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Monday, October 03, 2005

Of Political Corruption, and the Fight for Representation and Ethics

Regular readers will know that I'm a real stickler for ethics in our elected representatives. In fact, I was so outraged by what I've found as the "business-as-usual" in Hudson County that I started another blog just to single it out and show the world what is happening. Well, the last week or so has been a busy time on the "Ethics Watch".

First, the big news is that Judith Miller has revealed that she found out that Valerie Plame (Wilson) was a CIA agent from VP Chief of Staff Scooter Libby. This has generated a lot of speculation as to why a journalist would protect what may officially become a lying scumbag who set out to destroy a valuable intelligence officer for political purposes. Of course, the grand jury is only empanneled until October 28th - so every scumbag involved may be able to get away without indictment.

Then there is the indictment against Tom DeLay - who I've often used as a punching bag. DeLay is, of course, continuing to paint Prosecutor Ronnie Earle as politically motivated - which is an odd contention when it is taken into account that Mr. Earle has prosecuted four times as many Dems as Reps. He's also ignoring the fact that Mr. Earle had to convince the grand jury - which is assuredly made up of as many Republicans as Democrats - that there is reason to include Mr. DeLay in the indictment. Even a partisan attack can be blocked by the legal system when it is unfounded. If only Mr. DeLay could get one of those activist judges he hates so badly to throw out the case...

Then there is the ongoing case in Kentucky where the Governor's former Chief of Staff has been indicted in using the government as a patronage mill. The real news there is that Governor Ernie Fletcher already moved to pardon his partner in crime - which might lead to impeachment procedings (if anyone in the Republican Party can be honest about anything).

Back here in Jersey, we get this news today:
A Superior Court Judge has ruled that uncounted ballots in the 37th district special election convention for State Senator should be opened, which likely gives the seat and the Democratic nomination to Loretta Weinberg. Ken Zisa had defeated Weinberg by one vote at the September 15th convention. Attorneys for Zisa and the Bergen County Democratic Organization are expected to appeal Peter Doyne's ruling directly to the state Supreme Court. (10/03/05)
is expected to be announced at 10AM today by Superior Court Judge Peter Doyne. Doyne ordered the ballots to be opened tomorrow, and that a Special Election Convention for Weinber's Assembly seat be held this Thursday.

This time it's the Democrats that are causing problems. Zisa is a Bergen County Democratic insider that has been slid from seat to seat for years (which is not to say he is unqualified - just that he owes his bread and butter to the Bergen County Dems). Loretta Weinberg challenged Zisa for the suddenly vacant State Senate seat of Byron Baer and "lost" by one vote with seven votes sitting uncounted in US Representative Steve Rothman's coat pocket. To be completely honest - I'm sick of this voting thing ending up in the court over and over. Can't we just count the damn votes? What the hell is wrong with us? Can we at least agree that people who are trying to not let votes be counted are probably up to something (and I don't mean democracy)?

Here in Jersey City, there is the case of "The Two Steve's". Apparently, City Councilman Steve Lipski is no longer able to determine when he is caught in a conflict-of-interest - or maybe he just wants everyone to believe that he doesn't. The story centers around the Sixth Street Embankment - a man-made bed for the railroad that was abandoned and has now been reclaimed by nature. It is an historic site and the City Council has twice moved to seize the property from Steve Hyman - who is also a financial supporter of City Councilman Steve Lipski. Hyman is trying to force the city to give him a tax abatement on another property so he can sell it and make a quick buck - but the tax abatement is worth ten times what the Embankment is. This one still bears some watching, but it's likely to take some time. Hyman has previously kept the city tied up in court for as long as eight years until he got his way.

Who says that politics isn't fun and interesting?

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