Democrats Want Orthodox Vote, Robert Yudin Says it’s Not Going to Happen!

22 10 2009

New Jersey – The Democrats’ outreach to Jews in the New Jersey gubernatorial race came into focus this week as the National Jewish Democratic Council began a special focus on Bergen County and its large Orthodox population.

“We are really focusing hard on northern New Jersey, especially Bergen County,” said Linda Berg, NJDC’s political director. “I really can’t give you a sense of how much we are spending. Our members are busy raising money. We have an ad campaign, and we will be doing direct mail, but we don’t like to disclose numbers,” she said.

With an estimated 100,000 Jews — 15,000 of them in the Orthodox community — Bergen has a higher concentration of Jewish voters than any other county in the state.

“We feel there are a lot of Jews there, and we want to make sure we don’t have a fallout of the Democratic vote in a place where there is a big concentration of voters,” Berg said.

She is dispatching organizers “who are going to events where Jewish voters gather” and “doing phone-banking on issues to get out the Jewish vote.

“We are targeting Orthodox voters,” Berg said. “We have a few Orthodox rabbis who work with us very closely. We have people in New Jersey who know how to talk to the Orthodox vote.”

Robert Yudin, who chairs the Bergen County Republican Organization, said the Democrats “should be worried about the Jewish vote. There is a very big uneasiness about the direction the Democratic Party is going, relative to the Middle East,” he told NJ Jewish News. “When you couple it with the absolute corruption going on in Bergen County, there is an uneasiness, and you are going to see a larger percentage of Jews voting Republican than in past years.”

Yudin said he believes the Orthodox community “is overwhelmingly going to vote Republican” because “they are furious with Obama over Israel. As far as the rest of the Jewish community, most of them will probably vote Democratic, but I suspect we’re going to see more of the Jewish community voting Republican than have in past years.”

Unlike Corzine or independent candidate Christopher Daggett, Republican candidate Chris Christie supports vouchers and tax credits for families who send their children to parochial schools, an issue that resonates with many Orthodox voters. Read the rest of this entry »


TRENTON: Training change for EMTs sought

25 06 2009

emt patchLooking to ease demands on a training fund for emergency medical technicians from which $4 million is being taken to balance the state budget, state lawmakers are moving to extend EMT certifications from three years to five.

The New Jersey State First Aid Council, which supports the bill, says the change wouldn’t fix the dilemma looming for the training fund, which is projected to have almost no money remaining by next summer.

But the council says the change would allow time to replenish the fund, which is financed through 50-cent surcharges on all moving violations, by reducing demands to pay for EMT training for a few years and provide a window to figure out a long-term plan.

“While this bill will provide some help, it will not solve the problem,” said Howard Meyer, a 38-year EMT who is legislative director of the New Jersey State First Aid Council. He said additional laws will be needed within the next year.

“Other than having $2.4 million returned to the fund, there have been no other suggestions brought forward on how we can assist the volunteer EMT training community quickly, and quick action is needed now,” Meyer said.

Sen. Diane Allen, R-Burlington, said Gov. Jon S. Corzine ought to consider using part of the state’s unexpectedly large collections from its tax amnesty program — $617 million and counting, easily topping the $200 million expected — to avoid raiding the EMT fund.

“We know that we have $400 million more. Why not wait to see what’s going to happen in the budget as it is rejiggered to see if this is actually needed? Since it is based on the funds being stolen, maybe they don’t have to be,” Allen said.

The bill was approved 24-14 by the Senate last Thursday and is now before an Assembly committee. It requires approvals there, by the full Assembly and by Corzine before it can become law and wouldn’t take effect until more than six months after it is enacted.

Holocaust Survivors’ funding falls victim to budget crunch

15 08 2008

Jewish activists are lamenting the death of a bill in the State Legislature that would have provided $500,000 for services to Holocaust survivors.

The combined monies were intended for programs administered chiefly by local Jewish federations, including counseling, case management, home care, and semi-monthly survivors’ gatherings called Cafe Europa.

“The funding was contained in a supplemental appropriations bill,” said State Sen. Robert Gordon (D-Dist. 38), one of the bill’s prime sponsors. He said he wasn’t sure just how it was removed but did say it fell victim to the state’s financial crunch.

“The state is broke,” explained Gordon. “We are going to wind up closing hospitals. That is how dire things are. Things I submitted years ago that would have gone through without batting an eye were just slashed out of the budget.”

The New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations, which would have distributed the funds to individual federations, began seeking the appropriation in April. Read the rest of this entry »

NY/NJ Port Authority workers get free E-ZPass

12 08 2008

TRENTON, N.J. -New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s office on Monday repeated calls for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to discontinue giving free E-ZPass tags to employees and retirees.

“The governor thinks this is an inappropriate practice, that E-ZPass should be used for business purposes. This is something that should be corrected,” said Corzine spokesman Jim Gardner.
Nearly 7,600 Port Authority employees and retirees have free E-ZPass tags for all trips across Hudson River and Staten Island crossings operated by the agency.
The perk was disclosed in The Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark, which reported that the benefit cost the Port Authority roughly $1 million over the last year.