Author Archive: Senator Loretta Weinberg

Transparency & The NJSE

On January 15 of this year I attended a “public” meeting of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority after being “tipped” off that they were planning to close the Izod Center in Bergen County. I say “tipped off”, because the public agenda for the meeting did not state they were planning that action.

The Commission members courteously listened to the many members of the public who had also been “tipped off”. and came to ask questions. There were no documents presented to the public (and from my observance none also to the Commissioners themselves). Commissioners then went into closed session and emerged later with a resolution autorizing the almost immediate closing. A majority voted yes, but one of the “No” votes came from Commissioner Leroy Jones who said, Commissioners had not received any information upon which to base a vote, and in fact had been notified only the day before that such an action was going to be taken. Certainly that raises questions of why there were any “Yes” votes with such little information.

Minutes of October and November of this past year state that the Izod was going to have a great 4th quarter. We have prior financial tables from NJSEA showing the Izod generally operating at a profit.

Happy New Year, and Thank You.

I wish our BJ community a wonderful 2015, and the continuation of the stamina to keep those voices strong for our shared progressive values.

I also want to thank Rosi and our wonderful staff writers for making us think and learn. This week it was the “radium girls”, aboout which I am embarrassed to say I did not know anything. Another chapter in women’s history.

I am looking forward to some exciting “new beginnings” with lots of celebrations of new office holders in Bergen County this coming week. We have very high hopes for our new County Executive James Tedesco. His first appointments have been great. Congratulations to Michele DiIorgio, Chief of Staff.  

Am privileged to participate in several swearings-in this coming week in Palisades Park, Leonia, Bogota. Tenafly, and the County as well as celebrating new councilmembers in Alpine.

It’s also going to be a new year of some personally exciting experiences for me. Celebrating one of those “big decade” birthdays by keynoting a Seattle, Washington CeaseFire conference and then flying to Los Angeles to talk to the west coast version of “Ready to Run” women’s gathering. In between, I will get to share the actual day with family and a few close friends in Calif. Not a bad way to begin the new year at a new age. Yes, life continues to be interesting, challenging, passionate, and productive even in the later years.

So thank you BJ for helping to make it so. Hope to do a few more columns than I’ve done this past year.

And lest we forget, the first order of legislative business is to try to override the very cynical veto by Christie of the PA Transparency & Accountability bill cosponsored by my Bergen collegues, Senator Bob Gordon and Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle. I have very few words left to describe how I feel about that other Governor across the river….you know, the one from my party.

So happy new year. We have lots of work to do.

Thank You Debbie Wasserman Schultz

I think she’s been a terrific DNC chair! Congresswoman Schultz led the DNC out of debt, she’s been accessible to those of us on a local level, and has visited New Jersey (and Bergen County) to help local candidates many times. I like her style

Who are these “guys” who are now critical of her for various reasons, including that she’s “ambitious”? How unlady-like of her. That’s certainly a charge that could not be leveled against any other politician. particularly those of the male gender.

Here’s a little anecdote that took place just a couple of weeks ago: Ms. Wasserman Schultz came to Bergen to campaign for Bergen County Executive candidate Jim Tedesco. I passed along to her aide a constituent email I received requesting some help from our DNC chair. The constituent not only received a prompt reply, but I received a copy.  Can’t say I have ever found national folks quite so responsive.

So Mme. Chair: if you need some sisters in the battle, please call me!

Congratulations to all our Primary Winners

But a special word to my colleague Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. You are the right woman at the right moment to become the first African American woman to represent New Jersey in the United States Congress. You have a strong and very clear Progressive voice, and it will echo loudly in those halls. Thank you for  standing up for all of us. We are proud of you, my sister birthday twin! We will be there to support you and to continue encouraging you on the road ahead.

A TV Production or an Investigative Committee?

The following is my personal observation on our Committee meetings thus far and does not represent any other Committee member or any joint agreements.

Just a word to many news writers and columnists who have raised questions about our Select Committe on Investigations. I know that there is a suggestion you (and maybe even the public) are all getting bored with the investigation. My apologies to those who feel that way, but that is not the goal of this committee.

Though every Committee meeting will not produce fireworks or a made for TV moment, each interview has given the Legislature and the public an important glimpse into the atmosphere which allowed this bizarre incident to be carried out. We’ve seen lines crossed between government and politics; we’ve seen an atomosphere where this kind of behavior was not only allowed, but perhaps was encouraged; we’ve seen how disengaged the PA leadership was. We know we need reform. And we still have some very important witnesses to “welcome” before the Committee

The Republicans (thank you particularly Assemblywoman Amy Handlin and Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll) joined in robust questioning of Commissioner Schuber on how engaged the Commissioners were (and perhaps are) in reigning in the Port Authority excesses. His answers speak for themselves. Assemblywoman Huttle questioned the PA culture, and Senator Gill questioned the undermining of the messengers rather than the issues being raised.

We are also aware of the need to control mounting legal bills, and are working to do that.

So be patient. Tune out if you choose. Tune in if you continue to be interested. But this Committee will continue to interview the various witnesses who might have played a role, or who just shirked their common responsibility to raise questions about alleged use of the busiest bridge in the world to carry out political retribution. Thank you to all the Committee members for their hard work and to our outstanding staff for their many hours of research and guidance.