Tag Archive: jim mcgreevey

Saving New Jersey’s children three zip codes at a time

Cross-posted with Marie Corfield blog. – Promoted by Rosi.

Yesterday the mayors of New Jersey’s three largest cities, Ras Baraka of Newark, Jose Torres of Paterson and Steven Fulop of Jersey City, announced a bold move to collaborate on reducing violent crime in all three cities.

The proposal evolved from the Passaic River Corridor Initiative along Route 21, which has involved as many as 80 municipalities sharing police intelligence, according to Tom O’Reilly, the head of the Police Institute at Rutgers University. State authorities have said the program has led to hundreds of arrests.

But sharing police officers among three large cities that are not adjacent to one another while also combining social services is “sort of a first,” O’Reilly said. “They are challenging the traditional ways of thinking,” he said of the mayors. “The idea that three mayors have cut across bureaucratic lines is the first step.”

PolitickerNJ Ordains Former Governor Jim McGreevey

It’s a media cautionary tale to be this sloppy in a published report. Not the first we’ve seen. Here’s why I’m promoting:  (1) they’re big mistakes, particularly IDing McGreevey as a priest, when he isn’t one (2) mistakes were for hours, it took a reader to point it out to PNJ and (3) even after they got the reader’s heads-up, PNJ simply changed the story without an editor’s note, or any kind of ‘we regret the error’. Not so cool. – Promoted by Rosi

PolitickerNJ.com, “reporting” on the reportedly awesome HBO movie about Jim McGreevey, gave the former Governor something he couldn’t get from the church: ordination.

Governor McGreevey unfortunately was not ordained an Episcopal priest.

PolitickerNJ.com also got the name of the movie incorrect in two different ways, calling it “Fail to Grace” in the headline and Fail to Grave” in the body.  The name of the documentary is “Fall to Grace.”  Make of it what you will, but the gaping difference between PolitickerNJ’s version and reality indicates a lot about the political leanings of the site.

UPDATE 7:31 a.m. 3/25: This image was taken after the post had been up on the PolitickerNJ blog for hours.  They have since edited it so McGreevey is a “spiritual advisor” and they have the name of the documentary correct.

Norcrossippi Runs New Jersey Just Like Idaho Runs The United States

In his preface to promoting jackstanton’s diary, “When does the bullshit stop?,” deciminyan asks the following:

With the Christiecrat wing of the Democratic Party taking power in Trenton, are we headed toward one-party government?”

The problem with this question is the tense is all wrong and the label is even more wrong.  We have one-party government, because the Norcrosscrat wing of the Democratic Party took power in Trenton before Chris Christie was elected Governor and it is my belief that they suppressed the Corzine vote where they had the power to do so in order to help Christie beat Corzine.

Why did the Norcrosscrats prefer Christie to Corzine?  During the eight years of McGreevey, Codey, and Corzine, George Norcross was one of many political bosses of one of many political machines in the state and even though he controlled more Assemblypersons and Senators than any one boss, the bosses in North and Central Jersey were closely aligned enough to keep him in check.

But during this time, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie successfully indicted and convicted a number of these bosses, dramatically reducing the amount of control that they had over electeds and other party leaders in their fiefdoms.  Interestingly enough, despite being the most corrupt of the bunch, Norcross underwent the least amount of scrutiny of any of them and was able to increase his power and reach into other parts of the state as a result.

This chain of events led to the coup that overthrew Dick Codey as Senate President and passed over then-Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman and installed Steve Sweeney as Senate President and Sheila Oliver as Assembly Speaker.  Despite the best efforts of people like Codey, former Assembly Majority Leader, and former Senate Majority Leader, Barbara Buono to take the Assembly and Senate back from the Norcrosscrats, as long as Norcross has his bloc of 6 Senators and 12 Assemblypersons and is able to play the North and Central Jersey political machines against one another, keeping them divided and weak, Norcrossippi is going to run New Jersey.

Christie flights triple since Coptergate

helicopterUPDATE: Ledger now featuring this story along with a fresh quote from Christie: “We’ve only used it for business purposes. When I have to use it for political purposes, we make sure we pay it back.”

(Huh? Why does he ever have to use state resources to further his own political position? And why is he allowed to borrow against state resources for political purposes?)



