Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pallone Supports NJ’s Flounder Recommendations in Letter to Commerce Secretary

June 23, 2017

Long Branch, NJ – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) sent a letter to U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asking him to consider New Jersey’s response to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) evaluation of the state’s compliance. New Jersey has proposed a summer flounder size limit of 18 inches, with a 104-day fishing season and a 3 bag limit. The State argues that this change will better preserve the stock by reducing the discard mortality as well as reach conservation equivalency with federal regulations.

“I firmly believe that New Jersey is making every reasonable effort to chart a course forward that adequately balances conservation with the economic needs of fishermen and fishing communities, and I ask that you give the state’s approach a fair and thorough review,” said Pallone.

Congressman Pallone has been a longtime supporter of fisheries and their positive economic impact on coastal communities. Earlier this year, Pallone and a bipartisan group from the New Jersey Congressional delegation sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross regarding the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) vote to approve devastating restrictions on New Jersey’s fishing community. The Congressmen asked Ross to delay any reductions or changes in summer flounder fishing quotas until a new stock assessment can be completed and a new approach can be crafted.

He Appeared appeared before the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to reiterate his opposition to NOAA’s quota reductions because of the harm they would cause New Jersey coastal communities. Pallone and Senator Booker sent a letter to NOAA Fisheries about its proposal to reduce the ABC recreational and commercial quotas for summer flounder in 2017 and 2018. The New Jersey lawmakers requested that NOAA Fisheries postpone any decision on reducing summer flounder quotas until it conducts a new benchmark summer flounder assessment.

The text of the letter can be found below:

June 23, 2017
The Honorable Wilbur Ross
Secretary U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230

Dear Secretary Ross:

I write regarding the ongoing federal review of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) finding that the state of New Jersey is out of compliance with ASMFC’s Addendum XXVIII to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Interstate Fishery Management Plan. I firmly believe that New Jersey is making every reasonable effort to chart a course forward that adequately balances conservation with the economic needs of fishermen and fishing communities, and I ask that you give the state’s approach a fair and thorough review.

New Jersey has proposed that the summer flounder size limit be decreased to 18 inches, with a 104-day fishing season and a 3 bag limit. The state is arguing that its summer flounder regulations reach conservation equivalency with federal regulations, and that its regulations will actually preserve the stock by reducing discard mortality.

I respectfully request that you carefully consider the state’s arguments and technical data as you make your decision about whether to find New Jersey out of compliance. Imposing a moratorium on summer flounder fishing in New Jersey would have a devastating impact on the economies of coastal communities that rely on the recreational fishing industry in my Congressional district. Additionally, reaching that determination while there continue to be compelling technical and scientific reasons to question the initial decision to cut summer flounder quotas will further erode anglers’ trust in entities like ASMFC, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other fisheries management bodies.

Much work needs to be done to reform how we manage our recreational and commercial fisheries, but that work must take into account the facts on the ground and the opinions of those who would be most-directly impacted. I appreciate your consideration of my views, and I hope you will give the argument presented by the state of New Jersey your careful consideration.


Member of Congress

Thursday, June 22, 2017


The article from last week's Two River Times, that I was asked to contribute to is now online for those that no longer get their news the old fashion way. By that I mean purchasing a copy of the newspaper from the news stands.

Here's a snippet of what I had to say:

... Michael Morris, who publishes the “Middletown Mike” liberal/Democratic leaning political blog, not surprisingly, sees it differently. As a reaction to Trump and two terms of Christie, “I think the base is really fired up,” Morris said. “I’m talking extremely fired up.”

Activity among grassroots progressive organizations has been strong and that may lead to some upsets, Morris expected. That includes the 13th Legislative District, a traditionally Republican stronghold, which includes Republican-dominated Middletown, the county’s largest municipality, Morris said. “This is the first time in a long time I can actually say that,” he noted. And he’s saying it in part, because Murphy “is telling people around the state that he’s ‘all in for Monmouth County,’” and “do what it takes to win the county,” said Morris, who is a Middletown Democratic committee member.

That takes money, time and resources on the ground, Morris said.... 

