Carol A. Hoernlein P.E.
Greetings From The Garden State
Carol is a licensed Water Resources Civil Engineer practicing in Northern NJ. In 2007, Carol became known statewide in NJ as an elected official/political blogger by raising awareness of NJ political corruption not being covered by the local press. Before switching careers, Carol studied Food Science and Agricultural Engineering at Rutgers and worked as a Research & Development food process engineer.
Latest by Carol A. Hoernlein P.E.
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | June 16, 2014
The Bill to Save the Palisades
On June 5 , the NJ Senate Committee on Energy and Environment voted to send bill 2025 to save the Palisades to the full Senate. It was a long hearing with many more in favor of the bill than opposed. But it was quite a different scene than the first Englewood Cliffs Planning Board hearing that sparked this one. The bipartisan bill introduced is to preserve the historic 35 ft height ordinance on the Palisades 2,000 ft back from the cliff face and to make it retroactive to any building that does not have its foundation in yet.
What a Difference Venue Makes
There were no police dogs, the trade union men wore suits, …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | May 27, 2014
As I was struggling to put into words how the Nigerian kidnapping has affected and haunted the thoughts of women around the world, including this one, the California massacre occurred. It darkened my thoughts all weekend.
They say your life flashes before your eyes during a terrifying event. Well, I wasn’t the only one who suddenly remembered every single episode of misogyny, or fear in my life. Something about this story hit the mother lode of emotion this weekend in women around the world. The new twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen was born and revealed an awful lot. That yes, we still have old fashioned sexism in the world, and most men don’t even see it. Women have become so …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | May 10, 2014
I have been holding my breath like many all over the world, waiting for concrete news of the fate of vanished Malaysian Flight 370. I have held my tongue for weeks, until more evidence came to light. Through it all I hoped all the passengers and crew would be found safe at an airport somewhere. While we all waited for news of the Malaysian flight, the mudslide occurred in Washington state, cutting short more young lives. Then when we thought we could bear no more sadness, the ferry in South Korea sank, full of young teens. The avalanche at Mt. Everest took yet more lives, then the landslide in Afghanistan. The tornado in Arkansas. Tragedies and incredible sadness …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | May 4, 2014
I knew it would be crowded, which is why I wanted to get to the Englewood Cliffs Master Plan Hearing an hour early, but Eric Nelsen and I arrived at the Upper School in Englewood Cliffs at 7:00, just a half hour before the hearing in a tiny Bergen County town on the Palisades – population 5,281.
I was already prepared for a travesty of justice by the land use board steamrolling over residents’ objections to hi-rises on the Palisades, but my heart sank even deeper as we got within 6 blocks of the school. As we slowly drove along Charlotte Place I saw “no parking” police signs lining one side of every street, and recognized the shiny …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | April 26, 2014
A friend involved in NJ politics always tells me, when it comes to political corruption, if you want to stop a strategy – expose the strategy. Her father made a living turning over rocks in NJ and fighting whatever corrupt mobsters were under them – often at great risk to himself. Another NJ Councilwoman I know had a grandfather who became famous for cleaning up the Hudson County waterfront from something out of a gritty Marlon Brando movie into the respectable and expensive “Gold Coast” it is now.
These things were hard, even dangerous, but the results speak for themselves. Sunshine on the problems we faced then was the best disinfectant and led to the laws we now have …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | April 12, 2014
Recently I had the honor of meeting a lady, a true lady in every sense of the word, who opened my mind. It was near Christmas time, and I and my husband were invited to a concert given by Florence and her son that changed my world view. Tiny and frail, her heart and her mind are as expansive as the planet itself. She spends her days bringing people from all over the world together to speak the universal language of music. The theme of the concert that night was Pangea and the music was specifically written and played to celebrate the concept and the reality that was Pangea, the original continent that once contained all the others.
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | April 7, 2014
The expensive report assembled by the$ 650 /hour Christie administration attorney, Randy Mastro of the firm Gibson Dunn, and Crutcher, and released on March 27, but paid for by the New Jersey taxpayer, was not all it was advertised to be. Containing imaginative descriptions that call to mind a badly written novel, the report, assembled by friends of the Governor, and lacking backup for its sexist assertions has roundly been called a “whitewash”.
