Friday, October 28, 2011

Washington Twp (Gloucester County) Mayoral Debate

In addition to the very important NJ State Legislature and County Freeholder elections on Tuesday, Washington Township, Gloucester County, will be holding a Mayoral election.

(Disclosure: I have the unique distinction of having lived in two of the five(?) Washington Townships in New Jersey)

Notwithstanding the unfortunate headline juxtaposition on the front page of the Washington Township Times, for the benefit of Washington Twp residents, there will be a debate between Mayoral hopefuls Kevin Murphy (R) and Barbara Wallace (D), in the Washington Twp Municipal Building on Egg Harbor Road, Tuesday, November 1, at 7:00pm.

The one-hour debate will be held in the main council meeting room of the municipal building on Egg Harbor Road. The candidates will each respond to 10 questions – eight of which will come from the public, but not the audience. Murphy said they’ve established an email address – – where they’re asking the residents to submit questions. The questions must include the resident’s name, address and phone number in order to be considered.

 See you there, and don't forget to VOTE on Tuesday, November 8.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Election? What Election?

This is the question I get all too often when I talk about the upcoming NJ State Legislature elections on November 8, 2011.

It's not surprising. Most people who bother to vote pay attention to even-numbered years, when we vote for US House, US Senate, and, every four years, US President. It's different here in New Jersey, where state elections are held in odd-numbered years. Our gubernatorial election is the year after the presidential election, which draws some attention.

Unfortunately, the non-gubernatorial odd-numbered year is a black hole of voter awareness in New Jersey.

The NJ State Senate and Assembly candidates who are "walking", knocking on doors, have a two-fold task: They are asking for votes, and more often than not, they must explain what office they are running for, and that the election is this year, not next year.

There are approximately 1.7 million registered Democrats in the state of New Jersey. I wonder how many of them know there is an election here in less than three weeks? How many of them drive past yard signs without notice?

So, mark your calendar, November 8, 2011, and remind your friends that, however entertaining the 2012 Republican freak show my be, 2011 is not an off year in New Jersey. We have an election this year, and we need to vote.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm Not Sure I Can Hold My Nose This Time

It seemed like a simple question to me. A question I posted on the Facebook page of the Democratic NJ State Legislature candidates for the 4th Legislative District.

Senator Fred Madden and Assemblyman Paul Moriarty are incumbents. Gabriela Mosquera is a newcomer, running for the seat formerly held by Republican Domenic DiCicco, who was redistricted out of LD-4 in April.

I have written to my state representatives numerous times on a variety of issues, both state and local. Never once have I ever received a response, not even a form letter or a robo-email, from Madden or Moriarty. Mr. DiCicco, the Republican, has personally responded to me, as has Governor Christie. I even got a phone call from a Christie staffer responding to one of my letters.

Madden and Moriarty are also among the "Christiecrats" who sold out the public unions on pension and benefit "reform" (why does that now sound like such a dirty word?).

Back to my question on the Facebook page. In response to a post boasting of Mosquera's endorsement by the Women's Political Caucus, I wrote:
"Ms. Mosquera: If elected, will you legislate in accordance with progressive Democratic principles, or will you vote in lock-step with the Sweeney/Norcross Christiecrats, like your running mates?"

Now, it's always a good idea to do a screen grab when making a comment in a political forum, just in case it gets removed. Governor Christie's Facebook page is regularly scrubbed, as are many other politicians' pages. I posted this comment on a Friday morning, checking back regularly to see if there was any response. By Saturday afternoon the comment was gone. No response. No comment. No email. No phone call. Nada. Nothing.
I don't begrudge these guys the right to scrub their Facebook page. After all, it's their page. But if they want people to vote for them, pissing me off is not a good idea.

Being a Democrat has been baked into my DNA since birth. My parents and grandparents were Democrats (although my Dad now calls himself a "libertarian", but that's a whole 'nother story). We were New Deal, New Frontier, Great Society Democrats. I could not imagine myself voting any other way.

But, considering the absolute lack of interest in any type of constituent service on the part of these two, to never once respond to a constituent's concerns, and their unsatisfactory voting records, is there any compelling reason why I should hold my nose and vote for them?
Yeah, I know, the 11th Commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of your fellow (Democrats)", but these two make it nearly impossible.

So, help me out here. On November 8th, two things I will not do is stay home or vote for a Republican. But what should I do? Do I hold my nose and vote for two individuals I have absolutely no respect for, or do I write my own name in (as I did in the Primary), or do I vote for the third party candidate?

What would you do?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thumbs Up for Customer Service

Brace yourselves, folks. Pick's Place is about to say something positive.

Since I spend so much time on this site bitching about anything and everything, it's time I gave credit where it's due, so props to for their outstanding customer service.

The other day I found the screen on my three month old Kindle frozen. After Googling "Kindle troubleshooting" I found this:

Kindle screen frozen or Kindle unresponsive.

Possible cause:
  • Low battery charge.
  1. Plug the Kindle into a wall outlet.
  2. Ensure the Kindle is charging (the indicator light should be on).
  3. Wait 2 minutes.
  4. If necessary unplug the Kindle and reset by moving and holding the power switch for 20 seconds before releasing it.

I tried this, and it didn't work. Other Kindle discussion boards had the same advice.

I braced myself for the worst and called Amazon customer service.

Amazon: How can I help you?
JRP: My Kindle screen is frozen
Amazon: Have you tried holding the switch for 20 seconds?
JRP: Yes.
Amazon: May I have your name, email, and address?
JRP: (provides requested info)
Amazon: OK, it looks like your Kindle is still under warranty. We're putting a new one in the mail and You should have it by October 11.
JRP: That's it?
Amazon: Yes, and we will provide a prepaid mailer for you to return the old Kindle. Is there anything else I can do for you?
JRP: No, you've been very helpful, thank you.

What I just described is 100% true and is a case study in customer service. It seems very simple to me. Why can't all companies do this?

Thank you, Amazon, for showing us how it's done.