The place for politics from Hudson County, NJ and throughout the United States of America

Thursday, April 19, 2018

"Gypsy Robe" offends the Romans

Political correctness has gone completely over the cliff.  Now Actor's Equity Association, the union representing professional US actors who work in the theatre, have sent this letter out via email to all its members.  Apparently, for over 60 years the union has been offending the Romans.   The extreme left is going absolutely bonkers.   For the record... a "gypsy" in the world of musical theatre refers to a chorus performer who because of the short life expectancy of any given production, performs from show to show their entire career.   For years, the NYC theatre Broadway community has hosted a mostly fun, but sometimes ridiculous show with all kinds of antics at which the robe gets passed from one chorus member ("gypsy") to another.  Debated now is the word "gypsy".  Read for yourselves.

Dear Member,

I wanted you to hear this news from me first. This season will be the last for the name "Gypsy Robe." The tradition and the ceremony before opening night of a Broadway musical, in which Equity honors the chorus member with the most Broadway Chorus credits, will continue, but the name will change. 

Equity's National Council recommended this week that we retire the name "Gypsy Robe." I supported this change, and as chair of the ACCA Committee, I led the charge at the committee level. 

That is not where I started on this issue. If you had asked me when I first joined Equity's Council, I never thought I would sit down to write this message.  

When I think of the Robe, I think about the intent behind the tradition, which has become an institution of our community. For over 60 years we have celebrated our members with legs in the business with a fun event on opening night. Many people have received the Robe more than once and some have even passed on receiving it again, so that more of us can feel the pride of an event that celebrates lasting in a business most don’t even get started in. 

But here is the reality: this name is no longer appropriate, particularly as we engage in our work to reduce hiring bias in the theatre industry. I hope you will join me and take a moment to consider the difference between intent and impact.  

The word "Gypsy" originates as a slur employed against the Romani people. Romani (also called Roma) people didn't travel from place to place because they wanted to. Historically, they traveled because no one, no country, no sovereign state, accepted them. Still today they suffer persecution and are treated as second-class citizens. They obviously didn't have a union behind them negotiating their time or travel conditions or overtime rates.  

Good intentions don’t sanitize the huge impact an expression has, and how much the words we use matter. We can – and we will – continue the Robe tradition. But we cannot appropriate someone else’s identity without their voice attached to it. The Robe has carried as its name an insult to people who have literally not been allowed the same kinds of privileges and rights that we all have created a union to defend. That must stop. 

History will not go away because of the change of a name. But what we can do is control our own actions. As a union, a collective created to champion actors' rights and be their voice, we must lead by example.  

This change may not easy for everyone. But it is right. 

In Solidarity,  

Kim Jordan 
Chair, Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Brian P. Stack takes off the Gloves

NJ State Senator & Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack released a statement reading:

"Please take a moment to read this important message regarding our current situation in the county.

How dare the current county administration believe they have an inherit right to do nothing in office and remain there. What has happened in this county administration for a long time is simple, they have forgotten the RESIDENTS they serve! While all too focused on the political machine. They claim to be about the people, but the make up of the administration does not represent our residents. More than that, they have failed to include our minorities in key positions in our county. This is no longer the 1950’s when one political boss is served. I work really hard daily and speak to 100’s of residents who seek help and assistance from county government. These residents go ignored and with no help at all from the current county administration. This has to stop. Hudson County residents deserve and should expect more. If the current administration seeks re-election, although I believe they have lost the fire in their belly years ago, force them to present their record and our candidate will do the same. They shouldn’t be afraid of us calling them out or try to make this personal, but understand clearly it is and will always be about the people we serve. I take pride in representing our minorities that include African- Americans, Hispanics , Arab-Americans, South Asians, and many other minorities who go forgotten too often. All residents, regardless of ethnicity, should have a voice in our community. Hopefully, a fight does not occur from this, but if need be I WILL NEVER BACK DOWN. I will never forget the most important part, “THE PEOPLE.” Please join me in our fight to bring more services to our communities!" #timeforchange

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Menendez kicks off re-election campaign in Stackland

US Senator Bob Menendez today kicked off his re-election campaign in his home turf, Union City, NJ.  The Union City High School gymnasium was bursting at the seems with students and teachers, administrators, and politicians from all over the State.  The students received an education for sure. 

The speakers included fellow State Senator & Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack, Governor Phil Murphy, and fellow US Senator Cory Booker.  All spoke eloquently, and each proudly wearing New Jersey on their chests, with Menendez even referencing the popular phrase “Jersey Strong”.  Every speaker pledged their support to the US Senator’s bid for re-election.  Host city Mayor Stack spoke the most brief, but was for sure fired up, and the students were quick to applaud and show love for their Mayor.

