User-agent: * Allow: / Trenton Butcher Block: July 2010

"Our Liberties We Prize, Our Rights We Will Defend."

Commentary on national and local events from the standpoint of a Trenton city resident and state worker.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Call for Candidates in June 2011 Democratic Primary for Senate District 3

If you are a laid off teacher or police officer, or are just disgusted with the way Steven Sweeney has been giving public employees and the general public the shaft, here is your chance!  Start looking into running for state senator from District 3 in the Democratic primary coming up next June.

The problems with Mr. Sweeney are numerous.  He has managed to use his connections in government to get the state to squander taxpayer money by building a multi-million park for the horsey set in Gloucester County and. by getting the state to tear down a perfectly good modern prison in Camden to make way for some waterfront redevelopment project that just may or may not happen.  Right now, through his position in the Delaware River Port Authority, he is working on throwing away millions more on some silly rail line to link the Rand Terminal in the City of Camden with Glassboro.  (Presumably so Camden Residents can get advanced degrees in Pharmaceutical Technology and build better drug labs.).  All at the same time that he bends over backwards to help our Republican Governor spread the myth that the state is going broke because of overpaid public employees.

The 2% cap does not restrict capital spending projects.  These are normally paid for from the proceeds of bonds.  Bonding falls outside of the cap, because the money is coming from borrowing, not taxes.  Also repayment of the bonds falls outside of the cap, conveniently excluded as "debt service".

About a week ago Sweeney sponsored another one of Governor Christie's "gift wrapped" bills in the Senate to allow the state, county, municipalities, school districts and other public entities to furlough workers at any time without negotiating with the union.  Sweeney and the governor both say it is necessary to stay within the 2% cap.  Maybe so, because there should have been some kind of exemption for inflation and municipal necessity.

Suppose we get a period of high inflation like we had in the late 1970s under Jimmy Carter.  You may laugh, but they were laughing then at the prospects of a stock market crash happening again too.  Well then everybody will be locked into the 2% increase thing. Wages will begin to fall behind what workers can get on the outside.  Then at the best, nobody will want to be teachers and cops.  At the worst, you will have a general strike among public employees from one end of the state to the other.  The cities will then burn without any police on the streets to stop anarchy.

So, if you always thought you wanted to be a politician, here's your chance.  I'm sure the NJEA, PBA and the CWA would only be willing to back your campaign.  Ans so would be a lot of ordinary citizens dissatisfied with a hypocrite like Sweeney who is fattening his pockets and looting the state treasury while at the same time portraying himself as a guardian of public funds.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Here Comes The Bride, Governor Christie's New Wife, Stephen Sweeney

Last week I saw on the front page of the Trenton Times an article which said the governor just signed the 2 percent cap on property taxes into law.  A picture which appeared with the article showed Governor Christie sitting at a table, presumably to sign the bill.  Standing next to him was Stephen Sweeney, the senate president.  I wonder what is going through Sweeney's head especially since he is the Democratic leader in the senate.  The signing ceremony at the Nottingham Ballroom in Hamilton Square was also a rally for Thomas Goodwin the Republican senator from Hamilton Twp. that recently took over Bill Barone's seat.  It could just as well have been a gay wedding for these two politicians.

It seems that lately Sweeney has decided to become Christie's wife.  Since Christie does not control the legislature, he heeds help from sympathetic Democrats to get legislation introduced to advance his agenda.  Sweeney seems only too eager to oblige.

Now you may wonder why Sweeney is willing to kiss up to the governor to the extent of going to a Republican campaign rally.  Well, he would tell us uninitiated souls that if we think the job of a Democratic senate president is to help elect Democrats, then we are sadly mistaken.  See Sweeney's job is first and foremost to make Sweeney look good and screw everybody else including his fellow Democrats and his constituents who happen to work for state, county or local government.

Part of the deal with Mr. Sweeney is that he is the master of collecting multiple paychecks for holding many different offices.  Remember all that sanctimonious talk a few years ago about limiting elected officials in the state to one elected job.  That is now the law, but when it was passed, the politicians that held multiple jobs were allowed to keep them.  And nothing in the law prohibits politicians from being officers in organizations outside of government.

Here are a few of Mr. Sweeney's jobs.  As you already know he is the state senator from District 3, which covers parts of Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland counties.  He is also the Freeholder Director of Gloucester County, which is a position something like Mercer's County Executive, except he was chosen for the chief executive position by his fellow freeholders.  He is also a member of the Delaware River Port Authority board and is president of the ironworkers union.

