John’s upbringing and record make him the best choice for 3rd District

Adler, a 16-year state senator from Cherry Hill, discussed his positions on the economy, foreign relations, Iraq, immigration, health care and partisanship during an hourlong meeting Wednesday with the Courier-Post Editorial Board.

Adler is running against Medford Mayor Chris Myers, a Republican, for the seat being vacated by retiring Republican Rep. Jim Saxton of Mount Holly.

Myers met with the editorial board Sept. 23.

Adler has billed himself as a champion for the middle-class whose upbringing as the son of a small-business owner in Haddonfield allows him to relate to his constituents.

“My parents lived the American Dream,” he said, a dream that was nearly destroyed when his father died after suffering several heart attacks.

Feds set aside $4.8 million for LBI beach replenishment

The ongoing Long Beach Island beach replenishment project has received a funding boost from the federal Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

The act represents an earmarked $4.8 million for the ongoing project. The act was approved by the Senate and House conference committee earlier this week. The final bill includes nearly $5 million for beach replenishment projects from Barnegat Inlet to Little Egg Inlet.

In addition, the bill provides $334,000 for the dredging of Barnegat Inlet and $385,000 for the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway project.

“This is great news for our Shore communities,” said Rep. John Adler, D-N.J. “Beach replenishment funding is critical to our local economy.

“I am pleased that Congress is taking a step in the right direction and sending this money to help LBI and our local economy,” Adler added.

In June, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations earmarked $600,000 for the ongoing Long Beach Island beach replenishment project in the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.

The project aims to increase the size of Long Beach Island beaches and dunes. The first part of it was completed in Surf City.

The next phase of the project is scheduled in Harvey Cedars.

Adler promises to expand tax credit for first-time homebuyers

CHERRY HILL – Congressman John Adler has promised to support efforts to extend the tax credit for first-time homebuyers beyond the rapidly approaching Nov. 30 deadline.

Adler, D-3rd of Cherry Hill, made the pledge during a Friday afternoon meeting with real estate agents at the Burlington Camden County Association of Realtors office on Kings Highway.

“Congress made some big decisions when we voted for the economic stimulus package,” Adler said. “While we’re still waiting to make a full recovery, I know we did one great thing, which was the first-time-buyers tax credit. It’s made a great difference at a time when we’ve seen housing prices in America drop for the first time in history.”

During the meeting Adler unveiled a report by his office that projected about 45,700 New Jersey homebuyers would take advantage of the credit of up to $8,000. The report also projected that New Jersey home-sale prices for the most recent quarter would be significantly higher.

“It’s helped stabilize house prices, which benefits all of us,” Adler said of the credit.

Among those who took advantage of the tax credit was Kornelia Forvour, 26, of Evesham. She attended the meeting to talk about how it allowed her and her husband to buy their first home.

“I know that without the credit we wouldn’t be homeowners now,” Forvour said.

Diane Dilzell, president of the New Jersey Association of Realtors, said thousands of similar sales were made across the state to buyers like Forvour.

“That $8,000 has often made the difference between someone buying a home and not buying a home,” Dilzell said, adding that extending the deadline would continue to help the housing market’s recovery.

“The deadline is 52 days from today. I wouldn’t want a consumer to miss out,” she said.

Adler, who is a member of the House Financial Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees, said the association has his “full commitment toward working to extend the credit for another year.” He also said he was open to expanding it to other buyers if the projected economic boost was great enough to justify the cost.

The House voted last week to give American service members another year to take advantage of the first-time-buyer credit.

Bryan Adams, president of the advocacy group Veterans for Education and a Purple Heart recipient from Operation Iraqi Freedom, said the extension would assist numerous veterans who were unable to take advantage of the offer because they were serving overseas.

N.J. wins big in federal beach-fill program

Despite a battered economy and a storm of resistance from the White House, it appears that the sand dollars will keep flowing on the nation’s beaches.

The federal beach-fill program is expected to receive more than $100 million in funding in the next year, with New Jersey the big winner.

In the spring, the Office of Management and Budget had balked at putting up money for some of the key U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects. But aggressive lobbying and backing from coastal-state lawmakers apparently turned the tide, and Congress has agreed on final amounts that will be close to last year’s.

“A lot of us recognized that beach replenishment was vital for our local economy,” said U.S. Rep. John Adler (D., N.J.).

Of the $103.7 million appropriated to keep the sand pumps operating during the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, New Jersey would receive $20.7 million, according to an analysis by Howard Marlowe, the nation’s most-prominent coastal lobbyist.

By far, that would be tops in the nation. Florida would be a distant second, with $14.3 million, even though it has almost 10 times the coastline of New Jersey. Delaware would get $1.3 million, and $945,000 would go to Pennsylvania’s Presque Isle project on Lake Erie.

New Jersey received $23.2 million for fiscal 2009.