Hit the hyperlink above and read the full article if you're curious to see what others had to say

Downey and Houghtaling Push for Improvements, Updates on School Funding

June 22nd, 2017

Long Branch - After days of closed door negotiations between Democratic leadership and Governor Christie, still no updated details have emerged on the progress of the school funding proposal put forward by Senator Sweeney and Speaker Prieto. Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey addressed their frustration and highlighted their efforts to push through needed improvements:

“We have been in constant communication with Democratic legislative leadership urging them to address the concerning funding shortfalls in the original Prieto-Sweeney proposal. Too many of our districts are facing funding losses and the massive challenge of rewriting budgets for this coming year with fewer funds than they had anticipated. The upheaval that this proposal will cause for a number of our schools cannot be allowed to just slip by.

Every student, no matter what school they attend, should know they’re getting a fair share, and we are still a long way away from that. We will continue to push Democratic legislative leadership until this proposal is improved.

As assembly members, we have consistently focused on the need to address New Jersey’s school funding crisis and we are proud to see that after years of ignoring the issue, Trenton is finally starting a conversation. We remain committed to passing true, long-term school funding legislation that fully funds all our schools and addresses the issues at the foundation of the crisis. Our children have been caught in a political battle for too long and we need to put forward legislation that address the issue once and for all.”

opal Frustrated with Lack of Movement on Funding Negotiations

June 21st, 2017

Long Branch - After the release of the Prieto-Sweeney funding compromise, no more details have emerged over how districts that received inadequate funding or lost funding will be fixed. Vin Gopal, candidate for State Senate in LD11 expressed his concern:

“I’m frustrated that another day has gone by in Trenton and nothing has been done to address the flaws in the original school funding proposal. Like I said when this proposal was first released, while this plan helps some districts within Monmouth County, others are left struggling and that is completely unacceptable.

“I have made my concerns very clear to Democratic leadership and called on them to do everything they can to minimize the negative impact. Based off of promised state aid numbers, schools in the 11th District have already hired teachers, made significant strategic investments in buses and technology for the upcoming school year, and having to make cuts after their new school year starts on July 1st, puts the education of students at risk."

“Beyond that, we need to continue to focus on a long-term solution like the ones my runningmates, Assemblymembers Downey and Houghtaling have supported, that fully funds our schools. Every student needs to get their fair share, and even after the Preto-Sweeney compromise, we are far from that.”

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day

I'm fortunate enough to still have my father with me. Today is a celebration for him, I hope he enjoys it as much as I will.

A few Father's Day quotes

“Any fool can be a Father, but it takes a real man to be a Daddy!”
- Philip Whitmore Snr

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
- Theodore Hesburgh, Catholic Priest and President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
- Jim Valvano

“One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is. Later that night, the Father prayed, Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be.”
- Unknown

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” -  Mark Twain, “Old Times on the Mississippi” Atlantic Monthly, 1874

“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.”
- Unknown

Friday, June 16, 2017

Results of Seine the Bay Day June 11, 2017

June 15, 2017

On Sunday, June 11 from 10am to 3:30pm, the annual “Seine the Bay Day” event took place. Juvenile fish and shellfish and other small fish were the stars of the show for the spring edition of Seine the Bay Day along the southern shore of New York Harbor, downstream from New York City.

For the past several years, the all-volunteer Bayshore Watershed Council has been conducting a seining survey of Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook Bay in Monmouth County, NJ at the start of the summer season to find out what species survive in these rich tidal waters. The catch included many juvenile and young-of-the-year fish (species that were born or emerged from eggs this past spring). Each young sea creature provides hope for the future.

As in years past, surveys were conducted at four locations: Cliffwood Beach in Aberdeen Township, the beach along Front Street in Union Beach, the beach in Port Monmouth near the mouth of Pews Creek , and the beach near the mouth of Many Mind Creek in Atlantic Highlands.

A 50-foot-long net with buoys on top and weights on the bottom was hauled by watershed volunteers through the water and pulled towards the shore. Caught in the net was anything swimming or walking along the shallow edge of the bay.

Juvenile River Herring
If herring disappear, their larger predators such as striped bass, blue herons, and osprey also become at risk. Seining along the shores of Raritan Bay show that the area of Cliffwood Beach to Union Beach is an important springtime nursery for juvenile river herring.

