VOTE NO – NJ Ballot Question #1: Deception at its best courtesy of Lance & Lesniak

Democrat or Republican – it just doesn’t matter. This is classic deception at its best.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • By voting YES, you’re actually allowing the NJ Constitution to be changed to conform to the Trenton Cosa Nostra to pledge the full faith and credit of the State.
  • It means billions could be borrowed without voter approval to build dozens of $150 million high schools, complete with state-of-the-art theaters,stadiums, and day-care centers.
  • A “Yes” vote on Ballot Question #1 means Governor Corzine and the
    State Legislature could pass a simple law to refinance every dollar of the $37 billion
    borrowed by state authorities without voter approval.
  • Once the full faith and credit of New Jersey is pledged, all state
    sales tax money is earmarked to pay that debt before it is spent on anything else
    .
  • When its full faith and credit is pledged, the State is legally obligated to impose a new
    statewide property tax to pay its debts
    , whenever sales tax revenues are not sufficient.
  • State Legislature could pass a simple law to refinance every dollar of the $37 billion borrowed by state authorities without voter approval. If they do that, the state will give up its legal right to refuse to spend taxpayer dollars on such “unconstitutional” debt.

~~~~~~~~~

State Senators Leonard Lance (Republican) and Raymond Lesniak (Democrat)  claim a
“Yes” vote for their proposed “bipartisan” Constitutional Amendment (State Ballot
Question #1 for this November’s election) would stop independent authorities like the
EDA (Economic Development Authority) from borrowing billions of dollars without voter
approval. But the opposite is true.

Earlier this year, Governor Corzine tried to hock our toll roads to pay off $40 billion in
state debt. But the governor never said the state was legally on the hook for only $3
billion. The other $37 billion was created by independent authorities without voter
approval. As a result, the state legislature does not legally have to pay roughly $3
billion each year on that debt, and can stop payment at any time.
Every bond sold by these authorities clearly state that this was speculative junk debt
and not guaranteed by New Jersey taxpayers.

Under our present Constitution, only the voters can provide that security.

But a “yes” vote on Ballot Question #1 would change all that. It would
change the Constitution and allow state politicians to pledge the full faith and
credit of the state without voter approval for the first time since 1844. You won’t know
that if you just read the Ballot Question, and Interpretive Statement. The details are
buried in Senate Concurrent Resolution #39 which created them.


Senate Concurrent Resolution #39 states that voter approval will not
be needed to guarantee the bonds of any “autonomous public corporate entity” if there is “an
independent non-State source of revenue paid by third persons” or “a
source of revenue otherwise required to be appropriated
pursuant to another provision of
this Constitution”.

This means billions could be borrowed without voter approval.

It means billions could be borrowed without voter approval to build
dozens of $150 million high schools, complete with state-of-the-art theaters,
stadiums, and day-care centers. Any political “educator” can certify that they are needed to
provide a “thorough and efficient education” as required by our State Constitution – or
qualify under the “Property Tax Relief Fund”. But the most dangerous provision of Ballot
Question #1 is this:

“No voter approval shall be required for any such law. . . authorizing
the creation of a debt or debts. . . for the refinancing of all or a portion of any
outstanding debts or liabilities of. . .
an autonomous public corporate entity,”

A “Yes” vote on Ballot Question #1 means Governor Corzine and the
State Legislature could pass a simple law to refinance every dollar of the $37 billion
borrowed by state authorities without voter approval.
If they do that, the state will
give up its legal right to refuse to spend taxpayer dollars on such “unconstitutional” debt.

Once the full faith and credit of New Jersey is pledged, all state
sales tax money is earmarked to pay that debt before it is spent on anything else
. When
its full faith and credit is pledged, the State is legally obligated to impose a new
statewide property tax to pay its debts
, whenever sales tax revenues are not sufficient. If
you don’t believe it,
look at the fine print of last year’s Open Space bond legislation.

A “Yes” Vote on Ballot Question #1 will guarantee that this borrowing,
and the waste and corruption that goes with it, continues.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For more information, visit http://www.libertyandprosperity.org or contact
Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman at seth@dandy.net or 609-927-7333. Seth Grossman hosts a
two way talk radio program on 1020AM Mondays-Fridays from 3PM to 5PM,
and breakfast discussion groups Saturday at 9AM at the Athena Diner, on New Road
between Tilton and New Roads in Northfield.

