NJ has our very own Mr. 33%. A Bush appointee to the US Attorney's office, Chris Christie has decided that destroying the state's education system and taking on the teacher's union is in the best interest of the state and our finances.
Well, the students who will bear the brunt of these draconian cuts have responded: "HELL NO."
And a facebook page made it happen.
From the NY Times:
It was a silent call to arms: an easy-to-overlook message urging New Jersey students to take a stand against the budget cuts that threaten class sizes and choices as well as after-school activities. But some 18,000 students accepted the invitation posted last month on Facebook, the social media site better known for publicizing parties and sporting events. And on Tuesday many of them — and many others — walked out of class in one of the largest grass-roots demonstrations to hit New Jersey in years.
The mass walkouts were inspired by Michelle Ryan Lauto..."All I did was make a Facebook page," said Ms. Lauto, who graduated last year from Northern Valley Regional High School in Old Tappan, N.J. "Anyone who has an opinion could do that and have their opinion heard. I would love to see kids in high school step up and start their own protests and change things in their own way."
And how was this nascent political movement (because kids fighting to keep their teachers IS a movement), greeted by our savy guv?
"It is also our firm hope that the students were motivated by youthful rebellion or spring fever," Mr. Drewniak said, "and not by encouragement from any one-sided view of the current budget crisis in New Jersey."
One sided. Heh.
The non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (NJ's version of the CBO, kinda) has said:
A nonpartisan analysis of Governor Chris Christie’s budget shows conclusively that the proposal would benefit New Jersey’s wealthiest families at the expense of senior citizens, lower-income working families and the middle-class, Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney said today.
"It’s hard to argue with the numbers," said Sweeney. "Under this budget, New Jersey’s middle-class families and seniors would experience a crushing increase in taxes while the richest one-percent would get a free ride. That is not shared sacrifice. It’s not even close."
Even with the imposition of a 2.5 percent cap on local property taxes, upper income families would still win big, the OLS analysis shows. Families making up to $200,000 would still see their taxes go up (though by roughly $120 less) while families making over $500,000 would still see their taxes go down by several hundred dollars more.
But hey, what's a non-partisan budget analysis among friends?
Maybe the GOP-friendly AP will give us the "other side" of the guv's budget.
The state's poorest school districts stand to lose the most money under New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's plan to cut $475 million in school aid to help balance the state budget, an Associated Press analysis shows.
On average, those districts classified by the state as the poorest stand to lose $3.2 million each, while schools under the wealthiest classification stand to lose $557,000 each, according to figures released by the governor's office and nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services.
Well, the AP is just referring back to that icky OLS analysis, so can they really be trusted? We all know, "non-partisan" is just a dog-whistle for SCREAMING SOCIALIST DEATHPANEL LOVING HIPPIES!!!! ARRGHHBLARGLE!!!!
NJ basks in the warm glow of "The Recall." All it takes is the signatures of 25% of registered NJ voters to get it on a ballot. That's 1.3 million New Jersians. Think we can find 1.3 million New Jersians with some buyer's remorse? I do. And I think these students have shown the way.
What is the point of a recall effort? To put constant heat on a governor that is cut from the "Hecka job Brownie" Bush crony cloth. Chris Christie will destroy the state of New Jersey if he has four years of controll. A recall effort puts him on the constant defensive. When you have 33% approval, being on the defensive is no way to re-election.
This is no light thing for me. I have two youngins who will be heading to public school in a few short years. I want them to have schools with things like, uh, teachers and books. Basic shit. My kids will not have those things under a governor who thinks handouts to the vampire class are more important than education for the lower and middle class.
So I will do this.
I know nothing about Facebook, I have never organized anything more than my fraternity's semi-formal, but I will do this thing. I will not let the GOP steam roll my home into a Texas like state of dilapidation.
You have woken me governor.
* * * UPDATE * * *
A good number of people are expressing support for this (awesome!), and are asking what they can do right now. Short answer: I don't know. But I'll work like hell to figure that out, and I will post follow up diaries. Better yet, someone smarter than me will figure that out and I will throw my efforts there. But I'm not waiting for someone else to fix this mess, so I'll do my figuring and sharing. Quickly.
But here are some facts about NJ's law governing recall's. NJ's constitution allows for recall of state official under Article 1, Section 2b. The procedure for doing so is outlined below.
From Ballotpedia (and please, correct this info in the comments if I'm peddling bad sources here) (All emphasis added my me)
Notice of intention
A recall committee of at least three registered voters is needed to initiate recall proceedings. This process may not begin until 50 days before the completion of the incumbent's first year of the current term in office. The recall committee must notify the appropriate election official of the names and addresses of at least three members of the recall committee. The election official accepting the petition will then review the notice of intention for compliance with statutory provisions, calculate the cost of a special election, and notify committee members of the acceptance or rejection of the notice, within three business days. The election official also notifies the incumbent of the notice of intention of recall within five business and publishes a notice of the recall effort.
Upon approval of the petition, the recall committee and other registered voters in the jurisdiction of the recall election will solicit the signatures of other registered voters in that jurisdiction. The recall effort is limited to 320 days for a Governor or 160 days for other elected officials from the date of the notice of intention. The petition requires the signatures of 25% of the registered voters in the jurisdiction, as of the last general election.
The election official reviewing the petition will then certify the number of signatures and determine validity within 10 days. If the petition is accepted, the election official will schedule the recall election.
* * * UPDATE 2 * * *
Electionlawyer was kind enough to post in the comments two links, one to a facebook group, and one to an online petition. For those asking "what can we do right now?" heading over there may be a good start.
Whoops! here are those links (sorry for the brain slip):
I promise promise promise to keep pushing this hard. But now i need to do more than just vent my anger, and do my homework. Followup diaries will focus on the results of that; online spaces we can organize around, fundrasing we can do under the law, media outreach, what our position is if recall looks likely (we'll be putting the Lt. Gov in place, and she's no shinning beacon herself - something to bear in mind).
This diary is just a jumping off point for me. I hope people will collaborate to make this a real politcal action in NJ. My goal is to provide some tools to enable that to happen.
Thanks for all of your great ideas.