The NJDSC Week in Review for June 3, 2011
Welcome to the latest installment of the NJDSC's week in review. Here's a look back at some of the news from this past week and toward the end, some of the upcoming events around the state next week:
Christie flies "Hypocrisy One" for staff, personal and political travel
- Philadelphia Inquirer: High-flying Christie draws fire over ‘Coptergate.’
- Bloomberg: Christie slammed for chopper ride to son's game.
- Chairman Wisniewski reacted to news of the Governor's trips on Hypocrisy One: “He’s a governor who as U.S. attorney would rail against elected officials blurring the line. But this governor has defective memory and selective outrage.” More from Wisniewski in the Wall Street Journal: “He took the helicopter for no other reason that he could go to meet his donors in an impressive style.”
- Senate Majority Leader Buono: "This is a serious breach of public trust and necessitates a full accounting of his use of government resources, particularly, the state police helicopter. The Attorney General and U.S. Attorney should demand all records of the governor's travel to ensure that he has not made a habit of using taxpayer dollars for personal or political travel."
- Senator Weinberg appeared on the Ed Show to discuss Coptergate. (Video)
- You can see more video coverage of the Governor's joyride here, here and here.
- NY Times: Woe to the politician who claims to be fiscally responsible, in touch with regular folk, and turns out to have some pricey habits.
- LA Times: Under fire, Christie will reimburse state for use of police helicopter.
- AP Video: "He's wasting money we aren't supposed to have."
- Bloomberg: “It’s contrary to the image he’s created as an average guy. Many parents may like to helicopter to their kids’ game, but they can’t.”
- Chairman Wisniewski responded to the Governor's press conference where he admitted guilt and tried to pass blame: “Chris Christie has now taken his arrogance to the next level, first trying to claim he was assisting the police by helping them with training time, then attacking those who questioned his use of the state helicopter as ‘hacks’ and finally concluding that all his travel was professional because ‘the line is blurred.’ The fact is, it’s the Governor himself who has blurred the line and today admitted that he used taxpayer resources to attend personal and political events. The bottom line is, people realize that this is an inappropriate use of public property and the Governor has finally acknowledged his guilt by agreeing to pay for his inappropriate use of state taxpayer resources.”
- Star Ledger Editorial: This issue is hypocrisy. This is a gov who holds a press conference every time he catches a public official eating lobster on the public dime, or getting free rides on E-ZPass. As prosecutor & governor, he's given speech after speech telling public officials they should stay a mile away from even perception of self-dealing.
- NY Times Editorial: Mr. Christie has built his image on tough talk about protecting the ordinary taxpayer. Does that taxpayer now need protection from the highflying governor?
- Courier Post Editorial: To impose austerity on such levels across state government, asking tens of thousands of public workers and millions of New Jerseyans who've lost their property tax rebates to share in the sacrifice, means the person asking has to lead by example.
- Trenton Times Editorial: The people, however, do not have recourse to a $12.5 million aircraft to get to their kids’ games or a limo waiting to transport them 100 yards to a ball field. Those are luxuries more befitting the state’s wealthiest residents, whom Gov. Christie continues to protect from the so-called “millionaires tax.”
- Asbury Park Press Editorial: this should be a wake-up call to the governor to practice the “shared sacrifice” he preaches.
- New Jersey Newsroom: Editorials take a bat to Gov Christie for using state police helicopter to fly to high school baseball games.
- Assemblyman Moriarty asked: Where do we line up for our free helicopter rides?
- Stile: Fiscal warrior Christie flies into enemy's sights.
- Media Matters: Busy Cheering Chris Christie, Fox News Ignores His Helicopter Debacle.
- Messaging Matters: It's the Hypocrisy Stupid.
What is Christie Hiding?
- WSJ: Christie Holds Back on Helicopter Travel Records.
- Courier Post: Legislator calling for hearing into Christie's helicopter use.
- Atlantic City Press: State Police asked to explain Christie's helicopter use.
