Jon Corzine And David Rebovich Told You So
Corzine said: “We need to get the message out that we will take care of our vets, our seniors and our kids and we need to make sure we can do it right."We wonder why Rebovich believes Corzine needs to bring in speakers to help him explain his agenda? Granted, Senator Corzine is not known as a good public speaker, but his campaign agenda is very easy to understand. Corzine wishes to add new and expand existing state programs. It’s all on the Corzine for Governor of New Jersey campaign website and as the Senator unveils additional “planks” to his agenda, these are added for all to read.
By doing it right, Corzine presumably means making the tax system more progressive - which means taxing better off residents more and providing others with more property tax relief -, growing the economy to produce more good paying jobs and more revenue for the state, and pursuing policies to make the state more affordable. The Senator has espoused these ideas and discussed them on various occasions. But there will come a time, and fairly soon, when he will be pressed to explain if and how he can accomplish all of the above.
Won't priorities have to be established, which means that some constituents will have to wait before their needs and demands are met? Will making the state and local revenue system more progressive scare off growth industries whose better educated, higher paid employees may be asked to pay higher taxes than they would in many other states? And, make New Jersey affordable? Housing costs, the biggest item in most people's budgets, are among the highest in the nation here and continue to climb. How can state government possible control these costs?
Given questions like these, it may make sense for Corzine to bring in some speakers to help him explain the major components of his agenda and how his specific policy proposals will work.
Now what Corzine can’t explain, or doesn’t want to explain is how or who will be paying for the new and “improved” state programs. If David Rebovich doesn’t think Corzine is up to the task of doing his own explaining, you have to conclude the good doctor doesn’t think very highly of his candidate for Governor. Perhaps the idea is to distract people from a very inept candidate and a disastrous agenda with some slick talkers. We figured Corzine would blanket the state with campaign ads, as he did the last time, to fool the public.
We’ll give Rebovich this, even he recognizes it’s not possible to implement the Corzine agenda without massive tax increases that will “scare off” growth industries, educated employees and the people who pay the taxes in New Jersey. Sounds like a great agenda doesn’t it? Nothing a few smooth talkers can’t spin, right?
As to making the state more affordable, Rebovich fails to mention the biggest item in most people’s budget and the one item government can control - tax. It’s the rare person that doesn’t spend more for taxes than housing, food, clothing, transportation and anything else you can mention.
Add up what you pay and see if we’re not right. Just to get you started, there’s federal and state income taxes, payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare), property taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, utility taxes, cable TV taxes and a whole host of special taxes: health service taxes, hotel taxes, real estate transfer taxes, tobacco taxes, alcohol taxes and on and on.
If the idea is to make New Jersey more affordable, the only thing government can do to help the average person is to reduce taxes. This is a concept that never enters Corzine’s mind because he has no idea what it's like to be crushed under the state’s tax burden. He doesn’t have to explain anything, he’s Jon Corzine. He’ll decide how more and more of your hard earned money is to be spent. Just because there is not a single successful example of a state or country taxing and spending its way to prosperity, is no reason to question his agenda or his motives. How dare anyone complain!
Playing a shell game with taxes and increasing state spending is the Corzine agenda. More taxes are all Senator Corzine will bring to the people if elected Governor. You don’t have to take our word for it, Senator Corzine and David Rebovich told you so.
Trenton Democrats Back Corporate Welfare
New Jersey taxpayers are now obliged to borrow money to pay businesses for hiring workers the firms would have hired without an incentive. The Federal Targeted Job Tax Credit program available from 1978 to 1994 provided a similar incentive. An audit by the Clinton administration's Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Labor came to the following conclusion and Congress killed the program:
We found the tax credits did not induce employers to hire members of target groups they might not otherwise have offered jobs. Nationally, we project 92 percent of those individuals for whom employers could have claimed a credit would have been hired regardless of the tax subsidy.Just as the federal TJTC was a waste of taxpayer’s dollars, so too is New Jersey’s Business Employment Incentive Program. And to add insult to injury, the state proposes to borrow money to fund the program, unbelievable . This is just another example of financial mismanagement and waste of tax payer dollars by our representatives in Trenton.
The program largely subsidizes the wages of those who are hired irrespective of their eligibility and the availability of a tax credit. Consequently, for our audit period, we estimate the program cost three times the amount that it returned in economic benefits.
Businesses can apply for grants for as long as 10 years equal to up to 80 percent of the income tax withholdings from their new jobs. Companies must create at least 25 new jobs, though high-tech and bio-tech companies must create at least 10 jobs.
Ann G. Flynn, director of the Treasury Department's public finance office, said the bonds would be paid back over no more than 20 years. She said the bonds will be sold with either a 7 percent fixed interest rate or an 18 percent variable rate, depending on the market.
The incentive program was funded annually through the state budget. But in 2003 then-Gov. James E. McGreevey proposed and legislators approved borrowing money to fund the grants, contending the borrowing would give confidence to the business community that the program had stable funding.
Businesses can apply for grants for as long as 10 years equal to up to 80 percent of the income tax withholdings from their new jobs. Companies must create at least 25 new jobs, though high-tech and bio-tech companies must create at least 10 jobs.
A 2003 study questioned the program's effectiveness, finding the state paid $10.9 million to companies that laid off 2,794 workers.
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 11
On A First Name Basis
Ahoy, Mates! Send Your Links
Popeye tangos Tillie* over to SmadaNek for this Sunday’s Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers.
All New Jersey bloggers and blog readers are invited to participate. Please send links to posts you would like featured in this week's Carnival to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Olive Oyl with Tillie mask.
Now, would we forget Suzette?
Ken Adams Hosts Carnival On Sunday
Ken Adams author of SmadaNek will host the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers this Sunday. All New Jersey bloggers and blog readers are invited to participate.
Please send links to email@example.com for posts you would like featured in this week's Carnival.
Corzine's Affordable Opportunities Initiative
Corzine's plan, the "Affordable Opportunities Initiative," aims to make college more affordable and available through a series of grants, tax credits and loan forgiveness. Additionally, the plan aims to end the steady march of high achieving New Jersey students to colleges and universities in other states, by offering financial incentives to choose in-state schools. Corzine said this so-called "brain drain" hampers growth in our state.As an advocate for “universal higher education” Senator Corzine’s proposal is not surprising, but how luring more college students to attend state subsidized schools makes New Jersey more affordable is beyond us. How many believe New Jersey’s students forgo in-state tuition and attend college for less in another state? Students attend colleges in other states because they choose to do so for any number of reasons, but lower college expenses isn’t one of them.
More than 40 percent of New Jersey high school seniors leave to enroll in higher education in other states – that's more than double the national rate. Too many of our most talented students choose to leave New Jersey for college. What’s worse is that many of them never come back to the state.
Every student that attends a private school in New Jersey or a school out of state saves state funds, thus making the state more affordable for taxpayers. Senator Corzine is trying to shift a greater portion of college expenses from students and their parents to taxpayers. Why? Increased state spending and taxes drain capital from the economy, hampering economic growth and job creation.
New Jersey taxpayers currently spend $2.1 billion on higher education for two- and four-year schools. According to the New Jersey Association for State Colleges and Universities, full-time students pay close to half of the cost of their education in tuition and fees, while the state pays the other half.
At this point in the equation taxpayers are equal partners with New Jersey’s college students. However, the partnership doesn’t end there. For example, about 78 percent of Rutgers undergraduate students receive financial aid, and the average aid package covers 57 percent of tuition, fees room and board. For the vast majority of students, taxpayers pick up 78% of the tab and the student or their parents, 22%.
That seems like a pretty good deal to us. Why does Senator Corzine want to further reduce the student’s investment in their own future? Students (or their parents) with a meaningful financial stake in paying for their education are more apt to value the opportunity and complete their course of study. As The New Jersey Association for State Colleges and Universities website explains:
At public colleges and universities in New Jersey, the state or country, or both, pay for most of the cost of your college education. Don't let all the talk about the cost of college scare you away. If you are capable of college work, you can find a way to handle the costs. The state offers a generous, varied array of student aid programs, to help families and students pay for college.The New Jersey Association for State Colleges and Universities further notes:
The public tends to overestimate the cost of tuition significantly for all categories of colleges, according to polls conducted by the American Council on Education.Mr. Corzine must overestimate the cost of college too if he thinks taxpayers aren’t currently paying their “fair share”. If the Senator wanted to make New Jersey more affordable he should be looking to cut state expenses and taxes, not dreaming up new ways to increase them.
The key to improving the state’s economy and people’s lives through education is to increase student proficiency in public schools and graduation rates from high school. New Jersey will spend $20.7 billion on public schools this year and it is this taxpayer “investment” that needs to provide a greeter return to make New Jersey more affordable.
The average high school graduate earns far more in a lifetime than the average person without a high school diploma. A high school graduate is better equipped to be a productive member of society, less likely to live in poverty and become dependent upon taxpayers for aid. The “brain drain” is occurring in our public schools. Improve public school productivity and the state will prosper, grow and be more affordable for everyone, including taxpayers.
Transferring money from one person or group to another seems to be Senator Corzine’s answer for making New Jersey more affordable in all areas of life. Perhaps life in New Jersey is temporarily more affordable for tax receivers, but it immediately makes life less affordable for taxpayers and less affordable for everyone in the long run.
You have to chuckle at Jon Corzine’s observation that the smart kids are leaving the state and not coming back. Gee, we wonder why?
Enlighten, Lightens Up
Corzine: Surely You Jest
U.S. Attorney Chris Christie has taken over a state investigation into JCA Associates Inc., amid accusations that New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey squelched the probe to protect prominent Democrats with ties to the Moorestown firm.
The investigation focused on whether JCA had illegally reimbursed employees for donations to federal campaigns, including Levin's. Law enforcement officials told The Philadelphia Inquirer that investigators were also examining whether there was a "quid pro quo" involved in a $300,000 contract JCA received from Cherry Hill when Levin was mayor and running for Congress.
DynamoBuzz has more on the investigation and brings up a good point – “Ms. Levin hasn't been indicted yet, and as long as your name isn't Karl Rove, you're innocent until proven guilty.”
More online reports here: Feds probe top official in Corzine campaign, Corzine Campaign Official Investigated, FBI looks into N.J. campaign donations
Joint Terrorism Task Force Arrests 5 In New Jersey
Five Egyptian men with maps of the New York City subway system and video of New York landmarks have been arrested by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark, N.J., ABC News has learned.
FBI and law enforcement officials told ABC News the five men — four illegal immigrants and one law enforcement fugitive — were arrested Sunday night following a tip to the Newark Police Department. In addition to the subway maps and video, the men had train schedules and $8,000 in $20 and $50 bills.
The men were identified as: Karim Ahmed Abdel Latif Ahmed, 21; his brother Mahoud Ahmed Abdel Latif Ahmed, 19; Ahmed Mohamed Atta, 30; Mohamed Ibrahim Gaber, 34, and Mohamed Palat Anwar Jozain. When Newark authorities converged at the group’s location at 246 Ferry St., Karim Ahmed answered the door and agreed to allow police to enter. Officers said they noticed the maps, and video cameras and Karim and his brother agreed to a search.
Karim said he had the maps because he had a new job as a street vendor. Initially, Karim said no one else was in the apartment, but police came upon the three other men upon further search.
FBI officials said the men have no known link to a terror network but noted that none of them could adequately explain the items they had in their possession, the large amount of money or their reasons for being in the United States. Mohamed Ibrahim Gaber has been a fugitive since he jumped ship from an Egyptian flagged freighter in September 2000.
The men, all of whom claimed to be unemployed civil or chemical engineers, are set to be deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Leadership vs. Demagoguery
Forrester criticized his Democratic opponent, U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, for not speaking out publicly on the housing authority's record. The authority has been designated a "troubled" agency by federal housing officials, leaving open the possibility of a takeover.Forrester’s “funding the wrong people” remark refers to Senator Corzine’s support of and campaign contributions to Democrat politicians who control the City of Newark and the state. Many find Corzine’s support of Newark Mayor Sharpe James indicative of his willingness to back even the most ethically challenged politicians to further his own political ambitions.
Jon, it's time to lead. You've been listening to the wrong people. You've funded the wrong people ... Something is horribly wrong here."
Newark’s Housing Authority has been under a cloud of ethical and financial mismanagement charges since last fall when HUD ordered the authority to return $3.9 million of the $6.5 million granted to the city by the federal department. The grants were provided to fund housing for the city's low and moderate-income residents. The authority instead diverted the funds to build a hockey arena.
Additional financial abuse at the Newark Housing Authority came to light last September with reports that executive director, Harold Lucas spent $1 million to refurbish the authority's headquarters, complete with a plasma television for the director. Lucas also spent money on a luxury vehicle and paid his daughter $25,000 to run the authority's beauty pageant. A lack of record keeping and questionable accounting and management practices resulted in a “troubled” authority rating by HUD.
So what was Senator Corzine’s response to Forester’s call for a federal takeover of the authority? Was Corzine outraged about the abuse of funds and the poor people hurt due to what would be charitably described as incompetence? No, Corzine’s spokesperson attacked Forrester and President Bush:
Ivette Mendez, a Corzine spokeswoman, found Forrester's comments disingenuous, asking why he remained silent when President Bush was gutting federal housing programs.It all depends on the meaning of "gutted", we suppose. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget increased from $30.416 billion in 2004 to $31.264 billion in 2005. As the Star-Ledger reported on July 7, one HUD program provided $5.6 billion in federal funds to housing authorities for the purpose of building new homes for the poor, but $2.6 billion remains unspent. Out of 224 HUD revitalization grants awarded in a dozen years, only 42 projects have been completed.
