Stopping Wall Street’s Land Grab in New Jersey

By Lester Taylor and Chris James | 02/04/16

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In New Jersey, the foreclosure crisis is not a distant memory, but an ongoing crisis tearing at the very foundation of our communities. In fact, New Jersey continues to lead the nation in foreclosures, holding the largest inventory of foreclosed properties at 4.4% – with no signs of easing in the foreseeable future.

East Orange and surrounding cities, comprised of hard working middle class families of color, are the hardest hit – not because of inaction, but based on the unfortunate fact that African-American and Latino homeowners were disproportionately targeted for predatory subprime mortgages in the run up to the economic and housing crash more than 8 years ago. In its wake, the federal government bailed out the banks, instead of bailing out homeowners who were duped into these toxic deals. Since that time, federal housing agencies like HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have been selling distressed mortgages in bulk to Wall Street speculators, private equity firms and hedge funds – essentially paving the way for a massive Wall Street land grab and stripping what’s left of our communities’ wealth.

Just in the last five months, more than 10,000 troubled mortgages in the United States were sold at a discount to Wall Street hedge funds and private equity firms. The Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, is now also the single largest owner of single-family rentals in the country. As a result, working families are being pushed out of their homes and priced out of the rental market.

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DEP Says ‘No Way’ to Rejoining RGGI; Dispute May Head to Court -- Again

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Equal Pay for Women Bill is Prep Work for Next Guv, Say Sweeney and Weinberg

By Max Pizarro | 01/29/16

PolitickerNJ

 

PISCATAWAY – The only man in New Jersey politics sufficiently secure in his manhood to wear a lipstick pink tie stood amid a brace of female colleagues at Rutgers this morning in support of equal pay legislation championed by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) on the anniversary of Lily Ledbetter Fair Play Act.

Transmitting 2017 gubernatorial alliance optics without actually endorsing Sweeney for governor, Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham (D-31) and Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14) backed up Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Weinberg at the Rutgers Center for Women and Work in hopes of closing the wage gap between men and women in New Jersey.

They don’t expect Republican Gov. Chris Christie to sign the legislation, set for introduction in the Senate Labor Committee on Feb. 4th. But Sweeney and Weinberg with straight faces noted that if Christie vetoes it, the bill will be in the bloodstream “for the next governor.” Although he hasn’t announced, Sweeney is a known voracious 2017 competitor for guv.

“Maybe [First Lady] Mary Pat will have set him straight by the time it gets to his desk,” the senate majority leader said of the New Hampshire barnstorming Republican Governor Christie. “We are laying out a platform for when we have a new governor.”

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Opinion: Have You No Sense of Decency, Gov. Christie?

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Christie response to flooding: Should I pick up a mop?

By Matt Arco | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on January 25, 2016

 

HOOKSETT, N.H. — Criticism about Gov. Chris Christie's  return to New Hampshire after the weekend blizzard has followed him to New Hampshire.

Christie, a Republican presidential contender, was pressed by a questioner at his latest town hall — the same event he was forced to postpone when he cut his six-day campaign trip to the state short because of the snowstorm — on his return to the campaign trail.

"Why are you here in New Hampshire campaigning instead of there helping, surveying the damages done by the coastal flooding from the storm?" asked a young woman, telling Christie she was asking on behalf of family and friends in New Jersey.

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Assembly Speaker Launches New Initiative as NJ Poverty Rate Climbs to Record High

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New Essex chief of detectives is first black woman to lead county police operations

By Vernal Coleman | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on January 19, 2016

Quovella M. Spruill will be sworn into office Wednesday at Essex County College

 

NEWARK — A veteran officer at the Essex County Prosecutor's Office is set to become the next Chief of Detectives at the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, authorities confirmed.

Deputy Chief Quovella M. Spruill, 45, will be sworn in Wednesday, becoming the first African-American woman to serve as the highest ranking officer in the department's police unit.

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Christie: Michelle Obama has no business meddling with school lunches

By Claude Brodesser-Akner | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on January 18, 2016

Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tosses a pork burger on the grill at the Iowa Pork Producers Tent at the Iowa State Fair on August 22, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates have a long tradition of making campaign stops at the fair.

 

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Forget the economy. It's the crispitos, stupid. 

A Nebraska fifth grader's complaint about the flavor of his school lunch during a town hall provoked Gov. Chris Christie to lash out at President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama's six-year-old childhood nutrition and anti-obesity initiative, "Let's Move!"

Many at the Village Inn diner where Christie — a Republican presidential candidate — was holding his town hall Monday wanted to know about the governor's position on entitlement reform, drug sentencing, or ISIS.

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Dr. King Would be Horrified by the Condition of NJ Elections

By PolitickerNJ Editor | 01/17/16

What a disgrace that we should even invoke Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. let alone give ourselves a vacation day in his name on the heels of our last election cycle performance, the most anemic in state history. By sitting at home and ceding our democratic franchise to shadowy big money political action committees (PACs) and machine politics we repudiate the spirit of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and the work of one of America’s greatest heroes.

In the immediate aftermath of Election Day 2015, Monmouth University Political Scientist/Pollster Patrick Murray determined that just 20.8 percent of registered voters in the state went to the polls, bulldozing the previous low turnout record of 24.5 percent set in 2013 when Cory Booker grabbed a U.S. Senate seat in a special election. That was the same year, remember, that Gov. Chris Christie picked an October date for the senate election – at considerable taxpayer expense – to ensure that Booker didn’t surface on a slate opposite the Republican governor’s own and inhibit Christie’s ability to win reelection.

King and many others, for that matter, died for that right to vote. U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta still bears the wounds of the Civil Rights war, the result of a brutal beating he sustained from the clubs of cops on the Edmund Pettis Bridge. “John Lewis, you’re my hero,” President Barack Obama told the elder statesman on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives last week after Obama delivered his State of the Union Address.

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Advocates Urge Lifting Ban on Welfare Aid for Those Guilty of Drug Distribution

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