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Danny Provenzano: Life imitates ‘The Sopranos’

One of the things I appreciate most about The Sopranos is the fact that its writers have obviously done their New Jersey research. Allowing for the occasional slip-up, like that boneheaded “Pine Barrens” episode, the show’s writers are so diligent that I can sometimes spot their research footprints. Thus, when a mobster gets a freaky scare while digging up a body beneath the Newark Bay Extension, I know somebody on the staff spent some quality time with Robert Rudolph’s excellent book The
Boys from New Jersey

In that vein, this Star-Ledger
news story
reminds us that fictional gunsel Christopher Moltisanti and his dreams of making it in Hollywood have a real-life parallel in Danny Provenzano, now serving a 10-year sentence on racketeering charges.

Does this Mean the Field is Full-Up?


“After serious consideration, I am officially declining the opportunity to be a candidate for the open seat in New Jersey’s 13th Congressional District. At this point, I think it is best that I continue my work serving the people of Jersey City as their councilman.

I recently had the opportunity to personally meet with both Mr. Sires and Mr. Vas and I am confident that either candidate will work effectively on behalf of Jersey City on the federal level. I look forward to a spirited debate of ideas in the upcoming months.

I would like to thank all of the people who have encouraged me to run over the last few weeks. Your calls, letters and kind words of support were humbling and I’m honored to have such broad support not only in Jersey City — but throughout the district.”

10-1 says he is angling for a state legislature seat.

Screaming Carrot Award: Best NJ Blog of 2005 – Nominations open

The New Jersey blogosphere is growing and full of talent. We’d like to recognize that talent by awarding the highly prestigous Screaming Carrot Award to the finest progressive Garden State political blog.

To that end, we’d like you to nominate your favorite NJ blogs in the comments below. You can nominate as many blogs as you want, including your own. You might want to point to one or two particularly good posts. Nominated blogs should deal with New Jersey politics, though not necessarily exclusively. Just because the author of a blog is from NJ does not qualify it as a “NJ blog”.

We’ll accept nominations through December 31st, and then we’ll put them up for a vote.

UPDATE: Nominations so far…

  • Blanton’s and Ashton’s
  • The Center of NJ Life
  • The Contrarian
  • Dump Mike
  • Jersey Perspective
  • Mapleberry Blog
  • Media In Trouble
  • The Opinion Mill
  • Tammany on the Hudson
  • Xpatriated Texan
  • Rutgers Football and AIDS.

    As a graduate from the college of engineering, I was pleasantly surprised when I read of Rutgers performance at the Insight Bowl vs. Arizona State.

    However, what I cannot seem to square, no matter how good the football team performs, is the fact that the coach makes over a million dollars a year.

    The football program consistently loses money.

    Even more outrageous is the fact that a professor/researcher at Rutgers in the biochemistry dept. has probabaly made one the of major breakthroughs on the path to curing AIDS and his salary is ‘a few hundred thousand dollars’ as quoted by the Star-Ledger some months ago.

    Doesn’t it seem silly that the man who may develop a cure for AIDS isn’t worth half of a losing (overall) football coach?

    Just a thought.

    News Roundup

  • NJ Rep. Donald Payne is the only NJ Congressmember currently in the “Investigating Eight” – a group of Congressmembers seeking to investigage Bush for the recent revelations of illegal NSA wiretapping.
  • Corzine will be filling at least two state Supreme Court vacancies, including the chief justice, during his first two years in office. A spokesman says that Corzine is committed to honoring the tradition of not allowing any party to have more than 4 justices on the 7-member court. The court, which currently has 4 Democrats, 2 Republicans and 1 Independent, is considered one of the most socially progressive in the country.
  • Attorney General Peter C. Harvey has spent $14,000 on a glossy 56 page “annual report” which essentially doubles as tax-payer funded resume. He’s expected to move on to a law firm in January – many of which will be recipients of the report.
  • East Orange’s 10-member council will have a 7-3 majority of women after the Essex Democratic party refused to back three of the incumbent male council members in the primary.
  • Recognizing the huge budget problems that Corzine will have to deal with, Codey has instated a hiring freeze.
  • The Hamilton council chose Shannon Cenci to fill the spot left vacant after Councilman Chuck Plumeri decided to leave the council.
  • According to politicsnj, Essex County’s Democratic Chairman wants more time to “consider the facts” before deciding what to do with Assemblywoman Evelyn Williams, who has come under scrutiny recently for shop-lifting and is under investigation by the state for receiving a pension from the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System.
  • State charges for birth, death and marriage certificates will go from $4 to $25 on Jan. 1

    According to today’s edition of the Courier Post,

    The state will increase its fee for birth, marriage and death records by more than six times the current amount starting Jan. 1, and the extra revenue will pay the cost of beefing up security measures intended to prevent identity theft and assist counterterrorism efforts.

    The fee hike applies only to vital-statistics records obtained from the state and does not apply to documents obtained from municipal offices, which set their own rates.

    Birth, marriage and death records are issued in the municipality where the event took place but the state, in most cases, will now charge substantially more for the same service.

    Why would anyone use the state when they could pay almost 1/3 in their own home town

    News Roundup

  • New York transit workers and the MTA have reached an agreement. The union agreed that for the first time, each worker would contribute 1.5% of their salary to pay for health insurance premiums while the MTA abandoned demands for pension consessions on future union workers.
  • A judge halted the construction of a trash transfer site in the Pinelands National Reserve. Gov. Codey said that “today is a great day for the environment and New Jersey residents.”
  • The Star Ledger reports that UMDNJ, which is under investigation for fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid billing, is destroying evidence and threatening witnesses with retaliation.
  • In response to the annual Beacon Hill Institute State Competitiveness Index in which New Jersey dropped from 26th in 2003 to 44th in 2004, the NJ Chamber of Commerce is offering suggestions on how to make NJ more business-friendly. There isn’t much good news, except that New Jersey doesn’t suck as much as NYC.
  • A judge ruled that inmates who serve time in county jails before transfering to state jails cannot transfer over credits earned for time off for good behavior. “I’m disappointed that the court did not act to ensure that people are treated equally despite their lack of money,” said J. Michael Blake, the inmates’ public defender. “This will continue to result in the indigent serving longer sentences on the basis of the fact that they don’t have money to make bail. A rich person will serve a lesser time incarcerated upon conviction of the same crime.”
  • Fast Times in Jersey City

    Steve Lipski, Ward C Councilman in Jersey City, has earned the moniker “Middle Finger” from me for his stubborn insistence that he – and he alone – knows what is best for Jersey City.  His latest effort to screw-over his constituents involves a personal call from the Dominican Republic to interfere with a vote on the Sixth Street Embankment

    Lipski has two apparent goals on the City Council – destroy the Sixth Street Embankment and destroy Reservoir 3.  It really doesn’t matter what they’re used for, just as long as the people of Jersey City can’t use them as they want.

    The deal with the Embankment is clear cut: On one side there is a fairly large citizen group that wants to preserve the Sixth Street Embankment as a historical site and a civic green space.  They’ve even raised three million dollars to buy the Embankment from its semi-legal owner.  The problem is that Steve Hyman – who is (you’ll never guess) Steve Lipski’s financier – may have purchased it legally and wants to destroy it against the wishes of damn near everyone in the city (as well as the state and federal governments).  Lipski – as the story referenced above shows – is willing to do anything to help his big-cash buddy out.