If New Jersey followed California and split, what would the new state look like?

New Jerseyans have long debated where the "real" dividing line lies in their home state, but with the move by some in California to split up instead of settle differences between regions and split up, it's given rise to new daydreams on the East Coast.What would New Jersey and New New Jersey look like?The founders of New California already have that figured out. On Monday, the founders, who want to take with them all but the coastal urban areas of the state, held a reading of their own Declaration of Independence from California, a state they described as "ungovernable." The story continues below the poll. Well, the good news for New Jersey is, if we are going to go the way of California, we have a history full of options.Rather than creating a new arbitrary dividing line, New Jersey could return to its former configuration as East and West Jersey, two provinces that existed until 1702, when the two were joined into New Jersey.East Jersey of old was comprised of the area of present-day Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset and Union counties.West Jersey would include present-day Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Salem, Sussex and Warren counties.In an East/West Jersey situation, Perth Amboy could return as the capital of the East, and Burlington could reprise its role as the West's capital.The advantages are the history New Jersey has with its previous incarnation as provinces, and it observes the line of demarcation between two ideologies on a hotly-contested issue: is that salty pork product called "Taylor Ham" or "pork roll"?If you're in the Taylor Ham camp, head east; the western part of the state usually regards this food as "pork roll."In casual conversation, many New Jerseyans already divvy up the state by general location.Out-of-staters (but those still in the know) might ask what part of the state a New Jerseyan calls home, and Continue Reading

New Jersey to bid farewell to former governor Brendan Byrne

Updated 9:08 pm, Sunday, January 7, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-7', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 7', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Rich Schultz, AP Image 1of/7 CaptionClose Image 1 of 7 FILE – In this Feb. 26, 2013, file photo, former New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne, center, shakes hands with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, as Byrne's wife Ruthi Zinn Byrne, second from left, and former New Jersey Gov. James Florio, right, clap after Christie outlined his 2014 state budget proposals in Trenton, N.J. Byrne, a Democrat who served as New Jersey governor from 1974 to 1982, died Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, at age 93. less FILE – In this Feb. 26, 2013, file photo, former New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne, center, shakes hands with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, as Byrne's wife Ruthi Zinn Byrne, second from left, and former ... more Photo: Rich Schultz, AP Image 2 of 7 FILE – In this April 16, 1977, file photo, New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne, right, sits beside President Jimmy Carter, center, during a meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C. Byrne, a Democrat who served as New Jersey governor from 1974 to 1982, died Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, at age 93. less FILE – In this April 16, 1977, file photo, New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne, right, sits beside President Jimmy Carter, center, during a meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C. Byrne, a Democrat who ... more Continue Reading

Beware: Obamacare penalty could come back in New Jersey, says Betsy McCaughey

The federal tax cut signed into law last week eliminates the federal penalty for not having health insurance, starting in 2019. That’s good news for those who have been buying Obamacare to avoid the penalty, and even better news for those who have actually been paying the penalty. But don’t start celebrating yet. In New Jersey, New York, California, Maryland, Connecticut and other deep blue strongholds, the insurance industry and left-wing activists are agitating to enact state penalties to replace the soon-to-be defunct federal one. Ouch! Six-and-a-half million filers paid the federal penalty last year, including approximately 400,000 in New York and 60,000 in neighboring Connecticut. The penalty payers largely earned less than $50,000 a year. They paid the penalty because they found Obamacare unaffordable. But paying the penalty also hurt. It averaged $470. Getting rid of that penalty will be a sizable tax break for them. But tell that to insurance companies already lobbying in Trenton, Albany, Sacramento, Hartford and other capitols for a state penalty. They’re looking out for their own interests. What could be sweeter than a law requiring consumers to buy their product or get whacked for not buying it? State lawmakers need to hear from the public that doubling down on Obamacare’s coercion model is a mistake. A group started with funding from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield has urged New Jersey to consider instituting a state-level mandate to buy insurance. Paul Macielak, president of the New York Health Plan Association — lobbyists for insurers — insists “New York’s individual market must be protected.” What he means is that without a penalty, many healthy people will say “no” to Obamacare’s high premiums and drop out of those plans. How about protecting the millions who finally will get relief from the Obamacare penalty? If the choice is between propping up the current, coercive Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Timothy Cardinal Dolan will fight efforts in New York to legalize physician-assisted suicide

