Statement from Governor Chris Christie Regarding Settlement with Federal Transportation Administration

Trenton, NJ – Today, Governor Chris Christie released the following statement regarding the settlement between the State of New Jersey and the Federal Transportation Administration:

“I am pleased to announce that we have negotiated a good-faith settlement with the Federal Transportation Administration that puts the interests of New Jersey taxpayers first by substantially reducing the federal government’s original demand. The 5-year payment schedule on a $95 million settlement – which contains not one additional dollar of New Jersey taxpayer money – would be offset by more than $100 million in insurance premium refunds. This represents a fraction of the federal government’s initial claim and won’t cost New Jerseyans any additional money, which would otherwise go to infrastructure improvements. I want to thank U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and his staff for their good-faith efforts in working with us and putting the interest of New Jersey taxpayers ahead of politics. I also want to thank New Jersey Transit and Executive Director Jim Weinstein for their commitment to working toward this settlement.”

Posted: September 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: ARC | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

What would a Christie presidential candidacy mean for New Jersey?

Would he resign to campaign full time?

If not:

*Loretta Weinberg and Joe Cryan will issue daily press releases highlighting the cost to New Jersey taxpayers of Christie and his security detail shaking hands at an Iowa meat packing plant or playing shuffle board at The Villages.

* Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno will be called Acting Governor but in reality she will be spokesperson and place holder for Christie should he lose the nomination or the election.

The New Jersey Press Corps will not take her seriously.  New Jersey’s newspapers will find the money to send reporters to follow Christie around the country.  Those reporters will ask the Governor New Jersey specific questions while the national press corps is asking him about his driving record and why he let a sex trafficker off easy in exchange for testimony against a corrupt public official while U.S. Attorney.

The legislative leadership will not take Guadagno seriously either.  The Democrats will work to forward their own agenda and undo the Christie reforms of the last twenty months.  Republicans won’t be as disciplined as they have been over the last twenty months.  Jockeying for the 2013 GOP gubernatorial nomination will start. Jockeying for the 2013 Democratic gubernatorial nomination will intensify.  Jon Hornick will no longer be considered a contender.

* Instead of answering to George Norcross and Joe DiVincenzo, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and the Assembly Speaker, either Sheila Oliver or Joe Cryan, will start answering to David Plouffe, David Axelrod and the White House as the New Jersey legislature becomes a subsidiary of the Obama campaign.

*Tom Kean Jr and Alex DeCroce will answer Weinberg’s and Cryan’s press releases with their own, highlighting how much the Trenton branch of the Obama campaign in costing New Jersey taxpayers.

* Nothing substaintial will get done in Trenton, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

If yes:

*Kim Guadagno becomes governor and the Christie era is over. 

Either way:

Who of Christie’s staff stays behind to support the Governor?  Does she have her own loyal team from which to build a staff?

*Steve Lonegan starts running for the 2013 nomination for governor.

* The best Republican talent in New Jersey latches on to the Christie for President or the Kyrillos for Senate campaigns hoping for powerful jobs in Washington come January of 2013.

Trenton goes back to business as usual.

Posted: September 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 18 Comments »

Anwar Al-Awlaki Is Dead


Posted: September 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: War on terror | Tags: , | 10 Comments »

Acting Governor Kim Guadagno Requests a Federal Disaster Declaration for Five New Jersey Counties for Tropical Storm Lee Damages

Damage Assessment Supports Request Submitted to President Obama to Obtain Assistance for Hunterdon, Mercer, Passaic, Sussex and Warren

Trenton, NJ – Acting Governor Kim Guadagno today announced that the State is seeking a Major Disaster Declaration, including a request for Public Assistance, for five New Jersey counties most impacted by heavy rain storms and flooding associated with Tropical Storm Lee. The storm conditions arose on September 6 in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irene, included heavy rainfall in areas around the state, and resulted in significant flooding along parts of the Passaic, Pompton and Delaware Rivers. In response to the situation, the Christie Administration took action under state law, including the issuance of a Statewide Emergency declaration on August 25 for Hurricane Irene that remained in effect through Tropical Storm Lee and the Christie Administration continued to coordinate sheltering efforts, resource requests and evacuation efforts throughout the state.

“I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that an effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments and that supplementary federal assistance is necessary. This series of rain related events commencing on August 14, 2011 followed by Hurricane Irene and culminating in Tropical Storm Lee have put a severe strain on state, county and local budgets,” wrote Acting Governor Guadagno. 

