Codey’s Out – New Jersey‘s Loss
We hate to see Codey leave the race. He seems to be a good guy, a man that cares deeply about his family and his state. We don’t agree with much of his agenda, but we think he was sincere when he said: “In the past two months, I have put forward an agenda that the people of this State can believe in. It isn’t driven by polling or focus groups or political benefit.”
We would have preferred a primary that would have given the people of New Jersey a chance to learn more about the candidates and their ideas for solving the problems of our state. A Democrat primary would have provided the voters an opportunity to choose their nominee, rather than this selection by the party bosses. Remember, it was the party bosses that gave us Jim McGreevey.
We also hate to see Dick Codey leave the race, because we would have preferred a Democrat nominee that didn’t view the role of Governor as a stepping stone to a run for the presidency. We would have preferred a potential Governor that cared more about the state than his own ambition.
So now we are stuck with Jon Corzine. Does anyone know Senator Corzine’s ideas for governing the state, how he would solve the state’s fiscal crisis and the crushing burden of property taxes? Do the party leaders and bosses know? They haven’t a clue. Their support was simply purchased.
Loyalty and support that can be bought, that’s not based upon principle or ideas, speaks volumes about the Democrat Party. Perhaps this provides us with some insight into a political party that has been so susceptible to scandal and corruption in New Jersey. Their support and votes are for sale. Keep this in mind come November.
It's Official - Codey Will Not Run
Stirring Up Fear Over Social Security
The President has not put forward a specific Social Security reform plan. Bush and others have talked about allowing people to put a portion of their SS taxes into private accounts. But to date, the President has not unveiled a plan upon which future benefits may be calculated or transition cost to the federal government may be inferred. So when in doubt, make stuff up and hold hearings.
Friday Senate democrats, led by Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J) held hearings to oppose the White House reform plan. Snips below, the entire article here.
"The president cannot turn the Social Security Administration into his own lobby shop," Sen. Frank Lautenberg, said at a three-hour Capitol Hill hearing run by Democratic senators opposing the White House plan.
Steve Kofahl, a Social Security claims representative from Seattle who addressed the all-Democrat panel, said SSA employees have been told that Social Security is in a crisis that only private accounts can salvage. He said the employees "have been directed to share this message with the public at every opportunity." "I do not believe it is proper for public funds or public employees to be used to stir up fear" and push the White House agenda, Kofahl said.
Social Security Commissioner Jo Anne Barnhart said in a statement, "I have never, nor will I ever, ask or direct Social Security employees to promote or advance any specific proposal for Social Security reform."
Republican National Committee spokesman Brian Jones said: "The Democrats' hearings today deserve an 'A' for stagecraft and an 'F' for honesty.
The Times Spins Chertoff
Michael Chertoff, who has been picked by President Bush to be the homeland security secretary, advised the Central Intelligence Agency on the legality of coercive interrogation methods on terror suspects under the federal anti-torture statute, current and former administration officials said this week.
Depending on the circumstances, he told the intelligence agency, some coercive methods could be legal, but he advised against others, the officials said.
Corzine Buys Nomination
From the Newark Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran – we couldn’t say it better ourselves:
Corzine hasn't said a word yet on how he would govern this state. He has no position on the budget crisis, on ethics, on property taxes, on anything. We have reached a strange new place in our politics when none of that matters.
Polls show he [Codey] is gaining on Corzine, and that during his two months as acting governor, New Jerseyans have grown to like him and believe he's doing a good job. In a match up with potential Republican candidates in the fall, he does even better than Corzine. In a democracy, that should count for something.
But Corzine's money has completely changed the calculus of this primary season. Democratic leaders know that if they choose Corzine, he will give them money and buy advertisements that will help their candidates.
If he spends anywhere near the $63 million he did in 2000, the party will have a huge advantage in November. Codey has no answer to that. That's why he's getting almost no support from the party organizations that dominate primaries.
As one of his close allies put it: "It's not how good a job you're doing, or whether you're the best candidate -- it's what you can do for the party leaders whose support you need."
Who’s To Blame For ’93 World Trade Center Bombing?
Still, we think it is inappropriate to sue the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the bombing. To sue the Port Authority, is to sue the citizens of these two states. You see, we haven’t forgotten who was responsible for the ’93 attack - Islamo-fascist terrorists. The very same group that perpetrated 9/11.
The blame for the deaths and injuries from the first attack should not be shifted from the terrorists to the people of New York and New Jersey. We would hate to learn, after a trial, that a judge or jury has found the Port Authority liable for the 1993 tragedy. Let’s keep the blame where it belongs – on the terrorists.
We have special victim’s compensation funds in both states; let those harmed by the 1993 attack be helped through these programs. If the programs’ funds or benefits are inadequate to meet the actual needs, then let’s fund a special compensation program for these people. The procedures used to determine qualification and compensation for the 9/11 victims could used for this program. Lawyers won’t get rich, the victims will be helped and our citizens won’t be blamed.
We bring this up because of the following in the New York Times:
A trial to determine whether the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey should be held liable in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing could begin as early as April. More than 100 people and companies have filed suit against the authority, claiming it should be liable because it was warned to close its underground parking garage to the public.
Whitman Has Lost The Battle
Whitman timing seems a bit off as she goes stomping around the country promoting her new book “It's My Party, Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America.” She fancies herself the Zell Miller of the Republican party.
We warned our readers in their rush to preorder Whitman’s book not to confuse it with It's My Party: A Republican's Messy Love Affair with the GOP. Her credability is even lower than we suspected.
Although, it’s hard to believe people have forgotten about Jim Florio, he was a disaster. We’ll cut Christie a break and chalk part of her poor poll result to people’s short attention span – Whitman and McGreevey were the last two Governors. But we hardly think she is in a position to offer political advice to anyone.
Patrick Ruffini has a teriffic comparison between President Bush and former Govenor Whitman. Read Ruffini and then answer his question, who do you trust when it comes to growing the GOP? We'll give you a hint - it ani't Whitman. But read Ruffini's post, he really puts everything into perspective.
Sometimes Blue Is Just A Color
By the way who made the decision that Republican states would be red and Democrat states blue.? It was a media thing wasn't it? We'll bet it's for the same reason we chose blue - the favorite party was awarded their favorite color.
