Governor Chris Christie said that he his inclined to not renew New Jersey’s Red Light Camera program when the five year experiment expires in December.
Speaking at a press conference in Sea Bright yesterday afternoon, the governor feigned surprise that Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon is opposed to the RLC program. O’Scanlon has waged a ferocious multi-year campaign against the cameras, producing independent data showing that the cameras increase accidents at intersections where they are installed, that they are often timed to entrap drivers and alleging that they are nothing more than a money grab on the part of the companies that operate them and the municipalities that deploy them.
Christie said he has not studied the issue to the extent that O’Scanlon has, “but I will, ” he said, “I have some concerns. At this point I am not inclined to allow them to continue, but I haven’t made a final decision yet.”
UPDATE: August, 27, Curley pulls nursing home sale resolution
Freeholder John Curley called this morning to say that he has pulled his resolution to sell the Monmouth County owned nursing homes from this week’s agenda. County CFO Craig Marshall is on vacation. Curley wants Marshall available to address all of the financial concerns regarding the proposed sale. Curley expects to reintroduce the resolution in September.
Reductions in Medicaid payments for long term care under the Affordable Care Act have led to increasing deficits at Monmouth County’s two government owned nursing homes.
The John L. Montgomery Care Center in Freehold and the Geraldine L. Thompson Care Center in Wall are owned and operated by Monmouth County’s government. Property tax payers have been subsidizing the long term care of the elderly, disabled and infirm residing in these facilities for decades. From 2007 through 2013 the cumulative deficit funded by Monmouth property tax payers was about $40 million. Despite cost cutting measures and union givebacks, the combined deficit this year is on track to exceed $13 million plus the cost of repairs and capital improvements required to keep the facilities in compliance with state and federal regulations, due to cutbacks in the amount that Medicaid pays for patient care under ObamaCare. 98% of the patients at Montgomery and Thompson are insured by Medicaid.
Freeholder John Curley has been pushing his colleagues on the all Republican Board of Chosen Freeholders to sell the nursing homes for years. Every time the issue gets traction or public attention, patients in wheelchairs and staff members of the nursing facilities show up at Freeholder meetings and plead with the Freeholders not to sell the facilities. The patients’ stories are heart wrenching. The declarations of love for their patients by the staff members are moving.
Monmouth County Freeholder Candidate Larry Luttrell partying with a model and squinting like Frank Pallone in Atlantic City in February, 2013. facebook photo
If you’re a Monmouth County Democrat thinking about a career in government, working on Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo’s freeholder campaign could be hazardous to your ambitions.
Luttrell and Grillo told the Asbury Park Press that the fact that Freeholder Director Lillian Burry’s 2011 campaign treasurer, Bill Bucco, was given a raise and a promotion after three years in a county administrative job where he streamlined operations and found $200,000 in revenue due the county that was never collected is “politics at its worst.”
I must have missed their press release condemning Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto’s new job as a “consultant” with ties to South Jersey Democratic Boss George Norcross, which Preito somehow manages to do while collecting six figures from his three government jobs.
Hollis Towns, APP’s Editor of the Future. Photo via facebook
Editors and writers at the Asbury ParkPressare vying to keep their jobs in Executive Editor Hollis R. Towns’ “Newsroom of the Future.”
Gannett, the owner of the paper, announced on August 5 that it is separating into two publicly held companies. APP will be part of a publishing company that will be debt free and own the company’s newspapers including USA Today and 81 local daily newspapers and their affiliated websites. The more profitable broadcasting and digital divisions will be folded into a company that will assume the existing debt and consists of the 46 television stations the company owns or services as well as the websites Cars.com and CareerBuider.com. The publishing company will retain the Gannett name.
The following day, Towns announced on app.com and the paper’s front page that he, along with the executive editors of four other of Gannett properties were charged with creating the “newsroom of the future.” There will be fewer editors and more reporters who will hang out in coffee shops and delis hunting for stories that they will be able to post to app.com without a gatekeeper reviewing their work. And there will be public events like the Sleep Con event they hosted with an advertiser earlier this month where readers could pay $10 to learn how to sleep better by buying a mattress from the advertiser.
What Towns didn’t announce publicly was that current Asbury Park Press employees had to apply to keep their jobs. “To be hired into the Newsroom of the Future” is how is was spun in Neptune.
Campaign materials for and against the Belmar Bonding referendum. Photo via Thomas Burke’s facebook page
In a stunning rebuke to Mayor Matt Doherty who campaigned hard for its passage, Belmar voters today overwhelmingly rejected borrowing $7 million to rebuild two pavilions on the boardwalk.
Doherty told MMM this afternoon that he expected the turnout would be like that of any general election and that his side spent as much on this Special Election as they have in any general election. Doherty spent $10,411 in his 2010 campaign for mayor, according to his reports at the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Thomas E. Burke was a leader in the movement to force the referendum and in the campaign to defeat the measure. Burke told MMM that his side spent between $500 and $1000 and had a volunteer campaign team of about 20 people.
1,797 voters cast a ballot. 1,041, 58%, voted against the borrowing. There are 4,407 registered voters in Belmar.
In response to a question from a member of the public, Governor Chris Christie addressed the situation in Ferguson,MO this afternoon at his Town Hall Meeting in Long Branch.
The following is a video of his response and a transcript, both released by his office.
Governor Christie: None of us quite know yet exactly what happened in Ferguson and what happened to this young man who was killed. And I spent seven years in law enforcement as the chief federal prosecutor in this state and what I learned during that period of time, among other things, was that what you read in the newspapers and what you see on TV is almost always just a fraction of the story. And so, I’ve been urging people to not pre-judge anything here. We have a really good justice system in this country, is it perfect? No, but it’s really good. And, in fact, there’s no better justice system in the world than the justice system we have in dealing with folks who are accused of crimes in this country. And so first, I’d say, you know, let’s give the justice system an opportunity to play itself out before we make any kind of broad judgments. Secondly, I’m really concerned about the generalizations that we’re then making about police officers. The fact is, that the overwhelming majority of police officers in this country are hardworking men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect us from bad people, violent people, people who mean ill to us. So when something like this happens like its happened in Ferguson, people already jump to conclusions not only about what happened in Ferguson but also how does that apply to every other police force across the country. Read the rest of this entry »
Karen Finley, former CEO of Redflex Traffic Systems Inc, one of two Red Light Camera companies operating in New Jersey, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago last week on bribery charges.
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, New Jersey’s fiercest opponent of Red Light Cameras, says that is not a surprise:
“Well this is a shocking turn of events, said no one! If cameras actually increased safety no one would have to bribe anyone for business – we’d all be lining up! How any public entity can continue to do business with Redflex in particular, but really any of these companies pitching these ineffective, thieving cameras is beyond me. Is the lure of fast cash so strong we have decided that morality doesn’t matter? We now have multiple pieces of evidence of corruption reaching the highest levels of one of the two companies operating these cameras in New Jersey. Both companies are guilty of blatantly lying about their products and misrepresenting data.”
R. Craig Weber was sworn in as the 8th Chief to lead the Middletown Township Police Department over its 86 year history last evening before an overflow crowd at Town Hall.
Mayor Stephanie C. Murray administered the Oath of Office as Weber’s family stood beside him.
During his remarks, Weber acknowledged the support and friendship of his Deputy Chiefs and all the members of the department. He welcomed the Chiefs of several area municipalities and law enforcement leaders from County, State and Federal law enforcement agencies. Weber said that under his leadership there would be an increased level of cooperation with other agencies.
The honorees will be recognized as Vanguards on Friday evening, August 22 at the theater. Tickets to the event, which will include Rockit! the Basie’s annual summer concert, a Tribute to Woodstock & The Age of Aquarius are available here.
Tickets are only $20. Proceeds will go towards future Rockit! scholarships, the theatre’s bus-in program offering area districts and students a low-cost option to experience the theatre’s cultural programming, and for professional development sessions associated with Mr. Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll: An American Story program.