Immediately following this storm and continuing through yesterday, a joint preliminary damage assessment (PDA) was undertaken between FEMA and state and local emergency management officials to establish that the state and counties had qualified for disaster assistance. The PDA indicated that the most severely impacted areas of the state, which qualify under Federal standards for a Major Disaster Declaration, are: Hunterdon, Mercer, Passaic, Sussex and Warren Counties. This request revises a September 9, 2011 request for a statewide Major Disaster Declaration, following the specific findings of the PDA. “Therefore, I respectively request at this time a Major Disaster Declaration for the counties of Hunterdon, Mercer, Passaic, Sussex and Warren Counties,” wrote Acting Governor Guadagno.

A letter outlining the State’s Public Assistance request was sent to President Barack Obama through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  A copy of the letter is attached to the release.

Posted: September 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Kim Guadagno | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

Suddenly Somebody Cares About LD 13

New Jersey Democrats are suddenly taking an interest in the 13th legislative district according to a normally reliable source familiar with the state wide campaign.

Word is that U.S. Senator Bob Menendezis feeling a bit vulnerable with his weak showing in the FDU poll  released this morning and with the possibility that Governor Chris Christie could be the Presidential candidate next year when  needs Obama coattails to get reelected.  He wants the Monmouth Democrats to rough up Senator Joe Kyrillos and make him spend some money.

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Cryan want to take a run at Declan O’Scanlon, if not to beat him this time, to at least weaken him for a future contest against Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornick.  Cryan will be in the district raising money twice in the next two weeks.

Unless I’ve been fed misinformation, which usually doesn’t start until the last two weeks of the campaign, expect 2 or 3 negative mailers on behalf of the 13th district Democrats.

Posted: September 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Presidential Politics, Declan O'Scanlon, Joe Cryan, Joe Kyrillos, Robert Menendez | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Christie and the Youth Vote

By Olivia Nuzzi

Beyond the question of “will he or won’t he?” a number of possibilities also hang in our polarized American air. One of those is the possibility that Governor Christie may be able to swiftly pick up the pieces of Rick Perry’s shattered opportunity to secure the youth vote. That elusive demographic is arguably what pushed President Obama over the river and through the woods and into the White House. Christie is now positioned to lure the kids to his side.


Before Rick Perry collapsed onto himself, he stumbled into the most brilliant vie for the affection of Generation: Everybody Gets a Trophy that the Republican party had ever seen. While it’s common wisdom that young people will always vote their conscience (more specifically, who they deem to be on the right side [the Left side] of the social issues track), it is rarely noted that conscience is precisely what a large percentage of 18-25ers lack. Being of the crop of ’93, I would know. 

Weeks prior to deserting his straight-talking, straight-shooting persona, Perry was on the path to kid-fueled victory with quips like “anybody that’s for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it’s not right.” Message: “they’re screwing you, and I’m here to make it stop. I understand you.”


While hope and change is good and fine, “I’m going to make sure you get what’s rightfully yours” is even better. Money talks, and Mr. Christie is anything but soft spoken. 


With it’s distrust of authority and ever-decreasing supply of patience for our current United State of Affairs, I sense parallels between the Tea Party and the youth that have rested largely ignored. The spirit that fuels a young person’s stomp in the face of perceived unfairness is the spirit that drives revolt against an institution. 


Spooked by the National stage, Perry lost his identity and promise in a few stuttered moments. This is unlikely to happen to Governor Christie, who is undeniably – regardless of what I think of him – a skilled, political force of nature. He possesses the power to harness the energy bubbling beneath the streets to blow Obama’s White House down. 


Olivia Nuzzi is a student from Middletown and an intern for the District 11 Democratic campaign. Her opinions are her own and not those of MoreMonmouthMusings or the District 11 Democratic campaign.  MMM welcomes her fair and biased contributions.

Posted: September 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie | Tags: , , , | 26 Comments »

The Jennifer Beck Interview

beck-150x1501Senator Jennifer Beck came on The Real Jersey Guys Radio Show with former Senator Dick LaRossa and Art Gallagher on Tuesday afternoon.

Given all the comments the announcement of Beck’s appearance generated, we expected lots of calls to the show.  No calls.  What a bunch of kittens some of those keyboard commandos are. Kittens, kittens, kittens.

Jennifer addressed same sex marriage, of course, as well as fiscal policy, education reform, prevailing wage reform and several other issues.  She came across exactly as she is, friendly, forthright, knowledgeable and unflappable.

Here’s a recording of the show:

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Posted: September 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: LaRossa and Gallagher | Tags: , | 7 Comments »

The immaturity of Caroline Casagrande

By Dan Jacobson, also published in the September 29, 2011 issue of the triCityNews


It’s well known that I’ll blast any politician for perpetrating all manners of bullshit. These are people who should know better.

But there’s a difference with Republican Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande. She likes to tout her status of one of the youngest members of the state legislature. And it’s suddenly showing.

