the expenditure of millions of tax dollars in salaries, surveys, studies and other expenses, all in furtherance of an unattainable goal.

Third, the law is vague as to its specific goal, a time table and the consequences of non-compliance.

Finally, this Act and its veiled threat of forced consolidation are divisive and, most of all, smacks of Big Brother.

While denouncing this legislation, I applaud the effort to shine some light on the most fertile ground for tax savings in all single K-8 school districts across New Jersey. Although I could never entertain the notion of forced consolidation, I appreciate the work done thus far by the Monmouth County Superintendent of Schools Carol Morris in identifying natural clusters of potential partners in her effort to promote efficiency in the administration of our Monmouth County schools. However, I am calling for the immediate suspension of any further expenditure of funds in pursuit of the State’s apparent effort to force regionalization and I am hereby proposing an alternative to the current process. Although my plan will be specifically directed toward the southern Monmouth coastal region which includes my hometown of Brielle, I believe the principles of my plan are equally applicable to all school districts involved in the current regionalization effort.

I understand the concerns of the residents of our communities. Some of the concerns are well founded; others are the result of confusion, misunderstanding, hysteria and even direct misrepresentation. Regardless, for purposes of this discussion, my plan is directed to the residents of Avon, Belmar, Spring Lake Heights, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Manasquan and Brielle, a natural grouping of homogenous towns, six of which operate one K-8 elementary school and send their children to Manasquan High School on a tuition paying basis. (Manasquan has one K-8 school and a high school.)

My plan does NOT include the formal regionalization, merger or consolidation of these individual school districts. The plan does NOT include the pooling of grades or the assignment and transportation of students out of the districts in which they reside. My plan preserves the autonomy of the individual Boards of Education, their individual budgets, the identity of each individual school and its place in the heart of each community.

Most importantly, my plan would NOT negatively impact the education of our children.

The purpose of my plan is to effectuate significant savings through a sharing of services throughout this cluster of schools. These seven towns currently employ seven superintendents, seven business administrators, seven attorneys, seven auditors, seven curriculum departments, etc. and all currently bear the burden of special education costs on an individual basis.

My plan also contemplates the establishment of shared services with each school’s respective municipal government involving such things as library services, facilities, engineering and property maintenance.

I am specifically proposing that Mrs. Morris invite a three person committee from each community within the cluster of districts to a meeting at a central site. The three person envoy would include a member of the governing body, a member of the Board of Education and a resident not affiliated with either entity. I am absolutely convinced that a committee of this nature could successfully develop an array of shared services between all or any combination of these seven towns and I am further convinced that once a general philosophy, or “mind set” can be achieved, there are undoubtedly many other areas of duplication within this cluster of schools which can be addressed and result in further savings to everyone involved. There would be no “losers.” If a particular plan does not include tax savings for everyone involved, it would never become a reality. I believe the Department of Education could provide further incentive for this proposal by utilizing whatever funds would have been spent on surveys, studies, etc. as additional State Aid for those school districts which can demonstrate a good faith effort at sharing services.

The work of this committee will be demanding and will require dedication to the concept of sharing services. I am certainly sensitive to the reality of this proposal as it may affect certain individuals. There does not need to be any time table on the total implementation of any program such that all reasonable economic expectations of everyone involved can be met. I am further convinced that a cooperative venture of this sort also carries the potential for the collective improvement of the educational programs and services available to the children of all districts.

It is my belief that we, as individual municipalities, have the ability to better control our escalating property taxes and we do not need Trenton to tell us how to do it, or worse yet, to threaten us with forced consolidation.

Rick Bolger, Candidate
NJ State Assembly District 11

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Filed under New Jersey, NJ State Assembly District 11, Op-Ed, Rick Bolger, School Regionalization

NJPP Monday Minute: 9/28/09

What effect is the decline of the newspaper industry having on New Jersey?
Is there a link between corruption in the state and a media deficit?

These questions and more regarding New Jersey’s shrinking media are examined by Scott Weingart in the new NJPP report, Less News Is Bad News: The Media Crisis and New Jersey’s News Deficit. The report was made possible with support from the Sandra Starr Foundation.

In his findings, Weingart notes that New Jersey’s peculiar geographic and economic conditions have been contributing factors to a chronic news deficit in the state for many years and that the problem has been aggravated in recent years by the financial crisis in the media industry. The evidence of this, he says, is that people in New Jersey know less about their state than people elsewhere in the country. And, he claims, the lack of available information distorts state elections and may be a contributing factor to political corruption.

Weingart will present his findings at Thomas Edison State College on Monday, October 5, 10:00 a.m. TESC is co-sponsoring the report release. Following the presentation there will be a panel discussion with the following experts:

Paul Starr
Paul Starr is professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and co-founder and co-editor of
The American Prospect. He holds the Stuart Chair in Communications and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. He received the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction and Bancroft Prize in American History for The Social Transformation of American Medicine and the 2005 Goldsmith Book Prize for The Creation of the Media.

Ingrid Reed
Ingrid Reed directs the Eagleton Institute of Politics’ New Jersey Project, an initiative to reinforce and expand the contributions of the Institute to the governance and politics of New Jersey. Among its initiatives are programs on campaign and election activity, women and politics, welfare reform, and governance. Ms. Reed is chairwoman of Governor Jon Corzine’s government ethics task force.

Charles Layton
Charles Layton is senior contributing writer at
American Journalism Review and a former editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer. As managing editor of The Inquirer Sunday Magazine, he supervised three reporting projects that won Pulitzer Prizes.

