5 things to watch for in New Jersey elections

Jeff Bell

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Posted: September 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2014 Elections, Jeff Bell, New Jersey, News | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Christie inclined to nix Red Light Cameras

IMG_9284 (639x800)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.”

Posted: August 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Declan O'Scanlon, New Jersey, News, Red Light Cameras, Sea Bright | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Christie rails against open space ballot measure

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Posted: August 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, New Jersey, News, NJ Democrats, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Manhattan DA probes secret settlement between Port Authority, seaport company

Port Authority logo

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Posted: August 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: New Jersey, New York, News, Port Authority | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Handlin Wants SCI To Investigate Allegations That Fulop Planned Traffic Jams At Holland Tunnel and Port Jersey

Jersey City Police Chief Robert Cowan has responded to his announced demotion by Mayor Steve Fulop by alleging that the mayor order traffic jams at Port Jersey and the Holland Tunnel.   That Cowan objected and interfered is the reason he is being demoted, he says, according to reports in the Jersey Journal.

Fulop announced plans to sue the Port Authority of NY/NJ for $400 million. Cowan’s attorney said Fulop’s plan was “designed solely to create havoc for the Port Authority.”

Assemblywoman Amy Handlin

Assemblywoman Amy Handlin

Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Middletown) wants the joint legislative committee that is investigating the September 2013 George Washington Bridge lane closures to investigate the allegations against Fulop as well.

In a letter dated today to Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Co-Chairs of the New Jersey Select Committee on Investigation,of which Handlin is a member, the assemblywoman asked that the committee immediately issue subpoenas to Fulop and Cowan

As you know, the mission of the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation is to “investigate all aspects of the finances, operations, and management of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and any other matter raising concerns about abuse of government power or an attempt to conceal an abuse of government power including, but not limited to, the reassignment of access lanes in Fort Lee, New Jersey to the George Washington Bridge.”

Because the allegations against Mayor Fulop raise significant concerns about the repeated abuse of government power directly related to the Port Authority, I respectfully ask the committee to investigate this matter including the immediate issuance of subpoenas to Mayor Fulop and Chief Cowan.

Handlin’s letter can be found here.

Fulop is widely considered to be a contender for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2017, or sooner if Governor Chris Christie does not complete his term.

Posted: July 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2017 NJ Gubernatorial Politics, Amy Handlin, Chris Christie, Jersey City, New Jersey, News, NJ State Legislature, Port Authority, Steve Fulop | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Middletown Police Chief Gets $249K “Boat Check”

Middletown Police Chief Robert Oches. Photo courtesy of Middletown Patch

Middletown Police Chief Robert Oches. Photo courtesy of Middletown Patch

Middletown Police Chief Robert Oches is getting $249,338 for unused sick and vacation time accumulated over his 40 year career upon his retirement at the end of this month.  The payout is at Oches current pay scale, despite the fact that the time accumulated over a 40 year period.

The Township Committee approved the payment, reluctantly because it is required by State Law, at Monday night’s meeting.

Committeeman Tony Fiore said that most Oches’ unused time was accumulated prior to 1996 when the Township Committee passed a 150 day cap on retirement awards.

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Posted: July 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown, Monmouth County, New Jersey, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

Kyrillos’s “Drew’s Law” Will Save Kids Lives

"Drew's Law" is named for 11 year-old Drew Keough Cerrata. The boy was killed in a motor vehicle accident last April

“Drew’s Law” is named for 11 year-old Drew Keough Cerrata. The boy was killed in a motor vehicle accident last April

Legislation proposed by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) and Senator Nicholas Sacco (D-Bergen and Hudson), Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, would lower speed limits to 15 mph on roads adjacent to or passing through parks when they are open or when children are present.  Violators would face fines of between $100 and $400, double the current amount.

Dubbed “Drews Law,” the legislation is named Drew Keough-Cerreta, the 11 year-old Keansburg boy killed last April by a vehicle that was apparently traveling at the 25 mph speed limit.

