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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
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Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
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About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Bill delayed, court case proceeds and the fate of state test unclear

TRENTON — The fate of the test formerly known as PARCC remains up in the air as a vote in a state Senate committee to amend graduation requirements related to standardized tests was delayed Monday.

The state Department of Education earlier this month issued guidance to local school districts directing them to give the test, recently renamed the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment, this spring and next fall, but the question remains whether the tests can be used as a requirement for high school graduation, which the courts ruled was contrary to existing state law. If the new bill is passed, the court's opinion would be moot.

The bill, introduced last week by Senate Education Chairwoman M. Teresa Ruiz, would amend the state law to allow for more than one standardized assessment to be used as a requirement for high school graduation and eliminates a requirement that the test be administered in 11th grade. It also allows current seniors and juniors to use the previous graduation requirements to obtain their diplomas.

The bill was in response to a recent state appellate court ruling that invalidated the Department of Education’s 2016 changes to its graduation standards, Ruiz said during Monday’s budget and appropriations committee meeting.

Read more: https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/education/bill-delayed-court-case-proceeds-and-the-fate-of-state/article_29ce2893-e163-525d-bd92-4756930fb76f.html

Seaside Heights: We didn't target Karma for attracting gay and black patrons

SEASIDE HEIGHTS - Borough officials have strongly denied targeting Karma nightclub owner John Saddy for hosting events that attracted African-American and gay patrons, in a federal case that could be headed for trial.

Saddy sued Seaside Heights, Mayor Anthony Vaz, Administrator Christopher Vaz (the mayor's son), police Chief Thomas Boyd and the Borough Council in November, claiming the borough “has implemented and maintains an unconstitutional, discriminatory and racist policy, practice and/or custom of discouraging and limiting African-American and LGBTQ (Lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, queer/questioning) visitors to Seaside Heights."

But in answers to the lawsuit filed late last month and earlier in January in Trenton federal court, Seaside officials said they had never targeted the nightclub because of its clientele.

Administrator Vaz said he instead spoke "positively of events catering to the LGBTQ community and how such events had benefited Asbury Park, which Seaside Heights hoped to emulate," according to his response to Saddy's suit.

Read more: https://www.app.com/story/news/investigations/watchdog/government/2019/01/30/seaside-heights-karma-target-gay-black/2596023002/

McGreevey group evicted from Jersey City office

JERSEY CITY — Employees of ex-Gov. Jim McGreevey’s statewide prisoner re-entry nonprofit were evicted Wednesday from the Jersey City office where they have been working.

The move represents an escalation of hostilities between McGreevey and the new management of the Jersey City Employment and Training Program, the federally funded nonprofit McGreevey ran until he was fired earlier this month.

There are about a dozen employees of NJ Reentry Corp, a nonprofit McGreevey chairs that runs re-entry services around the state, who worked at the JCETP office on Martin Luther King Drive, according to Alex Avellan, general counsel for NJ Reenty Corp. Avellan told The Jersey Journal they were told Wednesday morning they had to be out by the end of the day, then they were told they had to be out sooner.

“We’ll be fine. We’ll recover,” he said. “What bothers me is any disservice to our clients.”

Read more: https://www.nj.com/hudson/2019/01/mcgreevey-group-evicted-from-jersey-city-office.html

$550K settlement for veteran who claimed National Guard general 'fostered an environment of white

$550K settlement for veteran who claimed National Guard general ‘fostered an environment of white supremacy’

The New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has agreed to pay $550,000 to settle a lawsuit from a veteran who claimed a National Guard general’s racist attitude cost the vet his job and numerous other opportunities.

George Anderson III sued after his firing in 2015, arguing that Brig. Gen. James Grant “fostered an environment of white supremacy" in the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA). Under Grant’s direction, he argued, he was blocked from promotions and retaliated against him for calling out the discrimination.

“For the first in a long time I can look towards the future, and not what transpired at DMAVA," Anderson said in a statement. “I am very thankful for all of the support I received and I am very glad this settlement finally puts an end to this entire ordeal.”

The state did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, but agreed to let Anderson resign so the termination will not mar an employment record his attorney described as “impeccable.”

Read more: https://www.nj.com/news/2019/01/550k-settlement-for-veteran-who-claimed-national-guard-general-fostered-an-environment-of-white-supremacy.html

Wasted county worker''s rampage carves trail of destruction through N.J. town, cops say

An intoxicated Bergen County worker smashed a parks department pickup truck into the roof of a parking deck - causing the ceiling to rip away - before he fled that crash and slammed into 10 vehicles Wednesday near bustling downtown Ridgewood, authorities said.

Daniel Brancato faces a slew of traffic and drug charges in the mayhem that unfolded around 2:30 p.m. The 22-year-old employee drove the county truck out of a parking deck at an East Ridgewood Avenue building, near Maple Avenue, but the vehicle was too high and it hit the roof, police said.

That mishap allegedly didn’t stop Brancato.

“The truck caused heavy damage to the ceiling of the parking garage and struck multiple vehicles that were parked in the garage,” police said in a statement.

