Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Back in May

Due to work & travel, I'm taking a little hiatus from here.

I'll be back May 3rd.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Service Academy Information Days

This is from the latest Garrett Gazette:

This month, I will be hosting three 5th Congressional District ServiceAcademy Information Days. These events are designed to help raisestudent awareness of the opportunities available at our United StatesService Academies. All interested high school students, guidancecounselors and parents within the 5th Congressional District of NewJersey are invited to come and meet with representatives from each ofour nation's service academies.

I strongly believe that this event will greatly benefit our young peopleas they begin to plan their future beyond high school. Attending a Service Academy is a great honor and any student accepted to theseschools should feel proud of this great accomplishment. I hope that thisservice information day will help answer questions for our interestedstudents and parents.

The first session will be held on Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 2 pm. Details regarding this event and the other two events in May are below. If you have any questions regarding a Congressional Appointment to a UnitedStates Service Academy please feel free to contact my Newton office at973-300-2000.

Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 2-4pm - Northern Valley Regional High School,150 Central Avenue, Old Tappen, NJ 07675 in the South Gym.

Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 10am-12pm - High Point Regional High School,299 Pigeon Hill Road, Sussex, NJ 07461.

Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 2-4pm - Warren County Vocational TechnicalSchool, 1500 Route 57, Washington, NJ 07882 in the cafeteria.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Video Fun

Love him or hate him, Representative Scott Garrett is always pretty clear about his philosophy about government. So, with that in mind, I compressed his thoughts shared during the speech I linked to earlier into under a minute. Enjoy.

Garrett @ Young America's Foundation

This was a particularly verbose for Representative Scott Garrett. He took the floor several times, and also addressed the Young America's Foundation. Although off on his facts at times, he was actually funny at times.

He does reemphasise his desire to end the government, cut corporate taxes, and lays out his opposition to the economic stimulus package.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Shulman On Blue Jersey Radio

Democratic hopeful Rabbi Dennis Shulman will be on Blue Jersey radio, tonight at 8:30. Now that they've moved the time, I might actually be able to listen to the show live.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Garrett Shmorgishborg

So much to read, this is a round-up of Representative Scott Garrett and other news from the web:

*A lot is being made of the polls released by Camille Abate, and particularly Dennis Shulman, each shows Garrett being unknown and unpopular in the District, causing CQ Politics to remove our District from the Safe Republican category.

*Blue Jersey's Scott in NJ took the time to compile a great chart tracking the money race. It's no different surprise Garrett holds a large lead in cash on hand.

  1. Garrett: $457,521.36
  2. Shulman: $245,549.80
  3. Abate: $103,193.05
*Garrett railed against government spending over at The Hill Blog. He and his colleagues at the RSC hope to introduce an amendment to tie spending increases to growth in the GDP. This is one way to defund the Iraq war in a hurry.

*Garrett also used a bit of revisionist history in his Op-Ed calling for the end to the AMT. He neglected to mention a patch could have been passed much sooner than it was, however Garrett was one who led the charge to protect a loophole enjoyed by less than 60,000 people at the expense of the millions impacted by the AMT.

That's it for now...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Day and Voting

Hopefully, I'll actually get out of the office in time to vote in today's school board elections. Since I already paid my taxes, I'm good on that front. However, for others you know today is the day. More on taxes later, as my favorite Congressman had something to say about it yesterday.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Democrats, Garrett and Taxes

Over at Blue Jersey this week there was a conversation about whether or not a Democrat could take the Fifth. A number of ideas crossed people's minds, largely centered around Representative Scott Garrett's social voting record. One thing that was missing, both from the comments on the original post and the response from Dennis Shulman's campaign, was a huge issue here in the Fifth: Taxes.

Our District is one of the most heavily taxed in the nation, and anyone running against Garrett is going to have to talk about it to get people listening.

Let's be honest, every time a Democrat talks about raising taxes on the most wealthy Americans to fund a program, they're talking about our District. Garrett's opposition to government expansion rings true with a lot of people, because they know they'd end up paying for it and haven't been happy with the return on investment at a lot of levels.

According to the Census Bureau, 46.9% of the families in our District make over $100,000 a year. This compares with 22.6% of the nation as a whole. The more popping figure are families making over $200,000. The nation has 4.4% at that level, where our District has 14.8%.

Although some could argue cost of living adjustments would be factored in, anybody who deals with the AMT knows that won't save our District from a higher bill. While Garrett has failed to deliver relief from the AMT, and actually voted against patching it at least once, it doesn't change the fact roughly 20% of the District are on the verge of having to pay it.