Corzine gets his handpicked ethics advisory board to tell him it’s A-OK.

What was it Jon Corzine said when he was inaugurated?

Oh yes. That’s right.  “Hold me accountable.”

From our friends at inthelobby.net

Well that was then and this is now.  And now Gov. Corzine, who has managed to punt on pushing a promised tougher round of ethics reforms in the state, has apparently found a new way around inconvenient truths.

He gets his handpicked ethics advisory board to tell him it’s A-OK.

The latest example of this was the somewhat confusing, connect-the-dots case involving Xanadu.

Yes, the proposed Meadowlands shopping center/entertainment complex, inexplicably named the same as  an Olivia Newton-John song, is raising eyebrows yet again.

This time, on Thursday, just after he helpfully signs a bill to help fund a $200 million aquarium at the site, he mentions that “one of my closest friends” is a partner in the investment consortium that underwrote Xanadu’s $1.5 billion bailout in 2006, according to The Record.

That friend is Daniel Neidich, a Democratic fundraiser and an ex-colleague of Corzine’s at Goldman Sachs.  Neidich also heads a nonprofit that the governor is a founding board member of – a nonprofit that incidentally was awarded a $2 million contract with the state, but that the company later withdrew not wanting to be a distraction.

Look out Mr. Neidich.  Here comes another one of those distractions.

Corzine never told anybody about the fact that his buddy Neidich – who he had to know was controversial after the blow-up involving the nonprofit Child Study Center – was the CEO of Dune Real Estate, a hedge fund which was one of the three investors that bailed out Xanadu.

No, he casually let that drop Thursday – AFTER he signed the bill that would allow an aquarium on the site. But no worries New Jersey – the Governor’s Ethics Advisory Panel told him it was OK.

This of course, was from the same panel that said Carla Katz’s e-mails to the governor during contract negotiations were just fine too, and did not need to be disclosed. The same e-mails that a Superior Court judge later found created a clear potential for a conflict of interest, when he ordered them to be released.

“I sought advice from the Governor’s Advisory Ethics Panel,” he wrote in an odd addendum at the end of a press release citing a list of bills he had signed. “The panel advised that, as there has been full disclosure, these circumstances do not create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
So, if we are to read this correctly, since Corzine disclosed it after the fact, it’s fine. No reason to make mention of it while the legislation was being considered, or to give time for any questions to arise.
“This bill required direct action by the governor. Xanadu’s previous business did not,” Robert Corrales, a Corzine spokesman, told The Record.
But here’s the thing. When you start drawing connect-the-dot charts, and the dots all connect, at the very least, you have an appearance of a conflict of interest. Especially when you realize that everything involving Xanadu has required direct action by the governor.  Like when he directly acted in 2006 by ordering his economic development czar, and Goldman Sachs buddy, Gary D. Rose, to work on a $1.5 billion bailout of Xanadu.  Or how he, as the Record notes, directly “boasted about his administration’s role in restructuring the Xanadu deal.”
So why oh why would he feel compelled to get an opinion now (which we should also mention was apparently just a verbal opinion, not a written one, so there is no record of what was asked of the panel, or what was disclosed).
It couldn’t have anything to do with the inconvenient truth that Rose, according to The Record,  owned stock and mutual funds in Goldman Sachs, or that the Wall Street company – an early investor in Xanadu, stood to lose some or all of the $1.1 billion it invested in the project, could it?
Or that Rose, as of March 2006, owned an interest in Dune Real Estate, according to The Record?
Deborah Howlett, Corzine’s communications director, dismissed such questions as “ridiculous.”

“If Gary Rose had stock in Pepsi would it mean we’d have to remove all the soda machines from the State House?” Howlett told The Record, later adding, “You wouldn’t even know about Gary Rose’s holdings if we didn’t disclose them.”

Well, yes, but isn’t that the point? The administration is supposed to lay all its cards out on the table, upfront, with full disclosure, and not dribble them out when it suits their time and choosing.  But that’s apparently Corzine’s way – it’s how he handled the disclosure of his financial relationship with ex-girlfriend, and former union leader, Carla Katz. It’s how he handled their e-mail controversy. It’s how he handled asset monetization. And it appears to be how he’s handling this.

