Republican Assembly Members Should Vote Against Gas Tax Hike

By Art Gallagher

img_0858-800x531This column is for my Republican friends in the Assembly, especially those from Monmouth County.

Dave Rible, Rob Clifton, Sean Kean, Monmouth Republican Assembly Members who voted for gas tax in June, and Declan O’Scanlon who didn’t vote, should join Amy Handlin and Ronald Dancer, Republicans who represent parts of Monmouth and voted NO in June, in voting NO on Wednesday or whenever the bill that Governor Christie, Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto agreed to on Friday comes up for a vote.

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Posted: October 3rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: 2017 NJ Gubernatorial Politics, Amy Handlin, Chris Christie, Dave Rible, Declan O'Scanlon, Monmouth County, Monmouth County News, New Jersey, NJ GOP, NJ Politics, NJ State Legislature, Opinion, Vin Gopal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »


Legislation prohibiting the  public release of the names and addresses of residents with gun permits was  released from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee today. Currently,  access to such personal information is prohibited by regulation, but could be  obtained under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Law. If  enacted, Rible and Dancer’s bill, A-3788, would prohibit such access.


            “Releasing personal information about those who have firearms permits or  licenses puts law enforcement officers and law-abiding citizens in harm’s way,” said Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, who is a retired police officer. “This  legislation will codify that obtaining such information is restricted to those  in law enforcement or the courts. Currently, access to permit-holder information  is restricted by regulation which can be changed without legislative approval.  This bill is an important step in safeguarding a person’s right to privacy and  protecting them from potential predators.”

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Posted: February 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Dave Rible, Gun Rights, Guns, NJ State Legislature, Press Release, Privacy | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

American Conservative Union Rates New Jersey Legislators

American Conservative Union, the folks who put on the CPAC conventions and who have since 1971 been rating the conservatism of members of Congress have rated the conservatism of New Jersey’s state legislators.

ACU tracked the votes on 11 pieces of legislation for Assembly members and 9 votes in the Senate.  Those who voted the way ACU favored 100% of the time were declared “Defenders of Liberty.”  Those who voted with ACU on 80% or more of the bills earned the designation “ACU Conservative.”

Those legsilators who never voted the way ACU favored, most of the Democrats, earned the designation “True Liberals of the Garden State.”

Some of the results in the Monmouth County delegation, Districts 11, 12, 13 and 30, are surprising.  At least they are to me.

If you asked me to predict who among the Monmouth County delegation would have earned a 100% conservative, “Defender of Liberty” designation I would have guessed only 11th District Assemblywoman Caroline Cassagrande.  I would have guessed wrong.  Cassagrande didn’t even make the 80% “ACU Conservative” cut.  She voted the ACU way 8 of 11 times for a 73% rating.   The 3 votes Cassagrande cast that did not meet ACU approval were for 1) for legislation that requires businesses to post notices that employees have the right to be free from gender inequality, 2) for legislation that would ban treating waste water from fracking and 3) a bill that provided tax credits for electric car charging stations.

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Posted: December 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth GOP, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

MMM Year In Review – April

As is customary, April started with a joke.   This year the month of April ended with two jokes; the school board elections  and the President of the United States of America released his long form birth certificate.

After three years of study, Hopewell Township passed an ordinance regulating chicken sex.

A tongue in cheek post about who the Democrats could get to challenge Senator Joe Kyrillos when their endorsed candidate failed to submit his nominating petitions, generated more calls from Trenton than any other post of the year.

The worst joke of the month has consequences that will last at least a decade.  “Continuity of representation,” a political value in the mind of Rutgers professor Alan Rosenthal, trumped competitiveness and the state constitution in determining the lines of the new gerrymandered legislative map.

The stakes were so high that Governor Christie got personally involved in the negotiations regarding the map.  But Rosenthal’s was the only vote that counted.  The professor was not persuaded by the governor.

The map was so gerrymandered for the Democrats that Christie and the Republicans did not even try to win control of the legislature.  The governor, who came into office vowing to “turn Trenton upside down” transformed into the “compromiser in chief” in order to salvage what he could of his reform agenda.

While Rosenthal preserved the status quo for the Trenton trough swilling class, he unwittingly contributed to the creatation of a national Republican rock star, as Christie, freed up from having to work to win control of the legislature transferred his political attentions to the national stage.

The new map was no joke for many in Monmouth County

Senator Sean Kean of Wall was put into the same district as his friend, Senator Robert Singer of Lakewood.  After a few days of saber rattling about a primary for the seat, cooler heads prevailed as Kean agreed to go back to the Assembly to represent the safely Republican 30th district. 

Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore told MMM that the Democrats put Singer and Kean in the same district in the hopes that the GOP would waste resources on a contentious primary in a safe district.  The real reason was that the Democrats were horrified at the prospect of Dan Jacobson returning to the legislature in the upper house.

Jacobson was preparing a fanatasy Republican primary challenge to Kean for Senate should Wall and Asbury Park remain in the same district.   The Democrats, who have never understood Monmouth County, didn’t realize the futility of such an endeavor.  But they knew Jacobson and they weren’t taking any chances.  So they put Senator Jennifer Beck in the same district as Jacobson, knowing that he would never challenge her in a primary.  Jacobson, through his newspaper, created Jennifer Beck.  Just ask him.

The new 11th district would be represented by Beck in the Senate and Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande in the Assembly.  A district represented by three women.  A historic first. 

Assemblyman Dave Rible, formerly of the 11th,  was now in the 30th with Singer and Kean.

The new 12th district provided brief drama due to the fact that the lines created a senate vacancy.  Sam Thompson of Middlesex County and Ronald Dancer of Ocean County were the incumbent Assemblymen in the predominently Western Monmouth district.   The Monmouth GOP wanted to keep three senators.  Thompson wanted to move up. Freeholder Director Rob Clifton had long eyed Thompson’s seat in the assembly, but the senate vacancy presented an unexpected opportunity.  Always level headed and not one to needlessly rock the boat, Clifton let the Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Burlington chairmen figure it out.  Thompson got the senate nod and Clifton joined the ticket with Dancer running for assembly.

The 13th district became even safer for Senator Joe Kyrillos.  Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon of Little Silver joined Kyrillos and Assemblywoman Amy Handlon in representing the district.   Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornick, a Democrat, had his ambitions put on hold by the map makers who put Marlboro into the 13th.

The Democrats did the best they could, but only put up nominal opposition in the Monmouth legislative districts and on the county level.

Former Howell Chair Norine Kelly passed away in April.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno threw Carl Lewis off the 8th legislative district ballot for Senate.

A team of six Red Bank Regional High School students won the national Cyber Patriot III competition in applied defense technology.

The Monmouth County Freeholders established term limits for boards and commissions.

Posted: December 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 Year in review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Monmouth Park Privatization Deal Unraveling

Monmouth Park is in jeopardy of closing  due to a dispute over the licensing of thoroughbred races at the Meadowlands, according to a report in The Star Ledger.

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Associated successfully negotiated for the rights to the Meadowlands races on June 21.   Now the investor slated to take over the Meadowlands track, Jeffrey Gural, wants the rights back because he didn’t realize he was giving up proceeds of off-track wagering on the races.  Evidently, the Christie administration is siding with Gural and is refusing to issue the license to the horsemen.

The Meadowlands license impacts Monmouth Park because races licensed for the Meadowlands are frequently transferred to Monmouth.

As a result of the dispute, Morris Baily, the investor slated to take over Monmouth Park from the state, says he wants out of the deal, according to the Ledger.

The parties would have a lot more money to fight over, while keeping the tracks open, if  slots were permitted at the racetracks, as they are in a growing number of tracks throughout the region.

Assemblyman Ronald Dancer has introduced two pieces of legislation that would permit slots at racetracks.

A-4294 directs the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), in consultation with the New Jersey Racing Commission, to implement and oversee slot machine gambling operations at horse racing venues.

ACR-209 is a resolution proposing a constitutional amendment that gives the Legislature the authority to establish slot machine gambling at racetracks. If approved by voters, the specific restrictions and control of operations of slot machines, as well as the use of the State’s share of revenues derived from the machines, would be provided by law.

“Both proposals represent an incentive for the major stakeholders in this issue – the casino and horse racing industries – to come together and work out a fair and mutually beneficial agreement. Allowing slot machines at racetracks will generate revenues that will help both industries,” said Dancer. “One industry’s success does not have to be at the expense of the other. Permitting slot machines at racing venues will preserve and enhance both.

“One unique aspect of these bills is that the DGE will consult with the Racing Commission in overseeing the operation of slot machines, without the involvement of the New Jersey Lottery Commission which exists currently,” explained Dancer. “As a result, the proceeds from expanding slots at the racetracks would not be diluted to another commission, but distributed to the industries for which they are intended.

I am open to either approach in deciding this issue. We can allow the voters to determine if amending New Jersey’s Constitution is appropriate or work through the legislative process,” commented Dancer. “The casino and horse racing industries are important parts of our state’s economy. I am confident we can reach a reasonable solution as to how we can capitalize on the market potential slot machines at racetracks will produce.”

