Breaking Up With Corzine

2009 July 29

by Branko Mac

Dear Governor Corzine:

You don’t know me, but you’ve seen me around.  You used to live in my building complex until you moved a few blocks down the street.  In fact, I once hoisted a beer in “cheers” to you, along with a few other fellows with me in the social lounge, when you were walking around the building one night with a lady companion.  I’m writing to tell you that I’m breaking up with you.  I voted for President Obama, but I will not be voting for you in the next gubernatorial election here in New Jersey, even though you’re the Democratic candidate.  I’m going to vote for the other guy, the Republican.  And I’m going to tell you exactly, precisely why.

Like all great break-ups, this is going to be messy, loud and in public.  Sorry, I’m bad like that.

You see, you and me, we both live in Hoboken.  Our mayor was just arrested by the FBI after he and his bag man (allegedly) accepted $25,000 in bribes, spread out over multiple occasions, from a confidential witness in a sting operation.  The CW was supposedly a developer who wanted to grease his way toward knocking down some old building or buildings, and putting up new, modern stuff, high-rises.  The FBI’s Complaint alleges that the Hoboken mayor clearly agreed to give this developer preferential treatment, including expediting his application process and granting variances.  The mayor also boasted that the town would be divided into three parts … those who were with him from the beginning, those who joined him at a run-off stage of the election, and those who opposed his barely-squeaking-by victory.  The opposition, he said, would be ground into “powder.”

This mayor is not alone.  About 30 other politicians around the state, overwhelmingly Democrats (in name, at least), were also busted in this same sting operation.  Several of these Johns are from the towns right around Hoboken, including Secaucus and Jersey City.

The bust went down late last week.  As of tonight, the Hoboken mayor is still in office and one of the guys from Jersey City is not only still on the city council, but his friends on the city counsel overwhelmingly shot down a vote of no confidence.  The score was one Do-Gooder vs. everybody else.  Another stiff, also from Jersey City, was found dead in his apartment yesterday, about a mile from where you and I live.  I guess you could say the stiff was stiff.  Whether he died alone or had help?  That’s still to be determined.

You supposedly have called for the busted politicians to resign.  This is not enough.  You are the governor of the state, the Chief of the Executive Branch, the Man in charge of Enforcing The Law.  You should not be making half-hearted calls for resignations.  You should be demanding heads severed from necks and impaled on sticks around your office in Trenton for decoration.  The decapitated corpses should hang from the Driscoll Bridge and Pulaski Skyway as a warning to all others who would sell out your constituents in exchange for bribes.

Instead, you have apparently done nothing of the sort.  The scoundrels are still in office, still on the payroll, still milking the system and laughing all the way to the bank, while the wheels of justice turn never so slowly.

This, Mr. Governor, is unacceptable.

I had great hopes that you would be another Mike Bloomberg.  I had hoped that you would be a wealthy technocrat who would use his private market experiences to run a supremely efficient bureaucracy whilst getting the trains to run on time and within budget.  Alas, you have done nothing of the sort.  Instead of Mike Bloomberg, we got David Dinkins.

So, let’s talk about the other guy, Chris Christie.  Yes, he’s a Republican.  I have already seen a Democrat-funded smear commercial on TV, trying to tie Chris to the Bush administration.  Well, what I care about is that Christie’s record for fighting corruption in New Jersey is 130-0.

That’s right … One hundred and thirty wins, zero losses.  If you disagree with the score, please, feel free to tell us how many of those 130 wins were not real wins.  Even more important, how many of those zero losses are being miscounted?  At the end of the day, does it make a material difference in the score?  Because right now, from where I’m sitting, a stooge who (allegedly) took bribes in the diner up the street from where you live is still milking the system for a $130,000 paycheck, while you reside in the town that he vowed to grind into powder.  Even more, the local politicos have failed to disown this (alleged) bribe-taker, and seem to even be circling the wagons around him.  Certainly, the politicos have circled the wagons in Jersey City.

And … you … do … NOTHING.

Did I mention that my property taxes in this town went up approximately 40-50% last year?  This might be nothing for you.  But for me, I have to work approximately another week and a half to make enough money in order to pay this additional tax burden.  Figuratively speaking, this is like getting an additional eight day jail sentence tacked on top of the end of Tax Freedom Day.  Don’t worry about me, I do alright.  But for someone with a smaller paycheck, they’re losing another three to four weeks of their life in additional tax burden.  How would you feel if someone threw you in the slammer for a month just for giggles?

Oh, I know the arguments in favor of higher taxes.  But, as you must know, here in Hoboken, heck – in New Jersey overall, we’re not getting much for our taxes.  One quarter of this town floods on a regular basis, every time we get a rainstorm.  The roads are crumbling and rutted like logging trails.  Our state was just rated the worst in the nation for road quality.  And the public pensions are going to destroy the place.

You, sir, are the Governor.  We expect you to govern.  The place is falling down around us like a poorly maintained family estate while the caretakers have locked Aunt Sallie in the basement and are partying with the last remnants of the old man’s wine cellar.

Did I mention that the mayor of the town in which you live was (allegedly) just busted on tape taking bribes and boasting how he was going to grind his opposition into powder?  Right, I didn’t want to overlook that.  Just thinking off the top of my head, based on the allegations in the FBI’s Complaint, the mayor, who campaigned in-part on his prior experience as an attorney in the field of election law, is potentially on the hook for the following (allegedly):

1.        Graft;

2.      Tax fraud;

3.       Wire fraud;

4.      Conspiracy;

5.      Money laundering; and

6.      Violations of election law.

And I did mention that he is still on the payroll in the town where you live?  Meanwhile, you ALREADY have someone in power as the overseer of this town’s finances, with the power to say “yea” or “nay” to each and every expenditure that goes out of the city’s accounts.


So, you see the disconnect here, don’t you?  You are our governor, and yet your administration has proven feckless and feeble.  The lunatics not only run the asylum, they laugh in your face while they torment the staff.

By contrast, your opponent in the next election has a record of 130 wins and zero losses in prosecuting corrupt public officials in this state.  As far as I’m concerned, so long as he is not caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy between now and Election Day, I’m voting for your opponent.  Hell, I don’t care if it’s a live boy, so long as he’s of the age of consent.

I am not part of Chris Christie’s campaign.  He doesn’t know that I exist.  But he is free to use this letter in his advertisements, so long as he spells my name correctly.  My name is Branko, and I approve this message.

Oh, Mr. Governor … don’t let the door slam on the way out.  You never made much noise up until now.  You might as well stay quiet.  Don’t disturb the staff while they’re partying, even if they destroy the estate in the process.

Yours, with regrets,

Branko Mac

One Response leave one →
  1. July 29, 2009

    I can’t believe that in a State with the reputation of New Jersey, that the bribe for a city mayor is only $25,000 and in payments no less…sort of like mayor layaway in a tough economy.

    Seriously, did you really expect someone from Goldman-Sachs to care about a $25,000 bribe when his former company just stole billions from the treasury and “paid” millions (through campaign contributions) to Congress to get even more cash out of the system? $25,000 in Goldman-land isn’t a bribe, it is simply a gratuity!

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