Recent news articles and commentary

From NJ Spotlight:

NJ Activists Want More Transparency for Police-Related Shootings
Hank Kalet | August 16, 2016 | Social
One proposal would put state attorney general — rather than county prosecutor — in charge of sending cases to grand jury 1 Comment
Without Welfare Increases, NJ’s Safety Net Is in Tatters
Hank Kalet | June 30, 2016 | Social
In a cruel irony, the administration’s reinterpretation of the rules denies emergency assistance to the poor because they are poor
Prisoners of Fear: NJ’s Undocumented Immigrants
Hank Kalet | June 16, 2016 | Social, Immigration
Recent roundups and immigration police activity have locals afraid to leave their houses to shop, work, or take kids to school 1 Comment
NJ’s Troubled Cities: Shrinking Tax Bases, Growing Need for Basic Services
Hank Kalet | May 20, 2016 | Social
Experts indicate that city dwellers typically pay a greater proportion of their income in municipal taxes than do their counterparts in wealthier suburbs
Why Is It So Tough to Track Police Shootings in the Garden State?
Hank Kalet | April 18, 2016 | Social
The lack of hard data makes it difficult for law enforcement to do its job, raises mistrust and suspicion in local communities
Earned Sick-Time Mandates Exhibit Healthy Growth at Municipal Level
Hank Kalet | March 30, 2016 | More Issues
Facing a near-certain veto from the governor, workers rights advocates are spreading the word — and their sick-leave policies — town by town
Profile: Former Addict Pays It Forward By Giving Back to Group That Helped Her
Hank Kalet | March 23, 2016 | Profiles
‘Chef Pam’ Johnson makes sure that Elijah’s Promise delivers far more than a nutritious meal to the food kitchen’s guests
Advocates Urge Lifting Ban on Welfare Aid for Those Guilty of Drug Distribution
Hank Kalet | January 15, 2016 | More Issues, Social
Removing restriction on getting public assistance touted as way to help those who have served their time become productive members of society
Work Without Wages: Helping Immigrants Fight Unscrupulous Bosses
Hank Kalet | November 25, 2015 | Social
New Labor advocates for workers and lobbies local governments to pass ordinances preventing wage theft. It’s taking its fight to the state government as well 1 Comment
Will Democrats Continue Dominance in Three Essex County Districts?
Hank Kalet | October 29, 2015 | Politics, Elections 2015
Voters in the 27th and 28th districts haven’t elected Republicans to the Assembly in decades – and GOP has never won an Assembly seat in the 29th 1 Comment
Democrats in 40th District Face Campaign Cash Gap, History of Republican Wins
Hank Kalet | October 14, 2015 | Politics, Elections 2015
GOP dominance dates back to Nixon years; two other North Jersey districts, the 26th and the 39th, are also Republican strongholds
Solitary Confinement in New Jersey’s Prisons: Cruel and Usual Punishment
Hank Kalet | August 13, 2015 | Social
Isolating inmates can lead to PTSD and paranoia; new legislation could reduce the use of ‘close custody’ and put outside oversight in place 2 Comments
Explainer: What Happens When Police Are Involved in a Shooting in NJ?
Hank Kalet | August 4, 2015 | Explainer
Whether or not anyone is hurt or killed, the attorney general’s Shooting Response Team steps in and conducts a probe
The List: I Hear NJ Singing — The Varied Poetic Voices of the Garden State
Hank Kalet | August 3, 2015 | The List
From Amiri Baraka to William Carlos Williams, from Allen Ginsberg to Walt Whitman, New Jersey has been home and host to some of the country’s best poets 1 Comment
Business Groups, Worker Advocates At Odds Over Local ‘Wage-Theft’ Laws
Hank Kalet | July 24, 2015 | More Issues
Ordinances in five towns threaten loss of licenses; businesses say rules could backfire, resulting in loss of jobs and hurting economy
NJ Summer Nutrition Program Helps Feed Poor Kids When School’s Out
Hank Kalet | July 20, 2015 | Education
Anti-hunger advocates argue streamlining and simplifying program would let it reach far more hungry children
Could Christie’s Record on Gay Marriage Hurt Him With Conservatives, Liberals?
Hank Kalet | June 29, 2015 | Politics, Social
Does Christie have an identity issue that could hurt him in the primaries — too conservative for moderates, too liberal for the right?
Proposed Gun Laws Take Aim at Domestic Abuse, But From Two Different Angles
