Author Archive: Rosi Efthim

Top

Were you at the Obama & Corzine rally July 16 at PNC Arts Center? It was a big day – about 17,000 attendees.

There are closeups of a bunch of those 17,000 in Corzine’s newest ad, called Top. Maybe you’ll see yourself. The 30-second spot picks up on the energy driving that day, spotlighting the President’s appreciation of the Gov’s initiatives and foresight here in NJ.

For me, I’m glad to see a focus – both by the President and in the ad- on New Jersey’s first-in-the-nation economic recovery plan. And I’m frankly amazed all over again how cucumber-cool the two of them looked that day. Jason and I pretty much melted into PNC’s plastic seats, laptops and all.

What do you think of the ad?

News Roundup and Open Thread for Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Want to score great seats for Blink-182 at PNC Arts Center?

  • Call the NJ Turnpike Authority: (732) 750-5300

    Rabbis point the finger at Solomon Dwek

  • Lawyers for some of the rabbis arrested for money-laundering are feeling manipulated by the government witness trying to keep himself out of jail.

    Don’t cringe when you say “Secaucus,” homeslice

  • Some of this Hudson County townsfolk feel scandal-rocked, demoralized, and angry about the reputation their town is getting.

    Getting slammed by the economy? Live in Carteret?

  • If you do, maybe you can pay your taxes on the installment plan, thanks to the Carteret Borough Council.

    Chatham Superfund site

  • What’s holding up the cleanup?

    Newark? Jersey City? Who comes out the biggest in the 2010 Census?

  • More than bragging rights are at stake. The Census will determine how $300 billion a year, give-or-take, will be spent by the federal government every year till the next Census. Plus, yeah, bragging rights.

    It all comes down to New Jersey & Virginia

  • The GOP has exactly two arenas available to turn their moribund party’s future around: New Jersey & Virginia, the only two Governor’s elections in the country this year. And the Democrats – who are still scoring points off George W. Bush – will see if that strategy works well enough to carry into the mid-term elections next year.

    Will there be a VA Hospital in South Jersey?

  • Local veterans advocates say there should be, because vets without a car to get them to the Philadelphia VA Medical Center are struggling. Sen. Jeff Van Drew says a Veterans Administration study showing no acute need was based on faulty data.

    The Vangelakos’ of Weehawken, NJ

  • Lonely in paradise.
  • Exit, Cammarano

    cammarano

    Peter Cammarano will resign tomorrow, less than one month after that Young Turk, whose political future looked limitless, took the oath of office as Mayor of Hoboken.

    Cammarano was stubbornly working at his desk, and swearing to stick it out without resigning the day after he was arrested for taking $25,000 in cash bribes – including $10,000 just days ago – from Solomon Dwek, acting as the government’s cooperating witness.  

    But immediately after last week’s early-morning federal law-enforcement sweep hauled in a motley crew of pols and rabbis on corruption and money laundering charges, the pressure was on to step down. Gov. Corzine called for all of those in public office to step down, the day of the arrests. The locals had their say too, at a protest rally Saturday [VIDEO], and again outside City Hall in the rain Monday night, and in crudely-made signs popping up on local telephone poles.

    But in the end, it looks like a deal brokered by Gov. Corzine – and transacted by attorneys from the Governor’s office coming to terms with Cammarano’s own lawyers – is what sealed the deal.

    Cammarano is a lawyer, too, and was the protegee of Democratic uber-lawyer Angelo Genova, the Democratic Party’s go-to guy on election and campaign finance law. And that makes it all the more repulsive, if the charges against Cammarano are true; he must have known precisely, and in detail, what a vicious twist of justice he was perpetuating.

    At just 32, Cammarano was a rising star of the Golden Boy variety, who managed a fragile alliance of Old Hoboken forces and New Hoboken blood, and rose through a complex and dramatic election, to Mayor of the hottest place to live in the state of New Jersey.

    Done, now.  

