By Dan Jacobson, originally published in the June 30th edition of the triCityNews
Time for Jennifer Beck to face the music on same sex marriage. And the recently-engaged Republican Senator will soon have a lot of explaining to do.
With New York voting for marriage equality, the focus will shift to New Jersey where our state Senate voted down same sex marriage two years ago.
Beck, to her shame, voted against it. And all 16 Republican Senators in office today oppose marriage equality.
Of course, it’s politics. Republicans must appease their right wing on social issues – just as Democrats must do with their left wing on economic issues. That’s what pisses everyone off. The total bullshit of it all. You can’t tell me 100 percent of those Senate Republicans in Trenton personally oppose marriage equality.
And no way does Beck, despite her vote.
Jennifer kept her mouth shut during the floor debate on the issue. And her letter to constituents explaining her vote never stated she personally opposed marriage equality – only that she voted according to the sentiment of her legislative district.
Well, the Senator now has a new district with new constituents. She’s in the newly gerrymandered 11thDistrict, which for the first time includes Red Bank, Long Branch and Asbury Park. I call it the triCity district. (I’m running in the same district as an Independent for state Assembly.) The 11th District also includes Ocean Township, Neptune and Ocean Grove, among other places.
Suddenly, Senator Beck has a sizeable gay and lesbian population among her constituents. Probably the largest in any legislative district in the state. So this ought to be interesting. After all, in Jennifer’s world the moral issue of same sex marriage is decided by what’s best to do politically. Or in the language of politicians: “Representing the will of my constituents.” So what will she do now?
As Beck spends more time in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, and other places in her new district with a gay population, she’ll feel like a total fool. There is no way this otherwise progressive Republican woman – she’s also pro-choice – is personally opposed to marriage equality. No way. And everyone knows it.
So consider this. If a politician doesn’t have the guts to vote what they believe on a moral issue – remember we’re talking about issues of morality here – how can we ever expect them to do the right thing on anything else?
Obviously, marriage equality isn’t the most important issue facing the state government – it’s all economic issues right now – but I’ve always considered it a big deal. It’s outrageous that there still exists such bigotry against my friends and neighbors here in Asbury Park, and that politicians are afraid to stand up to it. And it says so much about those we elect.
Lots of readers know that Beck and I are long-time close friends. And the triCityNews has backed her since she was unknown and unelected and taking on the Democratic machine up in Red Bank. That’s where she made her name. So when I win my Assembly race in November, the two of us will be spending lots of time together. Driving to Trenton, going to local events, meeting on issues of concern to the 11th District.
And I will hound her every second until she changes her position on the marriage equality issue. Because it’s a complete joke – really a disgrace – to watch her stand there and say she will vote against it again. I’m not buying it for one second. And friends don’t let friends make asses of themselves.
So Beck might as well get it over with and change her stance now. She’s not going to lose this election in November, and the next one is four years away. Her only vulnerability would be in a GOP primary against a right-wing social conservative. And even that she’d win in this moderate district.
Then again, if Beck lost a Republican primary because of supporting marriage equality, so what? It’s the right thing to do. You don’t play games on moral issues. Or else you’ll end up looking like those southern bigots of the 1960s who opposed interracial marriage.
That will be Beck’s legacy if she sticks with this position. Bet most of those clowns opposing interracial marriage didn’t care either way – hey, it was just politics. Like Beck is doing today. If she doesn’t switch her position soon in her new district, this issue will haunt her down the road. As it should. Better to do it sooner than later, when it would look like she was just trying to avoid the issue until it comes up again for a vote.
A special mention is due here to Republican Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, who is Beck’s running mate and the only Republican in Trenton I know who supports marriage equality. I’ve long saluted Mary Pat in these pages for taking that stand. What a great reflection of great character on her part.
Interestingly, in the contest for the two Assembly seats in the 11thDistrict, four of the five candidates – Mary Pat, myself and Democrats Marilyn Schlossbach and Vin Gopal – all support same sex marriage. So does Beck’s Democratic opponent Raymond Santiago.
Jennifer’s conduct on this issue has been disgusting long enough. It’s time to end it. She’d be the first Republican in the current state Senate to change her stand, and do what’s right. Jennifer would join Mary Pat Angelini as a leader in the Republican Party on this issue.
Of course, we’d be happy to make these pages available for Beck’s announcement supporting marriage equality. There’s no better venue for Jennifer to set everything right.
After all, we’re the triCityNews. We’re here to help.
