Tag Archive: Courier Post

Sunday Reading: Apocalypse, New Jersey

Rolling Stone coverThis, from the December 19 edition of Rolling Stone, hit the interwebs a few days ago, but I didn’t flag it for news roundup because it’s a long in-depth. I didn’t want people to skip by it on a busy morning.

Matt Taibbi’s profile of Camden, unfettered by any editorial whitewash like we might suspect from the Philly/South Jersey media empire now majority owned by Camden super-player George Norcross, is a glimpse of what struggling cities might expect under a President Chris Christie. Particularly where first responders and their unions (and public school educators and their unions) are concerned. And poor people everywhere. I guarantee you Detroit’s reading it.

I’d be interested to hear what you think. Already, Taibbi’s piece has its detractors. Courier Post calls it “inaccurate or incomplete generalization,” and complains Taibbi skipped talking to either Norcross, Dana Redd or Rob Andrews. And that Taibbi skipped good things going on. A Rutgers Camden professor calls it poverty porn and also says it misses the good stuff; “parades” and “fashion shows” are the first two things he mentions.

What do you think, Blue Jersey?

Apocalypse, New Jersey: A Dispatch From America’s Most Desperate Town – by Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone)

Courier Post Needs a Lesson in Geography

Yes, he clearly says ‘Morristown’ – twice. More than a mispronunciation. Dateline banner at the start of the video is correct, though. Promoted by Rosi

You would think the Courier Post knows their readership. But twice in the video below, the narrator moves the Lockheed Martin facility to North Jersey’s Morristown, not South Jersey’s Moorestown, where it is really located.

And their highlighting of Chris Christie as the savior of the contract is gratuitous. Christie had nothing to do with it. The contract was won based on the excellent work by Lockheed Martin employees and by the taxpayer’s funding of a $40 million tax break to make Lockheed’s proposal cost-competitive.

CEC Investigation: Blue Jersey Finds The Problems Are Not Just in NJ – Part III

Governor Christie on Friday curbed an effort by the Legislature to improve oversight of the state’s privately run halfway houses. However, evidence accumulates that the problems reported in the New York Times are not restricted to New Jersey. Community Education Centers (CEC) runs most of the facilities in our state and operates in about twelve other states. One of its sites is Cheyenne Mountain Re-Entry Center (CMRC) in Colorado Springs where press reports and a whistle-blower raise troubling questions.

What the whistle-blower is reporting – below the fold.

NJDOE Coup d’Etat

A couple of bombshells dropped out of the NJ DOE yesterday. First, from Kevin Shelley at the Courier-Post:

CAMDEN – A secret Department of Education proposal called for the state to intervene in the city’s school district by July 1, closing up to 13 city and charter schools.

But while reserving the right to exercise his “statutory authority,” Gov. Chris Christie has no plans to enact the DOE scenario, according to his spokesman.

“It never made its way to the governor’s office,” said Michael Drewniak. No one from the governor’s office was involved in preparing the document, he added.

Justin Barra, a DOE spokesman, called the proposal one of many “recommendations” for the city’s struggling school system.

“It is irresponsible to portray this document as anything other than a preliminary look at the options the state would have to improve failing schools or to portray this as a plan for intervention in Camden. It is not,” said Barra in an emailed statement.

He said the DOE is conducting “an in-depth evaluation of Camden … to identify the role the state can play to better support school and district improvement. No determinations will be made about how best to support student improvement in Camden until this detailed evaluation is complete.”

Well, looks like everyone in the Christie administration is running away from this one. But is anyone surprised they might try this? The DOE is running Newark with a minimum of citizen input, tightening its grip on Paterson, clearing the path for Broadies (What’s a “Broadie”? Look below) in Jersey City*, meddling in Perth Amboy, overriding citizens voices in Trenton, laying plans in Cherry Hill, helping friends in Highland Park… Why would Camden be let off of the hook?

So, who’s coming up with the big takeover plans?

The intervention proposal, which was obtained by the Courier-Post, was written by Department of Education employee Bing Howell.

He did not respond to a phone call and email seeking comment.

Howell serves as a liaison to Camden for the creation of four Urban Hope Act charter schools. He reports directly to the deputy commissioner of education, Andy Smerick.

Howell’s proposal suggests that he oversee the intervention through portfolio management – providing a range of school options with the state, not the district, overseeing the options. He would be assisted by Rochelle Sinclair, another DOE employee. Both Howell and Sinclair are fellows of the Los Angeles-based Broad Foundation. [emphasis mine]

Kinda like Old Faithful at this point: Broadies spewing up regularly. The proposal calls for the usual round of school closings, because instability is just so freaking great for kids living in difficult conditions. But here’s the part that’s going to raise eyebrows:

QoTD: Choppers ‘n Food Stamps Edition

Quote of the Day is today’s Tweet from Courier-Post columnist @Jeremy_Rosen:

ICYMI @GovChristie took state chopper to his Camden appearance 2day… nothing wrong with that, but is he scared of city streets?

Thwock. Thwock. Thwock. Gov. Chris Christie availed himself of the mammoth state helicopter down to Camden this morning for the 35-mile ride from Trenton. In Camden, a city with far fewer police to keep a watchful eye on the Guv, he announced the future expansion of what sounds like a good idea (unless it masks another privatization initiative) to shift drug offenders into rehab programs instead of prison.

Christie did his press conference at Cathedral Kitchen, the largest emergency food provider in Camden; feeding since 1976 “the homeless, the jobless, those with disabilities or addiction problems, the working poor,” from “infants to the elderly”.