New Blog Design
AFT Disinformation Campaign
A couple of problems with the information in this call: a Social Security reform plan has not been put forth by Ferguson or any Republican for that matter and the toll free number provided is not working at this time. A reverse lookup of this number shows that it belongs to the American Federation of Teachers.
The American Federation of Teachers bills themselves as a “union of professionals”. We hope if their professional members were aware that their union dues were being used to communicate false information, designed to scare people, they would call for this campaign to be a stopped immediately. We’re sure they would agree it’s impossible for anyone to determine the cost or the effect of a nonexistent plan. We’ll keep you posted.
Transcription of the taped message below:
Hi. I am calling to alert you that your Congressman, Mike Ferguson supports privatizing Social Security. This plan would cost taxpayers 2 trillion dollars. It would also decrease future benefits to retirees by 47%. The Social Security Trust Fund should be in a lock box not a Wall Street slot machine. Tell Congressman Ferguson that we want real Social Security reform, not a risky Wall Street gamble. Call him at 1 (800) 839-5276
It's The Money Stupid
Bergen County Democrats had their biggest spending spree ever last year, shelling out more than $4.2 million on their way to sweeping last fall's county elections.
Bergen Republicans, who lost two seats on the Freeholder Board as well as the county sheriff's office, spent less than $700,000, according to campaign finance reports released Tuesday by the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.
"We run aggressive campaigns," said Bergen Democrats spokesman Bill Maer. "They're well-financed. It's no accident the citizens of Bergen County have supported our candidates."
Much of that financing came from the pockets of companies that get work from the Democratic-controlled county government - or from political committees that get their money from such companies - despite last year's executive order from former Gov. James E. McGreevey that aimed to curb the practice known as "pay to play."
The cash helped Democrats flood network TV affiliates and local radio stations with negative advertisements that hammered Republican Sheriff Joel Trella and GOP Freeholder Richard Mola. The county GOP organization, which spent less than a quarter-million dollars during the final month of the campaign, was virtually invisible during the Democrats' multimillion-dollar advertising blitz.
"You can distort the facts and then run it again and again on TV and radio, and the people believe it," said Bergen Republican Chairman Guy Talarico. "All this is to buy jobs and contracts," Talarico said of the Democrats' fund raising. "It's not about public policy, that's for sure."
Rice Confirmed - Lautenberg Votes No
We received the following email sent to Senator Lautenberg via a reader. We think it’s right on target and have posted it below.
Your vote to appose the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State does not represent our country or the state of New Jersey well. Your negative vote was without basis and can only, at its best, be seen as grandstanding. You have hurt the Democrat party at a time when it is most vulnerable in our state. What were you thinking?
Dr. Rice is an extremely qualified and gifted black woman that should be pointed to with pride, not denigrated and insulted before the country and the world. If you want to go after President Bush, than go after him. Take your senate responsibilities seriously and work to solve problems, not create them.
You should have restrained yourself from taking easy, cheap shots against a woman that many view with respect and admiration. Dr. Rice’s expertise, accomplishments and brilliance are an asset to our country. Her service to the United States should be honored, not discredited.
Finally Senator, your vote will be remembered as one that attempted to impugn the honor and integrity of a woman that serves as a role model for young girls and minorities throughout our country. Shame on you. You owe the new Secretary of State, Rice and the people of New Jersey an apology.
Waiting For Anonymous To Respond
The views you express are not shared with the rest the world. While I recognise that there are many ills in our world, new world Americam imperialism will not solve the worlds problems. Please recognise the variety of world cultures and the US inawarness that not everyone in the world may want to share your McDonald's culture nor your democracy. Civilisations have continued to exist witout your interference. You are destroying the world with your consumption of organic fossil fuels and complete loss of reality. Stay away with your Cola and dollars..... pleeeze !!
We responded to Anonymous with this posting in the comments section. Anonymous hasn’t responded to our questions or requests for clarification, so we decided to move this conversation to a main post. Perhaps Anonymous will see this and respond.
My views are mine. I don’t presume to speak for the rest of the world as you did in your post. However, the views concerning President Bush’s speech, about which you commented,are of one U.S. Senator – Jon Corzine and are not mine.
You speak of new world American imperialism as if this were the polciy or the intention of the United States. If that is your point, I dissagree. Can you provide some examples that lead you to this belief? Is there anything in President Bush’s address that indicates that imperialism is our intention?
I believe the United States does recognize the variety of world cultures and celebrates them. Examples of every culture can be found flurishing in our country. Walk the streets of any American city and you will hear the languages, see the dress, smell the food and see the art from vitually every country in the world.
You say that "civilisations have continued to exist witout your interference". I not sure I understand what you mean by civilisations or interfenence. But if you mean Europe, I seem to remember from history, that we helped to free that part of the world, uopn request, from fascism and communisim. I also don’t remember the U.S. setting up colonies througout the world. Perhaps you can provide some examples of U.S. interference that is unwanted. Maybe something has happened in your country that makes you feel the U.S. harmed you or your country, let me know.
I don’t believe our government wishes to impose our culture or our style of government on any country. Can you provide an example of past acts or statements by our government that has lead you to believe this is the case? I don’t know where in the world you live or if you have ever been to the U.S., but there is a bit more to our culture than McDonalds and cola. If you are reading American blogs, I think you know that. It would seem you resorted to sarcasm in place of an argument based upon examples or facts.
You say that “you are destroying the world with your consumption of organic fossil fuels and complete loss of reality.” By "you" I suppose you mean the U.S. Tell me what fuels are used in your country to power vehicles and generate electricity? I do wish our country would make greater use of nuclear power. We have a number of envirnmental groups (foreign and domestic) that have made it almost impossible for the country to build any new nuclear power plants. Perhaps we can help these groups see the light in the future. I don’t know what you mean by complete loss of reality, again no examples or facts – just an accusation.
You ask that we " stay away with our cola and dollars". Again you didn’t say where you live. Do the majority of your countrymen feel this way, or do you presume to speak for them as well? If you are sure you have the facts in regards to American dollars being unwelcome in your country, let me know and I will do all I can to keep our money from flowing into your country
Freedom Doesn't Pay The Bills
In his inaugural address on Thursday, President Bush repeatedly invoked freedom and liberty, telling his fellow citizens that spreading liberty around the world was "the calling of our time."
