Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bloomberg on Corzine

We agree with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on this one:

"Let's hope Gov. Corzine recovers and gets back to work," said Bloomberg. "But it is a wake-up call for all of us to make sure you put on the seat belt."

Taking his own advice, the mayor said he had two stickers affixed to the backs of his two front seats reminding passengers to buckle up.

Bloomberg added that cops and firefighters, who must get someplace in a hurry to "make a difference," need to speed and use lights and sirens.

But elected officials almost never need them, he said.

"I don't think [using lights and sirens] for an elected official who wants to get someplace for a photo op is appropriate," Bloomberg said.

Corzine didn't need to be travelling 91 miles per hour with his emergency lights flashing and sirens blaring in order to get to the Governor's Mansion to see Don Imus. Just wasn't necessary.


Here is a more complete Bloomberg quote (we are still trying to locate a link to the full quote):
"I don't think an elected official that wants to get to someplace for a photo op is appropriate. Legislators having lights and sirens I think is totally inappropriate because there's no reason they would ever have to go to someplace. They can say, "Oh it's my district I have to be there." They aren't going to save lives. They're not first responders. I have a rule with the detectives that drive the car that I use, no lights and sirens unless you check with me and only then if it is a really big."

And Mike isn't kidding -- he ordered sirens and lights removed from cars belonging to 250 city officials in 2004, after one of his deputy mayors was repeatedly caught on camera in her official sedan, flashing its lights and blaring its siren to get home quickly from work.

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Ethical McGreevey?

We had a hearty laugh this morning when we saw this headline: McGreevey's first course as Kean instructor? Ethics.

Yep, scandal-scarred former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey is teaching ethics at Kean University. And getting paid $17,500 to do it.

Who will Kean add to its "ethics" faculty next? Former State Senator John Lynch (when he gets out of jail)? He could teach a course on "Ethics in Public Office." Maybe they could land Jack Abramoff as a visiting professor. He'd be great teaching "Ethics in Lobbying."

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

David Jones is wrong

David Jones, president of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association, called Governor Corzine's driver, Trooper Robert Rasinski, "professional and heroic" because "[h]e actually spun that vehicle into his side to take the initial impact." Jones said that Rasinski's "concern right from the first thing was how is the governor, protecting the governor."

Question: If Trooper Rasinski's concern was "protecting the governor," why didn't he insist -- as the law requires -- that Governor Corzine wear a seat belt?

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Click-it or Ticket

We hate to kick Governor Corzine while he's down, but we can't imagine a justifiable reason for his motorcade to have been travelling on the Garden State Parkway at 91 miles per hour with emergency lights flashing.

Was the Don Imus/Rutgers meeting so important that he needed to risk his life -- and the lives of other motorists on the road -- to get there? We don't think so.

The rest of us are expected to obey the speed limit. Aside from tending to a state emergency -- which Don Imus is not -- the Governor (and his Trooper escorts) should be expected to obey the speed limit as well. The Superintendant of the State Police, Rick Fuentes, agrees:

"If it's a non-emergency situation, we would ask them to obey the traffic laws and obey the speed laws both for the safety of their occupants and the public," Fuentes said.
Remember, the law applies to everyone. Even the Govenor and members of the State Police.

When will Trooper Robert Rasinski receive his speeding and failure to wear seat belt tickets?


Eugene O'Donnell hits the nail on the head:

Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that speed might be justified for a governor racing to respond to a natural disaster, but that “an elected official trying to get a routine appointment would certainly be out of the scope of an emergency definition.”

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Hoboken checks in

Two members of the Hoboken City Council have answered our question (posed here and here): What legitimate purpose is there for members of the Hobken City Council to carry badges?

Why did we ask the question? Well, it was a Hoboken City Council badge that led a New York City police officer to call the Hoboken Police department to inquire whether City Councilman Chris Campos should receive special treatment when pulled over on the West Side Highway for drunk driving.

So what did we hear?

