Booker the Crooker

Today is New Jersey’s special election to select a new U.S. Senator to fill the senate seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D).  There are a number of choices, but the main candidates are Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), and three-time former mayor of Bogota, Steve Lonegan, founder of Americans for Prosperity.

Lonegan was stricken with Retinitis Pigmentosa when he was 14.  He is legally blind.  But he’s the Conservative’s Conservative.  The man is totally fearless.  Apparently, he can’t be bought.  New York City Mayor Bloomberg donated $1 million to Lonegan’s campaign.  That didn’t stop Lonegan from criticizing Bloomberg as a statist (which he is).  ‘Thanks a million, Mayor Bloomberg; but I still don’t think you have the right to turn your city into a Nanny State.’

How’s that for chutzpah?  This is the same Lonegan who dared to go into the worst ward in Newark and make a speech about individuality and prosperity.  “One of my aides was worried.  ‘Do you really think this is a good idea?’” Lonegan noted last night at a rally on the Morristown Green.

Lonegan smiled at the audience.  “But it worked.”

He took Booker to task for failing his city of Newark in many ways.  The crime rate has risen.  One of Lonegan’s supporters told a story of how a relative got lost in Newark.  He stopped across from an elementary school, she said, to get out a map and see where he was.

“Someone tapped on the window,” she related, “and shot him in the head.”

The FBI ranked Newark 20th among America’s most deadly cities, with 1,166 violent crimes per 100,000 people.  Newark layed off 162 officers in 2010, rehiring 8 later on.  The number of murders is Newark topped out at 92 in 2012.  In 2011, it was 94.  The city ranked 379th out of safe cities in New Jersey, making it the 14th most dangerous city in New Jersey.  Among large cities, only Orange (a suburb of Newark), Camden (a suburb of Trenton), Atlantic City, and Asbury Park were worse.  If Newark isn’t the number one city, it’s because it’s been bleeding population since the 1940s, when former residents say it started to go bad, declining nearly 40 percent.  The 2010 census is the first time Newark had shown an increase in population (1.3 percent) in 60 years.

Newark is the most populous city in the state, with a 2010 population of 277,140.  In area, it’s quite large (25.2 square miles) yet is still densely populated (11,458.3 residents per square mile).  The city has an unemployment rate of 15.6% and is, in reality probably higher.

There is some question about Newark’s drop-out rate.  Lonegan and Gov. Christie say it’s drop-out rate is around 50%.  The N.J. Department of Education claims the drop-out rate is 31 percent.  Other cities are lower, the worst being Camden, with a 66 percent drop-out rate.  But given that suburban schools have drop-out rates of 10 percent or less (generally less), Newark is barely passing and given its penchant for corruption, we have to wonder whether the numbers are fudged.

In terms of SAT scores, Newark boast some of the worst high schools in the state:  Malcolm X Shabazz H.S., ranked 313th out of 314, then West Side High (312), Central High (310), Creative and Peforming Arts H.S. (308), Lincoln H.S. (307), John F. Kennedy High (306), and International H.S. (305).  With scores like that – and that’s only a small percentage of students who even take the test – you have to wonder how a school like Shabazz could still make the claim that Newark’s drop-out rate is only 31 percent.  Is the Newark school system simply giving a pass to failing students to get them out of their already crowded schools?

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to the Newark schools; the students never saw a penny of that money.  According to the blog, Mother Jones:  The first million dollars went towards a poorly conducted community survey that had to be re-worked by Rutgers and New York University, and criticism was fierce when a foundation board established to decide how the Facebook money was spent included only one Newark resident: Cory Booker. (“Yes, it’s their money. But it’s Newark’s kids,” an op-ed that ran in the Star-Ledger read.)