Hank Kalet | June 22, 2015 | More Issues, Social
Democrats seek to take all weapons away from abusers while GOP calls for making easier for victims to get gun permits 8 Comments
Helping Undocumented Immigrants Get on the Road to Economic Stability
Hank Kalet | June 8, 2015 | Social
Coalition of advocacy groups asks towns, counties to endorse bill allowing those in this country illegally to apply for driver’s licenses 1 Comment
Without Aid, College Still ‘Dream Deferred’ for Many Undocumented Students
Hank Kalet | May 4, 2015 | Education
Recent changes in the law let unauthorized immigrants pay in-state tuition, but without needs-based financial assistance higher education can still be out of reach
Paid Sick Leave in Jersey City Off to Healthy Start, Rutgers Report Concludes
Hank Kalet | April 10, 2015 | Healthcare, Social
But business leaders argue that at one-year anniversary it’s too soon to understand full import of policy
Advocates Challenge Local Ordinances Targeting New Jersey’s Homeless
Hank Kalet | April 2, 2015 | Social
Successful challenge to New Brunswick panhandling ban spurs statewide look at municipal ordinances deemed violations of free-speech rights
Christie Turns Back on NJ Immigrants in Bid for GOP Right, Critics Contend
Hank Kalet | March 30, 2015 | Politics, Social
Governor signs on to amicus brief asking court to block Obama policy to allow some unlawful immigrant children, parents to stay in country 1 Comment
Profile: Bob and The Boss, Working in Concert for More Than 15 Years
Hank Kalet | January 14, 2015 | Profiles
Bob Benjamin, founder of the Light of Day Foundation, has attracted some of the top names in music to play for his charity
Is the Problem of Homelessness Getting Better or Worse in NJ?
WHYY/NewsWorks | September 29, 2014 | Social
Thousands still live in shelters and motels – and on the streets – but whether there’s been improvement depends on which numbers are compared
Conditional Veto Could Gut Affordable-Housing Policies, Advocates Say
Hank Kalet | September 12, 2014 | Politics, Housing
Governor argues that it’s time for Legislature to significantly revise New Jersey’s landmark law 1 Comment
Does Paid Sick Leave Have Healthy Chance of Approval in New Jersey?
Hank Kalet | August 15, 2014 | Social
Outcome of efforts to enact local ordinances may determine prospects for statewide law
Explainer: SNAP Helps 1 in 10 New Jersey Residents Put Food on Table
Hank Kalet | August 5, 2014 | Explainer
Food stamps program was renamed, in part, to reflect Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s focus on healthier diet
The List: 10 Best Places to See Indie Bands in the Garden State
Hank Kalet | July 21, 2014 | The List
New Jersey’s vibrant music scene continues to offer a showcase for bands on the rise 2 Comments
Taking a Bigger Bite Out of Wage Theft in the Garden State
Hank Kalet | July 17, 2014 | Social
Local ordinances let two NJ towns refuse to renew licenses of businesses found guilty of wage theft, while stronger state law is in the works
Explainer: A Primer on Homelessness in the State of New Jersey
Hank Kalet | July 8, 2014 | Social, Explainer
Point-in-time count reveals that nearly 14,000 men, women, and children had no place to call home — excluding tent encampments, abandoned buildings, and the like — at the start of the year
Overburdened NJ Food Pantries Challenged to Feed More Hungry Clients
Hank Kalet | July 7, 2014 | Social
Changes in federal utility allowance could mean less to eat for third of families now receiving food assistance
Undocumented Children: The Human Face of New Jersey’s Tragic Immigration Crisis
Hank Kalet | July 2, 2014 | Social
How do kids who have crossed the border from Mexico end up in New Jersey — and in the state’s immigration courts?
Judge Rules That Christie Can Withhold $900M Payment Into Pension Funds
Hank Kalet | June 26, 2014 | Budget
Superior Court magistrate declines to issue injunction sought by public employees union, citing ‘staggering budget shortfall’ 8 Comments
Profile: Bryan Miller Turned Personal Tragedy Into a Cause
Hank Kalet | June 25, 2014 | Social, Profiles
After his brother’s death, activist works to end gun violence 4 Comments
Explainer: What’s Behind NJ’s Proposal to Reduce Size of Ammunition Clips
Hank Kalet | June 23, 2014 | Explainer