So Forrester’s calling for responsible management of Newark’s Housing Authority is disingenuous, why? Because he’s a Republican? No explanation or proof provided, just another baseless attack. Everyone is supposed to believe whatever outrageous charge that comes out of the mouth of Corzine or one of his backers. False attacks and backing people that enrich themselves at the expense of the poor is okay because Corzine is a Democrat. We’ll say it again, facts do matter. At least they do to folks who actually care about the people of New Jersey.
When you lack a logical argument or any facts to back up your position you change the subject and cast aspersions:
"We think it's great that Doug Forrester has finally shown concern about the burdens faced by low-income New Jerseyans who are faced with the high cost of living in our state," she [Mendez]said in a statement. "Where has he been all these years?"New Jersey’s high cost of living is caused by what? Tax cuts for the rich? Where has Forrester been all these years? Where the heck has Corzine been? We were under the impression Corzine was the Senator from New Jersey and a leader in New Jersey’s Democrat Party that controls Newark, not Doug Forrester. Corzine wants to be viewed as a leader and yet he blames everyone else for his lack of results and effective leadership.
Mendez said Corzine supports the investigation that is under way to determine the propriety of the housing authority's spending practices. If it turns out taxpayers were shortchanged, "serious changes must be made and appropriate action must be taken by authorities," she added.Corzine backs the investigation? Does he have a choice? How much proof of financial mismanagement and taxpayer abuse is required for Corzine to call for a change? The authority isn't rated as "troubled" because it does a fantastic job. Does someone have to be indicted before Corzine believes action should be taken? How many more examples are required for voters to come to the conclusion, Corzine is not the guy to fix the waste, fraud and financial mismanagement in the New Jersey?
There is hope. Residents of Stephen Crane Village, the housing authority complex visited by Forrester, had this to say:
Residents complained to Forrester about everything from no water to water leaks to broken windows to refrigerator and stove problems.It is difficult figuring out who to trust, but the poor people in Newark might consider this question: How’s Democrat control of the city and state worked out for you so far?
Some tenants dismissed Forrester's pleas as typical campaign rhetoric, but more than a few said a change in party leadership in Trenton couldn't hurt.
"Mr. Forrester seems like he's on the right track," said Eugene Roberts, 49. "I could be wrong, but he appears sincere. Jon Corzine joined the group that looks out for the big guys."
But Regina Cook, 55, added: "You don't know who to trust."
Federal Funding For Education Soars, Results Don’t
The entire education budget has ballooned during the president's time in office. The Department of Education's budget has grown by 82.5 percent in real terms from $34.9 billion in FY2001 to $63.7 billion in FY2005. This is the largest increase of any president since Lyndon Johnson.All well and good you say, but I’ve heard the Republicans are cheating “blue states” and the education budget this year has been cut to pay for “tax cuts for the wealthy”. Just because Corzine and his fellow travelers say it, it doesn’t make it so:
President Bush's 2006 budget asks for more of the same. Every state sees an increase in grant money, nearly 5 percent on average. The average state receives a level of grant funding that is more than 50 percent higher than when President Bush took office; no state has an increase less than 35 percent.Jon Corzine and others in the Democrat party have predicted doom and gloom for the country unless we invest more in education. Invest as we know in the “progressive” dictionary means increase taxes. But, do we need to “invest” more money to in order compete in the global economy?
According to OECD figures, the U.S. spends 78 percent more per student than Germany, 58 percent more than France, 31 percent more than Japan, and 71 percent more than the U.K. But despite these large spending differentials, American students perform no better than average on international comparisons of math and reading skills.Property taxes have soared across the country and New Jersey holds the distinction for having the highest property taxes in the nation. The major cause:
From 1960 to 2000, inflation-adjusted spending on education in the U.S. nearly tripled, yet test scores show little improvement, dropout rates are high, and a large racial achievement gap persists.The education industry has to be in a league of its own, producing less with more resources. Only a state subsidized industry could make such a claim:
Education economist Caroline Hoxby explains that public schools today are doing less with more: school productivity -- achievement per dollar spent -- declined by 55 to 73 percent from 1971 to 1999. Meanwhile, private and charter schools are boosting student achievement with lower expenditures per pupil than public schools. In other words, there is no consistent, systematic relationship between education spending and student outcomes.Ken Adams has completed a statistical study on public school spending in New Jersey and finds no correlation between spending per pupil and student achievement in our state. New Jersey spends more per student than any other state and yet produces average results at best. Ken asks: How can we solve the differences in performance between schools? Here’s our answer:
Parents recognizing the correlation between educational attainment and achievement in life pass this message on to their children. Children learn directly from their parents whether or not to value education and studies show that when parents expect their children to do well in school, they do. People who value education and take advantage of educational opportunities earn more than those that don’t. No mystery here.
Now, what do we do about it? We ask the leaders of communities with parents and children that don’t value education to lead or get out of the way. We hold people accountable. Those schools producing results should maintain current levels of funding; those that don’t should lose funding until results are achieved. Schools still not producing should continue to lose funding until they hit the same average per pupil spending rate as non-Abbott schools.
More money and ever more expensive school facilities are not the answer. The education industry was used the more money “for the children” mantra to silence the average person through guilt, preventing most from saying enough is enough. Politicians have been happy to indulge this special interest group – the education industry - to buy votes and achieve political power.
Student performance directly tied to funding is the incentive needed to bring about the changes so desperately needed. Now who will step up to lead?
Health Insurance: What's The Matter With New Jersey?
Last week the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill that could dramatically reduce the ranks of the uninsured and spur general economic growth--all without costing a dime to the Treasury.Isn't this a novel idea? A free market and real competition for medical insurance to lower costs. Compare this free market health insurance solution to the socialist model some advocate for the country and New Jersey in particular.
The idea behind the legislation, sponsored by GOP Representative John Shadegg of Arizona, is disarmingly simple: Allow Americans to buy health insurance from vendors in any one of the 50 states.
A 2004 study by eHealthInsurance.com found that a typical insurance policy ($2,000 deductible, 20% co-insurance) for a family of four could be had for as little in as $172 per month in a reasonably regulated locality like Kansas City, Missouri. But in New York that family's only option--managed care--would run $840 per month, and in New Jersey family policies run a whopping $1,200-plus. We bet Democratic Representative Frank Pallone's constituents in New Jersey would be interested in his view that insurance in his state is only "slightly" more expensive than elsewhere.
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 10
Jon Corzine's Grassroots Power
Note the enthusiasm for Jon Corzine from these “everyday people” in this picture found on the Corzine for Governor Campaign website under the heading "Grassroots Power'.
“Conservative extremists” seems to be Corzine’s favorite expression of late. We’re curious what the Senator means by the term and how it applies to the issues facing the next Governor of New Jersey.
According to this entry by Matt Stoller on the Corzine Connection; “Democrats have been beside themselves over Cheney's scheduled appearance” in New Jersey.
U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., chairman of Corzine's campaign, was also critical of Cheney: "These are radical conservatives for the Bush administration. What are they doing in New Jersey? They ought to be barred from New Jersey," Lautenberg said at a news conference in Trenton.
