Opinion: Hope and Optimism Killed Christie’s Chances

By Art Gallagher

christie1Governor Chris Christie has been called, by friend and foes alike, the best political communicator since Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton. Yet, after abandoning his post in New Jersey for the better part of two years in his quest for the presidency, the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire were unmoved by his talent.

As pundits and strategists dissect Christie’s failure, so far none have pointed to the obvious: Christie’s entitlement reform plan. Christie promised a harder future.

Donald Trump’s campaign in a variation of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.  “Yes we can” has been replaced by “Make America Great Again.”
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Posted: February 10th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, New Jersey, Opinion | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Islamic Company Selling “Sharia-Compliant Mortgages” Controls Asbury Park, NJ’s Boardwalk

By Tommy DeSeno

Sheikh Usmani

Sheikh Usmani

With ISIS committing terrorism on 4 continents, and President Obama importing refugees from their home territory, now is a bad time to offer interest-free Sharia Law mortgages in America, but that’s exactly what one company is doing.

The beach town of Asbury Park, New Jersey has undergone a slow-grinding redevelopment for the better part of 30 years.   Bereft of money in 2007, the City sold millions of dollars worth of storied boardwalk buildings including Convention Hall to a private company – Madison Marquette.  Madison Marquette also owns concert venues near the boardwalk like the famed Stone Pony.  They are positioned in expensive retail properties across America in California, Ohio, Washington DC, Florida and more.

What few know is that Madison Marquette is owned by an Islamic company rooted in the Middle East; a company whose other subsidiary specializes in “Sharia Law Compliance” and lures Sharia-following Muslims to 23 states with interest-free home mortgages.

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Posted: January 13th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Asbury Park, ISIS, Monmouth County News, Opinion, Tommy DeSeno, War on terror | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Phil Murphy — A Bloomberg, Not a Corzine

By Alan J. Steinberg

Alan J. Steinberg

Alan J. Steinberg

Initially, I thought Phil Murphy, as a candidate for the New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2017 would be the second coming of John Corzine – a well-meaning yet out-of-touch gubernatorial candidate who would be unable to communicate effectively with middle class and working class New Jerseyans.

Murphy had been appointed by former Acting Governor Dick Codey in 2005 to chair an advisory commission regarding the state pension shortfall.  The commission’s implicit recommendation was a $12.1 billion tax hike – political suicide in New Jersey.  To me, this was the forerunner of the Jon Corzine asset monetization/toll hike proposal which doomed him in his reelection campaign against Chris Christie in 2009.

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Posted: December 18th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: 2017 NJ Gubernatorial Politics, Alan Steinberg, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Opinion: Time to Revisit the New Jersey-Pennsylvania Reciprocal Tax Deal

2320Money’s tight. Hardly a New Jersey news cycle goes by without some discussion lamenting our lack of fiscal flexibility in meeting a range of critical needs, from “fixing” the Transportation Trust Fund and shoring up local governments in fiscal distress to funding the state’s long-term pension and healthcare obligations. And let’s not forget the… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: December 10th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: New Jersey, Opinion | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Opinion: Time to Revisit the New Jersey-Pennsylvania Reciprocal Tax Deal

Listening to Obama

By Art Gallagher

Obama addressUnlike many conservative and Republican pundits on television and social media, my reaction to President Obama’s Oval Office address last evening was positive. He surprised me.  I though last night’s speech revealed a shift in the president. Albeit a low bar, I thought Obama’s address was his best since he’s taken office.

When I said so on social media, a friend and man that I respect asked if I was under the influence of drugs, alcohol or lack of sleep. Fortunately I am not suffering from any of those afflictions.  But over the course of 2015 I have noticed that I suffer from a combination of empathetic and sympathetic listening.   I first noticed this affliction last February at a town hall meeting that Governor Christie held in Burlington County.  I walked into that town hall really down on the Governor I once supported enthusiastically.  During the course of the meeting I noticed I was becoming enthused about him and the job he was doing for New Jersey again.  I woke up on the drive home and started to practice fact checking my own initial reactions to political speeches.

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Posted: December 7th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Barack Obama, Opinion, War on terror | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Power Grid – America’s Achilles’ Heel

Energy Security Requires National Leadership

Rudder Head Shot (586x800)By Scott Rudder

The former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, James Woolsey,  issued a stark warning, based on a US government study, that the death of millions of Americans could be only weeks away due to our national power grid’s shocking vulnerability to man-made and natural disasters. Knowing that, you might assume that our national leaders are doing everything in their power to ensure that the grid is adequately protected and that tragedy will be averted. But you would be wrong.

