NJ Political Potpourri, ‘Apology NOT Accepted’ Edition!

Roger Stone and Steve Ayscue

Sometimes a little introduction helps to set the scene. But these vignettes are pretty self-explanatory so le’ts just dive right in!


If redistricting were truly about giving voters equal and fair representation based on Census data, then politicians wouldn’t be so reliable eager to game the system to suit themselves.

Remember in 2018 when the Norcross Democrats wanted to enshrine partisan gerrymandering into our state constitution? Shudder!

Remember this year when we discovered that Democrats and Republicans want to pack the redistricting commission with (mostly) men, each uniquely suited to shore up and further entrench the patriarchy specific sitting (male) incumbents?

Now, the Democrats want to postpone redistricting and retain the outdated maps for another two years. They cite COVID-19 for delaying census results, but surely another tilt on favorable terrain must be on their minds.

I understand the Democrats’ desire to press their advantage. But did I miss the evidence that deferring is actually a good idea? Or even necessary?

When Republicans accuse Democrats of hijacking redistricting, they’re not far off the mark. But hijacking from whom? The voters? LOL surely not! So take NJGOP’s critique with a grain of salt. They would do the same thing if they weren’t so hapless.

Of course, we don’t actually need political insiders to create our new legislative boundaries. A computer could do our mapmaking in a matter of nanoseconds and without all the stench!

The result would be vastly superior and infinitely fairer than whatever we’ll end up with.

(Not an actual) Witch-Hunt

Donald Trump and George Norcross have a lot in common. They’re both Mar-a-Lago regulars who prize loyalty, they both have their guy running their Senate, and both their squads favor getting back to business over flattening the curve.

Trump’s weekend pardon of convicted felon Roger Stone (pictured here w/ Norcross deputy Steve Ayscue) was the latest, most toxic display of loyalty we’ve seen from this president thus far.

It reminded me of when a Norcross-aligned assemblyman beat up his girlfriend and instead of being punished, he went to work for the City of Camden making over $60,000/year. Which gets us to another trait that Trump and Norcross share: they treat the public sector like it’s their family store, doling out taxpayer-funded jobs on the regular.

Swampy, ain’t it?

And for the record, despite Trump’s pardon, Mr Stone was unanimously convicted on multiple felony counts by a jury of his peers, all of whom were vetted by Mr Stone’s attorneys beforehand.

Remember that the next time a Trumper yells “witch-hunt!”

Freedom to Evolve 

I’m not the only LGBT person in NJ who read with interest that NJ Senator Tom Kean Jr regrets his votes against marriage equality a decade or so ago.

Senator Kean is running for Congress which may explain the evolution but better late than never right?

Some LGBTQ people aren’t so sure.

Marsha Shapiro and Louise Walpin were the first gay couple to legally wed in the Garden State. InsiderNJ reached out to the history-making duo who had some strong opinions which they aimed at Mr Kean directly.

“Please do not pander to the LGBTQ community when you want votes,” the duo warned. “We need people in Washington who will stand up for us and you have proven you are not one of them. Oct 21 will be 7 years since the Supreme Court granted legal marriage in NJ for same sex couples. You are too late.”

But wait a minute? What about giving people the space to evolve?

“We might forgive your 2010 vote against our right to marry, had you evolved by 2012,” the pair said before digging up the receipts. “But in case you forgot, Senator Kean, you also voted against marriage equality 2 additional times in 2012: once on the bill itself and again on the override attempt when it passed both houses and (Gov Chris) Christie vetoed.”

That failed veto override stands out. I was in the Senate chamber and I remember how badly it hurt. So it’s one thing to welcome Mr Kean as an ally for LGBTQ liberty at long last. It’s quite another to excuse Mr Kean’s fealty to Chris Christie for eight long years.

Does he really think we’d forgot about that?

“So, Senator Kean, just as you had no trouble saying ‘no’ to us when we personally lobbied you for marriage, as well as each time you voted on the floor, now we say we do not accept your shallow words that you suddenly evolved,” Marsha and Louise added, setting the matter.

Jay Lassiter is a longtime NJ political recounter who likes his tea hot, black, and with heaps of historical context. 

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