The more direct needs of people back home got five presidential sentences. Mr. Bush never spoke about, say, the freedom of knowing that the rent will be paid, that the refrigerator will be full, that car payments or a round-trip subway ride won't be a burden. Health insurance got merely a glancing reference.
What was Purnick hoping to hear the President say:
My fellow Americans - at this second gathering, I now concede that my duties as President are defined not by the Constitution, but by the inspired and infallible New York Times.
For more than two centuries, America has defended its mistaken concept of freedom and liberty in senseless wars both here at home and in distant lands. We have held out our form of government and economy as a model for the world. How naive and arrogant.
I am now led, by events and the common sense of the New York Times, to one conclusion. The United States of America has been the greatest source of evil and tyranny the world has ever known. The best hope for peace in our world is for our misguided country to embark on years of sabbatical and repose - years of making amends and seeking the forgiveness of the world.
Today, you have my solemn pledge that I will begin the hard work of atoning for the sins I committed during my first term and for the unspeakable transgressions perpetrated by all that came before me.
On this day marked by ceremony, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world. From this day forward, it is the policy of the United States to seek the of permission of every movement, international institution, nation and culture for the right to exist and to humbly accept their considered verdict.
The great objective of ending our tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it, but thankfully the New York Times will be there to guide us every step of the way. The Time's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, the Gray Lady's influence is considerable, and we will follow its wise policies confidently in our great cause.
Today, I also speak anew to my fellow citizens. After the shipwreck of my selection by the Supreme Court, came years of relative upheaval, years of poverty, years of wonton disregard of working families. It is time to focus on the direct needs of the people here at home. I have been made to see your vulnerability - and have come to understand its deepest source - our capitalist system.
I now realize there is only one force in history that can break the reign of greed and depravation inflicted upon the American people. That one force in history that has kindled the fire of hope in millions and that has warmed the hearts of those fortunate to live under its enlightened power – communism.
So let me now speak of true freedom – the freedom of knowing that the rent will be paid, that the refrigerator will be full, that car payments or a round-trip subway ride won't be a burden. A health insurance scheme that will afford access to the finest medical care system in the world. Freedom that can only come from government –freedom from want.
In America's new ideal of freedom, citizens will find the dignity and security of economic dependence, laboring for the good of all, each receiving according to their needs. This is the broader definition of liberty that has motivated the people of Cuba, China, North Korea and the former Soviet Union. And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time.
By making every citizen an agent of the state, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal. From all of you, I ask patience as we go about the hard task of dismantling our entire economy.
A few Americans have already agreed to accept the hardest duties in this cause - the essential work of propaganda ... the idealistic work of helping raise up collectives ... the dangerous and necessary work of striping people of all personal property and wealth. We will always be indebted to these freedom fighters, in awe of their superior intellegence and greatful they refused to be tools of a free market system. We will always remember their names.
We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of this new brand of American freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; but because the New York Times knows best. May God help the United States of America!
State's Bad Image Exacts a Toll
New Jersey's bad image -- high taxes, corrupt politicians -- is hurting business, so the state Chamber of Commerce will join the battle to clean things up.
New Jersey 101.5 FM radio's Kevin McArdle asked Commerce Commissioner Virginia Bauer if the state's image made her job more difficult. She said, "Absolutely." She also said things are not as bad as the media portrays. Now, that's laughable.
Bauer is in the job because her predecessor, the Rev. William Watley, quit after it was disclosed that his church was affiliated with a Newark housing project that was going to get an $11.5 million state loan. A state audit also found rampant mismanagement, including $9 million spent without the comptroller's approval.
In addition, Watley's chief of staff, Lesly Devereaux, resigned after it was revealed she had hired five relatives and it wasn't clear what they did. Does Bauer think we in the media invented all of that?
Dual officeholding is that strange phenomenon where, in a state with 8.5 million people, only a select few are fit for public office, therefore they hold several. They like to be mayors, freeholders and legislators all at once.
Give it a D-: The New Jersey Education Association has launched an effort to avoid a property tax convention with a reform plan for the Legislature. It raises more questions than it answers.
Fly in the ointment? It does not deal with spending, the real culprit. That's why the teachers' union doesn't want a convention; it wants spending to continue as is. With more than 600 school districts, each with its entrenched bureaucracy, the spending will never come down unless the issue is met head-on.
"Dick Codey is a quality human being doing the best job he can," Corzine said. "I believe I can bring a fresh perspective to the problems that have been ongoing in Trenton for a very long time."
Can Jon Corzine point to any accomplishment in his four years of “public service” to account for his arrogant attitude? We have yet to discern any reason Corzine should be the Democrat nominee for Governor of New Jersey. He’s quite good at criticism, not very good at problem solving or effective action.
We hope Acting Governor Codey hangs in there to save the state from this spoiled and arrogant man. The people of New Jersey need to send a clear message, leadership positions can not be bought, they have to be earned.
Don’t expect effective representation in the U.S. Senate this year, Corzine has named Senator Frank Lautenberg as his campaign chairman.
More excerpts from the Star-Ledger below, the article here
Corzine, the only announced Democratic candidate, hit the campaign trail with a vengeance last week after returning from a tour of tsunami-stricken South Asia. Corzine met privately with powerful party leaders, lined up their support and trotted out "major" endorsements almost daily.
Tuesday, Corzine launched his campaign by announcing that fellow U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg would serve as his campaign chairman. By Friday afternoon, Corzine was introducing Rep. Rob Andrews, a Camden Democrat who had been weighing his own run for governor, as his campaign co-chair. Andrews was touting support for Corzine among the seven southern county chairs.
Tomorrow, that trend will continue when a group of 9/11 widows -- The Jersey Girls -- is expected to endorse him at Liberty State Park. "We've been gentle so far," one of Corzine's political advisers said Friday. But "every day next week will be a day to watch."
On Friday, Corzine publicly denied any effort to push Codey out. "Dick Codey is a quality human being doing the best job he can," Corzine said. "I believe I can bring a fresh perspective to the problems that have been ongoing in Trenton for a very long time."
