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Friday, 30 October 2015
Hamilton Bewitched By Secrecy




Hamilton Bewitched By Secrecy



By Tammy Duffy 





Freedom of speech is one of the most valued and cherished principles in a free society, and it is in a constant battle with oppressive governments seeking to maintain the status-quo. When it comes to free speech in the world, Iran is rated the 175th freest country in regards to freedom of speech and freedom of the press out of 179 rated countries according to Reporters without Borders. Reporters without Borders said that, "Hounding and humiliating journalists has been part of [Iran’s] officialdom’s political culture for years. The regime feeds on persecution of the media. Iran has a long history of violence and current history does not show signs of reversing. From barring students from education because of their political beliefs to opening fire on protesters and shutting down news publications, the Iranian government is working hard to chill free speech and silence the press."


When it comes to freedom of speech and freedom of the press, the United States wins hands down compared to Iran. Even though Reporters without Borders ranks the U.S. 47th on the “freedom index,” it obviously beats Iran’s 175th rating. In the U.S., citizens enjoy an incredible amount of freedom when it comes to what they can say and print. The Framers of the of the United States Constitution wrote the First Amendment to guarantee that Americans would be protected in their right to speak their mind, protest, and publish news even when it is controversial or goes against the government’s interest. Throughout history the government, local, state and federal, have challenged the people’s right to exercise free speech or free press, but since the 1900’s the Supreme Court has mostly sided with the citizens.


The difference of freedom of speech and freedom of the press that Iranians and Americans enjoy are vast. In the United States, citizens can write just about anything they want and publish it for the whole world to see. In Iran, such acts would you get thrown in jail or even sentenced to death. In the U.S., citizens are free to protest their government and also assemble for very controversial issues. In Iran, this behavior has been met with violence and other punishment by the government. Iranian newspapers and online publications have been shut down for publishing information that the government finds unacceptable and students have been barred from getting an education for their political beliefs. Organizations such as Reporters Without Borders have rated Iran as one of the least free countries when it comes to freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and Iran’s situation has not improved much in recent years.


When the government prohibits the publication of material it does not want released this is known as prior restraint." Restraining a publication prior to its release is unconstitutional. This has happened on more than one occasion in Hamilton Township, NJ.



Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of expression,  reception and dissemination of information,  publication and access to the press without prejudice to public order,  safety or morals as prescribed by law. All levels of government shall guarantee the freedom of the press and other media as shall be regulated by law in a democratic society.


The media has built up our economy and is one of the biggest technological advances made in human history. What concerns me most coming from an artistic point of view, is that; these incompetent actions by our government will effect how we promote ourselves and how we share information.


The media and press has become the chief vehicle of promotion and business for artists, local journalists and writers. The beginnings of Social Networking. We generated sharing and this is how many of us become discovered. If there was no freedom of press and media in place, chances would be low that many upcoming writers would have ever become relevant household names all over the world.


There are many more examples to this, but the bigger picture is that press and media censorship is constitutionally, morally, ethically, and politically wrong, it sabotages and destroy the beautiful thing the media and press have for us.


Protecting free speech means protecting a free press, the democratic process, diversity of thought, and so much more. The ACLU has worked since 1920 to ensure that freedom of speech is protected for everyone.  For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.


Freedom of speech, the press, association, assembly, and petition: This set of guarantees, protected by the First Amendment, comprises what we refer to as freedom of expression. It is the foundation of a vibrant democracy, and without it, other fundamental rights, like the right to vote, would wither away.


The fight for freedom of speech has been a bedrock of the ACLU’s mission since the organization was founded in 1920, driven by the need to protect the constitutional rights of conscientious objectors and anti-war protesters. The organization’s work quickly spread to combating censorship, securing the right to assembly, and promoting free speech in schools.


The press is to serve the governed, not the governors. The freedom of the press, protected by the First Amendment, is critical to a democracy in which the government is accountable to the people. A free media functions as a watchdog that can investigate and report on government wrongdoing. It is also a vibrant marketplace of ideas, a vehicle for ordinary citizens to express themselves and gain exposure to a wide range of information and opinions.


In September 2014, the Editor of the Trentonian asked me to cover the story on the 8 new sergeants that were being promoted in the township. This was the first time in the history of the township that there were African Americans being promoted to Sergeant. This was the first story I was ever paid to do for the newspaper. I had written numerous articles (two of which made the front page) for free to promote the arts and positive community events in Hamilton. I never took a dime from the newspaper for all the stories I wrote or the photos I took. But, the editor wanted to pay me for this story.


This was not a story I would normally cover. Penny Ray, the staff journalist would have. However, the mayors office and Hamilton police were blocking Penny from attending. This was not the first time the Mayor's office blocked a story, called and whined about a story to the point of threatening the newspaper or writers.


This was an email sent to me by John Berry, Editor of the Trentonian:


"So it looks like Penny is getting shut out by the PD. The Mayor produced about 2 grafs of uninformative quote.

Would you be able to still cover that in the morning? 

Sorry to be back and forth on this, but Hamilton PD is apparently stonewalling us on
this today saying that they only want to talk about it tomorrow so as not to "diminish" the accomplishments of the 6 white officers getting promoted.

John Berry
The Trentonian
@withhisown38 on Twitter"


When I arrived I was treated with such disrespect by the Mayor's press team. They were refusing to give me access to the sergeants. They even blocked me from going into a room with the families as the mayor spoke to the families. They were laughing in my face. This is what their leader was telling them to do, no doubt. Why did the Mayor feel she had the right to block Penny from covering the event?  Because he wrote the truth about her delusions on the crime rates in Hamilton she blocked him. 


