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Thursday, September 06, 2007


Chris Christie is the man. He gives me some hope that state of the State of New Jersey may actually improve someday. Not in my lifetime, but someday. From whence does this hope spring? Well, from the terrific news from the Star Ledger website today:

FBI agents this morning rounded up roughly a dozen New Jersey public officials on bribery charges related to roofing and insurance contracts for schools, according to sources close to the investigation.

The 18-month investigation, which included an undercover operation with secret recordings, focused on contracts awarded by the Pleasantville School Board in Atlantic County, but also involved officials from Passaic and Essex counties, the sources said.

Among those charged are Samuel Rivera, the mayor of Passaic; Mims Hackett, Jr., the mayor of Orange; Assemblyman Rev. Alfred E. Steele, a Democrat from Paterson; and Keith Reid, the chief of staff to Newark City Council President Mildred Crump.

Hackett happens to be an Assemblyman too. For those counting, that's four - count'em four (Wayne Bryant and Sharpe James) state legislators charged with public corruption -- this year! And the year is not over. Things are not looking so good Senator Joe Coniglio. Isn't Senator Martha Bark still being investigated as well? For those without score sheets, there's only 120 state legislators. Four out of 120 and counting. I take a certain amount of glee that the most high profile arrests this year are all of Democrats. That probably has more to do with the fact the Democrats just have total control of New Jersey right now than Republican legislators being paragons of virtue. It's harder to get in trouble when you are out of power. All the same though, the Essex and Camden democratic leaders are just so ethically challenged -- they redefine what it means to be a pig -- that I have to smile when one of them goes does down. Remember, Newark and the Essex County Democrats gave us Assemblywoman Evelyn Williams who had to resign from the State Legislature after being arrested for shoplifting! New Jersey still has some standards even if they are low standards.

UPDATED: Why does the Star Ledger in its coverage of this story take such great pains to identify U.S. Attorney Chris Christie as a Republican? And why out of all 11 persons arrested does it identify the party affiliation of only two, one of whom, oddly enough, is the sole Republican who was arrested? Could it be to suggest that the arrests were politically motivated? Or to downplay the fact that the majority of those arrested were prominent Democrats? Bias anyone? Inquiring minds want to know.