Monthly Archives: July 2009


TRENTON—In the wake of continued stories in the Star-Ledger questioning Conservative Right Wing Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie’s role in a sweetheart plea deal involving two of his closest political associates and Christie’s assertion that he knew nothing of one of the largest tax fraud cases in New Jersey history—despite the fact that it transpired during his term as U.S. attorney—Lieutenant Gubernatorial candidate Loretta Weinberg today called on Christie to outline his full involvement with the case and role as U.S. Attorney.

“While Christie has been quick to take credit for all the accomplishments of the U.S. Attorney’s office during his tenure, he has run away from the office’s failures even faster. The people of New Jersey deserve answers to critical questions about Christie’s role as U.S. Attorney. What was the policy and criteria for cases being brought to his attention as U.S. Attorney?

“There are only two possible explanations for Mr. Christie’s assertions that he was unaware of this case- either he mismanaged the U.S. Attorney’s office so that a case of this size and import could be settled without his approval or knowledge, or he is not telling the truth about what he knew and when he knew it.”

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Filed under Chris Christie, ethics, Gov. Jon Corzine, Lorretta Weinberg, New Jersey, tax fraud, the Star-Ledger, U.S Attorney Office

Corzine at Montclair State

Governor Jon Corzine heads to Montclair State to talk about the new Economic Recovery Legislation and what it will do for higher education in NJ.

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Filed under economic recovery bill, higher education, Job creation, Montclair State University, New Jersey

NJ Will More Than Double Solar Power Generation

Remember that silly video that Chris Christie put out a few weeks ago about “his commitment to expand renewable energy production as the foundation of the state’s economic future?

And how he was widely ridiculed for trying to pander to President Obama and his New Jersey supporters by saying that he was behind the Presidents energy plan, and how ” Renewable energy is the future and as the country and the world make it a priority, my administration will be committed to making New Jersey a leading provider and supporter of green technology.”
The video, if you all remember was filled with a number of misleading statistics and facts and was generally panned by both critics and some supporters.
The following story from the Associated Press was released last night and announced that New Jersey will soon be the trailing only California in the production of solar power, generating 232 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 232,000 homes in the state while creating 200 new green jobs:
NEWARK, N.J. – Regulators approved more than $515 million in projects Wednesday that will more than double the amount of solar power generated in New Jersey and will solidify the state’s No. 2 spot behind California in power produced from the sun.

The state Board of Public Utilities gave the green light to proposals from four utilities that together will yield 145 megawatts of solar energy, enough to power about 130,000 homes, and will boost the state total to 232 megawatts.

“We’re all in this climate change boat together, and we’re all going to sink or swim together,” board president Jeanne Fox said.

With global warming, many nations have been working to reduce the use of fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases, a major contributor to pollution and climate change. The United States had 791 megawatts of solar capacity at the end of last year, with California accounting for 530 megawatts, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine has said he wants 30 percent of the energy consumed in the state to come from renewable sources by 2020.

Of the projects approved Wednesday, PSE&G proposed the largest — $515 million in solar panels installed on more than 200,000 utility poles plus solar gardens and rooftop arrays. Combined, the solar plants will produce 80 megawatts of electricity and power about 72,000 homes. The utility, New Jersey’s largest, expects to complete the project by the end of 2013.

Consumers initially will pay $1.28 a year to fund the solar generation, and pay up to $4.08 by 2028.

The project is expected to create about 200 jobs. South Plainfield-based Petra Solar will produce solar panels for PSE&G and says most of some 100 workers it expects to hire will be used for the project. Also, PSE&G estimates an additional 90 jobs will be created for other parts of the project.

Regulators also approved proposals from three utilities that together will generate an estimated 65 megawatts of electricity from the sun. Jersey Central Power & Light was given the OK to contract for 42 megawatts of solar power through 2012. Atlantic City Electric Company was cleared for 19 megawatts and Rockland Electric Company, for 3.8 megawatts.

Solar energy currently costs more to produce — between $6 and $8 per watt — than power generated from fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas, according to Lance Miller, chief of policy and planning for the board. The cost is expected to reach parity in seven to 10 years.

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Filed under Atlantic City Electric Co., Gov. Jon Corzine, Petra Solar, PSEG, Rockland Electric Co., solar energey, South Plainfield NJ

Corzine Expects Hoboken Mayor to Resign By Tomorrow

According to WABC News – Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano is expected to resign as early as Friday, according to Governor Jon Corzine.

Corzine, answering a question about ethics reform at a Montclair event, said he expects Cammarano’s resignation within the next 24 hours.

A senior Corzine administration official said the understanding is Cammarano is resigning Friday morning.

The move comes amid intense pressure from Corzine, a Hoboken resident, to force Cammarano to step down. Corzine had publicly called for the resignation and privately instructed lawyers from his office to speak with Cammarano’s lawyers.

The news was a bombshell at Hoboken City Hall, apparently taking elected officials by complete surprise. Cammarano, who left the building for lunch within the past hour, did not drop any hints.