It would be overkill to blast her. So I’ll go relatively easy. Quite frankly, I don’t know if she can take it.

For Casagrande is there by accident. Her Republican running mates in her old district – Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon – carried her in. Same is likely true this year in her new district: she’s with Beck and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini. No one knows Casagrande. Voters will likely just go down the Republican column like lemmings as they always do. What a way to run a country.

Obviously, the biggest challenges we face are economic. But even bigger is whether we’re going to continue to elect the same mediocre clowns who give us the same awful results. Our state’s massive economic mess will never be addressed until we start electing people with the maturity and seriousness to address them.

I’m running for one of the two Assembly seats as an Independent in the 11th District. That makes me one of Casagrande’s opponents.

Here’s the problem. If a politician will bullshit you on any major issue, they could bullshit you on every major issue. To my surprise, Caroline Casagrande suddenly proved herself one of the bullshitters. That I can’t stand.

The controversy involves same-sex marriage, but the real problem is her sudden refusal to take a stand. That surprised everyone who thought she was opposed. (I favor marriage equality.) When asked last week by powerful Republican blogger Art Gallagher her position, Casagrande said she would not take one. Her initial reason? Too busy dealing with fiscal issues. Like anyone buys that.

With the redistricting earlier this year, Casagrande’s new district has a sizeable gay and lesbian population – as well as a group of conservative Republicans on the other side who oppose same-sex marriage. So Casagrande just ducks the issue. Why not? Most likely she’ll cruise to reelection without voters knowing any of this.

But I can’t stand a politician who won’t take a stand. That type of nonsense is what’s gotten us into our economic mess. And I can’t keep quiet when I see it. Like me, Casagrande has a big mouth – which is why I liked her – but I confused that with a mature self-confidence and independence that doesn’t exist.

In the end, all the Assemblywoman has got is a big mouth. At least I use mine to take a stand and take the heat.

Of course, Casagrande is welcome to equal time by taking this column for a week. She won’t. Why rock the boat? Why not just keep going to those friendly audiences and acting like a hero – and getting reelected by simply putting your name on the ballot? Wow, what a rewarding way to spend one’s life.

Then again, who the hell appointed me God?

So I’ll let you make the call. Below is how Republican blogger Gallagher reported Casagrande’s actions on his More Monmouth Musings site last week. I’ll also reprint what I posted on Art’s site in response.

This all exploded when the gay and lesbian advocacy group Garden State Equality asked the 11th District candidates their position on same sex marriage – certainly a reasonable request if you’re seeking office.  Here’s Art Gallagher’s take:

Republican Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande has corrected the widely held perception that she would vote against gay marriage by saying only that she hasn’t publicly taken a position on the issue. She said her focus has been on fiscal issues and that she would need to study the civil union law before taking a stand on gay marriage.

Casagrande’s refusal to take a position on the politically expedient schedule of Garden State Equality has drawn criticism from her opponent Dan Jacobson and others. Jacobson said the issue has already been hotly debated and the issue should be simple.

Casagrande says it’s not so simple, “I haven’t seen a bill,” said Casagrande, “What about protections for religious institutions? If the issue is so simple, why did (Democratic Senate President) Steve Sweeney vote no and then change his mind later?”

Here’s how I responded on Gallagher’s blog:

Respectfully, I’m not accepting Caroline Casagrande’s explanation. Her running mates have taken a stand. Everyone else in the 11th District race has taken a stand. Governor Christie has taken a stand. Steve Sweeney has taken a stand – after apologizing for initially taking a political stand on this moral issue. That’s why Sweeney reversed his position. Not because of its complexity…

As a supporter of same sex marriage, I should be praising Caroline for seeming to move off a position that most people thought she held. But I’m not. I’d rather have her just decisively say she opposes it than engage in this bullshit.


Because there’s a bigger principle here – whether someone has the maturity and seriousness to hold this office. Saying that you can’t take a stand on this bill because you’ve been busy with fiscal affairs, as Caroline said a couple days ago, is nonsense. And everyone knows it.

Marriage equality is a major issue, but it’s certainly not the biggest one facing voters. The biggest problems are economic. But even bigger than that is whether we are going to stop electing people who are just playing games. That’s my objection to what Caroline is saying.

That’s what she’s doing here. And it’s what makes me go ballistic about politicians.

I’m actually a bit stunned by Caroline’s gamesmanship. After all, last week I wrote that I’d likely vote for her if I wasn’t running because we seem to share similar economic views, even if I disagree – or at least I thought I disagreed – with her on social issues like abortion and same sex marriage.

My advice to Caroline is simple. Stop this nonsense. Take a position like everyone else is able to do. And let’s all move on, and forget this ever happened. Otherwise, your failure to take a stand will become a major issue in your new district.

