Picture Caption Contest
Odds and Ends
Remember the story last week about the missing light poles in Baltimore? We thought the $156,000 price tag per pole cited in the article sounded unbelievable - even worked it out that $1 billion would only buy 6,410 of them. Well, it turns out each pole actually only costs $1,200.
Numbers Called From Your Cell Phone For Sale
This web business will sell the last 100 phone numbers called from a cell phone number for $110. Anyone can buy the information by merely providing someone’s cell phone number and paying the charge.
Don’t know someone’s cell phone number? No problem, LocateCell.com has that information for sale for $95. “Give us the name and any combination of address or SSN and we will send you the working cell phone number”
Who knew cell phone call records were available for sale? Do we sign away our right to privacy in those unread cell phone contracts? Gotta read that fine print.
Abbott Schools To Request $20 Billion More?
There are a number of excuses as to why so few schools were completed by the state agency, but spending an average of 45 percent more per school than those built during the same period by local districts is a major reason.
There’s nothing like spending someone else’s money. So does it surprise you the Abbott districts are gearing up to ask for $20 billion more?
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 28
Money To Burn
Back in June we wrote New Jersey’s income tax revenue was up 30% or $2.3 billion over 2004. That’s just income tax revenue and doesn’t include the increases in state revenue from sales and other taxes.
As Ken Adams pointed out from an article in USA Today - “Three years of strong revenue growth have left many states with large surpluses.”
The Times article provides several examples:
California: “increased tax collections and the cumulative effect of state spending cuts produced a turnaround in the state's budgetary fortunes, to the tune of nearly $4 billion, according to analysts for the governor's office and the Legislature. Officials now project a surplus of $5.2 billion at the end of the current fiscal year.”
New York: “entered the fiscal year that began in April with a projected deficit of $4.2 billion. Instead, because of a sharp rise in personal income taxes and capital gains receipts, the state now expects to end the year with a surplus of $1 billion, a $5 billion turnaround in one year.”
So what happened in New Jersey? Acting Governor Codey is his budget address in March 2005 said – “Last year's budget increased by 17 percent ... This year's budget will decrease by more than 2 percent.”
Eight months later, as increased tax revenue swelled the state’s coffers, Codey tells us how the Democrats in Trenton have managed the states finances, "We're pretty much broke. We have more debt than we can afford. Next year's budget deficit is at least $5 billion. School construction and transportation funding have virtually dried up. And we have a $1 billion pension payment due next year."
Based upon that fabulous performance New Jersey voters gave the “thumbs up” this month – electing the Democrat Jon Corzine as Governor and returning the Democrats to control of the state’s Assembly.
Now our Governor-elect, Jon Corzine says “New Jersey faces pain.” No kidding. Too bad he didn’t announce what he has in store for taxpayers before the election. The tax receivers are licking their chops and the Enlighten chorus sings:
The High Cost of Public Employees
New Jersey’s public employees contribute between 3 and 8 percent of their salaries toward their pensions, with most paying 5 percent. State and local government workers and retirees pay nothing or in some cases a modest amount for their healthcare benefits; they pay no deductible and a $5 co-payment for doctors' visits.
New Jersey’s public employees not only enjoy job security, but they receive salary and benefits exceeding those earned by private sector employees. The state’s public employees now earn an average of $54,600 a year while private sector workers average about $49,000.
The cost of public employees and their benefits are bankrupting the state. The state should be seeking a major reduction in the number of public employees and not permitting the tremendous growth in government jobs witnessed in recent years. The fastest growing employment sector in New Jersey is government, while higher paying private sector jobs are fleeing the state. The situation is completely out of control and totally unnecessary. Government employees no longer work for taxpayers – we work for them.
What will be done about the growth in government headcount and the unsustainable growth in public employee benefits? The usual political response is to form a task force and then raise taxes.
The Governor's Benefits Review Task Force is supposed to release a report shortly with recommendations for reining in the cost of public employee benefits. According to an article in the Asbury Park Press the task force will recommend:
Task Force Pension Benefit Reform Recommendations
- - Increase the retirement age for teachers and certain public employees from 55 to 60
- - Base pensions on the highest five years of salaries rather than the highest three years
- End pension boosting, such as sharp salary increases for favored employees shortly before retirement
- - End early retirement incentives
- - End pensions for nongovernment employees, such as private contractors and private-practice municipal attorneys
- - Deny pensions to public officials convicted of crimes
- - State and local government should fully fund pension obligations
- - End pension bonding in which the state borrows money based on the pension funds
- - End accounting tricks which make the pension systems look more solvent than they are
Task Force Medical Insurance Reform Recommendations
- - All retirees and current employees should contribute at least 5 percent toward the cost of health insurance
- - Merge state health plans to save an estimated $104 million
- - Increase the use of generic drugs for prescriptions
The majority of state lawmakers owe their jobs to public employee unions and as government employees enjoy the same benefits plans, don’t expect any new state laws written to help taxpayers.
Stephen Wollmer, spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association teachers union, said while the elimination of abuses is a goal everyone can support, any benefit cuts "would be a hard sell for our members."More than 200,000 active and retired teachers are in the pension system, and "they fought hard for the benefits and we believe they are well-deserved," Wollmer said. The incentives help retain talented employees, he said.Meanwhile taxpayers are on the hook for $24+ billions for the under funded pension plans, a $5 billion hole in the state’s budget in large part caused by spiraling medical insurance costs and of course the highest in the nation property taxes.. Any extra costs – read taxes – imposed upon the rest of us, is apparently considered fair.
Alan Kaufman, legislative political coordinator for the Communications Workers of America union, which represents 50,000 state, county and local government employees, said any extra costs imposed on workers would be unfair.
Maybe taxpayers should unite and go on strike. How about a Pork Busters campaign for New Jersey?
Camden NJ – Nation's Most Dangerous City
Camden, a former industrial city across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, is known for a history of corrupt politicians, drug- dealing and murders. It has been among the top 10 in the most dangerous city rankings in each of the eight years Morgan Quitno released them.
"We're doing so many nice things now. It's unfortunate that somebody always wants to bad-mouth Camden," Mayor Gwendolyn Faison said.
Some residents say their neighborhoods feel a bit safer.
"I haven't heard that many gunshots," said Gracy Muniz, 22, a mother of three who lives in North Camden.
One Year Of Blogging
A state Constitutional Convention is still in the news despite the work of the governor appointed task force. We thought it was a bad idea then and we still think it’s a bad idea. Jon Corzine hopes to revive the scheme. Inequitable state funding to public schools continues to be the elephant in the middle of the room.
Property tax reform never happened and the state’s culture of corruption raged on through out the year. The Schools Construction Corp had blown through the $8.6 billion in the trust fund. Yes, the leaders in Trenton knew about the problem a full year ago.
Acting Governor Codey had created an Inspector General position to ferret out fraud and wasteful spending at all levels of government. Today New Jersey‘s budget is $5 billion in the red and long-term debt has ballooned to $28.9 billion. Jon Corzine was the automatic front runner for governor and now he’s Governor–elect.
Our first link from another blog came in a post by Roberto of DynamoBuzz on February 3. Of Enlighten-NewJersey he wrote – “It appears to be written by someone from the NJ state republican party.” As far as we can tell this remains the consensus of opinion in the blogosphere. Wrong, but we’ve had worse things written about us in the past twelve months.
So, one year later and nothing’s changed. Or as a professor we once had used to say – “It’s all the same but different.” He was right.
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 27
Tami, The One True has posted the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 27.
Iraq War Showdown In Congress
GOP to Dems: Pull Troops Now? Okay, then let's vote...Troop resolution Tonight; hitting the House floor between 5:45 and 7:45...Ultimate showdown... IT'S A GO: IRAQ WAR SHOWDOWN IN CONGRESS: VOTE ON TROOP PULLOUT
Update: More here from OSM.
Update II: This is interesting. The Democrat House members from New Jersey - Andrews, Holt, Menendez, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne and Rothman voted “Nay” on the question of holding a vote on withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Isn’t that what the Democrats wanted - to pull the troops out of Iraq? Wouldn’t this have given them a chance to debate the issue and place their position on the record? They must have had better things to do – like coming home for their two week vacation.
The six Republican members from New Jersey voted “Yea” on holding the vote. If the vote comes to the floor – we’ll post the results.
Final Vote: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately:
In the end all New Jersey members of the House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans voted against the immediate withdraw of American troops from Iraq. The sense of the House vote was Ayes - 3, Present - 6, Not Voting - 22 and Nays - 403.
New Jersey’s Broke – Corzine Jokes
Let me condense your transition report for you," he said, eliciting chuckles from the crowd. "We're pretty much broke. We have more debt than we can afford. Next year's budget deficit is at least $5 billion. School construction and transportation funding have virtually dried up. And we have a $1 billion pension payment due next year."Jon Corzine to the crowd:
"Anybody win $5 billion last night at the tables?" Corzine asked. "We could use it."
Isn’t Corzine a riot? In 2002 the New Jersey state budget was $22.5 billion. This year’s budget was $28.1 billion and will be $5 billion greater before Jon Corzine adds on new spending for his campaign promises. Without any new spending the state’s budget will be $33.1 billion. That’s a 47% increase since 2002. Gee, how did that happen after all the McGreevey tax increases and the Codey cuts in property tax rebates?
Not only is the budget out of control, but New Jersey is now the third heaviest debtor among all states.
New Jersey borrowed $4.2 billion last year, continuing a voracious run-up of loans that has tapped out the state's highway building fund and nearly doubled state debt in just five years.What are Jon Corzine’s plans for the state? Well, Corzine’s talking up all the new spending plans he has for the cities and he’s brought in Dick Leone to head up his transition team. For those that may not remember, Dick Leone was the architect of the state’s income tax in 1975 under former Governor Brendan Byrne. The income tax was sold to taxpayers at the time as a solution for the property tax burden.
When the last budget year closed on June 30, New Jersey had $28.9 billion in long-term debt outstanding, the state's annual Debt Report shows. Five years ago, the reports show, state debt stood at $15.8 billion; a decade ago it was less than $8 billion.
How’d that work out? The cities got the money and New Jersey can boast at having the highest property taxes in the country. What will happen this time? The income tax will be raised, the cities will get the money and New Jersey taxpayers will get the shaft – just as Corzine planned. After all, that’s Jon Corzine’s idea of making New Jersey more affordable.
Update: We received the following claification concerning the year's state budget:
One minor quibble.
The New Jersey budget this year was NOT 28.1 billion; that was the amount "on budget". For political reasons, much state spending was kept "off budget", to the tune of almost $1 billion.
Hence, $29 billion is much closer to the truth, even before supplemental spending.
Great Moments in Liberal Economics
"The purchasing power of minimum wage is at an historic low. Coupled with the relatively high cost of living in New Jersey, the state's lower income workers are being pushed to the brink. Acting Governor [Richard] Codey believes all New Jerseyans deserve the fair proposition that an honest day's work should garner a living wage. Moreover, there is strong evidence that increasing the minimum wage also significantly improves quality of life--reducing hunger and increasing healthcare."--"State of the State Highlights," New Jersey government Web site, Jan. 11
"Several senior citizens working in non-profit and public organizations in Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester counties will face layoffs in December. Chris Davenport, executive director of Salem Main Street program, said the federally funded non-profit company Experience Works, which assists low-income senior citizens with job training and placement, has been forced to lay off seniors due to the increase in minimum wage."--Today's Sunbeam (Salem, N.J.), Nov. 17
Political Star Power
One requirement during a visit by Democratic Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the 2004 presidential candidate, was a "rope line" that would permit Kerry to shake hands with people while still maintaining crowd control.
"What crowd?" cracked one Corzine adviser. "Two hundred people showed up."
It Pays To Be Untrue To Your School
The student, Ryan Dwyer created the website containing criticism of his school on his own time from his home computer. Apparently Maple Place Middle School administrators learned of the student’s negative comments and suspended the student for a week, benched him from playing on the baseball team for a month, and barred him from going on his class trip, among other punishments.
The school district has never — to this day — explained to us what rule or policy our son violatedAccording to an Associated Press article from April of this year the student’s website:
The school district issued a prepared statement that said it solicited advice and guidance from legal advisers and law enforcement officers and acted "on its belief that it was protecting all of the children and the staff in the district."
…greeted users with the legend, “Welcome to the Anti-Maple Place — Your Friendly Environment,” and said: “This page is dedicated to showing students why their school isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. You may be shocked at what you find on this site.”As usual taxpayers are the losers in this case, paying the total price for this nonsense.
Ryan urged students to make stickers that said “I hate Maple Place” and also wrote, “Don’t even try to make me take my Web site down because it is illegal to do so!”
Users who wished to leave comments were instructed not to use profanity and “no threats to any teacher or person EVER.”
Some visitor comments criticized the school and its teachers, but others, the lawsuit conceded, “were arguably crude, sophomoric and offensive.” Ryan never made threats or used profanity,
The lawsuit is captioned Dwyer v. Oceanport School District, et al. The decision was rendered by United States District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Trenton, New Jersey. The court’s ruling is online at: http://www.aclu.org/StudentsRights/StudentsRights.cfm?ID=17919&c=159.
The New Jersey Slogan Vote
The first mistake was giving the job to a New York firm staffed with people that have probably never had a positive thought about the state in their life. The second, if the state felt the need to waste $260,000 to replace “New Jersey and You, Perfect Together” why not award the job to a New Jersey firm? Clearly the state suffers from an inferiority complex.
So now it’s up to Codey and his staff to narrow down the public suggestions to10 and let the people of New Jersey choose the new state slogan. New Jersey residents will be able to cast their vote for a new slogan by mail, phone or on the state’s website http://www.state.nj.us/
The Star-Ledger has published two articles recently containing slogans Acting Governor Codey has already removed from consideration. Here are two of our favorites that meet truth in advertising standards:
"NJ and you, going broke together."
"New Jersey: Hey, at least it's not West Virginia!"
Wonder if Don Surber submitted that second one?
Here’s a list of state slogans currently in use, you’ll notice some states don’t have one.
While not a state, Washington D.C., the largest recipient of federal aid per capita and a city fortunate to receive $ 6.59 for every dollar residents pay in taxes, uses this slogan – “Taxation without Representation”.
Update: New Jersey’s Governor Dick Codey unveiled the five finalists for New Jersey's slogan and may be read here.
Democrats: Dishonest On Iraq
Here’s a question for Democrats attempting to rewrite prewar history – Were you lying then, or are you lying now?
For a complete debunking of the “Bush lied” myth read the article Who Is Lying About Iraq? by Norman Podhoretz.
New Jersey Election 2005 Post Mortem
1,256,853 votes to Schundler’s 928,174, a difference of 328,679 votes in favor of the Democrat.
In this year’s gubernatorial race the candidate’s spent a combined $75 million with Jon Corzine outspending Doug Forrester by a margin of 2-to-1. The result was Corzine 1,157,385 votes and Forrester 954,347, a difference of 203,038 votes in favor of the Democrat.