In the end, I got the story. We told the story the way it should have been told. The mayor was indignent about how she wanted the story. It's not her place to tell the press how to tell a story, it's the presses.


The police department nor the mayors office has the constitution right to restrain press.  This is called prior restraint (also referred to as prior censorship or pre-publication censorship).  An alternative to prior restraint is to allow the expression to take place and to take appropriate action afterward, if the expression is found to violate the law, regulations, or other rules.


Prior restraint prevents censored material from being heard or distributed at all; other measures provide sanctions only after the offending material has been communicated, such as suits for slander or libel.  In some countries (e.g., United States and Argentina) prior restraint by the government is forbidden by the constitution.


Freedom of the press means that television, newspapers, magazines and other media sources can publish truthful reports—even if they are controversial—without interference from the government. Mayor Yaede does not have the right to censor the press. It is unconstitutional to do so. She needs to read the constitution and understand the laws of this nation. Journalists have lost their lives globally getting a story. She has no respect for the press and what they do for the global nation or a community.



Founding father Thomas Jefferson once said, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press.” In the U.S., freedom of the press is provided by the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, a part of the Constitution. It states, "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..."


Freedom of the press was included in the Bill of Rights because the founding fathers understood that if governments could block opinions or stories they disliked, then the public would be less informed. The press serves as a government watchdog and has used its First Amendment rights to hold public officials accountable. This has caused many to call the media the “Fourth Estate” or “fourth branch of government,” fitting into the system of checks and balances among our Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.

To maintain this freedom, we must prioritize protecting our courageous reporters and their newsgathering processes – both abroad and at home.


As a nation, we are collectively focused on responding to these terrorist threats and protecting those abroad, as we should be. But, we must not forget to protect our reporters on the home front as well.


The free flow of information by journalists gives the public the opportunity and responsibility to understand their communities their country and the world. And with that, the power to shape them.  It’s time for Americans to prioritize our courageous journalists and our right to know. We must protect journalists and honor those journalists who are killed, missing, threatened or held in captivity. It is critical for our democracy.  When elected official spends their time silencing the press, threatening them, and controlling editors so that the truth does not come out, it times to elect new elected officials. These are the same elected officials who deliberately destroyed government documents (digital files and emails). They did this without doing the required by law certifications for the destruction of government documents. This is against the law. This is a bad habit, breaking the law, by this current administration lead by Mayor Yaede.


VOTE on NOV 3rd  for a candidate that has integrity. A candidate who understands the constitution and appreciates the respects the freedom the press. The freedoms that our founding fathers and prior Americans fought so hard to give to us. Any elected official who feels they are above the law and feels they have license to ostracize the press in this matter, does not belong in office.


Vote for Amy Inman for Mayor &, Joanne Bruno and

Don Ryland for Council.





Posted by tammyduffy at 9:43 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 30 October 2015 9:54 PM EDT
Wednesday, 28 October 2015



 The Legendary Leader “Hiawatha” Shares His Story at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre Nov. 14


 Hiawatha1 and Hiawatha2

The inspiring story of “Hiawatha” comes to Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre in November.  Presented as part of the Kelsey Kids Series, this tale of the legendary Native American leader is presented by the award-winning Theatre IV on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road.
With book and lyrics by Stuart Hawk and music by Andrea Beasalt, Theatre IV’s “Hiawatha” brings Native American history and culture thrillingly to life in this fact-based musical adventure. The show tells the classic story of young Hiawatha, who, approximately 150 years before the first permanent English colony at Jamestown, made history when he peacefully united the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. His name was immortalized in Longfellow’s 1855 epic poem, and his exciting childhood and heroic work are celebrated in countless children’s books. Renowned for his peacemaking accomplishments, Hiawatha’s story remains inspiring and relevant today. 
Theatre IV is a nonprofit professional theater company for young audiences, which has toured since 1975 from Wisconsin to Florida and Texas to Maine, while also presenting major productions in its home city of Richmond, Va.  The company performs live for more than half a million children, teens, parents and teachers across America every year.
Tickets for “Hiawatha" are $10 for children, students and seniors, and $12 for adults.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333.  Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater.

Posted by tammyduffy at 8:43 PM EDT
Tuesday, 27 October 2015
Is The Township Exempt From The Law?



http://www.hamiltonnj.com/filestorage/228428/228430/228673/229195/229197/2015_Councilman_Meara's_Budget_Notes-3-17-15.pdf  From the Township of Hamilton website: Budgets 2015





Is The Township Exempt From The Law?




As the elected officials and their directors received raises these past years, the summer help was paid below minimum wage. (see files from the twp website) In 2014, the N.J. State minimum wage was raised to $8.25. (http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/stateMinWageHis.htm) As you can see, these township employees were paid much less than that. 


 The 1996 Amendments to the FLSA allow employers to pay a youth minimum wage of not less than $4.25 an hour to employees who are under 20 years of age during the first 90 consecutive calendar days after initial employment. The law contains certain protections for employees that prohibit employers from displacing any employee in order to hire someone at the youth minimum wage. This fact sheet provides general answers to questions that may arise about the youth wage provisions. Are all these people listed below the age of 20? We hope so. These lists do not demonstrate that these are "youth jobs". They are listed as summer employees, not farm jobs.


The youth minimum wage is authorized by Section 6(g) of the FLSA, as amended by the 1996 FLSA Amendments. The law allows employers to pay employees under 20 years of age a lower wage for a limited period -- 90 calendar days, not work days -- after they are first employed. Any wage rate above $4.25 an hour may be paid to eligible workers during this 90-day period.


In prosecution of wage and hour violations, the stakes are getting personal. In several recent cases, the government has penalized company owners and officers for failing to pay overtime – imposing stiff fines and even imprisonment.





Unless an exception applies, your employer must pay you at least the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher. If you qualify for minimum wage and your employer pays you less than the mandated amount, you can file a wage claim or lawsuit against your employer.


If the federal labor department agrees with your claim, it can order your employer to pay you back wages plus liquidated damages. If your employer intentionally broke the law, it can face criminal prosecution plus a fine of up to $10,000 for the first violation. State penalties vary; however, they generally include paying back wages plus liquidated damages and applicable court costs and attorney fees.


In one case, the president of a Minnesota sheetrock company was sentenced to two years in jail and a potential fine of $3.3 million for intentionally underpaying employee overtime and union pension and benefit contributions.


In another recent case, the owners and officers of an Illinois security company were fined over $200,000, constituting back wages and liquidated damages, for violating overtime and record keeping provisions. 


Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), "any employer" who violates minimum wage or unpaid overtime compensation laws may be liable for both the shortfall and liquidated damages, which means double the damages. The FLSA definition of "employer" can be very broad. Along with supervisors and high-ranking executives, it can also include officers and directors.


To avoid both FLSA violations and personal liability, employers need to be sure they comply with all the relevant minimum wage, overtime, and other salary- and benefit-related regulations and agreements. Otherwise, they may find themselves paying a steep price.  



An employer may not misclassify its workers as independent contractors in order to avoid paying them required wages under the FLSA," said Thomas Gauza, district director of the US Labor Department Wage and Hour Division in Chicago. "The Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that all workers receive their rightfully earned wages, and the resolution of this lawsuit demonstrates that we will use all available enforcement tools to protect workers against exploitation and ensure compliance with the law."


The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor conducts investigations of alleged FLSA violations. When, pursuant to such an investigation, the Department of Labor decides a company or entity is not in compliance with FLSA, there are several ways employee back wages can be recovered: 


The Wage and Hour Division may supervise payment of back wages. The Secretary of Labor may bring suit for back wages and an equal amount as liquidated damages. 

An employee may file a private suit for back pay and an equal amount as liquidated damages, plus attorney's fees and court costs.

The Secretary of Labor may obtain an injunction to restrain any person from violating FLSA, including the unlawful withholding of proper minimum wage and overtime pay. 

When it comes to recovery of back pay, there is a two-year statute of limitations, except in the case of a willful violation, where the statute of limitations is three years. When employers are found to willfully violate FLSA, they can also face criminal prosecution and fines up to $10,000. Upon a second conviction, employers could face imprisonment. 



In order to stay out of trouble, employers should do the following to ensure they are paying workers properly:


Classify employees properly – Determining who is eligible for overtime isn't always straightforward. In the International Detective & Protective Services case, Judge Kendall pointed to several factors that employers need to consider when deciding if workers are employees or independent contractors, including: control over the manner and method employees work, opportunities for profit or loss, investment in equipment, special skills of workers, permanency of the relationships, and whether services provided by workers were an integral part of the business.


Know state laws – Along with federal laws, some states also have broad definitions of who qualifies as an employer under state wage and hour laws. This could increase liability at the state level. For example, under New Jersey's Wage and Hour Law, an "employer includes any individual, partnership, association, corporation, or any person or group of persons acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee." Employers should consult with legal counsel to understand who may be liable for overtime infractions, so they can plan accordingly.


Review payroll practices and job classifications – It is advisable for employers to periodically review how employees track their hours. Laws change, job classifications get reworked, and new technology can make the process easier and less prone to errors.


Conduct audits – In addition to implementing solid overtime and time-keeping policies, companies should also routinely conduct audits. A spot check of one site or department may reveal that employees are not tracking hours properly or that supervisors are not following established procedures.


Be particularly careful with union employees – At union shops, the number of hours that employees work is not just reflected in their paychecks, it can also count for contributions to pension and benefits funds. As in the case of Franklin Drywall, employers can get into even more trouble when they shortchange those funds. If you have union employees, pay extra attention to how those employees' hours are tracked.


Executives and officers put a great deal of themselves into their businesses. They should be sure to spend some of their time making sure overtime and payroll are correctly managed; otherwise, they could end up paying fines and spending time in jail. 




Posted by tammyduffy at 7:57 AM EDT
Saturday, 24 October 2015
Jazz & Beyond Concert Series: An Evening with Woody Mann & Special Guests


 The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) announces the next performer in the Jazz & Beyond Concert Series: An Evening with Woody Mann & Special Guests on Friday, November 13, 2015 at 8pm. Pioneering guitar legend Woody Mann takes a fresh approach to his blues re-creations and his own compositions defy category. Woody has pursued a rich and diverse career, performing everywhere from the orchestra pits of Broadway to festivals, clubs and concert stages worldwide. While the blues are his touchstone, he draws inspiration from every direction, blending a myriad of influences with ease and grace.

The concert will be held at ACP’s Solley Theater at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton NJ. Tickets are $12/General Admission and $10/ ACP members, students, and seniors. Tickets are available for purchase at the door 30 minutes before show time. Parking is available in the Spring and Hulfish Street Garages and at metered spots along Witherspoon Street and Paul Robeson Place. For more information, visit www.artscouncilofprinceton.org or call (609) 924-8777.

The Arts Council of Princeton, founded in 1967, is a non-profit organization with a mission of Building Community through the Arts. Housed in the landmark Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, the ACP fulfills its mission by presenting a wide range of programs including exhibitions, performances, free community cultural events, and studio-based classes and workshops in a wide range of media. Arts Council of Princeton programs are designed to be high-quality, engaging, affordable and accessible for the diverse population of the greater Princeton region.

Posted by tammyduffy at 2:29 PM EDT


 HAM Workshop Features
Award-Winning Book Illustrators
Enjoy an afternoon with an award-winning book artist and participate in a family-fun art project at the Hunterdon Art Museum’s next Meet the Illustrator event.
The series continues with Lena Shiffman sharing A Second Chance for Tina on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. A fun art project, inspired by the book, immediately follows.
The Museum’s final Meet the Illustrator workshop for 2015 will feature Santiago Cohen reading Home for Navidad and Yiddish Fish on Dec. 13 at 2 p.m.
Also, these workshops will coincide with exhibitions of each illustrator’s work in the Museum’s ArtZone.
All ages are welcome. The program is $5 per child to cover the cost of materials. Registration is required either by visiting www.hunterdonartmuseum.org  or by calling 908-735-8415. 
Many of the books that will be read at the workshops are available for purchase at the Clinton Book Shop, 12 East Main St. The book shop is donating a portion of the purchase price of the books to the Museum. 
The Museum is at 7 Lower Center St. in Clinton, New Jersey, 08809. Their website is www.hunterdonartmuseum.org and our telephone number is 908-735-8415. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm and suggested admission is $5.

Posted by tammyduffy at 2:25 PM EDT


 Seeds to Sew International, Inc. is a US-based, 501(c)3, non-profit organization with the mission of improving the lives of women and girls in disadvantaged communities through education and job skills training. Their goal is for the women and girls in our programs to use these job skills to make money and support themselves and their communities. They also provide training in the basics of business management such as cash management, opening/balancing/reconciling a bank account, and record keeping. By educating participants about local laws and their basic rights, as well as the rights of their children, they can advocate for themselves and find support when needed as their income and stature in their community grows.
Ann, Beatrice, Jane and Naleke with a sewing machine donated by Sierra DeWalt in January 2014

Ann, Beatrice, Jane and Naleke with a sewing machine donated by Sierra DeWalt in January 2014

They are currently working with a Maasai farming community in Transmara District (in partnership with Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya of Kakenya’s Dream Organization), and a Kikuyu farming community in Central District, both in Kenya.

S2S visited some of the orphans benefiting from the sale of our Magoto gifts

Maggie and Ellyn of S2S and Beatrice visited some of the orphans benefiting from the sale of our Magoto Gifts

They are working with the local women and girls as well as organizations in their communities, teaching women basic sewing skills and providing girls with opportunity to bead bracelets and make other products as a way to pay for school-fees and school-related expenses.  The products that the participants of our programs create (Enkiteng Bags, Enkisoma Bracelets and Magoto Gifts) are then sold by Seeds to Sew on US market (see our EVENTS page to see where we will be next), and all proceeds are returned to the women and girls in the programs so that they can pay for school fees, medical care, and feed their families.

Kenya House staff from left: Sutinder and Nirpal Dhanjal, Dr. Angwenyi, Ellyn Ito and Judith Angwenyi

They have seen that with education, skills, self-esteem and an ability to generate income, women can better provide for their families.  Their stature within the community changes, they are better able to control resources, influence decisions and bring about changes that have a lasting impact on their communities well being. 


Visit their website to see the wonderful programs they promote



Posted by tammyduffy at 1:47 PM EDT
Thursday, 22 October 2015
Teen Empowerment


This wonderful teen girl

empowerment program will debut

in Atlanta on Nov. 7th. Please go

and help celebrate the event with

the new affiliate director, Annette

Mauzy who hails from Fulton, GA. 



Posted by tammyduffy at 9:24 AM EDT
Government Officials Ignore Residents


 Government Officials Ignore Residents 
By Tammy Duffy 





In April 2015, Duffy's Cultural Couture reported on the suboptimal practices of the Hamilton Township government as it pertains to record retention.   (http://www.tammyduffy.com/ARTFASHION/index.blog/2353642/hamilton146s-high-tech-filing-system/)



Upon entering the townships document retention area I was stunned at the condition of the room. There was visqueen plastic draped throughout the room clothes pinned to the ceiling. There were puddles of brown water laying within the visqueen.  I asked one of the township employees what was the cause of having all this plastic hanging from the ceiling. Their response,” the roof has been leaking for quite some time so we have this up to protect the file cabinets.  Last year, I was in the tax office in the municipal building and saw this same dramatic visqueen plastic set up due to the leaking roof. 


The room I was in was filled with numerous file cabinets. These file cabinets house important government records. All of the cabinets in this room had this plastic visqueen above them. There were extensive puddles of brown water scattered throughout the visqueen, above the cabinets. Obviously mold growing from the continued wetness.  Is this how our government documents should be safeguarded? This is also not an optimal work environment for the employees as well.