ALBANY - Asserting that physician-assisted suicide is not “death with dignity,” Timothy Cardinal Dolan says the Church is launching an aggressive fight against efforts in New York to legalize the practice. “The real death with dignity, the real heroes are those who die naturally, who take each day at a time, savoring everything they’ve got. That is death with dignity,” Dolan said in an exclusive interview with the Daily News. New York’s archbishop said he and the state’s other bishops view the issue as a “high priority.” Dolan’s campaign comes as a bill to legalize assisted suicide is being introduced in the legislature and after three terminally ill patients in New York last week sued the state to spare doctors who give “aid in dying” from prosecution. Dolan said he wasn’t surprised by the suit, noting that often when the political will is not there to pass a law, people have taken to the courts to try to force change, he said. “Whenever there’s something that would affect the dignity of the human person or the sacredness of human life, it’s not surprising that believers would rise up to defend those two principles,” he said. The state Catholic Conference that is headed by Dolan has created a new website - http://www.catholicendoflife.org - to be unveiled Monday designed to serve as a resource to Catholics in New York and nationally regarding end-of-life decisions. Though in the works before the right-to-die debate cropped up in New York, Dolan hopes it will shape the conversation by educating people on the options they face in their dying days. He said the Catholics are not alone in opposing physician assisted suicide. Evangelical Christians, Latter-day Saints, the Greek Orthodox, and Orthodox Jews, also oppose the idea. “There’s going to be a whole interfaith coalition to help oppose this,” Dolan said. Dolan Continue Reading

EDITORIAL: New Jersey has environmental war on its hands

The anti-environmental sensibilities of the Trump administration continued to weigh down upon New Jersey this week with news that the National Fisheries Service is proposing five permits allowing seismic testing in the waters off the Jersey Shore.Such testing represents a prelude to offshore drilling supported by Trump, but long opposed by New Jersey lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. President Obama had blocked drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, but an executive order signed by Trump reversed that decision.That puts the Jersey Shore and the state’s tourism industry once again at risk, a risk about which Trump seems to care little in his effort to maintain American dependence on fossil fuels.Environmentalists say that the seismic testing itself — which involves use of an air gun setting off loud blasts — is a danger to marine life. The broader concern, however, is that the testing brings us that much closer to the reality of offshore rigs dotting the coastal horizon. Gov. Chris Christie has opposed such testing in the past, and has also resisted offshore drilling because of the danger to the state. Whether he maintains that stance when good friend Trump is the one pulling the strings remains to be seen.This is neither the first nor the last of the environmental indignities being foisted upon New Jersey and other states by the Trump Administration. Trump is gutting the Environmental Protection Agency, rolling back air and water protections, and has yanked the U.S. out of the international Paris climate-change agreement designed to encourage nations to curb emissions exacerbating global warming.Trump has labeled climate change a hoax, although both UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and EPA chief Scott Pruitt have said recently the president concedes the climate is changing. So while it isn’t entirely clear where Trump stands on that issue, we do know that he doesn’t care enough about it to push the U.S. toward doing its part to reduce Continue Reading

‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ ep. 13 recap: Jac and ex try to hold intervention for Ashley, fail