“The Keansburg community is still reeling from this terrible loss,” said Kyrillos .  We must make sure the roadways around parks give our children the utmost safety. The time to do that is now. Slowing traffic is a small price to pay and I thank members of Drew’s family and others for their input on this important measure.”

Joseph W. Pezzano, Drew’s uncle and a 29 year veteran of the Keansburg Police Department, was on duty and answered the call when his nephew was struck.

In a statement issued in support of the legislation, Pezzano said,

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Posted: June 25th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Joe Kyrillos, Keansburg, New Jersey, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Kyrillos: “Millionaires Tax” hurts the poor and middle class

By Senator Joe Kyrillos

Senator Joe Kyrillos

Senator Joe Kyrillos

Nobody ever felt sorry for a millionaire. At least that’s the principle some Democrats in Trenton are banking on as they resurrect former Gov. Jon Corzine’s “millionaires tax” to close the expected budget gap for fiscal 2015. Proponents of this tax increase promise it will hit only the wealthy, but in fact, poor and middle-class families will ultimately shoulder the burden.

Of course, the term “millionaires tax” is a misnomer. New Jersey already taxes the income of millionaires at one of the highest rates in the nation — higher than 44 other states do. The so-called millionaires tax is just an expired tax increase that raises New Jersey’s top tax rate to about 11 percent, the third-highest in the United States.

Proponents of the millionaires tax imagine that the only reason people could oppose this tax hike is that they’re worried New Jersey’s well-to-do will run low on caviar if it’s passed.

Actually, what we’re worried about is the impact on New Jersey’s working families.

As it turns out, millionaires don’t like paying high taxes any more than the rest of us do. But unlike most of us, they can easily move out of New Jersey to avoid new tax hikes. For many, changing their tax residence is as simple as spending a few more weeks a year at their vacation home in Florida. They can keep a house in New Jersey to spend time with the grandkids, live for six months and one day in the Florida home, and voilà, they are Florida residents who no longer owe a dime in New Jersey taxes. As a bonus, their children will escape paying New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation estate tax.

It’s little wonder that in 2010, the last year we had the old Corzine millionaires tax on the books, 88,000 individuals left New Jersey, taking with them a total annual income of $5.5 billion.

The millionaires tax could be more aptly named the “Goodbye New Jersey Tax.”

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Posted: June 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2017 NJ Gubernatorial Politics, Joe Kyrillos, New Jersey, New Jersey State Budget, NJ State Legislature, Opinion | Tags: , , | 9 Comments »

Why this year’s National Geographic Traveler photo contest bans New Jersey residents

Why this year’s National Geographic Traveler photo contest bans New Jersey residents (via NJ.com)

TRENTON — National Geographic Traveler’s annual photo contest is open until June 30, but don’t submit that gorgeous Shore picture just yet. According to the rules, the contest bans entries from Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Cuba, Syria — and New…

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Posted: June 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: New Jersey, News | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Assembly bill would make sex with animals a crime

A bill that criminalizes bestiality passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee yesterday by a 6-0 bipartisan vote.

Rhino

Illustration by Megan Archer

 Use, or cause or procure the use of, an animal or creature in any kind of sexual manner or initiate any kind of sexual contact with the animal or creature, including, but not limited to, sodomizing the animal or creature.  As used in this paragraph, “sexual contact” means any contact between a person and an animal by penetration of the penis or a foreign object into the vagina or anus, contact between the mouth and genitalia, or by contact between the genitalia of one and the genitalia or anus of the other.  This term does not include any medical procedure performed by a licensed veterinarian practicing veterinary medicine or an accepted animal husbandry practice.

Penalties for those convicted include fines up to $15,000 and imprisonment for as long as five years. Additionally, the bill directs the courts to impose Community Service for up to 30 day at a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or a municipality”s animal control program.  Is that a good idea?

Posted: June 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: New Jersey, News, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments »