Sweeney’s cronies: Taxpayer rip-offs?

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Pocketed more than $1 million as a political consultant while employed by the county.

Call them his SUPERMEN.

They’re Senate President Steve Sweeney’s cronies who get paid for the work of two or three or even four people for jobs done simultaneously.  These cronies are truly amazing – one even has three careers – and when they attract the attention of the media, Senator Steve Sweeney is there to defend them with always the same claim:

“They work nights and weekends.”

Take the case of Mr. Robert N. DiLella.  He has an important job.  Not only is he supposed to maintain records on everything the Freeholder Board does, he is supposed to supervise other public employees – and he is the county’s public information officer – responsible for handling open records requests from citizens and journalists alike.  His responsibilities don’t end there.  Along with the Director of the Freeholder Board, the Clerk of the Board is authorized to execute agreements, contracts, and administer funds.

As Gloucester County Freeholder Director, Senator Steve Sweeney appointed DiLella to the job of Clerk of the Freeholder Board.  It should be a full time job, according to DiLella himself his 2012 salary was $83,326.  Unfortunately for the taxpayers who pay him, being the Clerk of the Freeholder Board isn’t really what DiLella does.  In 2006, the Courier-Post reported on how DiLella was doing political work for the same politicians who were supposed to be supervising him on the Freeholder Board.  The Courier quoted an ethics expert who said it was a “conflict” and noted that DiLella had pocketed $654,621 in fees for his political work.

Go to DiLella’s twitter page and it explains that he is a “Political Consultant” who is “President/ CEO Strategic Message Design Group”, a political consulting firm with clients from around the United States, in China, and from the Caribbean – including the Prime Minister of the Island of Aruba.  His corporate clients include Valero Energy, the Palm Beach Civic Association, and the Aruba Hotel &Tourism Association.

Looking at DiLella’s recent “tweets” gives you no idea that he holds an important county job paid for by Gloucester County’s taxpayers:

“SMDG Client has passed Miguel Pourier was of great significance for our Country – Curaçao Chronicle: http://www.curacaochronicle.com/main/miguel-pourier-/#.UVJM3hyAob4.twitter …

Florida elects their judges have signed 3 for the 2014 cycle … Still not sure this is the best way to seat judges!

At Emerald Society Breakfast in Ft. Lauderdale honoring SMDG clients Mayor Jack Seiler and Judge Dale Ross

From his Florida clients alone, DiLella pocketed $723,191.

Before you wonder how someone with the responsibilities of the Clerk of the Freeholder Board can also manage a pretty happening political consulting firm – stop, because that’s only half the story.  Robert N. DiLella is also the Chairman of the Gloucester County Pollution Authority AND the owner of a business called Cruise Outlets & Travel.  All of this is what DiLella himself lists on the personal financial disclosure statement he is required to file each year, under penalty of law.

What is Cruise Outlets & Travel?  Well, according to the information it provided a business website, it takes in between $1 million and $5 million each year – and DiLella is the owner!

How does he juggle a full-time job paid for by the taxpayers, a lucrative political consulting career, a second government appointment, and a second business too?  Well, it’s that same old story Sweeney likes to tell.  In 2006, DiLella told the Courier-Post that he worked “nights and weekends” to do it all.

That doesn’t seem to ring true though.  For one thing, in DiLella’s biography on the Cruise Outlets & Travel website it brags that he has vacationed in Aruba “over 100 times”.

You do the math.

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As Clerk of the Freeholder Board, one of Bob DiLella’s more important roles is to oversee county employees like Michelle Coryell.  She’s paid $90,000 a year as a full-time county employee while being paid $50,000 a year to be the District 03 legislators’ chief-of-staff.  On top of this, she gets another $33,000 to run Senator Steve Sweeney’s political operation.

It’s clear somebody isn’t getting what they paid for… any doubt that it’s the county taxpayers who are getting ripped-off?

Somebody has got to look into the kind of operation being run out of the office of the Clerk of the Gloucester County Freeholder Board.  A complete review of how their time is being spent and on what – for the money the taxpayers pay them – is called for.

For more information, go to www.NJconservativeOnline.com

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MAURICE CARROLL: ACADEMICIAN OR MARKETING REP?