Corzine received 99,468 fewer votes than McGreevey, while Forrester received 26,173 more votes than Schundler. Corzine’s vote performance would appear to be disappointing considering the historic amount spent on his campaign and the “election day army of 20,000 street soldiers” Corzine dispatched to get out the vote.
Democrats took a 20-year voting history of all 6,310 voting precincts in the state, supplied by the National Committee for an Effective Congress, and cross-referenced it with their own polling and other data.So, what to make of the 2005 race for Governor of New Jersey. First the negative Bush factor is a convenient excuse for the Forrester loss. President Brush’s approval ratings were on the ascent, in the 70 percent range, on Election Day 2001, but by November 2005 Bush’s approval ratings were declining, dipping into the mid 30’s. Yet, Forrester received 3% more votes than Schundler and Corzine received 8% fewer votes than McGreevey.
Using the data, Democrats targeted 680 black precincts and 557 Hispanic precincts. The Democrats sent canvassers out armed with Palm Pilots that had individual data and scripts for every voter who answered the door. The information was so precise, the canvasser knew without asking what the voter's top issue was.
More likely it was the Acting Gov. Richard Codey factor that helped Corzine. Codey provided a year of calm and comparative fiscal restraint after the McGreevey years of scandal and profligate spending. Further, the McGreevey resignation was portrayed as a “just about sex” scandal and not about a corrupt Governor who squandered billions in taxpayer dollars in political payoff schemes. Five months after McGreevey stepped down a Zogby poll showed that 49 percent of New Jerseyans would consider voting for him in a future election.
Many potential voters came to believe both Corzine and Forrester were essentially running under the same platform – property tax relief and ethics reform. Turnout was down a bit in this election because neither Corzine nor Doug Forrester excited voters. The consensus of registered voters in New Jersey was “none of the above” and they voted their choice by staying away from the polls.
One major issue in this campaign should have been state spending. Forrester never made an issue of the laundry list of new spending programs Corzine was proposing. Forrester allowed the cost of implementing his 30 in 3 property tax plan to remain an open question and never pointed out the billions in new spending Corzine was proposing. This was a major opportunity missed to show the difference in philosophy between the two candidates.
Forrester was calling for returning more money to taxpayers and Corzine for returning less and spending even more than McGreevey. A lack of new spending programs by Forrester was painted as a lack of “vision” for the state. Forrester failed to make the point that Corzine was offering a “lame” property tax relief plan because he was proposing to spend the money wasted in Trenton on new programs. If billions were available for the new Corzine programs then obviously those same billions could have paid for a meaningful property tax reduction plan. This fact was never addressed in a single Forrester campaign ad.
The Forrester campaign was outspent and had no real GOTV effort beyond automated phone calls. Corzine dominated TV and radio, had a well organized ground game and managed to get out the targeted vote necessary to win the election. Forrester apparently was counting on voter outrage about corruption and taxes to turn out the vote for him.
The 2005 governor’s race was a typical statewide election, reflecting the fact Democrats far out number Republicans in New Jersey. The Republican Christie Whitman’s wins were squeakers. Whitman won by less than 30,000 votes against Jim Florio in 1993, despite the “Florio Free” anti-tax backlash and by a similar margin in 1997 against a virtually unknown Jim McGreevey.
The chart below shows the percentage of the vote the Democrat candidate received in the last two presidential and gubernatorial races in New Jersey. President Bush greatly increased his percentage of the vote from 2000 to 2004 with no ground game in New Jersey last year. The increase in votes for Bush was an anomaly and more likely reflected votes for a sitting President at a time of war, rather than a movement toward Republicans in New Jersey.
Corzine, while besting Kerry’s percent of the vote was not able to equal the percentages of Al Gore or Jim McGreevey. Corzine was not a wildly popular candidate, but he was the Democrat. The percent of the vote by county for Democrat candidates has been fairly consistent – Democrats vote for their party’s nominee and in this race, it happened to be Corzine.
The large number of “independents” on New Jersey’s voter registration rolls is a function of voters not selecting a party affiliation to vote in a primary. Presidential nominees have been decided long before New Jersey’s late presidential primary has been held, giving little reason for people to declare a party and vote. The move of New Jersey’s primary to February and the contest for presidential nominees by both parties in the next election may very well provide a more accurate picture of voter affiliation in the state. New Jersey is probably a 55% Democrat – 45% Republican state.
Tax receivers are particularly well organized and represented by Democrats in New Jersey. Taxpayers are nominally represented by Republicans. Democrats supported by tax receivers will continue to win elections as long as Republicans fail to unite and support taxpayers. Many potential Republican voters have given up in the state or have crossed their fingers and voted for the Democrat in hope of becoming tax receivers too.
This should have been a Republican year in New Jersey. President Bush and lazy voters are not to blame for the party’s defeat. The New Jersey state Republican Party lacks effective leadership, organization and unity. A total shake-up will be required to turn the Party and the state around. A campaign against Republican congressman in New Jersey has been ongoing for a year. Attack ads and telephone calls from Democrat front groups go unchallenged. The NJGOP better get its act together and soon if Republicans ever hope to successfully compete in this state.