But public confidence and trust in New Jersey officials is so shaky these days that full disclosure isn’t something that can be doled out piecemeal. Especially when it involves friends making money.

When you wait to make the disclosure after the fact, it only raises suspicions in people’s minds that there’s something in the Meadowlands projects that stinks.

And we’re not talking about the landfill.

Mr. Corzine Claims Privilege

NYTimes Editorial:

The governor of New Jersey, Jon Corzine, who is caught up in a potentially embarrassing lawsuit, is claiming that e-mail messages he exchanged with a union official are protected by executive privilege.

What is unusual about the case is that the official, the former leader of a state employees’ union, also was once his girlfriend. The claim of executive privilege is far too common; presidents and governors often view it as a way to get themselves out of a legal bind. In this case, it is also clearly wrong. As one court has already ruled, in a decision the governor is appealing, the e-mail messages should be released.

Tom Wilson, the chairman of the New Jersey Republican Party, filed the lawsuit to gain access to e-mails in which Mr. Corzine and the union official, Carla Katz, discuss contract negotiations between her union and the state. Mr. Wilson argues that the public has a right to see the e-mails to determine whether Ms. Katz exerted any improper influence. He is right.

Executive privilege provides presidents and governors a narrow right to privacy for discussions with their top aides to allow them to receive frank advice. Chief executives often try to stretch those privileges. Such claims are generally outweighed by the public’s right to know or the needs of the justice system for evidence of illegal activity. In the most famous privilege case, the Supreme Court rejected President Richard Nixon’s claim and ordered him to hand over the Watergate tapes.

Mr. Corzine’s case for executive privilege is particularly weak. Ms. Katz was not a member of his staff that provided him with confidential guidance. In fact, her union position put her in an adversarial relationship with the governor on the collective-bargaining issue.

There is little doubt that Mr. Wilson’s suit was intended to embarrass Mr. Corzine, who is almost certain to seek re-election next year. It may well be that if the e-mails are released, they will be harmful to Mr. Corzine’s political standing. That is not, however, a valid reason for concealing information about government operations that the public has every right to see.

Here’s our Brilliant Gov: NJ struggling- $33B debt, can’t pay transport. projects, struggling to keep state parks open, cut municipal aid, BUT… lets give $589K to Stemcyte to hire 7 more employees. Can we please just fire him NOW??

Also… did you know that New Jersey lawmakers and Corzine approved $270 million to build five stem cell research facilities in the state – money that they were somehow able to borrow without voter permission.

Very enlightening article by our friends at inthelobby.net

May 2, 2008

Our governor is a man who is committed to his causes.

He gave Democrats some $652,000 last year –nearly $563,000 to state Democrats and $89,000 to Democratic congressional candidates. In 2006, Corzine gave $869,000 to Democrats and party organizations. Since entering politics in 2000, he has donated more than $8 million to state and federal candidates.

He is a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton. (Except when he’s describing the scenarios by which he thinks she should drop out of the race.)

He gave $500,000 to Save Our State NJ, which is his public relations front group that was created to help him sell his 800 percent toll hike plan.

He sent $200,000 to a group that was promoting last year’s ill-fated bond issue to borrow $450 million to hire staff and fund research at the five stem cell research centers the governor hopes to build around the state.

All of these were done with his own money, which is fine. He can spend his money however he wishes, on whatever causes he wishes.

What’s not so fine is when state money somehow winds up funding his pet causes.

So there Corzine was Thursday, hailing the decision by StemCyte Inc., a California-based stem cell research firm to open a New Jersey office with five people, which they say may someday grow to 12 employees.

To help spur this job growth, the governor touted the fact that this firm would receive some $589,000 in state grants, through the Business Employment Incentive Program, which basically is a program that rewards companies that create jobs.

In other words, we’ll be paying this company about $80,000 a person every time they hire one of the seven new employees.

Probably a good chunk of the salaries the company will be paying these folks.

“It does seem questionable to be writing checks to companies that are going to hire 12 people when you’re cutting higher education and can’t pay for transportation,” said Jon Shure, president of New Jersey Policy Perspective.

Seriously.