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Filed under New Jersey, New Jersey Policy Perspective, News Media, Sandra Starr Foundation, the American Prospect

Chris Christie’s ‘Macaca Moment’ on Health Care

John R. Bohrer – Huffington Post

New Jersey’s off-year gubernatorial race has been pretty boring for outsiders, except for maybe the TV ad accusing Chris Christie, the Republican nominee, of “throwing his weight around.” (Christie’s on the heavy side.)

The ad was supposed to draw attention to the fact that Christie got away with some pretty obscene driving offenses, but really, no one cares about that stuff. New Jersey’s race isn’t about driving, it isn’t about corruption, it isn’t about President Obama — it’s about the state economy and taxes. The inability of Governor Jon Corzine, a Democrat, to find his footing on the economy has made him deeply unpopular for a long, long time. Pundits believe he’s a surefire loser.

So do national Republicans. According to U.S. News & World Report, GOP strategists in Washington will milk a Corzine loss for all its worth, trying to delay the vote on health care reform in order to “[scare] moderate Democrats away from the Obama plan as they worry about their own re-election in 2010.”

But like a lot of other outsiders, the Republicans in Washington haven’t been watching this race closely enough.

If they had been, they’d know that the Christie camp is deeply concerned about the health care debate hurting their candidate. A little more than a week ago, while the rest of the country was buzzing about the ‘Look At That Fat Guy’ ad, Corzine also started airing a TV spot informing voters that Christie supports health insurance companies who deny coverage for mammograms.

The ad must have hurt in the Republicans’ polling, because in no time at all, Christie — long the frontrunner in this race — was forced to play defense.

In light of Christie’s response, the Star-Ledger says Corzine’s ad “happens to be true.”

Final word on this? No way. Christie, when questioned by a cancer survivor, was emphatic when explaining why insurance companies should deny mammograms to young women. The cancer survivor tells him that in fact she had been diagnosed with cancer in her twenties. To that, Christie continues to defend the health insurance companies — and even gets nasty and dismissive with the woman — insisting that dropping mammograms is A-OK because “that’s an exception.”

This is Christie’s ‘macaca moment,’ unleashing his nasty side to show people what Republicans really think about providing all Americans with decent, quality health care. He’s saying that insured or not — if you’re a young woman who wants a mammogram, a health insurance company shouldn’t have to pay because “that’s an exception.”

Christie’s nasty attitude and dismissive tone toward the cancer survivor only makes it worse for him. In July, I wrote that Republicans were endangering Christie — perhaps their only rising star in the Northeast — by stalling the health care reform vote and carrying the debate into October. That was before the rancor and lies of August. New Jersey is still a very blue state, with many more Democratic-leaning independents than Republican ones. The GOP’s angry rhetoric toward the President and his efforts to reform the health care system do not endear Republicans to these voters — voters Christie needs to win this election.

Now Christie is on film, getting short with someone for daring to question the whims of the health care industry. He’s going to have a tough time not looking like just another anti-reform Republican, disdainful for the economic concerns of average citizens just trying to stay healthy.

If Corzine plays his cards right, Christie will have a hell of a time keeping voters focused on the issues he wants. Christie will win this race if GOP opposition to health care reform doesn’t become the leading issue; he may even win it if it does. But if Republicans in Washington believe they can continue their antics without paying the price for it, they may soon think again.

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Filed under Breast Cancer, Chris Christie, Gov. Jon Corzine, health care reform, mammograms, New Jersey, Republicans, the GOP, The Huffington Post, the Star-Ledger, US News and World Reports, Washington DC

Gore urges NJ Dems to help re-elect Corzine

The Associated Press –

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Former Vice President Al Gore touted New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s economic recovery efforts and his policies on health care and the environment as he urged the state’s Democrats to do all they can to help get him re-elected.

“He’s the real deal,” said Gore. Gore was in Atlantic City Friday to give the keynote address at the New Jersey Democratic State Committee’s annual convention.

“You have a man who has the knowledge, the experience, the commitment, the compassion and the record of solid accomplishments fighting every single hour of every single day for New Jersey. Let’s re-elect Jon Corzine,” Gore said as the crowd of 500 cheered.

Corzine, who faces a tough re-election bid from GOP rival Chris Christie, a federal prosecutor during the Bush administration, promised a victory in November. Corzine has lagged consistently in polls.

“Make no mistake, we are going to win on Nov. 3,” Corzine said. “We will hold the Statehouse and the Assembly. We are not turning the keys to the Statehouse over to the people who wrecked the White House.”

Gore, who won the popular vote for the presidency in 2000 but lost the electoral college vote to George W. Bush, deadpanned that “elections matter.” He reminded the crowd of the differences between Democrats and Republicans on a range of issues including health care before warning them not to permit a Republican victory in the race for New Jersey’s top elected post.

Gore referred to Corzine as a friend, and said the governor “has proven his ability to accomplish things that benefit the people of New Jersey.”

His 30-minute address contained repeated references to what he called Bush’s failed economic policies. At the same time, he praised Corzine’s economic recovery efforts , which include the creation of thousands of jobs for government construction and mass-transit projects. Gore said some of Corzine’s ideas were later adopted nationally.

He said Corzine also helped secure health insurance for 150,000 uninsured New Jersey residents during his first term and has demonstrated a commitment to the environment dating back to his days in the U.S. Senate. Gore won a Nobel prize in 2007 for his work on global climate change.

“There is no governor who has understood it more clearly or who has been bolder in taking the initiative in making New Jersey one of one of three states out of 50 to have a meaningful program to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem,” he said.

Gore dismissed the third candidate in the race , independent Chris Daggett, a former Department of Environmental Protection commissioner who has gotten the Sierra Club’s endorsement , as having no chance against the better known and better financed candidates.

“You could also throw your vote away and pretend you’re not doing it,” said Gore. “Let me tell you how that works out.”

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Filed under Al Gore, Atlantic City, Gov. Jon Corzine, New Jersey