Advocates say it would force shooters to reload more frequently; foes say larger clips help law-abiding citizens defend themselves 1 Comment
Profile: Attorney Forms Advocacy Group to Help the Homeless in New Jersey
Hank Kalet | June 4, 2014 | Profiles
Inspired by his father’s experience in the Great Depression, he represented occupants of ‘Tent City’ in Lakewood 1 Comment
Would Higher Minimum Wage for Tip-Earners Help or Hurt Struggling Low-Pay Workers?
Hank Kalet | April 7, 2014 | More Issues
Advocates decry current $2.13 per hour as unfair, while restaurant owners say hike would eliminate jobs, might backfire by reducing tips
Bill Would Put Undocumented Residents on Road to Driving Privileges
Hank Kalet | March 24, 2014 | More Issues
Advocates cite improved safety, access to work; opponents complain that it encourages illegal residency 3 Comments
Debate Heats Up Over NJ Proposal to Ban Large Ammo Clips
Hank Kalet | March 14, 2014 | More Issues
Supporters of 10-round limit cite restraints on mass shooters while gun advocates see attack on right to bear arms
New Jersey By Design: Five Visionary Projects for Rebuilding After Sandy
Hank Kalet | February 7, 2014 | SandyBeyond short-term goals, these teams are looking to build a ‘culture of resiliency’ that melds environmental considerations with economic opportunities
Federal Farm Bill — A Good Deal for NJ, Despite Cuts to Food Stamps?
Hank Kalet | February 5, 2014 | More IssuesFarm groups praise compromise measure as good for state agriculture, but anti-hunger activists argue this is not the time to trim food stamp benefits
End of Extended Benefits Makes Hard Times Even Harder for Jobless in NJ
Hank Kalet | January 16, 2014 | More IssuesUnemployed fear they’ll hit bottom soon as they fall through gaping hole in safety net
Supporters Seek to Make Same-Sex Marriage the Letter of the Law
Hank Kalet | December 18, 2013 | More Issues, Social
Legislators and advocates look to codify NJ’s marriage equality ruling and close possible exemptions
Newark City Council Nears Vote on Paid Sick-Time Ordinance
Hank Kalet | December 19, 2013 | More Issues
Regulation would require most small businesses to let workers earn sick time for hours worked
Dream Act Passes, Grants In-State Tuition to Undocumented Immigrants
Hank Kalet | December 20, 2013 | More Issues
But compromise and conditional veto leave advocates on both sides of the issue unhappy with outcome
Assessing Gun-Control Legislation in New Jersey: A Moving Target
Hank Kalet | December 10, 2013 | More Issues, Social
Some of the more ambitious bills to help fight gun violence have been vetoed or are stalled in committee 1 Comment
‘Dream Act’ Advocates Accuse Christie of Reneging on Promise
Hank Kalet | November 27, 2013 | Politics, Social
Governor’s comments on tuition-equality appear to reverse stance that help win over majority of Latino voters
Tuition Equality Legislation Moves to the Full State Senate
Hank Kalet | November 15, 2013 | Education, Politics
Bill would allow undocumented immigrants to pay instate tuition and qualify for financial aid if they attend state schools
In the Garden State, Wedding Bells Chime for Same-Sex Couples
Hank Kalet | October 21, 2013 | More Issues, Social
At just a few minutes after midnight, gay and lesbian couples across New Jersey celebrated marriage equality by getting hitched
Christie’s High Court Nominee Approved By Senate Judiciary Committee
Hank Kalet | October 18, 2013 | More Issues
Despite initial reservations, Democrats on panel vote to send Fernandez-Vina’s nomination on to full Senate
Likely Christie Appeal Casts Pall on Superior Court Ruling on Gay Marriage
Hank Kalet |September 30, 2013 | Social
Plaintiff’s legal team doubts governor has grounds for stay, will continue battle in State Supreme Court if necessary
Violent Crimes Climb as Police Layoffs Take Their Toll on NJ’s Troubled Cities
Hank Kalet |September 18, 2013 | More Issues, Social
Christie cites Camden’s move to county-wide force as financial model, cops call it union busting
Christie Signs Extensive Package of Gun-Control Bills Into Law
Hank Kalet |August 9, 2013 | Politics
But critics contend governor didn’t act on two most important measures, including ban on .50-caliber weapons. 4 Comments
Ready to Wage War Over Raising New Jersey’s Minimum Wage
Hank Kalet |July 25, 2013 | More Issues, Politics
