Once again government goes too far
Much has been in the news recently about the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana and also in Arkansas. Sadly, all sides in this debate focus on the wrong issues.
We already have a Religious Freedom Act – it’s called the First Amendment to the Constitution! The real issue is property rights and the right of individual business owners to choose their customers – bringing religion into this debate only clouds the issue.
Following is my letter to the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office and Bridgeton City Officials regarding the Bridgeton Municipal Court's continued practice of downgrading statutory violations to a municipal code provision that hasn't been in effect since 2003.
I contacted the Prosecutor's Office regarding the same issue in 2010 and was told that it was resolved. Unfortunately, the superseded code provision is still being used.
April 22, 2015
Jennifer Webb-McCrae, Cumberland County Prosecutor
Rebecca J. Bertram, Bridgeton City Solicitor
Marie L. Keith, Bridgeton Municipal Court Administrator
Dear Prosecutor McCrae and Mesdames Bertram and Keith:
I hope that Chief Dellane can clarify why his officer apparently did not file his written report until nine months after an arrest was made. My letter to the Chief follows:
April 20, 2015
Thomas Dellane, Chief
Stafford Township Police Department
260 East Bay Avenue
Manahawkin, NJ 08050
Dear Chief Dellane:
I am writing on behalf of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Police Accountability Project regarding the March 2, 2013 arrest of Vasilio Koutsogiannis by Stafford Police. Mr. Koutsogiannis has been in touch with us and has claimed that Officer Robert Conforti's report, especially the part regarding Koutsogiannis' sister verbally conveying her father's consent to a police search of his residence, is fabricated.
As a result of a letter from NJLP member and the NJLP Pre-Empted Ordinance Repeal project volunteer, Jim Tosone, the town of Montvale is considering repealing their curfew ordinance. Read about it at northjersey.com.
In the November 2015 election the NJ Libertarian Party will be running candidates under the Libertarian Party banner. The following candidates have filed petitions to run for office.
- Joseph DeLong - South Bound Brook Mayor
- Patrick Smith - South Bound Brook Town Council
- Joseph Rafferty - write in campaign for Gloucester County Freeholder
- Peter Rohrman - Bergen County Freeholder (also see his facebook page)
- Damien Caillault - Assembly 27th District
- Jeff Hetrick - Assembly 27th District
In addition, NJLP member Joseph Dunsay will be on the ballot in a non-partisan school board election for the River Dell Regional School District in Bergen County.
Please provide whatever support you can to our candidates!
2015 New Jersey Libertarian Party Convention
Tavern on the Lake, Hightstown
Saturday, March 21, 2015
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 1/11/2015 )
Treasurer's report 9:15 AM
On October 27, 2014, I blogged about the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police ("NJSACOP") entering as an amicus curiae or "friend of the court" into Galloway Township's appeal of a trial court's ruling that I am entitled to logs showing the sender, recipient, date and subject line of each e-mail sent by a specific government employee during a specified period of time.
Recently, four other organizations have also sought to participate in the case: the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The League and Institute filed a joint brief which is on-line here and the ACLU's and Foundation's joint brief is on-line here.
I would like to respond to two letters that appeared in the Suburban Trends on Feb. 14.
First the letter by Bill Weightman of Hardyston, advocating more taxpayer funding of the arts here in New Jersey. Government (at any level, even local) should not be taking money from one group (taxpayers) and redistributing it to special interest groups such as those who claim to be promoting the "arts."
In late 2014, I blogged about my common law right of access lawsuit that compelled the Township of Hainesport (Burlington County) to release a list of all public officials, employees and retirees who were receiving health insurance that was subsidized by Hainesport taxpayers. While nothing illegal was discovered, the list did confirm that Hainesport taxpayers were paying about $27,000 toward health coverage for each of four elected Township Committee members who selected the "family plan." (The fifth member of the Committee, William M. Boettcher, selected the "married plan" reducing the taxpayers' burden in 2014 to approximately $21,000.)
Democratic congressional leader Nancy Pelosi once stated that when it came to government spending, there was “nothing else to cut.” All programs, departments and agencies were already cut to the bone. Not only was this a falsehood, it was a poor attempt at deception. There are many areas where government can eliminate or cut spending. If it were up to me, I would start cutting or eliminating the following:
- The Department of Homeland Security: This department is useless in the fact that it has wasted billions in taxpayer monies, and it has failed to protect the homeland from terror, as we have seen from the incidents in Oklahoma and Boston. The Department of Defense along with Immigration and Naturalization and the Federal Bureau of Investigations is all we need.
Roselle park police department
110 East Westfield Avenue
Roselle Park, NJ 07204
Record Room: 908-245-1100
On January 7th 2015. Our friend, Christopher Larriva, was paid a visit by a Roselle Park NJ detective long with two other officers. In one marked and one unmarked car. They wanted to question him about a photo he’d taken and posted on instagram. It was of a loaded magazine for a gun. To the left is the picture he posted.
There is not even a gun in the shot. The detectives insisted on seeing the gun at his doorstep. Chris was wise enough not to let them inside and talked to them on the porch. He told the officers it was not his gun. There was no gun in the picture and who it belonged to. After threatening him with home invasion if he didn’t show them the gun. And after Chris questioned the detectives on the illegality of taking pictures and owning firearms, the detectives turned their attention to Chris’ employer. Who was the LEGAL gun owner. Chris had taken the photo on a day his boss was headed to the range, and that’s where the photo generated from.
On February 1, a letter appeared in
your [The Suburban Trends] claiming that "conservative and libertarian voters" were advocates of voter ID laws. I can't speak for conservatives, but I'd like to know the writer's source of information that led him to think that we Libertarians support more voter ID laws.
As a point of fact, Libertarians have been in the forefront of making it easier to vote by our opposition to ballot access laws that make it difficult for all third parties and independents to get on the ballot as an alternative to the Republican and Democrat duopoly in American politics.
Former school principal interviewed by prosecutor about his "involvement with a minor" is receiving $7,800 gross monthly pension benefits
On February 2, 2015, I blogged here about my Open Public Records Act (OPRA) lawsuit that seeks an investigative report and video regarding an Atlantic County elementary school principal who unexpectedly resigned a few days after being interviewed by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office about his "involvement with a minor." To date, no charges have been filed against the principal, John Gibson. Gibson was formerly employed by the Galloway Township school district.
Today, I received a report (on-line here) from the New Jersey Division of Pensions showing that Gibson has been receiving monthly net pension checks of an undisclosed amount since May 1, 2014. Before deductions, however, the gross monthly pension amount is $7,834.50
After years of dithering, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has at last deposited the formal proposal to reclassify Internet as a public utility and subject it to federal regulation, championed by proponents as “net neutrality.”
Wheeler outlined the plan in an article for Wired magazine last week and it will be considered for a vote by the commission Feb. 26.
The plan has not yet been released to the public, but at least one FCC commissioner who has seen it isn’t taking the bait.
“It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works,” said FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai in a statement after the plan’s release. “It’s no wonder that net neutrality proponents are already bragging that it will turn the FCC into the “Department of the Internet.”
On September 24, 2014, two veteran Stafford Township (Ocean County) police officers sued the Township and Police Chief Joseph Giberson claiming that a promotional examination for the rank of Sergeant concluded in 2013 by the Stafford Township Police Department was "unlawful . . . arbitrary and capricious [and] manipulated by" Chief Giberson and Township officials.
According to a federal civil complaint filed by Stafford Police Officers David L. McVey and Drew G. Smith, sixteen officers applied for position of Sergeant in 2012. The applicants underwent a two-part examination consisting of "Phase I" which was a multiple choice, written test and "Phase II" which was an evaluation by superior officers, including Chief Giberson.
The NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission is proposing making miniscule changes to the way some reports are filed. They are seeking comments on these changes by February 17th. Below is the letter I sent them.
Michelle R. Levy, Esq., Associate Legal Director
Election Law Enforcement Commission
PO Box 185
Trenton, NJ 08625-0185
Dear members of the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission:
Lawsuit seeks details on school principal who unexpectedly resigned after being interviewed by prosecutor
Clinton attorney Walter M. Luers recently filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) lawsuit on my behalf for a county prosecutor's records regarding an investigation involving a former Atlantic County school principal who unexpectedly took a paid leave of absence on January 30, 2014 and resigned on March 31, 2014.
Lawsuit seeks nature of “suspicious incident” that resulted in Bound Brook High School teacher's firing
On March 11, 2015 at 9 a.m., Somerset County Superior Court Assignment Judge Yolanda Ciccone will hear argument in my newly filed lawsuit against the Borough of Bound Brook (Paff v. Borough of Bound Brook, Docket No. SOM-L-72-15). The main issue in my lawsuit, which was filed by Montclair attorney Richard M. Gutman, is whether Bound Brook Borough violated my rights under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the common law right of access by redacting the "narrative description" from a police report of an October 29, 2014 incident involving a 24-year-old teacher (identified as the "Suspect") and an unidentified juvenile (identified as the "Victim").