Tuesday, August 14, 2007

OPERATION BID RIG

The Asbury Park Press' 15 - part series on the FBI's big Operation Bid Rig corruption investigation concluded on Sunday, although both yesterday's and today's Press carried related articles so is it actually a 17 - part series? What does this all mean for our great Republican candidates this November?
It shouldn't mean anything.
Let's get real, though. Both the Democratic Party and the Press will attempt to exploit this issue to the fullest extent. Although Bid Rig is regarded as a Republican scandal, a load of Democrats were involved too. However, the Democrats will ignore that as they gush about how reform - minded they are. Reform - minded enough that County Democratic Boss Victor Scudiery wrote a letter of reference for former Western Monmouth Utilities Authority Director and convicted felon Frank Abate, describing Abate as "honorable and dedicated." In spite of Scudiery's reference, Abate got the max, 51 months. This is the same Vic Scudiery who asserted in 2005 that those arrested in Bid Rig were "set up."
Still, the Democrats will try to beat our candidates over the head with this, in spite of the fact that no Republican freeholder currently serving was involved in the corruption; candidate Jeff Cantor in fact was involved with the clean up of Marlboro. Additionally, although a number of those involved were county employees, much of the corruption involved their local towns, not county government.
Let's look at the Press. Opinions abound about that paper. Democrats assail it for being too Republican and Republicans are convinced that it is a Democratic house organ. It is said to be run by two Camden County men. At the very least, their agenda is to sell papers first. As the sentencing of a number of Bid Rig figures is scheduled for October, the Press will give it major coverage and it will dominate the news cycle.
It will be in October, but it won't be a surprise.
Freeholder Rob Clifton and Jeff Cantor both have solid credentials as reformers. They can easily overcome anything the Democrats or the media throw at them as long as they stick to their guns and remain proactive. It is also important that party leaders don't run a defensive campaign. Both candidates have strong records and need not play defense at all, especially since they were not part of Harry Larrison's crowd.

4 comments:

ambrosiajr said...

How come you didn't mention that Harry Larrison hand picked and pushed through Bill Barham to succeed him? I'm still trying to figure out how Barham gets away without any recriminations from his connections to B. Harvey Construction and all the cost overruns that the taxpayers had to dole out to the same. Or that he opposes any type of term limit on remaining Director...just like his mentor did.

Honest Abe said...

Barham's not running this year and is only marginally relevant. Next year's another story. It is notable who was Barham's competition at the December 2004 Convention: John J. Merla. In light of that, Barham was the better choice.
Much of the B. Harvey problem had to do with bad legal advice from curmudgeonly County Counsel Malcolm Carton.
Next year will be interesting. But that's next year.

ambrosiajr said...

I think the Barham connection is very relevant. You can't blame B. Harvey Construction all on Carton. This was extremely bad judgement on Barham's part. Why keep regurgitating more of the same on the county board. Clifton, Barham, Burry, Cantor...they are all interchangable. We need to change the face of the Freeholders and to get rid of the cronyism and corruption which has been rampant for years. The only way to do that is to clean house and it should start this year with voting out Clifton and voting down Cantor.

JIM_PURCELL said...

with respect to clifton, dowd said at the time they dumped stominski that harry ok'd clifton and that is why he did that. i don't know if harry changed his mind because it was an unpopular move by the grassroots people. that is not to say it is a negative credential to be ok'd by harry. if everyone who was ok'd by harry were gone there wouldn't be a gop.

but clifton is far from a new player. cantor is new -- yes -- and frankly coming off looking and sounding very good.

i think cantor is turning out to be a much stronger second seat than many, including myself, gave him credit for.