Will the Bridgegate Scandal Change the Way Christie Governs?

Will the Bridgegate Scandal Change the Way Christie Governs? (via NJSpotlight)

For all the talk about how the George Washington Bridge scandal is going to affect Gov. Chris Christie’s national ambitions, what about closer to home, what about the “business of the people” as it’s conducted in New Jersey? Christie gives a State…

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Posted: January 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, NJ State Legislature, Port Authority | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments »

NJ Judges: We’re the .005%

Never mind the 1% to 99% rhetoric that has worked its way into our lexicon since the Occupy movement moved into Zuccotti Park.  With yesterday’s 3-2 decision that judges are exempt from New Jersey’s pension and health benefits reform, our State’s judiciary have declared themselves the .005%.   They are the truly elite. The 400 of New Jersey’s 8.8 million citizens. They don’t have to share in the sacrifice.

As Governor Christie said in Atlantic City yesterday,

“What we did, the administration and the Legislature, was demand that everybody in public employment pay their fair share for the benefits they’re going to get like people in the private sector do every day. And I cannot believe that we’re going to permit one small sector of folks (to be exempt), who consider themselves special, and who by the way granted themselves this special treatment themselves. That doesn’t make any sense to me.’’

“If you’re a police officer, or a fire fighter, or a teacher in this state, and you’re paying more for your health benefits and your pension, I’ve got a feeling you’re pretty frosted if it turns out that a group of judges decides for the whole group of judges that they don’t have to pay their fair share.’’

Hat tip to Capital Quickies

Christie told NJ 101.5’s audience on his monthly Ask the Governor show last night that if the legislature puts a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this fall, he will campaign for it.  That will be the easiest campaign in the history of the world.   There will likely be 3.9 million New Jerseyans voting on November 6.  There are about 400 judges.  If all of the judges got all of their family members and friends to vote against the Constitutional Amendment, would that add up to even 10,000 votes?   I don’t think so.

As Senator Joe Kyrillos said yesterday, “Judicial independence does not mean judicial supremacy and exceptionalism.”   If the legislature acts by August 6, and it looks as though they will, the people of New Jersey will be sending the Judicial branch an overwhelming reminder that they work for us.   In America, even in New Jersey, the people are Sovereign. “All political power is inherent in the people.”

Even though there is not much time, the legislature should consider recommending other changes to Article VI, Section VI of the State Constitution to the people, since we’ll be making changes to the clause anyway.

Is seven years too long before a Judge is reviewed and reconfirmed?  How about 3 or 4 years?   Is tenure after 7 years, if reconfirmed, until mandatory retirement at age 70 still appropriate? How about a review and reconfirmation every 4, 5, or 7 years until retirement.   When the retirement age of 70 for judges was affirmed by Constitutional Amendment in 1978, the average life expectancy in the United States was 73.5.  Now, the average life expectancy is 78.  Why not increase the mandatory retirement age to 75 or 80? How about establishing a voluntary retirement age before being eligible to collect a pension at 70. Those would create some pension savings.

The Judiciary has given the Legislature an opportunity to make substantive adjustments to the .005%’s superiority and exceptionalism.

As Governor Christie told a Town Hall meeting audience in Garfield on May 2, it is extraordinarily difficult to hold judges accountable in New Jersey.   Now would be a good time to make some changes.

If you agree, contact your legislators and the governor.   Pass this column on and ask others to do the same.  Time is short.


Posted: July 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Legislature, New Jersey, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ Supreme Court | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

The Return of Corzine Democrats…..and Whitman Republicans

Photo Credit: NJ.com

Governor Chris Christie has taken to the town hall stump declaring that the Corzine Democrats are back.

“In the last couple weeks, we’ve seen an ugly type of Democrat start to rear its head again,” Christie said during a town hall last week. “I think you thought you had slayed this type of Democrat in 2009 — that you had taken the wooden stake and out it through this type of democrats heart. But I am here to tell you today that I fear this type of Democrat has returned to the state legislature. You know what kind of Democrat I’m talking about: A Corzine Democrat.”

The governor will likely expand on the Corzine Democrats theme at his town hall meeting in Brick this afternoon, as he did last evening in his statement about the budget passed by the Democratic State Legislature yesterday:

“With today’s budget, Corzine Democrats reversed course and sent a loud and clear signal that they want to go back to the eight years prior to my administration when taxes and fees were raised every 25 days. After two years without raising taxes, the only way to feed the Corzine Democrats’ obsession is to hold tax relief hostage. I will not allow New Jersey to go back to the same failed policies that nearly put our state over a fiscal cliff. Tax relief for our hardworking families is long overdue and that is exactly what I will continue fighting for.”

