“It is tragic that the best advice one might give an addict begging for treatment is to get arrested.”
By Declan O’Scanlon
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon
There are many issues and challenges we face as a society that are ripe for spirited political debate. Addiction isn’t one of them. Governor Christie’s position that we must treat addiction as something other than a crime is exactly correct. Addiction – whether you buy the disease designation or not – is for some people a virtually irresistible, destructive force that compels the addict’s cooperation in his own destruction. That concept can be a difficult one to reconcile for those who have had the good fortune not to have battled addiction – their own or a family member’s. Unfortunately, that pool of lucky people is dwindling as the heroin epidemic continues to voraciously march through our streets and schools. Alcohol, while not the substance of the moment, continues its incessant march.
There is room for debate about exactly what addiction is. Cancer is unquestionably a disease – seeming to have a mind of its own and an unrelenting mission no matter the intentions or actions of its victims. Addiction, in many ways, is much more complicated. It is a condition whose progression depends on the direct, intentional participation of the afflicted. The fact that the addicted are complicit in their own destruction is both frustrating and confusing for all involved. It is easy for caregivers and loved ones to be sympathetic to cancer victims. Addiction is as likely to elicit anger, blame and scorn as sympathy.
Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (center-right) presents a check to the “Positively Marlboro” GOP candidates, Sui Allex for Council, Ira Goldberg for Mayor and Council candidate John Dwyer, far right, as campaign treasurer Mario Giudice licks his lips in anticipation in the background photo bomb.
Republican activists and leaders from throughout Monmouth County and beyond gathered with the Marlboro Party faithful last night at the Bella Vista Country Club, providing the “Positively Marlboro” GOP slate of Ira Goldberg for Mayor and Council Candidates Sui Allex and John Dwyer with a boost of enthusiasm and campaign cash for their uphill battle to unseat Democratic Mayor Jon Hornik and his “Right Team” slate of incumbent council members Randi Marder and Mike Scalea.
“Two hours ago I was in the Governor’s backyard,” Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, the headliner of the event, said as he started his remarks. “Where are you going?,” Bramnick said the Governor wanted to know as he prepared to leave.” “Marlboro.” “Why?” “Because Selika Josiah Gore (Chair of the Marlboro GOP) called me an wouldn’t get off the line until I agreed.”
“This is the most energetic Republican event I have seen this season,” Bramnick said during his remarks and announced that he would write a check to the campaign from his own account on the spot.
FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon announced important reforms in how Monmouth County voters can apply for Vote By Mail ballots with the County Clerk and how the Board of Elections can receive voted ballots from voters.
The reforms are effective immediately under a new law signed by Governor Chris Christie on August 10, 2015.
“The new law impacts New Jersey voters who, by necessity or by choice, have another individual submit a Vote By Mail request and/or election ballot on their behalf,” Hanlon said.
The new law reduces number of voters for whom a person can serve as “messenger” from 10 to three.
It also limits the number of voted mail-in ballots transmittable by a “bearer” to the County Board of Elections to three ballots.
Last year, the New Jersey legislature voted on a measure that prohibited the infliction of “sexual orientation reparative therapy” on young individuals of our state. This is the frequently torturous “treatment” designed to turn the gay straight. Although I abstained on the vote because of a potential technical issue, I vocally supported the initiative. Recently, the debate on this issue has re-emerged as several high-profile national and local Republicans have discussed both this issue and homosexuality. Their words demand comment.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, taking issue with policies prohibiting this “treatment,” justified his position last year by suggesting that homosexuality was simply a destructive lifestyle choice, which he went on to say was just like alcoholism. Perry managed to insult and infuriate the entire gay community along with every member of every family who has ever dealt with addiction issues – all at once. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon also vying for the Republican presidential nomination, suggested that being gay was a choice – as evidenced by supposed prison conversions. The most recent commentary came from Congressman Scott Garrett (R-5th District), who expressed a refusal to support gay candidates and said the Republican Party shouldn’t either.
These men each have a long list of substantial accomplishments and I bet I agree with them on most policy issues. But on the issues of homosexuality and addiction each of them has demonstrated a stunning level of closed-minded ignorance that – notwithstanding their apparent inability to genuinely embrace reality – most people of average intelligence would instinctively know to try to conceal.
