Thursday, July 23, 2009

Whoa - They Got Caught?

I quote the insightful Traveling Wilburys, "In Jersey, anything's legal, as long as you don't get caught".

They got caught.
NEWARK (WABC) -- Two mayors were among the dozens arrested this morning in a major federal corruption sweep in New Jersey.

Eyewitness News has learned Hoboken's newly elected mayor, Peter Cammarano and Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell were both arrested, as was Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Baldini.

According to officials the dozens of suspects, including several rabbis, were being brought to FBI Headquarters in Downtown Newark.

Numerous Jersey City political officials were also arrested this morning.
My first reaction is, "Wow. I wonder how much they were getting away with." I also wonder what will happen as a result of these arrests. Will there be convictions? Will things change? Will things speed up in local government because of these arrests, or slow down? Will money get to places that it was being blocked from, or will it just get misdirected elsewhere?

I never know the answers to those questions, but I always suspect that the "misdirected elsewhere" scenario is the one that plays out. I'm cynical.

Nothing drives home to me the corruption in my lovely state so much as my daily trips to the mailbox. I get mail, my housemate gets mail, and the previous residents get mail - to all of their aliases. I'll never forget when I saw a letter from the Department of Community Affairs addressed to someone who doesn't live in my house. I thought calling them would be wise. They informed me that a home inspection was scheduled because of the tenant receiving section 8 assistance that lived at my address. Boy, was I surprised! I was even more surprised when the office handled the situation like absolute idiots. I was put on hold, and the office worker came back on the phone saying, "I've just contacted Ms. J****, and she says that she only moved out last month!". Wow. I mailed them a photocopy of the documents that show that I bought my house 6 months before that. No home inspection ensued. I find myself wondering if the previous owner of my house still gets that money from the state, even after all that. I wonder what was in the envelopes from the Social Security office that I sent back marked, "Return to Sender: Addressee not living at this address". I wonder how many people are ripping off the state every day.

And then I'm surprised that somebody got caught.

My second reaction to that story was, "Wow, I bet if my dad sees this, he'll be really upset about the rabbis part".

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