This week, everything revolves around Jacqueline's self-absorbed daughter Ashley - so it's kind of like seeing the world through her eyes. Jacqueline has been getting more and more frustrated with 20-year-old Ashley's incessant partying and refusal to take any responsibility for her actions. Jac's tried everything to get through to her brat of a daughter, but since nothing's working, she calls in reinforcements. So Ashley's biological father Matt and stepmom Jodi fly in from Texas to surprise her - but it's definitely not a good surprise. They've come to New Jersey to stage an intervention with Jacqueline and Chris to convince Ashley to start acting like an adult and make better decisions. And boy, is it an uphill battle. Here's a little refresher on why Ashley sucks: She's a spoiled, ungrateful party girl who couldn't hold down a cushy internship in the city because she had to get up too early. She flunked out of community college, is completely disrespectful toward her mother, and whines incessantly. Her latest plan is to move to California on her parents' dime to "focus on herself," go to beauty school and get away from her family and all the "toxic people" in her life. She apparently even sent Matt a text message saying that she's going to California, demanding to know if he's "going to pay for it or not?" Surprise, surprise. When the big intervention finally goes down, Ashley is tardy to her own party and scoffs at her family's concern for her future. Matt explains to her that she has to work hard to play hard, and that her parents are not going to keep throwing money away on her to party every night and sleep all day. Ashley's biological father Matt pops by the bar to surprise her - with an intervention. (Bravo) So how does Ash feel about all this? She's tired of being criticized and thinks she's doing a bang-up job of growing up. "I had an internship and it wasn't good enough," she cries to the cameras. "I had a job and it wasn't good Continue Reading

No plans for Stop Trump collusion in New Jersey

TRENTON – While Donald Trump’s rivals are plotting elsewhere to thwart the GOP front-runner's claim to the Republican presidential nomination, they haven’t agreed to deploy the controversial coordinated effort in New Jersey, where Trump is the heavy favorite.The campaigns of Ohio Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas are divvying up several remaining primary states, allowing for one strong alternative in each of those contests to compete against Trump. The strategy is designed to stop the real estate mogul from reaching the required 1,237 first-ballot delegates before the GOP convention in July.Trump in a statement said it’s “sad that two grown politicians have to collude against one person who has only been a politician for ten months in order to try and stop that person from getting the Republican nomination.’’ More: Donald Trump to hold rally in New Jersey, Chris Christie says Cruz will face Trump in Indiana and Kasich is getting Oregon and New Mexico, under the initial agreement.Fifteen states have yet to hold Republican nominating contests, including Pennsylvania and Connecticut, among five states voting Tuesday.New Jersey and California are the biggest prizes among the five states with last-in-the-nation primaries June 7, but key supporters of both Cruz and Kaisch here said Monday there is no deal in place.There are 51 convention delegates up for grabs in New Jersey’s winner-take-all primary. More: Anti-Trump GOP says delegates don’t matter Kasich is ahead of Cruz in the most recent state polling and has the backing of former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and several prominent lawmakers, including Sen. Jennifer Beck of Monmouth County and Sen. Christopher “Kip’’ Bateman of Somerset County.But Steve Lonegan, chairman of the Cruz New Jersey campaign, said there are no plans to step aside for Kasich. Cruz’s wife, Heidi, made three campaign stops in the Garden Continue Reading

New Jersey a big winner in presidential primaries

TRENTON Circle June 7 on your calendar. New Jersey’s presidential primary on that date has suddenly taken on real significance.Thanks to Donald Trump’s inability to run the table in Tuesday’s five-state primaries, Republicans are likelier to be headed to a contested convention — giving late-deciding states such as New Jersey and California a rare chance to make a difference in picking a presidential nominee.“Trump could have generated unstoppable momentum had he won both Ohio and Florida. But now it’s clear to everyone that this will go right through June 7, the end of the Republican primary season,’’ said Larry Sabato, head of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. YOUR TURN: Who do you plan on voting for when the NJ primary rolls around? 'Like' us on Facebook and tell us by leaving a comment on this story.  Ohio Gov. John Kasich won his home-state primary to keep Trump off a certain course to clinch the nomination before the Republican National Convention in July. Trump has a sizable lead in delegates over second-place U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, but with 19 states to go Trump “probably cannot get to the magic number of 1,237 delegates,’’ Sabato said.Matthew Hale, a Seton Hall University political scientist, agreed. He said chances are good that New Jersey’s 51 delegates could play a role in whether Trump becomes a first-ballot nominee at the GOP convention, being held in Cleveland.“Realistically some other dominoes have to fall into place with other states and June 7 is still a political lifetime away. A lot can happen,’’ Hale said. “But the odds that the New Jersey primary will mean something have probably never been better.’’That isn’t likely to be the case on the Democratic side. Sabato called Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders “practically Continue Reading

