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NJ State Senator Rails Against ‘Bigoted’ Anti-Catholic Comments Made by Democrat U.S. Senators


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, State senator Joe Pennacchio today called on the United States Senate to condemn U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-California) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) in light of reports that the two Democratic Senators made what Pennacchio cited as anti-Catholic and bigoted comments during their review of Brian Buescher’s judicial nomination to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska.

During last years divisive Village Council Election the Harwin campaign funded by developers and Democrat special interest groups launched into a series of anti Catholic diatribes including circulating a letter attacking Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood.

Pennacchio also questioned why New Jersey’s U.S. Senators, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, who represent a large Catholic population, have yet to speak out. During the hearing, U.S. Sens. Harris and Hirono insinuated that Buescher would not be able to rule fairly and impartially because he is a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus.

“Religious intolerance and bigotry of any kind has no place in the halls of government,” said Pennacchio. “I have yet to hear either of our U.S. Senate representatives condemn these remarks. Their silence is deafening. No one should be excluded from serving in the judiciary because of their faith.

“Roman Catholicism is the second largest religion in the United States, and the Knights of Columbus is an honorable service organization that has given back to millions of people,” the Republican state senator from Morris County added. This is not a cause for concern and insinuating otherwise is irresponsible and misleading. Make no mistake – the attack on the Knights of Columbus was an attack on the Church itself. The U.S. Senate should formerly condemn Senators Harris and Hirono immediately and their colleagues in Congress should speak out against their conduct. As a Catholic and an American, I am absolutely appalled. It seems that being anti-Catholic or anti-Semitic has become politically-chic, and we should all be alarmed.”

Pennacchio noted that this is not the first time Catholic judicial nominees have been attacked by Democratic U.S. representatives. In 2017, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) levied similar anti-Catholic attacks against judicial nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. He noted that in 2011, Governor Christie and members of the Legislature on both sides of the aisle rallied to support a Muslim judicial nominee who was being attacked for his faith. Pennacchio emphasized that Catholic judicial nominees who are qualified and worthy of serving on the bench should be given the same support.

“We should all be concerned about the rise of bias in this country,” said the senator. “The hateful rhetoric must come to an end and we should shed light on anyone who is spewing hate, regardless of their party affiliation or the faith they are attacking. It is no more acceptable to attack someone for being Catholic, than it is to attack someone for any other religious belief.”

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Appellate Court Strikes Down New Jersey’s PARCC Graduation Testing Rules

April 20, 2011 John de Rosier editorial cartoon

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, In a unanimous opinion, a three-judge panel of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey struck down the New Jersey Department of Education’s (DOE) regulations designating the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) end-of-course exams as the requirement for obtaining a high school diploma.

The Court held that the current rules violated provisions of the Proficiency Standards and Assessments Act (Act). This statute, enacted by the Legislature in 1979 and amended in 1988, authorizes the DOE to administer a single, eleventh-grade test in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics to determine proficiency under state curriculum standards for graduation.

“Even before the regulations were enacted in 2016, we urged the Department of Education to withdraw these rules because they clearly violate state law. Today’s ruling vindicates our position,” said ELC Senior Attorney Jessica Levin. “We are ready to work with the Commissioner, the State Board of Education and the Legislature to respond to this ruling in a manner that complies with governing law and reflects sound education policy.”

Key elements of the Court’s ruling include:

  • The current rules violate the Act because they require PARCC ELA 10, administered in tenth grade, and Algebra I, which may be taken in any high school grade or earlier, instead of an eleventh-grade graduation test.  The Court held that “to the extent the regulations required testing of non-eleventh-grade students, they are contrary to the Act and are invalid.”
  • Administering multiple end-of-course exams for graduation contravenes the Legislature’s intent that a single graduation test be administered to eleventh-grade students.
  • The regulations do not fulfill the Act’s mandate that students be provided retesting opportunities on the designated graduation test.
  • The Act requires the DOE to give students access to a non-standardized test as a graduation alternative. The Court ruled the Act “compels DOE to provide for alternative methods of assessing proficiency other than through PARCC testing or any other standardized testing process.”

“The court struck down a graduation testing regime that was unfair to students and their families,” said Jeanne LoCicero, ACLU-NJ Legal Director.” We look forward to working with the State on new regulations that will comply with the law and remove barriers that disproportionately burdened poor students and English language learners.”

