Author Archive: Rosi Efthim

I’m the candidate. I’m out here.

The Corzine campaign just released a new video, produced in-house, which underscores the point that Chris Christie’s had some trouble with the cascading evidence of questionable conduct he engaged in as United States Attorney for the District of NJ, and questionable ties he still maintains to that office. And would rather avoid chatting about it just now.

My own opinion: red meat for the cognoscenti, but might scare off undecideds. I think people need to hear – every way possible and from all angles – what he did. That’s the meat, the substance, the muck of the muckraking.

Harsh, unflattering video that underscores that he’s avoiding talking about it – which has some truth – may turn a lot of people off, and reinforce perception that the campaigns can’t tell the difference between muck and mud.

But that’s my 2 cents. What’s your opinion?

News Roundup & Open Thread for Monday, Aug. 24, 2009

Will Moammar Gadhafi be bunking in Englewood?

  • He’ll be speaking at the UN, right after Obama, alongside General Assembly president Ali Triki, Libya’s former foreign minister, and may stay in a house owned by his government. Rep. Steve Rothman wants to prevent it.

    Racial & gender bias in NJ courts

  • Surprised?

    To honor Lt. Seth Dvorin, of South Brunswick, killed in Iraq

  • A civilian band of brothers, who never served, unite in memory of a friend to help out returning vets. Cory Booker’s Twitterfeed figures into the story, too.

    Chris Christie’s deflating campaign

  • When you’ve built your campaign persona on ethics and corruption-fighting, it’s hard to readjust quickly when it turns out your record’s rife with hypocrisy and questionable conduct. New York Times, and AP look at the race.

    Violence at Elizabeth’s Dominican Festival

  • Moments after Trenton Councilman Manny Segura harshly criticized Chris Christie for his statements on Sonia Sotomayor and immigration, a fight broke out in the crowd.

    What if you had to build a new boardwalk?

  • What would you build it out of?


  • Charting the changes in its government over the last weeks.
  • “Just get it out of here.” – $22 million in federal stimulus money goes to cleaning up a waterfront Superfund site.

    No comment.

  • A report surfaces that Bernie Madoff is dying of cancer.

    Crunch [VIDEO]

  • Rumson’s old town hall is torn down. (Ignore the ad that starts the vid).
  • Weekend News Roundup for Aug. 22-23, 2009

    Corzine or Christie? Or …

  • A high horse is a difficult thing to ride… Star-Ledger has some Questions for Chris Christie.


  • Daily Kos picks up on the question asked by Loretta Weinberg: Why is Michele Brown involved in the FOIA request?
  • Keith Olbermann calls shenanigans on Chris Christie.

  • Zeroing in on the LG candidates, in a state with a recent history of needing fill-ins.

  • Chris Christie calls Jon Corzine a “liar” and “reprehensible”, after being called out on the facts of what his no-mandate promise really means in NJ health care.

    Marriage Equality

  • Heats up.

    Something fishy’s going on in Burlington County Democrats

  • Emails obtained by Burlington County Times seem to have caught Chair Rick Perr and former Treasurer David Meyer in a credibility gap. This should make Burlington Dems meeting Thursday – to pick a new Treasurer – very interesting.

    Will Coniglio get less time?

  • Labor and legislative leaders have advocated for it.

    NJ prisons

  • Asm Patrick Diegnan Jr. looks for a way to curb use of illicit cell phones inmates use to secretly communicate inside, and to intimidate witnesses and direct drug deals.

    Mortgage mediation

  • A state-run program program provides lawyers and federally certified housing counselors to help New Jerseyans keep their homes.

    If you weren’t already scared of the dentist …

  • NJ’s cracking down on unlicensed dentists, some with rusty tools, old car seats for dental chairs and soda bottles for your spit.
  • What Tom Ridge tells us about Chris Christie


    If we learned anything during the Bush administration, we learned pattern.

    How loyalty was rewarded over competence, how fact is shaped around a fixed policy when the truth lies somewhere else, how Bush made sure his friends got richer. It’s a pattern.

    And so it is no surprise to many of us here – and most in the country by now-  that Tom Ridge now reveals the Bush administration tried to force him to raise the country’s terror alert level just in time for the 2004 Presidential election vote. Ridge, Bush’s first Secretary of Homeland Security, describes mounting tension in the White House as Attorney General John Ashcroft and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pushed him to do what was clearly politically expedient for a President facing re-election.

    Ridge withstood that pressure and did not raise our terrorist threat level. He refused to play politics with our national security. And in fact, the following month he resigned. In Christie, I think we have someone considerably more willing to cooperate.

    This is the way George Bush behaved as President. How he led. With Karl Rove firmly in command of our his direction and strategy, too many national decisions were made with political self-preservation at the fore.

    Ashcroft. Rove. Bush.

    These are the names that emerge in a picture of how a smart but inexperienced Freeholder, who could not get re-elected, kept his federal job when less-cooperative US Attorneys did not.

    What price did we pay for Christie’s loyalty to the Bush White House? What did Christie do for them, to keep his job? Or, is he such an unthinking partisan they didn’t even need to pressure him? How did Chris Christie get off the list?

