NJ Republicans should hold the line on recreational pot

In a recent column published on the blog InsiderNJ, marijuana lobbyist Ken Wolski argued that legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes “is the best way to get this medicine to the most people,” adding, “legalization changes cannabis from a drug that requires multiple doctor visits to one that can be purchased over the counter, like aspirin.”  Was Wolski, who is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana, letting the cat out of the bag?  Has this been the goal all along?  Was “medical” marijuana merely a way to grease the slippery slope towards legalization and the inevitable expansion of the drug’s use?

Remember that tobacco too had once been promoted for its “medical benefits” as were opioids.  Both got well out of control.

Wolski’s column urged Republican legislators to support the highly flawed legalization bill being proposed by Governor Phil Murphy and the Democrat leadership in Trenton.  Let me add my voice to those who applaud the GOP for standing with those responsible Democrats who oppose it. 

When I first heard that the New Jersey legislature was considering a bill legalizing the use and sale of recreational marijuana, and expunging the record of anyone who had been charged with a related offense, I was both disheartened and spurred to action. As a Christian, I obviously oppose marijuana and its legalization on moral grounds, and as the pastor of City Baptist Church in Hoboken, I have had the responsibility of ministering to families affected by substance abuse. Knowing the devastation, and the harm that marijuana inflicts on individuals and families, and the crime and moral degradation it brings to communities, I determined to testify against the bill in person before the appropriations committee in Trenton.

I arrived in Trenton on March 18 with the intentions of opposing the recreational marijuana bill on the basis of morality, relying on my experiences and perspectives as a pastor who has worked with people through drug-related issues. However, as I sat waiting to testify, listening as the bill’s amendments were read, my mind turned to other substantial issues this bill would generate if passed into legislation. 

Beyond the moral implications of the bill, and its effect on families, this measure would present practical difficulties for employers and residents generally in many ways, a few of which would affect me personally.  You see, in addition to pastoring in an urban area, I am a third-generation real estate developer in northern and central New Jersey. With 420 garden apartments owned & managed by my family, and 100+ in the pipeline, the marijuana bill would be devastating to our operations. 

Two provisions of the bill are particularly alarming from this perspective: the fact that thousands of New Jersey residents would be able to smoke marijuana recreationally in their homes, and the expungement of previous arrests/convictions for possession.  While there are certainly other provisions that provide cause for concern and alarm, I would like to briefly address the implications and negative consequences of these two. 

First, as the owner of a multi-family unit, I have serious concerns about the negative impacts some residents’ use would cause to others. Many have heard of the harmful consequences of second-hand smoke, and where marijuana is involved, those concerns are magnified. A family, for example, with a baby, will now have to be concerned about their neighbor’s activities both in and outside the apartment. If a neighbor hosts a party where marijuana is smoked, that smoke would filter into the other person’s apartment and potentially harm their baby, and the parents are left with no recourse because the police would now be unable to stop the use. 

Second, from an employer perspective, the record expungement present serious problems for us in making hiring decisions. Under this bill, a now-criminal would have their record expunged if they had been convicted of using marijuana in the past, and that record would no longer be available to potential employers, indeed, we could not even ask about it. Marijuana use is certainly concerning to me as an employer, but even worse is the fact that often, when someone is convicted of possession, it is because they plead down from a much greater offense.  A drug dealer arrested and charged with 10 pounds of marijuana with the intent to distribute could have previously plea bargained down to simple possession. 

The new marijuana bill would hinder me from ever finding out about that potential employee’s behavior. That employee, if hired, would then be given access (with a master key) to all 420 residential units as a complex superintendent. Regular maintenance calls, inspections, and day-to-day operations would put our residents in great danger.   A drug dealer with a plea bargain down to simple possession would now be walking into the homes and lives of innocent people. This is not only a danger to residents, it is a serious liability to employers such as myself, and takes away a necessary tool for evaluating a potential candidate.

In closing, I urge the Republican legislative leadership to continue to stand with Democrats like Senator Ron Rice of Newark, a veteran and former police officer, who understand the problems presented by this legislation. This needs further debate and examination before any final consideration.

Phil Rizzo is the Pastor of City Baptist Church in Hoboken. 

Murphy runs from taxpayers. Changes venue in Sussex County.