Governor Murphy with a big smile on his face literally hopped onto the stage as though a teenager.  He joked as to the size of yet another rally in Union City.  The City and Mayor are synonymous for their lively and extremely well attended events.  Senator Booker, a talented speaker, got the crowd going and on their feet with a well delivered message about "us" against "them"… "them" being the Republicans and the President.  Menedez, a great orator himself, delivered a well rehearsed and well delivered speech.  He dug into the Republicans’ national agenda, and how he has always stood up for the people of New Jersey.  “After Sandy”, he said, “When everyone left, I was still here working for you.”  But the best quote of the day was when he said to the hundreds of students present, “I know some of you are too young to vote, but I’m your vote”, which received a great ovation from everyone.

It was a love fest for one one Jersey’s own.  One however, could sense the tension in the room, even in this extremely large gymnasium, due to the ever growing Hudson County reignited political infighting.  The political divide in the county will surely affect everyone in the State, including Menendez, because, hey, sides must be chosen and decisions made, and no one is safe.  Like other political wars, there will be casualties on both sides, and even those who try to remain neutral will suffer the consequences.  This is Hudson County, where politics is a contact sport.

(Sitting in the front row, the State's power players: State Senator & Mayor Brian P. Stack, US Senator Cory Booker, NJ Governor Phil Murphy.)

The event went off without a hitch.  Security was everywhere, no doubt due to the madness we’re grappling with nationwide.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mayor Brian P. Stack & his Union City First Team host a Party

Last Thursday night The Graycliff in Moonachie burst at the seams with yet another pack-to-the-hilt fundraising event my State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack & his Union City First Team.  In attendance was Governor Phil Murphy and just about every politician aligned with Stack’s team.  Missing was County Executive Tom DeGise and a few others.  No surprise since Stack and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, also in attendance, announced a few weeks back that they will not support DeGise for re-election.
It was a love fest for Stack and his running mates Commissioners Maryury Martinetti, Lucio Fernandez, Celin Valdivia, and newcomer Wendy Grullon.  Commissioner Tilo Rivas will not be seeking another term on the Commission, but will remain as County Freeholder.
Stack spoke from the heart, at times using a tough tone, obviously sending a message to someone in particular.  The crowd, mostly listening, lapped it all up.  Obviously this is their man.
The party was festive and entertaining.  Not too much gossiping between pols, since all mostly left after the speech by Stack.
One thing is for sure... Stack has support.  Lot's and lot's of support.  And not just from the people he represents.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Can Rivas beat Sires for Congress?

The Rumor mill at work...
After over a decade of being a Union City Commissioner, Tilo Rivas called it quits, leaving some heads scratching.  But wait, he will continue serving as Hudson County Freeholder AND being part of the Stack formidable political machine.
Shortly after the Rivas announcement by Stack, hundreds of volunteers were hitting the pavement getting petitions signed for Rivas' posible run for Congress.  What does this mean?  By possibly squaring Rivas up against sitting Congressman Albio Sires, who’s on the ballot in June, the Hudson County political war is sure to intensify.
Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and Sires are buddies, two Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) long-time members with close ties.  Is the County Organization heading towards a civil war?
When Stack and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop announced that they would not support DeGise for re-election, many eyebrows were raised.   But when petitions for Rivas began to be circulated, many hearts must have skipped.  Sires for one must be weighing his options; Mayor Turner from Weehawken, a Sire’s protege, must be trying to sort things out; as for North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco… not going to speculate.
Can Rivas beat Sires?  One on one, no way.  But with Stack’s monumental get-out-the-vote power supreme… maybe.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Stack & Fulop show DeGise the door

Brian P. Stack & Steven Fulop will NOT support DeGise’s re-election for Hudson County Executive
Union City Mayor & State Senator Brian P. Stack and Jersey City Mayor Steve issued a joint statement saying they will not be supporting Tom DeGise as Hudson County Executive, almost guaranteeing the exit door for DeGise.
“With regard to Hudson County’s next County Executive, we wish to state that we are seeking a new vision that is more closely aligned with our governmental ideals. While we are grateful for County Executive DeGise’s service, we look forward working with new county government leadership that will complement shifts related to a growing and changing population, as well as an increased regional influence. Consequently, we will be supporting a new candidate for that office,” impart read the release.
Tom DeGise, 66, is a former Jersey City council president.  He  ran for mayor in 2001, but lost the runoff to Glenn Cunningham.  He became County Executive in a 2002 special election after Bob Janiszewski’s resignation.  DeGise, who has been re-elected four times, says that he will seek re-election to a new term next year no matter what. 
Many names are being rumored around, but none confirmed.  Most notably mentioned is Freeholder Bill O’Dea.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A New Kind of Immigrant

For those who passed through Ellis Island and other ports of entry. Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented.
Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home.

They had waved goodbye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity.

Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought alongside men whose parents had come straight over from Germany , Italy , France and Japan None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan . They were defending the United States of America as one people.

When we liberated France , no one in those villages were looking for the French American, the German American or the Irish American. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country's flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.

And here we are with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country.

That's not what being an American is all about. The immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900's deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life. They would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags.