Category Archives: Blue Jersey

Lavan & Short Pick Up Endorsement Of NJ AFL-CIO

Former Hazlet Mayor Kevin Lavan and former Middletown Committeeman Patrick Short, Candidates for the NJ State Assembly for the 13th Legislative district, each picked up a key endorsement from the NJ AFL-CIO labor union today at the unions endorsement conference.

Over at Blue Jersey, CWA NJ Area Director Hetty Rosenstein is quoted as stating, “Public workers and their many allies in the private sector stood together today to endorse those who stood with us this year and to deny endorsement to those who attacked collective bargaining. The majority of Democrats in NJ believe in and defend collective bargaining. They deserve a labor endorsement. A minority do not. That group should not get a labor endorsement.”, in reference to all those that earned the labor endorsement.

This is the second big labor endorsement the pair has gained within the past month, back on July 18th the pair, along with NJ Senate Candidate Chris Cullen garnered the backing of Monmouth/Ocean Building Trades Council And New Jersey Building & Construction Trades Council.

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Filed under 13th Legisaltive District, AFL-CIO, Blue Jersey, Chris Cullen, Democratic Candidate, endorsement, Kevin Lavan, labor unions, Patrick Short

>Vin Gopal: My Candidacy For The State Assembly In The 11th District

>Originally posted over at Blue Jersey

When I saw the new 11th District Map, I decided after years of working behind the scenes, I wanted to place my name on the ballot. The new 11th Legislative District has 36,643 registered Democrats, 26,405 registered Republicans and 68,899 registered unaffiliated voters. The district is home to Asbury Park, Long Branch, Neptune, Red Bank, Freehold Borough, Tinton Falls and many other beautiful Monmouth County municipalities. Of the 18 towns in the district, 11 of those towns have 4,000 or more registered voters. Out of those 11 towns, 9 of them have more registered Democrats than Republicans, most of them overwhelmingly. 9 of the 11 big towns in the district have more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Get where I’m going with this? It is a Democratic district. Basically all the strong Democratic towns in Districts 11 and 12 got merged while all the strong Republican towns, including Wall (goodbye Sean Kean!), Rumson, Millstone, Brielle, Avon, Monmouth Beach, Sea Girt, Englishtown, Fair Haven, Little Silver (sorry Declan O’Scanlon), Manalapan, and Oceanport all got thrown into other legislative districts. It really is remarkable what happened here!

This district is for Democrats to win. It will be about raising the funds necessary to compete and turning out our base. It will be about turning out voters from nonpartisan towns like Asbury Park and Long Branch, giving them a reason to vote in November.
The incumbents are Senator Jen Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Cassagrande and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelni. Three good people who are gravely out of touch with this new 11th District. Poor Caroline, I don’t think even if I gave her a GPS she would know how to get to Asbury Park. You see, the challenge for Assemblywoman Cassagrande and Senator Beck is they are unknown in a big chunk of the district, which basically puts us at even playing field.

Some of you on Blue Jersey know me as an activist, somewhat of a troublemaker but may not know my background. It wasn’t long ago I stirred the pot by organizing a petition with the help of this website to make sure Senators Buono and Vitale weren’t pitted against each other. I admit, I do have a history of mixing things up, but I’m proud of that and I think that is what will be make me an effective legislator in Trenton.

I’m a small business owner – I have a chain of community magazines and newspapers covering different areas of Monmouth County. I also own a retail store in Hazlet which does embroidery, t-shirts, banners and personalized gifts. I serve as a member of the Board of Directors for the Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce and as President of the Hazlet Business Owners Association. I also serve on the Board of Trustees for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties. That is my day job. My assembly runningmate Marilyn Schlossbach is a talented restauranteur. She owns and operates several restaurants in Asbury Park, Normandy Beach and Shrewsbury, including the popular Langosta Lounge on the Asbury boardwalk. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, she opens the doors of her restaurant to feed anyone and everyone in Asbury Park. Her philanthropy has won her recognition among her peers and customers. Marilyn also serves as the Board of Directors for the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce and on the Board of the Asbury Park Urban Enterprise Zone. She is also very active with Clean Action Ocean and the Surfriders Foundation. Our Senate runningmate, Ray Santiago, is a former New York City prosecutor who has been a Freehold Borough attorney for the past 8 years, operating a small business that serves clients throughout Monmouth County. He is very involved in the Monmouth County Bar Association, the cub scouts and other organizations in our community.

The three of us are business owners, not politicians and we share a sense of values that will shake New Jersey government up.

In the upcoming weeks, we will launch a website and formally launch our campaign. In the mean time, we are aggressively fundraising to put out strong numbers for the quarter.

We will be welcoming Congressman Jared Polis, the first openly gay man elected to Congress, to our district on May 26th. The three of us stand united behind our brothers and sisters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Unlike the incumbent, Senator Jennifer Beck, who voted against marriage equality, who probably never realized she would ever be representing communities like Ocean Grove and Asbury Park now (regretting that vote yet Jen?) – we stand for values of equality for all New Jerseyians.