Bloomberg/Business Week put some numbers to Chris Christie’s routine commandeering of the $12.5 million state police helicopter this morning. Ordinarily, we might trust a governor to make his own decisions about how to motor around. But this is New Jersey. We’ve had a governor who nearly killed himself speeding without a seat belt. Now we have one who squires around in a chopper, frequently using that 55-foot Homeland Security resource – designed for emergencies and to transport critically injured people – for political or family events. And that’s something the public should nose into, particularly when the governor in question styles himself fiscally responsible, and tells other public workers to tighten their belts and seems to think his constituents laze around waiting for government cheese (which offends us and Tom Moran, too.

Over at Bloomberg, they requested documents, and pulled out the calculators. Whole Christie Airborne for WrestleMania as Helicopter Flights Triple, is worth reading. But I’ll summarize:

Christie choppers to announce WrestleMania (Feb. 16):

  • 36 minutes

  • Cost: about $1,500

  • Time saved: about 36 minutes

  • Other Christie copter trips same week: to NYC for speech to pro-Israel group, Super Bowl rally for NY Giants, Caldwell “Town Hall” where he urged towns to cut costs.

    “Christie, 49, a first-term Republican who has slashed lawmakers’ spending requests and criticized officials who abuse taxpayer-funded perks, has more than tripled his use of state helicopters since June, when Democrats chided him for using the aircraft to get to political and personal events.”                  –Bloomberg

    Christie use of state chopper over 9 months:

  • 64 trips total (reported) = about 1 every 4 days

  • 5 stops to Mendham home or vacation house (each, 50 mi from State House)

  • Crew has to fly anyway. But chopper operating cost = $2,500/hr

  • Half the flights: bill signings, announcements, swearing-in events, speeches, “Jersey Comeback” events. Trips for Hurricane Irene = 3. NYC trips for interviews, receptions, meetings = 9. Trips to comfort family of soldier killed in Afghanistan = 2 (same soldier, arrival of body, then funeral)

    Total cost of Christie state helicopter use since taking office: $217,000.

    Christie actions taken during this time:

  • Asked public workers to cede negotiated benefits to trim government

  • cut out $1B added by Dems in $29.7B budget for schools, police & tax credits for working poor

    What Christie did that makes people pay attention to the chopper

  • Flew it to his kid’s high school ballgame (riding 300 yards in a SUV (taxpayers) instead of the deluxe golf cart made available (free), then Princeton for Iowa GOP bigwigs.

    Below the fold Fun facts! GOP ponies up (not much, only after public outcry).


    Just another dad at a school baseball game…

  • What will happen if Steve Sweeney does not win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2013?

    Contested statewide Democratic primary elections do not happen very often here in New Jersey.  Since I started paying close attention to New Jersey politics in 1997, there have only been four seriously contested statewide Democratic primary elections.  In 1997, then-Woodbridge Mayor Jim McGreevey defeated Congressman Rob Andrews and Morris County Prosecutor Michael Murphy for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.  In 2000, Jon Corzine bought more votes than his senatorial opponent, former Governor Jim Florio, was able to earn.  In February 2008, Hillary Clinton defeated Barack Obama in the Presidential primary election.  In June of that year, Andrews lost his second statewide primary election when he challenged the incumbent U.S. Senator, Frank Lautenberg.

    It appears as if we will have a hotly contested Democratic gubernatorial primary election in 2013.  The most likely candidates at the moment are State Senators Barbara Buono, Dick Codey, and Steve Sweeney.  It is possible that other candidates could come out of the woodwork over the next year or so, but for the sake of this discussion, the names are less important than the questions that the current political dynamic in the state, which has Democratic Party bosses, including but not limited to Steve Adubato and George Norcross, closely aligned with Republican Governor Chris Christie, raises about how serious these bosses are about defeating Christie.

    These bosses and their acolytes in the State legislature have enabled Christie to get more of his agenda passed than our last Democratic Governor, Corzine, and have never even come close to a government shutdown like the one which occurred as a result of the conflict between Corzine and then-Assembly Speaker, Joe Roberts, a Norcross minion, over whether the state sales tax should be increased, and if so, how the additional revenue should be spent.  So it stands to reason that Adubato, Norcross et al would probably prefer to have one of their own (Steve Sweeney being the most likely candidate, but Assemblyman Louis Greenwald is another possibility) as Governor than Christie, but in lieu of that, it would not be safe to assume that they would prefer someone else, like Buono or Codey, over Christie.

    Standing Up to Bullies – John McCormac Edition

    promoted by Rosi

    Last night, I failed to stand up to a bully — namely Woodbridge mayor John McCormac. I allowed my desire to avoid making a scene to outweigh the need confront the plague of bullying that has increasingly infected our political discourse and members of our own Democratic Party.

    A little background: Last night I was a member of Senator Joe Vitale’s team for his annual charity softball game to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Each year the Senator hosts this great event for a great cause and this year was no different. Ray Rossi and the 101.5 softball team were gracious enough to be our opponents and we put on a hitting clinic (winning 39-4 in 5 innings).  The weather was great, as was the crowd, and over $6,500 was raised for Habitat.

    The only thing that blemished a fantastic event was the public comments of Mayor John McCormac. Since the game was being played in Woodbridge, McCormac decided to make a campaign stop to address the crowd and press the flesh. One of the Senator’s staffers was handling PA duties, introducing each batter and any notable people in attendance. When McCormac showed up halfway through the game, the announcer slipped up and addressed him as “Mayor McGreevey.” The crowd chuckled (most probably would have been happy to see the fondly remembered former Mayor/Governor) and then McCormac took the mic.

    He started out with a weak joke about getting the announcer fired from his full time job. Then the standard platitudes that had the crowd returning their attention to the game at hand. Then he wrapped it all up with the following line:

    “Thank you. Good night. And I am a straight American.”

    At that point, all you could hear was crickets. Everyone knew it was a jab at McGreevey’s now infamous resignation speech. It was the most inappropriate thing I have heard from an elected official in quite a while, and it came out of the mouth of a Democrat!  Besides the latent homophobia running through those five words, it was said but five feet away from where Gov. McGreevey’s father and sister were sitting.  

    Jim McGreevey turned down to become an Episcopal priest

    After a life of hardcore politics, a rise to the top of the heap in New Jersey politics, and a harsh comedown in which political scandal was overshadowed by a very public coming out, Jim McGreevey settled into a life in a beautiful house in Plainfield, a relationship with a man employed by his biggest contributor, jailbird Charles Kushner, and a very different life. After he resigned on Nov. 15, 2004, McGreevey’s image and life underwent a radical shift. He was seen, relaxed, at ease and besweatered, in the documentary Outrage, speaking as a battle-scarred proponent of gay politicians living openly so their political lives don’t make lies of their personal lives. That change, especially, is welcome. He left the Catholic Church he was brought up in after leaving office, and earned a Master’s degree in divinity from the General Theological Seminary in NYC a year ago. He began helping former inmates recover their own lives at Integrity House, a mental health and drug addiction center in Newark. McGreevey was steering his life toward becoming an Episcopal priest. The Episcopal Church calls for full civil equality of gay people, and most dioceses ordain openly gay men and women; being gay is not a stumbling block to leadership in that church.

    But today, we learn from the New York Post McGreevey’s dream of becoming a priest has been dashed by church leaders uncomfortable with McGreevey’s behavior during his likewise very public, and very traumatic divorce. This quote is particularly rough:

    “It was not being gay but for being a jackass — [McGreevey] didn’t come out of the whole divorce looking good,” said a source with the Episcopal Diocese of Newark.

    Dina Matos McGreevey was the dazed-looking wife standing by her husband’s side during his “gay American” resignation speech. In a tell-all book, Silent Partner, Matos painted a picture of McGreevey as self-important, demanding and insulting, directing her that day to pull herself together for his speech and “act like Jackie Kennedy” and ordered her to move out of the Drumthwacket “so she wouldn’t look like white trash”. The McGreeveys argued very publicly about whether she knew he was gay, over custody of their daughter, and over alimony. And both of them accused the other of bad parenting. Dina Matos’ appearance on Oprah was an hour of revelation designed to sell books (which it did) and maintain some control over the picture McGreevey, consummate politician, painted of himself. She said, among other things, that McGreevey told her “his truth” in “cowardly installments”.

    Frankly, I have trouble forgiving Jim McGreevey for the political corruption. But I’m glad to see him live more openly. As to the rehabilitation post-politics, I’m for redemption, whether it comes in paths to the priesthood or any other way. I’m glad to see McGreevey work with people rebuilding their lives. McGreevey may yet become a priest, there is a suggestion that further study may yet have that chance. I hope he does. He’d make an interesting priest.  

    Killing two progressives with one regressive stone

    Ever since it was announced that progressive State Senators, Barbara Buono and Joe Vitale, could find themselves in the same legislative district, progressives have been apoplectic with rage over the possibility that an already regressive Democratic State Senate could be short yet another progressive State Senator when the next legislature is sworn in next year.

    However, what nobody seems to realize is the possibility that both Buono and Vitale could find themselves on the outside looking in next year unless they agree to work cooperatively rather than competitively.  How?  Read below the fold to find out.