It is a primary issue for many voters in the District, and although completely ineffective in actually getting anything done to fix the AMT, people like what Garrett has to say about abolishing the AMT.

What also hurts Dems in our District is what happens with the State regarding property taxes. According to the Star Ledger, 17 of the top 50 towns in average property tax burden fall within the Fifth District. Camille Abate addresses the fact unfunded mandates and such raise people's property taxes when Federal dollars don't come through, but it's the last point on her issues page.

Garrett's philosophy of ending many Federal programs and returning "control" to the State is probably where Dems can make their greatest inroads. Not only has our return on the Federal tax dollar not improved with Garrett, but his voting record and statements are such that he wants more of the property tax burden to fall on our District's shoulders.

That's all well and good for a guy who has been accused of using a farm subsidy to lower his own property taxes. Since, supposedly, he's not paying his fair share now, it won't affect his bottom line if his neighbors have to pay more.

I guess my point in all of this is that Garrett's greatest strength, his verbal stand on taxes, needs to be turned into his greatest weakness. Things like his votes for deficit popping budgets; votes against small business tax cuts for owners in our District when they're among the highest taxed in the nation; and his votes against funding that will have to be replaced with property tax dollars are really how to make people rethink their support for him.

Garrett talks a good line on taxes, and any Dem that wants to take him down is going to have to show that Garrett is just that: Talk. Once a candidate establishes that, and people are listening, the rest of Garrett's record can be discussed.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

NJ Can Save Some $$$

After getting my sample ballot last night for the school board elections next week, I'm even more convinced a way New Jersey could immediately save money is to consolidate elections.

My ballot has three names for three positions, and two budgets. For this, every registered voter in town had to be mailed a ballot. Not a postcard, but a whole folded ballot. I know it's the law, and people should be informed of their choices, but it seems like a bit of overkill.

How much did that cost to send out to every voter in town? How much is the cost to get the machines ready and set up and oversee the election?

I'm willing to bet if someone was willing to do the work, they'd find out the cost per vote to run these little elections is extremely high. I've heard most of the excuses about why this can't be done, and they're isn't a single one that could stand up to a mild breeze.

Let's save some cash and consolidate elections.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pink Murray

Big hat tip to Eric over at Red Jersey for finding this one. A serenade to Dr. Murray Sabrin, candidate seeking the Republican nomination for the Senate, done in the key of Pink Floyd:

Filing Day Fun

Well, those hoping Representative Scott Garrett might face a challenge in the Republican primary have been disappointed. Garrett will be running unopposed in June. However, there were a lot of interesting occurrences:

On the Congressional level, previously announced candidates Camille Abate and Dennis Shulman were joined by Roger Bacon of Phillipsburg. This permitted Wally Edge to make a joke.


On a more local level, the Real Bergen Democrats are mounting a challenge to Joe Ferriero's BCDO. Here's how The Record explained the situation:
Freeholder incumbents David Ganz, Bernadette McPherson and Vernon Walton, backed by Ferriero, will face a challenge from former Hasbrouck Heights Councilwoman Carol Skiba, Tenafly Councilwoman Carol Hoernlein and newcomer Aishaah Rasul.

In the county clerk race, former Westwood Councilwoman Gail Frasco of the Real Bergen Democrats will go up against Diane Testa, Fairview's borough attorney and administrator. Republican incumbent Kathleen Donovan does not have a primary challenger.


"This is not a reflection on the [BCDO's] county candidates, since this is being done purely for political purposes to get as many county committee seats in the 37th District," said Bill Maer, a spokesman for the BCDO.

No, I'm fairly certain it's a reflection on the BCDO and how it's run, and by extension how the county is run.

Carol Hoernlein, for one, has been fighting the fight against Papa Joe for a long time. I highlighted a blog post by her last year, and good government types on the Democratic side of the aisle should be happy to have her on the ballot.

I write about the ills of pay to play, probably not enough, and anyone who signed up for the Democratic primary to vote for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton should think about voting in the June primary. When I was on the trail in 2006, I would often say the corruption people were furious about down in Washington was going on right here, but with Papa Joe playing the role of Tom DeLay.

Should the Real Democrats fail at knocking out Freeholders Bernadette "EnCap" McPherson or David Ganz, the Republicans will have their own slate going in November. However, it won't be decided with out a primary of their own. Once again, The Record:
Republicans are not immune to a primary contest as two freeholder candidates aligned with U.S. Senate candidate Murray Sabrin, including his wife, will face off against a slate endorsed by the Bergen County Republican Organization.

