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Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Final NJ Transit union ratifies new contract

Conductors on NJ Transit trains ratified a contract on Saturday that brings to a close protracted negotiations and derails the threat of a strike.

The yes vote ends a series of labor talks between NJ Transit and its train, bus and police-department unions that had dragged on for more than five years.

The conductors, Local 60 of the United Transportation Union, approved their contract by a vote of 545-322, according to the union. Details of the contract were unavailable Saturday.

Earlier the group had rejected a pact that met most of their demands, including a 21-percent pay raise through 2019, retroactive pay and a cap on employees’ health insurance costs.

Read more: http://www.northjersey.com/news/final-nj-transit-union-ratifies-new-contract-1.1634273

Another $20M needed for Bergen County upgrades

At $147 million, it’s been the most expensive capital project in Bergen County history — a sweeping plan highlighted by a new public works garage in Paramus and a new justice center in Hackensack.

And now, officials acknowledge, they could need $20 million more to get it all done.

While the money has covered four of the five major components of the project, there is not enough to cover the final phase: the renovation of the domed courthouse that is the icon of the county seat.

Officials say there are a number of reasons funding ran out before the courthouse renovations could begin, including a lawsuit, add-ons to the scope of the work and construction delays. There have also been allegations — leveled and denied along partisan lines — that the project was underfunded from the beginning.

Read more: http://www.northjersey.com/news/another-20m-needed-for-bergen-county-upgrades-1.1634290

DNC, America needs another Barbara Jordan 'common destiny' speech


"A spirit of harmony will survive in America only if each of us remembers," Barbara Jordan said in her keynote address to the Democratic National Convention no July 12, 1976, "when bitterness and self-interest seem to prevail, that we share a common destiny."

As the Democrats gather in Philadelphia they would be wise to avoid rancor and divisiveness and revisit Jordan's words delivered decades earlier at another time of profound trouble for the nation.


Barbara Jordan, who died just two weeks before her 60th birthday in 1996, was a politician, educator, teacher, lawyer and champion of civil rights. She broke down the barriers of race and gender in a distinguished list of American "firsts."

She was the first African-American since Reconstruction to be elected to the Texas Senate, the first female African-American from the South to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Read more: http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/07/america_needs_another_barbara_jordan_this_year_opinion.html

What's next with Democrats' gas tax plan to end N.J. road construction shutdown?

TRENTON — The state Senate could vote as early as Aug. 1 on a plan to raise the gas tax and restart more than 1,000 idling road, bridge and rail construction projects across the state.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) announced Friday they were joining together on a slightly revised proposal to raise the tax on gasoline sold in New Jersey by 23 cents a gallon and offer several tax breaks, big and small.

The proposal is similar to one the Legislature was moving toward approving last month, before Gov. Chris Christie struck a deal with the Assembly to cut the sales tax by one percentage point instead.

The competing plans left the Transportation Trust Fund without a new source of revenue when it expired at the end of June. Officials have said it contains only enough money to continue operating through early August, and Christie ordered a statewide work stoppage to ration what little is left.

Read more: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/07/whats_next_with_dem_gas_tax_plan_to_end_constructi.html

N.J. gubernatorial hopeful Fulop must denounce shady $1M donor

We've finally learned the identity of a mysterious $1 million donor to a Super Pac supporting Jersey City mayor and aspiring {Democratic} governor Steve Fulop.

It's the wealthy mogul behind the most notorious price-gouging hospital in the nation. Fulop once recommended this man's company for a city contract. Which raises the question: Could it look any worse?

Vivek Garipalli and the for-profit hospital system he owns, called CarePoint, donated nearly a third of the $3.2 million raised last year by the Pac with close ties to Fulop, called "Coalition for Progress." More than three quarters of that total stash was from people who do business with Jersey City, either personally or through their companies, like Garipalli.