The catch of the day were huge schools of juvenile river herring, which is a collective term that refers to alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) and blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis). River herring are anadromous fish. They spend most of their lives in the ocean, but come spring they return to freshwater to spawn in tributaries of both the Hudson and Raritan rivers. Commercial and recreational anglers prize both the Alewife and Blueback Herring as baitfish for larger fish, including Striped Bass, and to make pickle herring for later consumption. Many larger birds and fish also rely on herring as a food source. If herring disappear, their larger predators such as striped bass, blue herons, and osprey also become at risk. Seining along the shores of Raritan Bay show that the area of Cliffwood Beach to Union Beach is an important springtime nursery for juvenile river herring.

There is no doubt the more watershed members conduct these public seining events, the better picture people get of the estuary. Seining is a method of taking the pulse of a local ecosystem. It's a way to gain an insight into the health of the near shore environment where many people swim and enjoy the bay.

All fishes, crabs, and other aquatic creatures were identified, cataloged, and returned to the water. In addition to seining, water temperature, salinity, and turbidity information were documented by volunteers at each site.

Below are the details of the event. Species found and data collected are listed beneath each seine location. The weather was mostly sunny with an air temperature reaching into in the low 90s. Winds were light out of the south 5 to 10 mph.

10am - Aberdeen Township/Cliffwood Beach
High tide. Water temperature 70 degrees F.
Visibility was good at nearly 3 feet.
Salinity = 27 ppt

1000+ juvenile Blueback or Alewife river herring
1000+ Salps
10+ Lion’s mane jellyfish
20+ Bay anchovies
20+ juvenile Bluefish or snappers.

11:30am - Union Beach/Conaskonck Point
Outgoing tide. Water temperature 72 degrees F.
Visibility was good at 3 feet.
Salinity = 23 ppt

1000+ juvenile Blueback or Alewife river herring
1000+ Salps
20+ adult Spearing or Atlantic Silversides
20+ Bay anchovies

1:00pm: Middletown Township/Port Monmouth - Pews Creek
Outgoing Tide. Water temperature 72 degrees F.
Visibility was good at 3 feet.
Salinity = 23 ppt

500+ juvenile Blueback or Alewife river herring
100+ Shore Shrimp
10+ juvenile Windowpane flatfish
10+ juvenile winter flounder
10+ juvenile Bluefish or snapper
Masses of Mud Snail eggs attached to debris

2:30pm: Atlantic Highlands/Mouth of Many Mind Creek
Outgoing tide. Water temperature 75 degrees F.
Visibility was good at around 3 feet
Salinity = 22 ppt

100+ Salps
50+ Shore Shrimp
30+ juvenile Blueback or Alewife river herring
10+ juvenile winter flounder
10+ isopods or aquatic insects
5 juvenile Bluefish or snappers
1 juvenile Blue-claw crab
1 adult pipefish
Masses of Mud Snail eggs attached to debris

Thanks and special appreciation goes to Jen, Neil, Melanie, Brenda, Cait, Elizabeth, the Martin family, and the Sheridan family; and other volunteers with the Bayshore watershed council for all their wonderful help and time. No one person can ever seine alone. It’s truly a team effort.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Shameless Plug

Available on newstands now is the latest edition of the Two Rivers Times. I was interviewed by reporter John Burton and asked my opinion on this year's upcoming election. Specially, what I thought the roll of Monmouth County would play in this year's Governor's race between Phil Murphy (Middletown) and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno (Monmouth Beach), both Monmouth County residents. And whether or not this years' governor's race, only 1 of 2 in the nation this year - the other being Virginia, would garner any national attention and/or be seen as a referendum on Chris Christie or Donald Trump.

The article won't be available online until next week so make sure you pick up a copy at a store near you.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

In an Aging Nation, Single-Payer Is the Alternative to Dying Under Austerity

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report

(Photo: Maxlkt; Edited: LW / TO)
(Photo: Maxlkt;Edited: LW/TO)

This piece is part of Fighting for Our Lives: The Movement for Medicare for All, a Truthout original series.

