Tag Archive: jim mcgreevey

Prison Reform in NJ: a Moral and Economic Imperative

NJ Raymond Lesniak wants to reduce prison recidivism rates by offering a small fraction of now risk, non-violent drug offenders early release in exchange for entering a rigorous drug/alcohol treatment program.

Learn about how it’ll pay for itself (+ an intriguing connection between former Gov. McGreevey & First Lady Mary Pat Christie) in this 2min. clip.

SEC charges and why politics matters

On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) charged New Jersey with improperly funding the state’s public pension fund.  While the acknowledgment of the commission’s cease and desist order satisfies the official accusation, one is reminded of why, despite widespread apathy, politics still matters.

In 2001, at the behest of Republican Acting Governor Donald DiFrancesco, the Legislature voted to increase teacher retirement benefits by 9%.  The bills proponents believed that the jump would attract a new generation of talent to the state.  There was also an off the record assumption that the increase boded well for a Republican leadership about to exit to the wings of power.  Not to be outdone, many Democrats shared that assessment.  The legislation passed in a bipartisan vote and DiFrancesco obliged, a decision that dramatically altered the state’s financial fortunes.  And what’s worse, it was enacted with inaccurate information.

The stock market was doing quite well in 1999.  They grabbed hold of a phantom revenue source for the increase – a $5.3 billion jump not reflected in actuarial reports.  Using that unreported sum as the basis for the law’s financing was improper: the gain

And it could have been avoided.

Thanks for what?

I know that most of this is going to come off like sour grapes because I was a Florio supporter in 2000 and a Codey supporter in 2005 and on both occasions saw Corzine’s money rule the day, because as we all know, in New Jersey politics, money talks and if bullshit is accompanied by enough money, it talks as well, but I need clarification about what exactly we should be thanking soon-to-be former Governor Corzine for?

Is it for buying a Senate seat in 2000?

Is it for turning the balance of power in the state’s political dynamic towards the bosses that backed Jim McGreevey, enabling him to run unopposed in 2001 instead of being challenged by former Morris County Prosecutor, Michael Murphy, who earned the attention of a lot of people during the 1997 Democratic gubernatorial primary as a result of his candor, honesty, and solid, third-place showing in that year’s gubernatorial primary without the support of a single Democratic machine?

Quote of the Day

Jim McGreevey wrote in his autobiography:

“If Ray [Lesniak], [John] Lynch and [George] Norcross agreed on a statewide candidate, nobody else had a chance.”

If that still holds today, Rob Andrews is in pretty good shape. Lynch is in jail, but he’s got many of the big players in Middlesex — including three state senators — on his side, plus Steve Adubato Sr in Newark.

Casual Mondays at NJ.com: Leave your integrity at home.

Late update: I updated the title. NJ.com and the Star Ledger are different entities. NJ.com deserves all the scorn in this case for the silly images and text. But the Star Ledger still pursued the story and created the content they used on NJ.com, so they’re not off the hook.

You could try, but you couldn’t make this stuff up. If I wanted to parody the NJ media’s coverage of Jim McGreevey, I might have created something like this:

Update: I wasn’t kidding when I said I couldn’t make this stuff up. I really couldn’t. At least two three people contacted me thinking I made this parody of nj.com. I did not. This is actually on their front page right now. For the record, here’s a screenshot of the top of nj.com.

Update 2: They keep making the joke funnier and funnier, but what is wrong with these people?

How it’s New Jersey news

So New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was swept into office as a hotshot ethics reformer, has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

It’s no laughing matter. One’s thoughts immediately go to his family – wife Silda and three children. Finding out your husband and father is caught up in a prostitution ring is bad enough. Now imagine it all with CNN, the New York Times and the Republican Party breathing down your necks. One also feels for the people of New York; they deserve better.

But for those of us on this side of the Hudson River, well, we’ve been here before.

The wronged wife, looking like a deer in the headlights, standing to the right of her husband in the standing-room-only press conference, shoulder-length hair loose and gently coiffed, outfitted in the tailored light blue suit with a tasteful strand of pearls. Maybe a little pressure’s lifted off Dina Matos McGreevey today, she’s got a sister.

And then there’s the commuter train, that which is traveled everyday by politicians, and businessfolk hurtling from New York to Washington by Amtrak. According to the federal affidavit that kicked off this news Spitzer paid big bucks to have the prostitute he knew as “Kristen” travel from New York to Washington by train to have sex with him in a D.C. hotel. That train goes right through New Jersey.

And finally, clearly, both governors’ undoing was sex, the kind that surprises people. McGreevey managed to detour mounting ethical challenges of his own with his gay American announcement. And wiretaps appear to reveal Spitzer as what might be called a “john” if Client 9 was a little more low-rent.

But I’m sure that’s not where the comparisions end. Who has more? Be snarky or be sincere, and drop your thoughts in Comments.

Quote of the Day

Former Governor Jim McGreevey wrote an op-ed reflecting on Senator Larry Craig’s experience and comparing it to his own. I thought this one point was particularly interesting:

But being in the closet uniquely assisted me in politics. From my first run for the state legislature until my election as governor, all too often I was not leading but following my best guess at public opinion. Politics was for me a way to secure the crowd’s approbation while maintaining a busyness that obfuscated the desires of my heart. Despite being a moderately liberal governor, my stance on marriage was: “between a man and a woman.” The position, in my mind, created a tension with the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community that affirmed my bona fides as a “straight.” Only after the crisis that resulted in my resignation, when public opinion no longer mattered, did I realize the importance and legitimacy of same-sex marriage.

How many in our own legislature – Democrats and Republicans – oppose marriage equality for similar reasons? I think it’s safe to say…more than we might think.

Rev. McGreevey?

If you live in the greater NYC/NJ(north) area, you have to have heard that former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey might be headed for a professional clergy position in the Episcopal Church.  McGreevey left the Catholic Church for the Episcopal Church after he admitted he is gay and resigned his governorship.  The Catholic Church isn't exactly gay friendly, while the Episcopal Church – particularly in New Jersey – is.  So it's very easy to understand why someone with a deep and personal sense of faith would move to a church where he would be accepted and welcomed as a full member.

That's actually the reason (at least one of them) why I moved to the Episcopal Church.  I simply could not continue to be a part of a church that singled out a few scattered verses to justify and codify their hatred.  I wanted a church that met me, in all my frail humanity, with an open heart and open mind – and challenged me to open my own heart and mind as well.  In the very short time I've attended the Church of Our Saviour, I've come to think of them as my family – and they've certainly reciprocated beyond my wildest expectation.  I needed a church where I could take my spiritual cup for replenishment every week, and they do so every week without fail.

So I've come to feel a deep affection for my new church, and for the greater structure that supports it.  The issue of having openly gay clergy has not been easy for the Episcopal Church to deal with – to the extent that some of the oldest congregations in this country have voted to leave the administration of their duly appointed bishop.  That's the church equivalent to secession, in case anyone is wondering.