Seeking government change, New Brunswick activists agree to wait for next year

Jerry Mercado on the steps of New Brunswick City Hall Wednesday evening.: Politicker photoJerry Mercado on the steps of New Brunswick City Hall Wednesday evening.: Politicker photo 

NEW BRUNSWICK - Community activists conceded momentary defeat tonight after the New Brunswick City Council secured a stay from a superior court judge to stop a ballot question from appearing on the Nov. 4th ballot.

But they vowed to fight on to get the ballot question placed on next year’s ballot, and in fact claimed renewed energy to topple what they see as an old and ineffectual structure.

"We are in need of change in the City of New Brunswick, and there is nothing they can do to stop us," said Jerry Mercado, a former unsuccessful candidate for city council, who now calls changing the form of government here mission number one.

Empower Our Neighborhoods (EON) wanted voters to consider altering New Brunswick’s form of representation from an all at-large council to a ward system, which would field elected officials from all of the city’s specific neighborhoods.

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Lautenberg and Menendez vote 'yes' on bailout measure

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park): Politicker file photoU.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park): Politicker file photoBoth New Jersey senators - Sen. Robert Menendez (D-Hoboken), and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park) - voted in favor of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout package, which the Senate passed tonight by a 74 to 25 margin.

In his statement issued shortly after he contributed to the bill’s passage, Lautenberg fingered President George W. Bush and deregulation as prime culprits in the financial crisis.

"It is outrageous that years of neglect by the Bush Administration, Washington Republicans and special interests have put our economy in peril while CEOs pocket millions at the expense of working families. Now we have to clean up their mess and, as economic news worsens each and every day, it is clear we need to act quickly and responsibly.

"We fought hard to make sure this economic recovery package was far stronger than the three-page blank check the Administration proposed, and as a result, today’s bill puts real limits on CEO compensation andSen. Robert Menendez (D-Hoboken)Sen. Robert Menendez (D-Hoboken) golden parachutes while establishing stronger oversight and more protections for homeowners and taxpayers. Importantly, this bill also helps New Jersey families with college tuition and property tax deductions, alternative energy tax credits and prevents more than a million taxpayers in our state from being hit by the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)."

Asked for a statement today about how he would vote on tonight’s bailout package, former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer demurred, and said he would convene a press conference on the matter on Thursday.

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Lautenberg accepts a debate invitation

Lautenberg accepts a debate invitation

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg has accepted a debate with opponent Dick Zimmer on NJN. 

But the debate is set for November 1st. 

That led Zimmer’s campaign to accuse Lautenberg of “running out the clock,” having turned down at least 10 prior invitations. 

Sound familiar?

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Bergen Republicans want to save 'home rule'

ROCHELLE PARK -- In this one square mile town of 5,000, two Republican freeholder candidates, several local elected officials and one conservative activist held a press conference today to rail Bergen County's Democratic government and what they characterized as its assault on home rule.

It's the latest campaign theme of Republicans Chris Calabrese, Paul Duggan and Jeff Heller, who are running for freeholder in what has the potential to be a competitive race against Democratic incumbents David Ganz, Bernadette McPherson and Vernon Walton.

The Republicans call it a "campaign to save small towns" - or, to be exact, the 35 small Bergen County municipalities that County Executive Dennis McNerney hopes will at least consider consolidation.

Bergen County is made up of 70 municipalities, and is often cited as the prime example of the "boroughitis" that prevailed in the late 19th century, when small boroughs split off from larger townships.  The Republicans present raised the specter of a large, multi-town government being run similarly to what they said were less transparent governments in big cities like Newark and Paterson.

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McSorley says Larkin is ducking OPRA requests

Republican Mercer County Sheriff candidate Jim McSorley said that three OPRA requests he filed last week for information about the sheriff’s office have either been ignored or have been answered with incomplete information.

McSorley, a retired state police captain who’s challenging incumbent Democrat Kevin Larkin, said that he was informed that the office has not kept a table of organization for the last three years.

“Each local police department in Mercer County has a table of organization to serve the same purpose. Even McDonald’s doesn’t run without a table of organization and the fact that Sheriff Larkin has been running his office in such a reckless manner for so many years once again proves his record of mismanagement,” said McSorley.

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Frelinghuysen to face Wyka in Parsippany

Temple Beth Am of Parsippany will host an 11th Congressional District candidates forum between 10 a.m. and noon on Sunday, Oct. 26.

U.S. Rep Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding) and his Democratic challenger, Tom Wyka, are scheduled to speak and answer questions from the audience.

The event is free and open to the public.

Frelinghuysen defeated Wyka in their 2006 matchup.

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Activists press council for ballot question re. government change in New Brunswick

A New Brunswick citizen action group called Empower Our Neighborhoods wants to put a question to voters about whether the city should change from all at-large representation on the city council to a ward system.

A judge initially certified the group’s 1,100 petitions to put the question on the Nov. 4th ballot, but the city council successfully requested a stay from Judge Heidi Willis Currier after the council and Empower Our Neighborhoods could not agree on the accompanying interpretive language on the ballot.

"The council's attorney asked for a stay in Superior Court on 9/22, two days before ballots were set to go to print with our question on it," said Empower Our Neighborhoods representative Charles Kratovil.

Marvin Brauth of Wilentz, Goldman, & Spitzer represents the city council in the case.

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Bruno vows to take union fight to the feds, if he must

Denied a shot to face CWA Local 1040 President Carolyn Wade when the elections committee determined that several of his ballot petitions were faulty, challenger Tom Bruno says he means to exhaust every internal remedy before issuing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor.

"I’m going to keep plugging away because people should have a right to nominate a person of their choosing," said Bruno, whose campaigned vigorously throughout the summer for a chance to go up against Wade in September before the elections committee tossed him.

As Wade prepares for her swearing-in ceremony for another term at the Trump Taj Mahal next week, Bruno continues to protest how the president of nearly 20 years and her allies derailed his candidacy on a technicality.

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The Back Room

Sweeney goes on offense

Days after Jersey City Mayor (and 2017 gubernatorial hopeful) Steve Fulop declared his support and fundraising devotion to South Jersey Congressional candidate Bill Hughes, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) see-sawed onto Fulop's turf with his own "I can find pockets of love in every part of this state including JC" statement.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 18, 2014

Fulop endorses Smith in Bayonne mayoral raceBAYONNE - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop parachuted into the Bayonne mayoral race on Thursday night by endorsing incumbent Mayor Mark Smith."It is a pleasure to be with you here, Mark," said Fulop to a crowd of more than 125 supporters at a...

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Op-Ed

Paterson can flourish with a second chance

By ASLON GOOW, SR. I have spent the past three decades raising a family, building a business, and working to improve our Paterson communities.  I am proud of those accomplishments.  In 2002, I spoke at an expungement... Read More >

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"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop

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