Every day about 10,000 people turn 65 in the United States, and the number of people over the age of 85 will more than triple by 2050. As a result, the demand for long-term health care services and end-of-life care will surge in the coming decades, increasing pressure on a system that is already suffering from high costs and workforce shortages. Unless policymakers make serious changes to how we fund and operate the health care system, the process of confronting chronic illness and death in the United States could become increasingly expensive and difficult for everyone but the very wealthy.

This isn't just bad news for the aging baby boomer generation, which is expected to increase the number of people over the age of 65 in the US from 48 million to 88 million by 2050. In the decades to come, many millennials may find themselves navigating the current health care system's complicated mix of government benefits, out-of-pocket costs and private insurance offerings with their elderly parents.

Fighting for Our Lives: The Movement for Medicare for All Meanwhile, the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that passed the House last month would gut ACA provisions that kept insurance companies from gouging older customers and cut $839 billion from Medicaid over the next decade. The bill would increase private insurance rates for older people with lower incomes and leave 5.1 million people between the ages of 50 and 65 without insurance by 2026, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Despite the popular misconception that Medicare covers all of seniors' health care needs, millions of Americans over 65 are also enrolled in Medicaid. Elderly people would certainly suffer if the program saw deep cuts.

The proposed cuts to Medicaid are generally unpopular, and the Republican House bill has slumped in the polls. The repeal effort has recently stalled in the Senate due to deep divisions among Republicans. However, reports now indicate that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been hammering out a compromise on Medicaid behind closed doors, with the goal of holding a vote on a Senate repeal package before a July 4 recess. A repeal is not a given, but it will take a sustained push from those who value affordable health care for low-income and working families to prevent a repeal while the GOP has a majority in Congress.

Amid this crucial resistance, a renewed push has also emerged for the creation of something different: a single-payer system. A House bill for a "Medicare for All" health plan has more co-sponsors than ever among progressive Democrats, and grassroots activists are rolling out campaigns across the country. When it comes to the issue of how to best serve elderly patients, advocates say guaranteeing health coverage for everyone would help prepare the system for an aging nation.

Medicaid and Elderly Americans

"The profit-seeking in end-of-life care is the real problem, and we could get rid of it," said Dr. Andy Coates, an assistant professor of internal medicine and psychiatry at Albany Medical College in New York and a member of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), the group of doctors and reformers backing single-payer legislation in Congress.

Coates told Truthout that many patients facing terminal conditions receive "palliative care," which focuses on treating symptoms of serious illnesses, and then "hospice care" at the very end of life. Palliative specialists consider difficult questions posed by life-threatening illness: What treatments may be necessary or desirable, and what treatments would a patient want to avoid even if they could prolong life? How is the patient managing pain? What does the patient still need to get done in life before they die? Palliative specialists focus on both symptom management and psychological wellbeing.

New strategies for delivering care and reforms to Medicare under the ACA show promise for lowering costs and improving palliative and hospice care by empowering patients to take greater control of their medical decisions. Yet patients with chronic and life-threatening conditions are still bounced between providers and experience high rates of expensive and preventable hospitalizations....

Continue Reading

Single-Payer Is Within Reach: What You Need to Know About the Bill for Improved Medicare for All

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
By Margaret Flowers, Truthout | Op-Ed

Activists display signs in the Healthcare Justice March in Baltimore, Maryland, October 26, 2013. (Photo: United Workers)
(Photo: United Workers)

This piece is part of Fighting for Our Lives: The Movement for Medicare for All, a Truthout original series.

As Republicans come under pressure from the White House to complete the process of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) so they can move on to other priorities, they are finding that this is one campaign promise that is very difficult to keep. The House version of their American Health Care Act (AHCA) has been so heavily criticized that even President Trump says it is too harsh. Republican Senators are currently negotiating their version in secret to avoid too much scrutiny. So far, the Republicans are far from reaching consensus on how to proceed. The people of the United States, on the other hand, are clear on the solution to the health care crisis that they support and are organizing from coast to coast to make it a reality.

The public demand for a National Improved Medicare for All single-payer health care system in the United States is stronger than it has been in decades. The failures of the ACA to cover everyone and control rising health care costs, combined with the threat of the AHCA, which would add at least 23 million more people to the 29 million currently uninsured and further erode the quality of health insurance, have made it clear that we can't continue with the current health care system. This brings to mind a quote by Winston Churchill: "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else."

