What Discourages People From Getting Involved In Public Life

Certainly what goes on in the Trenton statehouse but not when it comes to questioning the motives of opportunists who lap up that easy tax money for the price of their acquiescence to ignorant policy choices (like willfully underfunding the state pension plan and partially masking the hole by steering 38% of the investments into alternatives). For example….

In the course of calling David Sirota a hack:

Governor Christie defended his long-time friend and current chairman of the State Investment Council:

Yes how can anyone impugn the motives of someone who gets picked for a high-profile job overseeing tens of billions of dollars that allows for connections to be made or cemented after a brief tenure?  The same David Sirota had a followup this week on a possible reason for Robert Grady:

In the context of a New Jersey pension system stocked with $81 billion in assets, here was a transaction that seemed unremarkable. It was 2011, the year after Gov. Chris Christie had installed his longtime friend Robert Grady to oversee the state pension fund’s investments. A former executive from the heights of finance and a national Republican Party power broker, Grady was pursuing a new strategy, shifting money into hedge funds and private equity holdings in the name of diversification and higher returns. He was now pushing to entrust up to $1.8 billion of New Jersey pension money to the Blackstone Group, one of the largest players in private equity.

But one special feature of that Blackstone bet underscores the interlocking relationships at play as states increasingly rely on the counsel and management of Wall Street institutions to invest their pension dollars: One of the private equity funds New Jersey was investing in – a pool of money called Blackstone Capital Partners VI – claimed among its investors a Wyoming-based company named Cheyenne Capital. That company’s list of partners included one Robert Grady.

In short, Grady was pushing to invest New Jersey public money in the same Blackstone fund in which his own firm was investing — without disclosing that fact to N.J. officials.

When we go to SIC audits of the investments we see as of June 30, 2013 for the first time a Private Equity investment in ‘BLACKSTONE CAPITAL PARTNERS VI’ valued at $8,380,223.

What discourages honest hard-working people looking to act for the common good from getting involved in public life is that you are expected to do what you are told by those people who select you, though that is a selling point for the lazy rubber-stampers looking for quick profits who generally occupy those appointed positions.

11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on September 25, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    John, to me Christie really comes across an extremely arrogant dishonest person. do you feel the same way or do you think that is too strong of description. He often makes his lies colorful and catchy using catchy sarcasm etc. Do you also thing that is true? And what about him being described as a bully, also true in your opinion?


    • About him personally I don’t see any point in conjecturing. It’s what he has done, specifically on public pensions in New Jersey, and that has been a disaster. Five years in and we are waiting on a study commission.

      He can be as arrogant as he =wants if only he were governing instead of posturing.


      • Posted by Anonymous on September 25, 2014 at 9:36 pm

        I was just trying to figure out the reasons he gets away with all his lies and deceit, making out that he has been the savior of the pensions and of all people of the state of NJ.


      • Posted by Anonymous on September 26, 2014 at 9:14 am

        John, why do people believe him and think he is a great governor?


        • I don’t know of anyone who thinks he’s a great governor. There are people who like his act but that’s more to do with dancing, telling jokes, and copping an attitude. That’s appealing to some people who couldn’t care less about how New Jersey is governed which, unfortunately, often gives you a majority in some polls.


  2. Posted by Anonymous on September 25, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    I think Christie is a horse’s ass, who cares about nothing but his future. Again with the Corzine dig, the election was five years ago. He sucked too, but I doubt he blamed previous governors(who by the way also sucked) nearly as much as this windbag. Hillary ’16- Gold help me, I never thought I would say that!!!


  3. Posted by Anonymous on September 25, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    The union investigation is based on ethical violations, I foresee many connections. Through Mr. Grady’ s other equity connections other violations will be discovered. TO just as real answer will help to positively turnaround AC, this unfortunate matter will bring about protection for the alternate investment program and NJ public employees and retirees.b


  4. Posted by Anonymous on September 25, 2014 at 7:01 pm



  5. Posted by MJ on October 1, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Honest hard working people don’t get involved because they are working longer hours and longer days. They don’t want every dirty detail of their lives and of their families smeared across the internet and they could never go up against the well oiled, well funded, entrenched machine in their communities. Of course, it one does manage to get in it is as John says, that individual is expected to rubber stamp or they will run you into the ground. Hell, the handful people who do show up for council meetings are barely allowed to speak. We don’t even get to vote on the school budget anymore if it within the 2% cap. Many, many hard working people realize that things are not right, upside down and all around but what to do? They realize that the taxes are outrageous and paying for other people to do nothing. I suppose the system will take care of itself when it implodes. All us regular folks can do is be prepared.


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