 Once I finished examining the files in the metal cabinets, I was given numerous old, collapsed boxes to leaf through to evaluate the documents.  The boxes are not labeled just stuffed with numerous amounts of paper.


Upon further discussions and follow up with the Hamilton township Clerk, who has been in her position for 35  years we learned that emails just "disappear.  All servers just "disappear" when people leave office, no email or digital file was ever saved prior to July 2010, they were all deleted.


In addition, in the past 35 years there has never been a certification (this properly documents what documents or emails have been deleted or sent to the state archive) done ever in the history of Hamilton township in Mercer County. All certifications come through the Hamilton municipal clerk and she has never processed one.


The municipal clerk is well aware of the shenanigans going on with the deletion of files and emails, her own have just disappeared, but nothing has ever been done to rectify the situation or document this behavior is going on.  


Governments are bound by law to protect all records; which includes emails. which are in their custody.  The law defines the roles laid out in the Annotated Code in an effort to protect records considered essential to the continuing operation of government, guarantee the integrity and preservation of permanent records, ensure the legal admissibility of the permanent record, secure the rights and privileges of citizens, assure public access to the records of government, promote agency legal and fiscal accountability, provide a means to document agency administrative history.

The law also further states that a person may not willfully alter, deface, destroy, remove, or conceal a public record except under proper authority. Exploring the regulations makes it clear that records management is important to the management of your government's responsibilities.


The Division and the State Archivist have adopted regulations to define the character of records of archival quality; determine the quantity of those records;  set standards for the development of record retention and disposal schedules; and provide for the periodic transfer to the State Archivist or disposal of records, in accordance with the schedules.


Transparency of government is only possible through records management. Continuity of records is an integral piece of public officials' responsibility to their constituents. Though it may sound challenging, adhering to good records management practices will be beneficial in the long-term. An office with easy and reliable access to its records will operate efficiently.


 Yesterday, the Trentonian reported a story, see link below



 I sat on the economic development board for 1.5 years and resigned from the board due to the unprofessional aspects and lack of integrity of the township.  The way volunteers were treated was despicable.


We all had to sit through "integrity training" which was actually taught by the townships insurance company. There were NO township officials at the training. Only the workerbees and volunteers (at least at the scheduled training I attended). The HR team from the twp was not in attendance at the training I attended. The was orchestrated by the townships insurance company.


It was clear from the insurance company that after the training that if anyone ignored the training aspects and the township was sued for something an employee/volunteer did, and they were trained on this aspect, that employee/volunteer would not be covered under the townships policy. They would need to hire their own lawyer and the township would not help them in any way. 


The integrity policy that the township has does not have the teeth in it as the Mayor touts. It is nothing more than a memo, see link below.  





This memo which was written by the prior mayor who went to jail.  It makes reference to a state policy, but the township does not share this state policy with anyone who is asked to sign this memo. One would think they would have the link directly to the State policy near the memo. This is not the case. Clarity on these types of issues is the only way to ensure everyone understands the policy.


I will share with you an email exchange between myself and the township lawyer. This exchange happened during my tenure on the township economic development board.  There are several policies on the state site. Unless the township gives that exact policy to everyone, so everyone clearly understands all the rules, then it's not a policy.  The loopholes for the people become large and plentiful for those involved if this is not done. But maybe that is exactly what they want, loopholes.


In the article by the Trentonian they make reference to a statement by the Mayor.


"In a memo dated Feb. 4, 2013, Yaede informed all township employees, including police officers, that “gifts and other things of value that are otherwise permissible to accept may be impermissible if they are used or displayed in an inappropriate manner, such as in a manner that may create an impression of favoritism or endorsement.”


Any government employee worth the honor of holding office or having a government job, knows full well that they cannot take ANY gift EVER. EVER. EVER. EVER. There are no exceptions. They cannot take even a pencil. If you do, you are out of a job, instantly.


This "new" law is not worth paper it is written on if there is no accountability demonstrated to those who break the laws. There is never follow up or accountability given for breaking the law with the current administration. They are running amok. They have a social media policy that their own employees do not follow. There are directors within the township that post inappropriate items constantly. There are no reprecussions for that.  


This photo taken in Feb 2014 on Sandalwood Ave in Hamilton, private plowing for twp "people". The road is not plowed, but this resident got a personal plowing. 


You will see in this email thread what I asked the township Lawyer about this memo they wanted us to sign. After his response I kept reaching out to him to obtain the full document that they are using as a reference. All the emails went unresponded to from Mr Burbage for this information. This is the typical response from township officials, no response. 



There are no teeth in this law, or in the policy. It's another wondercloud of falsehoods created by administration that is as dense as osmium. There is zero transparency in this local government.


Email thread below


On Wednesday, June 11, 2014 4:23 PM, Tammy Duffy <tammy.duffy@yahoo.com> wrote:




Thank you for this information. I went to the web and there are several links that go to different documents as it pertains to the Ethics Code for the State of NJ.


I might suggest that whatever document was utilized to create the summary memorandums that were sent to us, be sent to the members of the commissions. Without this no one can sign these documents. This will ensure that there is no confusion on how people were trained and what document was read by the individual. By sending the exact document this also ensures that in the event someone breaks the rules they were informed of ALL of the regulations and the individual cannot say, "I was never told and did not know". The summary memorandum does not cover all the policies that have been developed by the State of NJ. 


