Saturday, August 26, 2006

New Jersey Gets a New Attorney General.

Richard G. Jones, "Corzine Chooses His Chief Counsel as Next Attorney General," The New York Times, August 25, 2006, at p. B1.
"Patterson School Contractor Sentenced," The New York Times, August 25, 2006, at p. B4.

"Governor Jon S. Corzine on Thursday named as his next attorney general Stuart J. Rabner, his chief counsel and a former federal prosecutor known for the vigor with which he has pursued public corruption cases."

Mr. Rabner will need that "vigor" if he is to to put a stop to the rampant corruption in New Jersey. He will take office in the aftermath of an ugly and contrived (somehow "successful") effort to "produce" the resignation of his predecessor, Ms. Zulima Farber -- who is still insulted in the media by New Jersey's "legislators," often with a hideous chuckle -- as they devote themselves to "business as usual." "Business as usual" in New Jersey politics is what is known as "theft" everywhere else.

New Jersey has become synonymous with corrupt public institutions and dishonesty in government. It has been suggested that things will be easier if public officials in Trenton will simply wear a price tag, so that the public will know exactly how much it will take to bribe each of them, whether with money or future political favors: 200+ convictions so far and counting! "New Jersey -- Come See for Yourself!"

I appreciate the concerns for my safety and for that of my family members. I cannot live with the thought that children will reach adulthood in a society governed by some of the people in power (or controlling "elected" politicians) in that notorious jurisdiction -- where cancer cells and greedy politicians reproduce happily, like "bacteria under optimum conditions." (I am indebted to Gore Vidal for this highly apt phrase.)

On the very day when Mr. Rabner was named as the new candidate for New Jersey Attorney General, a federal prosecutor was needed to indict and convict yet another example of New Jersey's governmental corruption problem:

"A contractor who pleaded guilty to making payments to Patterson school district officials to obtain construction work was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday in Federal District Court, prosecutors said. The contractor, Carl Babb, of Elmwood Park, pleaded guilty on April 14, 2005, to making the payments and mail fraud, said Christopher J. Christie, the United States Attorney. Mr. Christie said Mr. Babb also admitted overcharging for the work. In addition to the prison sentence, Mr. Babb was ordered to pay $750,000.00 in restitution to the school district prosecutors said."

Questions concerning Mr. Rabner center on whether his alleged political ambitions (he is said to hope for a Supreme Court position) will inhibit his pursuit of corruption cases, since he may need the south Jersey machine's support to be confirmed for a seat on the state's highest court. I fear that these concerns may have become a sad reality. Also, as a product of Princeton and Harvard Law School, many suggest that Mr. Rabner will be a "Mr. Clean"-type "fixer for the establishment." (See the Tarantino film, Pulp Fiction.)

This appointment could be about cutting a deal between rival factions that will allow "business as usual" to continue -- ensuring that New Jersey's residents, in the elegant phrase of Saddle River's own Richard Nixon, "get shafted." And how.

Trenton's notorious political Syndicate has yet to be heard on this candidate's prospects, though everyone is saying nice things about him -- publicly, that is -- at this point. It is always good to hope for a pleasant surprise. Keep your fingers crossed. Better yet, hang on to your wallet.



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