Published in The Record, April 20, 2016
Regarding "Kerry's visit to Hiroshima" (The Record Your Views, April 16, Bob Nesoff):
As a Libertarian defender of individual rights on all issues, I'm not a big defender of President Obama (any more than I was of George W. Bush). Democrats and Republicans both follow the establishment line on foreign policy, which is never-ending global intervention.
However, the recent visit of Secretary of State John Kerry to Hiroshima has come under fire by some, including a recent letter to the editor.
New Jersey Libertarian Party
PO Box 56
Tennent, NJ 07763-0056
Contact: Jim Tosone – Vice Chair NJLP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On 420 Day, the New Jersey Libertarian Party Calls For Full Re-Legalization of Marijuana
Tennent, NJ, April 20, 2016 – April 20 (aka 420) has become a counterculture holiday in North America, where people gather to consume cannabis and advocate for its re-legalization. While it took America a mere 12 years to recognize the futility of alcohol prohibition, marijuana prohibition is 75 years old and counting. Fortunately, because it has become increasingly clear that the harmful effects of the war on marijuana are far greater than any harm from marijuana itself, a majority of Americans now favor re-legalization. As people see that the dire predictions about the dangers of re-legalization have failed to materialize in the states where it is now legal, it is only a matter of time before this failed experiment is relegated to the dustbin of history.
On April 14, 2016, Libertarians for Transparent Government, a NJ nonprofit corporation, filed a lawsuit in Passaic County Superior Court challenging the City of Passaic's refusal to provide any minutes of City Council nonpublic (closed or executive) meetings held in 2015 as well as the minutes from Planning Board public meetings held as early as February 19, 2014 and Zoning Board public meetings held as early as January 17, 2015.
The basis for the City's denial of the public meeting minutes is that they "have not been approved." The basis for denial of the Council's closed meeting minutes is that they must "remain exempt from production under such time as there is no longer a need for confidentiality" and that "the City Council has not adopted a Resolution authorizing the release" of those closed minutes.
In its brief, penned by Hackensack attorney CJ Griffin, the Libertarian organization argues that minutes of closed meetings must be promptly produced in redacted form and that unapproved public meeting minutes can simply be stamped "draft" and publicly released.
Assignment Judge Thomas F. Brogan will likely schedule a hearing on this matter in the coming weeks.
New Jersey Libertarian Party
PO Box 56
Tennent, NJ 07763-0056
Contact: Jim Tosone – Vice Chair NJLP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On Tax Day, the New Jersey Libertarian Party Calls For Lower Taxes AND Lower Spending
Tennent, NJ, April 10, 2016 – New Jersey had no sales tax until 1966. No income tax until the 1970s. Now we have both—yet our property taxes, estate taxes, and inheritance taxes remain among the highest in the nation. In spite of all of these taxes, New Jersey has the third-highest per capita debt in the nation. In recent survey, 60% of New Jerseyians making over $100K would like to leave. Money goes where it is treated well.
In the November 2016 election the NJ Libertarian Party will be running candidates under the Libertarian Party banner. The following candidates have been nominated to run for office under the Libertarian banner.
2015 New Jersey Libertarian Party Convention
Tavern on the Lake, Hightstown
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Tentative Meeting Agenda
Call to order & quorum check 9:00 AM
Agenda review & approval 9:05 AM
Secretary's Report 9:10 AM
- Minutes of prior meeting (State Board Meeting 2/21/2016 )
Treasurer's report 9:15 AM
Police agencies keep a tight lid on the facts surrounding police disciplinary charges and typically won't even confirm or deny that charges have been filed. But, when a cop decides to appeal the discipline imposed, an OPRA request can sometimes dislodge the appeal paperwork.
Such is the case regarding the appeals of Troopers Kenneth Franco and Georgina Sirakides, both of whom are charged with giving news journalists photographs taken in 2009 of five Troopers celebrating a Camden drug bust by waiving a Puerto Rican flag. Those photographs and celebration have received extensive publicity including articles in the Star Ledger and MyCentralJersey, as well as a spot on Fox News 29.
Earlier today, in response to my OPRA request, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law sent me the appeal paperwork on Files 07412-15 (Sirakides) and 07406-15 (Franco). Both officers are being represented by David J. Azotea of Atlantic City.
According to the specifications, Franco and Sirakides worked with "former Division member Victor Cooper" to inform journalists about Trooper Kenneth Sirakides, who is apparently Georgina Sirakides' estranged husband, being involved in a "Velocity Sports Performance Internet video" and for waiving the Puerto Rican flag in the drug bust photos.
On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, the Bergen County NAACP will host a public forum to discuss proposed legislation that seeks to prevent public access to all police camera recordings and 911 calls. The forum, which is open to all, will begin at 7 p.m. at the Teaneck High School Media Center at 100 Elizabeth Avenue.
At issue is Senate Bill 788, sponsored by Senator Paul A. Sarlo (D-Bergen/Passaic), which would amend the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) so that "law enforcement camera recordings" and "9-1-1 audio recordings or transcripts" could not be disclosed to the public. Specifically, S788 would add the following two exceptions to OPRA:
- law enforcement camera recordings, except for use by any person authorized by law to have access to the recordings or for use by any government agency, including any court or law enforcement agency, for purposes of the administration of justice;
- 9-1-1 audio recordings or transcripts of a 9-1-1 call;
I wrote the following letter today to the Mayor and governing body of Haddon Township in Camden County.
