Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Runyan Presents Eight Point Tax-Cutting Plan

Saying the current federal tax code discourages entrepreneurship, personal savings and middle-class investment, while killing job creation and forcing American jobs overseas, Republican congressional challenger Jon Runyan (NJ-3) today outlined his eight-point plan to cut taxes on individuals and businesses, calling it the best way to improve the economy, create jobs and restore long-term prosperity to the country.

While being highly critical of the Obama-Pelosi-Adler spending spree taking place today, Runyan also criticized former President George W. Bush for not matching his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts with corresponding cuts in federal spending, saying the failure to do so was fiscally irresponsible and started the country down the path to budget deficits.

“The current economic crisis we find ourselves in today was a bipartisan creation and it will require a bipartisan solution,” said Runyan, who recently proposed a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and a “Red Ink Task Force” aimed at reviewing all federal spending and recommending cuts to the President and Congress that would have to be voted on prior to the 2012 elections. “I firmly believe that the only way to improve our economy and create jobs is to cut taxes and reduce federal spending. In Congress, I will seek bipartisan support for these tax cuts while pledging to match each cut with corresponding reductions in federal spending and eliminate deficits.”

Runyan also repeated his opposition to the Value-Added-Tax (VAT) floated earlier this year by representatives of the Obama Administration, saying: “The last thing we need in this economy is a European-style Value-Added-Tax and again I urge Congressman Adler to join me in opposing this terrible idea floated by White House Economic Adviser Paul Volcker.”

1. Cut Tax Rates Across the Board by 15%

“Tax cuts like those implemented by President Kennedy in the 1960’s and President Reagan in the 1980’s actually increased federal revenue and helped spur economic growth,” said Runyan, citing figures from a 1997 Congressional Joint Economic Committee Report chaired by former Congressman Jim Saxton found at as well as various reports from the Heritage Foundation. “We must follow a similar course today.

2. Reduce the Corporate Tax Rate to 25%

“The top corporate tax bracket should be completely lowered and a 25% flat tax implemented to help American companies better compete with other developed countries around the world when it comes to job creation and economic growth,” said Runyan, who said 26% is roughly the average corporate tax rate for other developed countries, with Ireland having the lowest at 12.5% according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation.

3. Eliminate the Double Tax on Social Security Benefits

“It defies logic that the federal government should double-tax seniors on social security benefits,” said Runyan. “Taxing our seniors on a previously earned benefit that already subject to tax is only something government could conclude was fair. This tax is hurting middle-income seniors who are already struggling with out-of-control property taxes – especially here in New Jersey.

4. Increase the Child Tax Credit by 25%

“While the cost raising children in today’s society is staggering, there is nothing more rewarding in my opinion,” said Runyan. “Providing parents of school-age children with additional tax relief was a good idea when it was first implemented, and I would like to see the amount of the credit increased from $1,000 per child to $1,250 per child.”

5. A Moratorium on Taxation of Unemployment Benefits

“With so many Americans struggling to find work and unemployment benefits sometimes the only way of keeping their head above water, it’s flat out wrong for the government to pick their pockets by taxing that benefit in the midst of this economic crisis,” said Runyan.

6. Cut Capital Gains & Dividends Taxes in Half to Encourage Saving, Investing

“By slashing the tax on capital gains and dividends – by at least half – we will create a whole new investor class, including encouraging young people, lower income earners and seniors on a fixed income to invest again or for the first time,” said Runyan, who cited an article at that said the savings rate in America is at its lowest point since 1933.

7. Ease Restrictions on 401k & IRA Investments

“We should ease restrictions on how much taxpayers can contribute to their employer-sponsored 401(k)-type plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), thereby incentivizing investment,” said Runyan, who signaled a willingness to work with other members of Congress, investment experts and business leaders to determine where the new limits should be set.

8. Permanently Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax & The Death Tax

“The current ‘patch’ passed by Congress on an annual basis to increase the AMT minimum threshold is typical of the nonsensical actions taken by Congress every year,” said Runyan. “Instead of permanently solving something they concede is a problem, they implement a temporary, annual fix – which is completely ridiculous. As for the death tax, the one-year hiatus we are enjoying today should be made permanent.

“John Adler is a career politician who has been raising taxes on people since he was a Cherry Hill Councilman in the late 1980’s. As a State Senator in Trenton he rubber-stamped irresponsible budgets from Jim McGreevey and Jon Corzine that pushed New Jersey to the brink of bankruptcy and made us the highest taxed state in the nation,” said Runyan, citing figures from the non-partisan Tax Foundation. “Now he’s in Washington voting for $1 trillion stimulus bill that has failed to fix our economy, while causing deficits to explode, and claiming to be a moderate while backing Nancy Pelosi’s reckless agenda more than 90% of the time.” (Source:

“At the end of the day, this campaign comes down to a simple choice,” said Runyan. “If people want higher taxes, more spending and bigger government, then vote for career politician John Adler. If they want lower taxes, less spending and a smaller government, then vote for me and let’s move our country in a different direction starting next January.”

America's Most Hated Athlete: Your Choice

Your votes are in for America's most hated athlete.
We asked you to pick among the Ten Most Hated Athletes as identified in a recent national list.
We wanted your take -- who is the MOST hated among these ten?
And the result wasn't even close.
You told us that America's most hated athlete is pet-unfriendly football player Michael Vick. Thirty percent of you identified Vick as your first choice.
Behind Vick (with 20% of the votes) was Tiger Woods.
Here's how the rest stacked up:
Ben Roethlisberger - 17%
Jerry Jones - 10%
Terrell Owens - 10%
Al Davis - 7%
Alex Rodriguez - 2%
Mark McGwire - 2%
Interestingly enough, Allen Iverson and Gilbert Arenas didn't get any votes. So, you found them to be not hated at all.
Dubious "congratulations" to Michael Vick!

Bartram's Garden: Serenity & Magnificence

We recently decided to spend a glorious summer afternoon at Bartrum's Garden along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.
The vivid June colors of this historic garden are simply spectacular. And here's the best part: Your visit to the Garden is free!
Just minutes from the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Betsy Ross House is America’s oldest living botanical garden, a pastoral 18th century homestead surrounded by the urban bustle of Philadelphia.
You won’t believe you are in the city when you see the wildflower meadow, majestic trees, river trail, wetland, stone house and farm buildings overlooking the Schuylkill River, and, of course, the historic botanic garden of American native plants.
George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson have all been here. So have thousands of present day gardeners, history buffs, families, and schoolchildren.
Philadelphia is a world-renowned center of trees, flowers, plants and gardens. And this is where it all started.
On this site more than 250 years ago, John Bartram, a Quaker farmer, was stopped in his tracks by a daisy while plowing his fields. The plant’s simplicity and beauty inspired John and his son, William to spend the rest of their lives exploring, collecting and seeking to understand all forms of nature.
Today, John Bartram’s legacy, now called Bartram’s Garden inspires visitors from far and near. His spirit lives on at the enchanting 45-acre site.
All photos copyright 2010 by Dan Cirucci.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Anthony's: Could This Be The Perfect Pizza?

