It’s snowing. No wait, it’s raining. Or is that hail? Oh phooey! it’s an ice storm! Whatever it is, you probably have a wintery vacation day on your hands. So here’s a little something to read between shoveling and plowing. Enjoy it with your hot cocoa. Unless of course your electricity’s out too. In which case you’ll have to settle for chocolate milk.
NJ’s Top Cop
We’ll start pretty much where we left off last time: singing the praises of NJ Attorney General Christopher Porrino. When Porrino busted a record number of greedy doctors for over-prescribing lethal opiates to addicts, InsiderNJ was positively effusive.
“When four out of five new heroin users are getting their start by abusing prescription drugs, you have to attack the problem at ground zero: in irresponsibly run doctors’ offices,” said Porrino at the time. “Purging the medical community of over-prescribers is as important to our cause as busting heroin rings and locking up drug kingpins.”
Bravo! More please!? If there’s anything more loathsome than dope-peddling physicians, it’s shady politicians. The recent takedown of Paterson Mayor José “Joey” Torres suggests AG Porrino feels the same way.
“Mayor Torres is alleged to have misappropriated public resources and workers to advance a family business, and his co-defendants allegedly joined in his blatantly crooked scheme,” Porrino said. “We have zero tolerance for this type of abuse of public office in New Jersey.”
Torres surrendered to State Police yesterday. BAM!
Most states elect their AG. Here in NJ, the Governor alone makes that call. LT. Governor Kim Guadagno wants to “bring the Attorney General’s office into the light” by allowing voters to decide. It’s an interesting debate for anther time.
But here’s what’s not debatable: NJ Attorney General Christopher Porrino is the best appointment our (increasingly irrelevant) Governor Chris Christie has made in the past 7 years. So if NJ followed through on these tentative plans to make the AG post an elected one, I’d vote for Christopher Porrino in a second.
TMac & Me
InsiderNJ recently caught up with Congressman Tom MacArthur for a dinnertime pancake breakfast at Sage Diner in Mt. Laurel. TMac’s appointment to co-chair the Bipartisan (congressional) Task Force to Combat the heroina big deal, especially since his own district includes Ocean County, NJ’s heroin epicenter.
“We must fight this epidemic together in a rigorously bipartisan manner,” TMac told InsiderNJ. “I don’t want a knee jerk reaction to this crisis just to make people feel good. Good and well-intentioned laws can have negative unintended consequences. This is about helping addicts, not about (superficial actions designed to) make the public believe that’s what we’re doing.”
“More Federal funding to address this crisis and educating doctors on pain management,” TMac replied. “Feds can’t do it all, but we can do that much.”
MacArthur pointed to the region’s “transient nature” to explain why Ocean County suffers this crisis disproportionately. Proximity to both Philly & NYC suggest the old “Location, location, location” adage still rings true.
TMac was pleased at NJ’s recent bipartisan effort to place an inital 5 day cap on opioids. Chronic pain sufferers are of course exempt from these caps which ONLY apply to acute pain cases (i.e. strained wrist or a root canal.)
“Maybe a three day limit would be even better,” he wondered.
Maybe he’s right.
GSE strikes back
A week after their Asbury Park headquarters was vandalized by two thugs kicking their front door in, Garden State Equality was out in force in Trenton doing what they do best: standing up to protect the LGBT community.
Transgender Americans of all ages have recently discovered that their rights have become the latest flashpoint in America’s culture wars. We’re literally fighting over where to pee. And frankly, Gov. Christie isn’t helping.
“Garden State Equality drafted guidelines for the NJ Department of Education to adopt over a year ago (to address the bathroom issue among other things) but since then there’s been nothing but inaction,” GSE director Christian Fuscarino told InsiderNJ. “It’s time Governor Christie released his transphobic death grip on his Department of Ed and let them get back to the job of keeping our young people safe in school.”
The attack on GSE HQ proves there are still folks out there – newly emboldened in the era of Trump – who are comfortable expressing their anti-gay contempt with vandalism or violence. This week’s rally is a sign that NJ’s LGBT community is tough and resilient. And that we punch back.
Literally if necessary.
“I’m tired of Christie bullying trans people,” Fuscarino added. “On behalf of NJ’s LGBT community I’m here to say that enough is enough!”
Jay Lassiter is the Court Jester of New Jersey Politics. His radical agenda includes brunch and ending capital punishment. When he’s not on Twitter, Jay is probably working to keep the government out of your womb. Or your bong.