Carroll_Mickey

Take a look at this photograph… what a good looking man… what a sage pose… is that Nantucket seersucker?  (only a true member of the establishment can wear seersucket, and then only when he attains a certain age, notice the drape).  Central casting… send us a modern Walter Cronkite.  See Mr. Carroll’s biography, at the end of this column.

And now for the most breathtakingly biased statement from a pollster this year:

“New Jersey likely voters support same-sex marriage any way they can get it. By almost 2-1, including a lot of Republicans, they want Gov. Christie to drop his appeal of a judge’s ruling so same-sex couples can marry in the Garden State.” (Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute)

Read Mr. Carroll, and one would think that there was a queue tens of thousands long just waiting to be married — like these same proponents claimed about civil unions, which has managed in the years so far to get just above 3,000 couples.  3,000 couples out of 8.8 million people does not represent a population demanding something “any way they can get it”.  You do yourself an injustice, Mr. Carroll.

Mr. Carroll asked two very specific questions about same-sex marriage AND Governor Christie AND the judiciary AND the legislature.  How an individual respondent feels about each of these individually and the relationship of one to another necessarily shades the answers to these questions.  Here are the questions:

As you may know, a state judge recently ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in New Jersey. Governor Christie opposes same-sex marriage and is appealing the decision to the State Supreme Court. Do you think Governor Christie should appeal the decision or drop his appeal and allow same-sex couples to get married in New Jersey?

 As you may know, the state legislature has passed a bill that would allow same-sex couples to get married in New Jersey. Governor Christie has vetoed that bill. Do you think the state legislature should override Governor Christie’s veto so that same-sex couples are allowed to get married in New Jersey or not?

The first question produced a result of 32% (should appeal) to 61% (should not appeal) to 7% (don’t know/no opinion).  The second came in at 59% (yes, override), 33% (no), to 8% (don’t know/no opinion).

Now look at what happens when a different set of questions are asked:

A poll was conducted September 24-26, in five legislative districts in New Jersey.  Two were what could be described as conservative-Republican, two as moderate-Republican, and one as a “swing” district (currently held by a Democrat).  The poll was conducted by Magellan Strategies.  The poll targeted “likely” voters from a voter registration mix that reflected general election turnout.

The poll touched on issues such as the minimum wage, the Second Amendment, and same-sex marriage.  On same-sex marriage, the results were surprisingly consistent throughout the Republican held districts and in the Democrat district the numbers indicated a more socially conservative electorate, which was an even greater surprise.

Thinking now about the issue of same-sex marriage……………….

T6. As you may know, New Jersey is suffering from high unemployment and record housing foreclosures. Recently Democratic legislative leaders held a press conference to announce that the passage of same-sex marriage is New Jersey’s number one priority. Knowing this, do you agree or disagree with the Democratic legislative leaders?

18% Agree

77% Disagree

5% Unsure or no opinion

 

T7. Do you agree or disagree that the state legislature should focus on jobs and the economy instead of same-sex marriage?

81% Agree

13% Disagree

6% Unsure or no opinion

 

T8. Do you agree or disagree that the state legislature should work on reducing property taxes instead of same-sex marriage?

83% Agree

13% Disagree

4% Unsure or no opinion

 

T9. Some people have suggested that same-sex marriage should be placed on the ballot so that the people of New Jersey could vote whether to allow it or not. Do you support or oppose placing same-sex marriage on the ballot so that voters can decide this issue?

63% Support

29% Oppose

8% Unsure or no opinion

 

T10. As you may know, New Jersey currently has a civil union law that provides same-sex couples with all the legal protections of marriage. Knowing this, do you support or oppose the civil union law for same-sex couples?

60% Support

29% Oppose

11% Unsure or no opinion

 

T11. As you may know, a little over 3,000 same-sex couples have taken advantage of the civil union law in New Jersey. Now others are demanding that same-sex couples be allowed to marry as a husband and wife do. Knowing this, do you support or oppose same-sex marriage?

38% Support

51% Oppose

11% Unsure or no opinion

Maybe Mr. Carroll should try asking different questions that the two he posed?  Maybe he should ask the questions from the Magellan Poll. . . if for no other reason, intellectual curiosity?

And as for statements like “any way they can get it” — get hold of yourself, Mr. Carroll, you are an academician, not a marketing rep.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PkOc-B64dY

 

Mr. Carroll’s credentials:

Maurice “Mickey” Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, brings more than 40 years of experience as a political writer and columnist for New York and New Jersey newspapers.