I am reminded of biased science reporting I see often these days, where the actual data behind some breathless reports about this or that finding actually contradict the conclusions of the very same report. The text messages buried in the report actually describe a targeted …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | March 28, 2014
Sometimes a Student is just a Student
Last week when Gov Chris Christie declared that anyone opposing him at his carefully crafted town hall meetings was sent by CWA, the union representing State Employees, his favorite punching bag, it seemed to me to be the largest case of transference I had ever seen.
As a former state employee and former member of said union I was struck by how quickly – within mere seconds – he declared the protesters as all CWA members. They were not. Some were residents of NJ and students. But Christie’s instantaneous conclusion leap was telling.
The Amazing Race
You see, just recently, Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye, who had relieved the traffic congestion in …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | March 21, 2014
The latest news this weekend that new studies show no danger from saturated fat again demonstrates how little the “experts” know about nutrition.
I have been trying to write a book about food for a decade now. I have nearly given up. The science is changing daily because our knowledge is still evolving. Every day something new pops up and it makes me go off down another scientific rabbit hole it takes weeks to emerge from. However, after studying food science and practicing food engineering in the halls of international food companies, I have come to a few conclusions I’d like to share.
Searching for BigFoot
We all know how one week a food is the “SuperFood” and …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | March 10, 2014
What do flat screen TVs, a national historic landmark and NJ political dysfunction have to do with each other? Plenty, if you live in North Jersey. The current battle waging in Bergen County right now, pitting town against town is not Bridgegate. It is the battle over the height of the proposed new LG headquarters in Englewood Cliffs.
National Natural Historic Landmark
I have a little background on this, since I used to be the NJ engineer for the Palisades Interstate Park Commission and I actually narrated the documentary about the creation and the building of the Palisades Interstate Park which invites millions of visitors from around the world each year. The Park is part of me, …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | March 3, 2014
You knew there had to be at least one funny Jersey angle to this whole sordid cynical story of NJ corruption, didn’t you? I guarantee you haven’t heard this story yet. I was fortunate to witness the craziness firsthand and simply remembering it still makes me laugh, if only for a moment, until the seriousness of the corruption once again sets in.
Funny Fort Lee
At the time, a few of my friends from Fort Lee, a wonderful bunch who have the most infectious sense of humor and share it generously, came up with a silly idea. While Chris Christie was running for Governor against Jon Corzine, these Fort Lee folks wondered, wouldn’t it be fun to run a campaign …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | March 2, 2014
The latest Bridgegate bombshell out shattering any scintilla of public trust still left in the Christie Administration dropped today. The toll hike was simply a cynical ploy abusing commuters for political impact to make the Governors of NY and NJ look good while creating a bi-state slush fund to be used to reward friends and punish enemies. The tolls were apparently raised exorbitantly high so Christie and Cuomo could look like good guys for making the Port Authority lower them, at the same time, the excess would be used to fund pet projects so they did not have to look like they were raising taxes.
Former and current Port Authority employees reveal the “War Room” tactics to Shawn Boburg of …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | January 25, 2014
Exactly what part of NJ is tidal, anyway?
Watching Steve Kornacki on Up this morning I was struck by the ignorance that still surrounds what happened during Hurricane Sandy to NJ, NY and Connecticut communities North of “the Shore”. I began to shout at my TV. The Republican legislator on the Bridgegate investigatory committee thought the $342,000 that went to Hoboken was plenty of money because, as he put it, Hoboken “did not experience a tidal surge”. Au, contraire.
The problem is, because of the Stronger Than the Storm ads, people outside New Jersey and even apparently inside it (legislators yet) think that Hoboken got their fair share of Sandy aid. They mistakenly think communities north like Hoboken were …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | January 18, 2014
The 98th Annual League of Municipalities Convention luncheon on November 21, 2013, was supposed to be the traditional annual address to a bipartisan gathering of the Mayors and Councilmembers that make up New Jersey’s 566 Municipalities. The theme was “Navigating Recovery & Renewal” (or “Dealing with the Devastation of Sandy”). And NJ Governor Chris Christie was a no show.