Backers contend people can’t live on $7.25 an hour while foes argue hike to $8.25 would hurt business, eliminate jobs. 1 Comment
New Jersey’s Poor Struggle to Stave Off Hunger With Federal Food Aid
Hank Kalet |July 17, 2013 | More Issues, Social
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program pays less than $1.50 a meal, but some critics contend that spending is out of control 6 Comments
Report: Immigration Reform Could Boost NJ Tax Revenues by $80M Yearly
Higher wages, more spending, increase in income taxes and sales taxes expected if undocumented workers became legal.
Small-Business Group Asserts Minimum Wage Hike Would Jeopardize Jobs
Study claims more than 30,000 positions would have to be dropped because of increased expenses.
Renters: Hurricane Sandy’s Invisible Victims
Living with friends or family, with no leases and no permanent address, Sandy’s displaced are hard to find and harder to help.
Arguing the Costs of Tuition Equality
A proposed measure would let all NJ students — regardless of immigration status — pay in-state tuition at state schools.
Democratic Gun-Reform Package No Sure Shot
Christie’s political ambitions could mean veto if governor wants to appeal to national Republican primary voters.
Lawmakers Get Cold Feet About Campaign Finance
By Hank Kalet, May 9, 2013 in More Issues | Democrats worry that changing rules on financial disclosure this close to election could hurt grass-roots backing for Buono bid.
Critics Argue Christie’s Gun-Violence Plan Needs More Focus on Guns
For Democrats, the problem isn’t what the governor’s plan includes, the real issue is what it leaves out.
Task Force Issues Report on Weapon Laws, Gun Violence
Christie-appointed panel’s proposals draw fire from both sides of issue.
Do Gun Buybacks Reduce Gun Violence?
Buybacks take thousands of guns off New Jersey streets, but critics argue the millions spent on programs could be put to better use.
With Future of COAH Still Cloudy, Many Towns Shelve Plans to Build Affordable Housing
Advocates argue that real losers in political turf war are low- and middle-income families who need someplace to live.
Low- and Middle-Income New Jerseyans Priced Out of Rental Market
Advocates argue that administration’s $1 billion post-Sandy rebuilding plan won’t make much difference long-term.
New Jersey Towns, Cities Offer Local ID to Undocumented Immigrants
Community IDs ease everyday interactions — like going to the hospital — and can help reduce fear of law enforcement agencies.
GOP, Democrats At Odds Over Increasing Earned Income Tax Credit
Both sides agree it needs to be done to help lower income residents– but differ on when and how to do it.
After Christie Veto, Democrats Vow to Put Minimum Wage on Ballot
Issue not likely to counter governor’s popularity, but it may make Republican legislators more vulnerable.
The Politics of Gun Control: Christie Aims for the Center
Democrats, gun control advocates criticize Christie’s inaction compared to Obama, Cuomo
NJ Democrats Back Obama, Propose Sweeping Gun-Control Reforms for State
Key provisions in series of bills include limits on ammo capacity and adding mental-health provision to background checks.
Lawmakers Urged to Shore Up Image of Post-Sandy Jersey Shore
Marketing campaign sought to let tourists know that businesses are reopening, some towns had little damage.
For NJ’s Poor, the Fiscal Cliff Means Living Even Closer to the Edge
Sequestration could make it more difficult for the state’s most vulnerable residents to meet basic needs like food and shelter.
Minimum-Wage Standoff: No Resolution Likely Before 2013 Vote
Almost-classic contest pits low-wage advocates against much of NJ’s business community.
Bill Would Turn Abandoned Homes Into Affordable Housing, But Will Christie Sign?
Advocates argue foreclosed properties are a drag on property values and an invitation to vandalism and crime.
Parties Differ On Amount, Timing of Boost in NJ Minimum Wage
Senate Democrats vote $1.25 per-hour hike; GOP, Christie want slower, smaller increase.
Deferred Action Helps Kids in Country Illegally Extend Their Stay
Sometimes called “Dream Act Lite,” deferred action grants two-year work permits not green cards and citizenship.
Senate Hearing on Minimum Wage Follows Last Week’s Report on Income Disparity
Today’s committee meeting takes up bill boosting minimum wage, favoring cost-of-living adjustments.

