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").
Lakewood agrees to withdraw disciplinary complaint against cop in exchange for cop's resignation. Cop's "drug use" will be reported to the State
In a December 17, 2014 "Confidential Agreement," the Township of Lakewood (Ocean County) agreed withdraw a Preliminary Notice of Disciplinary Action filed against a police officer on June 16, 2014 in exchange for that officer's resignation. While the basis for the disciplinary charge is not specified, the agreement requires the Lakewood Police Department to "report [the officer's] resignation and drug use to the New Jersey Drug Registry." This suggests that the officer's disciplinary charge was related to his possession or use of illegal drugs.
Update: The Judgment of Conviction (JOC) in my original post referenced a separate indictment numbered 13-06-1490. The JOC made the probationary charges for both charges run concurrently. I submitted another Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office (OCPO) to find out the nature of the charges that resulted in I-13-06-1490. The OCPO's response is on-line here. The new charge alleged that on February 8, 2013, O'Reilly, "in an attempt to keep [victim Shirley Mullen] from testifying in legal proceeding [called Mullen] and threaten[ed] her by stating that she will never make it to court." Judge Blaney downgraded the original charge of Witness Tampering-Third Degree to Harassment, which is a disorderly persons offense, and sentenced O'Reilly to a two-year probationary period to run concurrently with the probationary sentence imposed for the assault charge. He also ordered her to pay $125 in state assessments
On June 13, 2014, Ocean County Superior Court Judge James M. Blaney sentenced a female Point Pleasant Borough (Ocean County) Police Communications Officer to two years probation for knocking another woman unconscious by hitting her in the head with a wood log.
The platform committee of 2014-2015 consisted of Liz Macron (Committee Chair), Kyler Dineen, Patrick McKnight, Jay Edgar, Dan Karlan, Marc Carcanague, Jim Tosone, Bill Sihr, Justin Quinn, Jim Gawron, Dorit Goikhman, and Sean Riggs.
The proposals were approved by the committee on January 21st. Below are these proposals as they were accepted by the delegates attending our last State Convention on March 21st. All changes made at convention were incorporated below. Changes have also been incorporated into our full platform that can be found here.
Proposal #1. Plank 6 Education Transition statement change
Rationale for change:
The transition section should propose a solution that is politically feasible in today's political environment. The current suggestion having government schools “sold to private or non-profit enterprises” is not feasible as a transition. Technology changes provide much greater options for education than ever before. As a result of this and societal changes there are more educational options available than when the platform was last updated.
Proposed Change: Replace entire transition from:
Transition: All school-related taxes should be gradually repealed starting with the taxes on those without children or those whose children are in private school or no longer in school. We endorse dollar-for-dollar tax credits for any contribution to a recognized school. We also call for the repeal of the “thorough and efficient” provision of the New Jersey Constitution (Article VIII, Section IV, Paragraph 1).
Public schools should be sold to private or non-profit enterprises, including, if they wish, teachers or associations of teachers. Restriction and regulation of home schooling should be removed.
Transition: Education choice should be given to parents and children, encouraging schools to compete with each other. We support ending the government monopoly on education by allowing parents and taxpayers more choices where education tax money is spent and where and how their children are educated. School voucher programs, education tax credits, or charitable tax incentives should be used to encourage a free market in education.
I often report of incidents where police officers give preferential treatment to fellow officers. This is not one of those times.
From reading a Camden County Prosecutor's Office "Special Prosecutions Summary Report" on-line here, I learned that an unidentified Camden Metro Police Officer was suspended for 47 days for having a motor vehicle accident while allegedly driving intoxicated in Stratford Borough (Camden County) on October 26, 2013. Harper pleaded guilty on January 10, 2014 and was assesses a total of $664 and had his license suspended for 90 days. The court's disposition is on-line here.
Police Departments in New Jersey are required to annually report a synopsis of all Internal Affairs cases that resulted in imposition of a 10-day or greater fine or suspension. Jersey City provided redacted reports for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 which I've placed on-line here.
I believe that the types of charges, some involving criminal conduct, against these officers may be of interest to readers.
01/22/15 UPDATE: North Bergen police have confirmed that the March 28, 2011 entry regarding a male police officer allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old girl in North Bergen motel related to Officer Marcos Kelly. This is not news as it has been written about in the Star Ledger. The Jersey City IA roster confirms that Kelly was allowed to enter into the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program and can never again hold "any office or position of honor, trust or profit under this State or any of its administrative or political subdivisions." North Bergen's police incident report is on-line here.
I have recently learned that the Township of Manchester (Ocean County), on or about May 20, 2014, appealed an Ocean County judge's February 21, 2014 decision to reinstate a Township police officer to his position after the Township fired him on June 29, 2012. The judge also awarded the officer all back pay and, in a separate opinion issued on April 24, 2014, declined to require the Township to pay the officer's attorney fees.