Jesse O. Kurtz

Kurtz on Track for Assembly Run in 2021

Atlantic City Councilman Jesse O. Kurtz, a Republican, appears on pace to run for the Republican nomination for the an assembly seat in LD2.

Fellow Republican Atlantic County Freeholder John Risley also seems interested.

LD2 is a split district battleground, where state Senator Chris Brown (R-2) and Assemblyman John Armato (D-2) and Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) are all up for reelection this year.

Brian Fitzherbert was kicking the tires, a source said, but appears to have cooled off. There were also rumors of other people, e.g. Phil Guenther, Beth Holtzman, Kristi Hanselmann, Art Schenker, Amy Gatto, James Toto, but none of them are interested at this point.

If Kean Declines…Spurr Wants LD21 Assembly Seat

Summit GOP Chair Steve Spurr wants to take a crack at the GOP nomination for a LD21 Assembly seat, if Senator Kean declines to seek re-election and assuming that either Assemblymembers Bramnick of Munoz runs for Kean’s Senate seat.

Spurr’s letter is below:

Murphy

Murphy Witnesses Healthcare Workers Receiving COVID Vaccine

Governor Phil Murphy, Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, University Hospital President and CEO Dr. Shereef Elnahal, and Rutgers Medical School Dean Dr. Robert Johnson visited University Hospital’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Rutgers Medical School this morning to witness frontline health care workers receive their second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.

 

Republican Guglielmello Wants to be a LD25 Assemblyman

Republican Matthew S. Guglielmello intends to run for the Assembly in LD25.

“My academic and professional experiences prepared me to develop and fight for policies that will benefit the 25th legislative district. As Assemblyman, I would be able to analyze State policy in order to decide whether the pending law in front of me would be good for the People. Through my work in the private sector, I am able to recognize how laws and regulations can have a detrimental impact. Through my constituency work, I have a strong understanding of the practical impact of the laws and their effect on everyday Americans. Through auditing government offices, I know how local government works and how to solve the problems that plague our communities.”

U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11).

Sherrill Votes ‘Present’ During House Speaker Vote

CD11 Democratic Rep. Sherrill voted ‘present’ during the vote for Speaker of the House, which resulted in the re-election of Speaker Pelosi for a fourth term.

From The Hill: ‘A total of five Democrats declined to support Pelosi on the chamber floor, urging a changing of the guard after 18 years under Pelosi’s reign — a sharp decline from the 15 defections she encountered in 2019.

Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) voted for Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a military veteran, while Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) opted for House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.). Three other Democrats — Reps. Elissa Slotkin (Mich.), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.) and Abigail Spanberger (Va.) — voted “present,” allowing them to log their disapproval with the longtime leader while simultaneously lowering her threshold for victory.’

A Lesson from Luna

Klein

Shawn Klein’s Livingston Mayoral speech 2021 Plus Booker Remarks

Livingston Mayoral speech 2021

Before I give my remarks, I have a few people to thank as well.  In addition to all those Rudy mentioned, I’d like to thank my family.  My wife, Cindy, who lets me do this, and my boys Jack and Leo who get to have Dad home a little less often.  I love you all.  I’d also thank my parents Barbara and Warren who live in town, as well as the rest of this Council, Ed, Michael, Al and Rudy for all their hard work and support. Ed, I always appreciate our discussions and know that those talks help us arrive at smart choices.  Michael, you know how much I enjoy working with you and I really appreciate the different perspectives that you bring to the table.  It makes us all better.  Al, we will keep laughing.  If there’s a dry joke out there, your box will always be the first one I look at on the Zoom.  Rudy, your many years on this council have given you wisdom and institutional memory, which are invaluable in helping us to lead Livingston.  It was a tough year to be mayor, but it would have been tougher without you. And thanks to Commissioner Pat Sebold who has always looked out for me and helped guide me along the way.

To the residents of Livingston who have elected me twice – and the many of you who have already sent warm congratulations on my second mayoral term – I thank you as well.  As I have said many times before, I love this town.  As an ophthalmologist, I count many of you as patients and I care for your vision; as your mayor, my goal is to have a vision for this town.

