July 21, 2003

The Governor and his Bottomless Pit of Gall.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:30 pm

You simply cannot make this up.

How would you like to fly to Puerto Rico and spend six days with your family in the Caribe Hilton Hotel? The resort boasts “17 acres of lush tropical gardens beachfront” and is located on a private peninsula. Every room has an ocean view, and, of course, your stay includes meals and a rental car.

How much might such a wonderful vacation set you back? I’m not sure. However, if you are the Governor of New Jersey, it won’t cost you a dime.

It seems that the International Longshoremen’s Association, a large democrat party campaign contributor, is picking up the tab for this trip. It’s also paying for the hotel rooms of a Governor’s staff member and a couple state troopers.

All the Gov has to do to earn this free family vacation is to make a speech at the Longshoremen’s Association convention.

Of course, the Governor’s staff is already out there trying to put a positive spin on the trip – a trip that anyone with three living brain cells instantly knows stinks to high heaven. Get this: The Gov’s spokesperson said that the “trip is important to New Jersey because we have such a large Puerto Rican population. I think it’s important to have good relations because so many New Jerseyans still have familial and cultural ties to the island.”

What??? The Longshoremen’s Association is paying for this trip, and the Governor and his family are taking this trip, because New Jersey has Puerto Rican residents?? Did this spokesperson recently suffer massive cranial trauma?

What about the conflict of interest inherent in taking big gifts from groups with a distinctly political agenda (and, I might add, a most unsavory history)? Jersey’s conflicts=of-interest law clearly prohibits state employees from accepting gifts or any “thing of value.” Last time I checked, the Governor is a state employee, and also last time I checked, a six-day family vacation in Puerto Rico, with airfare, meals and car included is a “thing of value.”

No problemo. The Governor is relying on an exception to the law that permits the acceptance of “reasonable fees” for making speeches.

What??? The price of a six-day family vacation constitutes a “reasonable fee” for making a speech? Even granting that idiotic proposition for argument’s sake, do we want our Governor in the speech selling business? I think we have a right to expect the Governor to devote all his time to … well, …governing.

One would think that after taking a beating in the press for spending the state’s taxpayers money for a lavish trip to Ireland, which included a family reunion dinner party, he would have a little more sense.

I can only assume that he thinks this latest jaunt is O.K., because it isn’t the taxpayer, but rather a large campaign contributor that is footing the bill. Does he believe that we are dumb enough to think that he will not be beholden to the Longshoremen’s Association when future port-related legislation surfaces.

He most certainly does believe that, and the said thing is that he is right. The majority of New Jersey’s voters are that goddamned dumb. They elected him, didn’t they?

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