Doherty: New State Comptroller Report on Widespread School Lunch Program Fraud Reinforces Need for School Funding Reform
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) said that a new report issued by the Office of the State Comptroller detailing widespread fraud in the state’s free school lunch program reinforces the need to reform the state’s flawed school funding formula.
The investigation conducted by Comptroller Matthew Boxer looked into the free school lunch programs in 15 school districts, resulting in the referral of more than 100 individuals to the Division of Criminal Justice for prosecution.
“Since the initial reports of fraud in Elizabeth were released two years ago, I have repeatedly called for a larger scale investigation to uncover the extent of school lunch program fraud in New Jersey,” said Doherty. “It seemed likely that the abuses found in Elizabeth were occurring all over the place, which the Comptroller’s new report confirms.”
Homeowners Who Refuse to Sign Easements to Protect Views Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Keep Their Communities at Risk
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) said that Governor Chris Christie is right to push for the construction of a protective dune system along the entirety of the Jersey Shore, despite the protests of some oceanfront homeowners who would rather keep entire communities at risk of future devastation to protect their water views from the lowest levels of their homes.
“Hurricane Sandy destroyed entire communities as its storm surge washed away or severely damaged hundreds of thousands of homes in communities along unprotected shorelines,” said Doherty. “Having just seen the massive scope of that devastation, it’s absolutely unbelievable that some selfish oceanfront homeowners would rather preserve their first floor views than allow us to build a protective dune system that would prevent this from happening again.”
Doherty: New Charges in Elizabeth Free School Lunch Scandal Reinforce Need for School Funding Reform
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) said that new charges announced by the state Attorney General related to corruption and fraud in the Elizabeth school district’s free school lunch program are a reminder that New Jersey’s convoluted school funding formula needs to be reformed to prevent future abuse.
“The newest criminal charges announced by Attorney General Chiesa in Elizabeth are further confirmation that massive fraud exists in the free school lunch program,” said Doherty. “I want to congratulate the Attorney General for his persistence in bringing all of those who are complicit in this fraud to justice.”
Doherty noted that fraudulent enrollment in the school lunch program triggers other expenses that are even greater than the cost of the meals provided to students.
Patrick Administration Cites Right to Privacy for Refusing to Disclose Public Benefits Provided to Accused Bombers
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) said that he is shocked at the way the administration of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is fighting to protect the privacy rights of the Boston bombing suspects just days after it allowed the trampling of the privacy rights of law-abiding homeowners with warrantless, armed searches of an entire neighborhood.
“While law enforcement was searching for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown, they had no problem trampling the Fourth Amendment privacy rights of an entire neighborhood of law-abiding citizens as they went door to door pulling innocent families and children out of their homes at gunpoint before conducting warrantless searches of their homes,” said Doherty. “Now, just days later, it’s absolutely shocking to learn that the administration of Governor Patrick is refusing requests to release information related to the public benefits provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the Tsarnaev brothers at taxpayer expense, citing their right to privacy. It’s a sick perversion of our laws that allow for accused terrorists to be afforded greater privacy rights than law-abiding citizens.”
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) commended Governor Christie and his administration for preventing additional red light cameras from being installed at New Jersey intersections. Senator Doherty sponsors legislation to ban red light cameras in the GardenState and also to remove any financial incentive for municipalities to install red light cameras.
“I’ll take Governor Christie’s decision as further evidence that New Jersey’s red light camera pilot program is a failure,” said Doherty (R-Hunterdon, Warren, Somerset). “Reports have indicated, and local officials have acknowledged, that the use of red light cameras does not improve safety.”
Legislation Directs All Red Light Camera Ticket Revenues to Highway Safety Fund
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) has introduced legislation that eliminates the financial incentive for towns to install red light camera ticketing systems. He said the legislation will test the claims of local officials who say their only interest is the supposed safety benefits that cameras provide, not the hundreds of thousands of dollars in ticket revenues that can be produced by each camera.
“Despite growing proof that red light cameras have failed at their primary goal of improving driver safety, local officials continue to defend the cameras,” said Doherty. “It’s clear that many mayors and council members would rather have red light cameras ticket revenues for their budgets than safer roads for our families.”
Doherty Says Police Chief’s Comments Echo NJDOT Report Showing Red Light Cameras Lead to More Accidents
Lawrence Police Chief Acknowledges Increase in Accidents After Installation of Red Light Camera
Following comments by Lawrence Police Chief Daniel Posluszny that there are more accidents at a township intersection following the installation of a red light camera ticketing system, Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) said that evidence continues to grow that red light cameras do not achieve their stated goal of making dangerous intersections safer.
“I commend Chief Posluszny for publicly acknowledging that Lawrence Township has not experienced the safety benefits that his town was promised by red light camera vendors,” said Doherty. “His statements are backed by data from NJDOT which shows that red light cameras lead to more accidents, more injuries and greater cost.”
Sen. Mike Doherty and Assemblymen John DiMaio and Erik Peterson, all R-Warren, Hunterdon and Somerset, hosted a storm coordination meeting on January 24th with local mayors and Office of Emergency Management (OEM) personnel from the 23rd Legislative District.
“Maintaining open lines of communications between state and local officials and utility providers is key to minimizing service disruptions during storms and other natural disasters,” said Doherty. “I remain committed to holding the utilities accountable and working with JCP&L to ensure that outages such as those experienced during Sandy do not happen again.”
Says Mayors Claiming Safety Is Primary Purpose for Cameras Should Support Legislation
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) has proposed legislation that directly challenges the claims of mayors and local officials who say they support red light camera systems for their supposed safety benefits rather than the hundreds of thousands of dollars of ticket revenue that can flow into municipal budgets from each monitored intersection.
The Senator’s legislation, which has been drafted for introduction, would direct towns to deposit all fines collected as a result of violations recorded by red light cameras into the state’s Highway Safety Fund, eliminating the municipal share of red light camera ticket revenues.
“This legislation allows towns to keep the cameras that local officials say make their intersections safer, but not the ticket revenues their cameras generate,” said Doherty. “Every mayor and local official who is on record saying cameras are about safety, not money, should support this bill. If they don’t, it will prove their previous support of cameras under the guise of safety was fraudulent. Reporters who previously interviewed local officials who made such claims should go back and ask those same officials if they support this bill.”
Doherty/Sweeney Introduce Bill to Require Free Access to Storm-Damaged Beaches Replenished with State & Federal Funds
Senator Michael J. Doherty (R-23) and Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-3) have introduced legislation that would require municipalities that accept state or federal aid to rebuild storm-damaged beaches to provide beach access and beach restroom facilities to the public free of charge.
“It is likely that state and federal taxpayers will provide hundreds of millions of dollars to repair and replenish New Jersey beaches that were washed away during Hurricane Sandy,” said Doherty. “Considering the massive public resources that will be directed at rebuilding many New Jersey beaches, it only seems fair to ensure that everyone have the opportunity to enjoy free access to the beaches they will support and help rebuild with their tax dollars.”