Despite Corzine's big week, advisers who attended the two-hour meeting yesterday said Codey was excited by the results of an internal poll. That poll shows Codey running neck-and-neck with Corzine in a potential June primary match-up. In addition, Codey has a favorability rating of 84 percent and two of three New Jerseyans think the state is headed in the right direction under him.
Can Anyone Stop The Education Political Machine
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is ready to test his popularity against the California Teachers Association in a fight that's likely to rival any battle the movie-star-turned-politician fought during his action hero days. And in this script, he might not finish as the winner.
For years, California governors have challenged the teachers' union, only to be steamrolled by the educators' well-organized and very well-funded political machine.
Do you suppose a New Jersery Gov. Corzine could stand up to the education machine in the Garden State? Expect Corzine to support the Plan 4 NJ in the near future.
N.J. Property Tax Revolt
So what’s the solution to the property tax problem, a constitutional convention that calls for a shift from property taxes to higher income or sales taxes? Does a shift from one tax to another really address the problem? Does "The Plan 4 NJ" that shifts property taxes from person to another solve anything? The citizens of New Jersey have been down the tax shifing path before and it has never brought a long term solution.
Property taxes in New Jersey continued their relentless climb last year, with average tax bills rising 6.2 percent, according to a Star-Ledger analysis. The average tax bill of $5,517 is now 33 percent higher than five years ago.
The state treasurer says an analysis of property tax levies shows increases should be blamed on towns and schools, not a lack of state aid. No matter who is to blame, some people have had enough.
In Morris County, high property taxes have caught up with senior citizens who bought homes more than 40 years ago before a population boom. They created a tax reform group called the Silver Brigade. Ruth Harris of Denville, the group's former president, said, "We found ourselves talking to younger people, and they are having just as much trouble as we are."
"We want schools to be good but funding them through property taxes is ridiculous," she said. "Many seniors bought homes here years ago before government became expensive. We are finding they are moving to South Jersey, the South, and Pennsylvania (and) their children cannot afford to live here."
Taxes are too high and will continue to soar because too much money is being spent by government at all levels – state, county, city and town. We need real reform and legislation that limits government spending without loopholes. Perhaps a constitutional amendment will be required to ensure spending limits can not be overturned by the courts. But we need real reform, not tax shifting and bureaucratic rebates that waste money to return pennies on the dollar.
We have a few suggestions for reducing government spending:
- Cap spending growth to the inflation rate plus population growth
- Eliminate the transfer of income from one group or person to another
- Eliminate all spending on non-essential services in any year in which the proposed budget would be greater than estimated tax revenues to acheive a balance budget
Additional suggestions for property tax reform:
- Eliminate school funding from property taxes
- Create a separate school tax - similar to the sewer tax
- A minimum tax to be levied on each property with the balance to be based upon the number of children living on the property and enrolled in the school system. (Similar to the sewer tax with its minimum rate and the balance based upon water usage by the residence.)
Corzine Globe Trotting
Describing the AIDS problem in India as "bordering on catastrophe", Democratic Senator Jon S. Corzine (D) and Congressman Frank Pallone (D) have announced their renewed commitment in providing relief to the affected people.
"Over 5 million people in India are infected with HIV, a pandemic which is bordering on catastrophe," Corzine said after his last week visit to India where he discussed with officials about the current AIDS landscape in the country. "India's HIV/AIDS crisis is felt beyond its own borders and is heart breaking to those of Indian decent in New Jersey, the US and throughout the world.
Do New Jersey Citizens Ever Get To Vote
We will repeat the question; does anyone know how Jon Corrine would govern New Jersey? What are his plans for the state, his ideas for solving our fiscal problems? Shouldn’t the people of New Jersey have an opportunity to choose the Democrat nominee based upon facts beyond the amount in a candidate’s bank account?
South Jersey Congressman Rob Andrews (D) threw his support behind U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine's (D) campaign for governor yesterday, eliminating the prospect of a three-way race for the Democratic nomination.
In addition to his own key endorsement, Andrews announced that he was bringing South Jersey's seven Democratic county chairmen into the Corzine fold. Andrews said he hoped his decision would help break the "state of paralysis" that has gripped Democrats as they await Codey's decision on whether or not to run. He personally called Codey yesterday morning to inform him of his decision.
Should Corzine be elected governor, one of his first acts would be to appoint his replacement in the Senate. Both men yesterday denied they struck any sort of deal for the endorsement.
"I obviously have an interest in the United States Senate," Andrews said, but added that he has no idea whether he will seek that office next year.
The Plan 4 NJ
Oh, and guess who’s behind the plan? Gee it’s the education lobby and teacher’s unions. We agree with their call for a special legislative session to deal with reducing property taxes, but we think it best if the legislators work on cutting spending and placing a cap on tax increases for all taxpayers. Isn't it amazing these groups have the money to advertise in the most expensive market in the country?
The Plan 4 NJ was developed by the Alliance to Reform Taxes (ART), working with tax experts and economists. The ART is a coalition of state organizations including the Education Law Center, the NAACP-NJ, the NJ Coalition for Property Tax Reform, and the New Jersey Education Association. The Plan was reviewed by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), of Washington, DC, and the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), which found it to be a promising and sound approach to tax reform
Corzine Doesn't Get It
“We all join the President in fighting for the cause of freedom, human rights and liberty both at home and abroad. Freedom is our most fiercely held value as a nation, and I agree with the President that it is the cause of our time. The President’s philosophical framing of America’s fundamental embrace of freedom was important. The President failed, however, to lay out the specific sacrifices Americans will face in the days and years ahead.
“In fact, in a seventeen minute address that ran more than 2,000 words, the President used the word sacrifice but once.
“After the loss of almost 1,400 soldiers in Iraq and with the cost of war soon to exceed $200 billion, the people of New Jersey and the nation want to know what more is expected of them and what sacrifices they will have to make. The families of New Jersey’s active duty service members, National Guard and Reserves want to know how much more sacrifice is expected of them and their loved ones serving overseas. The brave men and women defending our freedoms are serving selflessly and are owed our highest admiration and support. They are also owed a realistic assessment from the President of the road and sacrifices ahead.