All other industrialized nations have some form of publicly funded universal health care system. Many of them are national insurance systems like our Medicare. Some, like the systems in Canada and Taiwan, are actually modeled on US Medicare. Most of them spend half as much on health care (per person per year) as the United States, and they have better health outcomes. No country has adopted a universal health care system and then gone back to its previous system. They have learned that when a system is universal, it is of higher quality precisely because every person has a stake in making it the best it can be.

Fighting for Our Lives: The Movement for Medicare for All People from across the political spectrum are expressing support for a single-payer health care system in the US, from conservatives like Charles Krauthammer to business leaders, such as Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, to Senator Bernie Sanders. Given the failure of commercial media to cover single payer fairly, if at all, and given many Democrats' attempts to obfuscate it with a public option, there is confusion about exactly what a national improved Medicare for All system is and what it isn't. So, here is a primer on the basics of the single-payer health care system envisioned in Rep. John Conyers' bill, HR 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which now has more cosponsors than ever before

National Improved Medicare for All

National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA) is a universal publicly financed health care system. Here are the core elements:

1. National: Every person living in the United States and its territories -- including every health professional -- is in the system. No matter where people travel domestically, they are in the system. No one has to worry about going "out of network" because it is one giant network. This also means that if there is a medical center that specializes in a particular condition, patients can go there if they need to -- no matter where they live.

Including everyone in one giant risk pool spreads the risk widely so that no particular state is burdened more heavily than others with covering the cost of care for its residents. In the US, 20 percent of the population has high health needs, using 80 percent of our health care dollars. Fifty percent of the population is healthy, using only 3 percent of our health care dollars. However, any of us can become one of those in the top 20 percent if we have a serious accident or illness. Having a national system gives us the security of knowing that it is there for us when and if we need it. And including everyone increases the likelihood of preventing and controlling epidemics of infectious diseases.

2. Improved: This plan is an improvement over Medicare -- not simply an expansion of our current Medicare system. First, it is more comprehensive than current Medicare and includes all medically necessary care, such as mental health, dental, vision, hearing, rehabilitative and long-term care, medications and medical devices. Current Medicare excludes long-term care, so seniors are forced to spend down their assets before they qualify under Medicaid for long-term care. That would no longer be the case under National Improved Medicare for All. Moreover, the question of what is "medically necessary care" would be answered by patients and their health professionals without interference from health insurers who are more concerned with profits than the health of their enrollees.

Second, because the improved Medicare for All plan is comprehensive, supplemental health insurance would not be necessary, and would not be permitted to duplicate what is covered by the health care system. This is important for maintaining a high standard of quality: There should not be a private system for the wealthy and a public system for the rest of us....

Continue Reading

Trump Is Now Under Investigation

From The Washington Post:
June 14,2017

The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.

The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.....

Read More

Quote of the Day

“Why do we have a Second Amendment? It’s not to shoot deer. It’s to shoot at the government when it becomes tyrannical!”  — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), on Twitter, June 23, 2016.

LVGA Food Truck Fest

                                              In the event of inclement weather the event will be rescheduled.                                                                             Check the LVGA website for updates

Pallone & Pascrell Announce Support for Comprehensive Flood Insurance Reform Bill

June 13, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09) announced their support for the Sustainable, Affordable, Fair and Efficient National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (SAFE NFIP) of 2017, and their intention to work with House colleagues to introduce companion legislation. The Congressmen have been leaders in demanding transparency and swift action on behalf of those who have suffered from inefficiencies and widespread fraud in the National Flood Insurance Program, and have championed the need for reforms of the program. The bipartisan legislation was announced today by Senator Bob Menendez and will take important steps to contain premium increases, provide premium affordability assistance and reform the process by which claims are reviewed.

“In the aftermath of Sandy many of my constituents found that, after responsibly paying for their flood insurance, their policy failed to provide the coverage they needed and deserved in their time of need. Many were prevented from repairing their homes and resuming their lives by a claims review process that moved too slowly and was riddled with fraud,” said Rep. Pallone. “Reforming the NFIP will allow us to increase the affordability of flood insurance and make it more effective when disaster strikes. That is why we look forward to working with our colleagues and championing companion legislation when it is introduced in the House of Representatives.”

