Monthly Archives: January 2010

N.J. Supreme Court sides with Asbury Park Press in disclosure case: Time to find out how much Middletown paid in Garcia Vs. Parkinson

Note: This ruling today is a big win for advocates of open government, transparency and taxpayers. We all have a right to know how our tax dollars are being spent and if those dollars are being wasted by corrupt officials.

For the past few years residents in Middletown have been questioning how much the Township paid to settle a sexual harrasment charge against former Mayor Patrick Parkinson that was brought by the former Township Clerk, Rosa Garcia. They had been told only that legal fees and a settlement had been paid to Ms. Garcia.


All OPRA requests had been denied based on privacy concerns. With the ruling today however that all changes and I can’t wait to find out how much it cost taxpayers of Middletown to settle the sexual harrasment suit against Parkinson and others.

Asbury Park Press – Monmouth County must make public the terms of a sexual harassment lawsuit it settled with an employee, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously today.

The court’s decision upheld last year’s appellate court ruling in the case, which also said the terms of the out-of-court settlement must be released to the Asbury Park Press and open government advocate John Paff.

The county’s attorney had argued the terms of that 2007 agreement between the county and one of its engineers, Carol Melnick, should remain private.

Among the county’s arguments was that a clause in the state’s Open Public Records Act allows information about sexual harassment complaints to be closed from the public.

But today, the court said disclosure of the terms of the settlement in this case would not violate any reasonable expectation of privacy….

Read more >>> Here
To read the opinion of the NJ Supreme Court click >>> Here

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Middletown, Monmouth County, OPRA requests, sexual harassment

Hundreds in New Brunswick sign petition to change local marijuana law

Press Release
January 23, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:
Evan Nison
NORML-NJ
evan@normlnj.org
http://www.normlnj.org

(New Brunswick, NJ, January 23, 2010) — Volunteers from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law, New Jersey State Chapter (NORML-NJ) have begun gathering signatures from New Brunswick voters for a ballot initiative that would make marijuana arrests for personal use by adults the lowest law enforcement priority in the city.

“Passage of this initiative would increase public safety by freeing up local police resources to focus on serious issues and at the same time save taxpayer money by reducing arrests for a law that frankly, most Americans feel is unjust and more harmful to people than the drug itself.” said Evan Nison, Ballot Initiatives Coordinator for NORML-NJ.

While marijuana possession and use would remain illegal, it is hoped that a successful ballot initiative will result in a significantly reduced number of arrests for simple marijuana possession within the City of New Brunswick. Aggressively arresting and prosecuting citizens in New Brunswick for simple marijuana possession offenses costs taxpayers dearly and squanders precious New Brunswick police resources, which many feel would be much better spent on preventing and prosecuting serious and violent crime.

Almost half of the US population admits to having tried marijuana and decades of aggressive arresting and expensive prosecution for personal marijuana possession by adults has utterly failed to lower or even affect the prevalence of marijuana use in any way. Subsequently, there is growing discontent by taxpayers regarding the continued irresponsible use of tax revenue on ineffectual marijuana policies.

“As a society facing one of the harshest recessions in almost a century we can no longer afford to indiscriminately waste tremendous amounts of tax dollars and police resources on outdated, misguided and irrational marijuana policies which clearly do not work,” says Frederic DiMaria, Jr., Esq., a practicing criminal attorney and Chairman of NORML-NJ.

Last year nearly 30,000 people in New Jersey were arrested for marijuana possession, costing taxpayers an estimated $3,000 to $10,000 per case. The criminal penalties in New Jersey, widely regarded as some of the nation’s harshest, can include up to six months in jail, severe fines and lengthy suspension of driving privileges even if no motor vehicle was involved in the crime. Conviction on a marijuana offense will also result in a criminal record reflecting a drug crime and can pose great difficulties in finding a job and accessing student financial aid. The latter is of obvious concern to college students, a substantial segment of the population of New Brunswick.

Matt Brockbank, a Rutgers student in New Brunswick helping to coordinate the local effort, said, “People need to look at the fact that alcohol causes significantly more harm on both the user and society than marijuana ever has. It’s time we rethink marijuana prohibition.”

Seattle, Washington, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Santa Cruz, California are among over 30 cities nationwide that have successfully adopted similar “Low-Priority” ordinances. Seattle’s policy resulted in a 75% reduction in simple marijuana possession arrests after just 2 years and has been hailed as a huge success. The New Brunswick initiative would be the first of its kind in New Jersey.

NORML-NJ is a statewide organization working to end marijuana prohibition, stop arrests of consumers and provide educational research and legal information on alternatives to marijuana prohibition.

To schedule an interview contact Evan Nison via email at evan@normlnj.org.


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Filed under Marijuana laws, New Brunswick NJ, Norml-NJ, press release

NFL – NFC Championship Saints Vs. Vikings Preview

CBS Sports- Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings will take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. NFL.com analyst Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz preview the NFC title game.

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Filed under CBS Sports, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, NFC Championship game, NFL, Preview

Princess Picks Jets Over Colts in AFC Championship Game on Sunday

It’s been a while since I posted predictions from the prognosticating camel of Popcorn Park Zoo, Princess, December 4th to be exact.

At the time Princess’s won- loss record stood at 7-7 and I just couldn’t take another prediction of a Giants win that evenually turned to a defeat.

Since that time however, Princess has manage to turn it around and has now amassed a 12-9 record going 5-1 since week 14. During that time she has chosen the Jets successfully 4 times.
So this week she goes back to the well and predicts a Jets win once again. Here’s what she had to say:
“Hmmmm, this is a real real tough one… You know how much I like Payton, the best QB to ever play the game….but I think the Jets have caught lightning in a bottle the last couple weeks.”

So for all Jets’s fans in the area, I hope she’s right. It really would be something to have the Jets represent the AFC in the Superbowl after a 31 year run of mediocrity.

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Filed under AFC Championship game, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, NFL picks, Popcorn Park Zoo, Princess the Camel, Superbowl

NFL – AFC Championship Jets Vs. Colts Preview

CBS SPORTS- Can the New York Jets continue their improbable playoff run when they take on the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game? Jason Horowitz and NFL.com analyst preview the game, which you can watch on CBS this Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET.

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Filed under AFC Champion, CBS Sports, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, NFL, Preview

President Obama’s Weekly Address: 1/23/10 This Week’s Supreme Court Decision

In this week’s address, President Barack Obama addresses the Supreme Court decision to further empower corporations to use their financial clout to directly influence elections and vows that “as long as I’m your President, I’ll never stop fighting to make sure that the most powerful voice in Washington belongs to you.”

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Filed under campaign finance, President Obama, U.S Supreme Court, weekly address

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Dudley Do-Right & Stokey the Bear

This Saturday morning I think i’ll start my day with Stokey the Bear and a nice hot bowl of porridge while keeping an eye out for for Dudley because where there is Stokey there may be some smoke.

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Filed under Dudley Do-Right, Saturday morning cartoons