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Latest Posts

Even those who like Doug don’t really LIKE Doug

I almost feel bad for the guy. It seems like even those who support Forrester only do it grudgingly (Remember Steve Forbes’ “strong” endorsement?). They don’t actually like him or his ideas much. This morning I read the Courier Post’s predictable endorsement of Forrester. I don’t know who I feel worse for – the editorial staff that had to write it, or Forrester. The first thing they say about him:

That’s not to say we support all of Forrester’s ideas. Without question, we hope he edges closer to Corzine’s stances on issues such as the occasional but strictly limited use of eminent domain and the funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Okay…so why DO you support him?…

Montgomery owes Evesham

This was the headline and editorial that appeared in the Saturday, October 15, 2005 edition of the Courier Post  

Former Councilwoman Jamie Montgomery sold her township home in June and allegedly moved out of the county before she resigned her office in September. Recently, she returned her council salary for June through September.

She still owes the township. She not only owes residents a truthful explanation about her residency over the summer, but also for money spent to pay her benefits and pension. It’s not likely to be a lot of money, but no resident should be forced to pay for the kind of shenanigans it appears Montgomery and her council cronies pulled over the summer.

In a lawsuit brought by former council candidate Roger Nogaki, Montgomery didn’t contest that she had moved to West Deptford after she married Sept. 3. But she told her constituency she lived with her mother in the township after selling her Evesham home in June. Records show she had taken a mortgage on the West Deptford home in May.

Montgomery resigned Sept. 19, 10 days after the deadline for holding an election to fill her seat. This would have allowed the GOP-controlled council to appoint someone and prevented Evesham residents from making that choice. A judge agreed with Nogaki this was unfair and a Nov. 8 election is scheduled to decide who should succeed Montgomery.

But this outrageous end-run attempt around Evesham residents isn’t over. Montgomery should either return township funds spent for her benefits and pension or truthfully explain why she deserves to keep taxpayers’ money.

McGreevey a Drag on Corzine?

The Sunday New York Times has an article in the Jersey section about the Governor’s race and how boring it has been so far.  Okay, point taken. The article has plenty of discussion about the big name Democrats and Republicans who have been in the state to campaign for Corzine and Forrester. The crux of the article is the claim that it’s just not clear how the big names are helping (or hurting) the candidates.  But at the conclusion of the article, Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report says that Bush probably hurts Forrester as much as McGreevey hurts Corzine.

What?

First off, like him or not, McGreevey’s public approval rating in NJ is just over 50% the last time I looked.  But GWB’s approval rating nationwide is barely 40% and in NJ it’s lower.  I don’t think that Corzine should be doing public events with McGreevey and he isn’t.  But this race is tight and getting tighter.  The Corzine folks should be linking Forrester with Presdident Bush and Vice President Cheney every minute of the day.

That picture of Forrester and Cheney in the NYT today is a nice start.  Let’s see more of that.

If the party bosses take their ball and go home, progressives must pick up the slack

Wally Edge at The Inside Edge recently posted the following two entries regarding a feud between Jon Corzine and the county chairmen:

Civil War

It might not be enough to cause him to lose, but Jon Corzine seems to have a very real problem among a constituency that largely supported his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination: County Chairmen. Consider this e-mail to PoliticsNJ.com from one of the most powerful Democrats in New Jersey, who asked that his name be withheld: “Big problems out there. The chairs are not moving. The Ferriero thing has created the attitude that Corzine has no memory. It is not about forgiving him. The feeling is that whether he wins or not gives no benefit to the county leaders. Democrats are a party without a candidate. They are in a no win situation. Loretta [Weinberg] has become the poster child for Corzine’ s absence of memory. Even when it started, most pols thought Corzine was doing it with a wink from [Joe] Ferriero. The court cases proved it wasn’t true and now Ferriero is stuck with a state senator he didn’t want, any chairman’s nightmare! Even I was surprised that Tom Moran got [John] Currie and [Phil] Thigpen on the record in the Auditor.”

Lipski Follows Conflict of Interest with Vote for Friend/Backer

This was originally posted at Tammany on the Hudson.

The Lipski-Hyman link is really starting to become a stinking sticking point.

Lipski “admits” to receiving $5000 in contributions here.  However, official records displayed by Steve Kush show that that number is only a shadow of the real figure – which is undisputedly at least $20,000 and could reach (if all the math is done) well over $40,000.