Affordable Housing Argued Before State Supreme Court for Third Time

By Hank Kalet, November 15, 2012 in More Issues |Post a Comment
Complex issue turns on simple question: can towns be required to build housing for low- and middle-income families?

Votes in Three States Buoy Hopes of Gay-Marriage Advocates in NJ

By Hank Kalet, November 13, 2012 in More Issues |Post a Comment
But marriage-equality supporters here prefer action by state Legislature.

After Hurricane Sandy, NJ’s Homeless Population at Greater Risk

By Hank Kalet, November 5, 2012 in More Issues |Post a Comment
Shelters and soup kitchens across the state sustain significant damage from Superstorm.

Incumbent Rep. Frank Pallone, GOP’s Anna Little Offer Clear Choice

By Hank Kalet, November 1, 2012 in More Issues |Post a Comment
Sixth District candidates stick to party lines on economy, taxes, health care, entitlements.

Incumbent Holt: GOP Policies Turning American Dream into a ‘Mirage’

By Hank Kalet, October 26, 2012 in More Issues |Post a Comment
But 12th District challenger insists less government, spending cuts will foster prosperity.

Will Voters in 12th Congressional District See ‘Red’ or Still Feel ‘Blue?’

By Hank Kalet, October 17, 2012 in More Issues |Post a Comment
Longtime incumbent Rush Holt, a liberal Democrat, challenged by GOP flat-tax conservative.

Race in New-Look 6th Congressional District Features Familiar Foes

By Hank Kalet, October 12, 2012 in More Issues |Post a Comment

Where Are the Banks for New Jersey’s Poor and Elderly?

By Hank Kalet, October 1, 2012 in More Issues |1 Comment
Banks are a scarce commodity in low-income neighborhoods, forcing residents to use alternative financial services — which are much more expensive.

Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities Let Seniors Age in Place

By Hank Kalet, September 25, 2012 in Healthcare |Post a Comment
Mercer County pilot project delivers the services of assisted living to apartment houses and neighborhoods with a concentration of retirees.

Parents Troubled by Bill To Tighten up Immunization Exemptions

By Hank Kalet, September 21, 2012 in Healthcare |1 Comment
Advocates argue it’s a matter of public health, critics claim it’s a violation of religious and parental freedom.

Medicare Cuts Could Have NJ Healthcare Hemorrhaging Jobs

By Hank Kalet, September 19, 2012 in Healthcare |Post a Comment
Automatic reductions in the federal budget, scheduled to kick in this January, could do some serious damage to the state’s hospitals and private practices.

Food Policy Councils: A New Model for Fighting Hunger and Disease

By Hank Kalet, September 14, 2012 in Healthcare |Post a Comment
The goal: Cut the price of healthy foods and make sure urban communities have the same options as suburban neighborhoods

Lawmakers Start to Hammer Out Details of NJ Health Insurance Exchange

By Hank Kalet,September 13, 2012 in Healthcare|3 Comments

Horizon NJ Health Slashes Medicaid Reimbursements for Home Healthcare

By Hank Kalet, September 5, 2012 in Healthcare |2 Comments
Agencies argue that 10 percent cut may ultimately affect the quality of care they can deliver to clients.

New Jersey Job Numbers Provide Sobering Backdrop to Labor Day

By Hank Kalet, September 4, 2012 in More Issues |Post a Comment
Population growth helps keep unemployment high, while workers who find jobs often must live with pay cuts

Questioning the Governor’s Commitment to Transparency

By Hank Kalet, August 10, 2012 in Healthcare |1 Comment
A conditional veto of a financial disclosure bill for hospitals has angered healthcare advocates, who argue there’s a big difference between what Christie says and does.

Low-Income Workers Feel the Pinch of Tax Credit Cut

By Hank Kalet, August 8, 2012 in Budget |4 Comments
Decision to trim Earned Income Tax Credit by 20 percent means a smaller safety net.

Will Governor Sign Hospital Financial Disclosure Rules?

By Hank Kalet, August 1, 2012 in Healthcare |1 Comment
NJHA opposes the law saying it would chill purchases of failing NJ hospitals by for-profits.

Hunger Gains

By Hank Kalet, July 19, 2012 in More Issues |Post a Comment
Food pantries and community kitchens are increasingly common in Jersey’s cities and suburbs — and most can’t keep up with demand.

From WHYY NJ Newsworks:
Main Street sign 1Northeast Rail Corridor to get new New Jersey stop with its own transit village
by Hank Kalet, Jan. 28, 2015

From In These Times:

By Hank Kalet, July 31, 2012
Civil rights for homeless communities wane across the country

From The Progressive:

“Hope for Home Care Workers”: Kalet–home-care workers Progressive 4-2013

“Tent City, USA”; October 2012: Kalettheprogressive-october2012web

From Patch:

By Hank Kalet, Feb. 15, 2012
Locals tell the governor it’s time to back down and sign legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage.
By Hank Kalet, Dec. 22, 2011
They say the home-improvement chain’s decision to pull an ad from a reality TV show that followed several Muslim families reinforces stereotypes.
By Hank Kalet, Nov. 23, 2011
Civil Unions, rather than granting gay and lesbian couples equal marriage rights, have perpetuated their second-class status.
By Hank Kalet, Nov. 17, 2011
Author Vivian Gornick to discuss the life of Emma Goldman, during an appearance at Labyrinth books.
By Hank Kalet, Nov. 11, 2011
A small, but growing group of protestors aims to take the Occupy Wall Street movement straight to Capitol Hill.
By Hank Kalet, Nov. 10, 2011
The Princetons have voted to become one, but will their decision move others to follow suit?

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