The Soprano State – 2012 update and pay-to-play problems ahead
When it comes to corruption, New Jersey is rich in natural resources. In criminal gangs, the gang members prove themselves by going out and committing crimes showing how hard they are and similarly in Jersey and especially Hudson County the elected crooks try to impress each other with how far they are willing to go beyond the law.
Like any criminal enterprise and its operating wall of silence, if you don’t take the money and do “deals” you are a suspect and a threat to the club. In Soprano State parlance, you are not to be trusted.
The Soprano State website has a 2012 running update. Among the items most concerning:
More than a dozen Middlesex County townships have rules banning pay-to-play, meaning contractors cannot contribute to the campaign chests of the officials in townships where they have contracts. But according to an analysis by politickerNJ.com, the laws are being circumvented by contractors who donate to political action committees, which in turn fund the campaigns of the public officials handing out the contracts. PolitickerNJ.com points out that, ironically, these PACs have catchy “good government” names and are “circumventing the laws passed and signed by the very officials receiving donations.”
Middlesex County is one of the areas of New Jersey which instituted pay-to-play laws along the lines Hoboken has put in place last summer as soon as Beth Mason was ejected from the council chair. (She and MORTe were a major roadblock to that good government improvement.)
As for this method of creating catchy “good” government names, Hoboken by the next election will be sporting those monikers and although MSV thinks it will not be easy to hide the dirty money indefinitely, we’re sure to see efforts from candidates to smuggle in the loot for their campaigns where local support from residents is lacking.
Tim Occhipinti’s 2010 campaign was noted for its outside money before the anti-wheeling law was put into place. The vast majority of his funds came from outside Hoboken, especially when you deduct the five digit monies wheeled by Beth Mason.
What names will Hoboken see coming into existence for its spring 2012 elections? Here’s a few to get you started:
Hobokenites for a Happy and No Cryan Government, Timmy Time Happy Pappy Paper Voting Party, People for Beth Mason’s Open Transparent Government.
You can go on all day about this. Paging p1ywood, paging p1ywood.
Talking Ed Note: Former Environmental Services Director Jennifer Maier is suing the City for wrongful termination. According to a Jersey Journal story, Maier is being represented by attorney Louis Zayas who has his name on almost all of these suits including one from former Public Safety Director Angel Alicia.
These suits have become an almost expected tradition in town but there is this interesting aspect:
Maier claims in the lawsuit that the businessman apparently was sent by Zimmer to the dinner to report back to her, and he told the mayor of the conversation. The suit says that from that point on Maier was stripped of responsibilities and she was ultimately fired.
This kind of charge doesn’t help much in a wrongful termination case as anyone who has worked with the mayor knows that isn’t in character. Then again, attorneys will load up all kinds of charges in a suit with the hopes it will lead to a bigger settlement.
In the bad old days, there were little side deals going on where people knew they would file their papers wait a certain amount of time for things to look good and then a tidy check would be produced. So sorry for you taxpayers. (Councilwoman Terry Castellano all but lobbies openly for their payouts in council meetings.)
Those days ended when a new sheriff came to town. Her name is
Kim Guadagno, oops I mean Dawn Zimmer.
As for these lawsuits, everyone unexpectedly leaving City Hall sues these days. Times are certainly hard but these are also career killers. If you don’t make a sizable bundle, you are not exactly the most attractive hire to employers.
For government and all employers for that matter, documentation is your friend. The City should have in place very clear, ironclad rules on creating documentation when employees fail to perform. Due to civil service requirement, it likely does.
MSV has heard one director has turned documenting failure to perform into pure artistry. Ya gotta have art!
As for the businessman listed in the Jersey Journal story, it’s odd they aren’t highlighted by name. Does that mean their name won’t come out? Not with everything going above board.
But what if you are already operating below sea level? Don’t go down without da beats.