Our search for the perfect pizza has taken us far and wide -- from the Piazza Navona in Italy to Toronto to Chicago to Los Angeles to Boston to Manhattan to Brooklyn to South Philadelphia and throughout South Jersey and even to New Orleans and Georgia and Virginia and South Carolina.
And these are just a few of the locales (far-flung and closer to home, city and country) where we've tested the local pies.
And those of you who read this blog know of our favorites (and not-so-favorites) as they have been mentioned here again and again.
When it comes to pizza, we're very discriminating, very particular and usually very skeptical.
But when the folks at Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza invited us to their new eatery on Concord Pike (Route 202) just past the Pennsylvania border in Wilmington, we figured "Hey, why not?"
Of course, I must admit I was especially intrigued. Yes, I have a fondness for Ant'nees since Anthony is my middle name and St. Anthony is my patron saint.
So, on one of the hottest days of the year we ventured out and we found the vibe at Anthony's to be refreshingly cool, dark and inviting with a well-stocked bar, rich woods, comfortable cafe-style chairs and booths, New York and Philly inspired black and white photos and a very friendly staff.
Icy cold beer was promptly served in large frosty mugs and that led us to Anthony's traditional Italian salad: fresh, fragrant, crisp and light. Very encouraging.
We then moved on to Anthony's coal oven roasted chicken wings with carmelized onions and foccacia bread. No gooey sauce here. Just the real stuff with a zingy peppered kick. Great!
We also tasted Anthony's pork ribs with vinegar peppers. These ribs are also roasted in the coal oven and are seasoned with garlic, rosemary, spicy vinegar peppers and white wine. They are tender, meaty and very tasty.
Surprisingly good, and there's a reason why.
Get this: nothing is fried at Anthony's. Nothing.
But I know that you really want the lowdown on the pizza, right?
Well, we tried the fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato and basil pizza and the traditional red sauce and cheese pie. These are our standard pies for evaluating pizza. They are our base points.
Here's what we liked: At Anthony's the pies are truly Italian-style. This means that they are thin-crusted and cooked well. We didn't have to tell out waiter "well done." He knew. He understood, because Anthony's doesn't cook it any other way.
Anthony's 800 degree anthracite coal-burning oven actually cooks the pizza in four minutes. But this doesn't look or taste like any "quick cooked" pizza you've ever eaten. No way!
The fresh aroma of the pie is intoxicating and the slightly burnt edges of the crust tell you this pizza is truly ready to eat -- ready to be savored with love and satisfaction.
And here's what we loved about the pie:
1) No discernible oily mess. So many pies arrive drenched in oil. It's gotten so bad that we sometimes have to "blot" the top of the pie with a napkin to soak up some of the excess oil. And, under the crust we often find a pool of oil as well. Not so at Anthony's. Here, you can forget about the oil and simply savor the wonderfully fresh ingredients. No residue.
2) The savory, crispy crust. This crackling crust doesn't wimp out; it doesn't give up. With its dark edges and crunchy texture it keeps you returning, bite after bite.
3) The "oneness" of the pie. Incredibly, the cheese, the tomato and the other pie ingredients never separated from the pie. It didn't matter whether we sliced the pie with a knife and fork or bit through it with voracious gulps, the pie held together. What a joy!
Anthony's founder, Anthony Bruno says he set out to create an authentic Italian eatery with a simple menu and a fanatical dedication to freshness, quality and high standards. "We've introduced the 'old world' art of making pizza in a coal-fired oven and we're happy to report that our customers can't get enough of it," Bruno proudly explains.
Anthony must be doing something right. Starting in South Florida in 2002, Anthony's now has 23 restaurants in four states. The Wilmington outlet and a restaurant in Horsham, PA. are the first to open in the Philadelphia region. Another is expected to open soon in Wayne, PA.
As additional restaurants open, Anthony will be monitoring product quality to ensure that every pizza has the same great taste as the first ones in his original Fort Lauderdale restaurant.
We've gotta believe him.
This pizza is about as good as it gets. Bellissimo!
BTW: In addition to Wayne, Anthony's future locations include Carle Place, NY, Edison, NJ, Kendall, FL, Ramsey, NJ and White Plains, NY.

Christie Calls Special Legislative Session On Cap

Governor Chris Christie has ordered a Special Joint Session of the Legislature to immediately address his Cap 2.5 Reform Agenda to provide real, immediate and lasting relief to the highest property taxes in the nation faced by New Jersey families and businesses.
“New Jersey residents have waited far too long for property tax relief. New Jersey families pay an average $7,281 in property taxes, up 70 percent in just 10 years,” said Governor Christie. “The time to act is now. We can no longer afford to wait for real, sustainable property tax relief. That is why I have determined that the public interest requires this special session.”
Acting under his authority in Article V, Section 1, Paragraph 12 and Article IV, Section 1, Paragraph 4 of the New Jersey Constitution, Governor Christie notified the leadership of the Senate and Assembly tonight in a letter that a Special Joint Session of the Legislature should be convened this Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.
In addition to considering the proposed the cap and constitutional amendment for placement on the ballot for the November General Election, Governor Christie has also ordered the special session to address the thirty-three legislative proposals to reduce costs at the municipal, school and higher education levels.

Major Media Endorse Christie's Cap 2.5 Plan

Governor Christie Christie’s Cap is Real Reform:

“Christie's plan is the one that does the most for New Jersey taxpayers.”

(Courier-Post, “Tax cap should be in constitution,” 6/27/10)

A Constitutional Amendment is What New Jersey Needs:

“A constitutional amendment would lock in a tax cap as much as possible. For New Jerseyans who've seen so many false promises of property tax relief over the years, a constitutional amendment that legislators couldn't squirm out of easily, water down or simply kill after a few years would constitute the most significant achievement toward property tax relief our state has ever seen.” (Courier-Post, “Tax cap should be in constitution,” 6/27/10)

Giving Voters Control of Their Property Taxes is a Refreshing Idea:

“In a state where voters don't have enough direct input in the taxing and spending process, we like that Christie's plan would give local voters the chance to spend more, and raise their taxes by more than 2.5 percent, if there's a compelling reason -- and in some towns and school districts, there would occasionally be a good reason to exceed the cap.” (Courier-Post, “Tax cap should be in constitution,” 6/27/10)

The Current Property Cap Needs to be Replaced by Governor Christie’s Proposal:

“The 4 percent cap has had an undeniable impact…But the 4 percent cap is full of exceptions that allow towns and school districts to exceed it. We still need to swing the pendulum further in the other direction to control spending and increases. Christie's constitutional amendment is the proposal that best does that.” (Courier-Post, “Tax cap should be in constitution,” 6/27/10)

The Democrats’ Flawed Cap Plans are Putting Politics Ahead of New Jerseyans

“Democrats who are nervous about the governor’s plan to cap property taxes are trying to rush their own version into law during the final hours of the legislative session. It’s a mistake, on both policy and politics…We deserve better government than this.” (The Star-Ledger Editorial Board, Tax cap politics: Democrats rush a flawed plan, 6/27/10)

Legislative Leaders Want to Keep “Business as Usual” Instead of Fixing the Problem:

“For those who were hoping the Legislature would give thoughtful consideration to the state’s central problem, we offer condolences. This was all politics.” (The Star-Ledger Editorial Board, Tax cap politics: Democrats rush a flawed plan, 6/27/10)

Open and Honest Debate and Leadership Absent in the Legislature:

“The Legislature’s job is to weigh these competing plans and draft a proposal that makes sense. Instead, they are pushing their hastily drafted plan and bypassing the governor’s for now…This is rank politics. Where do we go to find thoughtful leadership?” (The Star-Ledger Editorial Board, Tax cap politics: Democrats rush a flawed plan, 6/27/10)

“It’s not time for party politics, we’ve got to fix problems and whether you live in Summit, New Jersey or in the Weequahic section in Newark, you know the cost of homes are crashing, the cost of living is going up and your taxes are going up…so we’ve got to do something that’s going to control costs in the State of New Jersey and create a climate for jobs to really thrive.

- Newark Mayor Cory Booker

Monday, June 28, 2010

Congratulations To Stephanie Resnick!

The highest accolades are in order today for Stephanie Resnick.
Resnick, chair of the Litigation Department at Fox Rothschild LLP and chair of the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 2008, today received the 2010 Sandra Day O'Connor Award at the Philadelphia Bar Association's Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon.
It was a grand event -- an inspiring afternoon full of warmth and good cheer.
This award is conferred annually on a woman attorney who has demonstrated superior legal talent, achieved significant legal accomplishments and has furthered the advancement of women in both the profession and the community.
The Association's Women in the Profession Committee established the award in 1993 to recognize the important contributions that women attorneys in Philadelphia have made to the legal profession.
Resnick served as chair of the Federal Courts Committee in 2004, the liaison between the federal bench and its practitioners. She was responsible for program planning, communication between the bench and bar on strategic initiatives, and professional development and education. In 1997, she served as chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention (Judicial Commission), having served as a member of the Commission from 1995 through 1998.
From 1988 through 1994, she was a member of the Investigative Division of the Judicial Commission. In that role, she investigated the background of judicial candidates seeking election and reported those findings to the Judicial Commission.
Resnick was appointed trustee of the Campaign for Qualified Judges in 1996 and was also appointed by the then president judge of the Court of Common Pleas to the Task Force on Gender Fairness in the Courts.
She also served as co-chair of the Women's Rights Committee, and as a member of the Professional Responsibility, Professional Guidance and Fee Disputes Committees.
Stephanie is certainly an outstanding lawyer. But she's also fine human being -- a caring and generous friend and associate who never hesitate to help others and give back to the community. This honor is richly deserved and it reflects well on the Association and the Philadelphia legal community.
Congratulations, Stephanie!

