Monthly Archives: August 2009

It May Not be the Economy After All

More often than not, elections come down to economic matters – taxes, jobs and other pocketbook issues. Year after year, the famous James Carville mantra, “It’s the economy, stupid,” continues to ring true.

When New Jersey’s race for governor began taking shape in the spring, it did in fact look like the economy would be on the front burner. “It will be an early test of whether the Democratic response to the financial crisis was effective,” NBC’s David Gregory said in June.

For Republican challenger Chris Christie, this Continue reading

Reflections on Ted Kennedy

The passing of Senator Ted Kennedy is sad news for all Americans, regardless of one’s political or ideological persuasion.

Through a strange series of events, I was privileged to write a short quote for Senator Kennedy in 2001 for a press release promoting a campaign stop he was making in New Jersey for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim McGreevey. It was just a few sentences and I did not get to work with him directly before the event, but I did have the opportunity to speak with him briefly when he arrived in New Jersey. He was very gracious and I take pride in the fact that I was able to write something for a man who was a true American icon.

New Meaning from an Old Story

Speculation that longtime Superior Court Judge Mathias E. Rodriguez, who retired last week, may run for the State Assembly brings back memories from my early days as a State House reporter.

When then-Governor Tom Kean nominated Rodriguez to a Superior Court judgeship in 1988, I was covering the State House for The News Tribune of Woodbridge.  Rodriguez lived in Perth Amboy so his nomination had a local interest for us.  Still it was more or less a routine story – until a veteran reporter from another newspaper tipped me off that Rodriguez’ nomination was being blocked by Senatorial Courtesy and Continue reading

The Grass Always Isn’t Greener on the Other Side

I’m in Florida this week, so I am taking a break from my weekly column, but I do have time for two quick anecdotes that help to put life in NJ into perspective.

Back home, our out-of-state guests are always taken aback by having to pay a fee to sit on the beach at the Jersey shore.  We went to a “free” beach earlier this week.  It costs $5 to park and $33 for the use of two chairs and an umbrella. (Bringing your own beach paraphernalia did not appear to be an option.)

Later on, I shared an elevator ride with an irate contractor who was on the phone screaming and cursing at a local zoning office for repeatedly holding up a construction project by undertaking a lengthy bureaucratic review. If New Jersey is in fact over-regulated, it looks like – contrary to popular opinion — we may have some company in the south.