User-agent: * Allow: / Trenton Butcher Block: Some Pictures From The Rally

"Our Liberties We Prize, Our Rights We Will Defend."

Commentary on national and local events from the standpoint of a Trenton city resident and state worker.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Some Pictures From The Rally

I went to the big anti-Christie rally downtown yesterday (Saturday, May 23, 2010),  Christie has only been in office for about 5 months now, but has done such a good job of getting everyone ticked off at him that even the major news outlets agree that at least 30,000 people turned out. Lots of people were there, mostly state workers and teachers.  There were others as well, including a contingent from St. Lucy's Shelter protesting Christie's planned elimination of the $140 per month general assistance benefit to adults with no other income that are considered employable.  St. Lucy's said that it is deplorable that Christie would go back on his word and advocate stripping the homeless and others who are "the poorest of the poor" of even that little bit of income. 

Even Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein came over from the Mercer County Democratic Leadership meeting which was held earlier in the morning to address the rally.
Senate President Sweeney indicated in a Star Ledger article that he thought the protest was counterproductive and that the union members present there did not speak for the Democratic Party or for ordinary New Jerseyians.  The tone of the article was in general anti-public employee, as has been the tone of most material that has appeared in the mainstream state newspapers in the last couple years.  And of course, the right wing compared the protesters to a bunch of Communists and wrote us off as irrelevant.

Well I don't think we are irrelevant.  And if we don't speak for at least part of the Democratic Party, why did Linda Greenstein show up to speak.  We certainly are not a bunch of Communist rabble rousers.  True, most of us were public employees, but the people there came from a broad spectrum of the state's population supporting the restoration of funding for a broad spectrum of programs from general assistance welfare to municipal moneys to go toward education and law enforcement to full funding of the state's Unemployment Insurance program so it can continue to pay benefits at the same rate as it does now under the same terms and conditions as now.

I don't think it will have any effect on Christie.  He clearly overplayed his hand and is too arrogant to admit it.  What he needs is to get his face rubbed in the mud real good by members of his own party when the budget comes up for a vote this summer.

The real effect will be on the state legislators, all of which come up for reelection in  November 2011.  They realize that if this many people are willing to spend a Saturday traveling to Trenton by bus, then spending several hours protesting, then many more will be willing to come out and express their anger at the polls.  They want to keep their jobs above all us and should pay attention to us.

Perhaps Mr. Sweeney and the newspapers should take their heads out of the sand and back us up.  Especially since the newspapers claim they got best interests of ordinary people at heart and since Sweeney is the president of the Iron workers union.  How can he represent a union as its leader while at the same time attacking the interests of union members.

In any event, expect a shutdown for a while this summer while the Republican Assembly and Senate members "stand with the governor" at least for a short time by supporting his expected veto of the Democratic alternative budget which includes the millionaire tax.  Then expect these same Republicans to turn on the governor and demand that he negotiate and save face or they will support an override so the state can reopen and get on with its business.

Whatever happens, we'll find out eventually.

Now, sit back and enjoy the pictures.