A Wholesale Rejection of Sweeney/Greenwald’s Worst Idea Yet™

I’m having hernia surgery on Friday so let’s get that Year End Finale post up sooner rather than later, eh? It’s been a crazy, dramatic, exhausting year in NJ politics. Here’s what I’m reflecting on as the calendar hurtles toward 2019.

Hot Mess.

So how about Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assemblyman Lou Greenwald’s scandalous attempt to redraw the legislative map to hoard power for themselves and for their crew? We’ve all seen the massive negative blowback and I simply must add my words to the mountain of condemnation that already exists for the architects of this spectacle.

This self-serving gerrymander scheme bombed mostly because fair-minded liberals blew up the whip count. This wasn’t the impotent NJGOP whose whining was just as self-serving as the democratic plan to gerrymander. Nope, it was liberal activists, fresh off an Election Day romp in NJ, who had no appetite for the corrupt impulses of Trenton democrats.

Senator Nick Scutari should be smart enough to know that, no, we’re not “hysterical.” We’re just principled. And we’re tired of him and his ilk behaving in a patronizing, self-serving manner. It’s a pattern. And we’ve had enough.

This gerrymander fiasco shows a democratic party in Trenton out of synch with the rest of the planet and certainly with their own base. They blew it on the millionaires tax. NJTransit is a disaster. Marijuana reform has stalled. Their attempt to raise the minimum wage flopped. The democrats can’t even fix NJ’s crappy medical marijuana program.

It’s almost 2019! Medical marijuana reform should be easy, right?

Well not in NJ where senate prez Steve Sweeney tethered medical marijuana to legislation that would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. I’m the biggest pothead in the world. No one wants legalization ore than I do. But never at the expense of sick people.

A better medical marijuana program was possible 6 months ago but Sweeney demanded and insisted that the two bills – recreational and medical – become a package deal.

We can debate the merits of Sweeney’s strategy. But it’s a stubborn, irrefutable truth that  many people have been harmed by the decision to hijack medical marijuana legislation to make the recreational debate more sympathetic.

Therefore, 38,000 sick and dying cannabis users in NJ are driving way too far and spending way too much for crappy weed (see pic).

And we can’t blame Chris Christie for this forever.


Voters should be choosing their representatives, not the other way around. But democrats like Sweeney and Greenwald still prefer a regime where the politicians choose their own voters. It’s perverse. And here’s the real kick in the balls: they’ll never admit to this colossal mistake because they don’t think they’ve done anything even remotely objectionable. Instead, they probably think that the rest of us are just too ignorant to understand the infinite wisdom of their plan.

If Lou Greenwald and Steve Sweeney really cared about engaging voters in a meaningful way (they don’t) then they’d do something about the abysmal voter turnout rates in New Jersey where 50% is considered a “good” year. Where’s the concern there? Why no breathless, condescending OpEds on that topic? Here’s why: because voter turnout has never been a priority to the same folks who want to enshrine gerrymandering into the NJ constitution.

Ho Ho Hos.

Basically, all I want for Christmas is better leadership in Trenton. That would qualify as Christmas miracle, right? Things like cannabis reform and a better NJTransit would thrilling and awesome. But that’s also really good public policy. And, not for nothing, that’s some good politics too.

But it’s not just me. The chorus demanding more is growing louder. The Blue Tsunami that helped flip four Congressional seats in New Jersey isn’t going away anytime soon.

In fact, they’re just getting warmed up.

Jay Lassiter has covered the Trenton  for nearly 15 years. It’s a perplexing beat. He’s still struggling to understand how an accused rapist could land a six-figure tax-payer funded job in the Murphy administration. 









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