To compare this, one would never sign a one page summary given to you by a mortgage broker and not read the entire mortgage documentation to ensure you understood and were informed of all the details of the mortgage. 


I look forward to receiving the full document or appropriate link.


Kind Regards,




Dr. Tammy Anne Duffy


On Wednesday, June 11, 2014 2:54 PM, "LBurbage@hamiltonnj.com" <LBurbage@hamiltonnj.com> wrote:


Dr. Duffy-Loretta forwarded your email concerning the above referenced matter to me for reply. Although there are several references to the Local Government Ethics Law, the term “Local”, actually is referring to the State of N.J. Code. The summary, is just that, a summary of the high points in the state code. The entire document can be found on the N.J. website. Thank you for your questions.   LLB



Dr. Tammy Anne Duffy





HI! I have a question 

The code of ethics document is an interoffice memo. It is not a representation of the full code of ethics, it appears. In the second paragraph it says, "In summary", which leads me to believe there is a full document somewhere and these are just a few bullets from the document. Do you have the full document that this interoffice memo was created from?  It may just be that the words "in summary" need to be removed from the document because it creates the impression that the memo is a summary of a more extensive document.

Once I hear back with confirmation on what the full document looks like and have had the opportunity to read it, I will be happy to sign the documents. The gift and gratuity memo also makes reference to the "Local Govt Ethics Law."

I do not see this on the website ("Local Govt Ethics Law."). I only see the memo as mentioned above on the website.


If Hamilton really wants to have "teeth" in their law they will formally prosecute all the people involved with destroying government records over the years. All of the digital files and email prior to July 2010 have been destroyed.  There was no certification done to formally destroy these records. This is against the law, a serious violation of the law. One that should not be ignored.



As you know, Duffy's Cultural Couture has been reporting on the firing range that is located behind American Metro Way. This past weekend 30 dump trucks filled with dirt traveled through the community of Cornell Heights making a delivery. A delivery to the firing range. Upon speaking to the drivers of the trucks we learned the dirt (finest of grade) is being utilized to build add a high velocity component to the existing police range. What is this costing taxpayers? We tried to OPRA this information and the township refused to share it. But, the government is transparent?


In July, 2011, Kevin Schick,  Chief - Bureau of Environmental Evaluation & Risk Assessment contacted the township and had extensive discussions with the township on this firing range. He spoke with Richard Williams, Dir of Compliance and Planning.   He gave to them two documents that Schick considered the "gold standard" for best management practices (BMPs) at operational firing ranges.  The documents are from the ITRC and USEPA. "These BMPs should be considered for their operational police range", Schick said.  How much of what was in these documents from the DEP Chief do you think the township of Hamilton has implemented or created a SOP based on those documents?  I ask all of you to contact Mr Williams, OPRA the document and make your assessment about how transparent, caring of the community, this current administration is. Once you do that, make your decision on Nov 3rd for the people you feel are honest, caring of the community, and will put teeth into policies that are written.  


A final note to report on, the township did away with free permits for senior citizens in the township. What could this program possibly cost the township?  But, the township has no issue spending exorbitant amounts of money revamping a firing range and on a 5 person security detail for the current mayor?


Do you feel like you matter as a resident in Hamilton? Do you feel your hard earned tax dollars are being used properly? Do you feel safe? Do you feel that current administration is more concerned with serving themselves vs. serving the residents? 


Make your decision on November 3rd.



Posted by tammyduffy at 7:40 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 22 October 2015 9:38 PM EDT
Tuesday, 20 October 2015


By Tammy Duffy 






If you are selling a residential property in New Jersey, you presumably wish to avoid having the buyer later back out of the deal, or worse, take you to court. To that end, you should consider what, if anything, you should disclose to a potential buyer about the property’s physical or other defects and issues.



You may have heard the legal term “caveat emptor,” a Latin phrase meaning "Let the buyer beware." It’s an age-old axiom that is still applied to real estate transactions, meaning that if the buyer isn’t proactive enough to figure out what’s wrong with the property, the seller can’t be held responsible. Allow me, however, to introduce you to a perhaps lesser known Latin axiom, caveat venditor. "Let the seller beware."



Although there are no required disclosures a seller must make under New Jersey statutes, New Jersey courts have carved out exceptions to this general rule (under what’s called the common law), which protect buyers against sellers who fail to disclose material facts or who hide information about their property.



Failing to understand and abide by your disclosure obligations can be costlier than whatever price reductions and repairs you might have had to undertake by being up front about problems early on. The ideal transaction will involve both the seller and buyer sharing with each other all information that is pertinent to the transaction.






We recently called the Sales office of the Crossings at Hamilton and spoke to one of their top sales reps.  As you may recall in our article (in link above) the residents of the Crossings have become landlocked. There is also a new addition going in at the Police firing range that sits behind the Crossings. There will be a high velocity range added to the firing range.


We asked some questions as it pertains to what has recently happened at the Crossings of their sales team. We asked, "Your website states that residents have a mere stroll to the train station from their homes. Yet there are new signs in the development that clearly state one would be prosecuted if caught walking in the area. Can you share with us how you can make the statement on your website in all honesty?"  The sales rep said," I had no idea this has happened. "  We find that hard to believe. There are signs posted all over the property, at the entrance, exit and throughout the property.


We also asked about their knowledge of the gun range and how they share that information with prospective buyers, again a completely denial of even knowing a gun range existed. Again, they denied knowing of the gun range. They would have to be hard of hearing not to hear the gun fire that is constantly occurring at the range.


