Corrections or additions?
These articles by Dina Weinstein and others were prepared for the
2000 edition of
U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Make Your Voice Heard: Guy Gregg
Lawmakers hurt small business owners by leaving them
overtaxed, buried in paperwork, and out of the big picture, says New
Jersey Assemblyman Guy Gregg. "Legislators in Trenton and
Washington don’t have experience owning a business."
As the proprietor of a restaurant, this Morris County legislator knows
what his constituents are going through. It is important, says Gregg,
for small business owners to communicate with their elected
to fortify their voice in order to level the playing field. Gregg
will give a free lecture on "The Voice of Small Business in the
Legislature" on Thursday, October 5, at 9 a.m. at the New Jersey
State House, West State Street, in Trenton. The lecture is part of
Trenton Small Business Week, co-sponsored by the Greater Mercer County
Chamber of Commerce. Call 609-393-4143.
Gregg, a Republican, is a 1972 graduate of Monmouth College in
and owns Publick House Restaurant and Inn in Morris County. He is
chair of the Regulatory Oversight committee and a member of the
Tourism, Gaming and Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
One of his main gripes is that government treats his small business
the same as a corporation, inundating him with red tape. He asserts
government has a prominent role in making sure small businesses
as much as the larger corporations in the Garden State on the local
and the global level. Explains Gregg: "What’s different for small
businesses is that a lot of the time the human resources director
and the marketing department is the same person." And he says
while much attention is paid to large Garden State corporations, there
are many more Mom and Pop stores that keep the economy chugging and
New Jerseyans employed.
He offers this advice:
Gregg encourages small business owners to push the legislature to
help out with the process of selling overseas. Get started by checking
out courses and workshops for small business owners at Rutgers
Gregg says pending legislation would fund resources to train and
small businesses to sell their wares worldwide.
"We’re looking at export being very important to New Jersey’s
economy," says Gregg. "But it is difficult to get into another
country. Our government can help companies to face all the red tape
if they don’t have the wherewithal."
through national and state-wide associations. Many associations
to certain trades and professions are based in Trenton and Washington,
D.C. Association leadership can keep the entrepreneur abreast of what
is going on in state and federal government.
Trade groups also speak up for their membership’s interest. For
the National Federation of Independent Businesses keeps members
of impending legislation that may affect them, and the New Jersey
Business and Industry Association provides worker’s compensation
New Jersey Manufacturers.
do all the talking. Gregg encourages small business owners to
with their state and federal legislators directly to praise or
to the actions of leadership in Trenton. He cites a number of current
issues that are of interest to small business owners all affecting
the bottom line, including a proposed sales tax rebate bill that would
offer compensation for administrative cost of sales tax; and a bill
that would allow small business owners to participate in unemployment
Also proposed: A business owners’ taxpayers bill of rights that would
standardize the way the state deals with businesses and would do away
with the state’s "guilty until proven innocent" attitude when
conducting tax audits.
a Main Street boom," says Gregg. For many business owners labor
is a key issue: "Look at all the Help Wanted signs around
says Gregg. "Regarding labor there may be some simple answers.
Like how is that in some parts of New Jersey there is a 15 percent
unemployment while in some cities there is zero unemployment? The
answer may be in finding a better way to move people around the state.
Small business owners can be more vocal in pressuring the state to
improve public transportation."
But Gregg says labor needs in New Jersey are broader than that. They
are actually linked to federal immigration law. "I think we should
look to England as a model," says Gregg. "They issue two-year
work permits to people who want to work there. And they fill a need.
After their stint they can re-apply or go home. Small business owners
need to get the federal government to wake up and smell the
The point was driven home to Gregg recently when he went to an Italian
restaurant that had a sign posted reading: Part-time cook wanted,
Full-time cook wanted, wait staff wanted. Says Gregg, "I had to
laugh because it was like all they were missing was `owner
— Dina Weinstein
Sometime very soon the U.S. Congress will vote on
to increase the number of H-1B visas the Immigration and
Service can issue annually. These are the visas earmarked for the
technically-talented. The current annual limit is 115,000. Big
in high tech and other U.S. industries want that number increased,
claiming difficulty in filling open positions.