In Army Corps projects, the federal government traditionally has paid 65 percent of the costs, with the rest coming from state and local governments.

Typically, the projects are designed to continue for 50 years, with “replenishments” in intervals ranging from two to six years.

The concept of pumping sand on beaches has long been a source of contention between commercial coastal interests and environmentalists.

While its proponents hold that it is essential to the tourism economy, its critics counter that it tends to benefit wealthy property owners, that erosion isn’t an issue until a building is erected in front of the water, and that beach-fill is ultimately futile, given rising sea levels.

“It’s a waste of money,” said Glenn L. Klotz, a local activist who lives in Margate. “The problem is, we built too close to the ocean. Is the solution putting all this sand endlessly in front of these structures at taxpayers’ expense?”

“The beaches are everything to the economy of the coastal areas,” said Scott Wahl, spokesman for the borough of Avalon.

Just more than $1 million of the fiscal 2010 money would go to the Avalon and Stone Harbor beaches.

A total of $6.1 million would fund a project at the north end of Ocean City. “It’s great news for Ocean City, because our north end beaches have really taken a beating in the last two years,” said Jim Rutala, the town’s business administrator.

Long Beach Island would receive $4.8 million, and Long Beach Township Mayor Joseph H. Mancini wishes it were more. “It’s never enough,” he said, “but we’re grateful for getting what we did.”

He said the money would be used to pay for part of a 5,000-foot replenishment project in Brant Beach, expected to cost between $7.5 million and $9 million. Mancini said that the project is “ready to go” and that the township is accepting bids on it.

Overall, Marlowe, whose office is in Washington, said he was pleased with the outcome of the beach appropriations, especially given the Office of Management and Budget resistance early on.

Today, he was on his way to meet fellow lobbyists at an American Shore and Beach Preservation Association conference in Florida.

Said Marlowe: “I’m going to have some good news, for once.”

Adler: Health care cost top priority

EVESHAM – John Adler may be a Democrat, but the freshman congressman says his party allegiance won’t move him to vote for any type of health care reform bill that doesn’t significantly address the issue of rising costs.

“We spend more per person on health care than any country in the world, but our businesses and families can’t afford it,” Adler, D-3rd of Cherry Hill, told the roomful of people who showed for a Saturday morning town hall meeting at the Evesham Municipal Building.

The meeting comes just before the Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote on a new reform bill that some in Congress feel may be able to garner more widespread support than an earlier House version.

Adler, while optimistic that health care reform is achievable, remained adamant that more needs to be done to control costs. During the hour-half long meeting he reiterated his promise to vote against any bill that he believes does not adequately address costs.

“If we don’t do more (to reduce costs) now, we’ll never be able to do it. So let’s get it right now,” the congressman said.

And while members of the largely conservative crowd in attendance said they appreciated his strong fiscal stand on health care reform, several in the audience also took him to task for his past votes on the federal stimulus package and energy bill.

“You’re going to raise the electric bills of everyone and you passed a phony economic package that’ll cost my children trillions,” said Ed Benning of Delran.

“I can’t believe we’ve gotten to the staggering material debt we have now,” added Kurt Weichert of Evesham. “There’s such disconnect between the way we live and the way government spends.”

Despite the sometimes rampant criticism, Adler remained cool and attentive, occasionally cracking jokes to diffuse some of the angriest diatribes and stating that it was his job to stand in front of the crowd and listen.

At the meeting’s start he told the assembled audience the only ground rule was “you can yell at me, but don’t yell at the other speakers.”

He also defended the stimulus package, arguing that even a conservative newspaper like the Wall Street Journal has opined that it helped prevent the country from falling into a deeper recession and that provisions such as the first-home buyer tax credit have helped stabilize the housing market.

On the federal energy bill, which creates a nationwide cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, Adler argued that the measure would reduce electricity rates in New Jersey because the state is already part of a cap-and-trade system with nine Northeast states.

“For New Jersey, it’s very clear that we will see a reduction in our utility rates from this bill,” he said.

Those issues aside, health care reform remained the chief concern for most of the meeting. While most of the audience voiced opinions against the proposed reform, a few urged Adler to support the Democratic reform bill, arguing that it was needed to assist the millions of uninsured Americans.

“I’m uninsured, but I worked all my life,” Evesham resident Sandra Lubrano said from the microphone.

Adler said he supported providing some type of public option in a reform bill, arguing that it would increase competition among private health insurance companies.

“A public option would be a real hammer in some areas without competition,” he said, adding that he also favors permitting insurance companies to write policies to out-of-state residents.

When asked why tort reform is not currently included in a House reform bill, Adler responded that it “absolutely should be discussed” but that he believes a better solution to the problem of overly defensive and costly medicine may be for medical experts to create reasonable standards.

“I’m not talking rationing,” Adler said. “Let’s have medical experts decide what is reasonable. If physicians are sued, they can point to those standards.”