The League of Municipalities is not an imaginary group of cartoon Superheroes like we used to watch on Saturday mornings, but it is a pretty important group of folks in the State of New Jersey who help train and educate ordinary folks on how to be better elected officials.
Many folks wonder how New Jersey can operate as a …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | January 17, 2014
The reasons for the illegal lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in the Bridgegate scandal are still a mystery. Although Mayor Sokolich was blamed by Port Authority police officers, and Sen Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg was running for re-election and Christie would love nothing more than a Senate without her in it, and Steve Kornacki’s real estate theory was intriguing, we still have no proof.
Here is my theory, although not very Hollywood, it is logical and explains the involvement of so many people, including the Commissioners. The illegal closures may have simply been done to justify the toll increases that the Port Authority had rushed through and to distract from a scathing Congressional report that came out the …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | January 16, 2014
One of the most intriguing theories advanced in Bridgegate by Steve Kornacki that seems most plausible to my political sources here in NJ has been the real estate angle. That, as well as Port Authority Chairman David Samson’s possible role in the scandal and the utter silence of the Board of Commissioners.
Still a Whodunit
Currently the feeding frenzy centered around Chris Christie by the national media is viewed here as not helpful to the investigation. Partisans from across the country are trying to make this about Chris Christie and 2016 when the clues have not led directly to him just yet.
I have spoken to NJ Legislative staffers who have been swamped with phone calls from across the country …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | January 12, 2014
Bridge-Gate – The Cliffhanger
The past few months have been a slowly unfolding whodunit turned into a blockbuster overnight on January 8, as emails were revealed to the press that directly linked Chris Christie’s staff to the growing Bridgegate scandal. At first blush when it happened, it was billed as a petty fairytale of political vengeance by a few that went awry and widened to ensnare an unwilling cast of thousands in the world’s first pre-Hollywood film town. Fort Lee.
The dramatic backdrop for this story includes the breathtaking NJ Palisades along the picturesque Hudson River, overshadowed by what NJ residents consider the prettiest, as well as busiest, bridge in the world. Fort Lee was world famous long …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | December 23, 2013
When someone is in a deep hole, the way to get out of it is to first – stop digging. Not the kind of digging the investigators at the Port Authority, in Trenton, and now in Washington are doing. They aren’t in deep trouble. They are trying to uncover the truth, which could clear up the whole mystery of the September lane closures, now dubbed Bridgegate. Gov. Christie, by contrast, is digging his Presidential ambitions a hole he may have trouble climbing out of.
How to Get There From Here
The past few weeks have been interesting in the NYC area to say the least. As someone whose original hometown was Fort Lee until my parents moved me …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | December 18, 2013
I first heard about NJ’s Shadow Governments when I was invited to a press conference by State Senator Loretta Weinberg in October of 2007.
Senator Weinberg and the Assembly members of her district, Gordon Johnson and Valerie Huttle, used the term to describe the Commissions and Authorities in NJ run by un-elected appointees. The main one being investigated in 2007, was the Passaic Valley Sewerage Authority, although the Bergen County Improvement Authority, the NJ Economic Development Authority (that chose the Stronger than the Storm ad firm), the Delaware River Port Authority, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, now being hotly discussed, are some of the others.
These commissions and authorities have the responsibility …
By Carol A. Hoernlein P.E. | Greetings From The Garden State | December 11, 2013
How to conduct a Traffic Study
Listening to the 5 hours of riveting hearings on the Port Authority lane closings at the George Washington Bridge on Monday, I started having flashbacks to my first engineering related job.
I was a Traffic Enumerator. I literally counted cars at intersections with my elderly co-worker Sam. Often folks passing by would ask if we were selling lemonade or waiting for a parade. We looked like a kindly old gentleman and his granddaughter sitting in lawn chairs on the sidewalk. But we were off to the side, not interfering, and certainly not directing traffic. In my lap I held a square traffic counter that had buttons all around the sides. The modern digital ones …