I have lived in New Jersey for decades, and this is not news:
In New Jersey, Ideal Conditions for Corruption
A decade-long building boom has flooded towns with millions of development dollars, as well as wealthy businessmen eager to secure sewer permits and zoning waivers. The Democratic Party firmly dominates local politics, turning most elections into sleepy coronations. The state’s news organizations, once vigorous watchdogs, have been decimated by a deep industry downturn.
Add to all that the fact that New Jersey is divided into hundreds of tiny fiefdoms, where part-time elected officials without much education and with small salaries wield considerable power, and the heady mix of arrogance, control and promised payoffs dissolves the will of even the most determined reformer.
It also seems to dissolve their intelligence and caution, because often enough, the man with the envelope is wearing a wire.
“In New Jersey, you are encouraged to break the law,” said Alan C. Marcus, a longtime Republican operative who has worked in the state for decades, observing all matter of malfeasance.
Like this: a state lawmaker, who, in fit of pique, said the reason he did not refer business to Mr. Marcus was “because you don’t kick back.”
One of the people arrested makes it sound like they have no control over it:
“Everyone says it couldn’t happen to them, until it happens,” said Robert C. Botti, who became mayor of Union City in 1982 after his predecessor was sentenced to seven years for seeking bribes for school construction contracts.
So how did Mr. Botti, a self-styled reformer, top that? He rigged bids for school janitorial contracts, earning an 18-month prison sentence of his own.
Prairie Pundit points out,
Government regulation in New Jersey is more than a speed bump on the way to completion of a project. Add to that the high construction cost because of unions and the high price of land and the slightest delay while the meter is running on construction financing gives the corrupt official the leverage to ask for an envelope with cash in it. It is part of the cost of doing business in the area and it is organized theft from the public as well as the developers.
It was this kind of corruption in Louisiana and New Orleans that made Houston a great city. In Houston there are few zoning codes to trap the developers and corruption is not tolerated. The free market system insures that the guy with the best product or service gets the deal, which is a benefit to everyone but the crooks.
Control freak government gives the corrupt too many opportunities, and in New Jersey there are few who can resist.
The NY Times is paying attention to the story because NJ’s Democrat governor is in trouble.
However, by now I am of the opinion that NJ has the stupidest electorate in the world, since, for the decades I’ve been living here, they have kept the same crooks in power. We’ll wait and see how the election turns out.
I just got back from Chicago. Please bear with me as I catch up with my email and other work. Thank you.