    George Bush used the Department of Justice – Christie’s workplace – to investigate hundreds of Democratic elected officials, at a rate of 7:1. They changed the electoral map, hauling in few of their own party. It’s the way these people operate. It makes a person wonder what Christie knew about the timing of the July political corruption sweep. Were events shaped to help his political future?

    There’s a pattern.

    News Roundup & Open Thread for Friday, Aug. 21

    Jimmy Margulies

  • Good morning! Here’s some breakfast cereal from the governors campaign, from the must-see cartoonist.

    Frank Pallone’s Town Hall … moving

  • Rep. Frank Pallone’s Town Hall meeting on health care reform Tuesday night is getting switched out for a bigger venue in Red Bank.

    Obama’s own Health Care Forum

  • Jon Corzine was mentioned in yesterday’s interactive Forum with the President. Tim Kaine teleconferenced in to say he’s in NJ, campaigning with our Governor.


  • Chris Daggett is proposing a luxury tax on self-financed candidates. Wonder who he means …

    Corruption sweep aftermath

  • First indictments: Beldini and Cheatam.
  • A recall petition’s been filed on Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez.

    Ewwwwww …… but, w00t!…

  • The race, in miniature.

    More people needing food pantries

  • An 83-year-old, first in line at 8:30am, for potatoes, strawberries, carrots.


  • A proposed new bridge would bring truck traffic, complain Hopewell residents.
  • Hunterdon’s budget squeeze leaves the county down half its naturalists, with 2010 kids’ programs in jeopardy.
  • A multiple sclerosis patient faces drug charges in Somerville and a few dozen people are going to get his back
  • What’s happening at the post office?
  • Gloucester County: Welcome home, vets!
  • Seriously, Route 18? It’s over?
  • Empower Our Neighborhoods made a pitch for a ward-based city council in New Brunswick.

  • A bill signed into law by the Governor yesterday extends the

    Neighborhood Revitalization State Tax Credit program to areas adjacent to those with an approved revitalization plan.


  • Corzine campaign files FOIA legal challenges

    If there’s nothing to all this, then it’s to the US Attorney’s Office’s benefit to release these documents. It’s to Christie’s benefit. He talks a lot about ethics. Let’s see if that talk extends to action. Let’s see if Christie comes out in favor of transparency.

    The cascading stories of questionable conduct inside the United States Attorney’s Office – both during Chris Christie’s tenure, and now following it – are reason enough for the Corzine campaign, and anyone valuing ethical conduct, to want to get at the truth. Jon Corzine knows that without facts, Christie’s story of his own success there goes unchallenged. And the facts, once they come to light, may reveal a more complicated story.

    Today, the Corzine ’09 campaign filed legal challenges under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to break what they call five months of stonewalling that have kept basic public records of Christie’s actions as US Attorney from light.

    Eight adminstrative challenges – representing 18 separate requests – were filed with the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Information and Privacy. The campaign’s sought these records – budgets, travel expenses, schedules – since March, each attempt met with a logjam originating in the USAO here in NJ.

    In fact, in a Corzine ad running on another site, a countdown clock registers the “stonewall” time at 155 days: 19 hrs: 21 min: 49 seconds – as I write this.

    They also seek details of no-bid contracts Christie awarded, including one worth $52 million to his former boss – and fellow Bush crony – John Ashcroft. His communications with Karl Rove – the “architect” of George Bush’s political career (now also the subject of separate investigation by a watchdog group) and between Christie and those who succeeded him in the US Attorney’s Office, are also sought.

    Corzine ’09 campaign strategist Tom Shea:

    The United States Attorney’s office has many fine, dedicated, professional lawyers. But, in light of recent reports that Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra is under investigation to determine if he has used the office to help further the Christie campaign, Second Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Brown has an ongoing financial relationship with Christie and Christie was communicating with Karl Rove about his run for governor from that office, we feel it is even more important we receive the information requested.

    If Christie has nothing to hide, if the US Attorney’s Office doesn’t, then let’s see those records.


    Game face

    Some of us here are fresh off a blogger call with Gov. Jon Corzine. My impression is he’s getting his game face on:

    I hope you are all as convinced as I am that progressive politics is on the ballot.

    Corzine named the stakes:

    Marriage equality …collective bargaining …the Death Penalty stays repealed …we expand health care at the state level … close achievement gaps at the state level.

    Two factors, he says, combine against him. First, our economic and budgetary problems, though he pointed out that the state cut $4.5 billion from its 2010 budget and mixed news we’ve gained 13,000 new jobs last month, despite higher unemployment rates.

    Corzine also points to the political corruption story dominating the news. Corzine sees the underbelly; politicizing the US Attorney’s Office, pursuing mainly Democratic politicians, connecting money-laundering rabbis with politicians through a single informant, the internal investigation of the department. And possible violations of the Hatch Act in Christie’s political relationship with Karl Rove.

    But, Christie’s narrative has always been easy to grasp:

    New Jersey is broken and I can fix it. I am law enforcement and I know how to stop corruption, and get the worst offenders out of government.

