Senior citizen accosted by Democratic legislators’ staffers
Downey, Sweeny and Houghtaling. photo via facebook from a previous meeting
Senate President Steve Sweeney held a meeting with public officials and education stakeholders at the Freehold legislative office of Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey this morning to discuss the school funding bill the three legislators are sponsoring.
Houghtaling told MMM about the meeting this morning during a phone call regarding former Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini’s call for him and Downey to join Sweeney in demanding that the U.S. Attorney and NJ Attorney General investigate the NJEA’s alleged extortion of Sweeney. Houghtaling repeatedly said that the Freehold meeting is “non-poltical.”
So why was Senator Jennifer Beck, a Republican excluded? Members of the Freehold Borough Council were invited. The state senator representing Freehold was not invited? That sounds like a political meeting with only Democrats invited. Beck’s spokesman Mike Hughes told MMM that the senator was not invited to the meeting in Freehold.
Hougtaling and Downey’s spokeman denies hearing of Sweeney’s call for a criminal investigation into NJEA
Mary Pat Angelini
Still smarting from her shocking loss last November, former Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini yesterday issued a statement calling on the Democrats who unseated her to join Senate President Steve Sweeney in his demand that the U.S. Attorney and N.J. Attorney General investigate the teachers union for extortion.
The Democrat leader of the State Senate accused the NJEA of extorition eariler this week after Democrat County Chairmen and other power brokers told him that NJEA leaders told them that the union would withhold campaign contributions to Democrats unless Sweeney allowed a vote in the Senate on an amendment to the State Constitution that would compel specified contributions to the teacher’s pension fund every year.
Angelini said that Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey would not have defeated her if not for the “vicious lies” the NJEA broadcast about her and the non-profit drug abuse prevention organization she runs during the final days of the 2015 election campaign.
TRENTON — Republican members of the state Assembly Budget Committee on Wednesday criticized New Jersey’s largest public worker union of taking the easy road by shutting down pension talks and demanding full funding without offering any alternatives. The assemblymen, in a brief news conference following a budget hearing on Department of Education funding, leveled accusations of… Read the rest of this entry »
The once mighty New Jersey Education Association announced their endorsements for the upcoming legislative elections over the weekend. All 120 seats in the State Legislature are up for grabs this November. 40 Senate seats and 80 Assembly seats. The NJEA only endorsed 68 candidates. 66 Democrats and 2 Republicans.
In many districts the teachers’ union did not endorse for all three offices, 1 Senator and 2 Assembly Members. In 11 out of 40 districts they announced they were not endorsing any candidate.
But in the 13th legislative district their endorsements are “pending screening.”
The new 13th is comprised of northeastern Monmouth County; the bayshore towns from Aberdeen east to Highlands, the Two River towns of Rumson, Fair Haven, Little Silver and Oceanport, and the coastal towns of Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach, and Marlboro.
No one would expect the NJEA to endorse the Republicans, Senator Joe Kyrillos, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon. Why wouldn’t the Democrats screen? If the the screening in “pending” as the NJEA says, why didn’t the 13th district Democrats screen before the rest of the endorsements were announced?
NJEA endorsements come with lots of money and organizational support. Pending the pending screening and the pending endorsement or lack thereof, the LD 13 Democrats are raising money and support with a comedy night next week in Keasnburg.
I imagine the night going like this:
Funny Master of Ceremonies: “Thank you all for coming out tonight. We’re here to help Chris Cullen defeat Joe Kyrillos and to help Kevin Laven and Patrick Short defeat Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon.”
By Dan Jacobson, also published in the July 14 edition of the triCityNews
So I’m running as an Independent for the state Assembly in the 11th District. Got a letter the other day from NJEA President Barbara Keshishian inviting me to submit my views on public education. Apparently, the teachers union has begun to consider candidate endorsements. Here’s what I sent:
Yes! I do want the endorsement of the NJEA. Of course!
First, let’s dispense with some unpleasantries.
I want school vouchers tried in poor urban school districts. If successful, I’d want vouchers expanded statewide to develop an alternative education system competing with the public sector. I also don’t believe government employee unions should use mandatory dues for political purposes.
And I support the recently-passed pension and health benefits reform bill as a step in the right direction, although its supporters overstate its impact. (Of course, the bill – surprise, surprise – leaves unstated who will pay the taxes that it clearly requires. Wow, what courage. No wonder the pension system has been underfunded for 15 years.)
Since 1999, I’ve published the triCityNews weekly newspaper – with the largest readership in the 11th District – and I’ve followed one rule: We call it like we see it. We respect our readers enough not to pander to them, even if it pisses them off. And that’s exactly what I’m doing with voters. Same with this letter, which I’m publishing verbatim in my paper.