First, "Terry LaBruno" (who we believe to be the same person as City Councilwoman Theresa Castellano) wrote to us directly and said the following:
"Why the badges? I ran for CIty Counicl in 1988, 1993, 2001 and lost. I did not know than [sic] nor did I know when I was elected in 2005 that I would receive a City Council badge. When I received it I was honored, because it is an honor to serve."

We appreciate hearing from Ms. LaBruno. We in no way think that any member of the City Council sought their office in order to secure a badge. Indeed, we have faith that each member of the City Council had nothing but good and honest intentions when they sought their office. With that said, we don't believe that Ms. LaBruno has answered the question. Is there a legitimate purpose for having the badge?

Second, Councilman Peter Cammarano answered the question as follows (thanks to reader Justin for passing this along):
"The badge is a glorified form of identification. In a word, there is no legitimate purpose for the badges beyond 'identification.' Of course, this doesn’t answer the question of whether the badges should be issued in the first place."

We're not surprised by Mr. Cammarano's answer. But we do think that his response does answer the question of whether the badges should be issued in the first place. If there is no legitimate purpose for them, they shouldn't be issued in the first place. To avoid even the appearance of impropriety, the badges should be returned to the City and the practice of handing them out to members of the City Council should end.

Many thanks to Ms. LaBruno and Mr. Cammarano for answering the question.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

The curse of the gubernatorial broken leg

We just received the news that Governor Jon Corzine was in a motor vehicle accident today on the Garden State Parkway in Atlantic County. He is said to be in stable condition after undergoing sugery at Cooper University Medical Center in Camden. His injuries include 12 broken ribs, a broken sternum, a broken collarbone and a broken leg. We of course wish the Governor well and hope for a speedy recovery.

Hearing this news reminded us of Corzine's two elected precedessors -- Christie Whitman and Jim McGreevey -- both of whom broke their legs while in office.

Whitman's injury came while skiing in Switzerland. It was big enough that the news of her broken leg made it into Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update.

Jim McGreevey's broken leg came during an alleged nightime walk with his soon-to-be-ex-wife Dina Matos McGreevey on the beach in Cape May. Of course many people (including us) didn't believe that he was on the beach with his wife at the time. More people questioned the story after McGreevey resigned. And more recently we learned that the broken leg didn't affect McGreevey's desire to bed down with Golan Cipel (Cipel stating that while McGreevey was bed ridden recovering from a broken leg, McGreevey masturbated in front of him).

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007


We're still waiting to hear from any member of the Hoboken City Council regarding the following question:
What legitimate purpose is there for members of the Hobken City Council to carry badges?

Why do we ask? Read here and here.

If you're from Hoboken and curious about the answer to this question like we are, e-mail the members of the City Council and ask them to respond (the following e-mail addresses are all publicly available). Maybe we'll (you'll) finally get an answer.

Rubin Ramos:
Mike Russo: and
Chris Campos: and
Michael Cricco:
Nino Giacchi:
Theresa Castellano: and
Peter Cammarano: and


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In NJ, driving a Zamboni while drunk is OK!

Zamboni driver John Peragallo, 64, was convicted of drunken driving in 2005 after a fellow employee at the Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown, New Jersey told police the Peragallo was speeding and nearly crashed into the ice rink's boards. A breath test reveled that Peragallo's blood alcohol level was 0.12 percent, well above the 0.08 that is considered legally drunk in New Jersey.

So why did Peragallo, 64 -- who admitted at his trial that he had a shot of Sambuca with his breakfast coffee and two Valium pills before work and that he drank beer and vodka after he cleaned the ice -- get his DWI conviction overtuned this week?

Well, according to Superior Court Judge Joseph Falcone, Zambonis are not motor vehicles because they cannot be used on highways and cannot carry passengers and thus not subject to the state's DWI laws.

We assume Judge Falcone hadn't heard of this incident, where two Boise, Idaho city employees were fired from the city's ice skating rink after making a midnight fast-food run to Burger King in a pair of Zambonis, when he issued his decision on Monday.

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