Murphy Using Tax $$$ To Promote Campaign?

The Independence Hall Tea Party PAC is calling on Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy to immediately reimburse US taxpayers for two recently mailed brochures, paid for by the US Treasury, which are clearly nothing more than promotional pieces for his re-election campaign.
The brochures, entitled "Mark Your Calendar" and "Creating Jobs," were mailed within the last two weeks and tout Mr. Murphy's record on the unemployment crisis -- boasting about his role in bringing jobs to the 8th Congressional District at a time when the unemployment rate has actually soared."These brochures are campaign pieces designed to help a desperate candidate,
Mr. Murphy, appears to have created jobs, when in reality, jobs have been lost as the unemployment rate in our district has more than doubled in the last two years," said
Middletown Township resident and Independence Hall Tea Party PAC board member, Phil Schieber."Mr. Murphy's name and image is plastered all over these brochures. This is a shameless use of taxpayer money and a prime example of why the Tea Party movement has sprung to life--to put an end to taxpayer abuse," Schieber said."We call upon Mr. Murphy to use his campaign funds to immediately pay back the American taxpayer."What Mr. Murphy's brochures do not mention is his support of economic and social policies, like the ill-fated Stimulus package and the recent government takeover of the health care industry, that have led to historic unemployment rates and record deficit spending."
Moreover, during Mr. Murphy's time in office, the unemployment rate in Bucks County has skyrocketed from 3.8% to a high of 7.6% and the national debt has tripled.
"Mr. Murphy has voted for at least a dozen tax increases and for adding trillions of dollars to the national debt. No wonder he thinks it's okay to spend thousands of dollars on the creation, production, and mailing of slick campaign brochures at taxpayer expense," Schieber said."The Tea Party movement will not stand by and idly watch this type of taxpayer abuse. And I predict--neither will the voters of the 8th Congressional District."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lady Gaga Really IS A Jerk!

I'm not a big fan of Jerry Seinfeld.
But I agree with him on this one: Lady GAGa certainly IS a jerk!
When I first heard about (and saw photos of) Gaga I thought she was a transvestite or transsexual. But then I decided that assumption was an insult to transvestites and transsexuals.
As for Seinfeld, he has his own reasons to deride Gaga.
Seinfeld became teed off recently after Gaga was moved into his empty box at Yankee Stadium without his knowledge or permission. Seems the honchos at the Bronx Zoo weren't quite sure what to do with Gaga who attended a Yankees game and started upstaging the guys in pinstripes and giving the finger to news photographers and TV cameras. In one of her provocative outfits, Gaga was all too center stage and way too in your face for the likes of Steinbrener & Co.
So they moved her upstairs to Seinfeld's box.
And shortly thereafter Senifeld unloaded via phone during a sports talk show on New York radio. And not only was a high-profile feud launched but it gained media-infused traction and it continued.
Daniela Elser reports from the National Ledger:
Days after labeling Lady Gaga "a jerk" and saying he hated her, comedian Jerry Seinfeld has revealed he is nonplused by the singer. “She’s talented. I don’t know why she’s doing this stuff. Oh please, wake me when it’s over,” he said.
Seinfeld Gaga Feud Continues.
Seinfeld Gaga Feud Continues.
The comedian’s comments come after the 24-year-old pop star, attending a Mets vs Padres baseball game in New York recently, was moved from front-row seats to the comedian’s empty box.
“I can’t believe they put her in my box, which I paid for,” he jokingly said during a radio interview on WFAN with radio host Steve Somers. “You give people the finger and you get upgraded? Is that the world we’re living in now?”
Discussing her dramatic public persona, the 56-year-old said: “I don’t know what these young people think or how they promote their careers. “People talk about you need exposure. You could die of exposure. I don’t understand how this is good for her.”

"This woman is a jerk. I hate her," Seinfeld said during the radio interview on Monday, perhaps . "I can't believe they put her in my box, which I paid for."
"I don't know what these young people think or how they promote their careers," Seinfeld said. "I'm older, I'm 56. I look at Lady Gaga the way Keith Hernandez watches these kids when they pull the pocket out, they wear the inside-out pocket. ... Do you think he understands that? He can't understand that. That's a new game, that's kids."
He added, "I'm not one of these all-publicity-is-good people. People talk about you need exposure -- you could die of exposure."
Seinfeld is right.
Gag-me Gaga is contributing to the debasement of the popular culture. I don't care how good a "singer" she may of may not be, she's disgusting.
And there's nothing new or original about her act.
She's a manipulator and an attention whore. And those who are buying her trash are actually feeding a vast and ever-growing public dumping ground.
The whole Gaga phenomenon is cheap, tawdry, visually depressing and malodorous.
Go sell it somewhere else.

Enjoying Jersey Fresh Blueberry Pancakes

I spent some time this morning making blueberry pancakes.
And I'm happy to say that the results were perfecto!
There were two secrets (well, actually three) to my perfect pancakes.
First, I used fresh Jersey blueberries. This is the season for Jersey blueberries and they're absolutely wonderful this year. These blueberries define the term "Jersey Fresh."
Second, I bought my blueberries right at the farm -- at Pastore Orchards on the White Horse Pike in Hammonton, New Jersey. These plump, sweet, beautiful blueberries are grown and packed by Neil Pastore, III and they are magnificent.
Finally, I used Bisquick's Shake 'n Pour pancake mix. Shake 'n Pour is as simple as it says it is and it's very neat; no mess at all. It's a wonderful product.
Better than the time I spent actually making the pancakes (and cleaning up) was the time I spent eating the pancakes. They were light, fluffy and golden brown -- positively dreamy.
And those blueberries? They added a sweetness and freshness that inspires one to exclaim: "Bella!"

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Visiting The Barnes Foundation

Though I have lived in the Philadelphia region all my life I've never visited the world-renowned Barnes Foundation collection of priceless art situated in suburban Philadelphia at the gateway to the area's tony Main Line.
So, since the Barnes will be moving to Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 2012 (and since it will be closing its doors at its present location at the beginning of 2011) we decided to visit the Barnes this past week.
Mind you, it's not easy getting into the Barnes.
The place sits in a residential neighborhood, reservations must be made in advance, admission for two is $30.00 and parking is limited. Plus, it costs $15.00 to reserve a place in the Foundation's parking lot.
Still, we thought we'd make the effort to see the collection in its original setting just as the late Dr. Albert C. Barnes wanted it to be seen.
Why is the collection so important?
Quite simply, this is one of the finest collections of nineteenth and twentieth-century French painting in the world. An extraordinary number of masterpieces by Renoir, Cézanne and Matisse provide a depth of work by these artists unavailable elsewhere. And did we mention Picasso, Manet, Goya. El Greco, Van Gogh, Monet and Gauguin? They are all represented in the collection as well.
Today, the Foundation possesses more than 2500 objects, including 800 paintings estimated to be worth about $25 billion. Here you will see 181 works by Renoir alone, plus 69 by Cézanne, and 59 by Matisse.
You will not see as many Renoirs anywhere else on earth.
This is why people come to the Barnes from all over the world.
It's breathtaking. It's a visual feast. And it can all be a bit overwhelming.
The walls here are covered -- almost from top to bottom -- with great masterpieces. The paintings are hung one on top of another and/or side by side in a manner stipulated by Dr. Barnes himself.
You will walk from room to room (almost as if you're in someone's private mansion) and simply be enveloped by great art, everywhere, all around you.
So, don't expect museum quality lighting.
And don't expect this to be anything like an actual art museum (though there are live and audio tours available for an extra fee).
But do know that you most assuredly will find it all unforgettable.
And do know that it's definitely worth a visit.
BTW: The surrounding grounds, garden and arboretum are also ravishing, especially this time of the year.
We highly recommend a visit. But, remember: Allow yourself at least a full morning or afternoon to truly savor this treasure trove.