Now that the 2016 budget debate is over, we must get back to the most pressing state issue of our time. The suggestion of some in the public worker sector that those of us who voted against the budget are in favor of our abandoning our commitment to ensuring their pensions is completely false. For any responsible elected official, and decent human being, it is imperative that we meet our commitments in a way that protects our pubic workers – and the NJ economy at the same time.
The reason we couldn’t make a payment larger than the $1.3 billion one included in the Governor’s budget has nothing to do with a lack of will or integrity. It’s about devoting as much $ as possible without inflicting massive, economy-killing, tax increases on an economy just now showing signs of real growth. Without economic growth there will be no chance we will be able to meet our commitments to the system in the many years to come – so ensuring growth is as important to public workers as anyone else. We don’t simply have a $1.8 billion deficit this year. We have a $6 to $7 billion hole over the next few years. Taxing the life out of our economy this year, with no plan going forward – and leaving us in a $2 billion hole next year as the Democrat’s proposed budget would – is bad policy, for all New Jerseyans.
But it is true as well that we can’t foster growth to the exclusion of our obligation to our dedicated public workers. And I can’t state that point vehemently enough. Our teachers and other public workers are decent, devoted, professional people. Generalizations to the contrary are without merit.
Governor Chris Christie reacted to the New Jersey Supreme Court decision that he has the authority to cut pension payments from the State Budget and that the political branches of government…the Governor and Legislature…not the Court…must “deal with one another to forge a solution to the tenuous financial status of New Jersey’s pension funding in a way that comports with the strictures of our constitution,” by calling for “all interested parties” to come together and solve the New Jersey’s pension and benefit crisis “once and for all.”
“This decision is an important victory not only for our taxpayers who simply cannot afford these unsustainably high costs, but for limited, constitutional government that recognizes the proper role of the executive and legislative branches of government,” the Governor said in a statement issued by his office, “The Court’s position is clear, as is mine, it is time to move forward and work together to find a tangible, long-term solution to make our pension system and public employee health benefit costs affordable and sustainable for generations to come. In light of today’s decision, I urge all interested parties to come back to the table and partner with me to finally solve this problem once and for all.”
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, the Assembly Republican Budget Officer, said,
The legislators representing Monmouth County from the 11th and 13th Districts want the New Jersey Department of Human Services to stop housing asymptomatic Ebola patients at Fort Monmouth at then end of this month when the current agreement to do so expires and they are calling on the members of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority to reject DHS’s request to extend the arrangement.
Senators Joe Kyrillos and Jennifer Beck joined with Assembly Members Amy Handlin, Declan O’Scanlon, Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande in issuing the following statement:
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon is offended by the argument that New Jerseyans are not capable of pumping their own gas without setting themselves on fire. But in order to get his legislation that would decriminalize consumer gas pumping passed he in inserting language into the bill that would require signs on gas pumps for the protection of the mentally challenged and members of the Jersey City Council.
“I am offended by people that argue that New Jerseyans are mentally incapable of pumping their own gas without setting themselves on fire. But I hear them. For that reason I am recommending language be inserted in the final bill that mandates signs at all self serve pumps, in bold red and blue flashing neon lettering, that reads “Do not, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, set yourself on fire!!” I think that should resolve these concerns” O’Scanlon said when introducing the legislation.
O’Scanlon’s bill, which mirrors a bill in the Senate sponsored by Bergen County Senators Paul Sarlo and Gerald Cardinale, except for the signage language, would decriminalize gas pumping by consumers and provide for self-service islands at New Jersey gas stations. Each facility would be required to operate at least one island full service for three years following enactment, and the bill also allows for gas retailers to charge a lesser price for self-service gasoline.
The Monmouth County Democrats will hold a “mini-convention” this evening at the IBEW Local 400 Union Hall in Wall Township to formally nominate their slate of County and Legislative candidates for the June 2 primary.
Jeanne Cullinane is challenging Assembly Members Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon in the 13th legislative district
MMM has learned that Hazlet Board of Education member Tom Herman will be a candidate for Assembly in the 13th legislative district, challenging incumbent Republicans Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon. Joining Herman on the Democratic ticket in the 13th will be Jeanne Cullinane, also of Hazlet, a political newcomer.
Monmouth County Chairman Vin Gopal has previously announced on his blog that Neptune Township Zoning Board Member Carol Rizzo will challenge incumbent Republican Freeholder John Curley. There has been speculation that Rizzo was seperated at birth from Rumson Democratic Chairman and former Democratic candidate for Surrogate, Michael Steinhorn.