(The new 11thDistrict – where everyone mentioned in this article is running – includes Asbury Park, Long Branch, Red Bank, Ocean Township, Neptune, Neptune City, Interlaken, Deal, Allenhurst, Loch Arbour, West Long Branch, Eatontown, Shrewsbury Borough, Shrewsbury Township, Tinton Falls, Colts Neck, Freehold Township and Freehold Borough.)
Editors note: As Dan Jacobson appears to be submitting his triCityNews publisher’s column to MMM on a weekly basis, this is a good time to remind readers and writers that all are welcome to submit material to MMM. It has always been that way but is worth repeating. Send your stuff to artvg @ aol .com
Governor Christie Sends Clear Message to Legislature’s Irresponsible Spending: New Jersey is Only Going to Spend the Money We Have
Trenton, NJ – For the second year in a row, Governor Chris Christie has enacted a constitutionally balanced budget that reduces spending, does not raise taxes and protects critical priorities like education and health care. The revised budget is grounded in reality and is the polar opposite of a reckless Democratic spending plan the Governor was forced to line-item veto by nearly $1 billion in order to meet the state’s constitutional obligation to deliver a balanced budget for the next fiscal year. At the same time, the budget builds on the hard-won progress made over the last year to right New Jersey’s fiscal course over the long term, and also protects key priorities and encourages job growth. The Governor maintained his commitment to education by increasing funding by $850 million over last year’s budget. In total, this means every dollar of cuts made last year has been restored and increased by an additional $30 million.
Additionally, the Governor took action rejecting job-killing tax increases and signed into law additional targeted tax cuts for small business and job creators.
“It is my solemn pact with the residents and taxpayers of New Jersey to never allow a return to the kind of reckless, autopilot spending that devastated our state’s economic health in years past and which was embodied in the budget I repaired, a relic of days when there was no concern for the state’s fiscal reality,” Governor Chris Christie said. “Let me be clear – New Jersey is only going to spend the money we have. We are not going to revert back to business as usual and undo all the progress that has been made to improve New Jersey’s long-term fiscal health. The actions I have taken today reinforce a commitment to protecting taxpayer dollars, safeguarding critical priorities like education, and rejecting tax increases that impede economic expansion and job creation.
“This budget is not only constitutionally balanced, but represents my commitment to education. This year’s budget managed to increase funding by $850 million and does so in a fiscally prudent budget. New Jersey continues to spend more money per pupil than any other state and now is the time to complement the dollars spent with real education reform. Now is the time to turn our focus and energy to tackling the next big thing for our state – education reform,” concluded Governor Christie.
The Governor’s remedies, a combination of the line-item veto on the appropriations bill and the absolute veto, ensure the state will go into the next fiscal year with a constitutionally balanced budget, puts New Jersey on stronger fiscal footing and funds key commitments:
· Governor Christie’s adjusted budget spends $29.7 billion, $900 million less than the Democratic budget and maintains a healthy and necessary surplus;
· Increases state aid to school districts by $850 million over last year. This commitment to education includes the Governor’s initial $250 million increase for all school districts, meeting the Supreme Court’s mandate by providing an additional $450 million to the Abbott districts, and an additional $150 million for non-Abbott districts;
· Doubles the Homestead Benefit to provide property tax relief for New Jersey families;
· Increases and secures funding for New Jersey hospitals by $20 million;
· Provides full funding for healthcare to low-income earners and the uninsured through Federally Qualified Health Centers;
· Provides $180 million in targeted tax cuts and incentives to grow the economy and create jobs;
· Fulfills New Jersey’s commitment to make the state’s pension fund payment;
· Doesn’t raise taxes on individuals and job creators at a time when New Jerseyans are already subject to one of the highest state income tax rates in the nation and New York is reducing its tax burden; and
· Preserves critical spending for senior and disabled prescription aid.
In addition to returning a responsible and balanced budget to the Legislature, Governor Christie took other action today to stop job-killing tax increases and create a competitive climate for economic growth. Governor Christie vetoed Assembly Bill 4202, a Democratic proposal that would raise taxes on individuals and businesses at a time when New Jerseyans are already subject to one of the highest state income tax rates in the nation. The proposed income tax hike would directly hurt small business and exacerbate the volatility of New Jersey’s revenue base, considering that 71 percent of the taxpayers who pay the top tax rate under this legislation report income from business activity, and nearly 42 percent of the revenue subject to this tax increase represents business income.