Gay rights advocates to sue after New Jersey state Senate votes down bill to legalize gay marriage

TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey state Senate on Thursday voted down a bill to legalize gay marriage, ending a major legislative battle but setting off anew a court fight. Minutes after the bill was defeated 20-14, gay rights advocates announced they would file a lawsuit seeking to get the state's top court to order New Jersey to recognize same-sex matrimony. The state Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the state must provide all the benefits of marriage to committed gay couples. In response, the Legislature legalized civil unions for gay couples. The Senate vote also was the latest setback for gay rights supporters nationally. In November, Maine voters overturned a law that would have allowed gay marriage in that state. The law never went into effect. And last month, the state Senate in New York defeated a similar law. In California, a federal trial will begin next week on that state's gay marriage ban. Only five states - Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont - recognize gay marriage. Gay rights advocates had pushed hard to get the New Jersey measure passed before Jan. 19, when Republican Chris Christie becomes governor. Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine had promised to sign the bill if approved by the Legislature but Christie said he would veto it. On Tuesday, Sen. President Richard Codey agreed to put the bill to a vote, leaving little mystery about its fate. Only one Republican, Sen. Bill Baroni of Hamilton, was among the 14 senators who voted for the bill. The measure needed 21 votes to pass. "We should not be telling one couple you can be married and another couple you can be civil unionized," Baroni said. "We are better than that. History is watching us now. She is asking us whether we'll side with equality and right - or for discrimination." Those on the other side said changing the centuries-old definition of marriage was too drastic a move for lawmakers to make. Opponents want to put the measure to a popular vote. "Suddenly, Continue Reading

Bail set at $5 million for man who killed wife, friend in Clifton, New Jersey church

PATERSON, N.J. - A state Superior Court judge raised bail to $5 million on Friday for a California man accused of driving across the country and fatally shooting his estranged wife and another man inside a church last month.Joseph Pallipurath made his first court appearance before Judge Donald J. Volkert handcuffed and clad in an orange prison jumpsuit. His attorney, Moses Rambarran, entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.The 27-year-old is charged with murder, attempted murder and weapons offenses in the Nov. 23 shootings of his wife, 24-year-old Reshma James; 25-year-old Dennis Mallosseril and a third victim at the St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church in Clifton, about 15 miles west of Manhattan.Witnesses said Mallosseril came to James' aid when he saw Pallipurath arguing with her. James' 47-year-old cousin, Silvy Perincheril, remains hospitalized in a coma after being shot in the head.Pallipurath had been held in Passaic County Jail on $2 million bail since returning from Georgia, where he was captured 36 hours after the slayings.Chief Assistant Passaic County Prosecutor John Latoracca said he pushed for the bail increase because of the severity of the crimes and because Pallipurath has relatives in India and is considered a flight risk."If he's able to make it back to India, the chances of him being found are slim to none," he said.Friday's arraignment was attended by about two dozen family and friends of the victims, including some who were in the church when the shootings occurred. They watched as Pallipurath calmly answered Volkert's questions during the 10-minute proceeding."I didn't see any remorse on his face," said Mallosseril's uncle, Jimmy Alummoottil, adding, "It was almost like he had won some kind of victory" by avoiding being held without bail.Pallipurath confessed to the crimes in a videotaped statement to investigators in Georgia, authorities there and in New Jersey have said. He is alleged to have told them he would have killed more Continue Reading