Congratulations to InsiderNJ Columnists Jay Lassiter and Fred Snowflack!

InsiderNJ columnists Jay Lassiter and Fred Snowflack both win NJPA awards.

InsiderNJ is proud to announce the names of our two winners in the New Jersey Press Association’s 2019 Better Newspaper Contest.

For the second straight year, InsiderNJ columnist Jay Lassiter picked up a second place award, this time in the Responsible Journalism (Editorial Comment) category. Of Mr. Lassiter’s commentaries, the judges wrote, “He has an approachable writing style and takes on some serious subject matter.”

InsiderNJ columnist Fred Snowflack – also a past NJPA award winner – captured a third place prize, also in the Responsible Journalism (Editorial Comment) category.

Please join the rest of us at InsiderNJ in congratulating Jay Lassiter and Fred Snowflack for their fine work.

Among his award-winning pieces, Mr. Lassiter wrote about the aftermath of the tax incentive scandal here.

“When scandal engulfed the NJ Economic Authority last week, the multiplebombshell media reports read like something from The Sopranos: greed, coercion, corruption, exploitation, and a malignant brand of fidelity.

“Camden Democratic machine loyalists Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Louis Cappelli were quickly dispatched to defend the embattled NJEDA while ignoring troubling revelations about an organization that awards billions of dollars in tax subsides to firms aligned with George Norcross, the pater familias of South Jersey’s Democratic machine.”

He also wrote about the failure of New Jersey’s medical marijuana proram here.

It’s tempting and easy to blame former Governor Chris Christie for everything that’s wrong with New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. Christie’s from the old school and was generous with contempt towards anyone who begged to differ.

Christie’s predecessor Jon Corzine signed medical marijuana legislation into law with the clock winding down on his term. So it was left to Christie to implement and regulate a medical cannabis program he never wanted.

The result: the most expensive, impractical, over-regulated, over-taxed medical cannabis program in the nation. You might even call it mean-spirited and if you did, I won’t argue. I mean, we are talking about sick people here.

It’s Steve Sweeney’s fault that New Jersey’s medical cannabis program continues to fail its users. There’s a bill (A10/S10) to fix most of what ails NJ’s program. (learn about the ghastly details of NJ’s broken program here.)

And Sweeney’s “selective schadenfreude” here.

Mr. Snowflack, for his part, wondered if U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2) really knows what he’s doing.

“Despite differing with the Democrats on impeachment – a mega-issue to be sure – Van Drew has indeed voted the Democratic line since arriving in Washington. This raises a question about his political integrity. Is Van Drew suddenly going to adopt party-line Republican positions that he may not have had a week ago?”

In another piece, he urged Rutgers to put the university first.

“From what has been publicly disclosed, Schiano’s demands are excessive – a $4 million a year salary, high wages for his assistants, a private plane, stadium upgrades and a new training facility. While he may have backed off a bit on the private plane demand, let’s remember that the football stadium was upgraded not too long ago and that a new campus training facility constructed. Schiano reportedly wants another training center just for football, which presumably would spare football players the indignity of working out in the same space as, say, members of the baseball team.

“It’s hard to see why such extravagance is necessary at a public university.”

And in his third award-winning piece, Mr. Snowflack assessed the aftermath of a senate hearing where George Norcross III appeared to defend the tax incentive program that benefited his business interests. That was the same hearing where state police wrestled New Jersey Working Families Executive Director Sue Altman from the room.

From Mr. Snowflack’s piece:

“George Norcross on Monday called himself a “cheerleader” for Camden. That was one of those silly comments you hear all too often in politics, but this time, it made sense – at least to the Senate Committee hearing Norcross’ testimony.

“For reasons not readily apparent, the committee treated Norcross more like an innocent high school cheerleader than the political boss of South Jersey.

“In fact, just about the only time Sen. Bob Smith, the committee chair, displayed any toughness, it was directed at the audience. After initially instructing the overflow crowd in the committee room not to be too demonstrative, Smith moved to eject “the back row” after there were some boos of those testifying prior to Norcross. Sue Altman, the state director of Working Families Alliance, was not in the back row, but she was nevertheless forcibly removed out the side door of the statehouse annex.

“Her supporters chanted, ‘shame, shame’ as the incident unfolded.

“Clearly, this was an overreaction by Smith. There is nothing unusual about public reaction at a contentious hearing. It’s democracy you know.”


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