Carroll is the chief spokesperson for the New York State, New York City and New Jersey polls and works with Douglas Schwartz to develop, analyze and present the results of the many polls conducted by Quinnipiac.

Carroll’s experience as a journalist includes work with The New York Times, Newsday, the New York Post, the Passaic Herald-News, the Jersey Journal and the Newark Star-Ledger.

Carroll taught journalism at Columbia University, New York University and Montclair State College and presently teaches in Quinnipiac’s mass communications program. He has a BA in journalism from the University of Notre Dame.

WHERE DO YOU STAND ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE?

Same-sex Marriage:  Please answer a two-question poll

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New Jersey has been suffering through continuing economic troubles.  At the start of the legislative session, Senate President Steve Sweeney held a news conference to announce that same-sex marriage was his party’s “number one priority”.

This announcement was made with New Jersey’s unemployment rate at 9.2 percent and 60,000 New Jersey workers set to lose their unemployment benefits.  It was made with New Jersey’s foreclosure rate at 8.2% – second only to Florida – and with the building/construction sector’s unemployment at 14.7 percent.

A report earlier this month showed poverty in New Jersey is at a 52 year high.  That’s one out of every four New Jersey residents in poverty – more than two million people.  And it is not just the big urban centers suffering from poverty.  Look at the poverty levels in the counties that make up Steve Sweeney’s own district:

– 37 percent of the people in Cumberland County live in poverty – 2ndhighest in the state.

– In Salem County, 30.8 percent of its people live in poverty.

– Even in Gloucester County, Sweeney’s home, the rate is – at 18.5 percent – above the national poverty rate of 15 percent.

A record high of more than 630,000 children — 31.2 percent — live in poverty in New Jersey.  32.8 percent of the state’s 18 to 24 year olds now live in poverty.  Why is attention being taken away from them and the focus placed on social issues?

Please take a moment to answer two questions:

Q1. As you may know, New Jersey is suffering from high unemployment and record housing foreclosures. At the beginning of the legislative session, Senate President Steve Sweeney held a press conference to announce that the passage of same-sex marriage is New Jersey’s number one priority.  Knowing this, do you agree or disagree with the Senate President Sweeney?

Agree ……………………………………………………………

Disagree ………………………………………………………..

Unsure or no opinion ………………………………………..

Q 2. Governor Chris Christie and others have suggested that same-sex marriage should be placed on the ballot so that the people of New Jersey could vote whether to allow it or not.   Senate President Steve Sweeney opposes allowing the people to decide.  Do you support or oppose placing same-sex marriage on the ballot so that voters can decide this issue?

Support …………………………………………………………

Oppose …………………………………………………………

Unsure or no opinion ………………………………………..

Visit  http://www.njconservativeonline.com/ to answer online or email your answers to editor@NJconservativeOnline.com

SAME-SEX AUTHORITARIANS: FASHION IS INEVITABLE.

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“Same-sex marriage in New Jersey is inevitable!”  So proclaimed the editors of the Trenton Times today, using words that Ernst Rohm once did about a different but perhaps equally intolerant “inevitability”.

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We are all slaves to fashion, so the editors tell us, and fashion bursts forth fully formed like Athena.  It is a “given” that cannot be questioned, let alone discussed, debated and – heavens forbid – voted on!

The newspaper group that owns the Trenton Times is owned by the richest man in New Jersey, of one of the richest of rich families in America – or the world, for that matter.  When you look to find why same-sex marriage became the state’s “number one issue” (so proclaimed at the start of last year’s legislative session by none other than Senate President Steve Sweeney himself) don’t look for numbers of people but rather for numbers of dollars.

New Jersey has civil unions.  Depending who you speak to, civil unions provide the same or, even critics concede, nearly the same legal protections as does marriage.  How many same-sex couples have taken advantage of what have been called “life and death” protections?  Just a little over 3,000.

To place this in context, remember that there are 1.6 million married couples in New Jersey or 3.2 million people out of a population of 8.6 million.  Even among gays and lesbians, the idea of codifying their relationships has not caught on.  3,000 is a very low figure when you remember that there are (depending on who does the counting) between 250,000 and 800,000 gay or lesbian residents of New Jersey.