Dancer pointed out the benefits New Jersey’s horse racing industry provides to the state, including jobs, tax revenue and preserving open space. According to the Rutgers Equine Center, horse racing employs over 7,000 workers and contributes nearly $800 million to the state’s economy. Further, 34,000 acres of the state’s 176,000 farmland acres are attributable to the horse racing industry.


Unfortunately, Dancer’s legislation has little chance of becoming law, as Governor Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney are opposed to allowing slots in New Jersey anywhere outside of Atlantic City.

Posted: December 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Atlantic City, Horse Racing Industry, Monmouth Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

What is we held an election and nobody cared? Part 3, The 12th Legislative District

Part 1.  11th Legislative District

Part 2. Part 2a.   13th Legislative District

Prelude from Part 1:

In seven five weeks New Jersey voters will have the opportunity to elect an entirely new state legislature.

Patrick Murray’s Monmouth University/Neptune Nudniks poll conducted in August indicates that New Jersey voters disapprove of their legislature by a 48%-35% margin.  Democrats disapprove by 45%-38%.  Independents, the majority, disapprove by a whopping 50%-28%.  Surprisingly, Republicans approve of the legislature by a 45%-41% margin.  Public workers disapprove by 55%-26%.

Based solely on those poll results, one might expect that we’d be in the middle of a spirited campaign with Democrats and public workers rallying to throw the Republicans out of office.  Obviously that is not the case.  Democrats control the legislature that their base and Independents disapprove of strongly.

Due to Dr. Alan Rosenthal’s decision that New Jersey voters are better off being continuously represented by legislators they don’t know, there are only a handful of competitive legislative races.  The Democrats will continue to control the legislature for the next two years.  Probably the next ten years.

Part 3

Now that Governor Christie has put an end to the presidential speculation and passionately reitierated his commitment to fixing our broken state, one might think that an election with every seat in the legislature up for grabs coming up in five weeks would be an opportunity for Christie to foward his fixes by picking up support in the legislature.  Christie’s poll numbers are surging in New Jersey.  An FDU poll last week indicated that 54% of New Jersey voters approve of the job he is doing.  FDU also indicated that 47% of New Jersey voters disapprove of President Obama’s performance, down from dramatically from a May poll after Bin Laden was killed that indicated 56% of New Jerseyans approved of Obama.

Yet Christie apparently doesn’t see an opportunity.  During the Q&A of his press conference yesterday the Governor said that he doesn’t see the upcoming legislative election as a referendum on his performance “given the map.”  Once again the conventional wisdom is that the only vote that really mattered in this legislative election, and the next four, was the vote that Dr. Alan Rosenthal cast as the tie breaking member of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission adapting the Democratic gerrymandered map that assured “continuity of representation.”

Now that Christie is focused only on New Jersey maybe he will launched an unexpected campaign to defy conventional wisdom and the Rosenthal/Democratic map. During his fund raising trip last week the New Jersey GOP was one of the beneficiaries of his efforts.  Christie has moved the electorate in unexpected ways previously.  During the 2010 school board elections he called for New Jersey to defeat school budgets in towns where teachers would not agree to contribute to their healthcare.  Could that be done in a legislative general election against a gerrymandered map?  Its wishful thinking on my part.  I would love to see him try it but would be more surprised if he did than if he didn’t.

12th Legislative District

Like the 11th and 13th districts, the 12th has more registered Democratic voters than Republicans, according to Labels and Lists.   The district is compromised of the northern part of Burlington County (6,448 registered voters), Old Bridge in MiddlesexCounty (34,626 registered voters) Western Monmouth County (43,861 registered voters) and the Ocean County towns of Jackson and Plumsted (36,656 registered voters).

Despite a voter registration edge for the Democrats, 29,702 to 27,482 Republicans and 64,407 Independents, the district is considered among the safest of Republican districts.  On the September 14 Real Jersey Guys Radio Show political strategist Chris Kniesler called the district “deep red.”

The Republicans expected to cruise to victory on November 8th are Assemblyman Sam Thompson, Old Bridge in the old 13th district ,who is running for Senate, Assemblyman Rondal Dancer, Plumsted of the old 30th district, and Monmouth County Freeholder Director Rob Clifton, Matawan, running for Assembly.

I honestly didn’t know that names of the Democratic Assembly candidates before reading The Asbury ParkPress’s write up on the district.  They are Catherine Tinney Rome and William Spedding. The Asbury Park Press didn’t say where they are from.