Like any good politician, he got to where he is at by bringing the bacon home to his backers.  About four years ago, when Corzine was governor, the state shut down for about a week in July.  Senators Sweeney and Roberts were leading a faction in the legislature that opposed Corizine's plan to increase the sales tax by a penny and use the extra money to fully fund government worker pensions.  Every governor since Florio either underfunded the pension system, or like Christie, refused to fund it at all.  A deal was reached in the end.  Half the proceeds of the extra penny of sales tax were to be used for pensions, the other half cent was to be used for "property tax relief".  Somehow, the pension is not being funded now, nor is property tax relief, although that was the deal.

I believe there was also another quid pro quo under the table, for after the sales tax went up, several large projects were funded in southern New Jersey - projects that helped keep union construction workers employed and fattened the pockets of local businesses.  Examples included construction of the DREAM horse park in Logan Township, Gloucester County.  This is a place where you can board your horse and also has exposition rings and riding trails.  A nice perk for us working stiffs up here in Trenton who need a taxpayer-subsidized place to keep our string of polo ponies.  Also, Corzine fulfilled George Norcross's Jr.'s dream by chartering a four-year medical school at Cooper Hospital in Camden.  It will be a part of Rowan University with a campus to be built on Broadway in Downtown Camden.  (I guess the new physicians will be well versed in treating drug overdoses and fixing gunshot wounds after training there).  Also in Camden last summer, the Governor closed the second-newest prison in the state and had it demolished before he left office.  The idea was to make way for redevelopment of the North Camden waterfront as housing.  More jobs for the ironworkers members who will no doubt be constructing the steel framework of these high-rises.  Additionally, the governor secured funds for Rowan University and the City of Glassboro to demolish a residential neighborhood next to the Rowan campus to construct a new downtown area.  This is being built by SORA Associates.  Sweeney, through his connections on the Delaware River Port Authority is pushing to extend the PATCO high speed line from Lindenwold to Glassboro at the cost of millions of dollars (and of course more union construction jobs.).  A real fiscal conservative (ha-ha.).

I believe Sweeney believes if he helps sell public employees down the river with his 2-percent hard cap and by shepherding Christie's "tool kit" through the legislature, he will be able to have the governor throw a few construction projects his way.  He already has been rewarded when the "Governor from Harrah's" proposed establishing a state-controlled district around the casinos and loosening of regulations to enable the casinos to do their thing with less state oversight and keep more money for themselves.  He is probably hoping for funding for the medical school, the highrises on the Camden waterfront and the new rail line.

See, it's not about helping your fellow Democrats or taking care of the thousands of his constituents who work as police, teachers and government office workers.  It's about promoting Sweeney and fattening the pockets of union construction workers.  And he will probably go as far as sticking his tongue up the governor's butt to get what he wants.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How Popular is Chris Christie?

Chris Christie is more popular than I ever imagined, according to a Quinnipiac University telephone poll conducted from June 10 to June 15.  According to the poll 44 percent of New Jersey voters approve of his job performance, while 43 percent disapprove.

Forty-five percent of voters consider him a leader, while 43 percent describe him as a bully.

The public's opinion of Christie's policies is mixed.

Voters disapproved of his $820 million cut in aid to public schools by a 61-35 percent margin.

Sixty-seven percent approve of his proposed constitutional amendment to limit property tax increases to 2.5 per cent per year.  Only 25 percent oppose it.

Voters indicated Christie should have signed the bill to increase income taxes on millionaires by a margin of 61 to 33 percent..

Nearly two thirds of voters with children in the public schools say they like teachers, but 53 percent have a negative opinion of the teacher's union.

Whatever Happened to Pamper Petterway?

It was September 25,2002 and I just came home from work.  I had difficulty getting down my street to go into the driveway of my house because of all the police cars on the street.  When I finally parked my car and got to my house I sat on the porch to watch the action.  My wife said the cops are at Stella's house and that she thinks something happened to her.  The front of the property was marked off with yellow crime scene tape.   Next thing I know, a stretcher comes out the front door of Stella's house.  Someone was on it covered up with sheets.  Stella Garczynski was murdered.

The police hung around all night.  They searched around the front of my property and asked me if I happened to notice a broken knife or scissors laying around.  The cops stuck around the property for several days. 