Listen, this company may be a great investment. But when the state is struggling to find money to keep parks open, and is cutting homestead rebates, that $589,000 sure seems like an awful lot of money to be sending to one firm that is creating just 7 new jobs.

Especially when the state has lost about 10,000 jobs so far this year.

But we have another question.

We all know that our governor can be a bit, well, shall we say tone-deaf politically about causes and people he believes in. (Read Javier Inclan and 800 percent toll hikes.) That if he says something is on the up and up, then he thinks no one should doubt otherwise. That he doesn’t see conflicts of interest involving himself, because, in his mind, he apparently thinks he has no conflicts.

So, is it too cynical to ask whether the governor’s enthusiasm for stem cell research was one of the deciding factors in giving this company a grant?

Voters resoundingly rejected the stem cell research bond issue. From all accounts, the governor was severely disappointed in the defeat. And, apparently, in this case, he counting on the fact that he doesn’t think “No” really means “No.”
“I intend to revisit this issue,” Corzine said at Thursday’s press conference.
“We haven’t crossed that bridge yet. It is in an overall context that we have to look at where we are with regard to revenue growth and the comfort with which we can address additional debt. I don’t think that’s going to be so long.”
Hello?

Did we read that right?

Here he is, trying to soak us all for an 800 percent toll hike over 14 years because he said our debt is strangling us.

And yet, he can’t wait to go out and bond for another $450 million for stem cell research?

“…We have to look at where we are with regard to revenue growth and the comfort with which we can address additional debt. I don’t think that’s going to be so long.”

He doesn’t think that will be that long? But aren’t we supposedly more than $30 billion in debt? And isn’t the only debt reduction plan out there his 800 percent toll hike plan, which is supposed to be politically dead?

Read the rest RIGHT HERE

More Corzine Cosa Nostra: $2 million contract to NYU… Jon Boy sits on the Board, and how dare we question his motives..

From our friends at inthelobby.net

NYU AND CORZINE, PERFECT TOGETHER

You have to give this to the governor.  He is stubborn. He also must keep a ready supply of blinders on hand.

He apparently sees nothing wrong with a New York organization – on whose board he sits, and to whom he contributed $5.7 million – getting a state contract.

In fact, he almost sounds a bit testy that any one would have the audacity to raise any questions about it, telling the Star Ledger that “New Jersey residents should not be ‘prejudiced’ and lose the services of groups simply because of his personal ties.

Don’t you love that? An out-of-state group that he sits on the board with two of his closest friends, and that he donated millions of dollars to gets a $2 million state contract, and somehow we’re “prejudiced” for questioning if there’s conflict of interest.

He also said this to the Ledger: “History and general recognition would say this is a good organization,” he said. He was quick to add,  “some in New Jersey are good organizations.”

Only “some” in New Jersey are good organizations? Hey, thanks for the shout out to the home state governor.

But, to make all of us worrywarts feel better, the gov has promised that his counsel will take a look at the process and make sure it was “transparent and fair play.”

Sure, like a counsel who is appointed by the governor and reports to the governor is going to find anything but.

Did you know that he thinks so much of this New York University Child Study Center that he gave it $2 million to endow a “Corzine family professorship” at the university.

But, no, there’s no conflict of interest here.

His two good friends on the board – Dan and Brooke Garber Neidich (she’s the board chairwoman, by the way) – also gave a total of  $40,000 to the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, according to information dug up by Eric Sedler over at redjersey.net, who found that the Neidichs each gave the Democratic State Committee a total of $10,000 in 2005 and 2007, for a total of $40,000, as well as $2,000 each in 1999 and 2001 to Corzine, for a total of $8,000.

So maybe the governor is right. Maybe it is just pure coincidence that:

1)       The governor sits on the board;
2)       Was a founding member of the center;
3)       Gave the center $5.7 million;
4)       Endowed a $2 million Corzine family professorship;
5)       His two very close friends are also on the board, with one being the chairwoman;
6)       His two very close friends are contributors to Democratic causes, and to the New Jersey State Committee and the governor himself;
7)       That the center had to supply the state with a list of board members when they applied for the grant, so the governor’s name and relationship would be well known to those who awarded the contract; and
8)       The center was the only one of 18 applicants not from New Jersey, yet New Jersey state employees decided to bypass 17 in-state organizations and pick the lone applicant from New York.

