Tag Archive: Essex County

Double Dipping in LD34

Full Disclosure: I am Mark Alexander’s Communications Director.

This past week, 34th District State Senate candidate Mark Alexander appeared on NJTV‘s On The Record with Michael Aron. Unfortunately, Senator Gill refused to appear on the show with Mark, so they appeared in back-to-back interviews. Our campaign will continue to call for Senator Gill to debate in every community in the 34th District so residents are given the opportunity to hear directly from those looking to represent them in Trenton.

One thing was most telling about Senator Gill’s interview. In discussing her $50,000 no-bid legal contract with the Essex County Improvement Authority, she said the following:

“I’m a lawyer. I’ve been a lawyer for 28 years and I’ve had this job for the last five [the $50,000 contract with the Essex County Improvement Authority]. They are a client. And so, it is nothing that has not been reported on. It is on my disclosure form. The no-bid contract is a service contract, it’s not a contract that is no-bid because of me.”

This is the problem in New Jersey. Too many State Legislators are benefitting from inside deals like this one, and think it is acceptable conduct. How can Senator Gill be independent when part of her livelihood is dependent on a public contract given to her by the Essex County party bosses? When Governor Christie dismantled NJN, Senator Gill was a willing participant. Why? The Essex County bosses made her fall in line.

A State Senator getting a no-bid contract from a public entity is unacceptable.

Mark isn’t going to Trenton for a job or contract. He is going to serve the people of the 34th District, first and foremost. As a tenured Law Professor at Seton Hall, he doesn’t need to worry about outside influences affecting how he votes. The people will always be his first priority. And his independence will be unquestioned.  

Watch the full segment here.

“No Retreat, No Surrender” To Essex Co. Immigration Detention Expansion

“The history of immigration detention in New Jersey includes a myriad of cases of abuse, including a number of shocking deaths, a culture of secrecy and lack of transparency. What is driving local governments and corporations to embrace the expansion of immigration detention is money. The political situation in Essex County does not lend itself to oversight. CEC has been skirting both pay to pay regulation and campaign donation disclosure requirements through a shell game where EHCA holds the contract but CEC runs the facilities and nets the lion’s share of the profits.” – Essex County Immigration Detention Expansion, an Invitation for Abuse by the New Jersey Advocates For Immigrant Detainees and Enlace

The 19-page Invitation to Abuse Report lays bare in sickening detail the underbelly of immigration detention in New Jersey. Using links and charts it not only provides shocking support for claims of lobbying, cronyism, and malfeasance, but also becomes a clarion call for reform.  

The report addresses:

  •  NJ State Comptroller’s Reports

  •  Essex County Lack of Oversight

  •  Essex County Overstated Profits, Externalized & Underestimated Costs

  •  Joe DiVincenzo, Essex County & NJ Politics

  •  Joe DiVincenzo, Essex County Jail & Community Education Center (CEC)

  •  Bill Palatucci and CEC- Straddling Politics and Busines

  •  Delaney Hall

  •  CEC’s Campaign Contributions

  •  Preventable Deaths of People in CEC’s Custody

    On December 14  the Essex County Freeholders voted unanimously to approve a subcontract with Education & Health Centers of America (EHCA) to house immigrant detainees despite being presented with a petition that  had over 3000 signatures on-line and 1,000 in hard copy. The report documents why this vote must be rescinded, New Jersey’s immigration detention business must be reformed, and laws need to be changed.

    This “smoking gun” report, with which Joe DiVicenzo and an EHCA spokesperson disagree, forms the basis for a continued call to arms. Kathy O’Leary (Pax Christi NJ) and Karina Wilkinson (Middlesex County Coalition for Immigrant Rights) have led this NJ effort. They are now in the midst of getting the report into the hands of state and local legislators, advocating for an Inmate Oversight Committee and planning future actions. Their attitude, against all odds but with a lot of work, has always been: “No retreat, no surrender.” For more information go to An Invitation to Abuse Report and Pax Christi NJ facebook.  

  • Joe D. Parties with the 1%

    Essex County’s holiday party was held recently at McLoone’s Boathouse, a luxury restaurant and catering venue that Essex County just paid $4.3 million to build. The party was hosted by Joe DiVincenzo, Essex County Executive.

    Among the guests was Lt Governor Kim Guadagno who supported anti-immigrant policies while Sheriff of Monmouth County.

    Also among the guests was 1 percenter John J. Clancy, CEO of Community Education Centers (CEC) whose company has donated $300,000 to Essex County politicians and was twice the sole bidder on the sub-contract for immigration detention in Essex County.

    Wonder how much of the $50 million Essex County claims to be receiving from the ICE contract was used for this little shindig.

    Did You Know That Essex County’s Turtle Back Zoo Is A Moneymaker?

    In the Essex Freeholder races, Republican candidate Steven Rogers has been critical of what he calls ‘entertainment industry’ choices the county’s invested in, including a mini-golf and a boathouse restaurant. Here’s a different take on one of the county’s investments, with a slideshow of zoo pics after the fold – promoted by Rosi

    That’s right! Turtle Back Zoo and the other facilities at the South Mountain Recreation Complex actually generate revenue for Essex County NJ that pays for things like our great park system which spans every community.

    Recently Turtle Back Zoo has come under attack from a retired government employee turned Republican Candidate for Freeholder with outrageous claims about expenditures at the zoo for new exhibits like Big Cat Country. On the surface the claims seems plausible until we pull back the curtain and realize that Turtle Back Zoo, founded in the 1960s as a children’s zoo, was a failing institution. Under the leadership of Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, the zoo was turned around into a model for small zoos the world over. Not only is the zoo now fully accredited, it features animals from every continent (except Antarctica). Oh yeah, the zoo also generates revenue that supports other Essex County Parks.

    More, with pics, after the fold.

    Essex County Freeholder Candidate Steve Rogers Wants You To Be Afraid

    In a recent profile in NJHometown, the local Nutley NJ news blog, Steve Rogers continued his rant against Turtle Back Zoo (a facility that actually generates revenue) and instead made bombastic claims about the need for the county to spend more money on local police to protect the communiites.

    Rogers cites a recent armed robbery as proof that more police are needed on the street. Well here’s the kicker, save for Newark, which is not a part of the district in which Rogers is running, crime dropped in Essex County. (Read more on nj.com : http://www.nj.com/news/index.s…

    Sorry Steve, the votes of Essex County are too smart to fall for your scare tactics. Telling one group of Americans that another group of Americans is to blame for their lot in life may be good politics, but at the end of the day its bad for America.

    All She Asked Was That Her Brother Be Treated Humanely

    promoted by Rosi

    “Please we need help from each & every one of you.” the sister of a man held at Delaney Hall, a for-profit immigration detention center in Essex County said.

    On October 9th outside of Delaney Hall, the private, for-profit correctional facility that is housing ICE detainees as part of a deal with Essex County, protesters met a woman who had waited an hour and a half to see her brother only to be turned away. She told us how badly her brother was being treated and with tears in her eyes she begged for help.

    Please watch the video  

    Support For Brendan Gill for Essex County Freeholder Is Everywhere!

    While enjoying the crisp autumn weather and looking for the first colourful autumn leaves an encouraging sign has been spotted across Essex County NJ : campaign signs for Brendan Gill for Essex County Freeholder.

    Click on the arrow in the center of the image to view the slideshow of images.

    As I discover and photograph more lawn signs they will be added to this slide show.

    To find out more about how to support Essex County’s next freeholder visit http://www.brendanwgill.com/

    Community Groups to March and Rally against Foreclosure in Irvington, Oct. 29

    promoted by Rosi

    There will be a March and Rally against Foreclosure on October 29, 2011 in Irvington.  Participants will gather at noon at the Irvington Bus Terminal.

    The event will help to build a people’s movement for relief for home buyers who were victimized by the housing bubble. Outreach is being done to community organizations, churches, labor unions, and grass roots  activists. Irvington and Essex County are among the worst-hit areas in the country. There are also issues of concentration of predatory lending in black and Latino communities.

    Mortgage lenders and other financial institutions rigged the housing market to raise prices. They drew borrowers into mortgages they knew would fail. These activities are illegal. The lenders must reduce mortgage principals to what properties are really worth.

    Nutley’s Steve Rogers Wants To Take Essex County Taxpayers To The Cleaners

    Ha! Steve Rogers Campaign Sign Is Alongside The Awning For The Cleaners!

    Steve Rogers Takes Essex County Taxpayers To The Cleaners

    Steve Rogers loves to complain about the government and taxes but here’s the skinny on Steve. While working in the Nutley NJ Police Department, a town with an average income of about $50, Rogers pulled in over 100k of taxpayer money. In addition he served in the Naval Reseerve, more taxpayer money. He recently retired from the police force while still in his 50s, earning another taxpayer funded check : his pension.

    All those taxpayer funded checks are a story on their own, but it gets better. As Steve Rogers continues to blather on about the whoas of the Essex County Taxpayer, he is seeking to become Essex County Freeholder, a postion that pays $65K a year.

    Seriously Steve? After biting the hand that has fed you so well you want more? The taxpayers are tired of being taken to the cleaners by double dipping politicians.

    Overstated Profit, Underestimated Costs, & Limited Oversight = An Invitation for Abuse

    The company in question, CEC,  is Gov. Christie’s BFF’s company, master privatizer William Palatucci, its Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Public Affairs, and its lobbyist for 15 years. – promoted by Rosi

    This past August, the Essex County Executive, Joe DiVincenzo, entered into an inter-governmental services agreement (IGSA) with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to increase the number of ICE detainees held in Essex County to 1250.  The contract is being touted as a way to generate huge revenue for the county, which may, in turn, benefit some property owners. However, serious questions regarding whether the county will experience any net benefit from the contract, and the effect that incarceration for profit will have on already inhumane conditions remain.  We are also left with the overarching question of whether or not using the incarceration of people as a way to make money is an acceptable way for Essex County to raise revenue.

    Unfortunately for Essex County’s coffers, the prison business is labor intensive and one where economies of scale do not easily apply.  The $50 million per year the County Executive claims Essex will receive is significantly overstated.  Essex County has admitted, through written communication, that this is both a gross revenue number and one calculated using an absolute best case scenario of all 1250 beds being filled at all times at the full $108/day reimbursement rate.