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Monday, April 04, 2005

Help Carol Marsh Win

New York City looms over Hoboken. Chances are; if you see a picture of the Manhattan skyline, it was taken from Hoboken. If you watch the news on TV; chances are that it comes from New York. If you read the paper; chances are you read the New York Times, the New York Post, or (gag) the New York Daily News. The excuse we get for local media coverage in Hoboken is one reporter on semi-permanent duty from the Jersey Journal and a weekly edition of the Hoboken Reporter. Neither one usually ranks high on the reading list of the people in this area.
Now, if you’ve ever been around children, you know that as soon as no one is looking, they find lots of mischief in which to immerse themselves. The same thing is true for politicians. With no one around to root around in their mud, they sink ever lower into the bog of local corruption. It isn’t long before the local government is so mired in the slime that they can’t even find their way out with a steam shovel.
All of this is a long way of explaining that New Jersey may well be the last state that is truly run by machine politics. Actually, it is run by two machines: one Republican and one Democrat. For the most part, both of them agree not to truly contest the other’s safe districts and counties. Every four years, they run a semi-competitive campaign for governor (usually the party that was last found to be corrupt loses) and sometimes a federal Senate seat will draw a competitive race.
Hudson County may well have the distinction of being the dirtiest political machine in existence today. They should be – machine politics was invented right here in Jersey City by Mayor Frank Hague. You think I’m making it up? Just last week the immediate past County Executive was sentence to forty-one months in a federal prison for taking bribes. Next week, sentencing is expected for the immediate past mayor of Hoboken. City Council members, County freeholders, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the dog-catcher, are all being investigated and being indicted almost as quickly as grand juries can be seated.
Meanwhile, the people who live here in Hudson County are getting fed up. You can see it in the growing membership rolls of groups like Democracy for America and NJ Common Cause and People for Good Government. You see it when career politicians try to co-op honest candidates as Hoboken Mayor David Roberts attempted to do four years ago when he asked Tony Soares and Carol Marsh to be his running mates. You see it today when both Tony and Carol decide to remain true to their principles and run against the corruption they found waiting for them when they won their seats on the City Council.
The problem is that winning a campaign comes down to four things: 1) a good candidate; 2) compelling issues; 3) good organization; and 4) money to make it all work. Carol Marsh already is a good candidate with a good grassroots organization. The issue of booting out a corrupt government should excite anyone not in their pockets. All that is needed is money.
It’s easy for corrupt politicians to get money – especially once they are in office. They simply open up their Roladex, pick out a few promising names, and promise a few favors after the election. The next thing you know, they are floating down the Hudson River on a chartered boat and sipping champagne with one hand while signing a fat check with the other. If you aren’t corrupt, and especially if you live under a corrupt regime, it’s a bit harder.
No one wants to be the first to anger the machine. Doing so might very honestly mean the end of your career – even if your career is just throwing garbage in a truck. But people want change. People want an honest government. People want to support Carol Marsh. You can feel it when they talk to you about her. They know she can win. They’re just scared.
I’m asking very simply for only twenty dollars from the small group of people that read this blog. It isn’t much – you won’t really miss it when you pay the bills this month. But it is enough that it can add up. If you really believe that government should be responsible to the people that elect it, I’m asking you to click here and make that twenty dollar donation to Carol’s campaign. My grandpa used to say, “You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.” I’m inviting you to come be part of the solution.
I know some of you can’t afford even that small amount. It’s okay. I would never ask you to take food out of your family’s mouth for this. You still can help. If you’re in Hoboken, you can always volunteer. If not, please, click here and help Carol win an endorsement from Democracy for America. We are close to winning that endorsement and it could literally mean the difference between winning this race and going back to machine politics as usual. Actually, even Hoboken residents – especially Hoboken residents – are strongly encouraged to help us get the DFA endorsement.
I know some of you are far away. I know some of you are even in other countries. It must seem odd to see someone begging for your money to run a political campaign. The fact is that this is all about helping people help themselves. It’s about building networks – a community of people devoted to the world around them. There are few things that go as far toward improving the world as clearing out the corruption in a government.

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