The governor insists that he had no idea that the center was going for the contract. “Didn’t know it was taking place,” he told the Ledger.

His good friends, we are to assume, didn’t either? Are we also to assume it never came up in conversation? (These friends, by the way, are so close that they were the only people outside family who were permitted to visit the governor in the hospital while he was recuperating, according to the Ledger.)

Are we also to assume none of these board members knew that the center had applied to the state for a $2 million grant? Grants that, by the way, centers like this need in order to stay in business?

Why can’t the governor see that this looks bad? Sometimes, we wonder if he thinks everything he says is so, and therefore, no other explanation is needed.

Except that he doesn’t get to decide what is a conflict and what isn’t.

In a state where corruption and politics too often are linked, the governor needs to be like Caesar’s wife, above reproach.  There may be nothing wrong with giving a New York outfit a $2 million state contract, even as New Jersey is hurting for jobs. Maybe the governor doesn’t have a vested interest in making sure that an organization with a Corzine family professorship succeeds.  Maybe the fact that he sits on their board, and has donated millions to the center, is just a coincidence.

But it sure doesn’t look good. And Corzine, or at least his people, ought to understand that.

Corzine Cosa Nostra hard at work: DEP Deputy Commissioner (who?) ponders corporate support for parks

The Corzine Cosa Nostra is hard at work.. remember the toll hike fiasco and the Save the State toy organization Corzine funded to help push the deal? Do you remember who the spokesperson was? That’s right – Jennifer Godoski.. Here‘s that article

So how does one go from chief of staff for Commissioner of Transportation to Spokesperson for Save our State to Deputy Commissioner of DEP? Well – if you’re a Corzine insider – anything is possible.

Oh – and here‘s the DEP article about the parks…

Corzine Cosa Nostra: Direct appointees – some don’t even live in NJ

18 different commissions, Councils, Board of Trustees,task (FREE CUBA TASK FORCE – HUH?) forces and Board of Directors – a total of 52 individuals were directly appointed by the Gov. last week…

Welcome to The Corzine Cosa Nostra

From our friends at In the Lobby.net

JERSEY MAY LIBERATE CUBA!

It’s the little things in government that start to add up and turn into big dollar items. It’s the commissions, boards and councils that government creates – many times for good purposes – too often for pure political base feeding. Each of theses entities needs to be staffed and stationary printed and all the other things that go with the care and feeding of them.

Just last week, the Office of the Governor sent out a release announcing his direct appointments to some of these entities. Direct appointment means no oversight by the Senate. The list consisted of 18 different commissions, councils, Board of Trustees, task forces and Board of Directors. In total he appointed 52 individuals. As has been this Governor’s practice, not all are from New Jersey. Madelyn Geisser Rumowicz was appointed to the Financial Policy Review Board – whatever that is? Sounds at least impressive. Ms. Rumowicz is from Wakefield, Rhode Island. Has anyone looked at Rhode Island’s financial condition? Proportioned to its’ size and population, its’ in worse shape than we are. Lucky for Ms. Rumowicz, that the Governor’s 800% toll hike didn’t go through, or she would have had to review her own financial situation. Can you believe that she has some special talent, skill or knowledge that no one in New Jersey possesses?

The entity we found most interesting was the Free Cuba Task Force. Now we believe that a free democratic Cuba is a worthy goal. However, what the heck business does a state have talking about, and taking action, with respect to a serious and delicate international problem? We know we have the Battleship New Jersey, itching to get back onto the high seas. But come on, what are this task force’s goals? Even its name sounds war like – “Free Cuba”. Who was the genius who decided to call it a “Task Force”? Sounds like a naval group. Couldn’t they have called it something less militant, like – Cuba Review and Analysis Committee – It would still beg the question of what it is supposed to accomplish, but at least it sounds less threatening.

Seriously, what is this task force about? Could it simply be, that outside of the Miami area, New Jersey has the largest Cuban population in the country, and they are a core component of the Democratic Party? Nah! The task force must have been established for loftier ideals.

We will know that we are in deep doo-doo, when we hear Corzine referred to as El Commandantè.