The court made clear that while the DOE may decide what test to use, “the regulations violate the Act to the extent they specifically authorize multiple tests administered in grades other than the eleventh grade.” The Court stayed its judgment for 30 days to permit the DOE to seek further review by the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The lawsuit challenging the regulations was brought by the Latino Action Network, the Latino Coalition of New Jersey, the Paterson Education Fund, the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, and Education Law Center (ELC). The groups are represented by ELC and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ).

More information about this lawsuit is available from the Education Law Center.

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog 

Trenton NJ, Fulfilling his pledge to restore New Jersey to a national leadership role in the fight against climate change and sea-level rise, Governor Phil Murphy today announced that the Department of Environmental Protection has formally proposed two rules that will steer New Jersey’s re-entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.“Climate change and sea-level rise affect every one of us,” Governor Murphy said. “From Superstorm Sandy to the powerful nor’easters and devastating flooding this year, it is imperative that New Jersey reclaim its leadership role in fighting back. Pulling out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in 2012 was not only an abdication of leadership, but it also cost us millions of dollars that could have been used to increase energy efficiency and improve air quality in our communities. Today’s action is an important first step toward restoring our place as a leader in the green economy and keeping us on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 for the benefit of all New Jerseyans.”

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, also known as RGGI, is made up of Mid-Atlantic and New England states working to reduce carbon-dioxide gas emissions from the energy sector through a cap-and-trade auction process that encourages more market efficiencies, invests in renewable energy, and improves power-plant technology. RGGI’s members are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Virginia is planning to join RGGI.

Returning New Jersey to RGGI has been a priority for Governor Murphy since the outset of his administration. In January, the Governor issued Executive Order 7 directing the state to rejoin RGGI and develop a program that implements solutions that benefit communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change.

New Jersey was a charter member of RGGI and was a key member of the effort until the state’s withdrawal in 2012 under the Christie Administration.

One of the proposed rules establishes the mechanisms for rejoining RGGI and sets the initial carbon-dioxide cap for the state’s electricity generation sector at 18 million tons in 2020, when the state will officially begin participating in RGGI again. Through a combination of RGGI’s required carbon-dioxide reductions and achieving Governor Murphy’s aggressive renewable energy goals, the DEP projects that the state’s greenhouse gas emissions will be 11.5 million tons by 2030.

The other rule proposal establishes the framework for how the state will spend proceeds from RGGI carbon-dioxide allowance auctions, with an emphasis on projects that will benefit disproportionately burdened communities.

“As we implement the Governor’s clean energy agenda, rejoining RGGI has always been one of our highest priorities,” said Board of Public Utilities President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “Taking this important and tangible step toward enacting the rules will help make our goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050 a reality.”

“Accelerating the growth of clean energy jobs and businesses in New Jersey is a key element of Governor Murphy’s plan for a stronger and fairer economy,” said New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan. “Our partnership with DEP and BPU is helping to advance our re-entry into RGGI, which will drive not only a safer, more sustainable future for all New Jerseyans, but also will drive significant economic opportunity.”

“The RGGI states applaud New Jersey’s progress in developing this proposed rule and appreciate the many collaborative conversations that have taken place thus far between our states,” said Ben Grumbles, Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment and Chair of the RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors. “The entry of additional states into our market has the potential to make our program even more cost-effective and allow more participants to share in the benefits proven by our track record. We look forward to continuing discussions with New Jersey and to the prospect of an expanded regional program.”

The 18-million-ton carbon dioxide cap in the Emissions Trading Rule proposal is below the estimated actual emissions of 20.6 million tons in 2020. The cap will decline 3 percent annually through 2030 with other adjustments that are standard to all member states. The model used to develop the cap number only considers emissions from currently operating electric generating facilities.

The state remains on target to participate in the RGGI carbon-dioxide auction set for March 2020. Carbon dioxide, the primary gas driving climate change, is emitted by fossil-fuel power plants. Since 2005, RGGI states have reduced carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by an aggregate of more than 50 percent.“New Jersey already has one of the cleanest fossil-fuel electric generation portfolios in the country. Rejoining RGGI will provide impetus for further carbon dioxide reductions in the state’s energy sector,” said Paul Baldauf, the DEP’s Assistant Commissioner for Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability.“Governor Murphy is strengthening New Jersey’s leadership on climate action by rejoining a program that is effectively cutting pollution while lowering energy bills, creating jobs and keeping energy dollars in the local economy,” said Dale Bryk, Senior Strategic Advisor at National Resources Defense Council. “Along with the Clean Energy Act signed into law last spring, which will drive investment in energy efficiency, expand solar power and launch a new offshore wind industry in the state, RGGI will help catapult New Jersey to the front of the pack when it comes to climate protection and clean energy jobs. We look forward to working with the Governor to ensure the final rule is as ambitious as possible.”