Toomey Launches Massive Grassroots Effort

Today, Team Toomey will launch a massive grassroots effort across 18 Pennsylvania counties showing support for Pat Toomey for the U. S. Senate.
In a sign of its swelling grassroots support, over 300 volunteers will knock on over 30,000 doors to talk to voters and engage them in the election process. Team Toomey will join together with the campaign of Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett and many Republican congressional campaigns around Pennsylvania to launch the Great Door Knocking Campaign of 2010. The campaign will be expanded across the Commonwealth over the next couple of months.
“I am very grateful for the enthusiastic support I have received from people all across the Commonwealth,” Pat Toomey said. “It tells you something about the mood of Pennsylvania when people are willing to take time on a Saturday to volunteer. It is because of the strong enthusiasm of our volunteers and voters across the Commonwealth that I am confident we will be victorious in November.”

Friday, June 25, 2010

Did Rendell Story Trigger Platt Resignation?

OK, so Larry Platt has resigned as editor of Philadelphia magazine after eight years.
And the position of editor of Philly Mag should never, ever be considered anything approaching even a semi-permanent job since the magazine's owner and muse D. Herbert Lipson goes through editors faster than Lady Gaga goes through costumes.
So, as things go, Platt has had an impressive run at the top.
But, still . . . could there be some connection between a recent sequence of events?
Last month, Lipson's magazine-opening "Off The Cuff" column took the form of an open letter to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell asking him to come back to Philadelphia, challenge Mayor Michael Nutter and take over the reigns of the city once again. The column is the closest thing to a love letter that the curmudgeon Lipson has ever written.
You read it and you think: Rendell and Lipson are tight. And that's not surprising since Rendell is a world-class shmoozer.
Then, this month right there on the cover, Philly Mag asks: "Who is that woman with Ed Rendell?" Inside the magazine we find "The Governor, the blonde and the rumor mill" telling us that "people are talking about Ed Rendell and the former beauty pageant winner who works for him." The article repeats rumors of an affair between the two but allows the Governor and the blonde to deny and deny while it repeats and repeats . . . and repeats the rumor.
The story made Big News. Even before the magazine appeared, the story was on the nightly news.
And though Rendell did a passable job of appearing to slough the story off, you've got to figure he was steamed.
Hey, Ed Rendell is a politician and he likes to guard his image. And Ed Rendell has also been known to have a temper.
So - what's wrong with this picture?
Lipson's cheering his friend Rendell on and urging him to be King of the City once again while Lipson's magazine is running Rendell down and leading with unsubstantiated rumors about an affair.
It doesn't make sense. Seems as if the mag may have gotten away from The Man.
Which means that maybe something had to give.
And maybe (just maybe) that something was a someone -- someone named Larry Platt.
Not that this was necessarily the reason given for the Platt dismissal. But it's hard to imagine that it didn't play some role in the scheme of things.
Just speculating.

Which Athlete Do You Hate The Most?

Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Tiger Woods and, yes, Alex Rodriguez, made the Top 10 of Forbes' Most Disliked People in Sports for 2010.
But which athlete do you dislike the most?
We've listed the ten most hated athletes on Forbes' list at the top right corner of this page.
And now we're asking you: Who do you hate the most?
You can only pick one. Just one.
Take our poll. Vote now.
Grrrrr . . . show us some teeth!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Christie Vetoes Waterfront C'ssn Budget Item

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie continued to exercise his authority to rein in wasteful and unnecessary government spending by rejecting a portion of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor’s proposed 2010-2011 budget.
The agency adopted the budget at its May 17 meeting. In accordance with provisions of the Waterfront Commission Compact, Governor Christie is directing the Waterfront Commission to reduce the budget’s “Total Regular Payroll” line item of $ 7,145,443 by $125,000. The amount was intended to be used for discretionary salary increases for which the Commission is not contractually obligated. With the $125,000 reduction, the Commission’s total FY2011 budget of $11,731,026 would be reduced to $11,606,026.
“Given the current fiscal climate, it is not financially appropriate to allow the Waterfront Commission to proceed with salary increases that are not contractually obligated,” Governor Christie said. “The Commission must adjust their budget accordingly as other state departments, commissions and authorities have done during this economic crisis.”
The bi-state Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor was created in 1953 to combat corruption in the shipping industry in the harbors of New York and New Jersey.
No other reductions were made to any other portion of the Commission’s proposed 2010-2011 budget.
This veto is the tenth exercised by Governor Christie against actions taken by various state authorities and commissions. Meeting minutes are scrutinized by the Governor's Office Authorities Unit, headed by Director Deborah Gramiccioni, to flag potentially wasteful spending.

Runyan Turns Heat Up, Slams Adler, Pelosi

Seizing on a story in The Hill newspaper revealing that Nancy Pelosi, John Adler and Congressional Democrats are refusing to pass a full-fledged budget resolution in order to hide massive deficit projections over the next decade from the American people in an election-year, Republican congressional candidate Jon Runyan (NJ-3) today said the news “proves that the Pelosi-Adler Congress isn’t only dysfunctional, it’s dishonest.”

(Source: “House Dems prepare alternative to budget that would avoid deficit vote”)

According to the story, House Democrats are readying an alternative budget measure that would set next year’s spending levels without requiring a vote on deficits which are expected to average nearly $1 trillion for the next decade. Coining a phrase only a true Washington insider could muster, House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-SC) declared the alternative a “functional equivalent” of a full-fledged budget.

“The American people deserve better than ‘functional equivalents,’” said Runyan. “They deserve the real thing. The bottom line is this: Nancy Pelosi and John Adler know their reckless spending agenda has sent deficits soaring for generations to come, and now in an attempt to keep their grip on power they are using parliamentary tricks to hide trillions of dollars in red ink from the American people. This latest outrage proves that the Pelosi-Adler Congress isn’t only dysfunctional, it’s dishonest.”

While Congress has failed to approve a final budget resolution four times since the current budget rules were put into place in 1974, this would be the first time the House had failed to even propose a budget resolution according to the story.

“John Adler has been voting for higher taxes, more spending and bigger government since the late 1980’s,” said Runyan. “Now he’s in Washington, DC voting for Nancy Pelosi’s reckless agenda more than 90% of the time. John Adler is a career politician who can’t be trusted to fix the problems we face because he’s the one who helped to create them in the first place. This November, it’s time for him to go.”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NJ: Another Mayor Endorses Christie's Cap 2.5

Ramsey Mayor Christopher Botta is another mayor backing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's proposed Cap 2.5 constitutional amendment and Reform Agenda. In this video message, Mayor Botta says that rising taxes is the number one issue in his town. Residents are worried that if property taxes continue to increase, they won't be able to afford living in Ramsey much longer.

Quick Facts on Ramsey:

  • Over the last ten years property taxes have had an average annual increase of 5.6%
  • The average homeowner paid $10,389 in property taxes in 2009
  • If Cap 2.5 were in place in 2009, homeowners would have saved approximately $2,691.

Mayor Botta believes that Cap 2.5 will give him more ability to control spending and will give his residents the power to decide how their tax dollars should be spent. In this video, Mayor Botta also touches on the need for arbitration reform to be included in Governor Christie's complete reform agenda.

Governor Christie On TV, Radio Today

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be on Your World with Neil Cavuto and Ask the Governor today, June 23, 2010.

Turn your TVs to Fox News channel at 4:00 PM to watch the Governor’s interview. The interview will also re-air on Fox Business at 6:00 PM.

Later in the evening at 7:00 PM, turn your radio dials to NJ 101.5 FM to listen to the Governor’s interview as callers call in their questions to the Governor, live for "Ask The Governor."

NJ: Too Many School Administrators And $$$s!

David Campbell Photo Credit: Susan Bastnagel

From the CCGOP Chairman's Blog:

We need a constitutional cap on spending to control property taxes. Need Proof? Look at what we pay our public school administrators in New Jersey.

Last week the Courier Post ran a story on the ballooning pay of school administrators. A mere five years ago there were 12 school administrators who made in excess of $200,000. Now we have 91 administrators who collect in excess of $200,000.

As of October, 91 administrators were in the $200,000 club — all higher than the governor’s salary of $175,000. The number is up from 12 administrators five years ago.

Those who follow our blog know that Superintendent David Campbell collects in excess of a quarter of a million in salary from the tax payers in Cherry Hill. At more than $277,000 per year we should have known he is the most richly compensated administrator in New Jersey.

The highest paid public school official in the state last year was Cherry Hill Superintendent David Campbell at $277,392. He oversees 12,500 students.

The true tragedy is not that Campbell makes an obscene salary but the number of his colleagues that collect salaries in excess of $200,000.

The number of New Jersey public school administrators paid $200,000 or more increased nearly eightfold in the past five years, according to new payroll numbers released by the state Department of Education.

This eightfold increase occurred despite our current economic downfall. If we had a 2.5% contitutional cap on spending would we have seen the meteoric rise in administrator salaries? The obvious answer is a resounding NO. Not surprisingly, representatives from the New Jersey Principal and Supervisors Association, and the New Jersey Association of School Administrators did not comment for the Courier post story.

Governor Chris Christie and Assemblyman Domenick DiCicco are supporting this constitutional amendment for all the right reasons. CAP 2.5 is constitutional guaranteed tax pay protection against abuse. If we are going to pay public school administrators outrageous salaries the voters need to approve those salaries. That is exactly what CAP 2.5 does; spending increases are limited to 2.5 % without voter approval.

Christie In South Jersey Today

Today (Wednesday) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will travel to Greenwich (Gloucester County) to talk directly to New Jersey residents about Cap 2.5.
The proposed constitutional amendment would cap increases in the property tax levy and State spending.
This is the seventh stop on Governor Christie’s tour to deliver real property tax relief for the people of New Jersey. Governor Christie will be joined by Greenwich Mayor George Shivery. After brief remarks the Governor will take questions from the audience.
The Town Hall meeting will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Greenwich Township Elementary School, Broad St. Auditorium at 551 Route 1 South in Gibbstown.

Mayors Tell Jersey Legislators: Cap Our Spending

Yesterday, dozens of mayors from across New Jersey assembled in the State Capital to call on the state legislature to take immediate action this legislative session on the Christie Cap 2.5 Reform Agenda. The mayors joined Governor Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno to stand up and emphasize their support for the Governor’s Cap 2.5 Reform Agenda to deliver real, long-term and permanent property tax relief as a constitutional amendment.
“The broad support from leaders across political parties, in urban and suburban towns and across every part of the state for Cap 2.5 clearly shows that property tax reform is not a partisan issue,” said Governor Chris Christie. “The reform I’m proposing takes the power from politicians in Trenton and puts in back in the hands of the people and their local leadership. It is a comprehensive and permanent solution that the legislature must act now to give the people of New Jersey the opportunity to vote on.”
Mayors understand that Trenton’s inaction and failure to comprehensively address the property tax crisis in New Jersey have tied their hands and crippled their ability to control the upward pressure of skyrocketing costs. Mayors are standing up to demand action in this legislative session on a constitutional limit on property taxes that cannot be taken away by politicians and the tool kit of reforms to make the cap achievable.
210 mayors from every corner of the state and across political parties have endorsed the Christie Reform Agenda. A full list can be viewed on the Governor’s Cap 2.5 Reform Agenda Website.
“Trenton has failed to control property taxes in New Jersey, plain and simple. The numbers speak for themselves: a 70 percent increase in property taxes over the last decade and local spending that has risen by 68 percent over the same period,” said Franklin Township Mayor Brian Levine. “The status quo in Trenton has shown itself unwilling or unable to deliver a solution that gets at underlying issues of cost-control. Mayors refuse to wait any longer for half-steps and incomplete solutions. We are calling on the legislature to pass the Cap 2.5 constitutional amendment and Christie Reform Agenda in this legislative session.”
“Mayors are on the front line of the property tax crisis every day and witness the devastating impact the highest-in-the-nation property taxes have had on families and businesses in the Garden State,” said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Today we are demanding that Speaker Oliver and Senate President Sweeney post this legislation for a vote before going on summer vacation, and thereby act to allow the people to cement property tax relief in our State Constitution. Along with Governor Christie’s tool kit, a firm cap on property taxes engrained in our constitution will give our state’s families the relief they need and local government the ability to finally deliver services at a reasonable cost to taxpayers.”
A hard 2.5 percent cap on increases in the property tax levy in the form of a constitutional amendment would provide New Jerseyans stability in their property taxes from year-to-year that is not subject to change without the voters' approval and can't be waived at the whim of future governors or legislatures.
This week, the Office of the Governor launched a new online database that calculates the effect of a 2.5 percent property tax cap for every municipality in the state over the last 10 years, allowing New Jerseyans to see for themselves the savings for the average taxpayer in every New Jersey municipality over the past decade under Cap 2.5.
Legislative committee approval for the Cap 2.5 constitutional amendment is needed before the first week of July in order to meet the deadline for the bill to be moved to the floor and approved for placement on the ballot and consideration by the voters in November. Hundreds of mayors have joined Governor Christie in urging the Assembly and Senate leadership and legislators of both parties to work with him in putting this critical government reform before the voters for approval this November.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Which Athlete Do You Hate Most?

Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Tiger Woods and, yes, Alex Rodriguez, made the Top 10 of Forbes' Most Disliked People in Sports for 2010.
But which athlete do you dislike the most?
We've listed the ten most hated athletes on Forbes' list at the top right corner of this page.
And now we're asking you: Who do you hate the most?
You can only pick one. Just one.
Take our poll. Vote now.
Grrrrr . . . show us some teeth!

McChrystal Hands Obama Huge Opportunity

General Stanley McChrystal and his hapless staff have now handed President Obama a huge opportunity.
And the betting here is that Obama will seize the moment and fire McChrystal.
Forget that most of the controversial and derogatory comments out today came not from the General himself but from unnamed members of his staff.
Forget that McChrystal is widely respected and is still probably the best man to wage the ongoing war against terrorists.
Forget that the General has already taken responsibility for these latest mishaps and has apologized.
Forget that overall McChrystal's record has been exemplary.
Forget all that and more.
Obama is on the ropes.
His leadership style (if you can call it that) is under question. His sense of command is in doubt. Even his mere competence has become a matter of debate. His poll numbers are dropping rapidly and he seems aimless, clueless, adrift and in way over his head.
In other words, he desperately needs a Truman moment.
And now along comes the McChrystal stumble.
This gives The One the chance to do what he does best: pretend to lead while bashing others.
So, Obama will step forward, throw back his shoulders, glare into the camera with the best Commander in Chief look he can muster, read the teleprompter and can McChrystal.
And the mainstream media will eat it up.
They will love it.
They will announce that Dear Leader is back and that he is tougher, stronger, more determined and more in command than ever before -- that he stared down the top brass of the military and won; that he knows how to get the job done; that he isn't afraid of anyone. In fact, Big Media will declare this a turning point for the hallowed Realm of Obama.
And this will last, for awhile.
But as the drama unfolds, if you buy what Obama and the mainstream media are selling, I've got some oceanfront property in Kansas that's just perfect for you.