What would happen if a gun was accidentally fired into the air by someone at this range? It would not matter what berm or wall that was established at the outdoor range, there would be no stopping that bullet.


Is this real estate agent clueless or dishonest from the Crossings? Do you believe that they knew nothing of both of these issues?


When selling your home, you may be obligated to disclose problems that could affect the property's value or desirability. In most states, it is illegal to fraudulently conceal major physical defects in your property such as a basement that floods in heavy rains. And many states now require sellers to take a proactive role by making written disclosures about the condition of the property.


Generally, you are responsible for disclosing only information within your personal knowledge. In other words, you don't usually need to hire inspectors to turn up problems you never had an inkling existed.


Some states require more. However, some states' laws identify certain problems that are your responsibility to search for, whether you see signs of the problem or not. In these cases, or where you could have seen a particular defect but turned a blind eye, you could ultimately end up in court, compensating the buyer for the costs of your failure to speak up sooner.


When selling a house, New Jersey law inserts a rule that you are implying that it is fit to live in or habitable under the "implied warranty of habitability." This is the case whether you say your house is habitable or not – in other words, you can’t sell it “as is” and thus escape this requirement.


In order to protect buyers from unwittingly purchasing real estate with hidden defects, a New Jersey home seller also has a duty under the common law to tell prospective buyers about known, latent (concealed) material defects in the property. For example, if you know that when it rains heavily your roof leaks into your attic, but there is no obvious evidence of that, you may wish to disclose this fact.


Hidden issues with the property that may affect the health or safety of inhabitants are particularly important to disclose. For example, if you have had your property tested for radon and the results show that the radon level is above what is considered safe, failure to disclose this may result in future legal action against you by the buyer.


As a seller, any materially false statements you say or write, or any material omissions you make that are relied upon by a buyer may, if they cause a loss to that buyer or make the property uninhabitable, set you up for a possible lawsuit. The likely legal bases include fraud or misrepresentation.


Such a lawsuit can be brought before or after the closing -- perhaps many years after, depending on New Jersey’s “statute of limitations” laws, which limit the number of years within which a suit can be brought.


The key to determining what other disclosures you must make to prospective home buyers is often found in the sale contract itself. Your Contract of Sale, if it is the standard form prepared by a licensed selling or listing Realtor in New Jersey, will include representations or promises you are making about the property.


One of these "promises" is that the property and all systems and equipment servicing the property are in good working order. This doesn't mean that each system is brand new or in perfect working order -- just that for the age and type of the particular system, it works.

The contract may also have you identify how you have used the property and state that this use does not violate any current zoning ordinances. So, if you are using it as a single family home, your contract will state that this is a proper use of the home under the current local zoning laws.


The standard contract will typically state that you have not made any improvements to the property that require permits from your municipality; and, if you have made any such improvements, that you have obtained final approvals for the completed work. The reason you need to disclose this information is twofold. First, the buyer will want to know that the work was done properly and according to code and that it passed formal inspection by the municipality. Second, the buyer will want to know that the property tax already includes an added assessment based upon the property as improved.


In many cases, a seller will have made additions to the property -- say, an extra bathroom -- but never notified the municipality about the work. If this information is revealed during the sale process (perhaps because the township does a certificate of occupancy inspection and discovers the new bathroom), the seller will have to pay taxes in the form of an "omitted assessment" at settlement. However, if the municipality does not find out until some later date, the buyer may end up having to foot the bill for up to two years’ worth of omitted tax assessments, and might possibly come after the seller for misrepresentation.


A standard contract includes many representations. Contracts of Sale are long, complex documents that include legal terms. So, it is best to retain an experienced, local real estate attorney to review the contract with you. The attorney will explain the contract and point out what each provision means and its importance.


You may want to sell your house "as is." Essentially, this means that you, as seller, do not intend on making any repairs to the property as part of the sale process. You may have set the sale price taking into account the condition of the property and reduced the price accordingly. You may not have the ability or the funds to make needed repairs to the property, even if you pay for them out of the sale proceeds.


Many Realtor-prepared contracts will include an "as is" clause. However, because the buyer is entitled to inspect and cancel, if warranted, this "as is" clause is often misunderstood by sellers to mean that if the buyer wants the property he has to take it "as is," without any chance to cancel the contract or request repairs from the seller.

The "as is" clause more accurately points out to the buyer that the seller most likely has no intention of making any repairs to the property or even entering negotiations about repairs. The "as is" clause is accompanied by an inspection clause that permits the buyer to cancel the contract should the buyer's inspection(s) reveal major defects that the buyer is not willing accept the property with.


If you intentionally misrepresent, fraudulently conceal, or even negligently conceal something unrelated to the failure of inspection, even the "as is" clause may not protect you in a common law fraud or misrepresentation case. For example, hiding the fact that there is an old underground oil tank on the property may be unwise. Not sharing the fact that you do not have access to a walkway to the train or that a high velocity range is within walking distance could become a large issue for a real estate agent.


Buyers in the business of investing in, rehabilitating, and reselling (flipping) properties often buy a property "as is" and in some cases, without completing a formal inspection. These folks know what they are getting into. They know they are paying a lesser price because of its condition and do not expect the seller to make any repairs. Even in this scenario, you should carefully consider what to disclose to the buyer.