But the budget the Democrats passed doesn’t raise taxes once every 25 days.  It doesn’t raise taxes any day.  It also doesn’t reduce income taxes as Christie’s budget proposed.  Nor does it reduce property taxes as the proposal that Senate President Steve Sweeney reneged on would have done.

The budget that the Democrats passed spends $400 million less than the budget Christie proposed.

Christie’s budget would have increased spending 8% with a phased in 10% income tax reduction.  It relies heavily on one shot gimmicks and increased borrowing.  Christie’s revenue projections, which the Democrats have acceptted, are based upon extremely optimistic assumptions that seem to have little grounding in reality. New Jersey’s economy would have to suddenly start growing faster than the rest of the country in order for Christie’s revenue projections to come close.   That sounds a lot like the fiscal cliff that the Whitman/DiFranceso/Bennett Republicans drove New Jersey over in the 1990’s until New Jersey voters kicked them out of power in 2003.

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Posted: June 26th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, New Jersey State Budget, Reapportionment, Stephen Sweeney | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Christie: The Corzine Democrats Are Back

Posted: June 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Jon Corzine, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

State of the State

Governor Chris Christie will deliver his State of the State address this afternoon, 3PM, before a joint session of the legislature.

The address, orginally schedule for last Tuesday, was postponed due to the untimely death of Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce.

The address will be livestreamed here:

Watch live streaming video from governorchrischristie at livestream.com
Posted: January 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: New Jersey | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

O’Scanlon: “Democratic Leadership Lacks The Soul To Govern”

TRENTON – The political theater being carried out by Trenton Democrats over their unconstitutional budget is disingenuous and must end.Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon released the following statement demanding Trenton Democrats start being honest about their budget and to stop misleading New Jerseyans:

“Trenton Democrats’ sickening display of political posturing has to immediately end. Democrats know that their budget did not provide funding for their election year spending spree yet they continue to play on the emotions of our residents.

“New Jersey women still have access to comprehensive health care services in every county and under Governor Christie support for Family Health Services has increased by more than $30 million. By using blatant distortions and lies about program funding, they are misleading the public about what services will and will not be available to them. This is a dangerous new low. This shocking display proves that the current Democratic leadership lacks the soul necessary to govern.”

Posted: July 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Declan O'Scanlon, NJ Democrats, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , | Comments Off on O’Scanlon: “Democratic Leadership Lacks The Soul To Govern”


By Michael Laffey

The recent redistricting fight made me think about why we have an Assembly and a Senate.

I believe historically it was because Senators represented a particular County rather then a legislative district.  The system mirrored the Federal System where States with small populations still get two Senators.  The idea was to give rural counties representation on par with more populous counties.

 A United States Supreme Court decision in 1964 (Reynolds v. Sims) and a New Jersey Supreme Court decision in 1972 (Jackman v. Bodine) that arrangement was found unconstitutional under the one person one vote rule.

As a result the current legislative arrangement was instituted. 

Since the rational for two legislative houses no longer exists why don’t we move to a unicameral or one house legislature?  Nebraska only has one legislative house.

This would save a lot of money and make our government more efficient.

I hope my friends in the legislature don’t take this suggestion personally but I think it is something that deserves consideration.

Posted: April 11th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Legislature | Tags: , | 6 Comments »

The map’s impact on Monmouth County Incumbents

By Art Gallagher

Click on the map for a full view

Click on the map for a full view

New district 11: Comprised from parts of the old 11th and 12th.  Jennifer Beck is the incumbent senator.  Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini are incumbent assemblywomen.  A district with all female representatives!  That is probably a historical first.

This district includes Asbury Park.  Dan Jacobson’s political comeback is effectively over as he won’t challenge Jennifer Beck.  Beck’s career is the creation of Jacobson’s newspaper….just ask him, he’ll swear to it.

New district 12: In addition to the Monmouth towns of Allentown, Englishtown, Manalapan, Matawan, Millstone, Roosevelt and Upper Freehold, this district includes Old Bridge of Middlesex County, the Ocean County towns of Jackson and Plumsted and the Burlington County towns of Chesterfield, North Hanover, New Hanover and Wrightstown.

Sam Thompson of Old Bridge and Ronald Dancer of Plumsted are the incumbent assembly members.  There is no incumbent senator.   This district creates an opportunity for Monmouth County Freeholder Director Rob Clifton, and Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas to run for the legislature.  Dancer is also the Mayor of Plumsted.  Thompson is Chairman of the Middlesex County GOP.  It is unknown if either men have ambitions to move up to the Senate.