It’s great to see Christie draw attention to Cathedral Kitchen’s work. But seriously, did Christie’s cocksure press operation give any thought at all to how arrogant it looks for the governor to chopper in – at great public expense – to a place where hungry people come to be fed, on the day after we learned there are twice as many New Jerseyans are relying on food stamps than 4 years ago?

Thwock. Thwock. Thwock. Guess nobody thought of that.  

QoTD: Jane Roh on Marie Corfield Edition

It’s been a killer couple of news days, but I just wanted to take note of a news mention of LD-16 Assembly candidate (and Christie YouTube confronter) Marie Corfield, a mention I didn’t expect.

Our Quote of the Day is from olitical reporter Jane Roh in her Courier Post Strictly Politics blog post (which was mostly about George Norcross):

I Tweeted this before so I may as well say it here: If Marie Corfield, the Democratic Assembly candidate in LD16, were the face of the NJEA, public educators would be in a much better place right now.

Jane’s comment, while genuine about Marie, is in the context of criticism of NJEA’s current leadership; her last line muses how “different leadership” might have produced different results. I’m not going to speculate on that, just point out Jane’s comment came not long after this and this.

Disclosure: It’s not hard to be either supporter or friend of Corfield. I am both, and would take note of Jane Roh’s impression of her even if I was neither.

Quote of The Day: Double Standards Edition

Check out this thought provoking nugget by Jeremy Rosen via today’s Courier Post which explores Governor Christie’s casual borrowing of taxpayer money for personal expenses:

Sure $2,488 is a relatively small amount of money to owe, especially for a millionaire governor with $159,156 in his campaign coffers.

But what if everyone had the right to owe the state, penalty free?

One set of rules for Chris Christie, another set of rules for everyone else.

Our other $400,000,000 Problem

bildeGov Christie and Mattheussen. $800,000,000 worth of stupid. Photo: NJ Courier Post

$400m here, $400m there. Pretty soon we’re talking about real money!

Governor Christie’s colossal blunder costing the state $400m in Race To the Top educational grants has been the talk of the nation for good reason. So naturally Christie is ready to change the subject.

But it is a surprise the Governor would take refuge at the scandal- plagued Delaware River Port Authority.

Go below the fold to find out why……

Christie a millionaire? Facts vs. the Courier-Post

I was reading the Courier Post editorial about how the Governor should lead by example and take a modest pay cut to his salary as Governor to show his own sacrifice. Then they look at him in the context of the previous resident in Drumthwacket and the teachers themselves:

Christie’s predecessor, Jon Corzine, only took $1 a year as pay. Of course, he was a millionaire many times over. Christie is not a millionaire and has young children to support.

So to, however, teachers aren’t rich. Most of them have families to support and bills they struggle to pay.

Now wait a minute, are they really comparing the Governor’s net worth and struggles to that of the teachers? I clearly remembered during the campaign that it was a battle of the rich guys, so I did a quick search using the google and found this:

Christie previously provided The Star-Ledger with copies of his tax returns from 2003-2007, and estimated the net worth of he and his wife at $3.8 million. The newspaper reviewed those returns — and the federal financial disclosure reports Christie filed for the years he was U.S. Attorney — to describe his finances, including his income, how much he paid in taxes, and his range of assets and investments.

I don’t really know how much more evidence you need than the IRS. Just because Jon Corzine was the wealthiest governor in recent history doesn’t mean that the comparatively less rich Chris Christie is a man of the people. He’s still a millionaire! The average New Jersey resident has an income of $38,000, Chris Christie made $448,720 in 2008, up from about $373,000 the year before. His net worth is around $3.8 million. Despite what many assume due to his relative modesty compared to Corzine and what is now stated in Courier Post editorial, Chris Christie is a very rich man.

I don’t begrudge someone for having or making money, but when they go after people who struggle to get by and the media helps distort their own standing to make the argument, we’ve got a problem. Now that they know he’s a millionaire, maybe they’ll call on him maybe they’ll call on him to share in the sacrifice and enact policies for other very wealthy folks to do just the same.

Courier Post needs to fact check their editorial on Christie’s budget

An editorial from the Courier Post yesterday said that the Governor is fixing a broken state. There really isn’t much argument about whether we have problems, but the size, scope and solutions are open for discussion. They use the Governor’s numbers for the size of the deficit and we get this:

A governor coming into office this year could have:

A. Made up the deficit by getting $11 billion more in revenue — i.e., increasing taxes — or . . .

B. Cut spending dramatically to the tune of $11 billion.

Christie has chosen the latter. We suspect had Corzine been re-elected he would have done some major cutting but also leaned heavily on the first choice of tax increases.

There are a few things wrong with this passage. First, the $11 billion number is overstated. The state almost never funds all of its obligations, but the Courier neglects to mention that fact. The number includes a $3 billion pension contribution and $1 billion toward property tax rebates, both of which are not funded in the Governor’s proposal.

Then there is the amount that could be taken away from that with the extension of the tax on the super rich, which is currently being added to our deficit rather than helping solve the problem.

Finally, they once again let the Governor get away with saying he’s not raising taxes. Taxes are being raised and the media is writing about it in their headlines daily as we have pointed out. The Governor just doesn’t want to take responsibility and the media is doing their readership a disservice by not holding him accountable for what he’s really doing.

I keep hoping they’ll do their job and am disappointed every time I see the talking point go unquestioned and repeated. In fact, rather than call him out, they try to apologize for him by saying the Democrat would have been worse.