“Americans want to know how the President will repair relations with our allies so they can share the burden of rebuilding Iraq and advancing freedom around the globe. They expected to hear a commitment to our homeland security and to our firefighters, cops and other first responders who defend us every day. And they want to know that the intelligence failures of 9/11 and the war in Iraq will be corrected. The President was silent on these issues today.
“I stand ready to work with President Bush to achieve great things for our nation and New Jersey. We confront great challenges both at home and abroad. The President had an opportunity today to be straight with the American people about the long road ahead and the sacrifices they will be asked to make. In that respect, his remarks fell short of the mark.
Corzine To Codey - Get Out Of My Way
The acting governor made the remarks in response to an assertion by Corzine, a fellow Democrat, that Codey's coyness is hurting their party. Corzine said Monday that Codey "led a lot of us to believe he would not run."
As soon as he took office, Codey said he would put off any decision about a run for the Democratic nomination until after the State of the State address, which he delivered last week.
"How I felt or did not feel that day was not going to make one iota of difference to (Corzine's) plans," Codey said. "From the day that Governor McGreevey resigned, (Corzine) had decided to run. It would be different if he had said, 'Dick, if you're not going to run, then I will.' But that's not what happened."
"The last thing I'm going to do is get into any sort of public argument with Jon," Codey said. "We've got to get through this in as gentlemanly a way as possible. Nobody in the party wants to see a divisive primary."
Lautenberg To Endorse Corzine
New Jersey Deserves Better – Part II
Former West Windsor Mayor Douglas Forrester, a businessman who was assistant state treasurer in the administration of Gov. Thomas H. Kean, said many of the state's problems could be solved by sound fiscal decisions and responsible government.
"When you can't pay your current expenses without borrowing, you're insolvent -- and that's where we are," said Forrester, the party's U.S. Senate candidate in 2002. "We can't get (to fiscal responsibility) with the Democrats, no matter who they put up. New Jersey deserves better."
Former Bergen County Freeholder Todd Caliguire and Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano both echoed that statement as they attacked state Democrats. "Politics in New Jersey needs an extreme makeover, and it's going to take someone outside the Trenton establishment to do it," Caliguire said.
"In New Jersey, we deserve a lot better leadership than we've been getting recently," he added, calling Sen. Jon S. Corzine, D-N.J., a "Wall Street tycoon" who wants to run for governor "before he's done anything in the office he has now."
Corzine - Is it the Money That Matters?
Why should the people of New Jersey consider electing Jon Corzine Governor of New Jersey? We know he has plenty of money, but can anyone think of a single thing he's done for New Jersey as a member of the Senate? He continually votes against measures that would benefit the people of our state and offers a vision of more spending and higher taxes. Is his vision really a cure for what ails New Jersey? Are our problems caused by a lack of spending by the state and taxes that are too low? We think not.
Just because Corzine is capable of bankrolling his own campaign does not make him the best candidate for Governor. Corzine may be able to buy his nomination and even the Govenor's seat, but does that make him the best choice for the job? Can the Senator point to any real accomplishment as a public servant?
Now he wants you to choose sides without going through a primary because he says it would be dangerous for the party. We think the real reason is that it would be dangerous for Mr. Corzine. He would be under real scrutiny for a longer period of time and of course it would cost him more money. Excerpts from the Star-Ledger below.
Sen. Jon Corzine has a message for Democrats whose loyalties are torn between him and Acting Gov. Richard Codey: It's time to choose sides. "He led a lot of us to believe he would not run," Corzine says. "We're prepared to do some aggressive things if he is running."
"Up until the last few hours and days, I haven't asked for endorsements," Corzine said after addressing an African-American congregation in Elizabeth. "But it's getting down to that time of day. I'd prefer not to have a primary. It's dangerous for the party."
Corzine knows no restraint. He spent $63 million on his Senate campaign in 2000, breaking every record by a mile. And he gave millions more to the county organizations, the key to winning a primary. The rules allow Corzine to give $37,000 to each county organization, along with $7,200 more to each municipal organization. That adds up fast. And because Corzine is financing his own campaign, he won't be tapping donors who would otherwise give to the county organization.
"If you're a party chairman, this is not complicated," one Corzine supporter says. "I can either raise money for Dick Codey or get money from Jon Corzine. Gee, that's a hard decision. "Codey is a good politician. He knows this. He's never going to run.”
Democrats With An Agenda
Corzine has declared he wants to be the next governor. OK, but what does Corzine really want?
Sure he wants to sit in the governor’s office, at least temporarily, and concoct some semblance of a track record and policy notions. But is that all?
Nope! Corzine is not interested in being governor for too long because he has his sights set on making a run for the White House in 2008. That’s right! Corzine wants to be governor, but only to pad his resume so he can take a shot at the top spot. Corzine wants to be Gov. Corzine so he can try to become President Corzine.
And while we’re talking about Democrats with an agenda, did you catch the arrogant antics of Assembly Democratic Leader Joe Roberts last week? He told a panel of lawmakers that anyone who disagreed with his ideas about a potential property tax convention should just "go home."
Obviously there is no room for dissension in Roberts’ world of politics. This is a guy who is working the backrooms to be the next Assembly Speaker after the guy who is currently warming that seat decides to step down in the not-too-distant future.
The Ethically Challenged Party
We are quite sure there are or have been unethical people in every branch of government and from every political party. However, the Democrat Party seems to have the vast majority in our state and this is not a new trend. Certainly not all Democrats are corrupt but…
Think of the politicians in our state that have been arrested and convicted in recent memory and they are all Democrats. Think of New Jersey politicians involved in scandal and you come up with a list of names affiliated with the Democrat Party.
Can you name a New Jersey Republican that has proven to be ethically challenged, mired in scandal, forced from office or arrested? We dubbed 2004 the year of political corruption and every case involved the Democrats. You can review the Star-Ledger’s corruption list in one of our previous posts here. New Jersey is certainly known for political corruption, but Codey’s casting aspersions on all political parties is disingenuous.