Less than 24 hours before he was set to attend a Democrat event in Hardyston, Sussex County, Governor Phil Murphy switched the location to Franklin.  Murphy is evidently trying to avoid protests aimed at his cuts to education funding in Sussex County and his administration’s failure to address illegal dumping in Vernon. 

Sources claim that the new location was selected because it “makes public protest difficult” from a logistical standpoint.  It also requires a permit from the police (Murphy isn’t stupid).  The location was switched from a large community center with plenty of parking to a popular local tavern with limited parking.  The event is now being held at:

The Irish Cottage Inn

602 Route 23

Franklin, NJ

Governor Murphy will be speaking at the event, which is being put on by the Sussex County branch of the Trenton Democrats.  The event starts at around 9 in the morning.  Murphy is supposed to get there by 10. 

Contradicting what they earlier told the media – that the event would be “open to the public” – the Democrats have now imposed a “credentials” requirement for attendance.  We predicted as much. That’s how Murphy rolls.

Bill Hayden of the Skylands Tea Party is organizing a counter-protest.  You can and should access his effort at

https://www.facebook.com/events/1991865810926266/?ti=icl

This is a great opportunity to tell the Governor about the illegal dump in Vernon and about his cuts to education funding in Sussex County.

Governor Murphy has cut education funding for Sussex County and his administration has dragged its feet on stopping illegal dumping in Vernon. 

Murphy is pushing a bizarre New-Left agenda of making taxpayers pay for illegal immigrants with his Sanctuary State programs to fund subsidized legal and education benefits for illegals.  Murphy has allowed dangerous criminals to flow into New Jersey, simply because they claim illegal immigrant status, while he works to take away the rights of New Jersey residents to defend themselves and their families from violence. 

Murphy has driven out jobs (over 9,000 last month alone) with higher business taxes and higher property taxes, while calling for taxes on everything up to and including the rain. His administration is a by-word for corruption – not only hiring convicted politicians who ripped-off taxpayers, but even tolerating the rape of its own female employees.

This Saturday, you have a chance to let him know in person just how pissed off we are.  Governor Murphy will be in Sussex County to place his stamp of approval on Democrat Assembly candidates Deana Lykins, an insurance industry lobbyist, and Dan Smith, the city attorney of Orange, in Essex County.

Hugin should think before hurting the GOP any further

Bob Hugin’s campaign for the United States Senate was a disaster.  Everyone associated with it should be embarrassed, should wear the scarlet letter “L” as an external sign of their shame and contrition.

But there will be no contrition because these are people too proud to admit that their “vision” was flawed, that they outspent an extraordinarily flawed incumbent three to one and still lost badly.  Hugin lost to Bob Menendez, a Democrat incumbent so flawed that one in three Democrat primary voters rejected him.

What’s worse is that the Hugin campaign was deliberately designed to suppress traditional Republican turnout while enormous amounts were spent to create a surge amongst “soft” Democrats and Democrat leaners who had soured on Menendez.  The result of this strategy is best summed up when veterans of the Hugin campaign brag that they “won six Congressional districts.” Too bad that in five of those six districts, the Republican candidate for Congress lost, including two incumbents.  

As recently as 2016, all six of those districts had been represented by a Republican.  Now, just one remains.

Writing in the New Jersey Globe today, David Wildstein notes the re-emergence of Bob Hugin, addressing a meeting of Mercer County Republicans, placing his stamp of approval on the state’s first transgender candidate for the Legislature.  Here we go again. Let’s not learn the lesson that $40 million wasn’t enough to convince voters that Republicans are more reliable social liberals than Democrats, instead… try, try again.

The candidate Hugin spoke on behalf of is Jennifer Williams.  She is running for Assembly in the 15th Legislative District, a district that Republicans have almost no chance of picking up in 2019.  But because Jennifer Williams is the first transgendered candidate of either party to run for the Legislature, she will become a focal point of the 2019 campaign cycle.  Williams worked on Hugin’s campaign, so perhaps Hugin will provide her with the resources to make her campaign even more of a focal point.

The trouble is, 2019 will be a low turnout election, and Republicans are not fighting a statewide campaign but instead, are fighting to hold on to a few remaining Republican enclaves.  Is this the time to be highlighting “a different kind of Republican” or is it time to drag everyone who is likely to vote Republican to the polls? And as for non-traditional Republican voters, are these more likely to be LGBTQ voters or poor working class Roman Catholics?  Yes, there are choices to be made and making one choice often negates the other. So which is the surer bet?

