Much of this is just a re-hash of last summer's articles.
Purcell updates the story by comparing Clifton to indicted former West Long Branch Councilman Joseph DeLisa, who was nailed in Operation Bid-Rig, and is now said to be jammed up with developer Jack Morris and former State Senator John Lynch (D-Middlesex).
As Seward says:
"With that being said, Jim's column this week is garbage. Yellow journalism. Not fit for the National Enquirer or Mr. Whipple's inventory. He rehashes an old story published last July with no new facts and spews innuendo and suspicion on Rob Clifton because a campaign contributor of Rob's is suspected by an Asbury Park Press reporter of being an unnamed developer in former West Long Branch Councilman Joseph DeLisa's Operation Bid Rig indictment."
I agree with Seward, "Jim has been kinder to Republicans and former Republicans who have been indicted. He's even talked about "innocent until proven guilty" in the cases of at least 3 indicted in Operation Bid Rig."
I can see going after a public figure based upon many factors, good government being one of them, but in this case it looks like Jim Purcell simply doesn't like Rob Clifton. That's fine, but dislike does not good journalism make.
Last July, Courier ran a series of well-researched stories by Jackie Corley on the train station redevelopment project involving Matawan and Aberdeen. The problem was, they didn't go far enough. It's not as simple as "Oooh, Rob accepted a campaign contribution." That does not exist in a vacuum. Aberdeen's Democrats have accepted several thousand dollars from several developers doing business in their town. From the Aberdeen GOP website:
"In 2003, they accepted contributions of $4,000 from JPI, developer of Jefferson apartments, now Versailles, and $5,000 from Kara Homes, developer of Aspen Woods on Route 34 and Aberdeen Forge in Freneau. And so far this year they “wheeled” $1,000 to the Hazlet Township Democrat campaign! It’s no wonder the Democrats in Trenton continue to fight meaningful reforms of “pay-to-play” laws and an end to “wheeling”; they subsist upon it."
And the Aberdeen GOP Chairman, Michael Borg, who is a commenter on this blog, has exposed a $5,000.00 contribution to the Aberdeen Democrats from Aberdeen's train station developer! You didn't see that in Courier.
This goes well beyond Matawan and Aberdeen. Getting back to the Committee for Responsibility and Trust in Government, other beneficiaries of its largesse are the Howell Committee for Good Government (10/27/05 -- $4,000.00), and the Election Fund of Bill Barham (11/01/05 -- $5,000.00), but Purcell never reported that either.
I have come to respect Jim Purcell as a journalist, but to single out Rob Clifton while giving numerous others a pass is just wrong. Just plain wrong. To quote Will Seward, "Jim, you can do better. A lot better."