The hospital exec formed a shell company in Delaware the day before making his donation, for the sole purpose of hiding it. Thanks to the Supreme Court decision Citizens United, Pacs can take and spend unlimited money from corporations. But it's illegal to intentionally mask the source of the donation.

Read more: http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/07/fulop_must_denounce_shady_1m_donor_editorial.html

Delaware state budget surpasses $4 billion mark

It came and went with little mention, but when state legislators approved a Fiscal Year 2017 budget of $4.08 billion June 30, it marked the first time in Delaware history that the state’s operating budget for a single year would be more than $4 billion.

Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, said he hadn’t really thought about passing the benchmark, but, he said, he wasn’t surprised.

With a $3.7 billion budget in FY14, a $3.8 billion budget in FY15 and a $3.9 billion budget in FY16, broaching the $4 billion mark was inevitable.

There are more and more people moving and retiring to Delaware, which means there’s going to be an increase to the amount of money spent on services, said Schwartzkopf.

Read more: http://www.capegazette.com/article/delaware-state-budget-surpasses-4-billion-mark/111922

Joe Biden won't slow down after official exit

"What I plan on doing is staying engaged in all the issues I'm engaged in now," the vice president said in a phone interview from his Greenville home Friday after returning from a week in Australia and New Zealand.

Biden added that while he has no "intention" of running for public office again, he won't formally rule it out.

"If something happens and it's appropriate for me to be engaged," he said, trailing off.

The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week is a reminder that the vice president will soon exit the "official" upper echelon of the party, following more than four decades of steadfast service.

Read more: http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/2016/07/23/joe-biden-wont-slow-down-after-official-exit/86952334/

Maryland Democrats object to Trump's Baltimore comments

Maryland Democrats rose to the defense of Baltimore on Friday after Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump spoke of violence in the city during his acceptance speech at the GOP convention.

Trump cited a 60 percent increase in killings in Baltimore last year. Homicides are down 7 percent this year.

Rep. Steny Hoyer said Trump "can mention Baltimore all he wants. It is rhetoric, not substance."

The Southern Maryland lawmaker, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, questioned whether Republicans would back Trump in making investments in the inner city. He noted the small number of African-American delegates at the convention, which some outlets have put at 18 out of thousands.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-trump-on-baltimore-20160722-story.html

WikiLeaks emails reveal DeRay Mckesson was vetted as a potential DNC surrogate

Baltimore civil rights activist and former mayoral candidate DeRay Mckesson was vetted as a possible surrogate for the Democratic National Committee, according to internal party emails published by WikiLeaks.

The activist website released on Friday nearly 20,000 emails from top officials in the committee.

"Hey team, can we please vet DeRay Mckesson ... to act as a surrogate for us at a young professional event possibly featuring the Chair?" party official Jordan Vaughn asked.

In response, a DNC staffer noted Mckesson's activism in the Black Lives Matter movement and his meetings with White House officials and presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders. The staffer reported that Mckesson had no liens, bankruptcies or criminal record, but noted that he had mistakenly tweeted that a white man shot a TV reporter and cameraman in Virginia.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-deray-wikileaks-20160724-story.html

Richmond cop who killed unarmed man to receive tax-free compensation for life

RICHMOND -- The police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man during a brief scuffle in 2014 has retired from the agency but will continue to collect half of his final salary tax-free for the remainder of his life.

Officer Wallace Jensen, 33, who worked at the police department for eight years, received industrial disability retirement, effective this April, said police Chief Allwyn Brown.

Jensen stands to earn $70,700 annually from the disability retirement, according to CalPERS, and will be eligible for cost of living increases.

Only police and firefighters are eligible for industrial disability retirement, which must be signed off by a doctor, according to Kim Greer, a risk assessment manager for the city. Recipients can begin collecting payment the first day they are no longer employed. Sworn personnel can also qualify for a cash payment from the city for their injury.

Read more: http://www.eastbaytimes.com/richmond/ci_30158863/richmond-police-officer-who-killed-unarmed-man-receive?source=most_viewed
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