Don’t let up on demanding fiscal accountability in cities

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon called for fiscal accountability in Newark this week.  You wouldn’t have known that unless you read The Star Ledger.   The Asbury Park Press, the newspaper/pay site that covers O’Scanlon’s Monmouth County district missed it.

At issue is the $24 million in state aid that Newark is “due” this year, after the state taxpayers kicked in $32 million to Newark’s budget last year, in the face of blatant waste on the part of Mayor Cory Booker and the city council.

Booker squandered $3.7 million in legal and consulting fees in a fight with the New Jersey Devils hockey team over revenue sharing.  Booker lost the fight, which even The Star Ledger says was a waste and should have been settled, and vowed to spend more—O’Scanlon says $1 million more, The Ledger says $100 thousand more—in appealing the ruling that favored The Devils.  As the ruling stands, Newark owes the Devils $600 thousand.

Newark’s city council is disgrace.  A “gaggle of blowhards,” Ledger editor Tom Moran calls them, who “awards itself the highest salaries in the state, along with a free car.”   Newark’s city council is paid six times more than Jersey City’s city council, according to Moran.  $3.45 million in salaries paid to the Newark city council in 2011.

Also at issue is that the overpaid council has yet to pass their budget that was due in February.  Yet, they want the $24 million from Jersey taxpayers.

According to The Ledger, O’Scanlon said, 

“Cory Booker is fighting an expensive personal vendetta with one hand while he has the other hand out expecting state aid”


“As the ranking Republican member of the Assembly Budget Committee, I cannot, in good conscience, imagine handing Newark another $24 million when the mayor is continuing to rack up legal fees and costs for litigation that could have been settled months ago,” O’Scanlon said. “The state should not be in the habit of bailing out towns and cities that are unwilling to help themselves.”

Moran, The Ledger’s editorial page editor, responded to O’Scanlon’s rebuke of Booker, with a racially charged column under his own byline, From a perch in the suburbs, a cheap shot at cities.

As if $24 million, or $32 million, or $3.7 million or $3.45 million is cheap.

Moran, a Caucasian, is The Ledger’s first Black editor in the way that Bill Clinton was the first Black President of the United States.   He deals with his white guilt by feeling Newark’s pain and pandering to Black elected officials. 

Early on in Governor Christie’s term, Moran teamed up with Assembly Speaker Shelia Oliver in an attempt paint the new administration as racist, at worst, or as a bunch of out of touch white guys who have never ridden a bus, at best.

In April of this year, Moran went all Jeanane Garfalo on conservatives who were hoping that the Supreme Court would overturn ObamaCare, comparing them to Jim Crow segregationists.

And he has the nerve to accuse O’Scanlon of demagoguery.

In his racist rant Moran says O’Scanlon should spend more time in the cities.  But his real message to white suburbia is “pay up and shut up.”  Moran blames “much of the violence” in the cities on suburbanites coming to the hood to buy drugs.

In the next breath after calling Newark’s city council a greedy gaggle of blowhards, Moran excuses their excess.  He says their behavior is enough to make you scream, but he screams at O’Scanlon instead, while justifying the council’s greed as only one third of one percent of the budget if Booker get’s his way in reducing the coucil’s compensation.

In his next breath after agreeing with O’Scanlon that Booker was foolhardy in wasting $3.7 million fighting the Devils, Moran justifies that waste by pointing out that Governor Christie has gone to court and lost too.  “It happens,” Moran said.  It happens more often when you’re not paying your own legal and consulting fees.

Moran’s racist rant is typical of the liberal playbook that has resulted in most of New Jersey paying up and shutting up about the dysfunction of our cities for the last half century.   Pay up and shut up has not improved the quality of life in Newark, Trenton, or Camden.  Paying up and shutting up makes matters worse.

Moran argues that Newark’s problems are not of its own making, as O’Scanlon said.   He sites the spending cuts that Booker has made and challenges O’Scanlon to name one municipality in his district that has taken austerity measures as drastic as Newark’s…a 25% workforce reduction.  If Moran’s report is accurate, “O’Scanlon came up empty,” in answering the challenge, that is because O’Scanlon fell for the framing of Moran’s question.  Where is the $24 million Newark is getting coming from?

Moran says Newark’s problems are not of its own making.  He says that property taxes will never pay all of Newark’s bills, in part because 45% of Newark’s property is tax exempt?   45% !!!  How did that happen if not by government decree?   Booker didn’t do that, as Moran notes, but he has the power to start doing something about it. 

There is at least one town in O’Scanlon’s district that has reduced their workforce by 25%–Highlands.   Middletown, in O’Scanlon’s district, has the lowest municipal employee to resident ratio in the state for towns its size.  Neither of those towns, or any towns in O’Scanlon’s district have council members earning fat salaries and getting free cars.  For one-third of 1% of their budgets, some of them could.