New district 13: Declan O’Scanlon of Little Silver joins Amy Handlin of Middletown in representing this district in the Assembly.  Joe Kyrillos of Middletown is the incumbent Senator. 

This district keeps the Bayshore from the old 13th, adds Atlantic Higlands, Highlands, Monmouth Beach,  Rumson and Sea Bright from the old 11th and Fair Haven, Little Silver, Oceanport, Marlboro from the old 12th.

New 30th:  Incumbent Senators Sean Kean (Wall) and Robert Singer (Lakewood)both live in this district.  Singer represented both Lakewood and Howell in the old 30th.  Singer has to be considered the favorite in a head to head match up with Kean in a primary.

In addition to Wall, Lakewood and Howell, the new district in comprised of the southern Monmouth coastal towns of Brielle, Bradley Beach, Avon by the Sea, Belmar, Lake Como, the Spring Lakes, Sea Girt, Manasquan.  Farmingdale rounds out the Monmouth towns in the district.  From Ocean County, Pt Pleasant and Pt. Pleasant Beach are in the district.

Dave Rible is the incumbent Assembly member from the new 30th and there is a vacancy.  Former Howell Mayor Joe DiBella could be a contender for the Assembly vacancy.   Would Kean consider going back to the Assembly? Stranger things have happened, but not very often.  Running for Assembly might be the only way for Kean to continue his political career.

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: NJ State Legislature, Reapportionment, Redistricting | Tags: , | 5 Comments »

NJ Population Shifts to Central and South Jersey

Captiol Quickies reports that one third of New Jersey’s 40 legislative districts will have to be redrawn under a new map due to the 2010 Census data delivered to state officials today.

The average population of the legislative districts is to be 220,000 people.

In Monmouth County,  the population of the 12th district, which also includes parts of Mercer County, has grown and the district will have to be contracted geographically.  Senator Jennifer Beck and Assembly Members Caroline Casagrande and Declan O’Scanlon represent the 12th.

The 30th district which includes Allentown, Farmingdale and Howell in Monmouth, and portions of Burlington, Mercer and Ocean counties will be contracted substantially as the population of Lakewood in Ocean County exploded by 54% from 60,352 in the 2000 census to 92,843 in 2010.  The 30th is represented by Senator Robert Singer and Assemblymen Joseph Mallone and Ronald Dancer.

The 13th district, which includes the Monmouth County bayshore and Old Bridge in Middlesex County has a population of 219,564 in the new census and could remain as drawn in the 2000 map.  Senator Joe Kyrillos and Assembly Members Amy Hanlon and Sam Thompson represent the 13th.  Thompson is also the Middlesex County GOP chairman.

The population of the 11th district, coastal Monmouth from Atlantic Highlands south to Brielle (with the exception of Manasquan which is in the 10th) has declined, which will require the district to be expanded geographically.  The 11this currently the only legislative district with is comprised exclusively on Monmouth County towns.  It is represented by Senator Sean Kean and Assembly Members Dave Rible and Mary Pat Angelini.

The 10th district includes Manasquan in Monmouth County and the northern coastal sections of Ocean County.  Its population has also declined which will require the district to be expanded geographically.  The 10th is currently represented by Senator Anthony Ciesla and Assemblymen David Wolfe and James Holzapfel.  Ciesla has announced that he will not seek another term.

Posted: February 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Legislature | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

Bayshore Tea Party Updates

By Art Gallagher

The Bayshore Tea Party Group has launched it new and improved website.

Russ Cote did a really nice job designing the site which includes a welcome from founder Barbara Gonzalez, a mission statement, a description of their committees and feeds from twitter, facebook and foxnews.   Check it out.

Dwight Kehoe has left his leadership role with the BTPG, leaving Gonzalez and Bob Gordon as the group’s co-chairs.  In an email to group members, Kehoe sang the praises of what the group has accomplished since July of 2009 and said that he will “always support that wonderful organization.”

Unrelated to Kehoe’s departure, there have been persistent rumors within the GOP establishment that the Bayshore Tea Party is planning on supporting primary challengers against incumbent GOP state legislators in June.  

Both Gonzalez and Gordon have told MMM on multiple occassions that they have no such plans.  They say their focus this year is on redistricting on the state and federal levels, and to increase the number of GOP legistors elected statewide. They are looking at working in swing districts outside of Monmouth that they hope to bring into the GOP side of the aisle.  Gordon mentioned that they would also consider supporting  Democratic primary challengers.

Posted: January 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Bayshore Tea Party Group | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments »