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A Guide to Ballot Questions: Gambling, Minimum Wage, More. Plus: Ice Cream!

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Monday, November 04, 2013

Casting a ballot at one of New York's consolidated polling sites. (Stephen Nessen)

Today’s program is all about direct democracy for tomorrow’s election day in our area. Milly Silva, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor of New Jersey, and Thomas Bracken of NJ’s Chamber of Commerce, debate the proposed minimum wage hike in the state. Then, a look at a proposal to raise the mandatory retirement age for certain judges; the question of expanding casino gambling in New York State; land swaps in the Adirondacks; and what creates these constitutional issues in the first place? Plus: the story of Brooklyn’s Blue Marble Ice Cream and their work in Rwanda.

Changing New Jersey's Minimum Wage

New Jersey's most contentious ballot questions this year proposes that the minimum wage rise from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour, and amends the state constitution to trigger cost-of-living increases based on the Consumer Price Index, effectively tying minimum wage to inflation. Thomas A. Bracken, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce's president and CEO, who is part of a coalition against the proposed amendment; and Milly Silva, 1199SEIU executive vice president, running with Sen. Barbara Buono as candidate for lieutenant governor of New Jersey, debate the measure.

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Debating Age Limits for Judges

Milton L. Williams, Jr., chair of the Fund and Committee for Modern Courts, partner at Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, and currently serving as co-chair of the Moreland Act Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, and Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, debate the New York ballot proposal 6 to raise the age limit for appeals court judges to 80.

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Debating New York's Gambling Ballot Question

The most high-profile question on Tuesday's New York ballot would amend the constitution to allow for full-fledged casino gaming in up to seven locations throughout the state. David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values, opposes the measure. Keith L.T. Wright, New York State assembly member representing central and west Harlem and co-chair of the Democratic Party, supports it.

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Why Do We Have Ballot Questions Anyway?

Morgan Pehme, editor in chief of City & State, explains why voters and not legislators have to decide issues like land swaps, gambling and civil service points for veterans.

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Land Swaps on the Ballot

Brian Mann, reporter and Adirondack bureau chief for North Country Public Radio (NCPR), talks about the two ballot proposals that involve swapping land in the Adirondacks, one to settle a title dispute and the other to preserve jobs.

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Bringing Ice Cream to Rwanda

Sweet Dreams is a documentary about a group of Rwandan women who, after forming the first female drumming troupe in the country, set their sights on opening Rwanda's first ice cream shop. We speak with the film's co-director/producer Rob Fruchtman as well as Alexis Miesen, co-founder of Blue Marble Ice Cream in Brooklyn and executive director of the nonprofit Blue Marble Dreams who traveled to Rwanda and helped the women start their shop.

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