- AP: "Based on the limited information released from your office, it appears one of the flights was for the governor to attend a charity event at his wife's employer, one flight appears to be just for the lieutenant governor, a couple flights were apparently for TV appearances, and lastly, a couple of flights appear to be for transporting support staff to Atlantic City and the Meadowlands."
Christie continues Verbal Assault on Women
- The latest female legislator to be targeted by Christie's verbal assault was Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle, who the Governor called a "jerk."
- This latest outburst follows the Governor calling Speaker Oliver a liar, accusing Assemblywoman Watson Coleman of being responsible for a murder and calling for "the bat" to be taken out on Senator Weinberg.
- Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle: "I'm disappointed that the governor resorted to name-calling but I'm not surprised given his pattern of abusive language towards those who disagree with him."
- Assembly Majority Leader Cryan: "This governor needs to learn some decency. He instinctively resorts to insult when legitimately criticized. Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle is an effective and caring legislator who has called attention to the governor's abuse of taxpayer resources. Unfortunately, he is unable to discuss things like a grown up."
- Patrick Murray: "Chris Christie's female troubles."
Democrats Continue to Fight Christie's Medicaid Plan which says family making $6,000 per year too rich
- Chris Christie: $6,000 a year is too much income to qualify for Medicaid.
- Assembly Speaker Oliver: "Do we accept . . . slashing Medicaid? That is not where we should be going here."
- The Hill: Menendez says Dems won't back Medicaid cuts.
- The Ed Show spoke with a NJ Medicaid recipient who stands to lose her health benefits under the cuts planned by Gov. Christie.
- Atlantic City Press: The New Jersey proposal would sharply reduce the income threshold needed for new enrollees to qualify for Medicaid, dropping that from 133 percent of the federal poverty threshold to between 25 and 30 percent. For a family of three, that translates into lowering the yearly income eligibility ceiling from $24,645 to between $4,633 and $5,559, and from $39,887 to between $7,498 and $8,997 for a family of six.
- Assemblyman Burzichelli called the proposal to lower the threshold “pennywise and pound-foolish. The income threshold essentially shuts the program down to a large group of people who need it,”
- The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee will meet to conduct a roundtable discussion with invited stakeholders on the impact of the Governor’s proposed Medicaid Comprehensive Waiver, which will dramatically change eligibility criteria for New Jersey’s health care safety net programs, Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare.
Calls for Christie to return raided clean energy funds
- Reuters: Call for NJ Governor to Repay $65 Million to Carbon Fund.
- Baltimore Sun: NJ's exit from greenhouse pact a step backward.
- Senate Majority Leader Buono and Assemblywoman Stender: NJ must stay on target in environmental efforts.
Honoring Sacrifice on Memorial Day
- Chairman Wisniewski: “As many enjoy this Memorial Day weekend, it’s important to remember and honor our Veterans and their families who have made the ultimate sacrifice. They were willing to give up all the things we associate with home and family because they saw the importance of preserving what our nation stands for. Our servicemen and servicewomen have a long and proud history that we should honor every day, but particularly on this one.”
- Reacting to Sarah Palin's bus tour traveling on Memorial Day, Chairman Wisniewski said: "Today should be about honoring the service of our veterans, not celebrating the political ambitions of Sarah Palin.
- At a Press Conference on Memorial Day, Senator Menendez discussed his efforts to update a Defense Department policy on women in ground combat units to make sure female service members are given the same recognition and opportunities as men. The Senator said the policy, known as the “combat exclusion policy,” blocks women from being assigned to ground combat units and from being recognized as combat troops.
- You can see VIDEO of Congressman Pascrell speaking at a Memorial Day ceremony in Belleville.
- Congressman Pallone met veterans of Iraq & Afghanistan who re-enlisted in Marines and said there was a huge display of patriotism at the Sayreville Memorial Day Parade.
- Congressman Rothman delivered Memorial Day Addresses in Englewood, North Arlington, and Teaneck.