Hoboken City Council President Dawn Zimmer, who lost a runoff to Cammarano by 161 votes, would become acting mayor if he resigns.

Zimmer said she has heard nothing.

“There’s nothing official,” Zimmer said.

She said she spoke to Judy Tripodi, Hoboken’s state appointed fiscal control officer, who has also not been notified. Neither had Cammarrano’s communications director.

Zimmer would have to run in a special election in November to fill the remainder of Cammarano’s term.

The 32-year-old Cammarano is accused of accepting cash payments in $5,000 increments from a man he thought was a developer looking for a pay-to-play connection in Hoboken.

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Filed under Gov. Jon Corzine, Hoboken NJ, Mayor Peter Cammarano, political corruption, resignation


TRENTON—Ethics advocate State Senator Loretta Weinberg, the Democratic Lt. Governor candidate, today asked former Republican US Attorney Chris Christie to explain his apparent contradiction that he was unaware of a sweetheart plea deal involving some of his closest political associates.

Under a deal struck by Christie’s office last year, a corrupt Morris County developer might walk without a single day in prison after engaging in one of the biggest tax frauds in New Jersey history – a $17.5 million scam.

A Christie campaign spokesperson claimed Christie knew nothing about the case until contacted by the Star-Ledger this week, but Christie’s signature appears on the four page charging document that set the stage for the plea deal.

“Chris Christie got caught in a political lie to cover up his role in a sweetheart deal that let a prominent Republican get a slap on the wrist in a tax fraud case involving tens of millions of dollars,” said Weinberg. “The fact that the guilty party was represented by two of Christie’s political colleagues makes his claim of ignorance impossible to swallow. Are we supposed to believe Christie’s campaign or Christie’s signature on a legal document? Come on Mr Christie – it’s time to tell us the whole truth.”

The tax fraud case took place in Christie’s political backyard- the Republican stronghold of Morris County. In addition, the defendant in the case was represented by two of Christie’s closest confidants and campaign contributors- Herb Stern and John Inglesino.

“This deal smells of political partisanship, cronyism and favoritism. It will be very hard for Mr. Christie to explain this sweetheart deal and his attempt to cover up his role in it,” concluded Senator Weinberg.

The defendant, Morton Salkind pleaded guilty in May 2008 and agreed to repay $17.5 million in back taxes within six months. However, the Star-Ledger reported, under the deal struck by Stern’s firm and Christie’s office, “Salkind officially pleaded guilty to just a single count of tax evasion of a much smaller amount — $276,000 – that he failed to pay in 2001.”

The newspaper wrote, “Federal guidelines recommend a prison sentence between 18 and 24 months for Salkind’s crime — a range that would have been higher if he pleaded guilty to a multimillion-dollar fraud.” Court records show that under the deal, Christie’s office allowed for Salkind’s attorneys to seek no prison time for their client at his sentencing next month.

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Filed under Chris Christie, ethics, Gov. Jon Corzine, Lorretta Weinberg, Morris County, press release, tax fraud

New Jersey… Hey, C’Mon That’s Not … Why Would You …Whoa!

When you need to laugh at the absurd, it’s Jon Stewart to the rescue. Jon defends New Jersey against media prejudice in light of last weeks corruption sting that netted 44 indiviuals throughout the Garden State. And while he’s at it, he has a kidney to sell you !
This clip is from Tuesday nights show, if it so weren’t true we wouldn’t laugh so hard at it.
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Hey, C’Mon That’s Not … Why Would You …Whoa!
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Joke of the Day

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Filed under cranberrys, Jon Stewart, New Jersey, political corruption, The Daily Show

Shatner Does Palin On The Tonight Show

I am not a very big fan of Conan O’Brien, I never really thought he was that funny and worth staying up til 1:00 am to watch, but now that he has taken over the Tonight Show my opinion of him may be changing.

The past few nights on the Tonight Night Show, Conan has hit homeruns by having William Shatner read portions of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s farewell speech and Twitter tweets as poetry.

Total Brilliance !!



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Filed under Alaska, Conan O'Brien, farewell speech, poetry reading, Sarah Palin, The Tonight Show, Twitter, William Shatner

Best Quote of the Day, From Yesterday

“The facts surrounding the freeze versus layoff issue belie Sheriff Guadagno’s claim that she is the rare elected official who hasn’t backed down from the public-employee unions,”… Guadagno “essentially sabotaged the county’s plan as it related to the unions within the Sheriff’s Office,”.

Monmouth County Freeholder Jonh D’Amico quoted in the Asbury Park Press about Monmouth County Sheriff / Republican Lt. Governor candidate, Kim Guadagno and her efforts to undermine negotiations with county union members.

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Filed under Freeholder John D'Amico, Kim Guadagono, Lt. Governor, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Sheriff, Republican Candidate

Despite the corruption arrests, Corzine still doing OK

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to be a regular columnist /contributor to the, a news organization put together by former Star-Ledger staff members that had been layed-off by the newspaper over the past year.

A couple of members from the News Room have been following this blog and thought that I would be a good fit and lend a progressive voice to the website.
I was honored to think that real journalists thought enough of my writing and insight to include me in their endevours, so I couldn’t say no to the offer.
Below is the first of what I hope to be many opinion pieces posted by my new friends at News Room Jersey:
Despite the corruption arrests, Corzine still doing OK

When I first heard the news on the morning of July 23 about the FBI sting operation that netted 44 people throughout the state on corruption and other assorted charges, as part of the continuing 10-year-old investigation known as “Operation Bid Rig,” I have to admit I wasn’t very happy.

I thought, “here we go again.’’ Another black-eye for the state’s already tarnished and beleaguered image as the most corrupt in the country. I was shocked, angered and concerned all at the same time.

As a Democrat who is involved in the local politics, I immediately thought about how this would affect Governor Corzine and the rest of the democratic ticket down the line. This was not something that Jon Corzine or democrats, in general, needed to be dealing with 13 weeks before November’s election.

After working the overnight shift, keeping up on what seemed like an endless stream of new information and details about the sting operation, I started to think that there was no way, with recent polling numbers showing that the governor trailed his opponent by upwards of 15 points depending on the survey, could survive this latest round of bad news.
My despair only increased when, as the morning shift arrived, my fellow co-workers sought me out to express their displeasure with the scandal and said that it was further evidence as to why they would not be voting for Jon Corzine.

It didn’t matter to those guys that the investigation was started 10 years earlier during the Whitman administration or that the governor was not involved or named in the investigation. It was just further evidence to them that New Jersey’s political system was broken and just as corrupt as ever.

It didn’t matter to them that Jon Corzine is beyond reproach or that he can’t be bought off by special interest (the man is a multi-millionaire who doesn’t need to take money from other people) or that Corzine is one of the most politically ethical elected officials that the State of New Jersey has seen in over a decade. It didn’t matter that during Corzine’s time in office, he is responsible for ending the practice of duel office holding by elected officials or the fact that major Pay-to-Play legislation was passed early in his administration that ended that practice or that he put an end to no-bid contracts.

Read More >>> Here

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Filed under Gov. Jon Corzine, Monmouth County, New Jersey, New Jersey Newsroom, Operation Bid Rig, political corruption, the Star-Ledger

What Does Another 80 Cents a Day Buy? Not Enough!

On July 24, the federal minimum wage rose to $7.25 per hour. With it, thousands of New Jersey’s minimum wage workers saw a 10-cent increase in their hourly wage. This is nothing to be proud of, especially since the state’s median household income of $67,035 makes New Jerseyans the second highest income earners in the country.

The increase marks the first time in four years that New Jersey’s minimum wage earners will make the same as those in Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina and 27 other states throughout the country. This despite the fact that the state’s median household income is 84 percent higher than Mississippi’s, 75 percent more than Arkansas’ and 50 percent higher than North Carolina’s.

Housing costs in New Jersey are among the nation’s highest, with renters paying more than $400 above the national average per month. To afford a two-bedroom apartment alone, a minimum wage worker would have to work an impossible 129 hours per week every week of the year.

Housing is not the only thing that costs more in New Jersey. Groceries cost 11 percent more than in the rest of the country, utilities 16 percent more and health care an additional 10 percent.

In 2007, the state’s Minimum Wage Advisory Commission recommended the minimum wage be raised to $8.25 an hour, the federal poverty threshold for a three-person family; one year later it recommended an increase to $8.50 an hour. The commission also called on the legislature to annually adjust the minimum wage with the cost of living. To date, the legislature has done nothing.

Each year New Jersey’s elected officials do not raise the minimum wage, it’s the state’s working poor who suffer the most. Money earned today will buy less next year than it did this year, and even less in the following year. In actual buying power, the state’s minimum wage has declined since it was first introduced in 1968. That means the $7.25 per hour workers earn today buys less than the $1.40 they earned in 1968 or the $3.10 they received in 1980. Had it kept pace with inflation, the minimum wage would now be $8.68, or $1.43 more than it currently is. This, combined with the fact that low-wage workers tend not to receive wage increases, health coverage or sick days makes keeping up with inflation impossible for these families.

Raising the minimum wage not only helps individuals and families who rely on every bit of their paycheck to pay their rent, buy their groceries, clothe their children and provide healthcare for themselves and their families, it also stimulates the economy. Because they earn so little, low-wage workers are less likely than people with higher salaries to save money. This means that every additional dollar they earn is needed and will be spent.

The current economic downturn has affected almost everyone, and New Jersey’s low-income earners are struggling to meet the most basic of needs. By raising the state minimum wage to at least keep up with inflation, New Jersey will lessen the hardship faced by its most vulnerable residents.

To find out more about the New Jersey Policy Perspective click >>>Here

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Filed under median household income, minimum wage, New Jersey, New Jersey Policy Perspective