New Jersey is slowly rejecting the two-party system. Voter participation and congressional approval ratings are both at record lows. Yet the courts have issued interpretations of election law that discriminate in favor of the two establishment political parties.
The establishment political parties are guaranteed the first two columns on every ballot. Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party (the third-largest and fastest-growing party) is “lucky” to receive the third column and is often relegated to the fifth or sixth column. This is unfair. All political parties should be treated equally under the law during the construction of the ballot.
On July 12, 2013, the Township of Gloucester (Camden County) agreed to pay $167,765.38 to two roommates who sued members of the Gloucester Township Police Department for allegedly entering their home without a warrant, falsely charging and beating them.
In their suit, Marc Pizzo and Jamie Slimm said that on October 17, 2010, Slimm had called the Gloucester Township Police Department's non-emergency number to make an inquiry "regarding Pizzo including but not limited to the status of a past citation." This call allegedly caused Sergeant Mark Benton and Police Officers Dwayne Pietzsch and Paul Bertini to respond.
On July 21, 2014, the insurer for two Waterford (Camden County) police officers agreed to pay $260,000 to a father and his parents who sued them for alleged harassment, unlawful arrest and use of excessive force.
In their separate suits, Tracey Miller and his parents Ronald and Lavina Miller said that Waterford Police Sergeant Joseph McNally is a "very close friend" of Thomas Watson, who is the father of Tracey's ex-wife Jennifer Miller. According to the complaints, the divorce between Tracey and Jennifer was "highly contested" and involved a domestic violence complaint and custody of the couple's child.
Among the many advantages the Republicans and Democrats have conferred upon themselves is their privileged position on the voting ballot. The establishment political parties are guaranteed the first two columns on every ballot. The other political parties, such as the Libertarian Party, are then put in lottery drawing for columns three and above.
According to state election law, the Republicans and Democrats lose their special columns on the left of the ballot if neither can "poll" at least 10 percent of the votes cast in the previous Assembly election. In 2014 only 8 percent of eligible New Jersey voters participated in one of the two taxpayer-funded primaries. Some 10 percent of 3.7 million votes is 370,000. The law is clear. Neither party even came close.
A recent letter to the Suburban Trends expressed outrage that some business groups take their holdings offshore to avoid U.S. taxes.
The writer shows a complete ignorance of economics and a hostility to private business.
Business and industry flee America because of the anti-free market environment they have to deal with thanks to the politicians and unelected bureaucrats. No business leader in their right mind would want to set up shop where they will be penalized for being productive.
New OPRA lawsuit: Chatham Township keeps police officer's claim and two settlement agreements secret
I am accustomed to public bodies claiming that their executive session minutes are confidential. It is not so typical, however, for the public body's reasons for wanting to keep its executive minutes secret to also be kept secret. Not knowing a public body's reason for keeping a document secret makes it very difficult to challenge its claim of confidentiality.
On May 13, 2014, Passaic County Superior Court Judge Ralph L. DeLuccia told the Clifton Board of Education to provide him with some additional information so that he could decide whether or not certain portions of the Board's June 19, 2013 executive session meeting minutes should or should not be disclosed to the public. So, the attorney for the school board, Donald K. Okner, wrote up a certification dated May 20, 2014 and sent it to the court without sending a copy to my lawyer. Judge DeLuccia, based on the lawyer's secret certification, decided that the executive session minutes need to be kept secret.
On August 22, 2014 at 9 a.m., Judge Thomas F. Brogan will hear my motion, filed by Clinton lawyer Walter M. Luers, seeking to unseal the May 20, 2014 certification that convinced Judge DeLuccia to keep portions of the June 19, 2013 executive session minutes confidential.
On Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 3 p.m., the Hon. Mary C. Jacobson, A.J.S.C. will hear argument in my Open Public Records Act (OPRA) case against the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. My order to show cause, civil complaint, exhibits and brief, filed by Walter M. Luers, Esq. of Clinton, are are on-line here.
My lawsuit challenges the MVC's denial of my request for "all OPRA requests submitted to the MVC between 05/05/14 and 05/12/14." The MVC oddly denied my request on the basis that disclosure would give "an advantage to competitors" and because "there is an interest of third parties in protecting the confidentiality of their requests for access to public documents"
On June 18, 2014, the Borough of Penns Grove and the Township of Carneys Point (Salem County) agreed to pay $2,000,000 to the four minor daughters of a man who died while in police custody.
In her suit, Judith Mincey, the mother of MoShowon Leach, claimed that Penns Grove Police Officers Raymond Rinnier and Joseph Schultz choked Leach to death during his arrest on March 21, 2010. According to the complaint, Leach was disoriented and "fighting the air" when police were called to the parking lot in which he was located. Leach allegedly ignored the officers' requests for him to stop and while he was entering the residence of a relative, Officers Rinnier and Schultz allegedly "descended upon him, maced him and took him to ground." There, Schultz allegedly told Rinnier to "choke him out." Leach was pronounced dead a short time later. Schultz allegedly said at the scene that “Ray [Rinnier] had to put [Leach] to sleep.”
Libertarian congressional candidate Dorit Goikhman’s campaign team discovered unlawful practices in vendor admission to Marlboro Day. When the Marlboro Day staff was contacted about setting up a stand at the event, the township representative denied access on the grounds that political candidates could not attend the event, unless “you’re with the mayor.”
Several days prior, a representative from Goikhman’s campaign was told that political parties could attend Marlboro Day, but that individual candidates were barred. Such regulations violate the First Amendment of the Constitution, as all political entities should be allowed equal representation in public forums. Independent candidates, who are unaffiliated with a specific party, are automatically denied access by this requirement.
On Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 9 a.m., the Hon. Travis L . Francis, A.J.S.C. will hear argument in my Open Public Records Act (OPRA) case against the City of Perth Amboy (Middlesex County). My civil complaint, exhibits and brief, filed by Walter M. Luers, Esq. of Clinton, are are on-line here.
I am seeking records regarding a lawsuit that a Perth Amboy teacher filed against the school district for mishandling her report that she was sexually assaulted in her classroom by another teacher. That lawsuit, which settled for $199,000, is discussed on my blog here.
For Immediate Release
Contact: NJLP State Chair Patrick McKnight 609-915-7200
July 31, 2014
Old Established Political Parties Have Lost
Their Preferential Ballot Position
For far too long the old established political parties have enjoyed preferential ballot placement. The two left-most columns have been reserved for the Democrats and Republicans. This year the Democrats and Republicans will be losing this discriminatory electoral advantage as a result of the failure of the old parties to maintain support with the public.
New Jersey law requires that to have a party column, a political party must “poll at any primary election for a general election of at least ten per centum (10%) of the votes cast in the State for members of the General Assembly at the next preceding general election.”
Michael Friedman, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist specializing in how social relationships influence mental and physical health
Originally published at psychologytoday.com. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Substance dependence is the only mental health condition whose main feature, the possession of drugs, is considered a crime. The stated goal of the "War on Drugs" has been to stop the devastating public health consequences of addiction in part through criminalizing possession of drugs, even for nonviolent offenders. While well-intended, this war may have worsened the problem by dooming millions of people, predominantly minority and low-income individuals, to a cycle of incarceration, loss of rights, and poverty. But, there are hopeful signs that we are becoming more clear-eyed as a nation.
The New Jersey Libertarian Party urges the passage of A2270 - the "Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill" bill. The NJ Libertarian Party platform calls for "the repeal of all laws interfering with the right to commit suicide as infringement of the ultimate right of an individual to his or her own life."
New Jersey Libertarian Party
PO Box 56
Tennent, NJ 07763
Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll
146 Speedwell Avenue
Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Dear Assemblyman Carroll:
We are writing to you today to convey our strong support for the “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill” Act (A2270). This legislation affirms the right of a qualified, terminally ill adult patient to obtain a prescription from his or her physician for medication that the patient may choose to self-administer for a humane and dignified death.
In response to recent media reports about the increase in Latin American children seeking entry into the United States, Libertarian Party Chair Nicholas Sarwark released this statement:
Should the U.S. government forbid foreign children from entering the United States? The Libertarian Party says no.
It would be unjust and inhumane for the U.S. government to prohibit these children from entering the United States.
A great irony is that U.S. government policies have caused the conditions that some of these Central American children are fleeing. The War on Drugs has created a huge black market in Latin America, causing increases in gang activity and violent crime. Some of the affected children naturally try to flee this violence. It is wrong to jeer at them, call them "illegals," and tell them to get out.
If ever there was a time and an opportunity for New Jersey Libertarian candidates to make inroads, 2014 would be that time. In every poll taken on numerous issues, Americans are coming to embrace libertarian positions. Younger voters nationwide believe that neither the Democratic nor the Republican Parties represents the American people. Seventy-two percent of voters say they would be better off if most incumbents were defeated in November. Eighty-one percent do not trust the federal government most or nearly all the time. Polling also shows that seventy-nine percent want to cut federal spending, fifty-two percent say that their tax bills are too high, and fifty-eight percent favor legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana and fifty-two percent of Americans also revealed that they oppose foreign interventions in other countries and that the U.S. should stay out of other nations quarrels.
An open letter to the Dover police officer who called a young woman a "ghetto piece of shit":
To whom it may concern:
This weekend I attended Firefly music festival, and for the most part, I had a lovely time. Between waste management, EMS and Dover PD, I made sure to thank about a dozen men and women in uniform for working those days. Festivals are a nightmare for health and safety workers. You must have been exhausted. There must have been thousands of kids pushing the limits; kids who don't understand that babysitting at Firefly is not what you signed up for. You must have been really pissed off.
That doesn't make this okay. Nothing really would.
Around 1:30 AM on Sunday, you and a few other officers were breaking up an altercation between two young black females outside of "The Hub." The women had been separated and cuffed, and yes, they were saying nasty things to each other.
Update: I received a voicemail on June 23, 2014 from a Wildwood Crest official telling me that he doesn't "have a Brady letter [and] never had one." The Prosecutor's May 5, 2014 denial of my OPRA request does not say that separate Brady letters exist for each of the three officials referenced in my OPRA request and named in my civil complaint. The denial suggests that at least one Brady letter exists concerning at least one of these three officials. Thus, it is entirely possible that the caller is being truthful in stating that a Brady letter pertaining to him never issued.
On June 13, 2014, attorney Richard Gutman of Montclair filed a lawsuit on my behalf seeking "Brady letters" from the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office. My Complaint and Certification in John Paff v. Cape May County Prosecutor's Office, Docket No. CPM-L-265-14 are on-line here.
"Brady letters" are named after the United States Supreme Court's 1963 decision in the case of Brady v. Maryland. That decision, among other things, requires law enforcement officials to notify criminal defendants and their lawyers whenever they receive information that a police officer involved in the defendants' cases has been untruthful.
An interesting study recently revealed that police in New Jersey are more likely to file lawsuits against a police department than your average citizen is.