Christie Administration continues to ignore facts in their stories
- Asbury Park Press: Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said "private-sector jobs are being created — 31,000 of them in the last two months.” Not exactly. Labor statistics show that the net number of private-sector jobs created in New Jersey in the last two months was 17,300 — 13,400 in April, 3,900 in March. To get to 31,000 jobs, you would have to ignore private-sector jobs that were eliminated.
Democrats Fight To Protect Medicare From GOP Plans To End Program
- Senator Lautenberg told a roomful of seniors "We want to send a message to the Tea Party Republicans in Washington: keep your hands off Medicare."
- Chairman Wisniewski: “We as a country, as a society, are judged by a lot of standards, but I think the most important one that any society is judged by is how we treat our most vulnerable, how we treat the folks who have nowhere else to turn.”
- Assemblyman Diegnan: “The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that the Republicans go after Medicare and Social Security first, whereas we look at them is as the last thing that should be touched.”
- Blue Jersey: Menendez vows to defend "Medicare as we know it." The Senator told reporters that Republicans' plan to turn Medicaid into a block grant and slash the program by more than $700 billion is just as unpalatable to Senate Democrats.
- Congressman Andrews pointed out how the Ryan proposal would double healthcare spending for the typical 65 year old. The Congressman said the Republicans have to drop their demand to destroy Medicare and work with Democrats to find reasonable spending cuts instead. (Video) You can see more video of Congressman Andrews discussing Medicare here. (Video)
- Senator Lautenberg called for higher bus safety standards on Good Morning NY. (Video)
- PolitickerNJ: Menendez says he wants oil company subsidies on table.
- Congressman Holt announced that three area organizations will share $3.4 million in federal AmeriCorps grants to place and compensate volunteers in soup kitchens, elementary schools and environmental education programs.
- A floor fight led by Congressman Pascrell led to a bipartisan 333-87 vote Wednesday to restore $320 million of the $460 million that Republicans wanted to cut from grants for local fire departments.
- Congressman Pallone announced that Monmouth Beach’s eroded shoreline will receive a much-needed restoration later this year when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins an extensive beach replenishment project.
- An amendment from Congressman Holt would provide $20 million for Veterans Outreach efforts: “On an average day, America loses 18 of our veterans to suicide. These tragic deaths can be prevented, but only if veterans can access the trained, compassionate counseling they need and deserve. This new funding will help the VA convey a crucial message to America’s veterans: You are not alone. If you have suffered such trauma in service to this country that you are considering suicide, America stands ready to help you.”
- The Hill: Congressman Pallone is pushing back against proposals to curb medical imaging tests paid by Medicare, arguing that they could restrict access to "life-saving medical tools.
- Congressman Andrews said there was not a competitive bidding process in this area of defense procurement.
- The Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors (EBCBOR) recently discussed local real estate issues with Congressman Rothman during the National Association of Realtors Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.
- Congressman Sires introduced the Safe Building Codes Incentive Act, H.R. 2069 which would provide additional post-disaster relief in the aftermath of a severe storm for those states with strong statewide building codes.
- Congressman Payne and members of the Congressional Black Caucus are visiting Hartford for a three-day celebration of the 200th birthday of noted author Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Under the Dome
- Legislation to return the date of the February presidential primary election to June, saving millions of dollars in elections-related costs, was approved by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.
- New Jersey became the first state in the nation to mandate every newborn will be screened for congenital heart disease under a bill signed into law The new law is the first of its kind to pass on a national scale, mandates pulse ox testing - a simple, non-invasive, low-cost measure to help detect the most common birth defect, congenital heart disease, in newborns.
- Star Ledger: N.J. lawmakers, union officials ask Christie to reconsider NJN management transfer plan.
- Assembly-approved legislation to prohibit the Christie administration from burying a historic archeological dig alongside the State House was advanced by a Senate panel.