As he fled, the truck hit more cars along East Ridgewood Avenue toward the village’s bustling busy shopping district, according to authorities. Officers caught up with the Emerson resident about four blocks away at the Prospect Street parking lot, ending the spree of wreckage.

Read more: https://www.nj.com/bergen/2019/01/hammered-county-workers-midday-truck-rampage-carves-trail-of-destruction-through-tony-north-jersey-town-cops-say.html

Historic Marcal Paper plant destroyed by fire as iconic red sign, brick building collapse in massive

Historic Marcal Paper plant destroyed by fire as iconic red sign, brick building collapse in massive blaze

The Marcal Paper Plant, a battleground against numerous small and not-so-small fires over the decades, was mostly destroyed Wednesday night as a massive blaze tore through the historic factory on the Passaic River in Elmwood Park.

Despite the efforts of hundreds of firefighters in below zero wind chills, the plant’s large red sign, a North Jersey landmark for decades, collapsed along with the iconic red brick building the held it aloft alongside Route 80 for millions of passing motorists throughout the years.

The Elmwood Park neighborhood that forms a semi-circle around the sprawling plant found itself inundated with falling paper embers and choking smoke as firefighters ordered the evacuation of several homes. Traffic slowed to a crawl on Route 80, with one motorist reporting on Twitter that the temperature gauge in his car spiked by about 50 degrees as he passed the plant, an indication of the intensity of the paper-fueled fire.

A plume of smoke from the massive fire could be seen on radar as far away as the South Shore of Long Island, as video after video from the scene showed flames shooting from the roof of the 86-year-old plant, and explosions of propane tanks could be heard. No injuries were reported.

Read more: https://www.nj.com/news/2019/01/5-alarm-fire-at-marcal-paper-plant-as-firefighters-brave-blistering-cold-to-save-factory.html

Bridgegate co-conspirator Bill Baroni to be re-sentenced next month

NEWARK — A former aide to former Gov. Chris Christie faces re-sentencing next month for his role in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal.

Bill Baroni is scheduled to appear in court in Newark on Feb. 26.

The former Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was convicted on conspiracy, fraud and other charges in 2016. Prosecutors alleged he conspired to create traffic jams near the bridge to punish a mayor who didn’t endorse Christie, a Republican.

An appeals court tossed some of the counts against Baroni and co-defendant Bridget Kelly in November but upheld the most serious ones.

Read more: https://www.nj.com/politics/2019/01/bridgegate-co-conspirator-bill-baroni-to-be-re-sentenced-next-month.html

Newest Democratic Senator voted like a Republican

Addiego had 93% NRA rating, 33% from Planned Parenthood

State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) is not your average Democrat.

As a Republican legislator for eleven years, Addiego had a right-of-center voting record. Now that she has switched her party affiliation, she lands to the right of most of her Democratic Senate colleagues on many state issues.


After her party switch yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy had a two-part message for Addiego: welcome to the Democratic Party – and now, be a Democrat.

Murphy urged Addiego to start her new journey on the blue side by voting to support a $15-per-hour minimum wage and back his efforts to legalize marijuana.

“I welcome Senator Addiego to that fight, and I look forward to working with the entire Legislature to make New Jersey a stronger and fairer place in 2019,” Murphy said.

Read more: https://newjerseyglobe.com/legislature/newest-democratic-senator-voted-like-a-republican/

Teamsters join Anti-Amazon HQ2 effort, demand better treatment of New York workers

When Amazon announced it would build its second headquarters in Long Island City, activists immediately spoke out against the deal. Now, the New York City Teamsters union has joined an effort to oppose Amazon HQ2 in Queens.

Teamsters joined a coalition created by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) against HQ2 this week. Both unions sent joint letters to city and state officials announcing their partnership against Amazon HQ2 and requesting the tech giant change “the way it operates in New York.”

Amazon has historically been anti-union, though it’s workers, especially those at Amazon warehouses, have repeatedly attempted to organize. Labor issues plague the company, with employees voicing concerns about safety, inadequate pay, unreasonable forced overtime and more. Multiple workers have died at Amazon facilities.

“Jeff Bezos needs to come to the Staten Island fulfillment center to speak with his associates and to see how we are being treated first hand,” said Rashad Long, a worker there, in a statement. “We are not robots. We are human beings. We cannot come into work after only 4 hours of sleep and be expected to be fully energized and ready to work. ... I feel like all the company cares about is getting their products out to the customers as quickly as possible, no matter what that means for us workers in the end.”

Read more: https://www.metro.us/news/local-news/new-york/teamsters-join-anti-amazon-hq2-effort

Arming teachers in schools will be banned in New York, among other new gun-control measures

ALBANY - Teachers will be banned from carrying guns in schools under a series of gun-control laws approved Tuesday by the state Legislature.

Under current law, schools can give written approval to allow anyone to carry a firearm on school grounds or on school buses.

But the package of bills that lawmakers passed Tuesday would limit gun possession on school grounds only to safety officials.

The bill would prevent schools from "authorizing anyone other than a security officer, school resource officer, or law enforcement officer to carry a firearm on school grounds."

Read more: https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2019/01/29/arming-teachers-schools-banned-new-york-gun-control-cuomo/2708586002/
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