Carol A. Hoernlein P.E.
Opinion

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.

  • Science. It Doesn’t Mean What They Think it Means

    Science

    Political Science

    An awful lot of political science majors are throwing around the word science a little too loosely these days. As if they somehow own it.

    Perspective

    I was a scientist. With the lab coat and the laboratory notebook, the whole deal. I was designing and carrying out experiments and such. I know intimately what it means to go to work every day at a lab bench. But I have had some vexing arguments with political science majors who end their arguments with “science says” like it was that child’s game named after some long forgotten guy named Simon.

    Science has become a political football. Political bloggers recently have called me – someone who actually was a scientist, anti-science …


  • Ferriero Trial:  Break out the Popcorn

    CountyPaytoPlay

    Next week the racketeering trial of Joe Ferriero, the former Chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Organization begins. The antics of Mr. Ferriero, who the New York Times portrayed as a modern day Boss Tweed, is the reason I became a political blogger in New Jersey in the first place. Next week, the biggest rock in New Jersey is about to be overturned in front of a jury and the politicians are about to scatter every which way. It will be quite fascinating. I know I will be breaking out the popcorn.

    The charges are for racketeering. A nice way of saying Ferriero ran the most affluent county in NJ like Tony Soprano, minus the murder. Everyone had to kiss …


  • Avalon at Edgewater – The Politics of Fire

    Fire

    Preventable Tragedy

    As an engineer and former fire commissioner, I was appalled at the way the Edgewater tragedy unfolded, even if I wasn’t surprised.

    As the former council liaison to the Tenafly Fire Department, I have a soft spot in my heart for firefighters and I feel that the type of construction used at the Avalon is too dangerous. Bergen County is no stranger to horrific tragedies from truss frame roofs.  The Ford Fire in Hackensack, where 5 firefighters died was infamous. The reason no firefighters died at the Avalon was because of the lessons learned from the Ford fire. The Edgewater Fire Department did an incredible job saving lives at Avalon, but they should have been called immediately.…


  • On the NJ Waterfront: Taking Liberty

    Statue of Liberty taken 2014 at sunset from the AJ Meerwald.

    “On The Waterfront”

    I learned a lot about the old days “On the Waterfront” in NJ from friends who helped create the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy, tasked with implementing the famous 18 mile Hudson River Walkway. That history is instructive. To anyone with even a passing knowledge of Hudson County politics – the pinnacle of Jersey political corruption – the latest news about Liberty State Park looks exactly like a ham-fisted land grab.

    The “Gold Coast”

    Instead of blight, there is now a Gold Coast, in part because of the creation of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway and the cleaning up and creation of parks along the Hudson shoreline. While the view has improved, corruption still lingers beneath.  The …


  • Another Day, Another Nutrition “Study”

    BREAD

    Sigh. The headlines last week were filled with talk of how the latest study showed that eating low glycemic index (GI) foods, which don’t raise blood sugar levels quickly, rather than high glycemic foods, had no effect on health. A critical look at the way the study was conceived, planned and analyzed is necessary here. 

    Since When is Pasta Low Glycemic?

    The biggest problem with this study  is that grains and potatoes were used in both the low GI and high GI groups. Why bother using non-starchy vegetables in the low glycemic group when you include high glycemic grains, rice, pasta and potatoes in that group? Or high fiber in all groups? The degree of processing of whole grains also …


  • Bridgegate Update: Meltdown

    The infamous 3 lanes.

    Ever since I was transfixed listening to what would be called Bridgegate testimony a year ago nearly to the day, the day that Governor Chris Christie deleted texts between himself and his aide Regina Egea, I have been following Bridgegate, live tweeting the hearings, reading everything I could get my hands on, and watching every development on TV. I tuned in today, too.

    December 9, 2013, the day of the deleted texts, was the day I first realized Chris Christie’s appointees had a lot of explaining to do.  My first blog about Bridgegate was inspired by the testimony before the Committee on December 9. I actually called it Toll-Gate because it occurred within feet of the toll booth and not …


  • Ferguson: Why Racism is Still a National Disgrace

    I wrote this before the Garner decision. As I publish this, NYC is overwhelmed with Christmas lights, and protestors over the latest unfathomable Grand Jury decision over the homicide of Eric Garner, father of six.  I watched the video of his death last night and I began to count how many times he said he could not breath. I got to 7 before starting to cry.  
    “Way Down South Up North”

    I grew up in the segregated north.  New Jersey to be exact. True, I was born after the civil rights act of 1964 was passed, but the centuries of racism and discrimination are still painfully visible. I can only imagine how hard things are in Ferguson Missouri today. 

    Just …


  • Election 2014 – Apathy Won

    Everyone Has an Opinion

    In the US, midterm elections are a strange event.  It is usually when the party in power loses some.  This year was no exception. The Democrats lost control of the Senate.  Why this occurred kept pundits busy for a quite a few days, and naturally everyone had a different opinion as to why.  Since this is an opinion piece, here’s my take.

    Turnout

    On election night, folks in Canada incredulously watched over the border as we, now in control of our economy, energy independence, unemployment rate, health care costs, reputation, as well as deficit turned around to supposedly slap our President for being so good at his job by taking away the Senate.  However, one stubborn …


  • Why Freedom of Speech Comes First

    Democracy

    Watching the news from Hong Kong this week as democracy protests filled up the screen, I contemplated what democracy means to me and all the bumps and bruises it takes to protect it once you get it. Here are my thoughts.