O’Scanlon should keep speaking out about wasteful spending in the cities who are being bailed out by the rest of the state’s taxpayers.   Moran should stop driving a wedge between Blacks and Whites, Cities and Suburbs.

Surely, Newark will be bailed out again this year, but they shouldn’t be unless the council reduces its compensation to at least Jersey City levels.  As a condition of the bailout, Booker’s ability to engage in expensive litigation should be controlled by the Department of Community Affairs.


Posted: July 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Cory Booker, Declan O'Scanlon, Newark | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

19 Comments on “Don’t let up on demanding fiscal accountability in cities”

  1. Rick Ambrosia said at 1:06 pm on July 14th, 2012:

    Wow…so you and O’Scanlon are starting the 2013 campaign for Governor a little early…aren’t you ? Why don’t you wait until at least this Presidential campaign is over before you start to smear Mayor Booker.

  2. I was wondering when Lil Ricky said at 1:41 pm on July 14th, 2012:

    would surface again with his whining. Ah, Ricky; it isn’t a smear if it is true that Booker blew that money on the lawsuit and is now asking for more from us.

    We’re tired of sending our money to failed cities like Newark. If you want, please write your own checks

  3. Mike Harmon said at 2:32 pm on July 14th, 2012:

    Star Ledger’s Tom Moran’s attempt at marginalizing Assemblyman O’Scanlon and the suburbs smacks of self-righteous elitism. Big surprise.

    Moran states “…When O’Scanlon was asked to name a single town in his district that has matched that kind of austerity, he came up empty…”

    The suburban towns O’Scanlon represents live within their means everyday because they have to, always have.

    The state has been there to bail out the perpetually corrupt cities like Newark because their pols carry much clout within the democrat party and R are afraid of being called names.

    Newark went 40 years until 1998 without a reassessment with the rest of us picking up the tab.

    I was born in Newark and both parents worked there until evacuating before the riots. As refugees, they found a good life in a safe community with good schools in Middletown (the evil suburb Moran despises).

    When it comes to Newark, even Mayor Booker can’t wait to get out.

  4. Lois said at 2:37 pm on July 14th, 2012:

    “Accountability”—-good thing to ask for (demand). That + “STOP rewarding irresponsible behavior!” —– might add up to——-fiscal sanity all over.

    Seems kind of basic to me…….

    Oh yes—-also, by now, aren’t we a little tired of the race card being trotted out—–all over—? Almost predictable, nowadays, especially when there’s a dirth of facts/real data.

    Sooooo tiresome…. Real soon i hope we get to the point of flicking that one off as one would a speck on a sleeve—> no truth there; just keep doin’ the right thing.

    Go Declan. Good job.

  5. Proud Republican said at 11:41 pm on July 14th, 2012:

    Cory Booker is the worst mayor in NJ. His self-serving speeches and publicity stunts cannot hide the fact that Newark is as big a crap hole as ever – corrupt, violent and decadent. We should cut out all aid to the inner cities until their budgets are cut in half. And Tom Moran is a typical pathetic, limp-wristed liberal squirt who is the poster child for why the liberal media is a joke and why every liberal Democrat must be defeated.

  6. Justified Right said at 11:48 pm on July 14th, 2012:

    I’m with Declan on this.

    But, I will be his biggest fan ever if he shows the same indignation when the suburbs want money to buy open spaces.

    Suburban welfare is just as bad has urban welfare.

  7. brian said at 10:49 am on July 15th, 2012:

    ‘lil dicky knows a lot about urban jungles like lily-white marlboro—hey ‘lil dicky, lead by example and move to that diverse wonderland of Newark……………………

  8. Harold Kane said at 11:30 am on July 15th, 2012:

    Cheap shot! Really.
    Maybe someone should ask Booker why his public employee per 1,000 residents headcount is 25% higher than Jersey City. Jersey City is all Democrats but they seem to be able to manage Jersey City’s public affairs much better than Booker can in Newark. O’Scanlan is right. Newark must be constantly watched. In reality the state should step in, take over, and then put the city in bankruptcy.
    Newark – Jersey City employee comparison
    Newark Jersey City

    City 3,270 1,740
    Schools 6,746 5,107
    Housing Authority 343 183
    Parking Authority 24 82
    Educators Commission 38
    Comm. charter schools 113
    Incinerator Authority 144
    Utilities Authority 106
    Redevelopment Authority 12
    headcount 10,421 7,487

    Pop. 2010 census 277,140 247,597

    public employees per 1,000 residents 38 30

    Newark employees per Jersey City percentage 8,310

    source:Data Universe (thanks APP)

  9. Proud Republican said at 5:41 pm on July 15th, 2012:

    Open spaces Justified Right? Are you kidding? Since when did that become equal to the ridiculous aid to distressed cities? I am a staunch conservative who does not want every inch of my county paved over. I don’t want to live in a concrete jungle urban hellhole that will drain my tax dollars to pay for all of the increased services and maintenance for all of that development. I voted for and pay for a dedicated open space tax and get paid back several times over with higher property values, less school kids, less traffic, less demands on my county/municipal budget, etc. You may want your suburb turned into Camden, but I sure don’t.