Imagine what happens to Governor Christie when halfway through his term, Democrats once again get elected to the legislature from Monmouth County – the same county he stomped all over 2 years ago. If we get in, we will build to make sure Chris Christie does not walk all over us again in 2013.

During the next several weeks and months, we will be updating you on our race and our campaign to stand up for Democratic principles. We hope you will join us! We can’t win this race without you!


Note: This is a re-post from yesterday. Blogger was experiencing technical difficulty after a system upgrade and wiped out all posts after the 5/11

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Filed under 11th Assembly District, Blue Jersey, Caroline Cassagrande, Democratic Candidate, GLBT, Gov. Chris Christie, Jennifer Beck, Marilyn Schlossbach, Monmouth County, Vin Gopal

>Congratulations Tea Party "Constitutionalists"

>Does anyone today remember taking Civics, Social Studies or History classes while going to school? Evidently not.

If they had, they would know that the only way a law is enacted in this country is that it needs to receive approval from both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate before moving on to be signed by the President of the United States.
Somehow however, there are some in the House of Representatives that have forgotten this process and I am embarrassed to admit, that some of those that have forgotten their civics lessons are from New Jersey.
You and I learned that a bill becomes a law only after it passes the House of Representatives and the Senate. Frank LoBiondo, Jon Runyan, Scott Garrett, Chris Smith, and Leonard Lance have invented a new theory of government:

If the House has not received a message from the Senate before April 6, 2011, stating that it has passed a measure providing for the appropriations for the departments and agencies of the Government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, the provisions of H.R. 1, as passed by the House on February 19, 2011, are hereby enacted into law.

Yes, if the Senate fails to vote for a bill that means it becomes law! Congratulations Tea Party “Constitutionalists,” you have hit the jackpot with your Representatives.

Hat tip goes to Hopeful over at Blue Jersey on this one!

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Filed under ., Blue Jersey, civics class, how a bill becomes a law, Rep. Chris Smith, US Constitution, US History, US Rep. Leonard Lance, US Rep. Scott Garret, US. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, US. Rep. John Runyan

I will make up my own mind about the budget.


I was forwarded the following letter last night by someone who wished not to be identified. The person took acception to Governor Christie’s recent statement that urged voters to turn down their local school budget if teachers in their towns refused to take a wage freeze .

I agree with the letter writer and the comments that this person added at the bottom of it from a few who responded to the story that was posted on NJ.com about the governor’s comments.

I think the governor’s comments were both reckless and callous. If voters turn down school budgets across the state next week it will result in more teachers being let go and sports programs and after school activities being cut or eliminated, which would be a real shame due to the fact that many students need of those types of programs for possible scholarships opportunities and to bulk up their college transcripts in order to get into their preferred college of choice.
Here’s the letter:

Imagine telling your grown kids, heck, your parents how to vote. I don’t know about you but it would go over like a lead balloon in many New Jersey households. I believe one of the basic tenets of the constitution is the right to make a free and unfettered choice on how to vote on Election Day. Chris Christie must have missed that day in civics class.

I would never have believed this headline if I had not read it for myself.

“Gov. Chris Christie urges voters to reject school districts’ budgets without wage freezes for teachers” NJ.com

First of all, you have to wonder what the real reason is behind this declaration. Is it that Christie is nervous about the tax increases that have accompanied those proposed budgets? The ones that were caused by “The self-proclaimed “conservative” Republican is cutting suburban property tax relief by amounts unimaginable even under the liberal Democrat he defeated” to quote Paul Mulshine.

Those tax increases scare him and that does not even take into account what will happen the following school year when districts have no tax relief to offer their residents. He may be at war with the NJEA but his GOP legislators are the ones who have to hang their hats and their necks on the line for this budget, especially next year when they run for election. From what I hear the legislative kitchen is getting pretty hot these days.

Then you have to wonder why the Governor doesn’t lead by example. Let him take a pay cut and contribute 1.5% of his salary to his health insurance. Well he hasn’t even offered. Neither have all those legislators in Trenton who should know better.

They can’t even get the stories straight in Trenton, because today at a Senate budget hearing , Department of Education Commissioner Bret Schundler said he would not recommend voters reject those budgets when they go to the polls on April 20. Schools are dealing with a nearly $820 million cut in funding while facing increasing salary and benefits costs. He tried to reinterpret what the Governor said to make it sound more palatable. I’m sorry, I like many other voters choked on the Governor’s very clear words.
If you check out the latest Monmouth University/Gannett poll it makes it very clear.
The governor is more likely to be blamed by registered voters for impending teacher layoffs statewide than either the teachers unions or local school boards, according to the results of a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll.
Fully 44 percent cite Christie as the party responsible for school districts reducing work forces in order to balance budgets for the next school year, while 28 percent blame the unions and 17 percent the school boards, according to poll results.

“It’s Goliath versus Goliath,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch. “But the governor’s bluster in taking on the teachers union has backfired.”
It goes on to say,
When asked specifically about the governor’s proposed cuts in state aid to towns and school districts, more than half (52%) feel those cuts are unfair in comparison to cuts made in other areas of the budget. Only 28% say these cuts in local aid are fair.