“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone and a big step forward in decarbonizing New Jersey’s economy,” said Richard Lawton, Executive Director, New Jersey Sustainable Business Council. “As companies that are committed to sustainable business practices, we know that market-driven innovation and investment must be informed and guided by smart policies aimed at transitioning to a clean energy economy while creating good paying jobs. We applaud Governor Murphy’s leadership in rejoining RGGI, and look forward to participating in making the program as strong and effective as possible.”

“The Governor is making good on his commitment to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 with the latest bold advancement in rejoining RGGI and the cleaner air, good local jobs, and investments in reducing cumulative impacts of pollution in environmental justice communities that go with it,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “We applaud Governor Murphy and his administration for ensuring clean energy for all New Jerseyans.”“As New Jersey moves to cleaner energy sources, Governor Murphy’s strong commitment to environmental protection and economic development is critical. Rejoining neighboring states in cutting carbon pollution—with reductions consistent with those needed to stabilize the climate— will help New Jersey get back on track in addressing climate change, while creating economic opportunities.” said Mary Barber, Director, New Jersey Clean Energy for Environmental Defense Fund. “We look forward to evaluating the details of the proposal during the upcoming public comment period, and working with the Murphy Administration to help New Jersey regain a leadership role in the region.”

The DEP today filed the proposed rules in the New Jersey Register. The filing of the rules begins a public comment process that will include two public hearings on Jan. 25, 2019. The public hearings will begin at 9 a.m. and at 1 p.m. at the DEP’s headquarters, 401 East State Street, Trenton. For a map and directions, visit

Written comments must be submitted by close of business on Feb. 15, 2019. The DEP encourages comments to be submitted electronically to Each comment should be identified by the applicable New Jersey Administrative Code citation, with the commenter’s name and affiliation following the comment. Comments on paper may be submitted to:

Alice A. Previte, Esq.
Attention: Budget Trading Program Rules Proposal Docket Number and Global Warming Solutions Fund Rule Docket Number 04-18-10.

Office of Legal Affairs
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
401 E. State Street, 7th Floor
Mail Code 401-04L
PO Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

To view the rule proposals, visit

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New Jersey Affordable Housing – Time to Make it Fair!

New Jersey is….

1st in the nation for highest property taxes
3rd most expensive state to live in
5th in the nation for highest per student school spending
5th in the nation for highest state income tax
6th most expensive state to purchase a home
#1 most densely populated state in the nation with 1,216 people per square mile

Land is at a premium and developers want to cash in and develop every last inch

FACT: Renting or owning a home should be affordable to NJ residents who qualify, but not at the expense of local ordinance that is contrary to NJ municipal land use law.
FACT: NJ’s affordable housing (AH) mandates are not working and our government is not listening to the voice of the people – who support AH but want it to be implemented fairly, honestly and sensibly.
FACT: The current pace of proposed AH development is not reasonable or sustainable and will be catastrophic to towns, schools, volunteer emergency services, infrastructure and to NJ’s natural resources, ecosystems, waterways and environment.

What We Want
1) We believe municipal AH obligations should not be determined by the courts and that there should be clear, statewide guidelines to follow.
2) “Builder’s remedy” lawsuits should be eliminated as a mechanism used to satisfy a municipality’s AH obligations.
3) We believe the laws governing AH must consider the impact on our schools, roads, traffic and congestion, emergency services and the preservation of open space and our quality of life.
4) NJ’s environment must be protected from sprawl and overdevelopment; AH should not be built on environmentally-sensitive land or land that has been remediated from contamination.
5) AH that is built should not “expire” and should count towards all future AH rounds and obligations.
6) We, the residents of NJ, seek to disband the Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC) who takes our hard-earned tax dollars to enrich the wallets of lawyers and developers at the expense of NJ’s future.
7) We, the people, demand a bi-partisan review of AH and legislative reform to make NJ’s affordable housing fair.