February 16, 2016
Hon. Randall W. Teague, Mayor and
Commissioners Paul Dougherty and John C. Foley
Township of Haddon
Dear Mayor Teague and Commissioners Dougherty and Foley:
Would you please add to tonight's Caucus Meeting agenda a discussion of Haddon Police Officer Jason Dement's compliance with the Education Requirement Policy contained within Police Department General Order 95-3.
G.O. 95-3, which I obtained on February 1, 2016 by way of an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, requires all Township police officers to "have earned the minimum of a Baccalaureate Degree from an accredited college or university, having maintained a 2.0 minimum grade point average."
Published in Suburban Trends, Feb. 10, 2016
In a recent letter (Suburban Trends Jan. 31), it was suggested that the idea of self-ownership or individual sovereignty over one’s person is somehow a "flawed" belief. The writer was arguing from a theological standpoint based on her faith.
My question to her would be, how do you intend to implement your beliefs without using the power of the state to impose your faith and values on people who don’t necessarily agree with your beliefs?
I have long argued that religious "social conservatives" have a hostility to the ideals of individual liberty that is just as authoritarian as the anti-liberty beliefs of the "liberal progressive secular humanist" types who want to micromanage your life for you. Despite the seeming hostility between these two groups, they have much in common.
Introducing the Liberty Cafe Podcast! For past episodes visit the Liberty Cafe website.
On Friday, March 4, 2016 at 9 a.m. Hudson County Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Turula will hear my Open Public Records Act (OPRA) case against the City of Bayonne. See, Paff v. City of Bayonne et al, Docket No. HUD-L-5203-15. This is the lawsuit discussed in Jonathan Lin's January 27, 2016 Jersey Journal article and I am being represented by CJ Griffin of Hackensack.
I maintain a blog called NJ Civil Settlements which, as its name implies, reports on settlements of lawsuits against government agencies and officials. Learning whether, when and how these lawsuits have concluded is sometimes difficult, especially since many of the settlement agreements contain confidentiality clauses that prevent the parties from revealing the amount of settlement or even the existence of a settlement agreement.
The NJ Libertarian Party Police Accountability Project and the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government have submitted a joint Amici Curiae (Friends of the Court) Brief to the New Jersey Supreme Court concerning a lawsuit between the North Jersey Media Group and the Township of Lyndhurst.
In January 2015, the North Jersey Media Group was granted access to records of a police shooting where an unarmed man was shot and killed by police during a high speed chase. Several police agencies were ordered to turn over these records by a Superior Court Assignment Judge.
Delivered by National Chair Nicholas Sarwark
The state of our union is strong because the American people are strong. It's not strong because of the Big Government policies of the Obama administration, enabled by Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
It's not strong because we're almost $20 trillion in debt—debt incurred during both the Bush and Obama administrations.
It's not strong because we're taking over one trillion extra dollars in federal taxes [every year] away from hard working Americans over the course of Obama's two terms.
It's strong because the American people understand liberty, and they cherish liberty. They understand that this country was founded on a belief that every human being, every American, has a natural right to pursue happiness in any way they choose, as long as they don't hurt anyone, and they don't take their stuff.
Published in Suburban Trends, Dec. 16, 2015
In your December 9, "Our View" editorial ("Our Take On Guns"), you state that you desire a discussion and debate on what the Second Amendment means.
I'm going to surprise you and your readers by saying the Second Amendment does not give you the right to own a firearm; in fact the entire Bill of Rights gives no rights whatsoever! If there was no Constitution and Bill of Rights, you would still have all the rights you possess by virtue of the fact that you exist as an individual human being.
Our individual liberties come from our humanity, as so eloquently stated by Judge Andrew Napolitano. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights only guarantee and protect those rights from government infringement; the don't grant them.
Published in the Bergen Record, December 5, 2015
Regarding "Religion used to hide bigotry" (Your Views, Nov. 28) and "Why a friend is suing me: the Arlene's Flowers story" (Other Views, Nov. 25):
I would say the letter writer is hiding his own bigotry towards the concepts of individual freedom of choice and the right of freedom of association.
In early 2013, I filed an ethics grievance against two attorneys in a well regarded Essex County law firm. My grievance has been lost once, transferred twice and, most recently, "administratively dismissed" because there is allegedly some unidentified "pending litigation" that prevents the merits of my grievance from being considered.
I decided to publicly write to the Director of New Jersey's Office of Attorney Ethics about my experience and share with him why many grievants are frustrated by the attorney disciplinary process.
November 29, 2015
Charles Centinaro, Director
Office of Attorney Ethics
Dear Director Centinaro:
I want to share with you (and the public) my experience being a complainant in an attorney ethics grievance bearing docket numbers IIA-2015-0010E and IIA-2015-0011E. I have redacted the attorneys' names from all of the documents at the links below and have published this letter to you on my Random notes on NJ government blog.
On October 7, 2015, the City of Pleasantville (Atlantic County) agreed to pay $50,000 to a local man who said that a police canine was ordered to attack him and other officers beat him after he was already handcuffed and face down on the ground.
In his suit, Jalal Whitted, who suffers from a pre-existing psychiatric condition, said that police were called to his home on December 6, 2013 because he had a knife in his possession. After his mother convinced Whitted to drop the knife, he and his mother stumbled and fell to the sidewalk in front of their home. Whitted said that while he was on the ground, police handcuffed him.