Contrast that with the NJEA’s recent experience. The Democrats told you everything you wanted to hear to get your support, and you demand almost 100 percent adherence to your agenda. Of course, they don’t believe in any of it. All they believe in is getting elected. You saw the results when Democratic leaders stabbed you in the back on the pension bill. Now all sides look like fools.
The Republicans? Governor Christie claims he has no problem with the teachers – only with your union. He’s full of shit. The Republican Party is purposely demonizing public school teachers to gain political advantage. They’re communicating to voters that widespread teacher incompetence is a major problem in the education system.
It’s not. Although widespread incompetence among lawmakers in Trenton is certainly a major problem. Issues like teacher testing, tenure reform and seniority reform are all bullshit. They have nothing to do with containing costs or radically transforming the way education is delivered in our state. They have everything to do with getting Republicans elected by trashing teachers. Watch for a push on those issues before the November election.
For me, it’s all about school vouchers giving parents a choice. School vouchers set up a system where the public and private sectors compete against each other. That means peak performance by everyone. Let the teachers, administrators and union in each public school figure out for themselves how to retain and attract students. They’re talented enough to do so. If not, parents will send their kids elsewhere, and the school will close. It’s what we face in the private sector every day. What am I missing?
The best teacher testing? It’s whether a parent will send their kids to a particular school. That’s the best test. Not a state bureaucracy pushing teachers to make students do better on standardized tests. Especially if test results are linked to teachers getting merit pay. That all seems a bit weird to me.
If school vouchers work, the competition will make every school provide the best education it possibly can. Those that don’t – either public or private – will cease operations. And those teachers displaced will seek jobs at new schools or those expanding. In fact, you’ll likely see entrepreneurial public school teachers go out and open their own private schools. The world is changing, and our system of education must change with it.
The last thing you want is the dead hand of government in the middle of all this competition, regulating the classroom and teachers in the public schools. That defeats the whole purpose. Let the teachers and the NJEA suggest the changes in the law they need to compete in a voucher system. Not impose it on them.
Call me crazy, but I think the NJEA should come out for vouchers in some poor urban school districts to see if it works. Why not take a broadly defensible position for a change? Why not say you want to compete? And if successful, vouchers should be responsibly implemented statewide, like over a decade, so any problems can be flagged. That’s not going to kill teachers in the system today. And who says the public schools can’t compete? This all should have been done 20 years ago.
When parents have a choice – and they then voluntarily choose the public schools – the NJEA will win the public’s support the old-fashioned way: by earning it. It’s what we do in the private sector, and there’s nothing more rewarding.
So why endorse me?
Because I’ll tell you the truth. Unlike the bullshit you’ve been getting from both parties, this candidate believes in the professionalism of our state’s teachers. My positions indicate that. My differences with the NJEA involve financial constraints, and how to build a transformative system of education to better respond to society’s needs.
But without at least trying vouchers, even I’d eventually have to go for the highly flawed alternatives: teacher testing, merit pay, and tenure and seniority “reform” (the last two which risk politicization of the hiring and firing process). At least I think I would. What a dumb scenario that would all be: The dead hand of government flopping around trying to improve the education system to deal with the many challenges – both economic and social – that we face.
So there you go, NJEA! A candidate who truly respects your membership and tells you the truth.
When do the teachers arrive to start picketing my house?
Independent candidate for the State Assembly
(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.)
The New Jersey Education Association has launched an advertising campaign to encourage people to “Tell Christie he’s done enought to help millionaires.”
There is a full page ad on the back page of section A in the print edition of the Asbury Park Press (which is how using the header THE PRESS). Capitol Quickies reports that the ad also appeared in the Home News Tribune, Daily Record and Courier News, all Gannett owned papers.
The ad says “Governor Christie cut our schools, women’s health care and our public safety to give a tax break to millionaires” and touts their website, MillionairesForChristie.com. The website encourages readers to email their legislators to “to let them know that you’re against Governor Christie helping millionaires. Its time to protect our schools!”
Readers of the site can also sign a petition to Governor Christie and preview a TV ad that repeats the nonsense.
I wonder why the NJEA waited until after the school board elections to launch this advertising campaign.
Governor Christie has not given any tax breaks to millionaires. The Democrats let the millionaires tax surcharge expire before Christie took office. Christie vetoed the reinstatement of the tax last year, just as he promised he would in his campaign.
That’s a shame because public employee unions are as serious a threat to Americans’ freedom as is radical Islam. Maybe more so.
