Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hamilton looking to purchase energy in bulk

Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede delivers her State of the Township address 2014
Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede delivers her State of the Township address on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at a MidJersey Chamber of Commerce Luncheon at Stone Terrace in Hamilton. (Michael Mancuso/The Times)

HAMILTON — Township officials are moving toward a bulk energy purchasing arrangement they say could reduce residents’ energy bills as much as 10 percent.
Currently, PSE&G both supplies and delivers to most residents and businesses in the township.

Under the proposed aggregation plan, the township would group all residents receiving electricity from PSE&G under one bulk plan.

The township council tomorrow will consider awarding a contract to Gabel Associates for managing the aggregation process, including finding a power supplier that will provide savings of at least 5 percent on energy costs.

“As mayor, I am continuously looking for ways to save money for our hard-working residents and our local businesses that provide jobs for our citizens; and through energy aggregation, we will reduce energy costs to benefit our entire community,” Mayor Kelly Yaede said in a release.

Due to the size of the plan, the supplier must charge rates that save residents at least
5 percent, according to state law.

PSE&G will continue to deliver electricity and handle billing, account services and restoration.

“When towns are bidding this out, they’re typically seeing a 5 percent to 10 percent residential savings,” business administrator John Ricci said.

Of the five companies that responded to the township’s request for bid proposals, Gabel Associates made the second-cheapest offer and was the only firm to have successfully implemented a communitywide aggregation program in another community. The company’s resume includes programs in Toms River, Monroe, Lambertville, Montgomery and West Amwell.

Residents who currently receive power supply from PSE&G would automatically be included in the aggregation program. Residents who aren’t would have the option not to participate.
Contact Mike Davis at (609) 989-5708 or mdavis@njtimes.com.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Water under Chris’ bridge

NYPost - Michael Goodwin

Outrage! Scandal! Waste! You have to marvel at the absolute certainty of those who are denouncing a report that found Gov. Chris Christie knew nothing about the Bridgegate lane closings.

It is true Christie’s office hired the lawyers who did the report, but does that make it less credible than the probes being conducted by Jersey Democrats who repeatedly accuse him of lying? And the report is no more biased than The New York Times’ breathless coverage, which is as naked as the ladies in Bada Bing!
The Gray Lady outdid itself in Saturday’s paper with a snarling package that included a front-page story, a full page inside the paper, an editorial and an op-ed column. The editors also chose a photo of Christie that made him look film-noir sinister.

Of special note was a convoluted article on a conversation that may or may not have happened and may or may not have included any relevant exchange between the governor and a former associate.

The headline on the piece was a master of innuendo without a smidgen of fact: “Potentially Explosive Detail in Bridge Scandal is Unlikely to Be Confirmed.” The paper should have included tin-foil hats so readers could decipher the coded message to partisans.

None of this is meant to suggest that Bridgegate isn’t newsworthy, or that Christie is blameless. Rather, the issue is one of proportion and fairness, not to mention at least a pretense of respect for evidence.

Compared to the unanswered questions about the deaths of four Americans at the hands of terrorists in Benghazi, Bridgegate is more chaff than wheat. Similarly, compelling evidence that the IRS denied conservative groups equal treatment is a far more important story about government abuse of power than a traffic jam.

But those stories reflect badly on a Democratic president, so the Times doesn’t have much interest in getting the truth, especially when there is a Republican they can turn into a piñata.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mercer County Clerk's Office to offer course in searching public documents

By Alyssa Mease/The Times of Trenton
on March 14, 2014

TRENTON -- Mercer County residents interested in learning how to search official county records can register for a half-day class this spring.

The Mercer County Clerk’s Office and Mercer County Community College are hosting the “Search the Search Room” class on Saturday, May 17 at the old courthouse at 209 S. Broad St, officials said.

“The class is designed by the clerk’s office to allow more local residents to navigate the search room and take advantage of our open county resources and records,” Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello said.

Participants will learn how to search for information such as deeds, a home’s sale price, verification of easements and historic landmark filings.

The clerk’s office recently installed a new computer system that includes information dating to the 1800s, officials said.

The course, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon, has a limit of 25 participants and costs $15.
Registration is coordinated though Mercer County Community College’s Center for Continuing Studies. For more information or to register, visit www.MCCC.edu/ccs or call 609-570-3311.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Councilwoman reaches out to Hispanic residents who call Hamilton home

Times of Trenton
Mike Davis

HAMILTON — Councilwoman Ileana Schirmer was born in Cuba but calls Hamilton her home, and she knows her fellow Hispanic residents also feel close to this Mercer County town.

But Schirmer said many of them could benefit from becoming more involved in what’s going on in town.

Such residents could be missing out on advantageous or crucial services, she said.