This represents a major flip-flop on the issue for Mr. Lipski – not on the embankment, but on how far he is willing to go to use his position to benefit his friend.  As can be seen here,

The one abstention was Ward C Councilman Steve Lipski, who said he was a friend of Hyman.

Mr. Lipski and Mr. Hyman were once such good friends that Mr. Lipski considered it a conflict of interest to vote on matters – actually this very same matter – that was of great import to Mr. Hyman.  Such back-pedaling is what Mr. Lipski has built a career on, though – as can be seen here:

Councilman Steve Lipski was the only vote against granting historical landmark status to the Sixth Street Enbankments. Lipski said that Conrail should be given a chance to review developers’ bids and come to a compromise with the community. Councilperson Mary Donnelly was unable to attend the Wednesday night council meeting.

A Thank You to Jon Corzine and a Wake-up Call for Progressives

After several weeks of legal manuevering and controversial special elections, the 37th District has a new State Senator in Loretta Weinberg and a new State Assemblywoman in Valerie Vainieri Huttle.  This was a huge victory for progressives in the 37th District and throughout the state because it gives us all hope that when “Big-D” Democrats in blue counties stop running the party and the government in a “small-d” democratic manner, progressives can challenge and defeat them.

However, this hope would not exist if we did not have a U.S. Senator and gubernatorial candidate like Jon Corzine who had the guts to stand up to Joe Ferriero, one of the toughest party bosses in the state, stand up for Loretta Weinberg, the most progressive elected official in the state, and make a commitment to take the Democratic Party in New Jersey out of the 19th Century with regards to the opportunities that it affords women to run for elected office and serve in leadership positions in government.

So what are progressives still waiting for?

Forrester Politicizing Intelligence

I stated in the last post that Forrester hasn’t explained where he will find the money in the budget to cover his “30 in 3” tax plan. As it turns out, he has. Well, if you’re willing to ignore the fact that he’s wrong.

You see, when you do any kind of analysis, if you want to get an accurate answer, you’ve got to make sure that your model is right. That requires making accurate assumptions about that model.

“You would have to dig up Houdini to do it and I do not know where Houdini is buried.”

Governor Codey said yesterday that even if Forrester were to get elected, his “30 in 3” tax plan won’t stand a chance in the Democratic-controlled legislature:

“Once again, with all due respect to Doug Forrester, how in God’s name is he going to pay for it? It is totally unrealistic. You cannot even call it pie in the sky,” Codey said during an impromptu visit to the Statehouse press wing. “He has never explained how he would pay for it. There is nothing in black and white.

“If it is not realistic, it will not get through the Legislature,” Codey continued. “You would have to dig up Houdini to do it and I do not know where Houdini is buried.”

Forrester claims that by cutting out wasteful spending, corruption, pay-to-play and no bid contracts there is room in the budget to pay for his plan. His spokeswoman Sherry Sylvester said:

“Look at the waste. All you have to do is look at the $200 million to provide road support for the Newark Arena. Look at the $9 million wasted on school construction projects. That is a good example of what corruption actually costs.”

Structuring Corruption

The first condition that Wikipedia lists for being favorable for political corruption is “Concentration of power in decision makers who are not practically accountable to the people.”  Well, let’s look at the New Jersey state government for an example of how that can be pulled off.

First of all, New Jersey has one of the most powerful Governor positions in the United States.  Unlike most states, there is no other state-wide election for such positions as Secretary of State, Attorney General, or State Treasurer and there isn’t even a position of Lieutenant Governor.  In cases where the Governor isn’t able to fulfil his (or her) duties, the State Senate President becomes “acting Governor”.  But wait, there’s more – to “act” as the Governor, the State Senate President doesn’t even have to leave his post in the State Senate.  So, you have the head of the state legislature who is also the chief executive of the state – in other words, it’s very much like having a state Parliament.

But this is supposed to be the exception to the rule.  Power is generally not given to the Senate President.  The Governor’s powers are thus limited by his time in office and the powers granted by the New Jersey State Constitution.  Well, in Jersey, like most states, the Governor serves a four year term.  This gives him (or her) carte blanche to hand out jobs to political favorites (see Golan Cipel).  The list of people the Governor of New Jersey appoints is staggering – the Constitution of the State of New Jersey limits the executive to twenty direct-report appointees, including the Secretary of State and the Attorney General.  Beyond that, every single “board, commission, or other body” has every member appointed by the Governor, as well as any openings in the judicial system.  In fact, just about the only thing the Governor of New Jersey can’t do is to investigate a member of the State Legislature.