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November 29th, 2005

When lung cancer finally kills Laurel Hester -- and it will, in a matter of months -- she wants to know that her domestic partner, Stacie Andree, won't lose their home in Point Pleasant.

That legacy, however, is in doubt.

Ocean County's freeholders have refused to act on a request from Hester, an investigator for 23 years in the county prosecutor's office, to provide domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian employees under a state law enacted last year. Without a resolution by the freeholders, her pension benefits cannot go to Andree.

"That's not what I hoped for with the legislation," said Sen. John Adler (D-Camden), a prime sponsor. "It's a missed opportunity for Ocean County to show that it respects families. ... It's a crummy, cold decision."

The surviving spouse benefit amounts to about $13,000 a year and would be paid from the state pension fund. For Andree, an auto mechanic, the money would "mean the difference in whether or not she can stay in the house," Hester said.

The text above was taken from an article in theStar-Ledger, and begs the question: What's the point of the "civil union" law if it doesn't provide benefits for partners of public employees? Ponderous.

(Crossposted to north_jersey)

May 3rd, 2005

StreetFight


(I'm posting this review of this film here because I thought it involves an important upcoming New Jersey Election. I highly recommend people to see the film)

"Street Fight" won the audience choice award at the Tribeca Film Festival, and it certainly deserved it. Lisa and I bought the tickets because the film looked interesting. It was the first time we ever picked an award winning Tribeca film. Amazingly enough, this is director's first film. I truly hope to see more films from him. It is Oscar worthy.

While the subject of national and international politics has been the subject of many critically acclaimed documentaries, Street Fight concentrates on the 2002 Mayoral election in one urban city, Newark, N.J., which is wracked by homelessness, drug addiction and poverty. The movie is perhaps one of the most compelling and interesting documentaries I have ever seen. The film's title is quite appropriate because Television ads are meaningless, but rather these hard-fought battles are won on the street.

The film's director tried to follow the campaigns of both the incumbent Mayor, Sharpe James, who has been Mayor for 16 years and the campaign of the upstart 1st term Councilman, Cory Booker. While the Booker campaign welcomes the filmmaker, Mayor James is less welcoming. The film quickly evolves into a David vs. Goliath epic.

You'll watch as Mayor James instructs the Newark police officers act like Storm Troopers intimidating and assaulting campaign workers blatantly violating state and federal law. You'll be outraged as you watch those same police officers attack the film's director in broad daylight on the sidewalks in an attempt to shut down the documentary. Mayor James paints himself as a political villain more despicable than Senator Joseph Paine from "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". The scary part is that the film is not fictional. Had it not been recorded on film, you would not believe it. It's not often that a film angers me. This one did.

Booker tries to campaign on the issues, but we see how effective James' tactics are. Both candidates are Black, but Mayor James constantly refers to Booker as light-skinned and "white" because Booker was educated at Stanford, Yale Law School and was a Rhodes Scholar. Looking at the numerous dirty tricks employed in the campaign, it is no wonder that Sharpe James has never lost an election. Although Booker loses the election, he wins the moral battle and the audience by running an ethical and admirable campaign. The closing scene is Booker's unveiling of his 2006 campaign, which received an ovation from the Tribeca audience.

Booker was in the audience for the screening as were many of his supporters. He's probably one of the few Democrats I could gladly support.

The film will be shown on PBS' program, POV on Tuesday, July 5, 2005 at 10 PM. You can see more on the PBS website including the first 7 minutes of the movie as a trailer.

November 24th, 2004

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Join the Peace Train!
Concluding with Statewide Rally and March in Newark
End the U.S. Quagmire in Iraq!



Saturday, December 4, 2004

Pre-Boarding Rally

Trenton

11:00 AM: Rally at Trenton Train Station
(All urged to join the pre-boarding Rally whether or not you can come to Newark)
11:36 AM: Depart Trenton Station, meet with Princeton group.

Princeton

11:00 AM: Rally at Princeton Shuttle (Dinky) Train Station
(All urged to join the pre-boarding Rally whether or not you can come to Newark)
11:38 AM: Depart Shuttle Station, University Place, Princeton
11:48 AM: Depart Princeton Junction for Newark

New Brunswick

10:45 AM: Vigil At Albany Street Bridge, Highland Park
11:15 AM: March to New Brunswick train station
12:00 PM: Depart New Brunswick train station for Newark

Rally in Newark

Arrive in Newark with other Peace Trains from around New Jersey
Join together for a united statewide March and Rally leaving Peter Francesca Park (behind Penn Station) at 1 PM

Over 1,100 US troops have been killed in Iraq to date, and reliable estimates are that over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed. The American people and the world were deceived into a war that has now turned into a quagmire with no end in sight. It’s time to demand an end to this immoral result of the Bush Administration’s policy of unilateral, pre-emptive strikes.

Shoes will be left on the steps of Newark City Hall to represent U.S. troops who have died during the Iraq War. Please bring a pair (or more) to lend to this symbolic demonstration.



Sponsored by:
Coalition for Peace Action
40 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542

October 17th, 2004

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bush is coming to new jersey. he claims it's now a swing state. he says he can win it. because he's a liar. so the democratic state committee is organizing a rally at the marlton recreation and convention hall on monday, october 18th at 11:30 am to 1pm. 1001 all are invited to attend but we're asking people to wear blue to give him a visual. new jersey...people...blue...like at mcdonald's where the cash register has the picture of a cheeseburger. it's going to be balls to the walls fun. tell anyone who will listen.

Join Democrats From Across The State To Show George Bush That New Jersey Is A Blue State!
Come dressed in blue and ready to support John Kerry
Monday, October 18th
The Blue Barn
Evesham Recreation Center
1001 tuckerton rd
easily accessible off of 295 or 73 or 70.

if you don't agree with my opinions. stop reading and walk away. please don't inundate me with crap about how i hurt your feelings. it's not about you. it's about this world and this country. thanks.

September 26th, 2004

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TeganandSara
 contact marisagilbert@hotmail.com or gutgut_8@hotmail.com for more info, directions, etc.
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