Codey also called for an overhaul of the Executive Commission on Ethics, proposing that a majority of the Commission be public members. This sounds good until you remember that the Governor will appoint these “public” members. We doubt these people will be randomly chosen from the phone book or volunteer lists, but instead will be friends of the party in power. Just think of who McGreevey would have appointed and you realize this propsal is just window dressing.
Just Say No To More State Sending
- Free mental health screenings for post partum depression
- Forgiving up to $20,000 dollars in student loans for any college graduate who works in a state, county, or non-profit mental health or social service agency.
- $200 Million to build housing for individuals with mental illness.
- $380 Million for stem cell research.
- Ten new health care centers to provide care to 30,000 more residents.
We won’t debate the merits of each spending initiative. We’re sure a rational and compassionate argument can be made for each. That’s the problem; a case can be made for tons of money to be spent on a zillion different projects and programs.
It’s up to our elected representatives to prioritize spending and to live within the state’s means. New Jersey is facing a $4 to $5 Billion budget deficit and now is not the time to exacerbate the problem with additional spending.
Politicians are addicted to spending, we have to teach them to just say no.
New Jersey must move up it's presidential primary. We've discussed this for
years. Now the time has come to make New Jersey a Presidential player instead of
an ATM machine for Presidential candidates!
Corzine – Lautenberg To Blame For Funding Cuts To NJ
Codey in his State of the State address, faults President Bush for cutting homeland security funding to New Jersey. We will remind the Governor, the Congress appropriates funds, not the President. The red state – blue state, Republicans vs. Democrats line might seem like a plausible excuse, the trouble is it isn’t true.
This year, New York City will get more than four times the funding - $207.6 million versus $46.7 million - it got last year, while Washington and Los Angeles will see more than double the amounts of their previous grants. Chicago and Boston will receive about a third more in grant money. All “blue” cities and states, all represented by Democrats in the Senate.
It is the result of the poor representation on the part of Senators Corzine and Lautenberg, New Jersey is getting $60.8 million, down from $91.7 million in 2004.
NJ Native To Be Next Director Of Homeland Security
Voting In New Jersey
Absentee voting should be reserved for its original purpose; for those too infirm or ill to vote at their designated polling place and for those that will be absent from the state on election day. The more absentee ballots cast; the greater the margin of error in vote tabulation; the longer it takes to declare a final vote count and winner; and a massive increase in absentee voting is an invitation for fraud.
Motor voter, provisional and mail-in ballot laws have not improved the faith and confidence citizens have in the voting process and election results. The easier we make the voting process, the more complaints and election day lawsuits we experience. New Jersey should learn from the experience of other states that have liberalized their registration and voting laws. We don’t need to emulate the debacles of Washington State or risk furthering our state’s reputation for corruption.
In our opinion, voting in New Jersey isn’t difficult. Any citizen eligible to register and vote can do so easily can under current law. However, we believe New Jersey needs to tighten its voting laws and their enforcement in order to restore our citizen’s confidence in the system. Presently, eligibility and residency requirements are not strictly followed or enforced. There seems to be no consequence for voter fraud. We heartily agree every vote should count, we just also happen to believe every vote counted should be legal.
We don’t know enough about the pros and cons of electronic voting machines and paper receipt requirements to form an educated opinion. However, the requirement sounds like a potential complication and we’re not sure how this helps in cases of system crashes, lost votes or system tampering. We don’t really know why a receipt should be required for electronic voting machines – voters never received them with the mechanical equipment – what’s the difference? A receipt does not guarantee a vote will be accurately counted.
Codey SOS - About Acting Governor Codey
But I can't do it alone. I need your help -- from both sides of the aisles and all branches of government. I don't pretend to have all the answers and I don't intend to sugarcoat the challenges. You know me -- I'm not afraid to ask for help from anyone who has a good idea. I'm not afraid to seek the truth, even if it isn't pretty.
I am a product of this legislature, and I am proud to call you my colleagues. To succeed, this body must light the way for the citizens of our state ....Democrats and Republicans alike -- all those interested in the future of our state.
Come join this effort with your energy and with your ideas. The friction and spark ... that comes with the forging of ideas ... should be used to ignite a torch ... that can bind us together ... and guide us along the way.
I draw strength from your collective wisdom and I pray that I can use my experience for the greater good. If we are willing to work together and be sensible in what we can achieve ... then together we can make real and meaningful progress for the State we all love.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey SOS - Challenges Facing the State
We must consider ... and act upon the report by Carl Van Horn and Michael Cole on the Property Tax Convention.
A four billion dollar budget deficit must be closed.
And the long term needs of the Transportation Trust Fund must be addressed.
But whatever the issue ... let us always remember -- there is a difference between the problems we face in Trenton ... and the day to day struggles faced by so many of our citizens.
When it appears we are out of patience or have reached the end of our ability to compromise ... think of the patient at Greystone Psychiatric Hospital who asks "Governor, when can I go home?" Or the father struggling to raise a family on the minimum wage ... Or the single mom who can't help with her kid's homework because she has to work a double shift.
Yes -- we have a huge budget deficit. Yes -- the federal government seems indifferent to our requests. And yes -- there are more needs to be met with fewer and fewer dollars.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey SOS - Minimum Wage
Today, 12 states have a higher minimum wage than New Jersey. And none of them have New Jersey's high cost of living. New Jersey should be a leader, not a laggard!
And today I am proposing that New Jersey increase its minimum wage to $7.15 over the next two years. This will help more than 200,000 New Jersey workers, most of them women and minorities ... and to ensure that the minimum wage keeps pace with the cost of living...
I am proposing the creation of a business and labor advisory council to recommend regular increases.
This discussion wouldn't be possible without the leadership of Senator Sweeney and Assemblyman Gordon ... they have been great champions of working men and women.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey SOS - Stem Cell Research
We have to nurture that hope with more than just our words. Our words are comforting, but words alone won't cure anyone's disease. We have the scientists, we have the research industries, and we have the commitment to make New Jersey an international center of stem cell excellence. But it will not happen by itself. It will not happen ... without actions to match our words.
Today I am announcing a $150 million dollar investment in the construction of the New Jersey Stem Cell Institute. This will provide the financing to build and equip a world-class facility. I am also announcing that New Jersey ... under the leadership of Dr. McCormick and Dr. Petillo ... will conduct an international search for the Director of our Institute.
