On August 1, 2014, the New Jersey Libertarian Party (NJLP) formally petitioned the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for a rule requiring municipalities and other local government units to specify an "up to" dollar amount in each resolution that awards a public contract. At its December 10, 2014 meeting, the DCA's Local Finance Board preliminarily approved the requested rule and will consider final adoption after a 60-day public comment period.
The NJLP submitted its rulemaking petition in response the Parsippany-Troy Hills governing body's award of a no-bid financial consulting contract to a company that was reportedly owned by or tied to the township's recently-resigned Chief Financial Officer. The resolution that awarded the contract and other related paperwork said only that the amount of the contract "will exceed $17,500." When a local newspaper requested records showing the exact contract amount, Parsippany-Troy Hills responded that the contract "hasn't been signed by the Administration [and that] could take up to 30 days."
Submachine Guns: The Gift That Keeps On Giving - Donation of Submachine Guns in Lakewood Raises Eyebrows
It's already controversial for our nation's local police departments to receive surplus assault rifles and equipment from the US military for use by law enforcement officers. It's a whole other ball game for these weapons to be donated by a member of the community in appreciation of the police's help with a local religious festival.
Records show that an unnamed religious community events organizer was so appreciative of the help that New Jersey's Lakewood Township and its police department gave during a September carnival that they wanted to make a donation to the local police department. What did this anonymous organizer want to donate? 10 brand new assault rifles from Israel. Ones that they had test fired themselves on their last trip there.
On November 26, 2014, the Ocean County Department of Corrections agreed to pay $25,000 to a county jail inmate who claimed that he was assaulted by a jail guard. Additionally, the jail guard was charged with aggravated assault and resigned from his job after entering the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI).
In his suit, Armando Penales said that on December 22, 2012, while he was in the Ocean County Jail awaiting sentencing on a robbery charge, he was assaulted "without justification" by Corrections Officer Timothy Browning. He also claims that he was denied medical treatment for the injury he received and that Browning filed a disciplinary charge against him for "Refusing to Obey an Order of any Staff Member" which was later dismissed.
On Tuesday Mathew Reardon was arrested for making a statement on Facebook. He stated "Don't wanna get clipped while sitting in your squad car?? Don't be a (expletives deleted) pig who's looking to get killed...Everyone who goes out of their way to (expletive deleted) with other people should get executed in cold blood."
The statement, while offensive, was not a direct threat. His statement was made just days before the funeral of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos who where killed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley while they sat in their patrol car.
I understand the increased level of alertness since the shooting, however this is a disturbing use of police force. Stupid statements made on Facebook by citizens and police alike do not warrant police action.
Back in March, I filed a lawsuit against Hainesport Township (Burlington County) seeking a list of all public officials, employees and retirees who have been enrolled in the Township's health insurance plan during 2011 to 2014. For background on that suit, which I won, please see my blog here.
Haineport originally said that it would appeal the lower court's decision that forced it to make the information public. Recently, however, Hainesport withdrew its appeal plans. On December 19, 2014, Township Clerk Leo F. Selb, Jr. released an Excel spreadsheet which I've placed on-line here. (Note that there are tabs at the bottom of the file that show the enrollees during each year.)
Haven't our legislators learned anything? The State Assembly has unanimously passed A783, a bill that increases penalties for possession of various drugs. The goal is to go after distributors however it uses weight of material possessed as the only factor in determining seriousness of the offense. The bill decreases threshold offenses for many drugs.
Of note is the estimated financial impact: "Costs would total $3,393,164, in the third year following enactment, increase to $5,552,214 in the fourth year, and $7,711,264 during the fifth and succeeding years following enactment." The total financial impact is stated as being "higher than the amount estimated by the DOC by an undetermined amount."
The Mullica Township Committee was considering an ordinance banning dressing in clothes meant for the opposite sex, begging, lewd books, houses of ill repute, or any behavior that may have a negative impact on the quality of life of the residents.