Unfortunately, from all the hype, all we know about Jennifer Williams is that she is what some call a “transwoman”.  That is likely to be of little use in motivating traditional Republican turnout and – in the era of Donald Trump – unlikely to motivate enough LGBTQ voters to make up for what you lose.  The hoopla resulting from this “first” will most certainly bleed beyond the borders of the 15th District, turning off and giving up as it goes.  So that Republicans could neither gain the 15th or the boost necessary to save endangered seats.

For the good of her party, Jennifer Williams should play down the significance of her “gender” and instead focus on a message that aggressively defines the Trenton Democrats as what they are.  But can Williams even use the term, “Trenton Democrats”, as a negative in Legislative District 15? Williams claims to be a “conservative”, well this would be the time for her to craft a message that illustrates what that means.

Candidate Williams has secured the endorsement of the GOP establishment in Mercer and Hunterdon Counties.  We suspect that there will not be much competition for such a thankless task. We wish her well but hope that she does not become the “face” of this year’s Republican legislative campaign in New Jersey, and we hope Bob Hugin doesn’t make it his mission to make it so.

How did Sussex Democrat candidate go bankrupt while making $23,000 a month?

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Deana Lykins is a lawyer-lobbyist and member of the One Percent.  She has a big house, fancy automobiles, and a wealthy lifestyle… but that didn’t stop her from spending herself into bankruptcy court.  She recently announced her candidacy for Assembly, running as a Phil Murphy Democrat.

In August of 2014, the candidate filed for bankruptcy (case #14-26076) in federal court and reported a monthly household income of $23,576.00 (that’s every month).  That’s more than the yearly income (per capita) of the average resident in a town like Sussex Borough ($20,887). 

From the bankruptcy court filings,  the debt appears to be consumer or lifestyle based… with a number of credit card companies listed as creditors, as well as tax authorities.  Property listed included a large, well appointed house, as well as a BMW, Land Rover, and a Chrysler Sebring.

Candidate Lykins is well-known in Trenton, where she worked for the Democrats in the Legislature before turning into a lobbyist for the insurance industry.  What skills she has to offer are ominous – especially in the area of keeping spending in check and balancing budgets – but Lykins would be a safe vote in support of the spending and debt agenda of Democrat Governor Phil Murphy and the rest of the Trenton Democrats. 

We will be examining this candidate’s record further in the weeks and months ahead.  So stay tuned…

Trenton Democrats need to call out Bryan Miller’s racist image

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This is Bryan Miller.  He advocates for taking away the means of self-defense for working class single moms in cities like Paterson, Newark, and Camden. 

Even the Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran now understands that the police have no legal responsibility to protect each and every individual in America.  In a Republic, that job is left up to its citizens.  YOU CANNOT SUE THE GOVERNMENT WHEN IT FAILS TO PROTECT YOU.  That is established legal precedent. 

So disarming single moms in towns like Paterson, Newark, and Camden… or anywhere else in New Jersey for that matter… is an open invitation to rape and murder for any thug passing by.

But that’s not enough for Bryan Miller.  He wants to use racist images like the one above to scare groups like Moms Demand Action and the Brady Campaign into taking away the rights of single moms and other at-risk people to get the training and equipment to defend themselves against violent criminals determined to harm them and their children. 

This is an old and sad story in America.  Gun control laws were first used to disarm black people so that they couldn’t defend themselves against groups like the racist KKK.  Racist appeals to support these laws were made to upper middle class women like those who make up Moms Demand Action and the Brady Campaign today. 

Along with disarming black people and taking away their right to self-defense, came something called the “poll tax” which served to take away black people’s participation in public life.  Now the Trenton Democrats – led by Governor Phil “coddler of rapists” Murphy – have come up with a way to do both in a single piece of legislation that raises the permit fee to own the means of self-protection from $5 to $300. 

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These Democrats are filthy racists and they need to be opposed.

No hard-working single mom should have to live in fear just because she can’t afford to live where the politicians live.  Fear of rape and other forms of violence shouldn’t be the penalty for not having enough money to raise your kids in a town like all those Moms Demand Action and Brady Campaign folks come from.

Unless Murphy and the Trenton Democrats are willing to pay to post a full-time police officer on every street in every at-risk community, raising the cost by which women and other at-risk people can get the training and equipment to protect their bodies and lives is morally wrong and should be opposed by all right-thinking people.