Then last November, nearly $50 million of Zuckerberg’s money went to pay for a new teacher’s contract, the first in New Jersey to offer performance pay for teachers who are deemed as “highly effective.” The contract offers up to $12,500 in bonuses for the teachers rated as the best in the district. It’s the first contract in New Jersey to offer performance-based pay, a policy that’s been instituted in a few cities such as Washington, DC. In DC, the plan was so controversial that it might have cost Mayor Adrian Fenty his job.  “I think it helped—I know it helped—to be on our side of the table and have deeper pockets,” one school district official said about the Newark negotiations.

“Frustrated Newark parents and graduates, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, believe that Booker and others have been far too secretive about their agenda and how they’re spending Zuckerberg’s millions, so they fought and won a lawsuit to force the city to release emails from Booker that relate to the funds. The emails weren’t groundbreaking, though they did reveal Sheryl Sandberg’s deep involvement in orchestrating the donation and rolling it out. Meanwhile, Booker has raised at least $54 of the $100 million of the matching funds he needs, money that came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and New York hedge fund donors.”

In other words, the money went to buy the teachers’ union votes for Booker.  Newark already spends $21,706 per student.  State taxpayers foot 68.72 percent of Newark’s education bill, and another 23.6 percent comes from “local” taxes.  That “local” includes a hefty amount of county taxes, and taxes on the land it owns in the Newark Watershed in the midst of West Milford.  Newark owns the land, but West Milford residents pay the taxes.  Newark is the only major city with such a high level of property tax funding for schools.  Since only 26 percent of its residents are homeowners, the taxes must be coming from businesses and the county.

That’s all very nice, isn’t it?  But where did the other $50 million go?

Booker is the rubber stamp mayor.  He’s supported every item on Obama’s agenda, which should be no surprise to anyone.  Newark has been marred with episodes of political corruption throughout the years. Five of the previous seven Mayors of Newark have been indicted on criminal charges, including the previous three Mayors.

He is a celebrity candidate.  Booker shows all the flash and dazzle of any Hollywood celebrity.  He’s hobnobbed with them, rolling over like a dog looking for a belly rub to get them to donate his campaign.  In Newark, with its huge population, only 2 percent are registered Republicans.  Fifty percent are registered Democrats and 47 percent are Independents.  In the 2008 election, Obama versus McCain, Newark had a 60.2 percent turnout.

The Republican districts had even higher turnouts but given Newark’s massive population 60 percent of their population is quite a bit more than Pequannock’s 80.9 percent.  Middle class suburbs are not only fighting the economic black holes of the cities, but the wealthiest suburbs and towns as well.  The affluent enjoy their magnanimity and the sense of power it gives them.  They see a lot of money in real estate dealings, transforming the suburbs into cities, all the while enjoying the luxuries of their estate mansions.

We need every Conservative out there to get out and vote today.  Romney was the man to be president, yet we didn’t elect him.  Lonegan is even more the man to be our U.S. Senator.  He is a true Conservative, honest, outspoken (in the extreme), and smart.  Perhaps it’s his blindness that gave him his courage.  He’s not swayed by men and women with perfectly coiffed hair, expensive suits, and the best cologne or perfume (Lonegan’s Hispanic spokeswoman at the rally noted how good the Liberals smell; the Democrats and RINOs are pretty smelly, if you ask me).

Lonegan will take the fight to Congress.  Though he’s legally blind, many New Jersey voters have been blinder.  It’s time to take the blinders off and see the political world as it really is.  We didn’t listen when radio host Bob Grant told us Jon Corzine was a crook.  People wrote Grant off as a crank.  But he was right; Corzine is now a convicted felon.  Lonegan and others are telling us Booker is a crook.  We should take their word for it now, today; not wait until it’s too late.

Is that who we want representing us in the U.S. Senate?  Yet another criminal?  Criminals vote for criminals.

Decent, honest, hard-working people will spare the time to vote for Steve Lonegan today.  He’s a Republican, yes.  But first and foremost, he’s a Conservative who will represent us.

Published in: on October 16, 2013 at 11:08 am  Leave a Comment  

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