So who wants this?  Billionaires like Paul Singer of New York, who decided to support his son in this matter (there is a certain nobility here) and multi-millionaires like Tim Gill of Colorado, who decided to remake society in his own image (and narcissism here).  They have to a large degree succeeded, by simply making what was once called “homosexuality” fashionable.

To do so they hired the best advertising, the biggest lobbyists, and used their wealth to flip the most unprincipled politicians they could find.  Remember Senate President Steve Sweeney who refused to vote for same-sex marriage in 2010.  Last year he stood before a crowd of his legislative colleagues and proclaimed it his party’s “number one issue”.

The Democrats are all in on same-sex marriage and are filling their jowls from the money trough.  And many Republicans are salivating at the thought of that money but the poor dears are chained by the conservatism of their electorate.  Look on pity at them, straining on their leashes to get at some of that dough, held just back from it.  The billionaires and multi-millionaires, big men big enough to change society (big enough to change the WORLD!), looking to make their fashion statement, know those Republicans want a taste too.

And so they’ve hired other Republicans to tell them that it’s O.K.  That everything will be all right, because – “everybody’s doin’ it.”

Lobbyists who were once officials in Republican administrations, who were once Republican legislators, who were once State and County Republican Party Chairmen have started trousering large sums of money in an all-out effort to convince their fellow Republicans that “it’s all right, cause everybody’s doin’ it.”

Fashion is not democratic.  That is not why fashion exists.  I think the poet Randall Jarrell hit the nail on the head when he wrote these lines.  They’re from an essay titled “A Sad Heart at the Supermarket”:

“Our culture is essentially periodical:  we believe that all that is deserves to perish and to have something else put in its place.  We speak of planned obsolescence, but it is more than planned, it is felt; is an assumption about the nature of the world.  We feel that the present is better and more interesting, more real, than the past, and that the future will be better and more interesting, more real, than the present; but, consciously, we do not hold against the present its prospective obsolescence.

Our standards have become to an astonishing degree the standards of what is called the world of fashion, where mere timeliness – being orange in orange’s year, violet in violet’s – is the value to which all other values are reducible.”

“New products and fashions replace the old, and the fact that they replace them is proof enough of their superiority.  Similarly, the Medium does not need to show that the subjects which fill it are interesting or timely or important; the fact that they are its subjects makes them so.”

Jarrell wrote that more than 50 years ago – and before you put down Randall Jarrell as a conservative, think again, he was a follower of Marx and the young Auden (in his political phase as opposed to his spiritual).  He was also the poet laureate of the United States (though they used a different title then).

Randall_Jarrell

It is time to set aside fashion and embrace democracy.

Don’t let the well-paid spin artists of the lobbying world steal this for their rich paymasters.

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The Trenton grease machine should not be the ones to decide this.  The voters of New Jersey should be heard on same-sex marriage and the way to let them be heard is to allow them to vote at the polls on election day.

Anything less is an act of corruption.

FAKE “GUN GROUP” SUPPORTS ANTI-GUN SEN. SWEENEY

NJOA_Logo3

If you get info from the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA), it is important to remember what it isn’t.  It isn’t an organization dedicated to protecting the Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution of the United States of America, Due Process for law abiding citizens, or the Rule of Law.

Read the “mission statement” from its website:

New Jersey Outdoor Alliance(PAC) whose mission is to support outdoor-minded legislation and legislators who support hunting, fishing, trapping and the conservation of our natural resources in New Jersey. It is important for outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen to exercise their right to vote and determine the legislators elected to office since it is these legislators (Governor, Assemblypersons and Senators) who are responsible for making laws that affect fishing, hunting, trapping and conservation in New Jersey.

“Outdoor-minded” is liberal-speak for “gun-enthusiast”.  To liberals, gun owners are hobbyists and, as with any hobby, it can be regulated or even abolished.  Just ask the people who once kept pet turtles or fireworks “enthusiasts”.

To those individuals and organizations who really believe in the Second Amendment, the right of a law-abiding citizen to own a firearm is a part of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.  It cannot be trifled with.  It isn’t a hobby… it’s more like a duty.

The NJOA’s mission statement reminds us of those neutered organizations in nations that don’t have a Bill of Rights, in places that used to be free.