It doesn’t take much for these folks to go to pieces does it? Last week Jon Corzine said: “I sometimes look at the blogs and I wonder whether I’m going to survive until the next day, because the right wingers are very aggressive.”
The left often throws around the expressions, “out of the mainstream” and “political extremists”, but always in the same breath with the term “right-wing”. Their logic escapes us.A discussion ensured in the comments section concerning the “left” calling politicians and others “right-wing” extremists. In response we wrote:
For example, the left often refers to President Bush, Vice President Chaney, Ken Mehlman and other administration officials as right-wing extremists. This labeling by the left seems illogical, given as you have pointed out, 51% of voters have supported the positions advocated by these very officials. Even in New Jersey the Bush/Cheney ticket received 46% of the vote in 2004. Wouldn’t you agree the “extremist” label for the President, et al is false and purposefully misleading?A commenter, not a participant of the discussion that prompted our response above, called us “liars” and demanded proof if we were big on “facts” and providing “examples”. We hope the following will settle the matter.
Our original post concerning House support for the Patriot Act brought us an email from the Corzine Connection Team forwarded to us by a reader. If the original recipient of this email is in any way representative of moderate Democrats, Corzine and his team are shooting themselves in the foot. We have verified the authenticity of the email with another person on the Corzine Connection mailing list. The following is the Corzine team email in its entirety:
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2005Thank God for New Jersey’s press exposing Doug Forrester’s links to the “right-wing extremists” otherwise the people of New Jersey would never have known Forrester is a Republican.
Subject: Want to stop the right-wing? Show up
In the last few months, New Jersey has seen a parade of out-of-state conservative ideologues - people out of touch with the values of New Jersey -- arriving here to support Doug Forrester's campaign for Governor.
First RNC Chair Ken Mehlman, then Karl Rove, and now Dick Cheney.
Doug Forrester, like his partners RNC Chair Mehlman, Rove, and Cheney, is too extreme for New Jersey. This is an important week for the campaign, because this is the week we start sending the message that this right-wing influence in the New Jersey governor’s race is unwelcome.
Unlike the Republicans, we are going directly to the grassroots and taking our message door-to-door. And your push-back is already having an affect on Forrester’s campaign. After the New Jersey press exposed his links to Karl Rove, Doug Forrester was forced to remove advertising for the Cheney fundraiser and a photo of Forrester and Rove from his website. Forrester is trying to hide his connection with the right-wing extremists -- which means we have to keep up the pressure.
Our message needs lots of grassroots’ voices behind it— and you have several chances this week to join in the protest.
1. Come to the Anti-Cheney Block Party, countering the Cheney/Forrester high-dollar fundraiser on Friday. Join us today, Thursday, at 5:00 PM in East Windsor as we show the right-wing interlopers that this election is going to be about the grassroots, not wooing conservative ideologues.
2. Protest Cheney’s Fundraiser for Forrester. If we don’t want the right-wing’s dirty tactics and out-of-touch policies, we must make it clear now. Join us for the rally on Friday, July 22, at 4:00 PM outside the Westin Hotel in Princeton and tell Dick Cheney to go home.
3. Show the power of REAL grassroots by going door-to-door in our first big, statewide Action Day this Saturday, July 23. The best message we can send to conservative extremists is to show them the power of everyday people, who care about the future of this state, taking our message to the streets and kicking off our historic door-to-door operation.
Showing up is how we best stand against the right-wing exteremist onslaught unleashed by Doug Forrester. RSVP for these events online, or call us at 732-729-9940.
We can’t wait for this ideological shift to become entrenched as “political reality” in New Jersey — we don’t want them, or their dirty partisan tactics here. Let’s remind them now that New Jersey is and will stay a Blue State.
Corzine Connection Team
PS: If you can, bring a camera to these events and share your photos—we’d love to show our grassroots in action. Send your photos to our blogger, Matt, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maybe the press should expose this aspect of Jon Corzine’s campaign for Governor of New Jersey.
Send Your Carnival Links Today
If you’d like to participate in this week’s Carnival, send your links to email@example.com
New Jersey’s House Members Support Patriot Act
We are beginning to see a pattern with these recent House votes on national security issues. Democrat Representatives Holt, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne, and Rothman are voting against the majority opinion within New Jersey’s delegation, as well as the Congress as a whole. The left often throws around the expressions, “out of the mainstream” and “political extremists”, but always in the same breath with the term “right-wing”. Their logic escapes us.
Political Extremists (Added 7/22 @ 7:55 pm)
From Corzine Connection To Blog Regulation
So here we have Matt Stoller, a guy running the Corzine Connection blog, representing bloggers before the FEC – seems an odd choice, no? We were under the impression political party and candidate campaign websites were already covered under campaign finance laws, so why was Stoller among those chosen to testify on this subject? Maybe he was invited to speak on his personal experience with campaigns using bloggers. The again maybe it’s just a matter of his Corzine connection.
Anyway, here are some snips (emphasis ours) from Stoller’s FEC proposal posted on the Blogging on the President site. His ideas for regulation read like a bureaucratic nightmare and it’s unclear what Stoller means by “political actors” in need of regulation. Stoller envisions a “public database for communications” that will “unleash citizens on the problem of corruption.” Yep, that’ll do it.
Thank you for letting bloggers testify about applying campaign finance reform laws to the internet.
As the FEC Commissioners work to apply regulations to the internet to comply with campaign finance legislation, we would like to propose a way that the principles behind the campaign finance legislation - the elimination of corruption and the protection of the First Amendment - can coexist on the internet.
By slightly reinterpreting the phrase 'public communications', our proposal may also allow the FEC to reasonably and responsibly act on the Shays-Meehan lawsuit, without creating an excessively intrusive regulatory architecture.
So let's turn the problem of political corruption from money in the process around, and unleash citizens on the problem of corruption rather than just a regulatory agency. To that end, a wise and unintrusive thing the FEC could do to root out corruption in the campaign world would be to create a public database for communication by Federal political committees.
Creating a system like this will not change the amount of money in politics, but it will do something at least as important - it will change the amount of power money can buy in politics.
Because of the internet, the FEC has an added tool in its toolbox. Aside from telling organized entities what they can and can't do; the commission can now force political actors to consider whether they are willing to be held publicly accountable for their political communications.
There are logistical problems with such a system, and there will be somewhat inconvenient reporting requirements for registered political committees. For instance, web sites and blogs may attract more than 50,000 readers, or they may not (though it's worth noting that archiving these already public communications is not hard, especially if campaigns are told not to unpublish their sites or delete blog posts).
By forcing political actors to disclose not just who gives them money and what they spend it on, but also what they say, the FEC can use the internet to dramatically supplement the current regulatory architecture and better fulfill its established mission.
Fausta To Host Carnival On Sunday
Fausta author of The Bad Hair Blog will host the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers this Sunday.
All New Jersey bloggers and blog readers are invited to participate. Please send links to firstname.lastname@example.org for posts you would like featured in this week's Carnival.