“After seeing the devastation of Superstorm Sandy and all the challenges New Jerseyans faced in its aftermath, I know that getting the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program right is a crucial aspect of preparing for a future storm” said Rep. Pascrell. “Reauthorization provides us with an opportunity to level the playing field for policy-holders, address waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and bolster investments in mitigation to create real savings for policy-holders and long term stability for the program. That is why I look forward to working with my colleagues to introduce and pass companion legislation in the House of Representatives.”

The legislation includes:

The Sustainable, Affordable, Fair, and Efficient (SAFE)
NFIP Reauthorization Act of 2017

Long-Term Certainty. Reauthorizes the NFIP for six years, providing certainty for communities.

No Exorbitant Rate Hikes. Ends runaway premium hikes by capping annual increases to 10 percent. Currently, premiums increase by up to 25 percent every year, depressing property values, creating affordability challenges, and discouraging participation in the program.

Cuts Wasteful Expenses to Pay for Investments. Freezes interest payments and establishes new controls for private insurance company compensation in order to reinvest in proactive mitigation efforts and affordability measures, including low-interest loans for homeowners’ mitigation projects and affordability vouchers.

Strong Investments in Mitigation. Provides robust funding levels for large-scale, communitywide mitigation efforts, and mitigation assistance programs, which have a 4:1 return on investment and are the most effective way to reduce flood risk.

Expanded Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) Coverage. Increases the maximum limit for ICC coverage to better reflect the costs of mitigation projects and expands eligibility in order to encourage more proactive mitigation before natural disasters strike.

LiDAR Mapping. Authorizes funding for Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology for more accurate mapping of flood risk across the country, reducing confusion and generating better data.

Oversight of Write Your Own (WYO) Companies. Caps compensation for WYO companies to 22.4 percent of written premiums, creates new oversight measures for insurance companies and vendors, and provides FEMA with greater authority to terminate contractors that have a track record of abuse.

Claims and Appeals Process Reforms Based on Lessons from Sandy. Fundamentally reforms the claims process based on lessons learned after Superstorm Sandy and other disasters, leveling the playing field for policyholders during appeals and litigation by holding FEMA to strict deadlines for payments to homeowners, banning aggressive legal tactics that prevent homeowners from filing legitimate claims and ending FEMA’s reliance on outside legal counsel from expensive for-profit entities.

Better Training. Provides for increased training and certification of agents and adjusters to reduce mistakes and improve the customer experience.

Letter: "Bail Reform" in New Jersey has been a complete disaster.

The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:

Dear Editor,

Previously, those who could not afford to post bail on their own would hire a bail bondsman or make bail through the assistance of friends and family, who ensure the defendant would appear in court, as their money was riding on it. Now law enforcement is overburdened and unable to locate such fugitives, because they have been released without any surety and there isn't any bounty hunter looking for them.

Innocent people accused of committing serious crimes are now stuck behind bars awaiting trial. In the past, they could have been released, even with a very high bail and conditions such as house
arrest as possible conditions. Now there is no chance of pre-trial release.

"Bail Reform" was sold on the basis that it would get poor people who would come to court released from jail. But even previously, a judge had the option of waiving any cash bond, and releasing the defendant on their own recognizance or conditions like house arrest.

Governor Christie conned the state (including the NAACP and ACLU) with his "Bail Elimination" plan, but our next governor, Phil Murphy, must work to repeal this unconstitutional mess.

Rev. Dr. Eric Hafner
Toms River

May 17th & 23rd Middletown Board of Education Meeting Vidoes

I'll admit I've been a little remiss lately with following the goings on at the Middletown Board of Education. I've finally got a change to look at the videos of last month's meetings and have posted both below. For viewing, the video of the workshop meeting runs 2 1/2 hours, while the voting meeting is a more manageable 42 minutes in length. Be warned however, the audio for the voting meeting is the best. It sounds like the proceedings were under water.

BOE Workshop Meeting - May 17, 2017

BOE Voting Meeting 5 23 17

For those that like to follow along the Meeting Agenda's can be found HERE and the latest available posting of Meeting Minutes of the Middletown Board of Education can be found HERE