A few years ago, the NJOA actually had a purpose.  They organized and helped defeat liberal, anti-Second Amendment legislators like State Senator Ellen Karcher and Assemblyman Michael Panter in 2007.

The Democrats’ noticed this and so they made a major effort to co-opt NJOA founder Anthony Mauro.  It worked, and by 2008, the NJOA was endorsing such major left-wing characters as State Senator John Adler for United States Congress.

Elected to the New Jersey Senate in 1991, Adler was notorious for his anti-Second Amendment legislation going back to his support of Governor Jim Florio.  As a Congressman, he doubled-down on attempts to strip law-abiding citizens of their constitutionally protected rights.

This is what NJOA’s Anthony Mauro had to say about the liberal John Adler in 2010, the year the Tea Party movement helped to send this liberal packing:

The focus of our organization is primarily on state issues and to perform the necessary steps to make a fair and thorough examination of all federal candidates and conclude with an array of endorsements is currently beyond the capabilities of our all-volunteer organization.

However, as we have in the past, we will on occasion become involved at the federal level if an individual case can be justified.

In fact, two years ago the NJOA did believe it was justified to endorse John Adler for congress. Even though we will not be endorsing federal candidates this year we want to be clear to outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen that we believe Congressman Adler has done an exceptional job representing our state’s outdoor interests in Washington, DC. We also believe it is our obligation to recognize the efforts of legislators we have endorsed and who work diligently on behalf of our issues.

This is a make-believe fantasy by the NJOA’s Anthony Mauro.  Fortunately, some of the NJOA’s own members set the record straight and published this indictment of liberal Adler:

• Adler received an “F” rating from the NRA in 2008 for his anti-gun, anti-hunter, and sportsmen votes in the NJ State Senate. (Source: NRA)

• Adler sponsored legislation revising definition of destructive device to include weapons of .50 caliber or greater. This would include all .50 caliber black powder rifles. (Source: NJ Legislature, S-1498, March 2, 2006)

• Adler sponsored legislation banning all handguns while in the NJ State Senate. Under his bill only certain “authorized persons” (police officers, military personnel, etc.) with a “justifiable need” could legally own guns. People who already owned guns legally would have been allowed to keep them only after obtaining a “certificate of ownership.” (Source: NJ Legislature, S-351, 1996-97 Session)

• Adler sponsored legislation to statutorily ban the black bear hunt while in the NJ State Senate. (Source: NJ Legislature, S-514, 1998-99 Session)

• Adler voted to eliminate the Death Penalty for cop killers, terrorists, and violent offenders who murder a child during a sex crime. (Source: NJ Legislature, P.L. 2007, c. 204, formerly S-171)

How did it happen that an organization formed to rid the State Legislature of anti-Second Amendment liberals came to be the chief apologist for anti-Second Amendment liberals?

bill-pascrell-stop-tea-party

The answer is an easy one.  The NJOA hired the wrong guy to be its lobbyist in Trenton.  Instead of finding a committed pro-Second Amendment advocate as its representative, the NJOA hired the son of liberal Democrat Congressman Bill Pascrell, who has worked very hard against the Bill of Rights to maintain a consistently “F” rating from the NRA.  Pascrell has done so since he was a member of the State Legislature – according to the ratings he’s never voted with the NRA on important legislation.

But let’s be fair.  You can’t judge the son by the father.  Maybe lobbyist Pascrell has a different set of principles than liberal Congressman Pascrell does?  Let’s take a look at lobbyist Pascrell’s biography and find out:

William J. Pascrell, III, more commonly known as BPIII, is a lobbyist with the Princeton Public Affairs Group, Inc. (PPAG)… BPIII served as a key insider and adviser to John Kerry’s National Presidential campaign. BPIII has also been an esteemed advisor to United States Senator and Governor Jon Corzine, United States Senator Frank Lautenberg, United State Senator Robert Menendez, Congressman Robert Roe, Herb Klein and Albio Sires as well as Governor James E. McGreevey. BPIII played an instrumental role in both McGreevey campaigns, one being McGreevey’s narrow defeat to Christine Todd Whitman in 1997 and the other is his landslide victory over Bret Schundler in 2001.

Does any of this sound reassuring to you?