Consider this, the United States is the most powerful country the world has ever known.  We have the ability to cure the incurable, to explore the unexplorable, to give generously to our friends and to wreak devastation upon our enemies.  We can do this because we, as a people, are inventive and determined, and we have the energy infrastructure to facilitate these amazing things.  Simply put, our modern-day success is interdependent with our energy infrastructure.

Yet, all of this could come to a screeching halt through a single cyber or electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack from a rogue state or terror organization, or a major solar flare, known as a Carrington Event, which could plunge our nation into an extended blackout.

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Posted: November 16th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Energy, Monmouth County, National Security, Opinion | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on The Power Grid – America’s Achilles’ Heel

Deception and Distraction: An Inaccurate Report on Health Benefits Remains Inaccurate Nearly 4 Year later

DiBella for webBy Joseph M. DiBella

Recently the Asbury Park Press published a story based on a widely criticized and discredited State Comptroller’s 2012 report examining the state of health benefits for public workers of municipalities, county governments and school districts. The report, which was panned by most benefit and insurance professional at the time as being actuarially and statistically invalid, also failed to accurately reflect the process local governments must use when selecting benefits for its employees. The report made for good headlines, but it didn’t make for good policy.

The takeaway of the report was that local entities in New Jersey — counties, townships, boroughs, school districts — could simply join the state health benefit plan and save the state $100 million dollars. But that wasn’t correct then and it isn’t correct now. The report overlooked the fact that benefits are collectively bargained for and can’t simply be changed on whim or all at once. It also made the false assumption that just by merging all the groups across the state, their claims history, which is how insurance policies are priced, would miraculously get better and generate savings. Finally, the report largely blamed local benefit brokers and consultants for the high cost of health care for public plans even though the cost of brokerage services is about 2% to 3% of the total cost of healthcare. The state plan is a solution for many public employers as are other private plan options. The key is to examine all of the options and align the entity with the best solution for their circumstances.

The report was largely discredited and dismissed at the time of its issuance by industry experts for being naïve and non-factual. But because it includes an eye-popping alleged savings number, the nearly 4 years old report is regularly dusted off and re-circulated by political operatives and media types looking to re-create a controversy that never existed.

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Posted: November 3rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Health Care, Monmouth County News, ObamaCare, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Veitengruber: Keep Big City Politicians Out of Howell’s Board of Education

By Sue Veitengruber

Sue VeitengruberI have a self imposed rule of not using my Facebook page for political views on candidates. My friends’ beliefs and ideals cover the entire spectrum. However,  at the risk of a few individuals never speaking to me again, I have questions about certain BOE candidates on the ballot.  Board of Education members are supposed to be the epitome of community volunteers. Howell is not “the big city.” So why, I need to ask, is one candidate being funded by state wide Political Action Committees and the Mayor of Elizabeth?  The Elizabeth BOE has been fraught with corruption and nepotism. Board officials, including an attorney,  were indicted on fraudulently  claiming their kids were eligible for free lunches. Staff members were pressured into contributing to BOE members campaigns. Why does that candidate list her name and “politician” on her  election FB cover page?  This is not what the Howell BOE needs. It is the largest and best K-8 in the state. I am proud to have been part of the reforms in the 80s as a board member for almost 9 years, reforms that succeeding boards built on to continue the excellence in education in our town. We don’t need the Elizabeth political machine determining  the decisions and future of the Howell BOE.
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Posted: November 2nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: 2015 Elections, Education, Howell, Monmouth County News, Opinion | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments »

An Open Letter to Democrats in New Jersey

Ernesto CullariBy Ernesto Cullari

Dear Democrats,

We want you. That’s right; we in the Monmouth, Ocean & Middlesex County GOP organizations want you to vote for our candidates on Tuesday November 3rd. The reason? Your own self interest.

Half of you want to leave New Jersey at some point, according to a poll conducted by Monmouth University and the Asbury Park Press. New Jersey actually leads the nation in families fleeing their home state to more affordable places like Florida and North Carolina. For every family that moves to the Garden State two families pick up and leave.

Elections have consequences. It’s no longer my team versus your team, families in New Jersey are hurting. For the last 15 to 20 years Democrats have ruled the State Senate and the State Assembly; with the exception of the Republican Governors we’ve had, we’ve had no reprieve from higher taxes and higher spending. It’s taken a toll on all our families.

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Posted: October 31st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: 2015 Elections, 2015 Legislative Races, Ernesto Cullari, Monmouth County News, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

6 ways to avoid the ‘next Sandy’ | Di Ionno

assetContentThree years ago this morning, millions of people in New Jersey woke to a gray-sky dawn and the residual breezes of Hurricane Sandy, which rumbled through the state under the darkness of night with the straight-forward power of a slow-moving freight train. The storm’s wide swath of destruction unveiled itself in the gathering light. The images… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: October 30th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Hurricane Sandy, Opinion, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »