Friday, March 26, 2010

March 26, 2010 Putz of the Week and Mensch of the Week

Last summer, "Jersey Shore” introduced America to Snookie, Mike the Situation and J-WOWW. These folks helped make Jersey Shore the top Thursday night prime-time show for viewers ages 12 to 34. And now they're going global.

Viacom is planning to take the show to more than 30 countries around the world -- -- including Portugal, France and Italy. This is exactly what New Jersey needs to enhance its reputation from Europe to the Pacific Rim. Gee, thanks Viacom.

It's almost certain that the only folks who will benefit from this expansion will be the cast themselves -- -- reportedly now making more than $10,000 per episode. Maybe Jersey Shore will be more popular in France than Jerry Lewis. For all their efforts, in helping the world see New Jersey through the eyes of the folks on Jersey Shore, Viacom is our Putz of the Week.

I have lived in Hunterdon County for more than 20 years. I served on the Borough Council in the county seat of Flemington from 1994 to 2006. And I served as the county chairman of the Democratic Party for two terms. I attended many freeholder meetings, wrote newspaper editorials criticizing the County government, and ran campaigns for many County candidates. But now, I need to give our county government kudos for a really great accomplishment.

New Jersey Foundation for Open Government is an organization dedicated to an open and transparent government. In the interest of complete disclosure, I sat on their state board for two years.

During 2009, NJFOG and Common Cause worked together to develop a checklist of government information that should be readily available on the web. And they awarded Hunterdon County with a certificate that placed the county at the top of a survey on how much open-government information counties provide on their web sites.

So, for their commitment to open government, transparency, and a very accessible website for the residents of our County, this week our Mensch of the Week is the Hunterdon County government.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stop screaming. You’ll wake up the neighbors

If you're a local town mayor in New Jersey and you think that screaming about the impact Christie’s budget cuts will have on your town is an issue, it seems that “…screaming too loud during sex can get you or your partner arrested in New Jersey."

Yes, really.

It seems that in an appeals court ruling that was handed down on Monday, the judges said the “screaming reported by a neighbor gave police an ‘objectively reasonable basis’ to believe that a limited investigation was necessary”---to see if everything was OK in the home. I should it say it was OK. Well, at least for the partner screaming, I guess.

The police entered the home to see what the fuss and screaming was about, and saw marijuana and drug paraphernalia in plain view----leading to the arrest of the folks. Oh, well. Maybe they should have claimed it was ‘medical marijuana’ and he was giving her a special treatment. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 17th, 2010 The Day New Jersey Stood Still

March 17th, 2010 The Day New Jersey Stood Still

It was like the plot from the 1950s science fiction movie: An alien (first Republican elected state-wide in very Blue New Jersey in 12 years) with his mighty robot (Big Budget Ax) land their spacecraft in State Capital Trenton. We need to say, "Klaatu barada nikto!" before it's too late.

They bring an important message to the State that he wishes to tell to representatives of the entire State. However, communication turns out to be difficult, so, after learning something about the natives, he decides on an alternative approach. He lives amongst us, and he reveals himself, along with the news that Big Budget Ax is a member of a race of super-robot enforcers invented to keep the budget of the State in check--- that will destroy the State if provoked.

Some of the major proposals in Republican Un-Governor Chris Christie's 2011 budget:


— Reduces state aid to primary and secondary K-12 schools by $820 million. Schools will lose up to 5 percent of their budgets. Districts where state aid is less than 5 percent will lose all that aid.

— Reduces state aid to colleges and universities by $175 million; eliminates aid to independent universities.

Property Taxes:

— Eliminates rebates for everyone in 2010.

— Gives reduced rebates to senior citizens, the disabled and low-income wage earners in April of 2011.

— Allows no one additional to join the "senior freeze" program, which lets low-income senior and disabled citizens lock in their property tax rates when they enroll.

— Proposes that rebate checks be converted to automatic property tax credits.

— Proposes that a 2.5 percent cap on property taxes be enacted for towns and schools. If towns or schools want to exceed the cap, they must get voter approval.

Income Taxes:

— Reduces the state tax credit for lower-income workers known as the Earned Income Tax Credit to 20 percent from 25 percent of the federal benefits. The eligibility would remain the same, but the credit would be lower.

Health Care:

— As of July 1, allows no more adults can enroll in the NJ FamilyCare program. The program offers free or subsidized health insurance coverage to low-income children and their parents.

— Closes two state-run hospitals, Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital in Glen Gardner — one of four such state-run facilities in the state — and Vineland-West Hospital.


— Approximately 1,300 state workers will face layoffs beginning in January. It is unclear how many of those are union workers and when the layoffs will occur.


— Skips a $3 billion pension payment to a system that is already underfunded by $46 billion.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March 14, 2010 Governor Christie Cuts The Day to Just 23 Hours

Governor Christie Cuts The Day to Just 23 Hours

In yet another Executive Order sure to rile clock and calendar makers, Governor Chris Christie issued Executive Order 247, cutting back an hour a day from the days in New Jersey.

“This will save New Jersey residents 365 hours every year, and at least $7.25 per hour per resident ----roughly a total of $23,067,361,250.00 for our state coffers. That’s a lot, I think,” said the spokesman for the governor.

Democratic legislative leadership vowed to request the New Jersey Supreme Court to issue a stay to the
Executive Order 247, and have the “Order only effect just Sunday, March 14,” and “to get the hour back by the fall in November.” This order particularly irked the Democratic leadership because of the governor signing the order to take place "between 2AM and 3AM" Sunday morning, "while New Jersey residents slept".


WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey (“State”) is confronting an unprecedented temporal crisis affecting all levels of government; and

WHEREAS, actual and anticipated time spent and utilized by the State continue to fall far below the amounts estimated in the Temporal Year 2010

NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHRIS CHRISTIE, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

That ONE-HOUR per day shall be removed from the days in New Jersey, commencing Sunday, March 14th, 2009.