These have been dark and difficult times in Livingston, New Jersey and the world.  In the short term, we face a world-wide pandemic and broad economic difficulties. Over a longer time frame, we must address the crisis of climate change.  This Council is here to serve this town, but big issues cannot help but come to the fore when you care about your family, your neighbors and this country.  With all of these challenges, what are we to do?

Livingston, Job #1 is to get vaccinated.  For nearly everyone, getting the vaccine is a medical no-brainer.  If you do not get the vaccine, you will get the virus.  So you have to ask: would you rather deal with the side-effects of the virus or the side-effects of the vaccine.  The vaccine may give you a sore arm and the second shot may make you feel flu-ish for a day, but then you should be set.  The virus could kill you and even if it does not, 10% of infected people become long-haulers with cardiac, pulmonary and even psychiatric problems due to brain inflammation.  And also, you could transmit the virus to other people which could kill or sicken them, and, of course, our depressed economy will not fully recover until we have herd immunity.   So go get vaccinated.  Further information can be found at Essexcovid.org.

Additionally, on this January 14th, the Township will host on-line Covid and vaccine forum with medical experts and county officials to help answer all of your questions so please keep an eye out for that.

Clearly, this is a year of public health emphasis, but the town’s other work still needs to get done as well.  This Council will continue to listen to, and work hard for our residents.  Budget is always a top priority.  And we will keep our budget under control as we have since I have been on the Council.  These past years, town government has actually gotten smaller as taxes have increased at a rate below inflation – a major accomplishment given that we have many fixed costs.  And in 2020, we were particularly mindful of the economic pressures facing our residents, so, with the help of our fantastic Town Manager, Barry Lewis, we had a 0% increase in our municipal tax rate.  And, of course, we provide the basic services that Livingston residents expect: The water runs from your tap, garbage gets picked up and there is excellent public safety.

But there is so much more to do: We have to fight for smart development in town.  When surveys are done, one of the common comments about Livingston is that we have no downtown.  Well, with smart design, we can.  Building mixed use development along S. Liv will create the vibrancy we would all like to see. Smart design means having people live near where they shop and eat.

I see a Livingston with lots of trees, people walking to restaurants and eating outside, safe streets for bicycles.  We are not a doing a good job when developers build hundreds of units outside of walking distances.  That just creates more traffic, dirtier air and keeps people secluded to their homes and their cars.

In addition, we also have our part to play in dealing with larger issues.  Fighting climate change cannot be aspirational for us.  It needs to be done at a bare minimum and everything else we do should be in consideration of that.  We have fought hard to make sure that Livingston is a leader in NJ on climate.  I spear-headed the charge – and was supported by this entire Council – to make Livingston one of the very first municipalities in the country to use the collective bargaining power of our households to purchase energy on the open market.  In doing so, we were able to provide the majority of our residents with 100% renewable energy.  And this was done at a nearly 10% discount for our rate payers, saving almost $1m collectively. That program ended in the fall but here’s more good news: We recently accepted bids for a new 18-month energy aggregation program which will start up in March for our PSEG residents.  There will be a public meeting providing further details on this on Jan 19th – but remember there’s nothing you need to do to participate.  It will happen automatically.

This past year we purchased 20 acres of open space to preserve from development.  One of those spaces is the Licari horse farm off of Northfield.  We think the lower levels could be a wonderful place for summer camp activities and we are considering efforts to re-wild the upper part of the property.  If we succeed in re-wilding these grounds, Livingston would provide an outstanding example to the rest of the state and the country in providing park space for our residents as well as habitat for our wildlife.

Also, we should take steps to encourage green building construction.  By most accounts, the carbon footprint of our buildings is second only to transportation.  Working with our new Township Attorney, Jarrid Kantor, we can create ways to incentivize the development of buildings with tighter envelopes, solar readiness and diminished gas usage.  Livingston can lead on this.

So we can protect our environment but we also have to make sure it is welcoming one to all those who live here. 2020 was a year which cast a brilliant and, at times, glaring light on our diversity and the issue of equality. This Council is dedicated to ensuring a safe and just community. I am particularly proud of our Police Chief, Gary Marschuetz, who has been a model for the state in this regard. We will continue our flag raisings, we will continue our diversity festivals, and we will support social justice.