Florence Sabrin and Paul Mladjenovic will vie for the two seats against Christopher Calabrese and Jeffrey Heller.

It should be interesting to see how this all plays out. The Record has a complete list of people filing to run in the June primary in Bergen.


Both candidates for Freeholder, current Republican Freeholder Phillip Crabb and Democrat Donna Griff will be running unopposed in June.

When I find info regarding Passaic and Warren counties, I'll post it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sussex for Abate

The New Jersey Herald has the story: Camille Abate won the support of the Sussex County Democratic Committee.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Shulman for Lautenberg

As promised, here's what I got from Dennis Shulman's campaign.

Dennis Shulman's Statement of Support for Senator Frank LautenbergDemarest, NJ –

"Senator Frank Lautenberg is a strong leader who understands the challenges facing New Jersey – be it our endangered economy, the war in Iraq, or our environment – and is helping lead the charge in Congress against the failed policies of Bush and Cheney.

When I was deciding whether to seek public office, I sought role models who had served their communities admirably before seeking federal office. Senator Frank Lautenberg's legacy of service to New Jersey as both a private citizen and as a Senator served as an inspiration to me, and I am grateful that he is running for re-election and will be honored to run alongside him this fall."

Dr. Dennis Shulman has gained international recognition for his 30 years of work as a psychologist, educator, and author. An ordained rabbi for five years and blind since childhood, he has lived in New Jersey's Fifth District for more than 25 years with his wife, Dr. Pamela Tropper, an obstetrician. They have two adult daughters.

Additional background on Dr. Dennis Shulman and his challenge to Scott Garrett:

DCCC Targeting Garrett:"

General Clark Ready to Do Battle for Shulman," Roll Call,

"Political History in the Works," Northern Valley Suburbanite, "

'Time to take a stand,' and Friends Join In," Worcester Telegram,


Lautenberg, Andrews, Shulman, Abate

With Representative Rob Andrews announcement he was planning on taking on Senator Frank Lautenberg in the Democratic Primary, and a Democratic civil war likely to ensue, one has to wonder what impact it could have on the Dems fighting to take on Representative Scott Garrett.

Back in November, when State Senator Loretta Weinberg and "Papa" Joe Ferriero were ratcheting up their war over pay-to-play, both Camille Abate and Dennis Shulman sought to distance themselves from the conflict. From PolitickerNJ:
"I'm not coming down on either side," said Shulman during a conference call with reporters. "...As a psychologist who works with families and as a rabbi, I have a lot of experience trying to repair splits in families and people, and I'm hoping that this election will be an opportunity to repair some of the split not only between Democrats and Republicans but within the county as well as within the party."


"I know that Joe is the head of the Bergen county organization, and I know Loretta is a respected member of the party," said Abate. "I'm sure that they all have on good faith a situation where they believe in different things, which happens between decent people sometimes.. I don't really have a stance on that. My focus has really been to beat Scott Garrett."

As someone who doesn't see a lot of grey as to whether pay to play is wrong, to be honest, I was grossly disappointed in both answers. However, the pundits all agreed it was smart politics because both were courting the BCDO nomination and so little of Weinberg's district falls within the Fifth.

Now that Shulman won the BCDO line, and the endorsement of Representative Steve Rothman, it gets a bit more complicated. Rothman has threatened to go toe to toe with Papa Joe if he backs Andrews. So who does Shulman go with? Abate, with the machine already working against her, could go either way. If I hear from the campaigns, I'll post it here.

An open endorsement of Andrews seems unlikely but, as one commenter on Politicker noted, State Senator Paul Sarlo's endorsement means the BCDO machine will quietly be hoping Andrews wins.

On a side note, if Rothman has the power to mount a good government drive for the BCDO, why he's waiting I don't understand.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Garrett vs. Combating AIDS

As he said he would, Representative Scott Garrett voted against our efforts to combat AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. As I pointed out in the post above, Garrett's reasoning leaves a lot to be desired.

Even though Garrett was one of 116 to vote against the final bill, he was one of only ten to vote against the following amendment:
An amendment numbered 4 printed in House Report 110-562 to direct the Coordinator of United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS Globally and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to expand their plan for strengthening health systems of host countries by allowing for postsecondary educational institutions, particularly in Africa, to collaborate with United States postsecondary educational institutions and specifically historically black colleges and universities.

This is one of those issues where Garrett had to know the bill was going to pass with or without his vote, so why not vote to make the program better? If there is something Garrett said as to why allowing their universities to work with our universities to enhance the effectiveness of the program I'll post it here.