New Jersey’s House Members Show Support For Gitmo
The measure read:
The capture, detention and interrogation of international terrorists are essential to the successful prosecution of the Global War on Terrorism and to the defense of the U.S., its citizens, and coalition partners from future terrorist attacks; and that the detention and lawful, humane interrogation by the U.S. of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is essential to the defense of the U.S. and its coalition partners and to the successful prosecution of the Global War on Terrorism.The chart below provides the roll call vote for New Jersey’s members of the House of Representatives:
New Jersey’s House Members Show Support For Iraq War
The first column in the chart below indicates how each House member voted in 2002 on President Bush's Iraq resolution. A "yes" vote was a vote to grant President Bush the power to attack Iraq unilaterally. The measure passed the House 296 -133.
The Second column reflects last night’s roll call vote on an amendment opposing a requirement for President Bush to devise a plan for a withdrawal from Iraq. A "yes" vote was a vote to approve the amendment, opposing the premature withdraw of forces from Iraq. The measure passed the House 291-137.
When It Comes To Security, Facts Matter
Federal Funds For Transit Security Go Unused, so John Shabe’s reference to our post will provide a great point for us to start. In his post “You Gotta Blame Corzine” Shabe writes:
Conservative Jersey blogger Enlighten-NJ calls out Jon Corzine for the fact that New York's MTA didn't spend all of its cunter-terror dollars. This is patently ludicrous, as Jersey blogger Sloppydawg points out.In our post cited by Shabe, we noted Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Jon Corzine (D-NJ) have been demanding more money for transit security. We also wrote the demands might seem reasonable until you read the facts presented in the New York Observer, including the fact that $570 million in funds allocated for transit security in our area have gone unused. Aware of this information, what would you conclude? We wrote: “Senators Schumer and Corzine should familiarize themselves with the facts before demanding more money from taxpayers.”
We didn’t “blame” Corzine for the fact New York’s M.T.A. didn’t spend all of its transit security money as Mr. Shabe stated. If blame was assigned it went to Governor Pataki, as we wrote: “The Governor of New York, George Pataki should be banished to the ash heap of political history for his failure to ensure the funds were spent to improve security of the country’s largest mass transit system.”
However, in retrospect we probably should have also concluded, Senators Schumer and Corzine were either engaged in political grandstanding or the two have no compunction about demanding more taxpayer money when they are oblivious to the facts. Perhaps both descriptions are accurate.
The M.T.A. is sitting on $570 million of the $600 million in funds provided in 2002 for upgrading the security of a transit system millions use daily, many of them from New Jersey. The M.T.A.’s original plan was developed in conjunction with the Army and the Department of Defense. The Army and the DOE were willing to bring in the government’s latest security technologies to New York’s subways, buses, bridges and tunnels. The M.T.A. has since abandoned the plan and has spent a total of $30 million dollars “on consultants and studies, with little to show on the ground.”
New York City also received $207.6 million in federal homeland security funds for 2005. That’s $777.6 million the city has to work with in 2005 to beef up transit security. The M.T.A. now claims to have plans to spend $300 million by year’s end, but that still leaves $270 million specifically allocated for transit security on the table – so why the call for additional funding?
Not that New York is alone in its failure to spend homeland security funds. To cite just two examples: the Washington Post reported in April, the nation’s capital hasn’t spent $120 million of the federal aid it received between 2002 and 2004 and the Denver Post reported Colorado has spent less than half of the $137 million it received from the federal government for homeland security.
We would suggest it’s patently ludicrous for Senators Corzine and Schumer to be demanding additional funding for transit security when more homeland security funds seem to be sloshing around than state and local governments have figured out how to use to further protect the public.
We’ve discussed New York, now let’s turn our attention to New Jersey. Our state has allocated $382.3 million for homeland security efforts since January 2002. How has the money been spent? According to Acting Governor Codey, “New Jersey has used its share of federal homeland security funding on programs throughout New Jersey to train and equip first responders, secure our infrastructure, and keep our communities and residents as safe as possible.”
We assume the state has analyzed security risks, developed a strategic homeland security plan, established programs to execute the strategy and has budgeted and funded security initiatives in order of risk assessment priority. We also assume transit security would have been high on the state’s list of priorities and homeland security funds have been spent accordingly.
While no data is available to explain how the entire $382.3 million in homeland security money has been spent by New Jersey, we will assume high risk/high priority security issues have been addressed and funded. Otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to spend homeland security money on dump trucks for Newark or on producing booklets such as, New Jersey's Guide to Protecting Your Pets in the Event of a Disaster, available on New Jersey’s Homeland Security website.
The New Times’ article we cited earlier provides this quote: “When Americans are at risk, Americans are at risk," said Senator Jon Corzine, Democrat of New Jersey. "I would suggest anybody who wanted to seek large concentrations of people at any one time; I'll take you to Hoboken train station every workday."
We will assume the Senator is expressing concern about the safety of the train station in Hoboken. Surely, New Jersey’s homeland security plan placed a priority on mass transit and train stations with large concentrations of people passing through everyday. Does Corzine doubt the state’s homeland security and general funds have been spent in the best interest of the public? If doubt remains, we suggest Senator Corzine question his representatives in Trenton about their spending priorities.
Corzine calls Hoboken his home, which means his state representatives are – senate: Bernard Kenny (D) assembly: Albio Sires (D) and Brian Stack (D); and Acting Governor Codey (D). Would Corzine’s representatives in Trenton, members of his own Party, ignore transit safety concerns and spend taxpayer money unwisely? We can’t imagine responsible leaders would neglect the most basic role of government, the safety and protection of the public. Corzine should rest assured with Democrats in control of both houses of the state’s legislature and the governor’s seat, everything humanly possible “has been done to keep our communities and residents as safe as possible.”
Let’s face it, if there were major gaps in the state’s security, Democrats wouldn’t have spent 70 million in "Christmas tree dollars" as described by Charles Webster’s in the Trentonian. As Webster explains, Assembly Speaker Albio Sires and Majority Leader Joe Roberts funneled $20 million in fun money into their own districts. Why would Sires be willing to spend $2 million to refurbish a garage or $1.4 million for upgrading recreational facilities if the Hoboken train station was vulnerable and a security risk for the entire state? Clearly no one who took their resposnibities seriously would.
And if by some small chance transit security never achieved the same level of priority as say, the $3.5 million spent on a new office for the Camden Redevelopment Agency or $350,000 for a skate park in Woodbury, there’s always this year.
The state’s newly enacted budget will provide $192 million for homeland security and while “officials representing Harvey and acting Gov. Richard Codey remained tight-lipped about this year’s homeland security funding” a spokesman for the men said:
"We have money in the budget that addresses homeland security needs," said spokesman Sean Darcy, noting that $192 million will go towards a host of security and counter-terrorism initiatives. "That was the best use of the money this year."
Priorities and facts do matter Mr. Shabe. To say otherwise would be, as you would say, patently ludicrous.
Demonstrating The Reason For High Taxes in New Jersey
According to the report, the new school will have recreational facilities including a 21,000 square foot gymnasium; a unique 4,000-person capacity rooftop athletic field with bleachers; a performing arts auditorium that seats about 1,000; a 12,000 square foot media center; health screening and childcare centers; and a 200-space parking garage. Oh, and 66 classrooms.
The article explains the “high school” will be one of six demonstration projects of school construction going on around the state. A project surely demonstrating that money is no object when a community does not supply any of the funds for its school construction and that the concept of funding a “thorough and efficient” education has reached the point of absurdity.
The $6 billion the state budgeted for necessary “Abbott" school construction is gone with less than half of the construction projects funded. The state now believes another $12 billion dollars will be required to complete “Abbott” school construction programs. As the Star-Ledger has reported, “Abbott” school construction has cost as much as 84% more and has averaged 45% more than school projects funded through local property taxes.
Emerson High School will have so many unnecessary and extravagant amenities that one would think state leaders would have been too embarrassed to be associated with such obvious abuse of taxpayer money. Yet, Acting Governor Codey happily attended the ground breaking ceremony fully aware of the state’s school construction fund is completely broke and half of the court mandated projects will require the taxpayers to dig deeper.
This is just one example of the contempt the state’s politicians, judges, educators and bureaucrats have for New Jersey’s taxpayers. Votes and political donations are purchased with your tax dollars, not schools. There is no other explanation. Anyone that felt even the slightest accountability for spending the people’s money responsibly would have put a stop to this high school before it got off the drawing board.
What a design that came off the drawing board. Imagine the potential disasters with a rooftop athletic field, not to mention the operating and maintenance costs associated with running a facility that could better be described as recreation complex than a school. Of course this presents no problem for the property tax payers in Union City; they only pay 9% of the tab for their children to attend school.
As your property taxes soar and as the Democrats in Trenton pile on more state taxes, keep in mind it is the inequity in state funding between the “Abbot” and “non-Abbott” districts and the squandering of school construction funds that are to blame.
Milburn Township, considered to be one of the wealthiest school districts in the state provides a quality education without elaborate school facilities at an average cost of $11,820 per student. Local school districts build schools on average at half the cost of state constructed schools. There is a reason for this – when you have to pay the bills yourself, money matters and it’s less likely to be wasted. When the other guy is stuck paying the bill, some people just don’t give a damn.
One major problem in New Jersey is that too many people don’t give a damn and far too many don’t have the vaguest idea what’s driving up their taxes. Wouldn’t it be great if this year the politicians running for state assembly and governor educated voters and campaigned on this issue? If they won’t make it an issue, it's time taxpayers did.
Federal Funds For Transit Security Go Unused
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been asleep at the switch, despite having access to an abundance of federal funds. Although the authority committed $600 million in 2002 to upgrading security, it turns out that only $30 million of that money has been spent. Furthermore, the authority walked away from a deal with the U.S. Army that would have installed some of the Army's most advanced anti-terrorism technology in our mass-transit system. This reckless disregard for the safety of millions of residents and commuters is outrageous.The Governor of New York, George Pataki should be banished to the ash heap of political history for his failure to ensure the funds were spent to improve security of the country’s largest mass transit system. Senator Schumer and Corzine should familiarize themselves with the facts before demanding more money from taxpayers.
Almost all of the $30 million that the M.T.A. has spent has been on consultants and studies, with little to show on the ground. Now that word has leaked out that $570 million in security funds has been gathering dust, the M.T.A. is loudly proclaiming that it will spend $300 million by the end of this year. That's all well and good, but those projects will likely take years to complete. Had they been started in 2002, they'd be coming to fruition right about now.
Most shockingly, the M.T.A. abandoned a deal with the Army that would have brought the latest security technologies--some of which are used in Iraq--to our subways, buses, bridges and tunnels.
Soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, the M.T.A. hired a longtime police commander, Louis Anemone, as its security director. Mr. Anemone and M.T.A. executives quickly embarked on a series of weekly meetings with Army officials, who were eager to apply the latest anti-terrorism technology to New York.
Army engineers had an array of innovative devices to offer, such as smart cameras, infrared sensors and radars, which would alert the police if anyone entered a vulnerable area of the transit system. They had plans for protecting the Lincoln and Holland tunnels by severely restricting access and using devices that would disorient any intruder, such as by firing rubber bullets.
The collaborative effort, which had the approval of the Department of Defense, seemed like a win-win, and the initial stage would cost only $250 million--well within the $600 million budget.
So what happened? In May 2003, the M.T.A. fired Mr. Anemone and his deputy after the two men had made allegations of corruption on an unrelated matter. Both are suing the authority, asserting that they were unjustly dismissed. Mr. Anemone's replacement as security chief, William Morange, decided that he wasn't interested in working with the Army, and the project was dropped.
New Jersey Hospitals On Heightened Alert
New Jersey hospitals are on heightened alert, authorities acknowledged yesterday, as the result of several suspicious incidents involving people trying to enter hospitals under false pretenses.
Bulletins have been issued by the New Jersey Office of Counter-Terrorism, in addition to other law enforcement agencies, telling hospitals to be vigilant. However, authorities stressed there has been no specific threat of terrorism against New Jersey hospitals.
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 9
Which Character Are You ?
It’s All The Same, But Different
This ABC News video from five years ago, courtesy of Media Research Center, is a classic. Before Democrats had a partisan motive to claim, contrary to all the evidence, that there was no relationship between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and bin Laden's al Qaeda, their close and dangerous relationship was common knowledge. That common knowledge is reflected in this ABC news report, as it was in the Clinton administration's indictment of bin Laden in 1998 for, among other things, collaborating with Saddam on weapons of mass destruction.
It really is a fascinating question: in this era of digital media, can the news media and the Democrats get away with trying to flush what they said as recently as 1998 and 2000 down the memory hole?
Last Call For # 9
Sluggo Needs A Nap will be hosting the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 9 this Sunday. All New Jersey bloggers and blog readers are invited to participate. Please send an email to email@example.com with a link to a post you would like featured in this week's Carnival.
Nancy Plays While Sluggo Works
Yes, that's Sluggo with glasses working away on the Carnival while Nancy plays.
Sluggo and Tillie Caught Entering Secret Location
Sluggo and Tille captured in this picture entering an undisclosed location to work on the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers. Both are smiling broadly, they must be up to no good.
Thanks to the anonymous tipster for the picture.
Is Jon Corzine Using Bloggers?
Corzine spoke on a conference call with an invited group of bloggers between votes on proposed amendments to the Homeland Security appropriations bill.
Corzine said he was reaching out to bloggers because he knows that news organizations scan blogs for leads, and because he was impressed by the effectiveness of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee's outreach to bloggers during the 2004 election. “I sometimes look at the blogs and I wonder whether I’m going to survive until the next day, because the right wingers are very aggressive,” Corzine said, adding “This is less about Corzine than it is about making sure a blue state stays a blue state…”
Needless to say Enlighten-NewJersey was not invited to the conference call. Does it seem odd to you that Corzine was “reaching out to bloggers because he knows that news organizations scan blogs for leads”? In other words Corzine is hoping to use bloggers for the purpose of planting stories news organizations might read in a blog and then pick up for publication.
We’ll give Corzine the hutzpah award for the week. What guts. How does it feel to be told in essence - If I didn’t think I could use you to my benefit, I wouldn’t be wasting my time talking to the likes of you? Adding of course, it’s less about me, it’s about keeping a blue state blue. Yea, right.
Some people might be flattered by the attention and feel important because the rich and powerful U.S. Senator talked to them on a conference call. Perhaps we’re different, we think a Senator works for the people, not the other way around.
Will the invited bloggers do Corzine’s bidding going forward? Does this make them an arm of his campaign, rather than citizen journalists? It’s tactics like Corzine's that provide the Federal Election Commission with ammunition that could lead to regulation and restrictions on bloggers.
On the bright side, Senator Corzine might actually be reading New Jersey’s conservative blogs – “right wingers” as he calls us. Yesterday, we invited people to submit Corzine’s accomplishments as U.S. Senator. This would have been a great opportunity for Corzine to email us his list or for him to enter them in the comments section for all to see. So far, he hasn’t reached out. We think we know why – he has no accomplishments.
One other note, we had no idea Senator Corzine was such a weak sister, “I sometimes look at the blogs and I wonder whether I’m going to survive until the next day, because the right wingers are very aggressive.” Imagine how Corzine would feel if he had to withstand real scrutiny and hard hitting pieces by the mainstream media on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, we wonder whether we could survive Corzine’s aggressive tax and spending agenda as Governor of New Jersey.
Update: See Roberto's post Corzine Reaches Out To Bloggers.
Update II: Professor Kim has more on the subject.
Update III: Let’s review.
How many readers think we were disappointed not to be included in Jon Corzine’s conference call to bloggers? How many think we would want to join Senator Corzine’s campaign for Governor of New Jersey?
So is John Shabe being sarcastic when he writes: Two of Jersey's conservative bloggers were among those not invited (as was I, BTW), and seemed disappointed about it. Shabe links to Enlighten-NewJersey and Roberto of Dynamo Buzz.
Did Shabe mean he was invited to be on Corzine’s conference call with bloggers and in fact joined in? Or is he saying he was disappointed he wasn’t inivited? Or is he just telling us he wasn’t on the call, just as we stated we weren’t in our post? Hard to tell, maybe he could fill us in?
Shabe has since posted the following in the comments section: “E-NJ ... I guess what I don't understand is this idea that Corzine is using bloggers to plant stories in The Media. Why would he need to do that if he's already got The Media in his back pocket as you indicate later in the post?”
We replied with: No one ever said Corzine was smart or made sense. Nixon's team didn't need to break into to the Watergate to win the election, but they did.
Our point here was not that what Nixon’s team did was illegal (it was), but rather it was completely unnecessary - it was overkill. The same is true, in our opinion with, Corzine's attempt to use bloggers. Can anyone seriously say Corzine has been subjected to aggressive media scrutiny or hard hitting pieces in the media on a regular basis? Corzine gets a little heat from right wing bloggers and he’s questioning his survival? A bit over the top, don’t you think?
Shabe adds a new comment: “Then if it's a stupid idea, why does it bother you so?
To which we replied: “This is the part that bothers us: It’s tactics like Corzine's that provide the Federal Election Commission with ammunition that could lead to regulation and restrictions on bloggers.”
We also commented: “Shabe, you seem rather defensive on the issue - why? Where did we write the idea was stupid?”
Shabe replied: You did. ... Enlighten said... No one ever said Corzine was smart or made sense. Nixon's team didn't need to break into to the Watergate to win the election, but they did.”
You used the word stupid, Mr. Shabe, we didn’t. Why John feels the need to portray us disappointed or put words in our mouth, is beyond us. Maybe he can explain.
If he’s up to it, perhaps he could tell us what he had in mind when he wrote the title to his post “what goes around". Perhaps he could give his opinion on why Corzine held the conference call with bloggers. Perhaps he could fill us in with his thoughts on whether or not Corzine’s use of bloggers could impact future FEC rules and regulations on bloggers. Perhaps he could explain why he was moved to write an entry on our post. Perhaps he could tell us if he believes Corzine has been subjected to aggressive media scrutiny and hard hitting pieces on a regular basis?
Mr. Shabe has reached conclusions regarding our thoughts and feelings that are incorrect. We’ll let John Shabe speak for himself. Will he answer our questions? We’ll find out.
Sluggo Meets Tillie On Sunday
Jon Corzine’s Accomplishments
As our regular readers know we like facts and we would appreciate receiving links to facts that would help us fill in the blank space under each of the two statements below. Any facts we receive with links to reputable sources will be used to complete this post.
Jon Corzine has accomplished the following in the U.S. Senate since being sworn into office January 2001:
Jon Corzine has accomplished the following for New Jersey during his term in the U.S. Senate:
In New Jersey, Blog Carnival Is WWWeird
Earlier this year the anonymous proprietors of Enlighten-New Jersey, whose bloggers seem to believe Senator Jon S. Corzine is the antichrist, decided to start a New Jersey carnival to provide exposure for New Jersey bloggers and foster community in the New Jersey blogosphere.Here all along we thought the New York Times' editors, columnists and reporters believed President Bush was the bad guy. While the Times has been bashing Bush, we have been busy posting all the information we could find in the Times and other mainstream media about Senator Corzine. We are pleased our efforts have been recognized in the American paper of record.
We suppose when you see all the facts about Jon Corzine assembled together in one place, it does paint a rather negative picture of the senator. We reported and based upon the facts, the Times’ reporter has concluded Corzine is the antichrist. Seems a bit strong, but hey it’s the New York Times, a paper with conclusions and opinions that always seem over the top to us.
Just for the record, Applebome never asked us for our opinion of Senator Corzine. Unfit for Governor of New Jersey would have been our reply.
Update: It’s called sarcasm Mr. Shabe. We’ll be posting more about the Times article later, we think it makes a good case study.
Jon Corzine Unfit To Be Governor Of New Jersey
As much as we have read and written about Jon Corzine, this New York Metro article should convince everyone that Corzine is not the man New Jersey should elect as governor. Corzine's bizarre behavior in his final days at Goldman Sachs after being fired, but needing to stay on the payroll to get the big payoff, should be enough to turn off even the most loyal Democrat.
Corzine was so humiliated that he couldn't bear to go to the office, even though he was determined to stay on for several months to see the public offering through to its conclusion. So, according to someone who knows him well, he developed an unusual routine. He'd get up every morning, put on his suit, step into his waiting limo, and ride from his house in Summit, New Jersey, to downtown Manhattan. He'd have his driver park in front of Goldman’s offices at 85 Broad Street—and he'd work from the backseat of his car. He'd have secretaries bring whatever he needed down to him.Nor were we surprised to learn Corzine is willing to make up stories to place himself in a better light.