Entire County Board Endorses Cap 2.5

Today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's Office announced that all seven members of the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders*, four Democrats and three Republicans, have endorsed Governor Christie’s Cap 2.5 Reform Agenda to bring real property tax relief to New Jersey families.
“Like families, businesses and every government around New Jersey, county government too must change the way we do business and fundamentally reform our budgeting process. Governor Christie’s Reform Agenda gives us the tools to accomplish these changes by lowering costs while delivering key services to New Jerseyans who rely on them –all under a real property tax cap to provide relief in our communities,” said Freeholder Director Bruce James. “Passaic Freeholders are proud to stand with the Governor in fighting for real property tax relief.”
Freeholders understand the difficulties confronted by families and businesses from ever-increasing property taxes and the need to deliver the real, long-term relief offered by the Christie Reform Agenda. Freeholders are joining the hundreds of mayors from across New Jersey standing up in support of Governor Christie and his Reform Agenda to lower costs, cap property taxes and cap state spending.
“New Jerseyans have suffered for far too long under Trenton’s failure to enact real property tax reform. There is no more time for excuses, empty gestures or anything short of the comprehensive reform of the Christie Reform Agenda,” said Freeholder Michael Marotta. “Now, we must deliver real, permanent solutions to put New Jersey’s property tax crisis in check. This is exactly why every Passaic County freeholder is standing alongside Governor Christie and his reforms.”
On May 10th, the Governor outlined a sweeping property tax reform package to solve New Jersey's property tax crisis and control spending at every level of government. The centerpiece of the plan is Cap 2.5, a constitutional amendment creating a 2.5 percent cap on property tax increases.
Legislative committee approval for the Cap 2.5 constitutional amendment is needed before the first week of July in order to meet the deadline for the bill to be moved to the floor and approved for placement on the ballot and consideration by the voters in November. Governor Christie is urging the Assembly and Senate leadership and legislators of both parties to work with him in putting this critical government reform before the voters for approval this November.
Property taxes have grown an astonishing 70% over the last ten years, resulting in an average annual property tax bill of $7,281 on New Jersey families - the highest rate in the nation. Cap 2.5 will halt the astonishing growth in property taxes while the Christie Reform Agenda will give towns and school boards the tools needed to control spending to make Cap 2.5 both realistic and achievable.

*In New Jersey, Freeholders is the name given to elected county commissioners.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Christie Launches Cap 2.5 Savings Calculator

Continuing to demonstrate the significant, long-term impact of Governor Christie’s Cap 2.5 Reform Agenda on New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes, the Office of the Governor today launched a new online database that calculates the effect of a 2.5 percent property tax cap for every municipality in the state over the last 10 years.
This new resource, available as a page on the Governor’s website, allows New Jerseyans to view information on property taxes in their community and displays what the savings would be today if Cap 2.5 were in place 10 years ago.
A hard 2.5 percent cap on increases in the property tax levy in the form of a constitutional amendment would provide New Jerseyans stability in their property taxes from year-to-year that is not subject to change without the voters' approval and can't be waived at the whim of future governors or legislatures.
As the new database makes clear, putting Cap 2.5 on the ballot would ensure New Jersey families consistent and reliable relief from unsustainable and unaffordable property tax increases.
Cap 2.5 will provide a real, long-term solution to the property tax crisis in the Garden state, and finally bring the tax relief families and businesses in New Jersey have long needed. New Jerseyans can access property tax information on all 566 New Jersey municipalities including average property tax figures from 1999, average property tax figures from 2009, and the average annual increase in their property tax bill since 1999, and how much lower that figure could have been under the Christie Reform Agenda.

Breakthrough: Newark Mayor Endorses Christie Plan

Joining over 200 hundred mayors from across New Jersey, Newark Mayor Cory Booker today endorsed Governor Chris Christie’s Cap 2.5 Reform Agenda to bring real property tax relief to New Jerseyans. “Even as we face extraordinarily difficult times together as a state and a people, elected officials at every level must show the leadership and discipline expected of us from the voters who demanded us to bring real relief and reform,” said Governor Chris Christie.

“Mayor Booker is a dynamic leader who is bringing his leadership to bear every day to address his city’s most pressing issues. I’m proud to have the support of Mayor Booker and over 200 mayors from around New Jersey as we work to bring real, long-term property tax relief to New Jersey families.”

On May 10th, the Governor outlined a sweeping 33-bill reform package to solve New Jersey's property tax crisis and control spending at every level of government. The centerpiece of the plan is Cap 2.5, a constitutional amendment creating a 2.5 percent cap on property tax increases.

Since then, 206 mayors from every corner of New Jersey have announced their support for the Christie Reform Agenda.

"For far too long, our state's ever growing property taxes have plagued New Jersey families, driving them from their homes and communities or out of the state altogether," said Mayor Cory Booker. "The property tax problem is at the center of New Jersey's affordability crisis and the people of this state are calling for their leaders to join them in pursuing -- and finally enacting -- a real remedy. Governor Christie, with his clear focus and determined drive, is putting meaningful and potent property tax relief within reach. I am proud to join the bipartisan and growing list of State and municipal leaders who are advocating for deep and durable reform -- reform that stitches a 2.5% property tax cap into the fabric of our state while providing a critical toolkit capable of preventing key municipal costs from ballooning. This is a moment for all of us, Republican and Democrat, State and City, executive branch and legislative branch, to listen to the people of our state and get the job done on this critical issue."

Since 1999, the property tax levy has increased in Newark by 72 percent, from $2,840 in 1999 to $4,886 in 2009. By limiting annual increases to no greater than 2.5 percent under Cap 2.5, the average property tax levy in Newark would be approximately $3636, resulting in a savings of $1250 for the average property tax payer in Newark.

Across New Jersey, mayors continue standing up to support Governor Christie's efforts to bring real property tax relief to New Jersey families. They know firsthand the impact these high taxes are having on communities, driving away jobs and hardworking families. Everyday these mayors are on the frontlines of the crisis, forced to deal with ballooning expenses, unfunded mandates, and cost-drivers which in many cases they have little control over.

Property taxes have grown an astonishing 70% over the last ten years, resulting in an average annual property tax bill of $7,281 on New Jersey families - the highest rate in the nation. Cap 2.5 will halt the astonishing growth in property taxes while the Christie Reform Agenda will give towns and school boards the tools needed to control spending to make Cap 2.5 both realistic and achievable.

Legislative committee approval for the Cap 2.5 constitutional amendment is needed before the first week of July in order to meet the deadline for the bill to be moved to the floor and approved for placement on the ballot and consideration by the voters in November. Governor Christie is urging the Assembly and Senate leadership and legislators of both parties to work with him in putting this critical government reform before the voters for approval this November.

A full list of the 206 mayors that have publicly endorsed the Christie Reform Agenda can be viewed on the Governor’s Cap 2.5 Reform Agenda Website,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Father's Legacy Of Love

My father communicated his love by his mere presence.
He was constant. Strong. Solid. Enduring.
Just to be with him was to know that you were safe, secure, protected -- to know that no one could harm you.
He seemed to always know which side he was on; what he was willing to fight for; what was important and what was not. Of course, family came first. Everything else flowed from that.
Though he could be pugnacious, he wasn't the type of guy who went around looking for a fight.But he wasn't afraid to fight, either.
In his lifetime I saw him take on guys of larger stature and greater power. I can't say that he always won but he sure as hell made it seem like he won. Why? Because he never really backed down and he was doggedly loyal -- to a cause, to a friend, to what was right. He was proud as well.
And for all the fight in him, he was also never afraid to reach out to the other side at just the right moment (and in his own special way) to be conciliatory.
He was reliable as well. If he gave his word, the job was done; the deed was completed; the promise was kept. So people who wanted to get the job done kept coming back to him. And he always delivered. Yes, he understood that the reward for good work was more work. But he wasn't afraid of work. And no matter how menial the job, he did it carefully and with great pride.
To be sure, he wasn't perfect.
He could be gruff, impatient and ill-tempered. Yet, beneath his tough facade was a tender heart.
Just a couple of weeks before he died he told me that he had absolutely no regrets.
He felt that he had lived a rich and full life -- that he had done it all, heard it all, seen it all.
I always felt that he shot off all of the flashy fireworks of youth in his early years before he was married. So, when he finally found the right woman (and she was perfect for him) he was ready to face the responsibilities of job and family. Still, he needed some taming. But he never really resisted that or her. He was ready.
So, he became and strong and loving father.
And though he's been gone for 22 years now, he lives on vividly for me.
He walks beside me wherever I go. I feel his quiet strength, his enduring presence, his love.
And that love urges me ever onward.
Thanks, dad!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Runyan Calls For Balanced Budget Amendment

Declaring politicians in Washington either unable or unwilling to control runaway spending that is bankrupting the country and jeopardizing the American Dream for future generations, Republican congressional candidate Jon Runyan (NJ-3) today announced his support for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution as a mechanism to force government to live within its means, just like average Americans must do.

