15.10.06

Passaic County: Beaten within an inch of its life, but still breathing

Paul Brubaker at the Herald News bluntly attacked Passaic County's tax crisis in Saturday's paper. Bravo. The paper seems to be sharpening its axe recently, judging by that article, as well as a major exposé in today's paper which will certainly keep Paterson Mayor José "Joey" Torres up at night. And Al Doblin is missing out on all the fun!

Brubaker paints the picture very clearly: Passaic County is out of control, even relative to its peers in a horribly mismanaged state like New Jersey, and its elected leaders are not only powerless to stop it (having effectively sold themselves to the public employee unions), but clueless.

The quote that takes the cake is from Freeholder Sonia Rosado, the weakest of the 3 incumbents defending their posts in the general election which takes place just over 3 weeks from now.
"Fiscally, we're still very sound despite the fact that we have increased taxes. We're not in a crisis. We're not in a position where we are going to be bankrupt."
In other words, My 6 Democrat Freeholder colleagues and I have beaten Passaic County taxpayers within an inch of their lives; but hey, no problem, they're still breathing!

Brubaker goes further into specifics than reporters covering such items on a local level usually bother to go. His research discovered that "nearly half of the county's total appropriation increases were public safety salary, wages, pensions, and benefits, according to county officials." I'm not sure, but perhaps "public safety" is another way of saying the ESS - AYCH - EE - ARE - EYE - EFF - EFF has been spending too much money. But don't tell anyone, it's a secret!!!

The Republican Freeholder challengers Art Soto, Keith LaForgia, and Erik Lowe have a golden opportunity here. Immediately, and in advance of the upcoming debates on October 25 and 26, they need to sit down and break down the budget, department by department, piece by piece, exposing the waste and outlining exactly what specific cuts would be made. Duke it out. Then, make the new Passaic County Republican website impactful and relevant - use it to communicate this budget information (that the Democrats don't want us to see) to the voting public and to the media.

Finally, this needs to be distilled into a simple and effective mailer, giving Passaic County voters an urgent, pocketbook-driven reason why they need to vote Republican on November 7. None of this Kean-Menendez "vote for me because my friends are slightly less sleazy than the other guy's" campaign rubbish - Brubaker's article makes it clear that the voters are ready to bruise up the incumbents, they just need a compelling argument to convince them to do so.

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