Someone asked me this week to describe what I do on TV and radio. Simple, I replied, Remember how your mom told you to never discuss politics, religion and race in polite company? On a daily basis I like to cover all three, typically all at once.
Earlier this month in a case of mistaken identity a fifth grader in Newark was chased by police with guns drawn. The cops had been chasing an armed robber who eluded them leading them to chase and confront the young man. It sparked an emotional social media post with a crying kid and mom. Initially it sounds like a terrible incident begging the question how could the cops be so aggressive and wrong to mistake a ten year old as the robbery suspect? When you look a little deeper into the issue you uncover that the kid is large for his age and after the police lost sight of the suspect they encountered the ten year old who was running away from them. According to the boy and his family, he was playing basketball when his ball went into the street and when he saw the officers running he assumed it was for him for playing in the street and he ran.
Had a great conversation with our friends Daniel Regan and his mom Lynn Regan today on the radio this morning. Daniel is going strong now five years after his victory over heroin. That’s right, he beat it. Now, he’ll tell you that everyone has their own way of overcoming adversity, but for him it’s not a day to day struggle, any longer. He fought the fight against the devastating drug and after several failed rehab attempts and being discovered by his mom homeless in an abandoned hotel in California, he’s drug free and helping others. Daniel is an inspiring person for sure. Although he’s only in his mid-twenties, he’s had a lifetime of struggle, suffering and success.
For the past several years I’ve been honored to emcee a very special event with my former colleagues at Weichert, Realtors. Jace Botti and Laura Metro (a survivor herself) host an annual event at Fiddlers Elbow Country Club to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The Weichert family has been impacted by the deadly disease in a very personal way and for the past 16 years have been rallying the real estate community to help.
I was first invited to emcee about 5 years ago as a replacement for the young lady who had been the regular host. Let’s just say the room full of mostly men golfers after a long hot day on the links were less than pleased that I was the replacement! Yes, a couple boos…and some heckling. And my joke telling didn’t help at all.
Had a great conversation on Chasing News and NJ 101.5 with my friend and nationally syndicated radio host, David Webb. David is driving the first leg of a journey that will raise funds for an outstanding charity to help disabled vets, The www.highfivetour.com charity is specific for refitting Ford F150s and Explorers in order to accommodate combat vets who lost their limbs or the use of their limbs. He’s got a great point, returning combat vets are not necessarily inclined to want to drive the expected minivan which is often the goto choice to refit. Instead they’re converting trucks. And the turnaround for vets in need has been as fast as 30 days. The car that David is taking across the country is a Shelby Mustang GT350. Wow, what a car. Although he told me I was being a bit too gentle on the clutch at first…it took me a few minutes but once I got it, I got it. Visit the website and help out a great cause.
“In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.”
“Do they only hire stupid people at Chasing New Jersey?”
What a couple of weeks. The Governor of New Jersey has had his moments. Some great, some good and some…well… He’s had a history of going after his enemies and escalating minor encounters to national news stories. Remember the boardwalk ice cream incident? Or “Sit down and shut up”? He’s brash and direct and seems to be most comfortable in an adversarial role with others. The former US Attorney turned Governor, turned FOT (Friend of Trump) is at it again. This time things seem different.
And the win goes to… you! Because of your attention to the tricks and political games in Trenton, together we put a stop to two things today that could have had disastrous effects on life in the Garden State. The first was the gas tax… the legislature wanted to raise it $0.23 per gallon with a built in increase should the projected revenue fall below expectations. As we’ve discussed on Chasing News, NJ 101.5 and on social media, it’s because of your constant phone calls, emails and tweets that the GOP legislators on the fence thought twice about voting for a new tax and the Democrats on the fence found cover that helped firm up their opposition.
He’s a union boss and a politician who has greatly benefited from the millions of dollars of public union political spending. He’s the leader of the New Jersey State Senate. He’s accusing the same unions who made his rise to power in Trenton possible of extortion. Wait, what?
Yes it’s true. In a stunning move demonstrating Steve Sweeney’s erratic temperament and often ignorant approach to state issues, he recklessly accused one of the largest public worker unions in the state of “Extortion”. He also levied the same accusation against the Fraternal Order of Police in letters to the state Attorney General and US Attorney.
Today’s #BlueFriday honoree is the Director of Public Safety in Newark, Anthony Ambrose. Leading a police force in any major city is a huge undertaking. In a dangerous city like Newark it’s especially trying. Decades of failed leadership and increasing crime have hurt local residents. I’ve often talked about solutions that go back to successful models of city policing from the past couple decades. Looks like the team in Newark are starting to make some headway.
This week two things happened that demonstrate without new leadership in Trenton our state will become increasingly unaffordable. And that’s saying a lot considering we are already one of the highest tax burdened states in the nation.
The Republican Governor and Democratic Senate President met and discussed how to fund the Transportation Trust Fund. The didn’t find a mutually agreeable solution, but they agreed on one thing…the gas tax should be raised by $0.23.
Then in another blow to commuters and residents, the leader of the Republicans in the NJ Assembly, Jon Bramnick embraced the hike in the gas tax as a “strategic necessity“.
In “Trenton Speak” the phases “Strategic Necessity” and “Tax Fairness” means YOU will pay more to live and work here. A lot more.
As much as I tried to take the conversation to the waste in the New Jersey budget today on the show, there was a constant pull from the callers to get back to the conversation of race and law enforcement.
Here’s my quick take. The false narrative being pushed by the Black Lives Matter movement enabled by many politicians and the media is harming the very people that they claim to represent. Murder among black Americans is high and rising. For nearly twenty years the crime rates in our cities was dropping precipitously creating opportunity for families to live without the constant fear of being subject to horrific street violence. The dramatic increase started under Rudy Giuliani’s leadership in New York City, employing police policies known as “Broken Windows”, “CompStat” and “Stop & Frisk.” By the time Rudy left office murders had dropped from a high of 2,600 in 1990 to less than 900 in 2001. Rapes, robberies and assaults all way down showing a return of order to the city. The trend was picked up in other cities across America and for the next two decades crime dropped by nearly 50%.