Friday’s rally in Trenton

New Jersey public workers say they will rally in Trenton on Friday to show solidarity with their counterparts in Wisconsin.

There may even be a counter demonstration by Tea Party groups, although the president of the Morristown Tea Party is advising aganst that.

As always, we have a battle of extremes here.  Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin is correct to seek increased health and pension contributions from workers.  However, it is going t0o far to seek to end collective bargaining, as Walker has proposed for all issues other than wages. Workers should be able to bargain for benefits. It does not mean they are going to get them, but they should be discussed. 

What I find interesting is how some of the Tea Party groups _ these alleged supporters of  avearge Americans _ are so quick to jump on the side of management against workers. That’s hardly the spirit of Americanism.

We need sensible reform in regard to public benefits, not a complete reversal from union control to manangement control.

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The freeholders, CCM and illegals

Wednesday night is the first freeholder meeting since the CCM board of trustees opted to allow undocumented, or if you prefer, illegal alien, students to officially enroll.

That  was a great decision in my book, but not all in Morris County agree with my book.   That leaves me to wonder — will there be any public opposition to the move surfacing at Wednesday’s freeholder meeting ? It is the freeholders, who help fund CCM and who name trustees.

Attendance at freeholder meetings tends to be sparse, but with a hot button issue like this, things may be different.

Happy Presidents’ Day

Yep, that’s today.

If you are old, you recall how this day was celebratred on Feb. 22, which was Washingtion’s Birthday. But given the fact we like three-day weekends, we can not do that anymore. So, we have Presidents’ Day.

You have to love the thinking: All presidents, apparently, are the same. It makes no difference if we are talking about Washington and Lincoln, or Fillmore and Taft. They all get a day.

Kind of silly, don’t you think? For my money, it was better when we just honored the presidents truly worth honoring.

How much do they love Lee Seitz in Parsippany?

We are about to find out.

You see that the governor is threatening to cut state aid to Parsippany if the district persists in trying to pay its superintendent under a contract that exceeds the state’s $175,000 a year cap.

The bottom line here is that the state has the upper hand.  Reasonable people must again ask: Just what are school board members thinking?

Still defiant in Parsippany

That would be the board of education, which continues to refuse an order by the county superintendent of schools to rescind the contract of superintendent LeRoy Seitz, which runs counter to the state’s new cap on superintendents’ salaries.

Rather than do that, the district has sued the state. That action likely will do nothing more than cost taxpayers money.

Anthony Mancuso, the board president, compounds the problem by not talking publicly about it. Back when I was still at the Daily Record, Mancuso said he didn’t like how one of our reporters was reporting the story. Fine. The solution is to talk out any problem that exists, not to stop speaking about a matter of public concern. That’s unprofessional and childish.

CCM to allow undocumented students …

Yep, the County College of Morris in Republican Morris County is now open to all students no matter their immigration status.  The CCM Board of Trustees agreed to the change at this week’s meeting.

Undocumented students had been officially barred from the college since after the 9/11 attacks. Action at Wednesday’s meeting reverses that policy.

The leading proponent of the change was board member Michael VanAllen. A relatively new trustee, VanAllen hailed the move as a humane step forward. He’s right.

The status of undocumented students _ or illegal aliens if you prefer _ is one aspect of the national debate on immigration. In many cases, these students were brought to this country by their parents at a very young age.  They may be illegal residents, but they have grown up in the United States. Denying them an education is a malicious act. Nationally, the DREAM Act would have attacked this problem, but it failed in Congress two months ago.

Credit goes to the CCM Board of Trustees for endorsing the premise that immigration status should not be a bar to education. The students will pay in-county tuition rates assuming they live in Morris County. VanAllen said CCM is the first community college in the state to have a formal policy allowing undocumented students. He said other colleges admit undocumented students, but they do not officially allow it; they just “look the other way.”

Now, we await the political fallout, and there will be some. Only five members of the nine-member board of trustees backed the change.  So, there was opposition on the board of trustees itself. I expect more to surface.

No matter, CCM is doing the right thing.

The senator and the animal heads

Have you ever been to Pub 199 in Mount Arlington?   If so, the most memorable feature is not the inexpensive food and liquor, but the scores of mounted animal heads on the wall in the back dining room. We’re not talking about a few deer heads.

Oh, there are deer heads to be sure, but there is much more than that _ there are mountain goats, badgers, foxes, an elephant, a giraffe and all sorts of birds. They hang from the wall and in some cases are suspended from the ceiling.  This ain’t the place for a PETA meeting.

Into this menagerie tonight stepped state Sen. Anthony R. Bucco. This was the senator’s lobsterfest, one of three annual fundaisers he holds. The others are a beefsteak dinner and a golf outing.

The back dining room overflowed with dozens of supporters from throughout the 25th District. There were no speeches; just a time for well wishes to have a few beers and to chow down on lobster, steak, crab legs and clams.  The price was a reasonable $65. 

The senator is up for reelection this year and the rumor is that Freeholder Director Bill Chegwidden is thinking about challenging Bucco in the June Republican primary. That could explain why not one of the seven county freeholders were in attendance.