And I assure you it will become a major issue between the two of us in my capacity as an editorialist and candidate. Sure, I will always generously give you equal time in an equally prominent place in my newspaper. But I would rather not have us in such an adversarial relationship. I don’t know how much friendlier and more respectfully I can put it.

Hey, what can I say?

After all, we’re the triCityNews. We’re here to help – especially a frankly immature elected official who needs to learn a lesson and cut the crap.

(The 11th District where I’m 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.)


Posted: September 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caroline Casagrande, Dan Jacobson, Monmouth County, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments »

What if we held an election and nobody cared? Part 2, 13th Legislative District

Prelude from Part 1:

In seven 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.

13th Legislative District

This district keeps the Bayshore towns of Aberdeen, Hazlet, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport, Middletown, and Union Beach 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.

The Republican incumbents are Senator Joe Kyrillos and Assembly Members Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon. O’Scanlon previously represented the old 12th.

On paper this should be a competitive district.  Democrats actually have a voter registration edge.  According to Labels and Lists Inc there are 34,193 registered Democrats, 33,758 registered Republicans and 74,492 unaffiliated (Independent) voters in the district.

Despite the slight registration edge for Democrats, the district generally votes Republican.  John McCain won the district in 2008, Chris Christie beat Jon Corzine here by a wide margin, and Anna Little beat Frank Pallone here in 2010.

Of the 16 municipalities in the 13th, 9 of the are comfortably controlled by Republicans. 6 are competitive towns with a local governing body that shifts from R to D on occasion.   Aberdeen is the only reliably Democratic town on the municpal level.

With 31% of the registered voters in the district, Middletown dominates.  Even though their registration edge is less than 2000 voters, Republicans dominate Middletown.  Middletown voters love their hometown office holders, Joe Kyrillos and Amy Handlin who they have elected time after time over the last two decades plus; Kyrillos served two terms in the Assembly from 1988 through 1991 and has been a Senator since 1992.  Handlin was a Monmouth County Freeholder from 1990 through 2006 when she entered the Assembly.

Roughly 73% of the district is new for O’Scanlon.  Yet, that 27% from his old district, Fair Haven, Little Silver, Oceanport and Marlboro knows O’Scanlon well.  They elected him to two terms in the Assembly after he lost to Michael Panter by only 73 votes in 2005.

The Democrats are running two former Hazlet mayors and a former Middletown township committee member. 

Christopher Cullen is the former Hazlet Mayor challenging Kyrillos for Senate.  Cullen, who served one term on the Hazlet Township Committee, won the nomination for Senate as a write-in candidate in the primary after failing to submit his petitions after being tabbed at the nominating convention in the spring.  He is the director of facilities maintenance and custodial services at MAST High School.  He is a member of Operating Engineers Local 68 and was previously a member of the teamsters.

Hazlet’s Community Center is named for Cullen’s father, James J. Cullen, who served the community for many years as a Republican office holder.

Both Democratic Assembly candidates won their first municipal elections in the wake of Operation Bid Rig.  Lavan was elected to the Hazlet Township Committee in 2005 and served through 2010 when he lost his reelection bid.  Like Cullen, his union roots are deep.  He has been a member of the International Longshoreman’s Association for 46 years.  He is making his support of unions, and the Right to Work legislation that Handlin and O’Scanlon have sponsored, the center piece of his campaign.

Short, a former Republican and a West Point graduate was the first Democrat elected to the Middletown Township Committee in 2006 in the wake of Bid Rig. He was swept out of office with Jon Corzine in 2009 as Chris Christie and the GOP swept Middletownoverwhelmingly.  Short was ambivalent about seeking a second term, but ultimately ignored MMM’s advise that he take the plaque.

Based on the early inactivity of the campaign, I was wondering if the feisty Constitution Party slate of Steve Boracchia for Senate, Bill Lawton and Frank Cottone might actually garner more votes than the Democrats in this race.  However, a volunteer from the Democratic campaign reached out to me to optimistic declare that the Democrats will produce a shocking victory on election day.  The volunteer said that Cullen, Lavan and Short are going in 20 different directions knocking on doors and that they are marshalling their scare resources for a last minute sprint into office.

While the 13th districts candidates don’t have the state Democratic support that the 11th district candidates have enjoyed….a paid staff and high profile fund raisers hosted by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Senate President Stephen Sweeney…the volunteer said that the campaign is expecting an influx of union money and that Assembly Majority Leader Joe Cryan is coming to the district next week to raise money for the slate.

Posted: September 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Declan O'Scanlon, Monmouth County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Christie Becomes Major League Umpire



Not really.

The picture above is of Major League umpire Gene Cederstorm.

Posted: September 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie | Tags: , | 1 Comment »