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 26
The Early Edition of the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #26 is ready over at No-W-Here. The Late Edition has been posted and may be read here.
Jim at Parkway Rest Stop and Ken at SmadaNeK are asking for donations for Project Valour-IT, to provide voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. Your donation will be just one small way to show your appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice of the men and woman in military service to our country.
Mister Snitch has the Hoboken beat covered for the New Jersey blogosphere, we are sure to hear from him about Menendez in the coming weeks.
New Jersey Election Analysis
Political guru Michael Barone: Bush ran 6 percentage points better in New Jersey in 2004 than in 2000—one of his biggest gains in any state. Forrester ran only 2 percent better than Schundler. But Corzine, like McGreevey, ran no better than the Democratic nominee [Kerry] had run the year before. What I don't see in these numbers is any major move away from the Republican ticket between 2004 and 2005. The patterns look pretty much the same. This is relevant for 2006 for New Jersey's six Republican representatives to Congress. Bush carried only three of their districts in 2000 but carried all six in 2004. If Bush or the Republican label is less attractive in 2006 than it was in 2004, that's a problem for some of these Republicans. These returns suggest that that problem doesn't exist, at least not yet.
Corzine, who probably spent upward of $50 million on this campaign, improved on McGreevey's 2001 percentage in only three counties, according to these incomplete returns: microscopically (+0.3 percent) in Bergen County and Essex County in North Jersey—Newark and the suburbs in the northeastern corner of the state, just across the river from New York City—and by 8 percent in Hudson County.
Turnout was up most in suburban counties with little or nothing in the way of central cities: Hunterdon (+13 percent), Gloucester (+9 percent), Somerset (+9 percent), Sussex (+7 percent). All of these but Gloucester went for Forrester. Turnout was down in Newark's Essex County (-4 percent), Camden County (-0.5 percent), and Passaic County (-3 percent) and also in counties with small central cities and quite a few modest-income suburbs—Bergen (-3 percent), Middlesex (-3 percent), and Union (-5 percent). But use these figures with extreme caution, since final returns may boost turnout in one or more of these counties. It does look like there was no surge of turnout in black central-city areas, on which Corzine surely lavished several of his millions.
Bottom line: Despite all the ructions in the national polls, New Jersey looks to be about where it was in 2004.
We Wish Governor-Elect Jon Corzine Well
It does seem hard to believe Corzine won the election considering his proposals for huge increases in state spending and the turmoil the state has experienced during the past four year under control of Democrats. As Tom Moran points out in his column today:
They have spent the last four years stumbling from scandal to scandal, pausing only to increase spending and borrowing to record levels.Moran blames Republican defeat on the failure of the party to clear the field for a run by U.S. Attorney, Chris Christie and eventually nominating a lousy candidate, Doug Forrester, who ultimately ran a terrible campaign, being outspent by Corzine 2 to 1.
On their watch, property taxes have gone up, the state's bond rating has gone down, and ethics reform has stalled.
Most voters say the state is moving in the wrong direction. Hard to argue with that. And they blame Democrats for corruption by a margin of 2-1..
As our regular readers know, Doug Forrester was not our choice for the Republican nomination, but we believe he was a far better choice for Governor when compared to Jon Corzine. We also believe Forrester is a decent man who gave his all to win. He obviously was not just going through the motions of running for Governor, not when he committed such a tremendous amount of his time, energy and millions out of his own pocket to win the race. While the election outcome is not what we had hoped, we appreciate Forrester’s efforts and dedication to the campaign and New Jersey.
Looking to the future, Republicans need to do a better job of educating voters in New Jersey about the causes of the state’s financial crisis and why the Democrat’s ever increasing spending programs are detrimental to nearly everyone in the state. High taxes hurt everyone and not just those who pay them. Dumping the blame on the candidate is an easy out and will not bring about the necessary changes the Republican Party must make to be competitive throughout the entire state of New Jersey. The Party needs to provide voters with a clear choice, effectivley communicating Republican ideas that make the case for change and not offer up Democrat-lite alternatives.
In the end, it is status quo in New Jersey with the balance of power between Democrats and Republicans in Trenton remaining unchanged. The election is over, the people have spoken. All that remains to be seen is if taxpayers will be happy with the choices voters have made in this election.
New Jersey Vote - 2005
Forrester 51 %
Corzine 47 %
Forrester 51 %
Corzine 47 %
Forrester 43 %
Corzine 56 %
Forrester 46 %
Corzine 51 %
Forrester 45 %
Corzine 52 %
25% of vote counted
Forrester 44 %
Corzine 54 %
33 % of vote counted
Forrester 44 %
Corzine 54 %
48% of vote counted
AP Calls Race for Jon Corzine
Based Upon 97 % of Vote Counted
Forrester – 948,372 – 44 %
Corzine – 1,152,347 – 53 %
Republicans – 32 seats
Democrats – 48 seats (pick up 1)
Special Election - Loretta Weinberg (D)
Question #1 - Passed - Creates Lieutenant Governor Position
Yes - 56 %
No - 44 %
Question # 2 - Passed - Amends the state's Constitution to redirect taxes levied on businesses for soot-reducing filters on publicly owned or operated diesel trucks and buses.