We are calling for reasonable ways to address the current problems to enact clear legislative guidelines that will: 1) ensure that AH benefits those in need; 2) implement a regional or statewide approach; 3) expand the ways in which municipalities can address their fair share of affordable housing—FAIRLY!

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Ridgewood Water : Protect our Groundwater and properly dispose of unwanted medication

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Ridgewood Water encourages all residents to protect our Groundwater and properly dispose of unwanted medication. Scientists have expressed concerns about the effects of medications being released into the water supplies after having been flushed down the toilet or poured down the sink. Source: NJ Division of Consumer Affairs. For more information and a list of Project Medicine Drop :

Continue reading Ridgewood Water : Protect our Groundwater and properly dispose of unwanted medication

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Ridgewood High School Ranked Number 7 in the Niche 2019 Best Teachers in Bergen County


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Niche ranked the best teachers serving in Bergen County . Ranking based on student and parent ratings of teachers, teacher salaries, teacher absenteeism, teacher tenure, student-teacher ratio, and the Niche Academics Grade for the school.

The 2019 High Schools with the Best Teachers ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic and teacher data from the U.S. Department of Education along with millions of reviews from students and parents. Ridgewood High School came in #7 in the county , just ahead of Pascack Hills #8, Glen Rock #9 and Mahwah #10, but behind Bergen County Academies #1, Northern Highlands #2, Bergen County Technical #3 , Fairlawn #4 ,Northern Valley Demarest #5 , and Northern Valley Old Tappan #6 .

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Senate Republicans Urge Sponsors to Table “Undemocratic” Constitutional Amendment on Redistricting

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, The fifteen members of the Senate Republican caucus sent a letter today urging the sponsors of a proposed amendment to the New Jersey Constitution to table the proposal, saying it is clearly designed to impart a permanent electoral advantage to incumbents and legislative candidates from the Democratic Party.

Senate Republicans urged the sponsors of a proposed constitutional amendment to table the proposal, saying it is clearly designed to impart a permanent electoral advantage to incumbents and legislative candidates from the Democratic Party. (

Continue reading Senate Republicans Urge Sponsors to Table “Undemocratic” Constitutional Amendment on Redistricting

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Ridgewood Police Department is currently investigating 2 burglaries and an attempted burglary

file photo by Boyd Loving

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The Ridgewood Police Department is currently investigating 2 burglaries and an attempted burglary that occurred 11/7/18 and 11/8/18 in the area of Fairfield Ave, Shelton Rd and South Irving St. The Police department is asking residents to be extra vigilant and report any activity they feel is suspicious. The department is also requesting residents to review their private video systems between the hours of 4p-8p on the above dates and bring anything out of the ordinary to the attention of the police. As a reminder make sure your doors and window are locked and reset the timers on interior and exterior lights that may have been effected by the daylight savings time change.

If you have any information that can assist with the investigation please contact the Ridgewood Police Detective Bureau at 201-251-4536

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, NJ TRANSIT’s call for locomotive engineer candidates has been an overwhelming success, resulting in more than 5,000 applications for training and employment to restore the railroad to a full complement of trained engineers.


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NJ Releases Annual Statistics on Cyber Breaches

the staff of the Ridgewood

Trenton NJ,  In an effort to educate the public about online privacy risks, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the New Jersey State Police today announced 2017 statistics regarding data breaches affecting New Jersey residents. The statistics showed that 958 data breaches were reported to State Police in 2017, a 41 percent increase from the 676 breaches reported to State Police in 2016. During 2017, the Attorney General’s Office also over saw a number of significant data privacy investigations, which resulted in $4.8 million in civil settlements with the State.

The single largest data breach reported in 2017 involved Equifax, which affected more than 4 million New Jersey residents. In total, the 958 breaches reported in 2017 affected more than 4.38 million accounts belonging to New Jersey residents( the vast majority of which resulted from the Equifax breach). In 2016, the first year that the Attorney General’s Office collected such data, approximately 116,000 New Jersey account holders were affected by data breaches.

As part of today’s announcement, and in conjunction with National Cybersecurity Month, the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is also releasing tips for New Jersey residents about how they can better protect their sensitive personal information. The effort is part of a broader effort by Attorney General Grewal to strengthen the state’s cybersecurity protections, and follows an announcement earlier this year the creation of a Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Section within the Division of Law (DOL) to investigate data privacy cases and advise state agencies on related matters.

Continue reading NJ Releases Annual Statistics on Cyber Breaches