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Corzine signs bills to clean-up politics

Corzine signs bills to clean-up politics

SEPTEMBER 4, 2007 Star Ledger

Surrounded by applauding members of the Senate and Assmbly, Governor Jon Corzine holds up one of four ethics bills after signing them into law at the Marlboro Public Library this afternoon.

Corzine signs anti-corruption bills amid criticism

Despite claims from critics who said it wasn't tough enough, Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Tuesday signed legislation barring lawmakers elected after Feb. 1 from holding more than one elected office in New Jersey.

The bill was among four measures signed by Corzine that Democrats hope will highlight their efforts to combat public corruption. Corzine signed the bills in the 12th Legislative District, a key battleground in this fall's elections.

Democrats are looking to retain legislative control in the fall vote. They control the Assembly 50-30 and the Senate 22-18.

The ban affects only officials elected after Feb. 1, meaning the 17 legislators and other local officials who hold more than one elected office can retain their seats until they either give them up or lose re-election.

"We're reduced to saying it's better than nothing," said Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth. However, Beck said the ban doesn't fix the current "moral and ethical cesspool in Trenton."

Arezzo probe expands to Weehawken

The Jersey Journal's Jarrett Renshaw reports that the state's criminal investigation of Hoboken's top construction code official has now expanded to at least one neighboring municipality.

The Attorney General's Office issued a subpoena for records from Weehawken's Building Department earlier this week, Renshaw reports. The Attorney General's Office ordered Weehawken's Building Department to turn over documents by Sept. 17 related to its oversight of construction projects in neighboring Hoboken, according to Weehawken township attorney Rick Venino. Read more about the investigation into Arezzo here.

State Police grab documents in Arezzo probe

State Police grab documents in Arezzo probe

The Jersey Journal's Jarrett Renshaw is reporting that State Troopers from the Organized Crime Unit went to City Hall yesterday and seized documents from Construction Code Official Al Arezzo's office.

In addition, sources have told Renshaw that a grand jury has been convened in connection with the probe.

Federal probe of Menendez is far from dead

It was nearly a year ago, during the heat of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez's election campaign, when federal investigators caused an uproar by issuing a subpoena for records of a real estate deal Menendez made.

The investigation yielded no criminal charges, and by the start of summer Menendez's attorneys asked federal prosecutors to declare him exonerated.

Not only was that request ignored, according to sources with knowledge of the meeting, but in recent weeks new subpoenas went out, delving into other matters involving the Hudson County Democrat.

How N.J. got $30B in the hole

Any way you count it, New Jersey is deep in debt.

The state owes nearly $30 billion to its creditors and just paying the cost to cover that debt is eating up more than $2.5 billion a year.

That means less and less money each year for aid to public schools, hospitals, towns. And – directly or indirectly – it means higher taxes.

The situation is so bad that Governor Corzine is preparing to sell off state properties – everything from the lottery to the New Jersey Turnpike – to raise money.

"We are the guys who got stuck at the end of the game of musical chairs. We're trying to find a way to dig out of the hole we're in," state Treasurer Bradley Abelow said.

Here's a look at how the state got this far in debt, what it means and what some say New Jersey should do to steady its financial future:

Just how much does the state owe?


Yesterday's scheduled Puerto Rican Festival parade was delayed, then cancelled, and organizers and cops are each blaming the other.

The parade was supposed to kick off at noon in front of City Hall and march up Washington Street to 10th Street, then over to the festival, which also had been held Friday and Saturday on Sinatra Drive.

By 1 p.m., the assembled marchers were told they couldn't have the parade because there weren't enough police available.

Although parade organizers had a permit from the city, police officials said the organizers did not request additional cops be assigned to work that day.

Organizers said they followed the same procedures as they had in previous years - and held meetings with police to discuss how the parade would be managed - and blamed the last-minute cancellation on politics.

Hoboken residents: We're not ready

Hoboken residents: We're not ready

Monday, July 30, 2007 - Jersey Journal

HOBOKEN - Residents of the Mile Square City say they are ill-prepared for a major storm, and don't know where to go if a hurricane threatened their homes.

Experts predict the storm surge from the Hudson River by a Category 1 hurricane could leave much of Hoboken under water.

Standing at the intersection of Fourth and Jackson streets, whichf loods in most heavy rains, a resident contemplated what would happen if a major storm were to strike Hoboken.

"This area always floods when it rains," said Miguelina, a Harrison Street resident who declined to give her last name. "Imagine if a hurricane hits."

"It's terrible down here when it rains. I've never seen a place flood like this," said Hilton Marrero, a Jackson Street resident. "They have to do something about it."

Other Hobokenites said they feared being trapped if the order was given to evacuate Hoboken.

"You are trapped here," said Ryan Herr, a sales representative who lives on Willow Avenue near Ninth Street. "If something were to happen, there would be no way to get out. It's the worst place to be."

Governor Jon Corzine

WARNING: TRANSLATION of Governor Jon Corzine’s complex statement of June 28 from Governmentaleeze to English. This document could cause taxpayer’s nausea and vomiting. Consult your physician if side effects continue.

CORZINE STATEMENT: “In countless ways, New Jersey is the best state in America. But we need to invest in our future if we’re going to stay on top. As a result of decisions made across administrations and across party lines over the past 20 years, New Jersey has amassed over $30 billion in debt and staggering unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities.

TRANSLATION: The strength of this state has been drawn from its people, not the government. This was once a bastion of free market capitalism. Not any more. New Jersey leads the nation with the most destructive progressive income tax and advanced social engineering schemes. We have the highest sales tax, highest property tax, and third highest debt in the nation. Rather than reduce the size of government and make it affordable to taxpayers, we will raise taxes to fund lucrative employee salaries and benefits handed out to political cronies. Wake up, New Jersey taxpayers - you work for the government, it doesn’t work for you.

OPRA a tool for political campaigns

TRENTON — The state's Open Public Records Act helps the news media expose the doings of government and empowers residents to learn how and why their tax dollars are spent.

But it has also become a staple in political campaigns, as operatives look for records to prove allegations that an opponent held a no-show job, engaged in a shady business deal or received a favorable tax arrangement.

"OPRA may have had an unintended effect," said Carl Golden, who was press secretary for Govs. Thomas H. Kean and Christie Whitman. "It proved to be an absolute bonanza for opposition research people in political campaigns."