There is an alternative to gerrymandering ?>

There is an alternative to gerrymandering

After every decennial census, there is an opportunity for the state party in power to redraw the boundaries of its voting districts to strengthen its position for the next ten years.  There are myriad strategies: contain your opponents so they always win one seat, never more.  Dilute your opposition so they never win a seat.  The result is tortuous boundaries that defy any other explanation. These strategies include strange combinations of urban, suburban, and rural districts whose commonality is invisible…

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Penn Station Debacle ?>

Penn Station Debacle

Penn Station is the busiest passenger transportation facility in the Western Hemisphere. It’s a disaster. It is a low-ceilinged underground facility with inferior facilities for both passengers and the trains from three lines that use the terminal. Perverse incentive Amtrak, the owner of the station, has a perverse incentive: make life worse for the commuter and be rewarded with more money and more power. Our politicians are unwittingly supporting a continuation of this unhappy situation. Amtrak says it is capable…

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Murphy on Guns ?>

Murphy on Guns

Phil Murphy, Democratic contender for NJ governor, has taken a strong position against guns. There’s nothing surprising in that; it’s consistent with the rest of his poll-driven campaign.  His folks polled likely NJ voters, who said they want tight gun control.   Those answers went straight into his platform. New Jersey has a long history of gun control, typically adopting measures before the feds.   It’s part of the NJ Democratic mantra.  Whether gun control is a good campaign issue…

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Pensions for NJ Teachers ?>

Pensions for NJ Teachers

Pensions are a great. I wish I had one. They used to be standard in the U.S. Most every good job had one. Many defined-benefit pension plans offered healthcare benefits, too. What industry saw and government refused to see was that retirement ages haven’t changed much, but life expectancy has. A teacher in New Jersey who works 35 years can expect another 24 years of pension and healthcare. It’s a great deal, one that the NJEA fights hard to maintain….

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Job Portals ?>

Job Portals

Five million jobs in the United States are unfilled. A job vacancy is an imaginary entity. It means the boss sent a requisition to HR. It doesn’t mean she intends to fill it. It doesn’t mean there is anyone out there who can meet the requirements for less than double the intended salary. Nevertheless, some amount of work was required to paste the words “must have excellent written and verbal communications skills” into the requisition. American companies believe they are…

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Kaper-Dale for NJ Governor 2017 ?>

Kaper-Dale for NJ Governor 2017

Seth Kaper-Dale, pastor of the Reformed Church of Highland Park has tossed his cap into the 2017 NJ gubernatorial race as a Green Party candidate. Section 8 Housing Kaper-Dale believes that vouchered housing should be available in every NJ municipality. Deportations Kaper-Dale advocates a process be installed that provides a hearing before any parent is deported. It is unclear whether this is a matter of state or federal jurisdiction Driver’s Licenses for Aliens Kaper-Dale advocates issuance of NJ driver’s licenses for all adults, loosening…

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NJ Governor Candidates and PARCC ?>

NJ Governor Candidates and PARCC

As the New Jersey Governor’s race heats up, the candidates are staking out their positions on PARCC – the multi-state consortium that is sponsoring common standardized tests. The kids hate PARCC.  They hate all standardized tests.  No surprise there. Parents listen to children.  Many parents are opposed too.  It didn’t help that during the roll-out scores were low, frustrating kids and parents alike. The teachers union, NJEA, dislikes PARCC testing.  As an organization, it is opposed to any initiative to…

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New Jersey Election Law 2017 ?>

New Jersey Election Law 2017

Executive Summary If you wonder why Trenton acts so strangely, you can start with a look at our state ‘s Constitution and election law. Much of what happens in the statehouse is easily explained by where election money comes from and where it goes. New Jersey: Strong Governor, Weak Legislature The New Jersey Constitution empowers a strong governor, who has responsibility to write the budget and manage it. The legislature has only the responsibility to consent to the governor ‘s…

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NJ Gas Tax and Pensions ?>

NJ Gas Tax and Pensions

The New Jersey Legislature raised the state motor fuels tax on 1 November 2016.  A week later, voters endorsed a measure to dedicate those gas taxes to transportation projects.  The combination of those events under NJ law makes possible the issuance of $12 billion in Transportation Trust Fund bonds. It was only a matter of time before politicians started scheming to capture some of the billion dollar a year revenue flow from the gas tax increase.  Steve Sweeney has proposed…

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Brinson for NJ Governor 2017 ?>

Brinson for NJ Governor 2017

Monica Brinson, resident of Hasbrouck Heights, graduate of Centenary College, and a pharmaceutical executive, has thrown her hat into the NJ gubernatorial race. Platform Brinson has made no public statements about her platform. Demcratic Party There is no indication yet that Brinson has secured the support of the Democratic Party. Is Brinson serious? It’s going to take a lot of work to beat Phil Murphy, Goldman Sachs executive who served as the U.S. ambassador to Germany.  Murphy cranked up his…

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