In many states throughout the union, including New Jersey, public employee unions have more power and influence over government policy, operations and spending than our elected representatives. From our governor down to the councilman and school board member, elected office holders ability to manage and govern their jurisdictions are constrained by laws and contracts that protect employees from the public will.
Walker’s proposal in Wisconsin to remove unions ability to negotiate for pensions and benefits and Governor Christie’s reform agenda in New Jersey are considered bold because over the last 50 years unions have systematically and gradually taken over our governments. Their political power was extreme and unchecked. Before Christie took on the NJEA over the last year and thrived, no politician dared take on such a powerful special interest. Sure there where those who tried, but you don’t remember who they are and neither do I, because the unions destroyed them. Christie, and now apparently Walker, could be the right men at the right time to lead America back to a truly representative form of government in the States.
Yet, as bold and radical as the governors seem in the context of the last 50 years of growing union power, their proposals are relatively modest. Far from really “turning Trenton(or Madison) upside down” or doing “big things” Christie and Walker are modestly tinkering with the existing systems.
Christie has created a big storm, in part because of his aggressive style. But what he’s proposed is not that controversial. It leaves intact the entire collective bargaining structure. Yes, he would impose short-term pain, but the Walker plan goes to the root of the problem.
Walker’s plan might go to the root of the problem, but it only exposes the root, it doesn’t cut it:
Q. Is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker really proposing to end collective bargaining?
A. Not exactly. He’ll retain it for police, firefighters and state troopers. But he is proposing a drastic rollback for teachers and other public employees. They will retain the right to bargain over wages, but not benefits.
Politically, Christie’s success over the last year and Walker’s anticipated success could well be due to the moderateness of their proposals being sold to the public with bold rhetoric. Christie took on the NJEA last year by calling for wage freezes and health care contributions of only 1.5% of teacher salaries in order to save jobs. The union looked petty in their vocal opposition and the public sided with the Governor by overwhelmingly rejecting school budgets at the ballot boxes. The public continues to support Christie’s agenda and now the debate in Trenton is over how much spending to cut, not whether to cut. That’s a big change, but it is not systematic change.
But systematic change was not politically possible a year ago. It is becoming possible, but it won’t be swift. The unions took over our governments incrementally over a period of a half century. We, the people, did not notice it happening for the most part. Now that the public is waking up to the relative largess of public employee compensation and benefits, systematic change becomes increasingly possible, but it will have to be accomplished incrementally.
DiSalvo makes the case why public employee unions must be broken in his National Affairs article published last fall. Every political leader should take the time to read the article.
Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce simultaneously played the roles of Scrooge and Santa Claus this week.
With his inartful comments about people receiving unemployment benefits, and his equally ignoble apology wherein he tried to deflect the attention to the dual office holding of the Legislature’s Democratic leadership and accused Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver of playing the race card in her criticism of his remarks, DeCroce appeared as Scrooge to “these people” on the unemployment dole and Santa to the Trenton Democrats, Supreme Court Justice Rivera-Soto and the NJEA.
While the Legislature should be focused on reforming civil service and COAH before the 2 % property tax increase cap takes effect on January 1, the leadership was engaged in what Governor Christie called a “food fight” over DeCroce’s gaffes.
Rather than drawing attention to dual office holding and Oliver’s willingness to play the race card, DeCroce deflected media attention away from the controversy over Rivera-Soto’s unwillingness to participate in State Supreme Court decisions so long as a temporary justice is sitting on the court. The NJEA was really let off the hook by DeCroce’s remarks as the main stream media apparently completely missed the explosive videosreleased by citizen journalist James O’Keefe that expose union leaders promising to protect teachers who engage in sexual behavior with students.
The gift that DeCroce gave the Democrats may well keep giving throughout 2011 when the entire legislature will be on the November ballot.
If the Legislative Redistricting Commission draws an equitable map New Jersey should have the first competitive legislative elections in 12 years. For most of the last decade New Jersey cast more Republican votes than Democratic votes for legislators, yet Democrats have dominated the Senate and the Assembly due to gerrymandering of the districts. A new district map is due this coming winter.
If the coming election appears to be competitive and if DeCroce is effectively running for Assembly Speaker, count on the New Jersey Democratic machine running against DeCroce in much the same way the GOP ran against Nancy Pelosi in the recent national election.
In this video, NJEA and AFT leaders throughout New Jersey first bash Governor Christie, which is nothing new.
As the video progresses, the “star” of the video, a male voice with a real or faked British accent posing as a teacher, confesses to “kiddy fiddling” and sexual touching of students to union officials who say they’ve dealt with such circumstances before and that they will back him up. One union official advises the fake teacher to accuse students of coming on to him before the kids complain.
This video is sure to go viral. NJEA is sure to spin.