    Exit, Cammarano

    cammaranoPeter Cammarano will resign tomorrow, less than one month after that Young Turk, whose political future looked limitless, took the oath of office as Mayor of Hoboken.

    Cammarano was stubbornly working at his desk, and swearing to stick it out without resigning the day after he was arrested for taking $25,000 in cash bribes – including $10,000 just days ago – from Solomon Dwek, the government’s cooperating witness.  

    But immediately after last week’s early-morning federal law-enforcement sweep hauled in a motley crew of pols and rabbis on corruption and money laundering charges, the pressure was on to step down. Gov. Corzine called for all those in public office to step down, the day of the arrests. The locals had their say too, at a protest rally Saturday [VIDEO], and again outside City Hall in the rain Monday night, and in crudely-made signs popping up on local telephone poles.

    But in the end, it looks like a deal brokered by Gov. Corzine – and transacted by attorneys from the Governor’s office coming to terms with Cammarano’s own lawyers – is what sealed the deal.

    Cammarano is a lawyer, too, and was the protegee of Democratic uber-lawyer Angelo Genova, the Democratic Party’s go-to guy on election and campaign finance law. And that makes it all the more repulsive, if the charges against Cammarano are true; he must have known precisely, and in detail, what a vicious twist of justice he was perpetuating.

    At just 32, Cammarano was a rising star of the Golden Boy variety, who managed a fragile alliance of Old Hoboken forces and New Hoboken blood, and rose through a complex and dramatic election and run-off to become Mayor of the hottest place to live in the state of New Jersey.

    Done, now.  

    Jack Shaw, arrested in Thursday’s political corruption sweep, dead at 61

    The fallout continues from last Thursday’s massive political corruption and money laundering arrests; Hudson County Democratic political operative Jack Shaw has been found dead, with a bottle of pills near his body.

    Police say evidence does not currently support homicide, but that it is unclear whether Shaw’s death is suicide or heart attack. The cause of death is unclear.

    Shaw was picked up in the early morning sweep that netted 44 people, on charges ranging from political corruption and taking bribes to money laundering and even trafficking in human organs. Prosecutors say Shaw took $10,000 in bribes from Solomon Dwek – the so-called Cooperating Witness who wore a wire and got the suspects on tape – and suggested additional political people Dwek should “donate” to.

    Shaw was a key player in the rise of Governor Jim Florio, joining up with him when Florio was in Congress. He has been an operative in Hudson County since the early 1990’s.

    Shaw’s body was found at his home by a relative.

    First of the corruption sweep politicians to resign: Elwell out

    UPDATE: A press account used to cite when Gov. Corzine called for resignations of arrested politicians was wrong. The Governor called for resignations on Thursday, the day of the arrests – Rosi Efthim

    Charged in last week’s corruption sweep with taking a bribe, Secaucus mayor Dennis Elwell, 64, is now the first to resign. Elwell’s resignation letter was released through his lawyers:

    Effective today, July 28, 2009, Dennis Elwell will resign his position as Mayor of the Town of Secaucus. After careful deliberation, Dennis determined this action is in the best interest

    of both his family and the people of Secaucus.

    Those who perceive this action to be an admission of culpability as to the pending criminal allegations are gravely mistaken. Dennis pleaded not guilty to the charges, is presumed innocent and will vigorously defend the unproven allegations made against him.

    We hope that all the citizens of Secaucus who Mayor Elwell has served throughout his

    many years in public service stand by him and are not swayed by an accusation. Dennis has faced adversity before in his life serving in Vietnam as a paratrooper and suffering the loss of his 18-year-old son.

    Dennis will fight with the same intensity and courage that he displayed in these life experiences. Mayor Elwell thanks all of his friends and supporters for their kind words and

    encouragement over the last several days.

    Jeffrey G. Garrigan, Esq.

    Thomas J. Cammarata, Esq.

    Attorneys for Dennis Elwell

    Elwell was arrested last Thursday, in a corruption bust run by the FBI and the US Attorney’s office, the result of an investigation begun under Chris Christie’s tenure as US Attorney, during which time an 8-year old investigation into money laundering crimes in NJ-NJ grew to include political officials hauled on the money laundering and corruption charges. Christie wasted no time tying his own political fortunes to the sting.