    I’m paraphrasing, but that’s essentially it. The longer we get to know him, of course, the more shot with holes that elevator speech is. But understanding that is a function less of simple declarative sentences, and more a thing that requires paragraphs of explanation, to tell the story of how Chris Christie’s career as United States Attorney – the only thing in the world he has to run on – is in fact, a troubling history. Corzine spoke of pattern:

    They have this RGA [Republican Governors Assn.] ad: Watch what he does, not what he says about me. But it couldn’t apply more appropriately to my opponent. Gave out no-bid contracts while he chastises them, in pay-to-play gave out plenty as county Freeholder, there’s his own failure to report on taxes, the Hatch Act maybe violated… there’s a rubric, doing the opposite of what you preach.

    Follow me to the jump for Corzine on Chris Daggett.

    News Roundup & Open Thread for Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009

    Successful grassroots campaign

  • Taking notice of a well-planned groundswell, Daily Record advocates the Parsippany Twp. Council jumpstart a pay-to-play ordinance a petition movement put on the November ballot and just pass it in its next meeting, Aug. 31. Hat tip, and high-five to Tom Wyka and the organizers.

    Blogger call with Corzine

  • Last night, the Governor talked about his race, his opponent and the economy.


  • What’s behind the drop in butterfly populations? The effort to preserve the insect in NJ.

    Fallout from the Christie revelations

  • Corzine rescinds his 2005 evaluation of Christie, turns up the heat over Karl Rove. Joe Cryan files with ELEC on Christie’s failure to report the Brown mortgage. Meanwhile, Christie moves from contrite … to silent.

    Highly qualified

  • Nearly all NJ’s 88,000 teachers meet the federal definition of “highly qualified,” according to NJ Dept. of Ed data.

    Woodbury & Paulsboro

  • Preliminary applications for affordable housing are due in less than a month.


  • Residents of 4 towns around the “stagnant, dying” Lake Muscanetcong are getting eaten up, and complaining to the state DEP.

    Union County Freeholders forced to apologize

  • ACLU-NJ got involved after a resident was kept from speaking about possible nepotism in county hiring practices and Freeholders will apologize at tonight’s meeting.

    Dow: Turn informant on drug lords and gunmen

  • A spike in violence in Newark draws a promise from Cory Booker of stepped up police presence. Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow looked into the camera and asks for a change in the culture of silence that protects criminals.

    Lawsuit against Essex Sheriff, dismissed

  • Former members of the Essex County Police Dept. saw their suit dismissed claiming loss of overtime, training and promotion after supporting the sheriff’s opponent.

    Camden’s state-appointed police director quits

  • Third Camden leader to resign this week.

    NJ Lockerbie mom: Scotland has betrayed us

  • A Montville mother who lost her son in the 1998 bombing of Pan Am Fllight 103 over Scotland, is outraged that a man convicted in the case may be released, close to his death.

    Talking to the President today?

  • Do me a favor. Ask him why he’s making great speeches about the public option, but sending Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel around to congressional leadership to backpedal that and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to underscore that. What’s up with that?  
  • Glitch much?

    Blue Jersey migrated to a new server this week, and we’re getting some messages from people saying they’re having trouble logging in, and using the search function. Little glitches.

    We really want to stay on top of that for you, so if you have any issues, please shoot us an email to and let us know as specifically you can what you had trouble with. And we’ll try not to break the blog to get it fixed for you.

    News Roundup & Open Thread for Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009


  • Part One of our interview this week with Gov. Corzine aired last night on Blue Jersey Radio.
  • Corzine talked job growth over at Morning Joe yesterday.

    Acting US Attorney for NJ, investigated

  • An internal affairs investigation has been launched to determine whether Acting US Attorney Ralph Marra spoke about July’s massive political corruption sweep in a way that boosted his ex-boss’ campaign for governor. Karl Rove. Internal investigations. Hatch Act. Investigations by watchdog groups. What the hell goes on over at the USA office?

    Is this to avoid teabagging nutbirds?

  • Teleconferencing national health care reform.

    Gloucester County pilot program

  • Gloucester County will try out a program for countywide property tax assessment.

    Tweet justice

  • The NJ Judiciary is tweeting.

    Its home of 50 years

  • VFW is selling its building in Cedar Grove.

  • Middlesex Democrats meet in September to pick a nominee for the Assembly in the 19th District, a day after South Amboy mayor

    John O’Leary pulls out.

  • A 5th person is indicted on voter fraud charges in the criminal probe by the NJ Division of Criminal Justice and Essex County Prosecutor in the 2007 election of Sen. Teresa Ruiz.

    Spending abuses in the Elizabeth schools

  • New Jersey can deduct $88,000 from the Elizabeth School Board’s budget for 2006-07, says an appellate court. The district spent that amount on fancy public relations meant to pump the political asperations of Board members.

    Artificial Island

  • PSEG files with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the operating licenses of all three of its reactors at Artificial Island in Salem County.

    These are old FBI tactics

  • Right-wing blogger Hal Turner, in custody in Illinois for threatening federal judges, was trained by the FBI to incite others, says his lawyer.

    The Mighty NJ Cranberry

  • Harvest and production of cranberries is down nationally, but not in New Jersey. We’re up.