“There are so many Hispanic residents in this town that love living here, but there’s a disconnect,” Schirmer said this week. “They feel like they’re in their own little community and aren’t sure how they can become a bigger part of the town. They feel isolated.”

Schirmer will host a series of informational sessions throughout the year that she hopes will help Hispanic and Latino residents grow more comfortable with programs and services in the Hamilton community.

“It starts with them knowing what’s happening here,” Schirmer said. “If you feel comfortable, you’re going to become more interested in them.”

Schirmer’s program comes at a time of continued growth in the township’s Hispanic and Latino population, according to Census figures.

Nearly 10,000 Hamilton residents claimed Latino or Hispanic ethnicity in the 2010 Census, nearly 11 percent of the town’s population.

Over the previous decade, the Latino population doubled and grew more diverse.

But Schirmer said the township’s Hispanic population has remained a community within a community: Non-English speakers will frequently avoid English-speaking businesses and Spanish-speaking parents have recently expressed concerns over the lack of interpretative services at public schools.

All of the informational sessions will be held at Malaga Restaurant, located at 511 Lalor Street, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., on announced dates.

The first is April 30, when New Jersey Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development executive director Abraham Lopez will discuss state initiatives for the Hispanic population.

On May 21, bank and financial representatives will offer a program on how to save money, where to invest it and obtaining loans, especially for small businesses.

“There’s a lot of fear of using banks in the Hispanic community,” Schirmer said. “They may not fully understand how they work or what services they truly provide. They can come here and get the knowledge so they can continue forward.”

Schirmer’s sessions will continue in September, when guest speakers will talk about finding English as a Second Language programs, obtaining high school and college degrees and getting involved in the public school district.

Another session in October, yet to be scheduled, will focus on the process of obtaining visas and citizenship.

“The people I talk to aren’t interested in handouts or the government taking care of them,” Schirmer said. “They want to fend for themselves. They just need help getting there.”

Contact Mike Davis at (609) 989-5708 or mdavis@njtimes.com.

Let’s find other ways to fund Hopewell’s budget

Times of Trenton 3.13.14

As a candidate for a seat on the Hopewell Township Committee, I ask for voters’ support in the upcoming June primary election, because the Democrat-controlled municipal government must change and the 8 percent tax rate hike in Hopewell Township must be stopped.

Living in Hopewell Township has become far too expensive. Too many households are finding daily life increasingly unaffordable. Our families, friends and neighbors are unable to make ends meet, in part because of the mismanagement and wrong policies of the majority Democratic township committee.

This year’s brutal tax increase, imposed by the wasteful, out-of-touch committee, destroys opportunities for real people. With township residents’ help, when elected as their next township committeeman, I will find areas we can cut and save money to bring more affordability to what should be an even more prosperous township. I will demand savings in our township by following best practices in awarding township contracts and creating smart revenue-driven ratables to help offset the rise in our property taxes.

I will work tirelessly to see that new opportunities come to Hopewell Township through the use of smart, aggressive economic development. I have many friends in the building trades and I would like to see them all back to work.

-- Ronald M. Cefalone,
Hopewell Township
The writer is a Republican candidate for Hopewell Township Committee.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Republican Primary Candidate Forum 2014

The Republican Women of Mercer County Invite You To Our
Republican Primary 
Candidate Forum 2014
 Do You Know Where the Candidates 

Stand On The Issues That 

Matter To You Most? 

Luncheon and Q&A With The Candidates 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Special Invited Guests
  Congressional Candidates
Congressman Chris Smith (CD4)  
Dr. Alieta Eck (CD12) 
   US Senate Candidates

Jeff Bell * Brian Goldberg * Rich Pezzullo

    Murray Sabrin * Robert Turkavage               
Leonardo's II
(Business Rt 1) 
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
11:00am - 1:00 pm

Drinks & Luncheon
$20pp/Student (Must Show Student ID)

Bring your Questions, Concerns, and Ideas! 
Please Make Checks Payable To:
Republican Women of Mercer County
PO Box 901
Pennington, NJ 08534
Please RSVP by 3/8 on Facebook at 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Judge orders convicted Trenton Mayor Tony Mack removed from office immediately

By Jenna Pizzi/The Times of Trenton
on February 26, 2014

TRENTON - Convicted Mayor Tony Mack is in violation of state law and can no longer hold office, Judge Mary Jacobson ruled today.

Granting the request to remove Mack filed by the state Office of the Attorney General, Jacobson said Mack is no longer able hold office effective immediately.

"Once you are found guilty by a jury of your peers not only does the presumption of innocence disappear but with it comes the stigma and the shadow ... of being found guilty by a jury of your peers of crimes of dishonesty," Jacobson said.

The full text of Jacobson's order is available online.

Mack had argued that he should not be removed from office until he is sentenced in federal court – where he faces 20 years in prison – or until motions filed by Mack’s attorney for a new trial are considered by the federal court.

But Jacobson said it would make no sense to wait for a period of several months before removing Mack from office. She said the state statute to remove him clearly says the removal would be effective at the time a jury returned a guilty verdict.

"While we certainly could wait until sentencing, there is absolutely no reason that we have to," Jacobson said.

"It is a mandatory forfeiture in terms of the way that the statute is written," she said.

Deputy Attorney General Steven Yomtov argued that state law requires that a convicted official cannot hold public office and asked Jacobson to recognize the federal conviction as a violation of that law. If Mack were convicted in state court he would have been removed from office immediately, Yomtov said.

Jacobson agreed saying it makes sense that if a public official is found guilty in state court the judge would be the one to remove him from office because the judge is well aware of the strength of the verdict and the likelihood of an appeal. When the verdict is in federal court, it must be more closely examined, she said.

In this case, Jacobson noted that the conviction came from a jury of Mack's peers and occurred in Trenton. She said the offenses for which Mack was convicted clearly touch on his office.

A jury found Mack guilty on February 7, 2014 on six counts of bribery and extortion following a five-week trial in federal court. He refused to resign and maintained his innocence, so the Office of the Attorney General asked the state court to remove him from office.

Jacobson gave Mack two weeks to respond to the state’s request to have the first-term mayor removed. Today at the hearing, she acknowledged the arguments of both Mack, and the state before making her decision.

Replacing Mack in the office of the Mayor will be City Council President George Muschal, who will hold the post until council meets to vote that either he should stay in office until the June or appoint someone else to serve the remainder of Mack’s term. A municipal election is set for May when voters will elect a new mayor.

Mack was first elected to the post in 2010 and his time in office was filled with controversy. In July 2012, the FBI raided Mack’s home and City Hall in an investigation connected to a downtown parking garage project, which was in reality an FBI sting operation. Mack was arrested alongside his brother Ralphiel Mack and campaign supporter Joseph “JoJo” Giorgianni in September 2012 and the trio were charged with receiving bribes from the purported parking garage developer.

Despite the charges against him and calls for him to step down, Tony Mack stayed in office continuing during his trial that began in January.

Mack’s federal court sentencing is scheduled for May 14, 2014.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

George Will: Breaking unions' grip on America

George Will | Washington Post | 2.23.14

WASHINGTON — This year’s most important election will not occur in November, when more than 90 million votes will be cast for governors and national legislators. The most important election, crucial to an entire region’s economic well-being and to the balance of the nation’s political competition, has already occurred.
This month, at a Tennessee factory, workers rejected representation by the United Auto Workers union. The 712-626 vote — an 89 percent turnout — against unionizing the 3-year-old Chattanooga Volkswagen plant was a shattering defeat for the UAW, for organized labor generally, and for liberalism nationally. It was a commensurate victory for entrepreneurial federalism.
Sixty years ago, 35 percent of America’s workforce was unionized, almost entirely in the private sector. Today, 11.3 percent is unionized. About half (49.6 percent) of this minority are government workers whose union dues do much to elect their employers. UAW membership has plummeted as far and fast as Detroit has — from 1.5 million in 1979 to about 380,000 in 2012. In 2011, UAW President Bob King said, “If we don’t organize these transnationals, I don’t think there’s a long-term future for the UAW.”
For 30 years the UAW has tried and failed to unionize a “transnational” — a factory making foreign-brand vehicles — in the South. The union may never have a better chance than it had in Chattanooga. The company, whose board includes representatives of a powerful German union, feigned neutrality but actually worked in close collaboration with the UAW. The union was given access to the plant, a workroom and other facilities, while groups opposing unionization were barred.
It is commonly, and carelessly, said that Washington bailed out “the” automobile industry. Actually, government bailed out two of the three companies in one of the two U.S. auto industries — the UAW-organized one. The other industry, located in the South and elsewhere — Americans making 30 percent of the vehicles Americans purchase — did not need rescuing because it does not have UAW presence, which helped ruin General Motors, Chrysler and their headquarters city, Detroit.
UAW officials blamed the vote failure on “outside special-interest groups,” which describes the UAW in Chattanooga. In a characteristically shrill and clumsy intervention before the voting ended, Barack Obama accused Tennessee Republicans of being “more concerned about German shareholders than American workers.” He missed the detail that the shareholders’ company favored the UAW. The UAW, too, blamed Tennessee’s Republican politicians. Well.
VW received $577 million in tax breaks and other incentives to locate in Chattanooga, so Tennessee officials surely were entitled to speak about how unionization might harm the investment already made and might diminish the likelihood of additional help. Nowadays, however, liberalism responds to its unpersuasiveness by trying to get government to silence (as with the IRS) or punish (it is the National Labor Relations Board’s turn) speech by liberalism’s critics. So, the UAW may ask the NLRB to overturn the vote because of unfair labor practices, which supposedly amount to the fact that the UAW was not the only speaker during the debate before the vote. Anti-UAW billboards noted Detroit’s current prostration, and Sen. Bob Corker called the UAW “a Detroit-based organization.” Its headquarters, Solidarity House, is in Detroit.
Soon — certainly by the end of June — the Supreme Court probably will rebuke Obama for having made recess appointments to the NLRB while the Senate was not in recess. But given his administration’s culture of breezy indifference to legality, the NLRB might tug its forelock and do as the UAW demands.
In November, a prescient UAW organizer said the union would “probably lose” in Chattanooga if workers were granted a secret ballot election. That is, the UAW favored a “card check” faux election, whereby unionization is approved when a majority of employees, confronted individually by union organizers, sign a card. The UAW could not prevent a proper election, but with the NLRB’s permission the campaign was compressed to nine days. This minimized the time for UAW opponents to make their case.
Despite the UAW’s attempt to do for the South what it has done to Detroit, the South can continue to practice entrepreneurial federalism. Capital is mobile. It goes where it is welcomed and stays where it is well-treated, so states compete to create tax and regulatory environments conducive to job creation. Liberals call this a “race to the bottom.” Conservatives call it a race to rationality.
Email George Will at georgewill@washpost.com.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Elephant Trainer

Christine Toretti is on a quest to make the GOP the party of women.

John Cuneo
As Christine Toretti tells it, her housekeeper was the one who staged the intervention. After logging tens of thousands of miles and helping raise hundreds of millions of dollars as a finance co-chair for the Republican National Committee leading up to the 2012 elections, Toretti was so depressed by Mitt Romney’s failed presidential bid that she retreated to her home in the tiny town of Indiana, Pennsylvania, to nurse her wounds. “Finally, the cleaning lady came in one day and said, ‘I’d like to fumigate the sofa that you’ve been on for two weeks. Would you please get off?’ ”

Toretti obliged, then spent the next two months coming to terms with what had befallen her beloved GOP, and deciding what to do about it. Especially painful for her was how abysmally Romney, and Republicans generally, had fared with women. Back in 1997, she had been appointed to the RNC by then–Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, who specifically tasked Toretti, then a young oil-and-gas executive, with bringing other women into the fold. Seventeen years later, Toretti cannot believe that she’s still on the same Sisyphean mission. “It’s like pushing a rope versus pulling it,” she told me during a late-September lunch near Capitol Hill.

Petite and blond and brimming with energy, Toretti, who is 56, has a sunny charm. Her words bubble out like uncorked prosecco, and when recounting conversations, she tends to act out both parts. She prides herself on veering too far “off the reservation” for the comfort of some in her party, and she expresses dismay at the perception—even among Republicans—that the GOP “has no place for women.”

Nothing threatens to make her head explode more than when a fellow Republican “says one dumb comment,” à la Todd “legitimate rape” Akin, the ex–Missouri Senate candidate. “I understand that people feel vehemently about things,” she told me, leaning forward over her chopped salad, “but they have a responsibility greater than their own personal agenda!”
Despite the head-smacking moments, Toretti refuses to give up on her party. And so, after a cathartic summer spent visiting friends, hiking, and binge-watching Breaking Bad, Toretti put her money—or rather, other people’s money—where her heart is. Last August, she launched a super PAC called Women Lead, devoted to persuading female Republican donors to write fat checks for female Republican candidates.

Likely no one is more frustrated by the GOP’s Woman Problem than the GOP’s women. Certainly, no one seems more motivated to tackle the issue. Toretti’s big-money effort is just one of several projects rolled out in the past year. Over the summer, Republican women in the House started Project GROW (Growing Republican Opportunities for Women) to direct money, mentors, and other aid to female candidates in primary battles. In November, a trio of women strategists opened Burning Glass Consulting, the first firm dedicated to wooing Republican ladies. Among many women in the upper echelons of the party, such efforts are seen merely as the first steps in what needs to be a total overhaul of the GOP’s approach to women.
“When you’re making 
phone calls and the 
wife picks up, 
don’t ask for 
the husband!”
“Our party has an issue with this,” says Lisa Spies, a fund-raiser who ran Women for Romney. “Every four years we say, ‘Oh, gosh, we’ve got to engage women more.’ But you can’t just engage women in the last six months of the campaign! You have to continually engage them, just like you do with the guys.” The party needs a “whole different mind-set,” she says. “When you’re making phone calls and the wife picks up, don’t ask for the husband!”

Toretti has the ideal perspective on what needs to change, according to Spies. “She gets it, because she has been at the head table. At the RNC, she was the woman in the room with all of the guys. She’s always been that person.”

Christine Jack Toretti has, in fact, spent much of her life proving herself in a man’s world. “I grew up the only child of a father who was disappointed to have a girl instead of a boy,” she told me with her casual frankness, which can be startling. “I was born into the oil-and-gas industry and worked for my father from 1983 until 1990, when he took his life.” (See what I mean?)

Toretti was ill-prepared to take over S. W. Jack Drilling, the company founded by and named for her paternal grandfather. Her father, Samuel W. Jack Jr., was of the mind that drilling sites were no place for a woman, “so while I understood the numbers and the financial end of the business,” she says, “I didn’t know the operation.” But in the wake of her father’s suicide, Toretti’s mother “was just bereaved enough and crazy enough” to let her try running things.
The first years were brutal. “I was waking up in the middle of the night drenched in cold perspiration, wondering how I was going to make payroll,” she remembers. Worse still, she had no one to talk to: “All my friends were stay-at-home moms.”

When Governor Ridge recruited Toretti as a national committeewoman for the RNC, she says, “my business was turning around, my kids were preteens and demanding more time, and I had just gone through a divorce. It was a mess. So I said, ‘Thank you very much, but no.’ ” Ridge pushed back, playing the gender card. “ ‘Do you believe in a two-party system?,’ ” Toretti remembers him asking. “ ‘Well, there’s no one that looks like you in the party that’s at the table.’ ”

So Toretti began organizing. A few years in, she started an annual leadership program called the Anne B. Anstine Excellence in Public Service Series, which aims to energize and train Republican women to run for office in Pennsylvania. Since 2002, the program has graduated more than 200 participants, about half of whom have run. Of those, Toretti says, 85 percent have been elected. She also launched a similar program in Arizona, where she lived during her brief second marriage.

Women Lead, which is based in Toretti’s hometown, promises to be her biggest challenge yet. The organization currently has just two full-time employees: Toretti (who is not paid) and her executive director, Courtney Johnson, formerly the head of Women for Mitt. While they’ve already collected a few “five-figure checks,” Toretti says, the early months have been largely about educating donors and generating buzz.

When I spoke with Toretti again, just before Thanksgiving, she and Johnson had been on the road nonstop, hitting everything from a Republican Attorneys General conference, to a meeting of the Republican Governors Association, to a women’s retreat sponsored by the National Rifle Association. They’d also been studying the lay of the electoral land: researching primaries and handicapping candidates. Among those they’re planning to support are Representative Shelley Moore Capito, who’s running for a U.S. Senate seat in West Virginia, and Martha McSally, a House candidate in Arizona. Toretti is also a huge fan of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, whom she has been squiring around to prominent donors.

In November, Campaigns & Elections put Toretti on its list of Top 50 “Influencers” for the 2014 elections. Just what kind of influence she will have, however, remains to be seen. Toretti is well aware of the difference between tweaking how her party talks to women and reevaluating some of its harder-line positions on so-called women’s issues; she expresses support for both tactics.

One of the first questions donors and candidates ask about her new super PAC, Toretti says, is “What are your barriers to entry?” Translation: Do you have an abortion litmus test? “That is not what I’m looking at,” she insists, noting that West Virginia’s Capito is pro-choice. Women Lead is seeking pro-small-government, fiscally conservative gals, and its founder believes there should be room for disagreement on other fronts. “I hate to resurrect Reagan again,” she says with a sigh, “but you don’t win by dividing.” How are Republicans responding to her more flexible stance? “With relief,” she says. “Major, major relief.”

Looking ahead, Toretti is confident that a viable Madame President will emerge from the ranks of her party—though probably not in time for the next election. Governor Martinez “has the capability and capacity to be a national leader,” Toretti says, “but I don’t think she’ll have the organization in place to move that fast for 2016.”

The one cloud that seems to dim her optimistic outlook is the possibility of another White House bid by Hillary Clinton, whom Toretti calls “very formidable.” Asked what a Clinton candidacy would do to efforts to get women to vote Republican, Toretti chooses her words carefully: “That’s a very tough scenario to look at.”

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Governor Christie: The Opportunity For Greatness Is What America Is All ...

“I don’t think the American people want income equality. What they want is income opportunity,” said Christie, who also used the talk to heap praise on former president George W Bush. He added: “I grew up in an America that said life isn’t fair – but opportunity is.”  - Governor Chris Christie

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day From the Republican Women of Mercer County

FEMA awards Ocean Township $1.5 million for Hurricane Sandy clean-up

Chris Smith
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith announced funding for Ocean Township's Hurricane Sandy clean-up. In this photo, Smith testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

By Christopher Robbins/NJ.com | February 14, 2014
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – A New Jersey congressman announced funding for another Monmouth County municipality struck by Hurricane Sandy.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded Ocean Township a $1.5 million grant for its post-storm cleanup costs, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th) said in a press release Friday.

“I was in Ocean Township after the storm and saw massive downed trees, impassable roads and countless damaged homes and buildings similar to the devastation I saw across Ocean and Monmouth counties,” Smith said. “This funding is so important. No town like Ocean can absorb these costs in its municipal budget and tax base without help from the federal government.”

The award provides $1,593,844 in Federal funding to pay for removing debris as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

“We are very appreciative of FEMA and Congressman Smith for helping us recover from the devastation that we had from Hurricane Sandy. We, like every other municipality, had incurred a significant expense and it’s great that FEMA takes some of the burden off of the municipality and taxpayer,” said Ocean Township Mayor Bill Larkin.

The award represented 90 percent of Ocean Township’s total recovery cost $1,770,938.
Ocean Township hired nine contractors to assist municipal workers with the massive debris removal.

Together, they removed 133,390 cubic yards of vegetative debris, 806 hazardous limbs and nearly three dozen hazardous leaning trees. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede says town will make running businesses easier in her annual address

By Mike Davis/The Times 
Follow on Twitter 
on February 11, 2014 

HAMILTON — New initiatives to drive economic growth and calls for more state support at the local level were the tent poles of Mayor Kelly Yaede’s State of the Township address at Stone Terrace by John Henry’s today.

Before a crowd of about 200 members of the MidJersey Chamber of Commerce, Yaede announced an expansion of online permitting programs allowing businesses to easily receive simple construction, inspection or building permits.

During the past year, the township has eliminated redundant requirements or restrictions deemed overbearing to entrepreneurs looking to set up shop in the township.

“Our goal is to make the process of opening your doors, keeping them open and expanding your business easier,” Yaede said. “Hamilton Township will be leading the way when it comes to making construction permitting easier, more automated and more accessible.”
Yaede, who won a landslide election in November, reiterated a series of campaign points, emphasizing new businesses that had opened in the township, especially retail locations along Route 33.

“Hamilton Township is a retail mecca, for we have a population which supports these businesses,” Yaede said. “Our work is not finished. Never should it be if we want our town to flourish.”

Two businesses relocating to the township include Dynamic Marketing, an electronics purchaser moving into a 400,000-square-foot warehouse from Brooklyn, and cosmetics manufacturer Salvona Technologies, which is moving its headquarters from Dayton.
But in a statement released last night, the township Democratic club called on Yaede, a Republican, to address declining tax ratables, down to $5.15 billion in 2013.

“These investments will not by themselves have any appreciable impact on our community’s ratable,” the township’s Democratic club wrote in response to Yaede’s address. “The continuing failure to address the declining ratables will continue to increase the tax burden on our fellow residents.”

But Yaede yesterday also took a hard stance on revenue relationships with the state, demanding the return of gross energy tax receipts — which she said had cost the township $5 million since 2010 — and required approval from the Board of Public Utilities for any publicly owned utility company looking for a rate increase.

“State law allows Trenton Water Works to raise rates as much as it wants as long as rates are equally applied to all customers,” Yaede said. “Instead of fixing decaying water lines in Hamilton, they were taking significant amounts of surplus from your water bills and using it to subsidize their city budget. That’s wrong.”

Yaede also announced efforts to increase police communication with residents with an updated website and new social media protocols, a topic clamored for by residents since a string of burglaries in the Golden Crest neighborhood during the summer of 2012.
“Our police will post important public safety notices and valuable crime prevention tips to the growing number of Hamiltonians using social media,” Yaede said. “These additional tools will help our police keep our families, neighbors and friends safe.”

Yaede also requested that the state require cable television providers to offer services in every part of the township it operates or risk losing its statewide franchise.
Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Hamilton) sponsored a bill in the Legislature last week that would require a complete buildout of cable service within a designated number of years after receiving a township’s franchise agreement.

“Entities do not always extend their offerings to every area of our community. The results are pockets of Hamilton where residents do not have as many choices as other areas,” Yaede said. “The providers are only cherry-picking which areas they feel are profitable enough to serve.”

Friday, January 24, 2014

Yaede Bends Obama's Ear

Maria Prato/HamiltonPulse.com 1/24/2014

Washington D.C. – Mayor Kelly Yaede had a rare exchange with President Barack Obama Thursday, when the commander in chief weighed in on a Hamilton public safety concern.

At the time, Yaede was visiting Washington D.C., attending the 82nd Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, an annual non-partisan assembly of mayors, who hail from communities with populations of 30,000 or more.

At the gathering, Obama called upon Yaede, who had no reservations in her line of questioning, according to a release issued by the Mayor’s office.