The Democratic Senate candidate is Robert Brown of Old Bridge.  Politikernj describes Brown as a “veteran loser.” He ran against Thompson for Assembly in the old 13th in 2007 and in 2009.  In 07 his running mate was Middletown’s Patricia Walsh.  In 09 he ran with Middletown’s Jim Grenefage.

While Brown doesn’t stand a chance against Thompson, he is providing some comic entertainment to the campaign.  He has forsaken his liberal Democratic bonafides and is attempting to run to the right of Thompson.  He has a Republicans for Brown website and has attempted to use twitter to bait this website and Save Jersey into supporting his candidacy.

Brown wants the campaign to be about Thompson’s state pension.  He contends Thompson, 76 years old, is “double-dipping” because he is collecting his legislative salary and the pension he receives as a result of working for state health department for 22 years and the NJ Turnpike Authority for 3 years.   Brown says he will give up his $14K per year police disablity pension if elected to the Senate where he would earn a $49K salary.  He says Thompson should give up his $49K pension.   Thompson says he won’t.

Brown collects a disablity pension as the result of an 1981 incident where he was shot in his hand and shoulder. He killed the perp who shot him.  Brown recovered from his wounds and went back to work with the Old Bridge Police Department for five years when he requested a disability pension due to lingering physical and psychological disabilities.   He finally retired from the Old Bridge PD in 1988, seven years after the shooting, and litigated his pension for another 11 years before prevailing in the  NJ Superior Court Appellate Division.

In response to Brown’s numerous tweets trying to bait me into his nonsense, I tweeted back that he must not have recovered from his psychological disablities because he is crazy if he thinks I am going to help him get elected.  I have no doubt that if Brown were a Senator he would recover his Democratic roots and do whatever Steve Sweeney told him to do.

While Brown wants the election to be about Thompson’s pension and his own heroism which he has been trying to parlay into a political career for years, The Asbury Park Press decided the campaign is about the horse racing industry.

In reality, unless something very unexpected happens, the 12th district race is a campaign about nothing as the Republicans will win a low turnout election easily with no credible opposition.

Posted: October 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Lucas Not Running In The 12th

By Art Gallagher

Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas told MoreMonmouthMusings that he will not be a candidate for Senate or Assembly in the GOP primary in the new 12th legislative district.

Earlier this week Lucas announced that he would by-pass the Monmouth County screening committee to compete in the primary.

The Ocean and Middlesex GOPs nominated Sam Thompson for Senate and Ronald Dancer and Rob Clifton for Assembly earlier this week.  The Monmouth and Burlington County Committees are expected to do the same tomorrow.

Lucas said that he would do all that he could this fall to make sure Republicans are elected in the 12th district and throughout Monmouth County.

Clifton said, ” I have a great deal of respect for Andrew Lucas.  He is a great Mayor and will be a leader in Monmouth County and New Jersey for years to come.”

Posted: April 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Lucas Not Running In The 12th

Thompson Says He Has Fellow Chairmen’s Support For Senate Race

By Art Gallagher

Assemblyman Sam Thompson of Old Bridge told MoreMonmouthMusings that he has the support of his fellow 12th district county chairmen for his bid to run for State Senate.

Thompson, who is also the Middlesex County GOP Chairman said that Ocean Chair George Gilmore, Monmouth Chair Joe Oxley and Burlington Chair Bill Layton each indicated that they would recommend that their respective conventions or screening committees nominate him for Senator.  He is confident that his own convention will award him the nomination.

Thompson said he would ask the Middlesex County Convention to nominate Monmouth County Freeholder Director Rob Clifton for the Assembly seat that Thompson now holds.  Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, Plumsted is also expected to be nominated.

Clifton told MMM that he proudly supports Thompson for Senate, that he looks forward to campaigning with him and Dancer and serving with them in Trenton.

Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, who has said he will challenge Clifton in the primary, was not immediately available for comment.

Posted: April 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments »

Lucas Will Run In the New 12th

By Art Gallagher

Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas will be a candidate for the state legislature in the GOP primary from the new 12th district.

Lucas, who will make a formal announcement tomorrow, said he would defer to Assembly incumbents Sam Thompson and Ronald Dancer should either seek the vacant Senate seat.  In such case Lucas will run for Assembly.  Should neither incumbent Assemblyman run for Senate, Lucas will seek that seat.

Lucas said that he will not compete with Freeholder Director Rob Clifton for the Monmouth GOP line with the screening committee, but would  take the race to a primary.

“I think this will be fun and reinvigorate the western portion of the Monmouth GOP,” said the Mayor.

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Legislature, Monmouth GOP, NJ State Legislature, Reapportionment, Redistricting | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments »