Thursday, February 14, 2008

Brief Comment on New Jersey Politics

In New Jersey, joining one of the two major parties would involve one of the following:

Option A: Join with a bunch of group-thinking, goose-stepping ideologues who care more about ideological purity than implementing policies that work.

Option B: Join with a bunch of vacillating dupes who vote for whichever politician has sold out most thoroughly to the corrupt, mob-ridden machine.

I think I'll stick with Option C, thank you very much. I've been around enough to see what is involved with getting inside enough to have influence.

Case in point: John Lynch

The last person elected in New Jersey as a "reform" Democrat who was going to clean up the party and the state: Jim McGreevy

Of course, the Republicans are soo much better: Chuck Haytaian

We certainly can't forget these guys: NJ Corruption Tour

The probe of into alleged bribe-taking in the awarding of public contracts resulted in the arrest Thursday of 11 public officials. Among them: two state lawmakers, two mayors, three city councilmen and several members of school board in Pleasantville, near Atlantic City, where the scandal had its roots.
Christie noted that 108 public officials in New Jersey have been convicted of federal corruption charges in the past five years. He marveled at the "stupidity and greed" of those who would continue to flout the law.

"The conclusion I draw is they don't care," he said. "They care more about themselves than the public they are elected to serve."

Here's another example of upstanding New Jersey politicians looking out for the little guy: NJ Officials Snared

And here's a scorecard from the Asbury Park Press.

The FBI's first sweep in its Operation Bid Rig probe led to the arrest of 11 officials in Monmouth County on Feb. 22, 2005. Their status:

Paul Zambrano, 50, former West Long Branch mayor and brother of Long Branch Councilman John Zambrano, who pleaded guilty Thursday to one charge of accepting a bribe: Pleaded guilty to accepting $15,000 in bribes.

Thomas Broderick, 61, former Monmouth County assistant highway supervisor: Pleaded guilty to money laundering that netted him $15,000 in profits.

Joseph "Joey Buses" McCurnin, 65, former Monmouth County transportation operations manager: Pleaded guilty to aiding in the extortion of a $1,000 bribe.

Joseph DeLisa, 50, former West Long Branch councilman: Awaiting trial on bribery and extortion charges.

Paul Coughlin, 42, former Hazlet mayor: Pleaded guilty to accepting a $3,000 bribe.

Patsy Townsend, 59, former Monmouth County deputy fire marshal and Neptune code enforcement officer: Pleaded guilty to extorting a $1,000 bribe.

John J. Hamilton Jr., 56, former Asbury Park councilman: Awaiting trial on charges of extortion, accepting a bribe in the form of a $5,000 driveway, attempted witness tampering and making a false statement.

Raymond O'Grady, 56, former Middletown Township committeeman: Convicted of extorting and accepting $8,000 in bribes.

Richard Iadanza, 51, former Neptune committeeman: Pleaded guilty to taking $3,000 in bribes.

John J. Merla, 44, Keyport mayor: Awaiting trial on eight counts of extortion and bribery charges.

An 11th defendant, Robert L. Hyer, a former Keyport councilman, died before trial. He was charged with extorting a $5,000 bribe.

Of those who have pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial, none have been sentenced yet. Several face up to 20 years in prison.

Anthony J. Palughi, 70, the retired Monmouth County superintendent of bridges, was the star witness for the U.S. attorney at O'Grady's trial. Palughi has pleaded guilty to taking part in a bribery scheme that implicated the late Harry J. Larrison Jr., the former Monmouth County freeholder director.

Larrison was charged last year with accepting bribes from two land developers, but he died a few weeks later.

Two major Monmouth County contractors also figured in subsequent "Bid Rid" charges. Stephen M. Appolonia, 53, the now-former president of International Trucks of Central Jersey, Howell, was charged with laundering $350,000; and James B. Ingram, 56, former owner of JBI Limousines Inc., Neptune, was charged with laundering $100,000.

Appolonia is awaiting trial; Ingram has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

Thomas Greenwald, 52, a friend to Appolonia and a former Far Hills councilman who is charged with money laundering, is awaiting trial.