should be posted online
Your Jan. 23 editorial, "Posting public contracts/No excuse," touches on a troublesome issue that continues to linger in New Jersey. As your reporter Diane D'Amico discovered, too many government entities that are required to submit their public-employment contracts to the Public Employment Relations Commission for public viewing have failed to comply.
Clearly, something must be done to send the message that posting public contracts is not optional, but mandatory.
In January 2012, I introduced legislation (A2071) that would require all county, municipal, state and public school employers to post an online copy of each public employment contract. The bill is co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Alison McHose, R-Hunterdon, Sussex, and Assemblymen John Amodeo and Chris A. Brown, both R-Atlantic. But the legislation has yet to be considered in committee.
Transparency is an important part of government's responsibility to keep taxpayers informed. It is a key that opens the door to information the public is entitled to know to give them the ability to determine how prudently tax revenues are being spent.
In the age of instant communication through the Internet, people should be able to see what services their tax dollars go toward and be able to compare their town or district to another.
A2071 would help residents decide if they should explore the sharing of services and whether tax savings are possible. It will also hold their representatives accountable for the financial resources with which they are entrusted.
GOP more diverse
in Lincoln's day
Many thanks to the writer of the Jan. 21 letter, "Does Hollywood realize Lincoln was a Republican?"
I'm not at all sure that Hollywood realizes anything, but I do get his point - that it appears strange that the elites of the entertainment industry, in lauding the film "Lincoln," are embracing the legacy of the man who was the first Republican president.
But it's really not all that strange when you consider that upon its founding in 1854, the party included socialists, abolitionists, allies of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and other radicals.
Lincoln himself looked unfavorably on entrenched wealthy landowners and was more kindly disposed to labor than to capital.
Sound like the Republican Party of today? Not quite.
Hopefully what the glitterati are celebrating is the Lincoln who would be likely to look scornfully on attempts to suppress voter turnout, the favoring of the wealthy above all others and the naked union-busting of today's GOP. Hopefully the Republicans can reclaim a bit of their egalitarian legacy. If they persist in remaining the party of rich white males, they face a future of electoral irrelevancy.
What's Sweeney know
about running a casino?
Regarding the Jan. 24 story, "Revel needs new owners to succeed, Sweeney says":
Yes, Revel is a disaster, but state Senate President Steve Sweeney, who with his fellow Democrats has bankrupted New Jersey and destroyed the state pension system and the state's infrastructure, knows how to make the casino a success?
Maybe he should apply his vast knowledge of turning around properties to working with Gov. Chris Christie to assist him in the work he is doing to get New Jersey out of the deep hole Sweeney's party put us in.
for flood insurance
Regarding the new Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps and their impact on insurance rates:
If your home is in the velocity zone, it must be raised or rebuilt to new elevation levels, or flood insurance can be as much as $30,000 a year. Really? How out of touch is FEMA or the insurance industry? Homeowners across our area are already struggling to pay their mortgages. What does FEMA think will happen if they are faced with that increase? Homeowners will abandon their homes, and the casinos won't be the only empty buildings in our area.
What about a more reasonable solution - a slight increase in premiums, along with higher deductibles? Have a homeowner pay for what happens to the home during a storm rather than pay for what might happen.