  10. Rick Ambrosia said at 5:57 pm on July 15th, 2012:

    So, now Proud Moron Republican shows his true homophobic colors….nice going. And, to racist Brian…do you even KNOW any black people? I would doubt it. Also, for the record…I live in lilly white Colts Neck…not Marlboro…but that may be the place you escaped from when it was open. I also grew up in that very diverse town of Red Bank…on the Westside no less……but you wouldn’t know anything about that since you are a confirmed racist.

  11. Lil Ricky, Once An Arse, Always An Arse said at 6:30 pm on July 15th, 2012:

    Such a hateful person as well. You know, there’s been more than one study done about how unhappy with themselves, those on the left are.

    But, back to the point; just how does Lil Ricky make Proud Republican out to be homophobic based on his writings here and how does he make Brian out to be a racist?

    Hyperbole Rickster, Hyperbole; WILD Hyperbole

  12. Proud Republican said at 7:40 pm on July 15th, 2012:

    Poor Little Ricky – an angry liberal who is feeling the desperation one feels when his hero and idol (our Muslim president) is imploding on his way to defeat in November. Folks, this is what the far left liberals do. When their extremely flawed ideology comes crashing down, their only recourse is to pull out the old, tired standbys – “racist” “homophobe” “mysoginist” “jingoist” “islamaphobe” – did I forget any Little Ricky? In other words, if you don’t by their silly Anti-American liberal dogma, they can’t beat you on the merits of their argument so they’ll pull out the heavy artillery – they’ll call you a name.

  13. Justified Right said at 8:22 pm on July 15th, 2012:

    Hey Proud Republican,

    If you don’t want land paved over in your town, why don’t you get a job and buy the land yourself?

    Instead you make me buy it for you by raising my taxes.

    What you do is manipulate market forces as much as any other central government planning commie socialist.

    Get a job. Buy your own damned property. Stop raising my taxes, Pinko, and stay out of my wallet!

  14. Proud Republican said at 8:56 pm on July 15th, 2012:

    Oooh JR, you are one angry dude. I should introduce you to Little Ricky and you could bang your heads against the wall together. When the taxpayers get together and decide on purchasing open space, that is government of, by and for the people in action. When they decide on purchasing open space and the taxpayers save because our schools are not overwhelmed, our services are not strained and our budgets are not busted, that is the will of the people and everyone wins. Hey Justified Right – you know that road in front of your house? When it needs plowing or repaving, why don’t you get a job and plow and pave it yourself? Or when someone breaks into your house, don’t spend my tax dollars on having police come to help you, why don’t you get a job and track down the criminals yourself? Stay out of my wallet, will you?

  15. James Hogan said at 8:02 am on July 16th, 2012:

    PR, when taxpayers get together and demand that others pay for their healthcare, or their banking mistakes, I guess that too is government of, by and for the people.

    I vote that PR should pay my property taxes.

  16. brian said at 9:29 am on July 16th, 2012:

    ‘lil dicky the racist—i have spent my whole adult life working with “people of color” in bed-sty, ft greene and newark—and you are a jerk-off from the mean streets of” red bank”. Take a walk along Nostrand and St Marks some night jack-off

  17. Justified Right said at 3:18 pm on July 16th, 2012:

    Wow look at Proud Republican’s thinking:

    Government intrusion into the market is bad! Giving money to municipalities for things they can’t afford themselves is bad!

    Unless of course the government intrusion into the free market helps me. Or it’s my town that wants the free money.

    Then it’s Ok.

  18. Heard An Interesting Quote Today said at 1:40 pm on July 17th, 2012:

    By Rush (yeah, I know the attacks are coming) but I think it applies very well to people like Little Ricky & Bob English.

    Paraphrasing, “Liberalism allows people to believe that they are good people.”

  19. Bob English said at 2:26 pm on July 20th, 2012:

    Here is another interesting quote:
    “If being a liberal means I am in favor of provisions being made to pay for wars that the country becomes involved in and to pay for tax cuts where 1/2 of the benefits go to those making over 400k/year, than I plead guilty.”