“The local aid reduction, particularly to schools, was always going to be the flashpoint for criticism of the plan, and the governor’s clash with the NJEA only increased the heat. If part of his strategy was to win over public opinion, it hasn’t been an overwhelming success,” said Murray.
I don’t even need a poll to tell me that. I found some particularly enlightening words on Bluejersey.com.
I think it’s fair to say the students are being held hostage in the disputes between the Governor, the school boards, and the unions. In that complex multi-sided hostage standoff, Christie just asked the bystanders to shoot the hostages. We already have voters who routinely reject school budgets because they resent paying taxes for the public school system that has been benefiting our society for generations. To recklessly ask them to reject budgets wholesale is in my opinion a shocking tactic, especially when rejecting a budget will not release school districts from the contract their leadership willingly signed. Rejecting the budget won’t hurt most teachers directly.

I say let people judge each budget on its own merits. Let’s not let anyone dictate to us how we should vote. In Middletown, the budget has been cut by a staggering amount ($9,608,000) and is already putting 124 district personnel on the street in July. Those people and many others will be joining the ranks of the unemployed who will require unemployment benefits from our deleted funds. They may find more residents going into foreclosure and selling homes, dampening a poor housing market.
The one thing I can promise is that if budget are voted down your kids will be the ones that are hurt.
Just listen to some fellow residents posting on NJ.com
Posted by lakeline
April 12, 2010, 3:14PM
I’m not a teacher, but I have two kids in school and I wish the Governor would stop hurting their education. Since he has failed to sway the Teacher’s Union himself, he’s pushing us to do it for him. Every failed budget reduces a kids education in multiple ways. Sure, negotiate with your teachers for reasonable compromises, but Vote Yes for your budget. We don’t all have the Governor’s money to send our kids to Private School

Posted by netspider
April 12, 2010, 2:44PM
Gov. Christie you have crossed the line with this statement. Shame on You. How can you ethically make a comment on how anyone should vote.

Posted by kadtom
April 12, 2010, 2:31PM
Are you kidding Me? The governor is now trying to dictate what the public people should do?? I can’t believe I voted for a dictator who’s children don’t even attend public schools? I moved to Chatham for the good schools. Good schools and location are why my property values are highly appraised. If I want to vote yes I will! Don’t dictate to the people who elected you governor! You lost my vote, that’s for sure.

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Filed under Blue Jersey, budget cuts, Education Funding, Gov. Chris Christie, layoffs, NJ.com, NJEA, Teachers

Joe Kyrillos "Not Smart Enough" To Figure it Out

During last week’s Middletown Board Of Education public forum on how the Christie budget cuts will effect the upcoming school budget, Governor Christies’ personal confidant, buddy and Middeltown resident NJ State Senator Joe Kyrillos, made a rather striking comment when answering a question.

” …That’s right, the kids are paying a price, the taxpayer is paying a price, society is paying the price…Now is the time for smart people to be really smart and creative as possible and i say that freely admitting that I am not sure I’m smart enough to figure out how to pull it all together…”


So Christie freely admitted during his campaign that he “doesn’t do math” and now his good friend and confidant Middletown’s very own Joe Kyrillos admits that he “isn’t smart enough” to figure out how to deal with all the budget cuts the governor is proposing.
That’s great… good job guys.

Listen here

Here’s how the Asbury Park Press summed up the Middeltown forum last week.
And here’s a personal shout out to Jason Springer over at Blue Jersey for picking up on this after I gave him the heads up yesterday.
Thanks Jason, you guys at Blue Jersey do a great job… keep up the good work!

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Blue Jersey, budget cuts, Gov. Chris Christie, Jason Springer, Joe Kyrillos, Middletown Board of Education, not smart enough

Christie "Travel-Gate": Two New Videos Help Explain His Extravagant Tastes

As Blue Jersey so apply stated in an earlier post today, Chris Christie just may have “October Surprised” himself.

Christie’s extravagant taste for sleeping in tax payer funded, luxury hotel rooms while he was US Attorney General instead of cheaper, more appropriate rooms while on business has captured the public’s interest. What’s more, Christie see nothing wrong with it and if elected he would loosen restrictions for those that he appoints to office.

Two videos out today from the Corzine campaign use news reports from NJ News 12 and WPIX 11 to bring futher light to Christie’s travel arragments:

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Filed under Blue Jersey, Chris Christie, Gov. Jon Corzine

Pallone: Learning By Listening: An Epilogue

In a diary piece cross published on the Daily Kos and Blue Jersey, Congressman Frank Pallone talks about his expirences during his recent town hall meetings to discuss health care reform.

He states, among other things:
“…Families in New Jersey’s 6th District and all across the United States need strong, decision action when it comes to health care reform.Behind the statistics are real stories. Right now, our health system is working against our families, not for us. When dealing with illness and at their most vulnerable, the last thing people need is an insurance company fighting tooth and nail about coverage they need and deserve….”


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Filed under Blue Jersey, Congressman Frank Pallone, Daily Kos, health care reform, Red Bank NJ, town hall meeting