Yes - 56 %
No - 44 %
The Buzz About Voter Turnout
But buzz is all that it is, so if you haven’t voted – get over there!
GiggleChick says head to the polls – check out the graphic. .
Time For Change
It may be an uphill battle to curb government spending and bring meaningful property tax relief to the Garden state, but if you don’t vote for change, there isn’t any possibility we will get change.
The Asbury Park Press has a great piece - Say no to big spenders, yes to cost-cutters. Give it a read.
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 25
Dead People Should Be Removed From Voter Rolls – Who Knew?
Republicans forwarded the study to New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey, asking for an investigation and appropriate action prior to the election. This year the possibility of vote fraud is even greater because of a new law that allows people to vote by absentee ballot for any reason.
The Republican request brought howls from Democrats that Republicans were trying to block people from voting. Democratic spokesman Richard McGrath said at the time: "If the Republican Party conducted the investigation, it's safe to assume that the facts and figures are wrong and the findings are suspect.
Well, check out the latest goings on in Judge Feinberg’s courtroom:
With Tuesday's vote nearing, a state attorney admitted in Superior Court yesterday that the official charged with tracking deaths has failed to follow a state law designed to remove dead people from voter registration lists.Roberto writes: “absentee ballots will be twice as high as in 2001 from democrat strongholds in Camden, Essex and Mercer counties. Applications for absentee ballots actually were down in republican leaning counties”
The startlingly open admission that the state never has complied came when Feinberg asked Deputy Attorney General Melissa Racsa why the required list wasn't provided to the Republican State Committee, which asked for it two months ago after raising concerns about faulty voter rolls.
"Quite frankly, your honor, the registrar was unaware that this was one of his obligations," said Racsa, who represented Komosinski.
"That is almost impossible to understand," replied Feinberg.
Feinberg turned to Deputy Attorney General Karen DuMars, who was representing Attorney General Peter C. Harvey.
"This is the first time this has come to the attention of the attorney general," DuMars said.
"I'm dumbfounded. I just don't understand it," Feinberg responded.
"The notion that this was a statutory responsibility that was unknown to the registrar is just hard to swallow," Feinberg said.
"It is truly alarming," Feinberg said of concerns that people might have used dead people's names to illegally vote.
Feinberg noted her secretary just received a sample ballot for her dead father.
"How does my secretary's father end up getting a ballot?" Feinberg asked. "How does that happen?"
Racsas said 50,000 to 72,000 people per year die in New Jersey, meaning workers could have been mulling over between 1 million to about 1.5 million names if Feinberg had ordered them to do so.
"I have great concern in regards to absentee ballots," Feinberg said.
The Jon Corzine Saga Continues
We wrote in Janauary - Codey’s Out – New Jersey‘s Loss because even though we don’t agree with his positions on some major issues, we believe he is a decent and honest man. Involved in state politics for more than 30 years, Dick Codey has not been associated with the corruption and scandals that have constantly plagued Corzine in his mere five years in politics.
We want each political party to put up the best candidate for election – because one of them is going to win and have a major impact on our lives. But, Corzine muscled Codey out with his money and it has come to this:
A scandal breaks, Jon Corzine denies it and then the truth comes out. Has there been one allegation about Corzine that in the end hasn’t proven to be accurate? We can’t think of one.
According to Jon Corzine everyone’s a liar, including his ex-wife.
Charles Kushner, George Norcross, Carla Katz, blind trusts, senate ethics disclosures , special tax breaks, casino deals and on and on.
Confronted with documents, cancelled checks, Palmyra tapes, senate records and witnesses we are suppose to wipe these facts from our minds with the magic mantra – Bush-Rove.
"When I saw the campaign ad where Andrea Forrester said, 'Doug never let his family down and he won't let New Jersey down,' all I could think was that Jon did let his family down, and he'll probably let New Jersey down, too," Ms. Corzine said.There is no probability about it Mrs. Corzine – he already has.
Let’s Go To The Video Tape
Where will It End?
Latest Polls Show Forrester – Corzine Race Tight
Corzine – 46 %
Forrester – 42 %
Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll
Corzine – 43 %
Forrester – 41 %
Joanne Corzine Goes On The Record
Did anyone force Mrs. Corzine to talk to reporters? Did Republicans put her up to this, provide her with a script? No, she came forward and spoke her mind because she thought she owed it to the voters of New Jersey. She could have gone further, much further.
Everything Mrs. Corzine has said is merely confirmation of what is already well known by those that follow the news. Corzine made deals with the political bosses and power brokers in New Jersey to get what he wanted, a face-saving job in the senate and power. Now he’s hell bent on more.
Is this the man we want for the next Governor of New Jersey?
U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine's ex-wife said yesterday he "compromised his ideals" to get elected by cutting deals with political bosses, and that his pursuit of power "destroyed" their family.
Joanne Corzine said she was reluctantly breaking her silence because her ex-husband is giving an inaccurate portrayal of himself in his campaign for governor.
She said that when she campaigned by his side five years ago, she urged him not to get involved with Democratic political bosses, but he contributed millions of dollars to them to "buy their loyalty."
"It changed him. I think once you go down that road of making deals, compromising your ideals to get somewhere, it's easier to do it the next time," she told The Star-Ledger in an interview.
For the first time, she also said her ex-husband's affair with Carla Katz, president of New Jersey's largest state workers union, led to the breakup of their marriage.
"We grew up together. We came from first grade on. And our family was a unit and I think with the ambition that kind of took over our life -- his ambition -- it really destroyed our family as we knew it," she said.
"When he ran for Senate, family values were an important part of his campaign. We all helped campaign. And then when he got into the political arena, that changed, and I think people should know that because values are the core of what a person is."
Joanne Corzine's comments last night expanded on remarks in a New York Times interview published yesterday.
"I am a very private person and have kept quiet thinking some things would get better, but they've gotten worse," she told The Star-Ledger. "The way it's affected our family, the way it's affected my life. And I just think that people should know who they are going to vote for -- or not."
She added of her ex-husband, "He was very Machiavellian in what he wanted. Whatever it took to get there was what he was going to do."
Joanne Corzine: “He'll probably let New Jersey down, too”
"When I saw the campaign ad where Andrea Forrester said, 'Doug never let his family down and he won't let New Jersey down,' all I could think was that Jon did let his family down, and he'll probably let New Jersey down, too," Ms. Corzine said.You can't say we haven't been warned!
His ex-wife, Joanne Corzine, had resisted talking about him, though she issued a statement after their divorce became final in 2003, saying that politics had had a noxious effect on their lives. But last week she said in an interview that she believed that Mr. Corzine showed poor judgment early in his political career in making endorsement deals with controversial Democratic leaders like George E. Norcross III of Camden County and Stephen N. Adubato Sr. of Newark, and several politically influential black ministers - transactions that Republicans have used to question his independence and integrity.
"All day, people around him were telling him to do whatever he wants to do to get ahead, things that the Jon I've known since we were in high school would have never been comfortable with," she said. "And I think it's made him lose sight of anything but success, getting to where he wanted to get."
His ex-wife said that she noticed a change in her husband soon after he decided to run, in 1999, for the Senate. She said she had been taken aback by the blatant way party leaders bartered their endorsements in return for campaign contributions, and thought that her husband would be, too. But he brushed aside her concerns, calling them naïve, she said.
As his campaign and political goals became more consuming, Mr. Corzine distanced himself from friends and family, finally ending the 33-year marriage and leaving his old life behind, she said.
Corzine's Bold Ambitions and Rough Edges - II
In 1999, when he entered politics, rank-and-file Democrats were amused to have a Wall Street mogul preaching the kind of sweeping populist programs that the party had long abandoned: universal health care, preschool and long-term care. The timing of his rapid entry into politics - just six weeks after his ouster at Goldman - led many to view him as a dilettante willing to spend a sizable chunk of his $400 million fortune as a face-saving way to reinvent himselfDemocrats call Jon Corzine a left-wing idealist and question his judgment and ability:
Since leaving Wall Street for Washington, Mr. Corzine has exhibited a similar blend of big ambition and limited political finesse.Jon Corzine doled out millions to party leaders and interest groups standing in the way of solving New Jersey’s property tax and budget crises:
In the United States Senate, many fellow Democrats describe him as a determined left-wing idealist who took on important causes but achieved only modest success.
Over all, he has a reputation for making fearless and sometimes ill-considered moves. Some have said that one of those moves was deciding to leave the Senate and run for governor after forgiving a $470,000 mortgage loan he had made to the head of the state's most powerful union, a woman with whom he was once romantically involved. That has led even fellow Democrats to question Mr. Corzine's judgment.
Mr. Corzine poured $63 million of his own money into the race, and then doled out millions more to party leaders and interest groups.Even Carla Katz doesn’t think Jon Corzine understands what it takes to be Governor of New Jersey:
Whoever is elected New Jersey's next governor faces an array of difficult problems. Years of myopic fiscal management have left New Jersey's bond rating downgraded, its treasury depleted and its transportation trust fund nearly bankrupt, with ballooning pension costs ahead. The child welfare system remains deeply flawed, even after expensive attempts to fix it.
Property taxes are among the highest in the nation. And from tiny villages to the highest levels of state government, a wearying collection of corruption scandals has shaken New Jersey residents' confidence in government.
Solving these problems requires a powerful governor willing to take on a state legislature controlled by a handful of Democratic Party bosses whose political machines are fueled by their ability to extract patronage jobs and contracts from state government.
Republicans portray Mr. Corzine as an essential part of that machine, giving millions of dollars in contributions to the bosses in exchange for their support, a man who would be beholden to them if he is elected governor.
Carla Katz, the union leader to whom Mr. Corzine gave the mortgage when they were dating two years ago, said that she admired his tenacity and commitment to those in need but that for all of his experience in business and politics, he underestimates the complexities of New Jersey's governor's office, which is widely considered the most powerful in the nation.
