Posted by: philipfontana | February 5, 2012

New Jersey News

New Jersey in the News!

     Excuse us for living, but New Jersey erupted over this past week with no less than three major news stories. Once again, our world as we know it has been shaken. It’s analogous to the comedian whose material is constantly provided by the politicians themselves. The only difference here is that these stories are not funny at all.

#1.  Excuse us for living, but don’t tell us about the civil rights movement of the 1950’s & 60’s. We lived through those momentous events. So it was not surprising to us that a firestorm ensued from the scenario of Tuesday, January 24.  It was on that day that Governor Christie defended his idea of a referendum on same-sex marriage by saying that civil rights activists would have preferred a referendum to “fighting and dying on the streets of the South.” You did not have to be a political expert to predict the outrage caused by that comment. Congressman and legendary civil rights leader John Lewis (D-Ga) lectured at the Trenton train station, “Apparently the governor of this state has not read his recent history books.” This was followed by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) comparing Christie to George Wallace & Lester Maddox. A simple, “I made a mistake,” or “It was a poor analogy,” on the part of Governor Christie would have gone far to quiet the backlash. But no, Christie attempted to explain his way out of his unfortunate supporting rationale for his position on gay marriage, thus, digging a deeper hole for himself in the process.

#2.  Excuse us for living, but what happened to our old values of loyalty and tradition to one’s “Alma Mater”? On Wednesday, January 25 Governor Christie’s advisory committee on restructuring New Jersey’s university system unveiled its recommendations. OK, we can accept Rutgers University taking over three parts of UMDNJ near the New Brunswick campus, especially the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. And we can accept a UMDNJ in Newark reduced to a smaller Health Sciences University and a separate state-owned nonprofit University Hospital. But taking Rutgers-Camden out of the Rutgers system (undergraduate school, law school, & business school) and making it part of Rowan University in Gloucester County, would be unconscionable! And not so easily done off the cuff! Slow down, boys! You first need the approval of the Rutgers Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees. But more than such formal requirements, we are talking about decades of graduates/alumni, a faculty, a campus of classroom buildings, etc., with hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars invested. The tradition of “Rutgers South” cannot be obliterated in one fell swoop. Last year Governor Christie gave away millions of State dollars in the form of turning over NJN’s TV station to WNET.  This time with hundreds of thousands of loyal students, faculty and alumni of Rutgers University, Christie has met his match.

#3.  And excuse us for living, but those same hundreds of thousands of Rutgers University graduates/alumni spent our college years and alumni years feeling downtrodden when it came to RU football. That all seemed to come to an end when a son of New Jersey, Greg Schiano, arrived in Piscataway in the year 2000. For the first time in our lives, we could hold our heads high with pride re Rutgers football. By his fourth season, Schiano had taken Rutgers to its first bowl game in 27 years. The next season could be seen as the high point with Rutgers tremendous upset victory over Louisville and an 11-2 winning season, its best in the modern era, and ranked No. 12 nationally. This and so many triumphs and defeats that followed, all came to an abrupt end last week, dashing our hopes and expectations. On Tuesday, January 26, it was announced that Coach Greg Schiano would be leaving Rutgers and accepting an NFL position as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Much could be said: of the promises made of a national championship someday; of the new stadium built due to Schiano’s high aspirations; of the millions spent to build the football program to the detriment of other discontinued varsity sports; of the simultaneous curtailment of the academic program during this difficult economic time in courses no longer offered and faculty positions eliminated. So, we fear it’s “back to football as usual” with our heads down. While we wish new Coach Kyle Flood and Rutgers football success, you can’t blame us for thinking, “Here we go again with same old, same old.”

Excuse us for living.


  1. Keep it up, Phil!

    • Thanks, Jack. Appreciate it from you. You too keep it up re back to normal & enjoying golf in NC!!! Hi to Joannie! Phil

  2. My father-in-law graduated from Rutgers twice, first with a bachelor’s degree and then with a degree in psychiatry from the medical school. My mother-in-law also is from New Jersey. Thus I hear about New Jersey matters all the time when visiting with them.

    • Russel, How did I miss this comment????!!!!! You ARE certainly connected to New Jersey & up on the news! Phil

  3. My better half is from NJ and always roots for Rutgers.

  4. gp, Wow, another person strongly connected to NJ & Rutgers!!!!!!!!1 Phil

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