“I raised my hand because I wanted to ask the President about how towns, like Hamilton, which may surround cities experiencing police force reductions, could get assistance and guidance on best practices from federal officials in improving proactive public safety efforts,” said Yaede, who doubly serves as the township’s Director of Public Safety and was referencing nearby Trenton’s recent cuts to police manpower. “I was pleasantly surprised to be picked by the President and appreciated his suggestions.”

Among those recommendations, Obama encouraged Yaede to investigate options and resources through the U.S. Department of Justice.

Despite their divergent political affiliations, a conservative Yaede and liberal Obama carried out both a neutral and constructive conversation.

“When we are discussing an important issue like public safety, people are our collective concern, not differences in political affiliations or views,” Yaede said. “As elected officials, we all share the important responsibility in keeping all of our residents safe; and that is exactly how it should be.”

Over the past year, Yaede’s emphasis on public safety is credited with 16 new police hires, the creation of a virtual neighborhood watch website and a 3.65-percent drop in the municipality’s overall crime rate during the first nine months of 2013.

“At a time when cities are or have recently been forced to reduce police levels, regardless of the cause, surrounding towns like Hamilton experience real concerns about not only maintaining our own police levels, but in remaining vigilant to the possible spread of crime,” Yaede said, noting a concerning and recent spike in Trenton’s homicides. “It was important to raise this point because in addition to how it affects the residents of these cities experiencing police reductions, it also affects residents in neighboring communities.”

In the coming year, Yaede has her eye on improving communication with the police division through community outreach, stabilizing staffing levels and maintaining Hamilton’s recent lull in crime, she said.

“Our work is never done when it comes to public safety,” she said. “In 2014, our proactive efforts will continue to keep our families and residents safe and maintain our community’s high quality of life.”

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chris Smith Tells March for Life: Abortion is the Ultimate Exploitation of Women and Children

by Congressman Chris Smith | LifeNews.com | 1/22/14 2:04 PM
The following is the text of Congressman Chris Smith’s remarks to today’s March for Life:
Thank you for joining this extraordinary March—a magnificent celebration of God’s gift of life and a recommitment to defending and protecting women and children from the violence of abortion.
chrissmithDespite the fact that President Obama is using stealth, deception and the coercive power of the state to promote abortion violence—including new massive public funding in Obamacare for insurance plans that include abortion on demand—the pro-life movement is alive and well and making serious, significant and sustained progress.
In the last three years alone, a record 200 pro-life laws have been enacted in the states.  Thank you state lawmakers and pro-life governors!
Although the U.S. Senate Democratic leadership refuses to allow votes on pro-life legislation, a majority of House Members backed two bills by Congressman Trent Franks:  one to end discrimination against baby girls killed by sex selection abortion—the real war on women—and another bill to protect pain-capable unborn children from excruciating agony and suffering.
And since the murder conviction last year of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, Americans are beginning to recognize an ugly reality:  there are Gosnells all over America—predators, child abusers and exploiters of women, making money on the pain of others.
Some abortionists may have cleaner sheets and better sanitized instruments than Gosnell, but what they do—what Gosnell did for over 40 years—is the same.
Abortionists are victim-makers and since 1973, more than 56 million children have been brutally slain—a death toll that equates to the entire population of England. On the other hand, the compassionate people in the pro-life movement have for over forty years,  welcomed, embraced, loved and deeply cherished both mothers at risk and the co-victims of every abortion—post- abortive women.
The passage of time hasn’t changed the fact that abortion is a serious, lethal violation of fundamental human rights, and that women and children deserve better, and that the demands of justice, generosity, and compassion require that the right to life be guaranteed to everyone.
Rather than dull our consciences to the unmitigated violence of abortion, the passage of time has only enabled us to see and, frankly, better understand the innate cruelty of abortion and its horrific legacy–victims–while making us more determined than ever to protect the weakest and the most vulnerable.
In the run up to passage of Obamacare, Americans were repeatedly told by President Obama himself, including in a speech to a joint session of Congress in October 2009 that “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion.”
In an eleventh hour ploy to garner the votes of a remnant of pro-life congressional democrats absolutely needed for passage in the House, President Obama issued an executive order now infamous that said that Obamacare “maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to newly created health insurance exchanges.”
At its core, the Hyde Amendment has two parts.  It not only prohibits funding for most abortions but bans funding for insurance plans that include elective abortion.
Under Obamacare, billions of dollars in the form of tax credits are today buying abortion-subsidizing health insurance plans in exchanges throughout the country.  For example, of the 112 health insurance plans available to members of Congress and staff, most, that is, 103 plans pay for abortion on demand.
Like the President’s promise that you can keep your insurance plan if you like it, the massive public funding for abortion in Obamacare insurance plans breaks another solemn presidential promise.
To rid Obamacare of its massive expansion of public funding for abortion insurance plans—and to make existing policies like the Hyde Amendment permanent–ask your senators and member of the House to support the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act co-sponsored by 165 House Members and a quarter of the Senate.
Finally, by the grace of God—and because of you, your prayers and hard work—we are winning.  And to the youth especially, never quit or grow discouraged, your generation will end abortion.