Finally, I will ask the voters of New Jersey to put their faith behind a $230 million dollar investment in the promise of stem cell research.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey SOS - Health Care
In our urban and rural areas, these centers are often the only medical option for Medicaid patients and the working poor with no insurance. In 1991, Wayne Bryant and I sponsored legislation to allow community health centers to receive state funding for the first time. And Wayne, along with Senators Rice and Lance and Assemblymen Greenwald and Payne have been their champion.
Even though we have 67 facilities, there are many communities in need that are not being served. Today I am setting a goal to open ten new centers next year. And with your help, these new centers will provide health care to 30,000 more residents.
Besides easy access to health care, these centers offer another benefit. They get a special federal discount on prescription drugs for their patients. But right now only two facilities have the expertise and resources to take advantage of this extraordinary benefit.
This means there are tens of thousands of needy patients that should have access to affordable prescription drugs but don't. I cannot stand by and do nothing while easy access to life-saving drugs is so near. So today I am making a commitment ... that the Department of Health will provide whatever support and whatever resources are necessary ... so every center in New Jersey can offer their patients cheaper prescription drugs.
What we are doing today is a start. There is more to be done. And I look forward to working with Senator Vitale and Assemblyman Morgan to expand health coverage.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey SOS - Post Partum Depression
My family was fortunate. My wife recognized what was happening and we were able to get the help she needed. Unfortunately, my family was more the exception than the rule. Too many mothers battle this disease alone; unsure of what is happening, and afraid to ask for help. We can't leave them alone. We need to increase awareness among women and medical providers so the symptoms can be quickly recognized. And we need to facilitate treatment so women can get the help they deserve.
Therefore, I have directed Commissioner Jacobs to organize an Education Campaign on postpartum depression. And I am asking the Legislature to work with me so we can make New Jersey the only state to offer free mental health screenings for uninsured new mothers. The care of individuals with mental illness is only one aspect of our health care system that can be improved in the year ahead.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey SOS - Forgiving College Loans
If we can't retain quality people then we can't provide quality care. So today I am proposing a new incentive to attract and retain mental health workers. The state will forgive up to $20,000 dollars in student loans ... for any college graduate who works in a state, county, or non-profit mental health or social service agency. These are only two initial recommendations from the Mental Health Task Force, and I look forward to their full report in March.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey SOS - Housing for the Mentally Ill
The problems of mental illness are difficult and expensive. They're not the type of issues we champion at our fundraisers or in our campaign brochures. But how we handle the challenges of mental illness ... will speak volumes about how we handle ourselves as human beings.
One in every five New Jersey residents will suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime. There are some who have said that mental health is my personal agenda. Let me make it clear. I couldn't be prouder of the dignity and courage my wife has shown through her struggles and her advocacy. But this isn't my agenda -- it's everyone's agenda. And if it's not ... it should be!
Individuals with mental illness are our brothers and our sisters ... our mothers and our fathers. They are our sons and daughters ... our neighbors and colleagues. And, yes, our husbands and our wives. And they all deserve better.
To begin with, their basic need for decent housing is not being met. There are 8,000 chronically homeless people in New Jersey, the vast majority of whom suffer from mental illness. 50% of adults with severe mental illness live at home with their aging parents. And the wait for housing for an individual in the state system can be five years!
The housing shortage destroys their quality of life. It puts unnecessary and extraordinary costs on the citizens of this State. And it makes their recovery from mental illness even harder.
Meeting this crisis has been a top priority of the Governor's Task Force on Mental Health. And so today, I am proposing a $200 million dollar housing trust fund for individuals with mental illness and other disabilities.
This will help create 10,000 affordable places to live over the next 10 years. It will bring decency to the lives of individuals with mental illness. It will bring relief to their families who have cared for them. And it will let New Jersey ... begin to do better.
These are only two initial recommendations from the Mental Health Task Force, and I look forward to their full report in March.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey SOS - Presidential Primary
New Jersey must move up it's presidential primary. We've discussed this for years. Now the time has come to make New Jersey a Presidential player instead of an ATM machine for Presidential candidates! I want to commend Majority Leader Roberts, Assemblyman Mayer, and Senator Gill for their work to strengthen our voting process.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey SOS - Voting
We should encourage greater participation by allowing people more time to register. And we can make it easier to vote by allowing anyone to use an absentee ballot. People must have confidence that their vote is counted. Every electronically cast vote must produce a paper receipt.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey SOS - Ethics
Under the leadership of Speaker Sires, we have already started the process. We strengthened financial disclosure requirements ... and we eliminated no-bid contracts. We stopped double-dipping on health care benefits ... and we toughened the conflict of interest laws. We banned nepotism ... and we increased penalties for ethics and campaign finance violations. We made significant progress ... but together we can and must do more this year.
Governor McGreevey's Executive Order on pay to play ... must become a permanent law. And I am 100% committed to getting that done in the very near future. There is nothing more important to our democracy than the trust of the citizens. And when that trust wavers, the question is not whether we should act ... but how much we can achieve.
We must start with an overhaul of the Executive Commission on Ethics. It needs more independence and its well-intentioned rules need more teeth. Thanks to legislation you passed, the Commission now has an equal number of public and governmental members.
But I am not prepared to declare victory simply because that Commission is no longer dominated by the very people it oversees. Today I am proposing that for the first time ever, a majority of the Commission be public members. In addition, the Commission will undertake random audits and develop a mandatory training program. And finally, the Commission must be granted sweeping, new enforcement powers and penalties.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey SOS - School Security
If we have one priority for the year ahead it will be the safety of our school children. If there is one thing we must all focus on it is the protection of our schools. And if the parents of New Jersey hear only one thing from me today ... hear this ... I will leave no stone unturned (in my effort) to keep our children safe ... from the horrors of terrorism.
Educators aren't terrorism experts. They know about the S.A.T. not the C.I.A.. But they want to protect our schools ... and we must help them. So a security checklist will be created ... and security experts will visit every school before classes start next fall.
Federal homeland security officials will come to New Jersey ... to host courses on school security. National experts will teach bus drivers and administrators, teachers and nurses ... to recognize and prevent terrorist activities ... and how to react, if, God forbid, something should happen.
