NJ’s Pre-Election Day Political Tailgate Part III


New Jersey Votes Tuesday November 5th!

The World Series is over, there’s Halloween candy in the fridge, and I just set all the clocks back which means Election Day is right around the corner! Until then let’s tailgate!

Part-time work, full-time paycheck?

NJ Senator Nick Scutari’s ugly, bruising battle to seize the chairmanship of Union County’s Democratic party is still reverberating and it ain’t pretty. Scutari, who for 15 years double dipped as municipal prosecutor in Linden, showed up about about half the time to the job that pays his (full-time) salary and his pension credits, according to his arch-memesis, Linden Mayor Derek Armstead. NorthJersey.com literally charted Scutari’s shoddy attendance record. An actual chart, vividly colored.

Scurati’s now suing Armstead for $10 million dollars for slander. The mayor was behind Scutari’s dismissal.

Scutari was still paid “$147,494 between 2014 and 2018 for days Scutari missed that were not approved by his superiors.”

Plus another $12,000 to pay for last-minute substitutes. (The senator, for his part, says his firm had the contract and he not have to personally be onsite to fulfill the work).

Scutari has led the effort to legalize recreational cannabis in NJ. So if you’re wondering why things continue to languish on the front, the answer may lie in Scutari’s myriad legal and political distractions.

Ballot measure

There’s a statewide question on Tuesday’s ballot. Military veterans who served during wartime or other emergencies currently receive a $250 annual property tax deduction. Question #1 asks NJ voters to extend that tax deduction to include vets living in continuing care retirement communities.

According to NJTV, “an estimated 3,000 veterans and their spouses stand to benefit from a ‘yes’ vote.”

First of all, $250 seems kinda modest don’t you think? Secondly, NJ’s referendum process isn’t like California for example where a concerned citizen can circulate a petition to change the law. Here in the Garden State, referenda originate in the legislature. Lawmakers are the gatekeepers and voters are just along for the ride. And instead of creating a new law, a “YES” vote in NJ actually amends our state’s constitution. It’s an unwieldy, approach to basically everything.

Is there not an easier, cheaper way to show our most venerable Veterans our appreciation? Isn’t amending our constitution a big lift for an amount that adds up to a nice gesture?

Interestingly, this ballot measure has consequences for LGBT services members who were discharged for being gay.

Lauren Albrecht, who runs the NJ Democratic party’s LGBT caucus, sent us the manual.

“Page 295,” Ms Albrecht told InsiderNJ. “In New Jersey Vets who were discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ can have that changed and be eligible for the provisions of the ballot question.”

Toms River

Jonathan Petro is a moderate Democrat who’s running for Mayor in Toms River, NJ’s 8th largest town, population 93k. Like most towns in Ocean County, city hall in Toms River has long been the domain of the GOP. But with the fall (and possible imprisonment) of Ocean GOP boss George Gilmore and the Toms Rivers GOP in disarray after a nasty primary, there’s a path for Jonathan Petro to edge out incumbent Mo Hill.

“Toms River would be fortunate to have Mr. Petro as their Mayor based on the fabric of his character,’ Ms Albrecht told InsiderNJ, providing a contrast to Ocean County’s ethically beleaguered republican party.

“He’s competent, intelligent, compassionate and deeply dedicated to Toms River,” Ms Albrecht added.

He’s also gay.

“It’s also encouraging for us in the LGBTQ community to see one of our own vie for such a high-profile position,” Ms Albrecht added. “Representation and visibility are key parts in the healthy development of LGBTQ youth, for those struggling with alienation based on orientation or identity. It gives hope and provides positive role models.”

Party with Us!🥂

Headed to the League of Municipalities extravaganza later this month? Join us on Tuesday November 19 from 8-10pm at Cuba Libra Tropicana for the Insider NJ Power Party At The League.





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