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The NJOA endorsement of Senator Steve Sweeney appears to be coordinated with the efforts of another liberal organization represented by Pascrell’s Princeton Public Affairs Group.  The group “Freedom to Marry” supports same-sex marriage and opposes Governor Chris Christie’s efforts to place the issue on the ballot to allow voters a say.  “Freedom to Marry” recently sent out a press release praising Senator Sweeney for opposing the Governor’s plan to settle the debate through democracy.

According to the IRS, “Freedom to Marry” spent more than $2.1 million to lobby legislators for same-sex marriage.  Why did NJOA choose this lobbyist to be the face of hunters, anglers, and outdoorsmen in New Jersey?

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Why is the NJOA part of a far-left effort to sustain and advance the political career of liberal machine politicians like Steve Sweeney?

Sen.-Sweeney

A WEIRD CASE OF DIVIDED LOYALTIES

grassroots and soil

Editors’ note:  This submission, the first of our “grassroots perspectives”, was the cause of a lot of discussion.  There was some opposition to publishing this so we asked for documentation, reviewed it, and it did check out.

Steve Lonegan’s campaign manager is Rick Shaftan.  Rick has run all of Lonegan’s electoral efforts – including the loss for Congress, the first loss for Governor, the second loss for Governor, and now this campaign for the United States Senate.

Steve-Lonegan1

The way Steve Lonegan’s latest campaign is being run has some people scratching their heads and wondering what’s up.  To some, Steve seems to be running for “top NJ conservative” instead of United States Senator.  Others say that he is posturing before a Republican primary audience and preparing for an early departure by Governor Christie and another special election, only next time it will be for Governor.

Many movement conservatives have noticed that being the state’s “top conservative” has been very lucrative for Steve and Rick.  Largely unknown before 2005, Lonegan jumped into the Republican primary for Governor that year to split the conservative vote and deny the nomination for Bret Schundler.  As the winner of upset victories for Mayor of Jersey City and the 2001 Republican primary for Governor, Schundler had been the state’s great conservative hope, with no less a figure than William F. Buckley predicting that he would one day reach the White House.  But Lonegan, the mayor of a small town in Bergen County, ended all that by splitting the conservative vote in 2005.

Then they started the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP).  It should be remembered that AFP was formed with heavy funding from the Libertarian Party candidate for Vice President who ran against the Republican ticket of Ronald Reagan and George Bush in 1980.  AFP paid very well, with Lonegan holding a salaried position as State Director and Shaftan picking up lucrative consulting contracts for polling and media buys.  In his personal financial disclosure filed with the Secretary of the United States Senate, Lonegan lists his annual compensation from Americans for Prosperity as $228,936.16.

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Here’s the rub and the reason behind the reference to divided loyalties.  Rick has other clients as well.  One of them is Hudson County Democrat political boss Nick Sacco.  Rick claims that because Nick Sacco employs him, Sacco should be considered a conservative too.  It is kind of weird to expect movement conservatives to buy that a pro-tax increase, pro-government spending, pro-union, pro-gay marriage, anti-Second Amendment, anti-Life, liberal Democrat should get a pass simply through the magic of regularly sending Rick Shaftan a check.  It shouldn’t work that way.

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Machine boss Sacco is also a “triple dipper” – getting three taxpayer-funded checks for holding three different public offices.  Here is what Governor Chris Christie had to say about it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2bSmc9Y6IY

Shaftan publically defends Sacco.  That takes a lot of nerve, because even many Democrats recognize that Sacco is a scumbag.  Below is a recording of Sacco’s messages to a public employee who refused to make her body available to the machine boss:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8bYqQ5KBgE

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Now here’s the kicker. . . Sacco is a BIG supporter of Cory Booker.

Now how does that work?  Rick is running Steve Lonegan’s U.S. Senate campaign AND working for Nick Sacco who is working AGAINST Steve Lonegan and for Cory Booker.

That’s more than a little weird, until you view the entire enterprise through a non-ideological and purely commercial lens.  Then it makes perfect sense.

Steve Lonegan needs to tighten up his campaign in a hurry.  Steve should wise up and make sure his campaign manager does more than just talk the talk.  Make him walk the walk too.

THE DEMOCRATS’ OBSESSION WITH SOCIAL ISSUES

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If you want to know why Barbara Buono is 20 points behind Governor Chris Christie take a look at what she’s been talking about since winning her primary.  A word check of more than 130 print and digital publications links “Barbara Buono” with phrases like “same-sex” (247), “gay” (311), “marriage” (368), “sexual” (155), “sex” (318), and “abortion” (107).

