This week, New Jersey moved closer to becoming the first Northern state to apologize for slavery under a measure approved by a legislative committee. The Garden State had a history none of which we can be proud of concerning this issue.
NJ was home to more slaves than any other Northern state except New York, and we didn't ratify the constitutional amendment prohibiting slavery until January 1866, a month after it had already become federal law. So, an apology would be in order to set the record straight.
Said bill sponsor Assemblyman William Payne: "This bill does nothing more than say New Jersey is sorry for its shameful past.”
This is no different than the Pope apologizing for the Catholic Church's record of anti-Semitism from centuries ago. There is no one alive who was a victim, but it sets the record straight.
So, what did the Republicans have to say about the bill? Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll actually praised the institution of slavery.
I will repeat that: Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll actually praised the institution of slavery.
He said: "
If slavery was the price that a modern American's ancestors had to pay in order to make one an American, one should get down on one's knees every single day and thank the Lord that such price was paid."
Well said. Mike, praise the Lord, and pass the whip.
For that ignorant and uncaring remark, Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll is the big Putz of the Week.
In my home borough of Flemington, in November 2007, the Democrats took control of the Borough Council for the first time in ten years. With a ‘weak’ Mayor form of government, a Republican mayor and four council members who are Democrats, you would think there would be rough sailing ahead.
So, acting in good faith, the Democrats met with Mayor Bob Hauck and discussed such things as Planning Board appointments, hiring of consultants and Council assignments for 2008. After a bit of good old political horse trading, everything seemed settled out peacefully.
Or so the Democrats thought.
So what did Hauck do? At the Reorganization Meeting Thursday, January 3rd, he sandbagged the Dems on each and everything he agreed to. Planning Board appointments? Nope. Council assignments? Buzz off, Dems. He made what started off as a feel-good meeting go sour right away. Talk about sour grapes about being in the minority.
The main problem with Hauck at the meeting was just how much of a puppet he is for County Clerk, Mary Melfi. It was she who pulls his strings, and demanded a seat back on the Planning Board. Don’t take my word for it: watch on the Flemington website archive of the actual meeting.
So, for starting off the new Council year with a blowout and brawl, instead of respect and goodwill, Hauck is the little Putz of the Week.
Mensch of The Week
Politicians, by and large, have a reputation for not keeping their promises. However, one former governor made the swearing in ceremony of a newly elected member of the Flemington Borough Council very special, and kept his promise.
Linda Mastellone, a member of New Jersey for Democracy, is a tenant resident of Flemington, who also has a strong business background. That made her a great candidate for Flemington Borough Council, running against incumbent Phil Greiner, a much more conservative and libertarian Republican.
Back in September, Linda ran in to former governor Jim Florio at the New Jersey State Democratic Conference in Atlantic City. Governor Florio promised that if Linda won a seat on Borough Council, he would swear her in. Linda won; Greiner lost.
So, Thursday night, when Linda Mastellone became Councilwoman Mastellone, Governor Florio read the affirmation of office for her. By the way, the governor never once had to refer to the paper for prompting, remembering every word of the Oath of Office. Linda took the oath of office in front of her proud dad, her step-mom, brother, sister-in-law and two adorable nieces.
So, for keeping his promise, and making the Mastellone family proud, Governor Jim Florio is our Mensch of the Week here at NJPoliticsUnusual.com.