- School board members in New Jersey will be required to pass criminal background checks under legislation signed into law. The new law disqualifies anyone convicted of certain crimes from serving on a board of education or charter school board.
- Legislation requiring the state to provide an online clearinghouse of information for nonprofit organizations that provide services in New Jersey has now become law.
- Legislation to ensure unemployed New Jerseyans can understand and obtain their jobless benefits continues advancing toward law.
- Gasoline retailers in New Jersey would be able to offer discounts, coupons and premiums under legislation advancing in the Assembly.
- Senator Whelan introduced legislation designed to close a loophole under current law that prohibits eligible veterans who purchase a new home after October 1 from receiving the veteran’s property tax deduction for which they are entitled on their new home.
- June 5:
Jersey Gay Pride Festival 2011, Asbury Park
12:00 PM The Park in front of the Convention Center, Ocean & Sunset, Asbury Park
- June 6:
Fundraiser for Denise Farina
Candidate for Atlantic County 3rd Dist. Freeholder
3117 Jasmine Court, Mays Landing
- June 7:
Fundraiser and Campaign kickoff for 24th District candidates Ed Selby for Senate, Leslie Huhn and Jim Nye for Assembly.
St. Moritz on White Deer Plaza in Sparta, NJ.
Monmouth County Democrats and Hazlet Democratic Club Primary Day Dinner.
Matawan Italian American Club, Airport Plaza, 1374 REAR Rt. 36, Hazlet, NJ 07730 (In the Rear of Airport Plaza adjacent to the MVC - look for the double doors)
This is a free event.
WHELAN - COOPER - TYNER
2nd Legislative District Campaign Kick Off
Atlantic City Country ClubShore Rd., Northfield
$500.00 Sponsor, $250.00 Patron, $100.00 Supporter
- June 8:
Assemblywoman Elease Evans Birthday Fundraiser
Fundraiser for Dennis Munoz
Candidate for Atlantic County Sheriff
Ducktown Tavern, Atlantic City
- June 10:
Fundraiser in Support of Freeholder Mallet
Home of Gordon Gemma, 68 Seneca Place, Oceanport, NJ
Suggested Donation: $50 per person
- June 11:
Coastal Monmouth Democrats Ice Cream Party
Fireman's Field, Oakhurst (off of Larkin Park)
Campaign Training for Candidates
Passaic County Democratic Committee Headquarters, 668 McBride Ave., Woodland Park
- June 12:
Ocean County Candidates and County Committee Meeting
630 Atlantic City Boulevard (Route 9)
Bayville, NJ 08721
- June 14:
Middlesex County Democratic Organization Reorganization Meeting
The Pines Manor
2085 Route 27, Edison
Passaic County Committee Meeting
Elks, 775 Clifton Avenue, Clifton
- June 15:
Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik Caribbean Night
Westmount County Club, 728 Rifle Camp Road, Woodland Park
- June 16:
Monmouth County Democrats Summer Kick-Off Cocktail Party
Parker House, First Avenue, Sea Girt, NJ
$65/per person. Sponsorship opportunities available.
To RSVP or for more information please call 732-739-8888.
Somerset County Democratic Committee Comedy and Cocktails With comedian Jeff Kreisler
185 Madisonville Rd, Basking Ridge
6-7pm VIP Reception with Jeff Kreisler -Cost: $500 including a one hour open bar
7-9pm General reception and performance -Cost: $100 General Admission
Fundraiser for Doug Dickinson
Candidate for Atlantic County 5th Dist. Freeholder
Knights of Columbus Hall 243 St Louis Ave., Egg Harbor City
- June 18:
Reception for Congressional Candidate Ed Potosnak
Home of Arnold and Roberta Krumholz, Warren, NJ
Special Guest Congressman Barney Frank
Support the New Jersey Democratic State Committee
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We will continue to have updates about news from our elected officials and the many campaigns across the state. There will certainly be more to come next week. Have a great weekend.
John Wisniewski, Chairman
New Jersey Democratic State Committee