While polling shows the economy and property taxes to be utmost in voters’ minds, they don’t appear to be on candidate Buono’s mind.  The same publications link “Barbara Buono” to these phrases, but generally less often:  “property tax” (253), “tax cut” (122), “unemployment” (334), “job creation” (51), “foreclosure” (53), “homeless” (29), “reform” (178), and “ethics” (48).

The problem with Barbara Buono is that she is taking her campaign advice from Senate President Steve Sweeney.  It was Sweeney who set the tone of the session last year, making same-sex marriage his party’s “number one priority”.

Sen.-Sweeney

Sweeney did this in the face of brutal and continuing economic troubles – with New Jersey’s unemployment rate at 9.2 percent and 60,000 New Jersey workers set to lose their unemployment benefits.  He did it with New Jersey’s foreclosure rate at 8.2% – second only to Florida and with building/construction sector unemployment at 14.7 percent.

Sweeney showed a stunningly callous disregard for the working people of New Jersey and advised Buono to do the same.  The reason he gave was that making same-sex marriage the state’s top priority would be good for Democrat Party fundraising.  Remember what Sweeney told the editorial board of the Bergen County Record:

Sweeney suggested the Buono campaign refrain from personal attacks on Christie and instead focus on social issues – such as Christie’s opposition to gay marriage – that he said would have traction among New Jerseyans. (Record, 05/10/13)

Stupid Barbara Buono took Sweeney’s advice.  The following month Buono echoed Sweeney by making same-sex marriage her top priority:  “The first bill that I sign.”

State Sen. Barbara Buono of Middlesex County, Christie’s Democratic opponent in November’s gubernatorial election, staked out a strong position in support of gay marriage.

“When I’m governor, that will be the first bill that I sign,” Buono said after an event in Newark. (Record, 06/26/13)

Sweeney and Buono have continued to disregard the plight of working people – even after a report earlier this month showed poverty in New Jersey is at a 52 year high.  That’s one out of every four New Jersey residents in poverty – more than two million people.  And if you think it is just the big urban centers suffering from poverty, think again.  Look at the poverty level in the counties that make up Steve Sweeney’s own district:

  • 37 percent of the people in Cumberland County live in poverty, the second highest in the state.
  • In Salem County, 30.8 percent of its people live in poverty.
  • Even in Gloucester County, Sweeney’s home, the rate is – at 18.5 percent – above the national poverty rate of 15 percent.

A record high of more than 630,000 children — 31.2 percent — live in poverty in New Jersey.  32.8 percent of the state’s 18 to 24 year olds now live in poverty.  Why is attention being taken away from them and the focus placed on social issues?  Why is same-sex marriage the “top priority” for Steve Sweeney and Barbara Buono?

That’s easy to answer – it is about money.

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After Steve Sweeney derailed the 2010 Senate vote on same-sex marriage, Garden State Equality’s Steve Goldstein publicly threatened the Democrat Party:

New Jersey’s most influential gay civil-rights group pledged Friday to withhold financial support from Democratic lawmakers who did not vote for the same-sex marriage bill.

The lack of campaign contributions will cost future candidates hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Steven Goldstein of Teaneck, founder and director of Garden State Equality.

“The gay ATM is done,” Goldstein said. “In a bigger sense, the progressive [issues] ATM is done.” (Record, 01/08/10)

A month later, they made it official:

 Smarting over the state Senate’s refusal to pass marriage equality and disillusioned at the moment with the Democratic Party majority, Garden State Equality’s 85-member Board of Directors unanimously decided against giving financial contributions to political parties and their affiliated committees.  (PolitickerNJ.com, 02/08/10)

Senate President Steve Sweeney got the message, flipped his vote on same-sex marriage, ignored the cries of the working poor, the unemployed, the homeless and about to be homeless, and held a press conference to announce that same-sex marriage was his “number one priority”.  Senator Buono followed suit and promptly put her campaign into a power dive.

But it is working out O.K. for Sweeney.  He was just out on the West Coast, in California, collecting a quarter million dollars in campaign cash.  So all must be forgiven and Sweeney is pocketing trouser-fills of cash.  Money and politics.  Makes you want to vomit, doesn’t it?