You’re in the Wrong Business
If you’re an insurance broker, you can make a bundle selling plans to “public entities” like school systems or fire departments, which “employ hundreds of thousands of workers across the state.” So it makes sense that you should report your campaign contributions–and the value of those public contracts–to election officials, so we can all calculate your return on investment.
But what if you don’t WANT to disclose those payments, because they’ll look funny for your industry, or for the elected officials who are supposed to be not-corrupt? Well turn’s out there’s a loophole that will get you out of that disclosure! Problem solved, citizen, Problem solved.
Christian Hetrick dives deeply.
You’re in the Wrong Business Part II
Historically unpopular lame-duck Governor Chris Christie’s commission on pension and health benefits released its final report yesterday, finding the state pension system’s unfunded liability is about $90 billion, up from $80 billion a few years ago. They have changed the accounting standards.
There are many takes on this, but Bloomberg noted the only solution–according to the panel–is to fart around with people’s health benefits, since public-employee health benefits are “substantially more generous and expensive” than those of non-government employees, and that’s the only place the savings can be made up. Also, your cops, fireman and teachers are the highest-paid in the country, so “Where are they suffering, exactly?” Christie said yesterday.
In unrelated historical news, the fund managers who manage that pension money were paid “about $728 million in fees” in 2015. I’m sure that’s in-line with industry standards.
These Guys Are the Problem
Oscar and Humberta Campos, who have lived in Bridgeton for 30 years, own a house, a small landscaping business and have three children–two of whom are college grads (one’s a high school sophomore)–are going to be deported to Mexico on Friday, barring some last-minute intervention by Senator Cory Booker, the Courier-Post reports.
EDITORIAL ASIDE: I’m sorry if this story triggers you. If you have a business or work in an industry where you compete with undocumented, informal labor, I feel for you. I just think there are sixteen different ways the people who own this country have stacked the deck against you. Deporting immigrants doesn’t address any of them. It’s a distraction. A family moves here, works and builds a community for thirty years, then gets torn in half and separated from their children. I guess that’s collateral damage. This is our country, people.
Humans of Late Capital
The carpenters union in Folsom is protesting construction standards used by Dollar General, saying they’re not what they should be and Dollar General doesn’t pay a “fair wage.” On the other hand, if they paid a fair wage, people wouldn’t shop at Dollar General. #synergy.
You’re in the Wrong Business, Part III
Carl Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises closed a $1.26 billion senior note offering yesterday, the company announced (Hat tip to Jim Kennedy).
Recall, Captain Carl wants CRDA to give him $5.6 million to demolish the Trump Plaza he closed and has allowed to molder for the last few years. He’ll probably get it.
On Twitter, Kennedy noted, “Icahn Enterprises is not short on cash to clean up its own messes. Icahn should be able to implode [the] Trump brand w/out CRDA funding.”
Maybe there’s a reason he’s the former executive director of the CRDA.
Merry Christmas, Drug War’s Over
A new poll found some 80% of New Jerseyans say treatment is a better solution to the opioid epidemic than jail or losing your job. A little over half said they viewed “opioid addiction as a treatable disease.”
Please, Please Run For Office
Classy Joe Vicari, the 12-term plus freeholder in Ocean County, is calling for curbs on your free-speech rights, the heroic Erik Larson at the Asbury Park Press reports. “I think something has to be done radically in the United States as far as what people say during campaigns,” Vicari reportedly said. Sorry, it’s “radically” curb your 1A rights.
It seems you can’t agree to a $550,000 sexual harassment settlement and expect it to not come up during your reelection campaign, like back in the good old days, when the media had the decency to ignore that kind of thing.
In a rambling speech, Vicari also attacked the “fake news” media (“They make up all kinds of things”), which should be dutifully reporting the “over 200 informational releases” produced by Vicari’s staff at the Ocean County Division of Public Information, instaed of exercising its pesky editorial judgement. You can’t get the help these days.
It’s always fun for a second when antediluvian blowhards make themselves look like doofuses, because they don’t understand (or care) how an open society should work. Then it’s doubly-depressing when they get reelected anyway, because everything is broken.
But maybe one of you, gentle readers, will grow up and make the change happen.
For more South Jersey news, etc., see below:
Casino leaders see great promise, challenge in Atlantic City’s future–Touting investments at casinos and throughout the city, a panel of gambling executives said Wednesday the city’s future is promising. www.pressofatlanticcity.com
Murphy Transition Adviser Was Involved With Chairman’s Flight–A member of Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s transition team is an executive at United Airlines who was involved in discussions over the “chairman’s flight,” Observer has learned. observer.com
Climate change: Jersey Shore more worried since Sandy, poll finds–A new poll shows nearly three in four Jersey Shore residents believe sea level rise and coastal storms to be a "very serious" threat to their way of life, a sign that climate change warnings are reaching the most vulnerable populations. www.courierpostonline.com
Atlantic City Man Indicted On Sex Assault Charges Involving Two Juvenile Victims–An Atlantic City man accused of sexually assaulting two children has been indicted by a grand jury. breakingac.com
OP-ED: $15 MINIMUM WAGE IS AN ECONOMIC NECESSITY FOR WORKING NEW JERSEYANS–While New Jersey has crawled out of the Great Recession, the gap between working people and the wealthiest in the state continues to widen — with damaging effects for a great number of our friends and neighbors. www.njspotlight.com
ELEC’s big win: DiVincenzo settles, pays $20K fine–After losing a four-year legal battle with the New Jersey State Election Law Enforcement Commission, powerful Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo has agreed to settle its charges that he misused and obscured campaign funds. DiVincenzo agreed to pay a fine of more than $20,000. www.politico.com
Cape veterans recall Pearl Harbor, World War II–Joe Kasmark and John Sherman were just teenagers when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 and killed more than 2,300 Americans. www.pressofatlanticcity.com