    Your Voice

    Your voice is the most powerful weapon you have. The very first amendment made to our Constitution is our most cherished and important one and the one most under attack from all sides every waking moment here. Freedom of Speech.  It comes before the right to bear arms because it is so much more powerful and why the corrupt are constantly trying to silence it.  Even here.  In a democracy.  Every single day.

    Inspiration

    Growing up …


  • The Lady Weeps

    Statue of Liberty taken 2014 at sunset from the AJ Meerwald.

    A Dream Ending

    This summer, during our annual trip on NJ’s official tall ship the A.J Meerwald, we passed the Statue of Liberty at sunset.  This year, I thought I saw her weeping.  As the beautiful day drew to a close behind her amazing silhouette, it seemed that the day of welcoming those huddled masses was also drawing to a close as well. 

    The way the child refugees crossing the border into the United States are being treated by people claiming to love America is a travesty.   We can’t possibly survive as a nation or even a species when we so cavalierly disregard children, no matter where they come from.  This year news all over the world has been of …


  • Ebola on My Mind

    The Fear Factor

    It is hard to escape the news these days. What is scarier than a religious extremist with a sadistic streak, a knife fetish, and lots of stolen Iraqi weapons? An enemy you can’t see that could be infecting your family member or neighbor, right this very minute. Ebola. Fear of it has nearly wiped the group terrorizing Syria and Iraq, off the front page.

    Modern Medicine

    Since the 1970’s we have been in a comfortable state of ignorance that modern medicine had all our worst fears beat. That vaccines and antibiotics would protect us from any microscopic invader. AIDS was a huge wake up call, but we now all know folks who are managing to live with …


  • Climate Change: A NJ Stormwater Engineer’s Perspective

    The calm before the storm.

    The March

    This week as I watched the march in NYC, I was filled with hope that at last people were hearing the dire warnings of climate scientists.  For the past few years, climate scientists and stormwater engineers like me were suffering from Chicken Little complex. The sky, laden with CO2 and methane, was literally falling on our heads and the President was mistakenly telling everyone else that natural gas would save us.

    Lost Sleep

    As a water resources engineer and drainage specialist, I lost double the sleep since Hurricane Katrina hit. As an engineer tasked with preventing flooding damage to people and property on a daily basis while also protecting drinking water, I already had to change my calculations …


  • The CDC Whistleblower – Injecting Sanity Into the Vaccine Debate

    Prevalence of Autism Over Time

    Update: For those following the story of the CDC Whistleblower,  the twitter hashtags trending are #CDCWhistleblower, #CDCFraud, #Vaccinegate and #HearThisWell, which carries moving video of parents sharing their stories. 

    CDC Whistleblower

    The only thing I found more troubling than the written admission last week by a whistleblower at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) of burying significant and important data in an autism study were the apparent efforts by most media outlets to censor and downplay this story and try to discredit people reporting on it.  One journal that had published a re-analysis of the original data that proved the vaccine-autism link summarily took down that study.  The original CNN ireport that initially broke the story has also been censored …


  • Millennial Roy Cho takes on Tea Party Garrett in NJ’s 5th

    Roy Cho and Kathy Maher (Bill's sister) who is working on his campaign.

    A Race for the Ages

    NJ’s 5th District Congressional race is catching national attention. I actually think of it as the Milennial vs. the Dinosaur race.  The youth vote may be pivotal here.  32 year old Democrat Roy Cho is challenging Tea Party elder Scott Garrett for what had been a safely Republican seat for many years. The differences in the candidates and their positions could not be more stark. 

    At Roy Cho’s HQ opening on August 4th, where I took the above photo, even I was surprised by the turnout. I had attended fundraisers for Congressional candidates in the 5th district for a few years now.  I even hosted a few. I know the district and I know the …


  • Mayor Renews Effort to Keep Englewood Cliffs Residents in The Dark

    View Northwest from under the GWB  by E. Nelsen

    Palisades Update:

    This morning, July 22, at 8 AM when most residents will be on their way to work, Englewood Cliffs Mayor Joseph Parisi scheduled a public hearing on an ordinance introduced by the Council in a 5 to 1 vote to keep building heights at the traditional 35 feet for the entire town.  

    At the last Council meeting, an ordinance was brought up to preserve the Palisades views after residents led by Carin Geiger and a group called “Concerned Residents of Englewood Cliffs” voiced their opposition to allowing hi-rises in Englewood Cliffs, on the Palisades.  

    This is how it happens – LG says they are “negotiating”, in effect stifling press reports by demanding radio silence from their opponents, while …


  • The NJ Legislature Must Act to Save the Palisades

    Sunset over the Palisades with a view of the Hudson from Wave Hill Park   c.hoernlein

    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, …


  • Fences & Walls: The Imaginary Barriers that Divide Us

    Fences

    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.

    Painful Reminders

    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 …


  • Heartbreak is Universal

    Tragedy

    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 …


  • Soggy Democracy on the Palisades

    Screenshot taken the day of the hearing showing NO meeting that night.

    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. 

    Monster Trucks

    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 …


  • Good Government Demands Sunshine on the Palisades

    Mayor Parisi email

    Sunshine

    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 …



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