Just before lockdowns began, my wife, Cindy and I went to a Broadway show – those were the days.  We saw To Kill A Mockingbird which was terrific.  There was a character in the play who said that he had been wrong because he used to think an optimist was a kind of eye doctor – but I think maybe he was right: An eye doctor can be an optimist. 2021 is going to be a great year.  It will start tough, but, we can start to be excited about opening back up, renewing old friendships, going out to a restaurant or bar and enjoying good times.

After a long winter, I always get Spring Fever.  Can you imagine, if we all get vaccinated, that our Spring Fever could be from the warm weather and not the virus? That would be something! Thank you, Livingston! Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Senator Cory Booker Intro

I cant think of anyone more exciting to have here today to administer my Oath of Office.   Senator Cory Booker is someone I have huge admiration and affection for and if 2021 gives us many reasons to be optimistic; he is the living embodiment of that sentiment.  He always believes in the best of us, he always leads with love.  And he showed that to the nation and the world as he ran for president in this last election.   On top of all that, as a Star Wars geek – I have to mention – that his girlfriend Rosario has just been named as the star of a new Mandalorian spin-off.  Busy times in the Booker household!

So it is wonderful to have Senator Booker here with us (at least virtually – that’s still the best we can do for now) to swear me in as Livingston’s new mayor.

Former Cumberland County Democratic Chairman Riley Has Passed Away

Former Cumberland County Democratic Chairman Joseph Riley, the father of Cumberland County Clerk Celeste Riley, has passed away, according to a Press of Atlantic City report.

The New Jersey Statehouse and Capitol Building In Trenton

MVC Delaying Implementation of Driver’s Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants

The NJMVC announced via tweet today that is delaying the implementation of the new law allowing the obtaining of driver’s licenses by undocumented immigrants, due to the impact of COVID-19 on the agency’s operations.

Here’s the updated list from the MVC denoting the closed locations due to COVID-19:

ALL VEHICLE CENTERS ARE NOW APPOINTMENT ONLY.


THE CENTERS IN RED ARE CLOSED DUE TO COVID-19. If canceled, reschedule your appointment HERE. INSPECTION STATIONS AND ROAD TEST OPERATIONS REMAIN OPEN (unless otherwise indicated)

Licensing Centers
Vehicle Centers
Bakers Basin Oakland Cherry Hill Springfield
Bayonne Paterson East Orange Trenton
Camden Rahway Hazlet Turnersville
Cardiff Randolph Jersey City Wallington
Delanco Rio Grande Lakewood Washington
Eatontown Salem Manahawkin
Edison S. Plainfield Medford
Flemington Toms River Newton
Freehold Vineland Runnemede
Lodi Wayne Somerville
Newark W. Deptford S. Brunswick
N. Bergen

* Closure unrelated to COVID-19.


 

Wayne Licensing Center – Thursday, Dec 31.

Newark Regional/Licensing – Thursday, Dec 31.

Rahway Licensing Center – Thursday, Dec 31.

East Orange Vehicle Center – Thursday, Dec 31.

North Bergen Licensing Center – Saturday, Jan 2.

Lodi Licensing Center – Saturday, Jan 2.

Flemington Licensing Center – Saturday, Jan 2.

Cherry Hill Vehicle Center – Thursday, Jan 7.

Monmouth University Poll examines President Donald J. Trump's job rating and the impeachment question.

Trump Pardons Charles Kushner

From a White House statement released last night:

Charles Kushner — President Trump granted a full pardon to Charles Kushner. Former United States Attorney for the District of Utah Brett Tolman and the American Conservative Union’s Matt Schlapp and David Safavian support a pardon of Mr. Kushner. Since completing his sentence in 2006, Mr. Kushner has been devoted to important philanthropic organizations and causes, such as Saint Barnabas Medical Center and United Cerebral Palsy. This record of reform and charity overshadows Mr. Kushner’s conviction and 2 year sentence for preparing false tax returns, witness retaliation, and making false statements to the FEC.

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