Gov. Christie called it a “me first” rally, and he was right — only he missed the point, organizers said. “When the fire bell rings or someone says shots are being fired, each one of the people in the crowd will say ‘me first’ through the door or ‘me first’ to the rescue,” Bill Lavin, president of the New Jersey Firefighter’s Mutual Benevolent Association, told the crowd.
Lavin “hit a home run,” PBA representative Jim Ryan told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM photo (No use without hyperlink)
Organizers were expecting at least 8,000 demonstrators, and as many as 10,000. The turnout was a pleasant surprise.
“Everyone acted like the true professionals they are,” Ryan said, proudly.
The unions are to blame for the massive layoffs of public safety professionals through the state, Christie says, because they haven’t made enough concessions — and, in turn, forced towns into layoffs.
Police and firefighters said the governor was lying — again.
“Our health benefits are sacred to us,” one police officer said. “We have made concessions at the bargaining table.”
And that’s where the battle should continue to be fought, he said — not through pressure from Christie, who he said has forced the hands of local officials through drastic reductions in aid that, in turn, have already led to layoffs of nearly 4,000 public servants statewide.
Several of those attending say they don’t consider State Sen. Stephen Sweeney’s plan for pension and health benefits reform a reasonable alternative.
“The pension cost this year is 29%,” one officer said. “[Our] has to pay 29% of [our] salary to match [our] 8.5%. This is because of the five years of accrued liability due to deferred payments. The accrued liability is accessed three years after the deferment. The last deferment was 2008, so all accrued liability is added in this year to come up to 29%.
“This is the reason they pushed pension reform to 2011. In 2012, the pension cost to towns will go down sharply because there was no deferment in 2009. If they pass any reform, they will pat themselves on the back saying they controlled pension costs. They created the monster and they will take credit when we are forced to pay for the mess.”
Christie has refused to acknowlede the role his predecessors have played in gutting pensions in an effort to make it appear they were holding the line on property taxes. The governor who got that ball rolling, Christie Whitman, is, like Christie, a Republican.
And when a reporter asked what effect today’s rally would have on his decisions, the governor told reporters: “Zero. Absolutely zero.”
A corrections officer who attended the event wrote :
About 15,000 people attended the rally, forming a sea of blue in front of the Statehouse. It started just before 11am amid freezing temperatures and lasted to about 1:15pm. A bloodmobile was present where many people donated.
Many guest speakers, from legislators to union presidents, spoke out again these so-called reforms. The crowd was friendly and respectful but motivated. Many people waved signs expressing their frustration with the Governor and with Rep. Sweeney.
All the politicians present pledged their support to keeping our pensions from change and health care off the legislative table. Many of them urged us to call our legislators directly and to spend union political action money.
The governor’s lies were exposed via TV monitors in front of the Statehouse. These were the promises he made during his campaign to leave our pensions and health care alone, calling it “a sacred trust.” You have to go all the way back to October of 2009 for that comment.
Speakers urged people to ask the question, “Where has all the money gone,” and showed statistics to prove that it was not to us. The rise in crime was also highlighted.
Several speakers said we were in a class warfare all across the nation and asked the 200,000 millionaires to contribute their fair share, and that we had done so already, citing the 8.5% we pay and never skip toward the system. They also pointed out that the pension is not broken, as the Governor often claims.
The rally ended with a photo opportunity of five union leaders united together to get the job done. Once the rally was over, everyone peacefully and calmly walked down the streets back to the vehicles and headed home.
YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : The latest bombshells in the battle between Gov. Christie and New Jersey public servants — just days from a huge rally in Trenton — come in the form of advisory letters that say state lawmakers can’t change a public employee’s pension once he or she has put in five years on the job. READ MORE….
New Jersey police, firefighters to rally in Trenton March 3
YOU READ IT HERE FIRST
Police and firefighters from throughout New Jersey plan to descend on Trenton on March 3 in a “Stand Up for Safety” rally aimed at countering Gov. Christie’s plan to roll back public employee benefits. “We have had enough and want to send a message,” State PBA member Jim Ryan told
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY….
Christie campaign letter promised ‘no harm’ to police, firefighter pensions
“The claim that any harm would come to your pension when I’m elected Governor is absolutely untrue. It is a 100% lie,” Chris Christie wrote to New Jersey law enforcement officers during his campaign against Jon Corzine. The 2009 letter, and a near-carbon copy sent to firefighters, has resurfaced amid Christie’s bid to overhaul public servants’ pension system . READ MORE
EDITORIAL : “First they got rid of unionists. I said nothing, because I was not a unionist. When they came for me, there was no one to protest.” Every one of us who has focused on Gov. Christie’s attempts to demonize public servants has missed a much bigger picture: This isn’t unique to New Jersey, as the Woodstock in Wisconsin has shown. A carefully constructed strategy to split the middle and working classes is going on throughout the entire country right now. And many of us are the pawns. CLICK HERE….
Tuesday, 08 February 2011 Jerry DeMarco
: I’ve tried not to connect the horrors visited on sworn law enforcement officers and their loved ones nationwide this year with Gov. Chris Christie’s assault on New Jersey’s public servants, out of respect for those injured and killed, but his calling on police unions Monday — of ALL days — to make concessions for the sake of public safety is plain insensitive.
Monday, 31 January 2011 Andover P.O. Joseph Indano
AN OFFICER’S VIEW : In light of a recent newspaper article about police salaries in New Jersey being among the highest in the nation: First off, let’s remind ourselves tha t Ne w Jersey’s cost of living is one of, if not the highest, in the country, and that most jobs in New Jer sey, including private sector jobs, pay more than other states. CLICK HERE FOR THE OFFICER’S FULL STORY
Veteran cop takes on Christie, draws raves Wednesday, 17 November 2010 Jerry DeMarco
Police statewide are haili
ng a veteran cop in a North Jersey town who is fed up with “the current climate of public employee bashing” and challenges Gov. Christie to “do the right thing” with taxpayer-funded pensions.
Tuesday, 21 September 2010 Jerry DeMarco
EDITORIAL : Many are making much of a newspaper report that New Jersey police salaries are the highest in the land. To paraphrase a man who puts his life on the line every day to protect his community: Does a bullet feel any different if it’s fired in, say, Lyndhurst, than it does in Paterson? Know how many cops have been killed in the line of duty in Lyndhurst? Four. In Paters on? The same. READ MORE….
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