Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Shutdown Chip

New Jersey has stopped providing nonessential services (which actually sounds like an admirable policy goal) with some of us adjusting better than others:
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The bottom line is that Governor Christie insists on seeing two bills (both of which passed the Senate on Thursday) before acting on the FY18 budget bill:

  1. S3312 the pension/lottery gimmick – passed the Senate (36-2)
  2. S4  the Horizon shakedown – passed the Senate (21-15)

S3312 is a sham reform that should do nothing more than convince the uninitiated that the state is as bankrupt of ideas as integrity when dealing with the worst funded pension system in the country. Both sides would gladly toss that chip in to get their way on S4 and here’s why:

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Shakedown: The Fleecing of the Garden State

Carl J. Mayer profiled mostly legalized corruption twenty years ago on Sixty Minutes:
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This segment yielded a book that, sadly, remains timely. Excerpts follow:

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Pension Byrne

I submitted a letter to the Star Ledger which is what led me to pick up today’s paper (since letters are no longer online at nj.com). I did not find my letter* but there was a letter from Thomas J. Healey, co-chair with Tom Byrne of the  Pension and Health Benefits Commission that objected to an op-ed written by Charles Wowkanech blaming the chairman of the State Investment Council (also Tom Byrne) for the public  pension funding crisis.

There were conflicting numbers about how New Jersey fared with their investment returns as compared to other unidentified plans over varying periods but what struck me was an accusation of Wowkanech’s that I disagree with:

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Buying NJ Governorship

I just received the following wire from my generous Daddy; Dear Jack, Don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.

John F. Kennedy

Next Tuesday in New Jersey we will have a primary election for governor and based on information on the updated New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission website here is how much each candidate (and two from prior years) spent personally on all elections in total (buying support) and this primary election to date.
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Pension Question in NJ Gubernatorial Debates

About all we found out from tonight’s two debates was that none of these six people understands the scope of the problem.
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Drain the Swamp

In this age of Amazon where you can order any book ever written there is still a place for library visits and browsing selected Dewey Decimal classes (in this case 320.973) for books that some library director  (in this case Scotch Plains) thought worthwhile. I found this one on Sunday and just finished reading it. Excerpts follow:

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Soft Corruption: 1997 POB Traitors

  1. John Scott
  2. Dick LaRossa$48,376
  3. Joe Bubba$48,243

Soft Corruption by William E. Schluter ($14,663) has become a bible for one of my other lives as it reflects closely my experience with legalized graft in New Jersey politics. One example from the book tells of the story of the 1997 Pension Obligation Bond sale to which then-Senator Schluter had a front-row seat.  From pages 12-13:

Soft corruption entered into this major policy initiative when three recalcitrant senators were pressured on the floor of the senate to vote for the proposal, despite their very strong reservations. They finally relented and voted to approve the measure. They subsequently received substantial campaign contributions from the senate campaign fund – only to lose the ensuing election. But all was not in vain, as they were awarded lucrative patronage appointments following their electoral losses.

Here is the story (pages 65-7):

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