Sometime after I showed up at my house, the news truck came.  They were from all the TV networks, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox.  I was interviewed by Fox News and asked whether I was scared or considering leaving the neighborhood.  I said no, what is there to fear.  The reporter then said that most people she spoke to plan to move out of the neighborhood.  I said I already have an alarm system, a high fence, a good deadbolt and a Rottweiler.  What is there to fear anyway?

The murder made a big splash in the local news.  An elderly white middle class woman stabbed to death in her own home.  She just had work done on her property.  The big question on everybody's mind was, "Who done it?".  Well, two days after the crime we got our answer on the front page of the Trentonian.  It wasn't a gang of burglars, a crazed maniac or the handyman.  It was none other than Pamper Petterway, a married woman with children who held Jehovah's Witness meetings in her home.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention she was also black and a crackhead.

Stella was targeted the morning of her murder.  She walked to the bank on the corner of Liberty and Broad.  At the time I believe it was Core States or First Union.  Today it is Wachovia.  While walking there she met a black lady who said she had no place to live and was looking for a home.  Stella offered to take her home with her, give her a meal and help her find a place to rent.  (At least this is Pamper's story.  Doesn't sound like the Stella I knew, who seemed to be too streetwise to befriend strangers hanging out by the ATM and then let them in her home.)  The two walked back to Stella's house and she let Pamper inside and began fixing a sandwich when Pamper said she needed to use the bathroom, which was upstairs.  Pamper went upstairs and began ransacking the bedrooms.  Stella thought she was taking too long and went upstairs to get smacked over the head with a lamp and a statue of the Blessed Mother then stabbed her 38 times with a knife and a pair of scissors.  She was stabbed so hard, the handle of the scissors broke off, leaving the blade in Stella's body.  Needless to say, there was blood all over the place.

From what I heard from the neighbors (this never made the papers), Pamper stuck around for a while.  She had lunch, took a shower and washed and dried her clothes at Stella's house before leaving.  Yes, she even ate the sandwich that was waiting on the table.  How's that for a cold blooded killer.

Pamper got caught when she went to the big Wachovia bank branch on State and Warren with a forged power of attorney and one of Stella's checks, which was filled out.  It seems Pamper was bold enough to clean out Stella's bank account.  The bank clerks heard about the murder and recognized the name and probably also wondered why some Polish woman would sign over access to her bank accounts to a black woman.  They stalled for time and called the police who made the arrest.

Eventually, the hoopla died down.  Many of our old neighbors moved out.  I guess they got scared that this could happen to them.  Me, I'm used to this thing.  I remember when the state trooper who lived next store to Stella was out front hosing blood off his sidewalk.  That time someone was stabbed there, probably over a bad drug deal.  We've had other incidents too, like the time several people charged out of their houses and tackled a car thief and held him down until the police came.  I tore my Achilles tendon in that one and was laid up for several months after that.  Just some more excitement in River City.

Of course, after the old people moved out, new ones moved in.  A Trenton cop now lives in Stella's house.  Paul moved out next door and Lawrence moved in.  The state trooper moved out of the big rancher, and now his house is occupied by a landscaper who parks his big pickup in the driveway.  Things have quieted down quite a bit down here since 2002.  No murders, no stabbings since then.  The new people are mostly black and Hispanic, a little change from the Slavic people that used to live around here when I first moved in back in 1992.  However, for the most part it is still the same sort of place.  Most people own their homes, take care of their properties and look out for each other.

As you probably guessed, Pamper got convicted of murder and never got out of prison again.  You would think that would be the end of the story for her.  No, She was arrested in May 2009 for the June 1982 murder of  68-year old salesman,, William Stelle

Also, Pamper Petterway has become a poster child for Neo-Nazi and skinhead blogs who want to show how wonderful black people are.  Her career as a murderer was mentioned on both Stormfront, "Stella Tries to Help Black Drug Addict = Dead Stella" and on Chimpout, "Huge Nigger Sow Serving Time For Murder Charged Again".  From the headlines, you can catch the editorial slant of these websites.  If you want to read them, just Google Pamper Petterway.  I'm not going to bother posting links to them here.  For a link to a straight news story about Pamper Petterway, click here:

Did Pamper think of all the damage she caused when she killed Stella?  Most likely not.  She was just looking for a few bucks to pay off her drug dealer and buy some more rocks to smoke.  What she did was put fear in people, caused several families to move, and no doubt made some people think twice about moving here.  I addition she helped make inner city blacks look like fools and gave the racist community a shining example of why people should avoid urban areas.