Contrary to the tale that has been told over and over about Torricelli and several others' cooking up the idea of a Corzine candidacy and then pursuing him, it was Corzine who pursued them.For those who don't believe Corzine bought his senate seat in 2000, clearly Democrat insiders know better and found Corzine to be as clueless then as he is today.
His early public appearances before larger groups were so cringe-inducing that Democratic Party leaders were ready to pull the plug on his candidacy. "There were several meetings," one insider says, "where everyone pretty much agreed it wasn't going to work. He really didn't have a clue." Corzine was saved only by his money and his willingness to promiscuously spend it to get elected.When describing Corzine's character, we had him nailed. Corzine is a self-centered and vain man willing to break his promises and use people to further his own interests.
"There's a whole group of us who believe that when Jon developed his relationship with Torricelli, he began to live some sort of lifestyle that resulted in the breakup of his marriage," says someone close to Corzine and his ex-wife.Least you think Corzine dumped his wife for a new found true love – consider this:
Corzine had a two-year affair with a woman named Carla Katz. What makes this relationship of public interest is that Katz, a cagey political operator, is president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1034, a union that represents nearly half of all New Jersey state employees.
Two weeks ago, the union endorsed Corzine for governor. No surprise there. But in a somewhat bizarre public display given their romantic history, Katz introduced Corzine at the rally in a very personal kind of way, telling an anecdote about the first time they met.In terms of Corzine being the man to clean up corruption in New Jersey, the article cites the same chilling behavior we've been writing about for months.
Though their relationship has been over for a while, the fact remains that one of the most important issues the next governor will have to deal with is getting the salaries and benefits of state workers under control. "No matter who the next governor is," one insider says, "he has no hope of success if he can’t fix the state’s financial problems."
This is the Corzine who behaves, at times, as if the price of his second career were some sort of Faustian pact with the Devil. This is the Corzine who was schooled in politics by the unsavory Torricelli, and despite the uniformly cheerful denials—the Corzine camp is totally on-message about this—Corzine maintains a close relationship with him. This is the Corzine who was ready to go into business with soon-to-be-convicted felon Charles Kushner when they attempted to buy the Nets. ("I was simply trying to keep the team in New Jersey," Corzine says, "and I won't apologize for that.")The next time you hear Jon Corzine explain why he wants to be governor of New Jersey, you'll know the real reason through his own words:
And this is also the same Corzine who stood by quietly while people around then-Governor Jim McGreevey plundered the State of New Jersey—something Corzine admitted after the fact that he should have been more vocal about. This behavior alone would be enough for one to comfortably conclude that Corzine is immersed up to his folksy whiskers in the ugly swamp of New Jersey’s Sopranos-like political system. But there's more.
New Jersey remains perhaps the country's last medieval bastion of machine politics. There are, any of the experts will tell you, six local Democratic bosses, the warlords whose support is imperative for any successful political candidacy (the Republicans have their own group). Because of their extraordinary influence, money flows freely into their organizations. And no one has been a more fulsome contributor than Corzine. He has given nearly $1 million to a campaign committee run by George Norcross, the Democratic warlord in South Jersey. And, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Corzine has given approximately $10 million more to other party organizations around the state since 2000.
But perhaps the easiest way to appreciate just how much of a crafty politician Corzine, the anti-politician, has become is to look at the case involving his mother. In a story first reported by the Bergen Record, Corzine’s 89-year-old mother, a retired teacher who lives in Illinois, donated $37,000 to the Bergen County Democratic Organization, which is run by a warlord named Joseph Ferriero.
It is the classic risk-reward calculation of a bond trader. He has assessed the situation and decided to cut his losses to take a potentially more attractive market position.On fixing New Jersey’s problems, even his closest supporters don't think Corzine can put aside his personal ambitions for the good of the state:
"I’m 58 now," he says, “and I'm the last person on every committee I sit on. I'd have to stay in Washington until I' 80 to be a committee chairman."
But there is another issue as well: Corzine's ambition. Given the depth of the state's difficulties, the winner in November could end up in a kind of Catch-22. If he is successful in making the kinds of structural changes necessary to fix some of the most serious problems, he may have to alienate so many people in the process that he ends up being an unpopular, albeit successful one-term governor.Even Jon Corzine's children are skeptical of all his talk about helping the least amongst us. Every dime Corzine spends is to further his ambitions and to build up his own self-importance:
That fact doesn't mesh very well with where Corzine wants to go. The people closest to him say he has talked openly about wanting to run for the White House.
Corzine says that one of his children still argues that, rather than spending $70 million on a campaign, he could just give that money to charity. But for that kind of investment, a trader like Corzine needs a bigger return.Oh, there's more, much more. Read the whole article. We'll be posting more later.
Update: See our post - Corzine, Carla Katz And An Odd House Transaction Near D.C.
The Abbott and Costello Districts
By law, one-hundred percent of the revenue New Jersey takes in from the state’s income tax may only be spent on “property tax relief”. New Jersey’s Income tax revenue may not be spent for any other purpose and yet, most people do not know how the state will allocate more than $10.5 billion in “property tax relief” this year.
If you don’t live in an Abbott or Costello school district, your district will receive pennies. Of course there is that other form of property tax relief, the rebate. Yes, you’ll be getting your “Fair Homeowner Rebate” all $300-$350 of it and so will the Abbotts and Costellos. Only in Trenton could that be called fair.
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 8
Corzine’s Edison Innovation Fund
We would prefer to let people invest their money as they see fit - whether it be in a home, a child’s education, a business of their own or for their retirement. We haven’t been very impressed with the return on investment taxpayers have received on the money that has already been sent to Trenton.
Our state government has been unable to deliver the basics, road maintenance for example, so why would we want to trust politicians with planning the state’s economy. We believe in a capitalist, market driven economy and oppose any attempt to impose one planned by the government. We are not aware of any successful state planned economies in all of history and government owned businesses are notoriously inefficient money pits.
Somewhere along the line we misunderstood candidate Corzine’s idea for an Edison Innovation Fund. Apparently, the fund will be a new business venture owned and financed by Senator Corzine, as he explained in his recent press release:
“The inventions and innovations Edison developed helped establish the state as a center for technological research and advancement in the 20th century,” Corzine said. “My Edison Innovation Fund would build on this research and technology legacy to position New Jersey as a leader in the 21st century economy.”As we all know, Thomas Edison's inventions, innovations and businesses were funded through private investors. Apparently Mr. Corzine is willing to invest his great personal wealth in what he refers to as “My Edison Innovation Fund.” Once we read the fund would be his, it was not necessary for us to read the rest of his press release. It’s his money and he should be free to invest it in any legal way he chooses. We hope Corzine believes we should have the same right. We wish the Senator the best of luck with his new business venture.
Send Links For Carnival # 8
Cripes, Suzette! will be hosting the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers this Sunday. All New Jersey bloggers and blog readers are invited to participate. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to a post you would like featured in this week's Carnival.