    The next day, Friday See update, above Gov. Corzine called on all the elected officials – among them three mayors and two state assemblymen – to resign.

    Elwell is the first out. Fellow mayor Peter Cammarano still insists, at least publicly, that he’ll fight the charges against him from the Hoboken Mayor’s office.

    Town Administrator David Drumeler has announced that Secaucus Deputy Mayor John Reilly will become the acting mayor. Reilly’s the Third Ward councilman, and police liaison.  

    Blue Jersey was shut out of the corruption press conference. Why?

    Blue Jersey was shut out of the corruption press conference. Why?

    by: Rosi Efthim

    Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 06:25:12 PM EDT

    Blue Jersey was shut out of yesterday’s press conference at the United States Attorney’s office at the Federal Building in Newark. I’d like to know why.

    I was given some reasons, by the United States Attorney’s Office spokesman, Michael Drewniak, but the reasons given were multiple and inconsistent enough that it leaves reasonable people wondering whether the Drewniak’s position is credible. It leaves us wondering whether the decision on the US Attorney’s Office’s part wasn’t a political one.

    Chris Christie is the former United States Attorney for New Jersey. He has based much of his campaign on his record as US Attorney. So it’s entirely fair for news organizations to examine that record, as he runs for the state’s highest office.

    In examining his tenure as USA, Blue Jersey has thrown the spotlight on decisions that raise the question of corruption or abuse of his powers. These include the warrantless tracking of cell phones used by New Jerseyans, lucrative Deferred Prosecution Agreement contracts doled out to political cronies like John Ashcroft, or as reward for sparing Christie’s brother from prosecution himself. Millions of dollars are at issue, dollars that consumers pay as corporations pay for the monitors Christie appointed to handle the state’s Deferred Prosecution Agreements under his purview. And there’s enough smoke that two of New Jersey’s congressmen believe Christie abused his authority as US Attorney. Clearly, we’re not the only ones with suspicions.

    Some background on the press conference:

    It was announced as a joint effort of the FBI and the United States Attorney’s office. I called FBI HQ in Newark and was told the press office was too busy to take calls but arrangements to attend could be made by email.

    My email (10:08am) carried my name, title, Blue Jersey and its url, with my phone number:

    On today’s corruption raid, would you please let me know time, location and credentialing for today’s press conference?

    Response (10:10am) from SA Bryan L. Travers, Public Affairs Office, FBI:

    12 noon at U.S. Attorney’s office.

    My inquiry about credentialing was met with nothing but the time and place for me to show up. And so I did, early.

    xxx

    I made repeated attempts to access the information, if Drewniak was making sure I could not access the room. Asked if the audio could be piped into another room (this is when I thought others would also be shut out, during the time he told me space was the issue, and before reporters who arrived way after I did were given access), or if I could stand or sit out in the hall and listen in as it happened. I was told neither was possible. Fine. Maybe it wasn’t.

    But I was also told other organizations were denied access. I asked four times what the names of those organizations were. I was never told that. And I saw no one else there – except for the attorneys and the photographer arriving as it was ending – who was denied access.

    Blue Jersey has asked Drewniak three times – during the beginning of our coverage of Christie – to be added to the US Attorney’s distribution list for press releases. We are on the press list for scores of elected officials of both parties,

    Blue Jersey has always been out front in calling out corruption in NJ, in both parties.

    Ferriero

    Cryan’s decision to use Party resources only for HRC.

    Sharpe James – Adam

    WHen I said I had heard from the FBI press office he said, Well that’s not us, and essentially denied tha t the FBI had any say in the matter.

    Discuss :: (0 Comments)  

    Blue Jersey was shut out of the corruption press conference. Why?

    Blue Jersey was shut out of yesterday’s press conference at the United States Attorney’s office at the Federal Building in Newark. I’d like to know why.

    I was given some reasons, by the United States Attorney’s Office spokesman, Michael Drewniak, but the reasons given were multiple and inconsistent enough that it leaves reasonable people wondering whether the Drewniak’s position is credible. It leaves us wondering whether the decision on the US Attorney’s Office’s part wasn’t a political one.

    Chris Christie is the former United States Attorney for New Jersey. He has based much of his campaign on his record as US Attorney. So it’s entirely fair for news organizations to examine that record, as he runs for the state’s highest office.

    In examining his tenure as USA, Blue Jersey has thrown the spotlight on decisions that raise the question of corruption or abuse of his powers. These include the warrantless tracking of cell phones used by New Jerseyans, lucrative Deferred Prosecution Agreement contracts doled out to political cronies like John Ashcroft, or as reward for sparing Christie’s brother from prosecution himself. Millions of dollars are at issue, dollars that consumers pay as corporations pay for the monitors Christie appointed to handle the state’s Deferred Prosecution Agreements under his purview. And there’s enough smoke that two of New Jersey’s congressmen believe Christie abused his authority as US Attorney. Clearly, we’re not the only ones with suspicions.

    Some background on the press conference:

    It was announced as a joint effort of the FBI and the United States Attorney’s office. I called FBI HQ in Newark and was told the press office was too busy to take calls but arrangements to attend could be made by email.

    My email (10:08am) carried my name, title, Blue Jersey and its url, with my phone number:

    On today’s corruption raid, would you please let me know time, location and credentialing for today’s press conference?

    Response (10:10am) from SA Bryan L. Travers, Public Affairs Office, FBI:

    12 noon at U.S. Attorney’s office.

    My inquiry about credentialing was met with nothing but the time and place for me to show up. And so I did, early.

    xxx

    I made repeated attempts to access the information, if Drewniak was making sure I could not access the room. Asked if the audio could be piped into another room (this is when I thought others would also be shut out, during the time he told me space was the issue, and before reporters who arrived way after I did were given access), or if I could stand or sit out in the hall and listen in as it happened. I was told neither was possible. Fine. Maybe it wasn’t.

    But I was also told other organizations were denied access. I asked four times what the names of those organizations were. I was never told that. And I saw no one else there – except for the attorneys and the photographer arriving as it was ending – who was denied access.

    Blue Jersey has asked Drewniak three times – during the beginning of our coverage of Christie – to be added to the US Attorney’s distribution list for press releases. We are on the press list for scores of elected officials of both parties,

    Blue Jersey has always been out front in calling out corruption in NJ, in both parties.

    Ferriero

    Cryan’s decision to use Party resources only for HRC.

    Sharpe James – Adam

    WHen I said I had heard from the FBI press office he said, Well that’s not us, and essentially denied tha t the FBI had any say in the matter.

    Loretta Weinberg is Corzine’s Choice & Open Thread

    weinberg

    It’s Loretta Weinberg.

    This is the woman we’ve called the Godmother of Progressive New Jersey. The uphill-battler of corruption in politics, particularly where she finds it in her own party. the transparency advocate. The fighter – way out front – on marriage equality.

    And the woman, who in the thick of the struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party in Bergen County, found herself written about so heavily here at Blue Jersey that her name was up-top in our list of the most requested tags to research posts. Her family called her the Hot-Tag Grandma. And we love that.

    Congratulations, Senator.

    Sen. Weinberg was our guest last week on Blue Jersey Radio, and I called in and told her I had formally requested to the campaign that whoever the LG pick is, she or he be our guest on the next Blue Jersey Radio. I’m happy to say she promised if Corzine picked her that she’d be there. Here for your listening pleasure is last week’s show. And I’m happy to announce that the future Lieutenant Governor of the State of New Jersey will be our guest on the next Blue Jerey Radio, next Tuesday at 8:00pm. Our first back-to-back guest, ever.

    I know what I think. I’m thrilled down to my socks. I’m boogie-happy. Woo hooo! But what do you think, Blue Jersey?