For most buyers, inspections are a must. Standard New Jersey home sale contracts normally give the buyer the right to have certified inspectors inspect the property to determine whether it has any defects. If the inspection(s) reveal major defects, the buyer may be permitted to cancel the contract. The types of defects that will permit the buyer to cancel are generally outlined in the contract: roof leaks, problems with the foundation or structure, plumbing, or heating and electrical systems that are not working properly, and so on.


Don’t worry that the discovery of home defects will inevitably lead to the deal falling through. Even if inspections reveal problems -- as is likely -- most contracts include provisions that permit the transaction to survive. For example, the seller can agree to repair or replace the defective items, give the buyer a credit with which to make the repairs later on, or the buyer can accept the property with a reduction in the purchase price. These details are usually negotiated between the parties or, preferably, between the parties' attorneys. The result of the negotiations should be put into writing and form an additional part of the contract.


There are time-sensitive requirements outlined in the contract in order for the buyer to take advantage of these provisions. This means that if the contract gives the buyer the opportunity to inspect the property and he or she does not, the buyer is still obliged to go through with the purchase.


Posted by tammyduffy at 8:19 PM EDT
Friday, 16 October 2015
The Evolution of the Nude in 19th-Century French Art, at the Zimmerli this Fall


 The Evolution of the Nude in 19th-Century
French Art, at the Zimmerli this Fall
 Today, images of celebrities au naturel are readily available across the multitude of visual platforms encountered in daily life. But before the late 1800s, the study of nude models was restricted to the most prestigious academic classes or the studios of established artists. States of Undress: Bathers and Nudes in Nineteenth-Century French Art, on view at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers through January 6, 2016, examines an era when the notion of “indecency” dramatically shifted and a more modernist view of the representation of the human figure emerged. Twenty prints and drawings, as well as a painting, demonstrate how French artists relied on tradition and training while updating the context for the nude figure in their works. No longer were figures trapped in heroic or idealized poses; they were placed in realistic contemporary scenes, as well as in ethereal or invented settings. Works by such artists as Edouard Manet, Theo van Rysselberghe, Adolphe Willette, and others reveal these radical visual changes that also influenced people’s attitudes in accepting the modern nude as an expressive vehicle for conveying physical and emotional states of human experience.


“Nude figures traditionally represented ideal beauty in art,” noted Christine Giviskos, Associate Curator of European Art at the Zimmerli. “And ambitious artists worked diligently to master the human form. During the 19th century, artists still emphasized the human figure, but they no longer felt obligated to depict perfect human forms.”     


Mastery of the human figure continues to be a key tenet of serious artistic training. Renaissance masterpieces established the nude as a pinnacle of artistic achievement, a status that persisted for hundreds of years. When the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture institutionalized its program for drawing instruction in 1648, only the most advanced students were permitted to draw from nude models. The Academy also showed preference for painters who focused on allegorical, mythological, and historical subjects. Though the Academy was dismantled following the 1789 Revolution, and traditional subject matter declined in favor of landscapes and contemporary life, standards for representing the unclothed body remained static in the French artistic establishment well into the 1800s. But by the second half of the century, artists initiated new approaches to the topic.


The exhibition includes Edouard Manet’s 1867 print of Olympia – a reproduction of his earlier monumental painting that shocked audiences and critics at the 1865 Salon exhibition in Paris (now housed at the city’s Musée d’Orsay). The subject presented a sea change in thinking within the history of art: the realistic depiction of a nude woman confronting the viewer’s gaze is no longer unfamiliar in art, or the broader realm of the visual media. Manet initially created this etching for a pamphlet that accompanied an 1867 exhibition of his works, but neither Manet nor the exhibition organizers were satisfied with the translation of the painting into print. Instead, he published it in a small edition.


Several works in the exhibition focus on the subject of women bathing – that is, swimming or enjoying leisure time in natural bodies of water, – which had become standard among ambitious artists. Such images had long been popular in French art; in particular, the goddess Diana and her maidens in pastoral settings. And while some artists continued to make references to well-known mythological subjects, the modern female nude became increasingly unidealized and unromanticized.


Two prints of similar bathing scenes portray different moods, in part because of their varied techniques. The 1894 woodcut Les Trois Baigneuses (Three Bathers) by Swiss artist Félix Edouard Valloton reflects his intense interest in the subject during the last decade of his life. The stark, somewhat proper, figures do not seem to interact. They are fragmented and appear to float above the water's surface – an unusual format that may have resulted as a solution to the challenge of depicting a group of bathers in this vertically oriented composition for an avant-garde literary journal. In contrast, Hermann-Paul’s color lithograph Trois Femmes nues se baignant (Three Nude Bathers) – thought by some to have been created in response to Valloton’s work – is more fluid. The figures are somewhat brash, grabbing at each other. Though Hermann-Paul often depicted men and women in compromising situations for publications with a satirical or social commentary angle, he rarely documented nude figures in such common activities as seen in this print. 


The Zimmerli’s extensive collection of French 19th-century works on paper – notably prints and rare books – allows the museum to explore specialized topics that trace developments in the history of art, many of which are influential in today’s art world. Recent exhibitions have focused on the depiction of war, theater, sports, medicine, and satire, which remain relevant subjects in art and literature, as well as popular culture.


States of Undress: Bathers and Nudes in Nineteenth-Century French Art is organized by Christine Giviskos, Associate Curator of European Art.





Posted by tammyduffy at 6:05 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 16 October 2015 6:07 PM EDT

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