The proposed ordinance was not only extremely vague, but would be unconstitutional. John Paff, chair of the NJLP Preempted Ordinance Repeal Project, sent a letter to the township committee pointing out that such an ordinance would be invalid. As a result of this letter and many residents questioning the need for such an ordinance, the Township Committee has tabled the ordinance.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — If you had a beer with the weekend’s football games or a glass of wine after some holiday shopping, then congratulations. You celebrated the 81st anniversary of the end of Prohibition.
But even though it has been eight decades since Congress stopped trying to sober us up, big government at almost every level is still trying various prohibitions.
Joe Siano is an NJLP Board Member.
“A man’s home is his castle”. In today’s politically correct and gender inclusive society we might say “A person’s home is his/her castle”. Whatever.
The formal name for this axiom is the Castle Doctrine. It derives from English Common Law and is the basis for both the Third and Fourth Amendments in the Bill of Rights. These protect Americans in their places of residence. The British honored and respected the inviolability private living spaces.
After publishing the $145,000 racial discrimination settlement between Plainfield and a police aide, I decided, just for fun, (I know. I have a pretty warped sense of what is "fun") to search the court indexes and submit OPRA requests for other interesting court cases involving Plainfield.
Today, I received the following court cases from Plainfield City Clerk Abubakar Jalloh:
For Immediate Release
November 24, 2014
NJ Libertarian Party Urges Vineland
Residents Not to Seize Judge’s Home
A Faulkner Act Petition has been created that will use eminent domain to seize the Vineland home of Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez for the purposes of erecting a hotel with a restaurant with the name of “Just Desserts.”
Judge Julio Mendez recently decided that eminent domain can be used by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to seize the property of Charles Birnbaum despite no public use threshold or specific plans for the property.
Officer Jason Miller has been arrested for exposing himself several times to drivers he had pulled over in Newton, NJ. Five separate incidences have been investigated where Officer Miller has either exposed himself or made inappropriate statements to male drivers.
Officer Miller has been released on $35,000 bail and has been placed on unpaid leave.
Two years ago, New Jersey's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) approved something called the South Inlet Mixed Use Development Project, which was intended to "complement the new Revel Casino and assist with the demands created by the resort." Two months ago, the bankrupt Revel Casino closed.
The CRDA nevertheless is still trying to condemn a three-story brick house at 311 Oriental Avenue in Atlantic City as part of that Revel-inspired project, the details of which remain vague. In fact, the CRDA can't even say what it plans to do with the lot on which the house sits.
That's OK, according to Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez, who on Monday ruled that the CRDA may condemn first and answer questions later. Jacob Sullum says the ruling shows that no one's property is safe when eminent domain becomes unmoored from the "public use" that is supposed to justify it.
Retired Wildwood Crest police officers to testify on why letters related to their misconduct should remain secret
In a November 18, 2014 opinion, Superior Court Judge Nelson C. Johnson ordered retired Wildwood Crest Lieutenant Michael Hawthorne and Captain David Mayer to appear before him on December 12, 2014, 10:30 a.m. to explain why letters why letters discussing their "serious deceitful and/or untruthful" conduct should continue to be withheld from the public. Johnson's decision is on-line here and background information on this lawsuit is on-line here.
Letter to Prosecutor: School boards should not hire professional media consultants to "educate" voters on bond referenda
Geoffrey D. Soriano, Esq.
Somerset County Prosecutor
40 North Bridge St
P.O. BOX 3000
Somerville, New Jersey
Dear Prosecutor Soriano:
More than twenty years ago, I worked with Hillsborough resident Randy Enterline and the local chapter of the New Jersey Libertarian Party to challenge the Hillsborough Township school district's use of taxpayer money to produce a newsletter that urged voters to approve a referendum authorizing $54 million for a new high school. The effort resulted in a September 11, 1995 decision by Administrative Law Judge Solomon A. Metzger holding that the newsletter in question was "very much an advocacy piece." Accordingly, Judge Metzger held that the newsletter, even though it did not explicitly urge voters to vote "yes," was an impermissible expenditure of taxpayers' money because it attempted to sway voters' opinions.
On January 13, 2014, Clinton attorney Walter M. Luers filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) lawsuit on my behalf challenging the suppressions and redactions the Governor's Office applied to travel documents related to the Governor's April 2013 trip to Dallas, Texas for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Background on that suit is on-line here.