Politics and Thanksgiving

Jay Webber, the chair of the state Republican Committee, sent out Happy Thanksgiving greetings today and noted all the things we have to be thankful for … They include, he said, “the freest, most prosperous nation the world has ever known, protected by citizen-soldiers unsurpassed in their bravery, honor, humility, and skill; a proud state to call home, where revolutionaries fought and won, innovation and industry are our hallmark, and untold future opportunities beckon; and strong public servants who still favor our liberties over the impositions of intrusive government.

You have to love the political twist at the end when Webber refers to the “impositions of intrusive government.” One supposes that those who quibble with the government is evil mantra are not getting Thanksgiving wishes.
Hmm .. that leaves me out; oh well!

Number 7 is on the transition

Morris Plains Mayor Frank Druetzler, who gave himself the nickname, “Number 7” as a Morris County freeholder is on Chris Christie’s transition team subcommittee for transportation it was announced today …

The now-mended relationship between Christie and Druetzler got off to a spirited start … Christie was on a team that in 1994 ran against Druetzler’s team. They both won, although Druetzler’s two runningmates lost.

Others on various subcommittees with Morris connections are lawyer Richard Pompelio of Netcong, a crime victims’ advocate, Kevin Barry, an anesthesiologist at Morristown Memorial Hospital, Steve Santola, executive Vice President/General Counsel, Woodmont Properties, a prominent Morristown developer and Ralph McGrane, the former chief of the Morris County Jail.

Morris flavor to the transition

Chris Christie today named chairs of 19 issue sub-committees for his transition team.

One of them is from Morris County.

That would be John Bonanni. the county administrator, who will head the subcommittee on Human Services & Children and Families. Bonanni said he and Christie got to know each other when Freeholder Christie was the board’s human services chair. Bonanni, at that time, was human services director.

Christie on the road

Governor-elect Christie is making his first trip out of state. And it is to Texas where he will attend today’s annual conference of the Republican Governors Association.

His agenda includes an afternoon session, a press availability and a “victory barbecue” in the LBJ Pavillion of the Hyatt in Lost Pines, Texas.

You have to love the political irony _ Republicans cavorting at the LBJ Pavillion. I guess the Tom DeLay Center isn’t built yet.

Remember Frank Herbert? Political battle looms

Sure, you do.

A former Democratic state senator from Bergen County now living in Rockaway Township, Herbert was nominated last spring to replace the late RoseAnne Travaglia as Morris County Superintendent of Elections.

Republicans balked, noting that the freeholders wanted to abolish the job.

Herbert’s nomination stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee last June. but has now resurfaced. It is on the agenda for next Monday’s meeting. Republicans lack the votes to stop the process, so if Dems push it through, Herbert, a Democrat, will get a nice patronage job in Republican Morris County.

Herbert says he will take the job for $5,000 a year and work part-time.

Christie writes to Corzine

The governor-elect just sent this letter to Jon Corzine:

Dear Governor Corzine:
I am writing to follow-up on our conversation last week, and to thank you for your kind and gracious offer to take all possible steps to ensure a smooth and orderly transition. During that discussion, you indicated that you would be taking additional steps to address weak revenue collections that threaten to deplete this year’s planned budget surplus and aggravate next year’s multi-billion dollar structural budget deficit.
As you know, I am deeply concerned about the state of New Jersey’s economy and the effects that the deepening fiscal crisis for both fiscal years 2010 and year 2011 could have on New Jersey taxpayers. In order to prevent the crisis from worsening and budget hole we are in from deepening during this critical transition period, I respectfully request that you take the following actions:
1) Place all discretionary grant and state aid accounts, including, but not limited to, Special Municipal Aid and Extraordinary Aid, in reserve.
2) Freeze all new paid appointments and re-appointments to boards and commissions.
3) Line item veto any legislation with a fiscal impact on the State budget.
4) Veto all discretionary spending items in authority minutes.
5) Freeze all professional service, public relations, and consulting contracts.
6) Freeze all pending regulations that would incur additional spending.
7) Freeze all nonessential hires, promotions and raises.
8) Freeze all non-contractual personnel actions, including title changes and transfers.
9) Freeze all transfers of funds and directory letter appropriations.
10) Freeze all new leases, long term purchasing contracts and other long term obligations including certificates of participation.
11) Freeze the retention of all new outside professionals, manager selections, and new contracts for managing alternative investments with respect to New Jersey’s pension funds.
12) Advise and provide advance notice to transition staff and major financial transactions.
13) Strictly enforce, and refrain from relaxing, any existing spending constraints and financial controls.
14) Hold 50% of all operating accounts in reserve to ensure that agencies are not spending more than half of their operating budgets prior to the commencement of the second half of the year.
As we have advised your staff, I have named two experienced New Jersey natives and budget experts, Bob Grady and Rich Bagger, as Co-Chairmen of the Transition Task Force on Budget and Taxes.
I have asked them to assemble a team to make recommendations to address the budget crisis and put New Jersey on a more sustainable fiscal footing. I ask that your staff continue to cooperate with them in providing information and assistance.
I appreciate your cooperation on these vitally important matters.
With best wishes

Chris Christie

Springsteen or the Mets

You may have read that governor-to-be Chris Christie is talking about “begging” _ his word _ Bruce Springsteen to play at his inauguration in January.

That’s rather ambitious, and the feeling here is that it is not going to happen.

Here is a better, and probably more plausible, idea. How about asking the Mets if he can throw out the first ball for a game early next season?