By contrast, opponents of expanded immigration of the
say that federal policy should focus on training American workers
to fill these plum positions. The Clinton administration sides with
the retraining camp. So do I. How come?
First, as a labor historian I harbor what I consider to be a healthy
skepticism when I hear talk of labor shortages. Something like 34
million Americans live below the poverty line while the top 10 percent
of U.S. citizens control 73 percent of the nation’s wealth. These
statistics sound like an echo from the 1890s, not numbers that we
should still be struggling to correct at the end of the prosperous
1990s. During the 19th century our canals and railroads were built
by cheap Chinese and Irish labor. Do corporations favor increased
immigration because they honestly can’t find trained, or trainable,
Americans to fill their open slots? Or are they repeating the
of the past in order to keep their labor costs lower?
During the past two years a colleague from Rider University’s
school and I have been privileged to work with administrators,
and students of the Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCIT)
in developing a new apprenticeship program in office systems
Aided by U.S. Department of Labor funds, the vo-tech has moved same
of its brightest and most ambitious young people into apprenticeship
positions with employers such as Commerce Bank. My colleague, Mike
Curran, and I have helped design the classroom curriculum and deliver
college-level courses. And the BCIT apprentices have thrived in the
BCIT’s apprenticeship program, which would not happen without federal
funding, is one example of what can be done to meet the corporate
call for more techies by reaching out to America’s young people, many
of them minorities. This is what we ought to do before we raise the
limit on H-1B visas.
When America gives its plum positions to immigrants, while tens of
millions of our own citizens struggle for a piece of the American
pie, we shoot ourselves in both feet. Or as Pogo once so eloquently
stated: "We have met the enemy and they is us."
— Jim Castagnera
Associate Provost, Rider University
In 1996 Aleksandr Nikitin was arrested in Russia
on charges of revealing state secrets concerning Russian nuclear
accidents to Bellona, the Norwegian environmental group. Bellona had
published a report on nuclear-environmental problems in Russia’s
Fleet. He was also charged with high treason by the Russian Security
Police. The four-year legal struggle that ensued attracted interest
from human rights, political, peace, scientific, and environmental
groups around the world.
Now Nikitin and his attorney, Yuri M. Schmidt, are ready to
talk about the charges of treason and the legal precedents that were
sent in this case. The Coalition for Peace Action and the Princeton
University Chapel are sponsoring a forum at Princeton University’s
Dodds Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson School, on Wednesday, October 4,
at 7 p.m. Irene Goldman, the coalition’s vice-chair for outreach
and chair of its International Citizens Diplomacy Committee, will
emcee the forum, which will also cover the environmental implications
of submarine accidents. The event is free. Call 609-924-5022 or e-mail
Also participating will be Mikhail Matinov and Ivan Pavlov
of Nikitin’s legal team; Jon Gauslaa, a Norwegian attorney;
and Yuri Vdovin, of Human Rights Watch in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Schmidt has been chairman of the "Russian Lawyers Committee in
Defense of Human Rights" since 1991. He is also a member of the
International Board of Lawyers in St. Petersburg and member of the
Presidium of the Board. He was head of the defense team in the Nikitin
case. When Schmidt appealed to the Constitutional Court, he cleared
the way for Nikitin to access a lawyer of his choice.
Mikhail Matinov is one of the founders of the Russian Lawyers
in Defense of Human Rights started in 1991. Since the end of the 1980s
he has been involved with many cases of persons who were persecuted
for their public and human rights activities. He defended Schmidt,
when he suffered trumped-up charges and repressive measures.
was proven and Schmidt was completely exonerated.
Nikitin’s case was supported by Vice President Al Gore and Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright, and this support contributed to the
Supreme Court’s decision not to prosecute environmental activists
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