Thousands March Through Washington Snow For Annual Rally Against Abortion

Jan 22, 2014 5:01pm | Matthew Larotonda | ABC
WASHINGTON , D.C. — Numbing cold didn’t stop thousands of anti-abortion activists from descending on the nation’s capital today for their annual “March for Life.”
The demonstration falls each year on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision to uphold a legal right to abortion in Roe v. Wade. But with unusually frigid temperatures hovering between 14 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit today, picketing through D.C.’s slushy streets from the National Mall to the judiciary was more like a trudge. Hoisted signs with slogans like “Defend Life” and “Equal Rights 4 Unborn Women” were held aloft by gloves concealing hand warmers.
Speaking with the snowy U.S. Capitol behind her, March for Life president Jeanne Monahan spoke on this year’s theme of adoption as an alternative to abortion.
“When a woman is facing an unexpected pregnancy and she makes the choice to be a birthmother, she is being a heroic mother in the truest sense because she is making the ultimate sacrifice out of love for her child. In doing so she also helps another family embrace life,” she said.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told demonstrators, “In the not-too-distant future our movement will be victorious” and “secure a culture of life.”
“I believe this for one very simple reason,” he said. “The truth is, there is an inalienable right to life, and this right extends to the unborn. This is not a political truth subject to the whims of man. It is a moral truth and was written, as one famous Virginian noted, by our creator.”
The lawmaker trumped recently passed bills in his GOP-controlled chamber to hinder abortion, but yielded it would be “a much tougher task” to pass through the Democratic majority in the Senate and the White House. Such legislation is tabled in limbo until the balance of power changes.
“But I can make you this promise,” Cantor continued. “The people’s House will stand for life. And we will do everything in our power to make sure that our values and the sanctity of life are reflected in the law of the land.”
He shared the podium with fellow members Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ., and Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo. Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and a half dozen other activists also spoke on the National Mall grounds.
Washington typically experiences fairly mild winters and today’s cold did hinder some events for the activists, however. Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski was scheduled to speak but national flight delays from the recent winter storm reportedly stranded him on the tarmac in his home state of Illinois. On Tuesday a 5K marathon named for the march’s founder, Nellie Gray, was also cancelled due to the chill.
Pope Francis, home at the Vatican, expressed support for the demonstrations via Twitter.
“I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers,” it read. “May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable.”
Demonstrators in support of abortion rights held similar gatherings throughout the city albeit with far fewer numbers. In one outing, a few dozen “Pro Choice” activists organized outside the Supreme Court, but were dwarfed by the March For Life procession when it arrived in early afternoon.
A July ABC News/Washington Post poll found 55 percent of Americans support a right to abortion in most or all cases; 41 percent opposed. The numbers have remained relatively static over the last 10 years.
As the Republican National Committee begins its annual winter meeting in Washington’s Renaissance Hotel this week, members of the GOP are scheduled to meet with abortion foes and are expected to discuss ways to hinder abortions without overturning Roe v. Wade outright. The Supreme Court decision has already survived four decades of challenges from opponents.
Requiring the notification of a spouse before a woman undergoes the procedure and mandatory waiting periods for would-be patients are examples of measures that could be pursued at the state and federal level. Such methods have already taken off in some state legislatures as activists seek ways around Congress to chip away at the practice – more restrictions were placed on abortion at the state level in the last two years than in the previous decade. In 2013 alone 53 were passed, according to the Associated Press.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Eck poised to mount CD 12 bid

By Matthew Arco | December 31st, 2013 | Politickernj

A Somerset County doctor who ran an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate is poised to mount another congressional campaign.

Dr. Alieta Eck told PolitickerNJ Tuesday she is prepared to officially announce her CD 12 bid to oust Democratic incumbent Rep. Rush Holt. The Republican will officially kick off her campaign on Jan. 9.

“I am going to try for the nomination,” said Eck, adding she plans to “build on the momentum” gained in her recent primary challenge against former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan.

Eck lost the primary to Lonegan, who was ultimately beat out for the seat by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D).

Eck, who founded a free health care clinic along with her husband for the poor and uninsured, said she was encouraged to receive about 27,000 votes in her primary against Lonegan after only two months of campaigning and being largely a “total unknown.”

She ran on a campaign to undo the Affordable Care Act.

“We need smart and efficient government,” she said. “Obamacare is just one example [of what’s not working].”