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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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.

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”.

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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?

NJ SENATE PRESIDENT STEVE SWEENEY’S ATTACK ON CIVIL RIGHTS

 

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Once upon a time America lived under the threat of international Communism.

Evil men used that threat to strip their fellow citizens of their constitutionally protected rights.

Today we live under a new threat… and there are new evil men.

Sixty years ago Democratic Party Senator John McClellan schooled his colleagues about due process and the rule of law. The venue was the McCarthy hearings.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGH-7pyh-Ng

Senator Steve Sweeney has obviously forgotten the lesson.

As Senate President, Sweeney pushed through legislation that strips people of their civil rights simply because they have been placed on a government “watch list”.

Senator Sweeney says that these citizens are not entitled to their rights and, like the evil men of yesteryear, Sweeney uses an external “threat” as his trumps-all reason. Instead of international Communism, Sweeney brandishes international “terrorism”.

The media shouldn’t let Senator Sweeney get away with it. They should remember the words of Edward R. Murrow spoken over a national CBS television broadcast on March 9, 1954:

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.”

And just who makes it onto Senator Sweeney’s list of those undeserving of civil rights?

Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela was on Sweeney’s list – courtesy of an evil apartheid regime – and he remained so until public pressure forced our government to take him off the list. Civil rights campaigner Congressman John Lewis was on Sweeney’s list too, a carry-over from the FBI’s list of “subversives”. All kinds of innocent men, women, and little children are on Sweeney’s list.

Now Senator Sweeney is engaged in a smear campaign against those who stand up for the rights of their fellow Americans. In language borrowed from Senator McCarthy, Sweeney calls them extremists.

It was not long ago that Senator Sweeney co-chaired the state’s gun caucus, but as with same-sex marriage, Sweeney flipped his position to appeal to those who write the checks to fund his party’s campaign accounts. Big out of state interests with fat checks have trumped the average men and women who voted for Senator Sweeney.

Senator Sweeney is a sell-out. That is common with venial politicians. But Sweeney went too far when he stripped innocent people of their civil rights.

As Senator McClellan said 60 years ago, “That is the evil of it.”