Lives of Crime – Monday’s Roundup!

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Lost Generations
Kevin Riordan at the Philly Inquirer and Jim Walsh at The Courier-Post each did follow-ups on Dennis Niceler, the curator of the Egg Harbor City Historical Society, who’s been accused of committing 70-odd burglaries across South Jersey since 2013. Both note Dennis’s life of crime dates back nearly 30 years, though if you read Route 40 you knew that detail two weeks ago.

Walsh says Niceler was charged with “an estimated 100 commercial burglaries across South Jersey,” and convicted of at least five of them, in 1989. Riordan reports Niceler once told a historical society colleague he’d been “an idiot” when he was young.

Isn’t it amazing when you read about criminals and they’re the hardest working people you know? I’ve been at more than a few local history events in the last five years, and I swear Dennis put in an appearance at every one of them. When he found the time to meticulously case and burgle 70 strip malls and dive bars, and look after his sick dad, I have no idea.

We need like a space program for these guys–some way to harness their energies for good. It’s only going to get worse when the self-driving delivery trucks get here.

One Step Up, Two Steps Back
Elsewhere in criminal justice, that freeholder from Ocean County who said marijuana was more addictive than cocaine has walked back his comments somewhat, saying the FDA doesn’t make specific reference to addiction potential for the two classes of drugs. (For what it’s worth “science” does).

Do you ever get the feeling rich guys who want to be congressmen read stories like this and think: “I can work with these people?”

Meanwhile Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry said she found it “very offensive” that proponents argued, because African-Americans are incarcerated at three times the rate of whites for marijuana offenses, there’s a social justice rationale for legalization. “Because if you’re going to use that as a barometer, we’re going to start legalizing car thefts, murders, what have you.”

To be fair, I tried car-theft-and-homicide a few times in college, but hey, we were kids! Everyone was doing it! I’m not even sure I inhaled it right.

Special Bonds
Assemblyman Craig Coughlin along with Jamel Holley and Eliana Pintor Marin are sponsoring a bill that would allow towns to help donors friends brothers-in-law developers raise money for “redevelopment” projects by “issuing special bonds backed by state tax incentives” and it just went through the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but “redevelopment” is already a tool local governments can use to take land and give it to developers without public bidding, skirting all kinds of regulations in the process. This merely adds a fundraising tool to the toolbox. Seems like it would be great if we had a vibrant civic culture that kept corruption to a minimum and/or a robust free press to spotlight malfeasance. But we don’t! In ten years, your taxes will still be too high.

Elsewhere across your region:

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