Friday, March 7, 2008

Flemington Loses

In spring the young man’s fancy may turn to love but this homeowner’s fancy turns to spring- cleaning. Dutifully I have my rugs cleaned each year. Using the same service year in and year out, we get to talking, the carpet man and I. He goes to the same beach we do each summer. So we compare notes on people and commerce at our vacation hotspot. This year though the talk turned grim, to the toll hikes. He said it well…”These taxes are taking food out of our children’s mouths. “ The phrase and sentiment haunts me.

NJ residents pay perhaps the highest property taxes in the US. There is plenty of money for double dipping pension pay offs. There is money for boondoggling, giving judges and their entourages raises to make them the most highly paid in the nation. There is money for driving school board members in Abbott districts to meetings in limousines. There is $1 million for Jeanne Fox’s (the wife of Corzine's campaign manager) defense against a whistler blower lawsuit against her and the BPU for an $80 million slush fund that was secretly established. I am talking here of the tip of the iceberg. (For other examples of NJ waste see "End Government Waste " at
http://www.njassemblyrepublicans.com/ )

With the exorbitant property taxes we in NJ pay, how is it we do not have enough money for the taxpayers and our needs like hospitals, schools, senior prescription drug benefits or small municipalities? Why is it that Flemington as a small municipality may have its funding cut…is it because it is too hard to loosen the grip of party bosses from the bigger ones like Newark or Camden? (See Courier News, http://www.c-n.com/, March 7, 2008 “Small towns angered by Corzine cuts”) or
http://www.c-n.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080307/NEWS/803070443

It turns out that the people some of our elected representatives pledge to serve upon taking office are themselves and their friends in Trenton. They do keep their promises to one another, this Trenton gang of marauders. Instead of using the swords honed of metal like the Huns did when they plundered the villagers, some elected officials and their party bosses slyly use legislation honed by greed to legalize their plundering of the state coffers. I cannot urge you strongly enough to read “The Soprano State” that details this culture of greed and corruption that has made Trenton a scar on the face of NJ, to borrow from the “DaVinci Code”. Also see http://thesopranostate.com/index.htm

This literal highway robbery will take food from our children’s mouths and college from their future and jeopardize our retirement security. It will force NJ residents to move elsewhere so the tax base will continue to shrink making the tax burden greater for those who must remain here. This overspending and then borrowing to pay our debts is not a problem that can be relegated to armchair discussion with no action plan on our parts. We must be vocal to our representatives that we will not stand for this mistreatment.

Here’s a form of protest…let’s start to pay our taxes in pennies...that’s about all we will have left for ourselves when a state spends several billion more a year than it has with ne’ery a thought about the unconscionable burdening of its taxpayers as it promotes the wealth of that privileged class of state party bosses and their kith and kin.

Wisdom tells us that the fox will clean out the hen house rather than clean up the hen house. So NJ needs a physical Department of Justice occupation here in Trenton. We need a freeze on NJ legislation while federal attorneys take over Trenton and review NJ legislation for conflicts of interest, propose new legislation on ethics, eliminate legislation that is robbery in disguise and review all bond schemes that side step the legislature’s power of the purse such as those floated by the NJ Turnpike Authority.

We need judicial review and the impeachment of justices whose rulings disregard the state Constitution.

We need our governor at town hall meetings, telling us how he will preserve the services to the people we rightfully deserve in return for our tax dollar. This is not a charity organization, the state of NJ. We expect some bang for our hard earned buck. If the governor is not committed to an appropriate distribution of tax dollars and an ethics based budget, he needs to be recalled for dereliction of duty.

Ridding NJ of those who are bleeding the life out of it is the kind of spring- cleaning I would like us all to undertake.

Stay tuned.

6 comments:

Betsy said...

Do you have any figures about how much this would cost Flemington? Specifics always go good with fear.

It's a nice rant but kind of lacking on specifics and details. What would happen if Flemington lost state aid? Would it turn into a white elephant and make everyone stampede to WallyWorld?

bob said...

Joan, yesterday I wrote an answer to your question about why I support Barack Obama, but Blogger deleted my response. Grrr. (I suppose that thread is closed.) So here is an abbreviated version.

Basically, this country needs to change its ways -- quickly. While I think Hillary would make a fine president, her methods have less chance of success. You don't get different results from the same people doing the same things. And her leadership in the appeasement branch of the Democratic Party (like the DLC) shows that she wants to go back to the bad, old days where the party only existed in 17 states and conceded the rest. Starting the game from inside your own 20-yard line isn't a recipe for success, and we must be successful to prevent John McCain from inflicting another 4 years of serious damage on the country.

The so-called moderates of the Democratic Party think they will win elections by being Republican lite, and no amount of losses will convince them otherwise. Howard Dean has done an amazing job of rebuilding the party, and while Barack has been there to help, Hillary was sending press releases during the last election telling voters to ignore us progressives who were registering new voters and doing voter education, saying we didn't represent the party. As a grassroots organizer, I don't like the machine politics of high-paid consultants and getting cozy with corporations.

The right-wingers say Barack is a "liberal", spitting the word with McCarthyite venom. I wish it were true, but the real liberals aren't running (my first choices were Gore and Feingold who didn't run, and Edwards who dropped out before I had the chance to vote). He has an excellent record, with the correct (IMO) votes on health care, education, foreign policy, national security, energy and more.

Courier News Flemington blog said...

Bob,

I am very sorry about the posting problem. That thread should not be closed. It seems to be OK now. I am posting this response there too so that the political discussion can continue there…

Your answer surprised me some and I am not savvy enough on the inner Democratic Party workings to comment on your analysis but here is where I came on the Democratic campaign and some of it is consistent with some of what you discuss.

I see Hillary as old time party and exploiting the sisterhood. We woman have nothing to prove…and we never did. She also tends to embellish her experience as first lady but back peddles when challenged like with NAFTA. And she presents as the woman for all seasons with no base line. I like flexibility, but not that much.

Now as for Obama he threw a bit of a curve to the party and I think this stance of his is a long time coming and should be carried forth no matter the outcome of the Democratic nomination--- namely he is talking about us as a country that is moving past its racism and sexism and dirty campaigns, opening the way to a new era…raising the dignity of the American citizen as a people who can get it right.

Now you are calling yourself a progressive in this movement in the Dem Party.This movement has been noticed in the British weekly publication the “Economist”. It analyses what is going on here and Obama’s style in general as open field politics, the message that appeals to the independents, meaning the group of voters in both parties who are sick to death of partisanship...which I think Hillary harbors to the core…here is where Obama is getting his following even though he is just a junior senator with really no hands on nationwide or foreign policy experience. Now I think there is something very interesting going on here with this type of political movement, i.e. potential for a new era in campaigning in general and transcending the open wounds that have kept our country divided. This is necessary and is a real breath of fresh air. So I think he is dancing rings around Hillary… and wouldn’t we American welcome these changes over the nasty politicking we have seen in previous years? So no matter the nomination, the parties, both of them should learn something here.

Betsy said...

Joan,

Why did you remove your post telling me to read a newspaper and do my own homework? Were you afraid that it actually proved my point?

bob said...

I agree -- Hillary is part of the old-time machine, with its back-room deals and support from multimillionaires and corporations. I don't trust one-party states, so I'm glad there is a Republican Party (and Green and Libertarian parties, also). But I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, and one GOP is enough.

I'd love to see a woman president -- provided the woman in question is Barbara Boxer. Sen. Boxer has more cojones than most men on the Hill. And Sheila Jackson-Lee and Maxine Waters would make great chief execs, also. Hey, if we can have the choice between a woman or an African-American, let's have both at once!

As for Hillary's record in Washington, it seems that both she and the Republicans want to have it both ways, but for different reasons. You correctly state that she wants credit for the good things that happened under Bubba like successful foreign policy and a rocking economy, but she doesn't want responsibility for the bad things, like NAFTA.

OTOH, the right-wing bloviators who were calling her the "co-president" for 8 years now say that she was only the First Lady, so she couldn't have done much. Somebody even caught Sean Hannity on the air with this hypocracy -- after Hannity swore he never said it, the listener played back an audio clip of Hannity in the 1990s saying, "Hillary is the co-president. Nothing happens in that White House that she isn't involved in." [Not the exact words, but pretty close.]

Courier News Flemington blog said...

Bob,

Sorry for the delay...

Re: Women presidents…This is an issue that of course has been churning around in the sisterhood since the onset of Gloria Steinem. I will be pretty candid with you here. At the risk of dating myself I have been around living as a female pre Steinem and Betty Friedan. Yes, in certain areas of our lives as women there was blatant discrimination, the business and professional arenas and the political ones. I was in my profession, philosophy, for years before I met another female philosopher. Somehow to remedy this problem of discrimination, the discussion turned to women” this” and “women” that. Something inside me did not like being singled out as a ‘woman” philosopher. I learned the same stuff men did and applied the same rules in logic for instance to philosophical problems. I did the same assignments. Perhaps being female I brought a different perspective but I think being a person with my own experiences is what brings my perspective. I never trusted entirely the motivations in my department, although the men were very friendly and we were all very fond of each other, quite collegial. There was still this little sense within me...did this or that happen because I was the “woman “ philosopher.

I am for getting rid of the tags...woman, black…I want a capable president…. And I want to see the female and black candidates the “Dems” are fielding get on with outlining a realistic foreign policy and some economic plans in view of this banking/housing crisis…we are all past the point of noticing that there are 2 genders who are equally capable and that people come in different colors. It’s time we moved on out of that mentality that make people feel they are not totally accepted in themselves but that they are the ”so and so” philosopher…. Or the “woman” president...if Hillary Clinton wins, she is the president of the United States…period.