Runyan also proposed requiring a two-third supermajority of both the House and Senate to pass any tax increase and a “Red Ink Taskforce” that would be charged with a thorough review of all federal spending. According to Runyan’s proposal, the task force would be given one-year to complete the review and submit a list of recommendations to Congress and the President, which would then be required to give each recommendation and up-or-down vote prior to the 2012 November election.

“The excessive spending by career politicians in Washington has reached an unsustainable level,” said Runyan, citing figures according to

“The current national debt exceeds $13 trillion, which amounts to more than $42,000 for every man, woman and child; and nearly $120,000 per taxpayer. The federal government is addicted to spending money they don’t have and its threatening to kill the American Dream that this country was built on. I’m running for Congress to do something about it.”

Runyan’s proposed requirement of a congressional supermajority to raise taxes would make it more difficult for one party or the other to shove through irresponsible, unpopular tax increases and bring more accountability to Congress. Additionally, his proposal for a “Red Ink Taskforce,” inspired, in part, by President Ronald Reagan’s 1982 Grace Commission, would force Members of Congress to walk the walk on eliminating government waste by requiring up-or-down votes on recommendations made by the task force.

“Everyone in Washington talks a good game about cutting taxes and eliminating government waste,” said Runyan, who credited primary opponent Justin Murphy with raising the Grace Commission-idea that led him to propose the “Red Ink Taskforce.”

“But, my requirement of a supermajority to raise taxes, as well as forcing an up-or-down vote on recommendations to eliminate waste would force them to walk the walk. The American people want accountability in Washington and my proposals will help bring it about.”

Runyan said his opponent, Congressman John Adler, helped create New Jersey’s culture of reckless spending and skyrocketing debt, and that he couldn’t be trusted to fix the problems we face in Washington, DC.

“John Adler voted to rubberstamp budgets from Jon Corzine and Jim McGreevey that sent state spending and state debt soaring in New Jersey, leaving us in an awful fiscal mess,” said Runyan.

“Now he’s in Washington, DC voting with Nancy Pelosi to do the same thing to our country. After more than 20 years in elected office, it’s time for John Adler to go.”

Whoa! Chris Christie Loves The Cowboys?

I'm not a sports fan in any real sense of the word.
I've always felt that sports -- especially professional sports -- is way overrated.
Yes, I'm happy to see the Phillies or the Flyers or the Sixers win and I'm delighted when one of them wins it all. And I've also rooted for the Eagles.
But when it comes to football I truly regard the Cowboys as America's Team.
The aptly-named Cowboys have come to represent something way beyond football. The team conjures up images of the rough and tumble, freedom-loving world of America's great frontier: the West. Just like Texas, the Dallas Cowboys are bigger than life. Everything about the team plays out on a grand stage.
Of course I am an honorary Texan so when I visited Texas one of my first stops was the Dallas Cowboys training camp. I was not disappointed. It was a day I'll always remember.
And so will my son who is also a Cowboys fan.
The Cowboys are a marquee franchise, just like the New York Yankees: big, rich, storied, valuable. And more often than not (just like the Yankees) they deliver.
So, I have to admit it: I like the Cowboys. because I figure if you're gonna do it, why not do it right?
And now it turns out that at least one other person in New Jersey feels the same way. I'm not sure who was a Dallas Cowboys fan first (him or me) but I'm delighted to discover that he's one of us. And I'm reassured that I'm in very good company, indeed.

Here's the story from Ed Valentine of SB Nation NY and Steve Politi of the Star Ledger:
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a Dallas Cowboys' fan. Say what? It's true. In a very candid interview with the Star-Ledger's Steve Politi the governor admitted as much. In fact, he added that he really isn't even a fan of the teams in his own state. Here is the pertinent part of Politi's interview with Christie.

I have to pin you down on this: Is it true you’re a closet Cowboys fan?

I am. My son is a huge Jets fan, so I’ve become a secondary Jets fan. Listen, I grew up in the early 1970s and became a huge Roger Staubach fan and a Cowboys fan. Believe me, it doesn’t get me anything political around here because the Giants fans hate me, the Eagles fans hate me, it doesn’t matter. But you grow up rooting for a team. That’s just the way it works.

And you never thought about faking or hiding this?

I don’t nuance much very well (laughs). You know what? I always hated Hillary Clinton wearing a Cubs hat or a Yankees hat. I’m a Cowboys fan, I’m a Mets fan, I’m a Rangers fan, I’m a Knicks fan. I’ve got the Devils and the Nets in New Jersey, but I grew up when the Nets were on Long Island and the Devils didn’t exist. It’s not that I don’t want the Devils to do well. I want them to do well when they’re playing anybody but the Rangers. That’s who I grew up rooting for.

I don't know anything about Christie's politics. I do know that maybe Christie should stay home to watch the games.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hoboken Mayor Supports Christie's Cap 2.5

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer talks about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's proposal to cap property tax increases to no more than 2.5 percent for the state of New Jersey.
More than 200 New Jersey mayors of both political parties have come forward to support Governor Christie's proposed spending cap.
The Christie Reform Agenda takes immediate action to provide real property tax relief by putting power in the hands of the people.
Since 2001, spending at the local level has spiked by 69% from $26.5 billion to an estimated $44.7 billion this year. New Jersey taxpayers bore the brunt of surge in government spending, with property taxes growing an astonishing 70% from 1999 to 2009.
The average New Jersey household now pays $7,281 a year in property taxes - the highest rate in the nation.

Recommended Dining In Philadelphia Area

For awhile we've been wanting to bring you up to date on our dining adventures and now we finally have a chance.
Here's a roundup of some of our recent visits and assessments:
We've paid a few return visits to the beautiful Seasons 52 restaurant in Cherry Hill (now just a bit more than a year old) and we found it to be every bit as hospitable (and the food every bit as good) as when it first opened. That's a real compliment since eateries often open top-notch and then begin to miss the mark.
In Cherry Hill Season's 52 Managing Partner Shannon Earley continues to deftly oversee the operation with a great deal of attentiveness and personal charm. We love just about everything on the menu at Seasons 52 (a menu that changes with the seasons) and the staff is uniformly first-rate. And since our very first visit to Seasons 52 at the Cherry Hill Mall shortly after it opened, the restaurant has opened at nearby King of Prussia Mall.
Another fine eatery that we recently discovered is the Four Dogs Tavern at the Marshalton Inn in the cozy village of Marshalton near West Chester, Pa. The Marshalton Inn is the bigger deal here -- the white tablecloth, finer dining restaurant -- while the Four Dogs is just what the name says it is: an informal, friendly cafe. The menu at Four Dogs features fresh ingredients from nearby farms and establishments and every dish is carefully detailed. We recommend outdoor dining at the Four Dogs this summer. The setting amidst the rolling hills of beautiful Chester County is relaxing and rejuvenating and the food is great with reasonable prices to match.
Down near the Jersey shore we enjoyed a wonderful meal at Gourmet Italian Cuisine in Galloway. Gourmet is a huge establishment (bar, cafe, restaurant, banquet and event rooms) but it actually feels surprisingly cozy inside since it's broken up into smaller areas and features rich woods, copper, innovating lighting, appealing art work, comfortable seating and lots of windows. The main bar is spacious and the drinks are great. The menu is varied and is by no means limited to Italian fare. And, there are many very reasonably priced specials as well as full course meals. We highly recommend Gourmet!
Returning to Cherry Hill, we recently entertained friends at Lamberti's Tutti Toscani and once again enjoyed superb meals in a relaxing informal setting at moderate prices with outstanding, personal service. Tutti Toscani is the first and longest running location in the Lamberti Family of Restaurants and it's still one of the best. We've been returning year after year and we've never had a bad meal at this warm and inviting bistro.
Also in Cherry Hill, we've been enjoying the fine lunches and happy hours at Brio at Garden State Park. The cold, crispy Caesar salads at Brio are extraordinary and the roasted chicken sandwich is fresh and luscious. The happy hour is a big draw with a variety of drinks and hors'douvres at very popular prices. And, we've also been to Brio for dinner several times and have always had a great time.
Finally, we recommend The Bistro at Haddonfield (formerly the Corner Bistro) on Kings Highway and Tanner St. in the historic town of Haddonfield. The Bistro is a cross between a corner restaurant and a dinner. This place serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week and almost everything that you order is going to be fresh and tasty. On a nice day we like to sit outdoors under The Bistro's bright blue awnings. And here's a special secret: You won't find a better (or more reasonably priced) weekday breakfast anywhere!