"Even though he believes that being a governor is stylistically more like being a C.E.O. than being senator is, it's not," said Ms. Katz, a labor lobbyist in Trenton for 20 years.
Corzine's Bold Ambitions and Rough Edges - I
But in a state where the previous governor, James E. McGreevey, resigned amid a sex scandal, the incident has set off speculation about his personal life.Hmm, wonder what the NYT is hinting about? We already know about the Carla Katz scandal, what else might come out in the future? Obviously, the speculation about Corzine has gone beyond this and other blogs. We might remind everyone, McGreevey’s sex scandal was the tip of the iceberg. Remember code word “Machiavelli" McGreevey used as part of a political payoff scheme?
Update: The Inside Edge: "Speculation among political insiders that there was something out there that could hurt Corzine's chances has not materialized." Yes, we did notice it hasn't materialized. Tick, Tock.
Jon Corzine's Big Surprise
New Jerseyans are not about to support a Republican for Governor simply because of the bad job that the Democrats have done in Trenton. Nor are they willing to accept the claim that since Jon Corzine helped bankroll the campaigns of his fellow Democrats the last few years, he is directly responsible for the fiscal problems, high taxes, and ethical lapses in the State House.Rebovich believes Forrester can’t pick up enough votes in the suburbs to offset the urban vote because:
Upwards of 60 percent of New Jerseyans do not like the direction the state is headed ... And, more New Jerseyans tell pollsters that they plan to vote for Democrats for Assembly than Republicans even though the Democrat-controlled state legislature is viewed favorably by only 30 percent of likely voters.
The underlying reality is that in the last decade the state's suburbs have become more Democratic. Many former urbanites, from diverse ethnic backgrounds and with college degrees in hand, have migrated to the suburbs where there are well-paying professional jobs, good public schools, and a quality housing stock.However, Rebovich believes if Corzine wins the election, he will be unpopular because:
These new suburbanites, many of whom are registered as unaffiliated voters, brought with them an array of attitudes that incline them to support Democratic candidates. These attitudes include the following. Belief in an activist government that is willing to address social and economic problems. Support for quality programs in such areas as education, the environment and open space, public safety, and children's and senior services. And, moderate to liberal views on abortion, gun control, and gay rights.
But if Corzine is to be elected the state's next governor, it behooves him to start laying a foundation for the ambitious policy agenda he often mentions on the stump but rarely details. If not, New Jerseyans may be in for a big surprise when a Governor Corzine makes his inaugural address and proposes his first budget.So in a nutshell, Rebovich believes a majority of New Jerseyans will vote for Corzine because they reflexively vote for Democrats. Voters will blindly elect Corzine because they haven’t a clue about his policy agenda and the huge spending and tax increases he will spring on the state as Governor. How very comforting.
And Corzine himself may be in a for a big surprise when citizens, including many who voted for him, reject the new governor's policy agenda as something out of left field that was never adequately explained to them.
In the closing weeks of the campaign, it looks like it would pay for Corzine to run a few less ads attacking Forrester and a few more explaining what he really plans to do as governor.
Don’t look for Corzine to run ads explaining what he “really plans to do as Governor”. He has spent tens of millions of dollars to fool the public into electing him and Corzine isn’t about to ruin his chances with the truth.
We will continue to hope the voters in New Jersey are more intelligent than Rebovich seems to believe. In the privacy of the voting booth the majority of voters might just decide to break their habit and vote for change. The surprise may very well be on Jon Corzine.
Forrester - Corzine Debate # 4
Update:Debate #4 between Jon Corzine and Doug Forrester covered the same ground as the other three debates The questions were good, hitting all the major issues and the answers both candidates provided were essentially the same as we have heard before. Save one. Jon Corzine was emphatic that the state funding formula for schools remain inequitable, with Abbott districts getting the lion’s share while suburban districts jack up property taxes to pay for their schools.
Does Jon Corzine realize that the Abbott schools receive the majority of state school aid and spend 30% to 40% more per pupil than suburban schools? Just once, we wish someone would ask how this funding formula is fair to suburban children and taxpayers and why the disparity should continue.
Corzine Campaign In Crisis Mode?
He's "a prime narcissist. Calculating, driven. Does and says exactly what will get him whatever he wants, then apologizes for it later big-time. Will do whatever and say whatever to get elected.More here
He surrounds himself with people he pays or needs, then on to the next. It's all about him. He'll never be satisfied."
About the huggy, kissy, fuzzy aroma he exudes it's: "He's mastered a disguise."
Although they have since broken up, he remains obsessed with pleasing Carla. Even complained that her children — not his, he never mentioned his — were suffering from the adverse publicity of their affair.
The Inside Edge:
At least two Democratic staffers say that Jon Corzine's campaign is in crisis mode over a a gossip column written by the New York Post's Cindy Adams regarding the gubernatorial candidate's marriage and relationship with a labor leader.The Corzine campaign may be in crisis mode, but it’s hard to believe it's over these “revelations.” Is this news to anyone?