Tuesday, September 13, 2005

State Senate Shuffle

(cross-posted at Blanton's and Ashton's)

A post to the NJ Progressives email list today points at a Herb Jackson Story in the Bergen Record about appointing someone to the State Senate seat vacated by the retiring Byron Baer.

Now, I particularly like blogging about Herb Jackson stories, because I work with his brother. It's just an odd coincidence, but I make it a point to be as easily amused as possible.

Back to the point - Herb is talking about how usually, there's no fuss about a situation like this:
Usually, it's not even a question, because with most legislative vacancies, the party committee gets only one choice, and that's the person the party boss picked in advance.
This time, though, there's conflict!
The battle between Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck and Hackensack Police Chief Ken Zisa is really a battle between U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, the Democratic nominee for governor, and Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero.

Corzine is using the fight to bolster his campaign pledge that he is "unbought and unbossed" as he tries to boss Bergen committee members into backing Weinberg, who has never been shy about criticizing Ferriero. She certainly didn't get any love for sponsoring the kind of pay-to-play bans known to make Ferriero throw furniture.

Corzine's active role in this fight is especially notable because of the contrast it sets with former Gov. James E. McGreevey, who caved to party bosses in similar fights.
Now, Herb goes on to make his point that perhaps the voters need to have a say in this. He says, "It's a thing called democracy." We don't actually live in a democracy, Herb, we live in a republic, and you know it. Your brother says that you had the same social studies teachers that he did until high school, so if he does, you do, too.

Let's leave that part behind and focus, instead, on what it means that Corzine is backing Weinberg. I *think* it means something positive to me. I mean, Weinberg, according to a post at Mydd, well, she's Progressive with a capital "P":
Weinberg, on the other hand, is known as an extremely progressive legislator with an independent streak. In 2003, New Jersey Monthly named her the "Most Liberal" member of state legislature, crediting her with "skill and tenacity in getting her party and her Assembly colleagues to go along with her causes," which include civil rights, women's rights, healthcare, and anti-poverty legislation. Steve Kornacki has written that Weinberg "has demonstrated a prickly independence that sometimes puts her at odds with party leaders." One of her allies, Mayor Michael Wildes of Englewood, is openly hostile to Ferriero, saying that he'd like to see District 37 become "independent of party bossism." According to the endorsement, Weinberg's progressive, independent record is what Corzine finds so compelling about her.

So Corzine is fighting the powers that be in the machine that is NJ politics? During an election? That sounds kind of gutsy to me! That sounds like it's not the same old thing!

I do support Corzine, I've said so many times, but I don't want to get my hopes up too high. Last time I felt this hopeful about a candidate for something, it was Clinton, and I think we all remember what we went through with that one.

I mean, holy frijoles, all the cover-ups in this world that actually hurt people, and they couldn't manage one about *that*?

I've digressed, again. My point, as it was, is that this appears to be heartening news for those of us who wish there to be less corruption in government. I mean, it's usually like Herb Jackson says,
"Party fund-raisers don't want real campaign finance reform; the public does."
Here's hoping that the public is making some gains, here.

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