Tag Archive: Essex County

Will The Essex County Freeholders trade the liberty & well being of 1200 people for $50 mill?

promoted by Rosi

The Essex County Freeholders have placed a resolution on the agenda for the 9/7 meeting to approve a new contract with ICE that would increase the number of immigration detainees at the Essex County Jail and Delaney Hall to 1200.  

According to the Essex County Executive, Joe DiVincenzo, this contract is a “home run” because it would generate $50 million/year in revenue for the county.  However there has been no discussion of the human misery that will be inflicted in order to realize this financial benefit.  

A Dream Deferred

After a Senate vote on the Dream Act, mainly along party lines, we found once again the dream deferred for immigrants – in this case young people who arrived here with their parents and are willing to go to college or join the armed services to gain citizenship. We continue to need a sane policy that provides a proper path to citizenship and border protection. In spite of President Obama’s increased efforts at border enforcement, there has been no movement from Republicans on a path to citizenship. From the Pilgrims onward, America has been nourished by those who came to our land. Today many citizens just demonize them.

In the meantime in NJ immigrants contribute mightily to our state. However, their incarceration is carried out without the rights normally extended to others, and some are mistakenly detained and deported. Friends, family, lawyers and clergy have difficulty visiting them. Their food and medical care is subpar. This results in human rights abuses and inhumane treatment.

Last week it was announced that Essex County is the apparent winner of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) competition to build a new 2,700 person immigrant jail. There were so many problems with treatment of inmates in the New York City ICE Varick Center that they closed the facility. Many of the detainees were transferred to NJ. Soon there will be new cells for even more immigrants from NJ and elsewhere at a remote Newark location adjoining the Essex County Detention Center.

Essex County will not see all of this money either as a private, for-profit company, namely Community Education Centers, or CEC, is said to be involved in the planned expansion. Reform Jersey Now board member and Christie confidant Bill Palatucci is a Senior VP of CEC. This below-the- radar prison company has long held lucrative contracts and a cosy relationship with the state Department of Corrections. These are contracts which could just as easily be held by a broader group of organizations including the non-profit NJAC. The result of DOC actions has been reduced costs for its operations, but little evidence of benefit for the inmates. The same might be expected with a CEC-Essex County deal.  

As IRATE-First Friends of Elizabeth says, “Immigrant detention is morally wrong, legally suspect and wasteful of taxpayer funds.” On this Christmas Day let’s include the dreams of immigrants in our thoughts.

County Committees: Who’s Loaded, who’s busted

Last week, County Party Committees reported their net worth or (in some cases) their debt. The detailed results are available at the NJ ELEC website, but here are some highlights:

  • Democratic committees are prospering in Passaic ($629,688); Camden County (315,487); and Bergen (271,243.)
  • Some Democratic committees are deep in the hole: Burlington Co is in the red for about 100k. Hudson is worse in a $181,723 hole. Ouch.
  • On the GOP side, BurlCo takes the prize. At $719,804, it’s the wealthiest committee in the state for both parties.
  • The GOP lags badly in Warren, Essex and Cumberland Counties which report less than $1,000 net worth.

    Curious about the net worth of your County’s committee? Leave a comment, take a guess. I’ll reply with the tally promptly.

  • The worst crooks of all

    I have to write about how dismayed I am to see the Politicker NJ story “Essex Freeholder charged with ballot fraud in wife’s 2007 Senate campaign.” The release from the New Jersey State Attorney General’s office says:

    Attorney General Anne Milgram announced that five more people, including a freeholder who is the husband of State Senator Teresa Ruiz, were indicted today for election fraud in connection with absentee ballots they collected and submitted as workers for Ruiz’s 2007 campaign for the New Jersey Senate in the 29th District. Five other campaign workers for Ruiz were charged in four prior indictments…

    According to Director Gramiccioni, Gonzalez, Caceres, Kowalski, Fernandez and Cruz are charged with tampering with documentation for messenger ballots, which are absentee ballots intended for use by homebound voters. They are charged with fraudulently submitting such ballots as votes in the Nov. 6, 2007 general election. The charges stem from an ongoing investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Corruption Unit.

    “We charge that these campaign workers fraudulently submitted absentee ballots on behalf of residents who never received the ballots or had an opportunity to cast their votes,” said Attorney General Milgram. “Election fraud is a serious crime, particularly when voters are disenfranchised.”

    It’s an article of faith in the national progressive blogs I read that there is little or no real election fraud, and while their belief that Republicans are out to suppress votes might well be correct as far as I know, New Jersey is proving to me that there is real fraud. This is the third case of Democrats cheating with absentee ballots in recent years that I remember: The Penns Grove primary, the Atlantic City primary, and now a general election.

    The good news is that these (alleged) criminals were caught (and charges brought by a Democratic-appointed Attorney General), but it seems to me that this is worst kind of corruption and law-breaking there is. However imperfect our campaigns are, they provide the ultimate check on incompetence and corruption in our political class. Unfortunately, while these people were caught, I have to believe this is going on elsewhere. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is a trend.

    Help Us in the 11th Hour

    John Agostinelli and Mark Bombace have been all over the 40th District campaigning to bring real world values to the State Assembly.  From Ringwood to Verona, Mahwah to Wayne, they have proven that they are the leaders we need to bring reform and accountability to the Legislature.

    But they still need your help.

    In the next 48 hours, we need to get our voters to the polls so John and Mark can finish this campaign strong. Please call me at our campaign headquarters, (201) 857-2539, to make phone calls and get out the vote on Election Day.

    This campaign is too important to sit on the sidelines.  John and Mark will bring a new perspective to the State Assembly; common sense solutions to issues like public safety, education, and property taxes.  They have the real world experience our legislature so badly needs.

    If you need to find your polling location, click here, or if you have any issues voting please call 877-344-VOTE.

    From the entire campaign, we thank all of our supporters.  We could not have run this campaign without you.

    Clinton will return to campaign for Corzine and Fundraise for Democrats on Tuesday

    President Obama isn’t the only one making a return trip to New Jersey on behalf of the Governor as we come down the home stretch in the election:

    Democratic State Committee Chair Joseph Cryan today announced that President Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States of America, will return to New Jersey on Tuesday, October 27 for a fundraiser at the Mayfair Farms in West Orange and rally at the UFCW Local 464A in Little Falls to energize New Jersey residents in support of the Corzine/Weinberg and entire Democratic ticket.

    The West Orange event is the Chairman’s annual dinner and fundraiser for the Essex County Democratic Committee beginning at 6pm. Doors open for the rally in Little Falls at 7:30pm. Clinton made stops this past Tuesday in Collingswood and New Brunswick.  

    Help John & Mark Get Their Message Out

    As we reach the last month of the campaign things are starting to heat up. We have been canvassing towns from Mahwah to Wayne and Verona to Wanaque – spreading our message of real world experience and accountable representation. A few weeks ago the fine Senator from the 37th District and candidate for Lieutenant Governor Loretta Weinberg even came into Little Falls to help us raise money.  We hope to be working with her from Day One to bring effective leadership to the 40th District.  

    Weinberg Fundraiser

    A lot of people from Blue Jersey have been helping with volunteering and canvassing, but we all know that campaigns can get expensive.  John and Mark haven’t been collecting checks from Trenton Insiders and corporate lobbyists – they have been counting on donations from friends, neighbors, and people in the 40th District and around New Jersey that think Scott Rumana and David Russo aren’t accountable and providing the leadership we need.  Please consider making a $10, $25, or $50 donation to our campaign so that we can get additional direct mail and advertisement pieces up in the 40th District.  

    Today is October 5th, exactly 29 days until Election Day.  John and Mark have a lofty goal for the next 25 days – and we can’t accomplish it without the help of grassroots activists making small dollar donations.  We hope to raise $10,000 before the end of the month to get an additional direct mail piece out to reach more voters in the 40th District.  I hope you will all help us in getting to this lofty goal.  

    Blue Jersey is a people powered site and we have been a people powered campaign – but we need your help.  Please consider making a small dollar donation today to help us reach our goal of $10,000.  

    Please forward this post to your friends and neighbors and let them know where John & Mark stand on the issues.


    Redistricting in 2010: LD33-LD36

    So here we are again-5 hypothetical districts down and 8 to go.  In this diary I am going to construct hypothetical districts for LD33 – LD36.  Keep in mind, I am renumbering to fit my own paradigm and am paying no attention to the current numbering system.  One major element we did learn is that there cannot be any larger than a 10% difference in population from the smallest district to the largest district.  Newark and Jersey City pose the biggest problem because I made it clear I didn’t want to break up any cities.  I still think I will be able to stay within the 10% differential, but won’t know for sure until I finish with all 13 districts.  

    Redistricting in 2010

    Matt’s thoughts on redistricting – – promoted from the diaries by Rosi

    I don’t know what anyone else in the Blue Jersey community thinks, but I know nothing aggravates me more in New Jersey politics than the configuration of our current Congressional and Legislative Districts.  If one were to Google Incumbent Protection Plan – New Jersey should be at the top of the list. Democrats and Republicans share the blame on this matter. Legislators cut deals all over the State to make their districts safer – and we should not let that happen again in 2010.  

    Competitive elections are the bedrock of effective and accountable representation.  We need more “toss up” Senate and Assembly races up and down the State so that legislators are governing and serving the best interests of their constituents, and not best interests of corporate lobbyists and political insiders.  I will address the political implications that will arise (for example 2 incumbent Senators from varying or like parties falling in the same district), but will not make political circumstances the basis for my analysis.    

    So in the interest of creating a more effective, and more importantly, more democratic, State Legislature, I am going to propose hypothetical legislative districts.  My formula will be simple: New Jersey’s population is approximately 8,682,661 people; therefore, each district should have roughly 217,067 people in them.  Secondly, I will make every effort to keep municipalities together within a County – it makes sense from a logical and logistical standpoint.  Finally, I will not breakup any cities or towns into separate districts.  Democrats effectively broke up Newark and Jersey City during the last go round, and even though my party benefited from it, I still think it is wrong.      

    Some other notable points in how I will come about developing a hypothetical district: I will make every attempt to keep like communities together.  For example, my hometown of Wanaque shares a regional high school with neighboring Ringwood; as such, there is no reason why we shouldn’t share our State Senator and Assembly members.  I will make every attempt to make as many districts as possible competitive and will only be looking at Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Passaic counties in a vacuum-I don’t know enough about local politics and municipalities in the other counties, so I wouldn’t be able to render a fair assessment like I can for the aforementioned counties.  Therefore, I will only be creating hypothetical districts for LD27 through LD40 (while plucking the Passaic towns from LD26 and excluding LD30, which for whatever reason is listed with North Jersey legislative districts).