The Governor signed into law today two additional pro-growth tax cuts that were part of his budget proposal that will eliminate the cap on the corporation business tax research credit and decrease the minimum corporation business tax on S-corps by 25 percent. Previously, on April 28, Governor Christie signed two tax cuts that he had initially proposed, the single-sales tax factor and net-loss carry forward. In addition, as initially proposed by Governor Christie, the Transition Energy Facility Assessment will phase out over the next three years, reducing energy costs for New Jersey families and businesses. In total, these pro-growth measures provide $180 million in targeted tax relief for New Jersey businesses and entrepreneurs.
The Governor also vetoed Assembly bill A-4204 in a fiscally responsible move that allows the State to continue to provide the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) at a level that the State’s taxpayers can sustain. While a difficult decision, providing the State EITC at 25 percent of the federal EITC is not affordable and not sustainable, which is why the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law last year legislation to make the State EITC equal to 20 percent of the federal EITC. He also absolutely vetoed the Democrat’s supplemental spending bill, A-4203, which was unconstitutional because it provided educational spending outside of the budget appropriations act.
Yesterday there were four real Jersey guys on the radio from 5PM-6PM for what might have been the last LaRossa and Gallagher Radio Show on WIFIAM1460.
I’m not knocking THE Jersey Guys, Casey, Rossi and Bob Ingle on Fridays, formerly of 101.5 FM. I enjoyed their show and listened to it whenever I was on the road in the afternoon. My favorite all time show was Casey screaming, “YOU’RE LOSING VOTES RIGHT NOW” at gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie during the 2009 primary campaign while Christie was trying to finesse an answer to a particularly blunt question.
I think 101.5 was nuts to cancel the show that they themselves promoted as the most successful afternoon radio show in the country. I doubt the petition to get the show back on the air will make any difference, but if you want to be part of it, you can do so here.
As good as the show was, my friend Tommy DeSeno is right. As talented as they are, Casey, Rossi and Ingle are not really Jersey guys. Casey’s from California, Rossi from Brooklyn and Ingle from Georgia. They’re not Jersey guys like the four natives who were on the radio yesterday afternoon, my partner Senator Dick LaRossa born in Trenton on July 1 (Happy Birthday Dick!), Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre, and yours truly.
Straight Talk On The Pension and Health Care Reforms
While our show was not nearly as funny as THE Jersey Guys, it was the most informative and honest report of the pension and benefits reform package anywhere to date, if I do say so myself.
My hat is off to Declan O’Scanlon for coming back on the show for second week in a row knowing that I was not buying the hype of the “landmark” nature of the reforms and for answering our questions frankly.
O’Scanlon is high on the impact the reforms are making compared to what would have happened if the status quo continued. However, with only a little dancing, he did acknowledge that without significant economic growth, New Jersey will be in deep doo doo as the taxpayers increase their state pension contributions by $500 million each year over the next seven years. That doesn’t include the municipal pension contributions that come from property taxes.
Botton line…there is a very real possibility that the pension reforms in particular will lead to large tax increases on the state and local levels and/or draconian spending cuts. O’Scanlon did not dispute that. He argued things would be much worse had the administration and legislature done nothing.
During the second half hour Halfacre was upbeat about 1) the fact that the deal could have been done at all given the historical nature of things in Trenton, and 2) the savings Fair Haven taxpayers will realize from the health care end of the reforms.
The highlight of the show was Halfacre’s explanation of how he and the Fair Haven Council have been able to lower property taxes three years in a row and counting: 1) Saying no, 2) Pissing people off, 3) Standing firm when the pissed off people are yelling at you, 4) Doing all of that and getting reelected.
Why was Tuesday’s show perhaps the last LaRossa and Gallagher Show? Dick and I are thinking of changing the name of the show to The Jersey Guys or The Real Jersey Guys. We’re hoping Millennium Radio will issue and cease and desist letter or maybe even sue us so we can get lots of free publicity and beat out Deminski and Doyle on Tuesday afternoons.
Alex Desevo officially resigned his candidacy for Middletown Township Committee this afternoon, less than 8 hours after MMM reported that he was still a candidate despite press reports to the contrary.
According to The Asbury Park PressMiddletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo faxed Desevo’s resignation letter to Monmouth County Clerk of Elections Bertha Sumick at 3:30 this afternoon.
Caliendo told the APP that the Democrats have three volunteers to choose from to replace Desevo and that a decision will be made on Thursday evening.