We will publish standards and recommendations on the most effective safety technologies. School construction and maintenance activities will be inspected by law enforcement ... so what happened in Russia never ever happens in New Jersey. And to bring the best ideas from New Jersey and the nation together in one place ... Rutgers has agreed to host a forum on school security this spring.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey SOS - Homeland Security
Mr. President, how can Wyoming receive $30 dollars per capita for homeland security aid while New Jersey receives only $6 dollars per capita? Homeland security funding increased 24% this year but yet, funding was cut for Newark, one of only three cities put on Orange Alert this summer.
Mr. President. We live our lives in the shadow of the fallen towers. For purposes of terrorism, the FBI has called the stretch between Port Newark and Newark International Airport the most dangerous two miles in America. We have nuclear plants and oil refineries, chemical plants and financial districts. We have been targeted before and we will likely be targeted again.
This is not a fight just to get our fair share from Washington.. This is a fight to protect our communities from an evil we all know. Mr. President, our voices will not be quieted ... our efforts will not be stopped until you say "yes" to New Jersey. Although Washington refuses to acknowledge the obvious, we are taking it upon ourselves to make sure New Jersey is prepared.
Codey's entire State of the State address here.
Codey’s State of The State Address
Corzine’s Knee-Jerk Reaction
Why did Corzine feel compelled to make this dig at our country? Can Corzine point to another country that provided more aid on the ground more rapidly? Can he name one country that provided greeter aid capability or quantity of supplies, food and water to the tsunami victims than the United States? So why the need for the negative comment before he acknowledges the remarkable work by the U.S.?
Senator’s like Corzine try to make a controversy over everything the U.S. does or doesn’t do in an attempt to make themselves look good or to score a point for their party. It's just a kneee-jerk reaction - fault the U.S.
To us, comments like this only make Corzine look like an opportunist, trying to make news. It also leads us to wonder how much the concerned Senator donated to the victims. Oh, we forgot he’s saving his money to buy himself the governor’s office.
See Corzine quotes below and the Star-Ledger article here.
U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) said yesterday that Indonesia's tsunami-struck Aceh province is so devastated it looks as if it were hit by a nuclear explosion.
"After a fitful start, the United States is developing real credibility for being an effective and solid global citizen in its performance," he said. "It is pretty remarkable to see our military get supplies to places that are completely cut off from the rest of Indonesia.
"We have been first on the ground with deep support and it is much appreciated," he said. "The effort has been entrepreneurial, not bureaucratic, and focused on getting real care to people."
Assembly Should Think Before They Vote
You’d never know the state is up against a $4 Billion budget shortfall with the reckless way our legislators spend. But a law like this doesn’t make any sense in even the best of times. Keep these guys in mind when you vote in November. Snips below, the entire article here.
Two legislators think it's OK for a government worker to collect a full disability pension and workers' compensation for the same injury.
Where your money goes: On Nov. 8, a state appeals court ruled government workers are not entitled to both a full disability pension and workers' compensation at the same time for the same injury.
That was followed on Nov. 22 by an Assembly bill, which flew through committee, that would permit double payment and, what's more, make it retroactive to August 1997.
You can thank Assemblymen Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, and Frank Blee, R-Atlantic. Voters in their districts should remember this dummy duo when they get their tax bills.
Bill Dressel, chief of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, told mayors if the bill, A-3529, is adopted, government workers could get more money while out on workers' compensation than while they work. Think anyone will be tempted?
NJ Senators Support Oyster Recruitment Funding
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley Campbell has made $300,000 available to continue activities aimed at improving oyster recruitment.
"We got good support from both New Jersey senators, Corzine and Lautenberg, and from Delaware senators Carper and Biden," he said. "I've got my fingers crossed we can continue this."
Corzine Jumps The Gun
"The administration's plan represents a long, slow and painful death for Social Security," said Sen. Jon Corzine, D-N.J. "These cuts would undermine the reason we have Social Security in the first place, which is to help people maintain a reasonable and dignified standard of living in retirement. Under President Bush's plan, seniors would suffer much sharper drops in their income when they retired than they do today, and the promise of Social Security from its founding would be compromised forever."
Acting Governor Codey has more than 30 years of experience in crafting the State Budget. As Senate Co-President, he directed the Legislature through the State's worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression, while managing to preserve and restore funding in the Budget for critical programs and services.
Codey is currently fighting to keep property taxes down by requiring schools and local governments to control costs, while working to achieve long-term relief through reforming New Jersey's system of local taxation to fund public schools.
Does it seem odd to you that Codey touts his 30 years of experience “crafting the state’s budget” and at the same time takes credit for “directing the Legislature through the State's worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression”?
In terms of his fighting to hold down property taxes that fund public schools, we haven’t seen any plans to that end and property tax bills are soaring.
Corzine - Running On His Record
Corzine did spend 2004 as Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, so maybe he didn’t have time for anything else besides press releases. Aside from making statements to the press and campaigning for Governor, we don’t expect much from Senator Corzine in 2005 either.
Here’s an overview of the Corzine site along with the date of the last entry for each section. Link to the Senator’s site here.
Biography – Shows few accomplishments, takes credit for the work of others, hard to tell if it is current. Does state he was Co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, so he has apparently dropped the “Co” part of his title in recent press statements.
Social Security - June 2002
Chemical Security - July 2002
Medicare - November 2003
Mutual Fund Industry Oversight – November 2003
Amtrack – July 2002
Press Office- January 2005
Newsletter – First Quarter 2003
Clippings - December 2003
Photo Album – November 2002
Former Chairman & CEO of Goldman Sachs
Gee, we are impressed Senator. It does seem rather odd that a man that made his fortune on Wall Street would dismiss the possibility that private investment accounts would bring big rewards for the rest of us. We wonder why Corzine would object to others accumulating a little wealth of their own? As former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs he must know what's best for "the little people".
Sen. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs investment firm, dismissed the idea that investing individuals' Social Security accounts on Wall Street would bring big rewards. Bush's forum, he said, had "no discussion of the deep, long-term cuts that will come in benefits" with a private-accounts plan.