Monday, June 14, 2010

About Our Flag On Flag Day, 2010

Summer is America’s season.
And it’s also the season of Old Glory.
It’s the time of year when our American flag seems more visible than ever. The flag flies proudly at Fourth of July celebrations, leads parades and community observances, decorates monuments and gravesites and flutters above tall buildings and city streets.
This is the season of the red, white and blue.
And that’s fitting because the flag was officially adopted as the symbol of our nation on June 14, 1780 thus giving birth to the observance of Flag Day on that date every year.
But this year I’m worried about our American flag.
I’m worried because too often I see the flag displayed with everything from indifference to outright disrespect or dishonor.
I know that lots of people displayed the flag right after September 11 and that was understandable. Old Glory naturally appears when we want to come together as one nation and demonstrate our strength, unity and pride.
But some of the same flags that were displayed after September 11 seem to still be on display nearly nine years later. What’s left of these flags is not a pretty sight. And it’s not just the original September 11 flags that leave me with an unsettled feeling. Too often I see tattered flags, faded flags, worn out flags. The offenses are numerous.
Recently I spotted elongated, disproportionate flags flown from poles at a new car dealership. Frequently I see huge, oversize flags flown along highways in front of businesses. These flags seem to be displayed solely to attract attention to the businesses.
In my neighborhood a local realtor has placed small plastic American flags in the ground at curbside in front of many homes. Forget the fact that there’s something inherently offensive about a plastic flag. These flags have promotional messages from the realtor attached to them. Way too often I see flags touching the ground.
Sadly, I’ve even seen a tattered flag flying over Philadelphia’s City Hall on the Market Street West side of the building.
Not too long ago someone gave me a flag lapel pin that had a promotional message displayed across the front of the flag. And I’ve actually seen the flag used as a window covering and imprinted on paper plates, cups and napkins.
Lately, the flag even decorates articles of clothing. For a long time this was considered improper but now it seems to be commonly accepted.
If we love our flag – and we should – we are obliged to observe proper flag etiquette as stipulated by United States Code Title 36 Chapter 10, also known as the Flag Code.
The proper proportions of the flag are defined by law so that no matter how large or small a flag may be it is always looks the same and is clearly recognizable as Old Glory. And that’s just the beginning. The Code says that the flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speaker’s desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any insignia, letter, word, number or drawing of any kind.
Furthermore, no part of the flag should ever touch the ground. And finally the flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
Organizations such as the Boys Scouts and the American Legion routinely collect old flags and dispose of them properly.
The Flag Code clearly states that “The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.” A living thing!
Our flag is the living embodiment of our nation. This summer let’s treat it as such.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Campbell's Opens New Center In Camden!

We recently had a chance to join with community leaders, corporate execs, public officials and friends from throughout South Jersey and beyond to celebrate the grand opening of the new world headquarters of the Campbell's Soup Company in Camden, New Jersey.

This was an especially meaningful occasion for me since Camden is my hometown.

Growing up in South Camden I remember the days when the trucks filled with fresh tomatoes would rumble down Camden's side streets toward the Campbell's plant on the riverfront. On warm summer evenings, we could open the front door of our row house, take a deep breath and instantly know what kind of soup Campbell's was cooking. And yes, I knew tons of friends and relatives who worked in the old Campbell's plant. They were the people who made the soup that found its way into virtually every American kitchen.

To me, Campbell's and Camden have always gone together and they've always been partners. And frankly, I admire the way that Campbell's has kept faith with Camden. Many companies deserted Camden but Campbell's was not one of them.

Campbell is the longest-standing corporate tenant in the city and the only Fortune 500 Company headquartered in Camden. The Campbell Soup Foundation has contributed more than $100 million to Camden and other area nonprofit organizations over the last 50 years.

"Campbell has been an anchor institution in the city of Camden for 141 years," Mayor Dana L. Redd said. "This expansion project truly demonstrates Campbell Soup Company's commitment to Camden's revitalization efforts and their pledge to the community. This wonderful new building also sends a clear message that Camden has, is, and will continue to be open for business. I applaud Campbell for its unwavering commitment to our great city, I wish them continued success, and I hope that they will be able to call Camden home for years to come."

Yes, I was so proud to be at this grand opening.

Company executives along with New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Camden Mayor Dana Redd and Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr., (all pictured above) celebrated the grand opening of the Campbell Employee Center, an 80,000-square foot addition to the company's World Headquarters.

Against the backdrop of a gleaming glass entrance complete with a signature red wall and iconic "Campbell's" logo, hundreds of community members and state and local leaders cheered the expansion, which reflects Campbell's longstanding commitment to Camden, one of the nation's poorest cities and Campbell's home since 1869.

Campbell's President and CEO Douglas R. Conant said, "The completion of this building is the result of a partnership between Campbell, the State of New Jersey, Camden County and the city of Camden. It is a testament to the years of hard work by teams of people committed to a common purpose and determined to overcome whatever obstacles that may stand in the way. We are proud to call Camden home. We have deep roots here, not just on this campus but throughout the city and the entire region. Campbell remains fully committed to the city and its neighborhoods."

Designed by Philadelphia-based architects KlingStubbins, the Campbell Employee Center is part of a broader effort that includes plans for a 100-acre office park in Camden's Gateway District. Campbell plans to invest up to $93 million in the project, which includes its new building, ongoing enhancements to its existing facilities and 40-acre campus, and the acquisition of land for future development. The state, county and city have invested approximately $23 million in the area's infrastructure to improve roads, as well as water and sewer upgrades.

"I am proud that Campbell Soup Company has called New Jersey home for almost 150 years. This project demonstrates the importance of public-private partnerships," said Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno. "Governor Christie and I are continuing to focus on making New Jersey a home for growth by enhancing New Jersey's business climate, streamlining our regulatory process and advancing pro-business initiatives."

With the completion of the new building, Campbell's Camden facilities include approximately 750,000 square feet of office, research and development and training space. Features of the new building include:

  • A state-of-the-art café with a custom soup bar as the centerpiece; the soup bar will serve up to 11 different soups each day;
  • An exhibition hall serves as the signature of the building with soaring 38-foot floor-to-ceiling windows and the iconic "Campbell's" logo;
  • An open-air courtyard for employees, as well as special company and community events. The courtyard features a vegetable and flower garden designed by the Camden Children's Garden;
  • An innovative training and development center called Campbell University;
  • A fully-equipped fitness center for current and retired employees;
  • A 2,600 square-foot company store.
Well, we could go on -- and we will have more pictures later. But suffice it to say that it was a spectacular afternoon in Camden - a day abundant with hope and promise.

And inside the new employee center we enjoyed delicious treats prepared by Campbell's master chefs and music provided by Camden's own Symphony in C (a followup to the Settlement Music School children's choir singing outdoors at the opening ceremony).

It was a grand time. Bravo, Campbell's! Bravo, Camden!