Bio-tech entrepreneur and Navy intelligence reservist John Crowley will not be a candidate for the GOP nomination to challenge Senator Robert Menendez next year, according to his friend and political adviser Bill Spadea speaking to Politickernj.
Crowley stepped down as CEO of the firm he founded, Amicus Theraputics, in April in order to focus on “public policy, civic service and philanthropic endeavors.” An “unnamed political adviser,” said at the time that Crowley was likely to compete for the 2012 U.S. Senate nomination.
Earlier today Amicus announced that Crowley would be returning as CEO in August after his reserve duty with Naval Intelligence.
Last weekend The Star Ledger’sAuditor reported that someone was anonymously circulating opposition research about Crowely in an attempt to thrwart his candidacy. Spadea told MMM that the Auditor piece had no impact on Crowley’s decision not to run, “if anything it was just the opposite.” Spadea said that a Senate run “was not possible given the weight of John’s commitments to his family, to bringing new drugs to market and to the military.”
At this early stage, the Republican contest to challenge Menendez is shaping up to be a race between State Senators Joe Kyrillos (Monmouth) and Mike Doherty (Warren).
I’m sure you remember the row that took place a few years back when it was revealed that “Jersey Guys” Craig Carton and Ray Rossi weren’t exactly Jersey Guys.
It all blew up when that shivering pantywaist Carton ran away from the studio in fear because the state police held a presser and pictured a copy of his license plate, showing he was a “Pennsylvania” guy. Carton actually claimed people would try to hurt him, and left the state. What a punk. It was his second time running like a rabbit. The first time fled the studio was when he thought Dick Codey was going to kick his ass for taking cheap shots at Mrs. Codey. I wish Codey had.
Rossi is a guy who spent most of his life not from here, but moved here to take the Jersey gig. Not exactly a Jersey Guy himself.
Carton left and was replaced by a new “Jersey Guy,” Californian Casey Bartholemew.
The only Jersey connection I could see to the show was frequent guest and Gannett writer Bob Ingle. However I can’t tell you how Bob did because I refused to listen after the hypocrisy of a station whose tag line is “Not New York…Not Philadelphia” was revealed to be “not New Jersey, either.”
Now the faux New Jersey station has fired the faux Jersey Guys and are bringing back the old team of Deminski and Doyle - who have been DJs in Michigan for the past 12 years.
The headline in the Asbury Park Press print edition said “Candidate Quits” but as of yesterday afternoon, Alex Desevo was still a Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, 10 days after his arrest for possession of crack cocaine at the Holmdel Motor Inn.
Bertha Sumick, Monmouth County Clerk of Elections, said she has not received a letter of resignation from Desevo.
Desevo might have been able to save his family the embarrassment of his troubles being front page news had he resigned his candidacy as soon as possible…like the Monday morning after his arrest. However, judging by the reaction of Middletown Mike, the Middletown Democrats didn’t learn of Desevo’s situation until after the APP published the details.
This could be great for business. The longer Desevo drags this out in a Weineresque style, the more traffic and silly comments from Middletown Democrats this site will get.
Maybe Anna Little will launch a DESEVO MUST RESIGN ad campaign.
Word on the street is that Desevo was always intended only to be a “place holder” candidate, while Middletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo searched the township for “a candidate who can really represent Middletown well.”
Caliendo’s problem is that all of the people who represent Middletown well are Republicans.
Just to be neighborly (and to demonstrate to awesome reach of MMM) I’d like to help Caliendo out. Any Democrat who wants to run for Township Committee, should contact Joe Caliendo at email@example.com. Hey Joe, even Mike didn’t do that for you! No charge this time.
Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon returns to the LaRossa and Gallagher Radio Show this afternoon at 5 PM. O’Scanlon will continue the conversation we started last week on the impact of the new pension and health care system for government employees and fill us in on the moving and shaking happening this week in Trenton with budget negotiations. The State must have a new budget by Thursday night at midnight.
During the second 1/2 hour of the show we will be joined by Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre. Halfacre will be discussing the impact of the pension and health care reforms on municipalities.
The LaRossa and Gallagher Radio Show, sponsored by Repatriot Radio, features former State Senator Richard LaRossa and your favorite blogger. It is broadcast every Tuesday afternoon from 5PM to 6PM on WIFI AM 1460 and on the world wide web here.
Listeners are encouraged to call into the show with questions and comments. The call in number is 609-447-0236.