Weekly Update – February 6, 2010
1. MEET PAUL MULSHINE WINE & CHEESE (& GET US BACK ON ATL. CO. RADIO!): Sun, Feb. 21, 2:30-4:30 pm, Carisbrooke Inn, Little Rock Ave. Beach Blk, Ventnor, NJ. Order your tickets now $75 each, $100 per couple. So far, we?ve only sold 20 tickets. There are 2 wks to sell the other 80. Why are politicians like Frank LoBiondo & Dennis Levinson always invited guests on WOND? Think of all those taxpayer funded ?public service? ads they buy. To get our message on the radio, we need you to make a real effort to buy or sell some tickets in the next two weeks. If you feel uncomfortable about approaching someone, please contact me & I will do it. For Paul Mulshine?s Star Ledger columns, go to http://blog.nj.com/njv_paul_mulshine/index.html.
2. The Morgan Stanley/Revel Bail-Out is the poster child of everything wrong w/NJ. The facts are:
A. Fed. Reserve & China banks loan Morgan Stanley trillions of dollars at low interest for high risk ?get rich quick? real estate deals around the world, incld. the Revel Casino project in AC.
B. When the deals went bad, the Chinese gov’t bailed out Morgan Stanley w/$7 billion in 2007. The U.S. Treasury loaned $10 billion in 2008. & Morgan Stanley execs. gave themselves big bonuses.
C. In 2008, Morgan Stanley & its partners back out of Revel Casino project in AC, along with Pinnacle, MGM, etc. But Gov. Jon Corzine claims he ?persuaded? Morgan Stanley to con’t building the outside, even though it was $1 Billion short on finishing the inside?at least until after the election! Morgan Stanley also cut the project down to only 42% of its original plan. Instead of being a 4,000 room ?game changer?, the Morgan Stanley project will only be another Showboat.
D. AC lawyer/lobbyist Lloyd Levenson ?invests? in the campaigns of key Repub. & Dem. politicians in AC & around NJ.
E. Summer, 2009: Levenson ?persuades? AC gov’t to spend $50 million from taxpayers to enhance the Morgan Stanley casino. On Dec. 30, Levenson ?persuades? AC gov’t to rush through a 2nd complicated plan to give Morgan Stanley $350 million more. The money will be borrowed & spent right away, & taxpayers pay it back for the next 20 yrs. w/STATE & COUNTY taxes, as well as local AC taxes. The $400 million in tax breaks are more than the value of most AC casinos, & come to $14.2 million per county, & roughly $64 million for Atl. Co. taxpayers!
F. Local 54 Union, whose members are kitchen & hotel workers in existing casinos oppose the deal. They claim the state subsidy will give Morgan Stanley an unfair advantage & would knock 2-3 casinos out of business & put 10,000 people out of work. They said instead of growing the economy, Morgan Stanley will only replace 2 taxpaying casinos w/1 tax exempt casino. The Local 54 Union members work for private businesses. They are starting to figure out that they have nothing in common with union members who work for the gov’t, or construction companies that get high cost gov’t funded contracts. (For the first time in US history, most union members work for gov’t. Only 7% of workers in private companies are union members.)
G. Fri, Jan. 15, 2010: A petition opposing this deal is signed by 1,700 AC voters & filed with the local clerk. Since AC has a ?Faulkner Act?, voters now have the right to approve or reject the deal in a public referendum.
H. Tue, Jan. 19, 2010: After a 3-day ML King weekend, Dem. Sens. Ray Lesniak, Jim Whelan, & Steve Sweeney file a bill to deny voters in ALL NJ towns, the right to demand a public vote on ALL ?economic stimulus? tax abatements. The bill is immediately sent to Lesniak?s ?Economic Growth Committee?.
I. Feb. 1, 2010: In just 2 weeks, Sen. Lesniak?s cmte holds a 45 min. hearing. 5 building trades union officials say the deal will give their members jobs. Sen. Whelan states ?a deal has been made? & that voters cannot be allowed to change or reject that deal. The AC Chamber of Commerce president says the deal is needed to save AC?s economy. 100 union construction workers are bused in to pack the public gallery & cheer. Lloyd Levinson, the Morgan Stanley lawyer-lobbyist says nothing, seated prominently in the front row.
J. 6 hotel & restaurant workers testified. Several black workers testified passionately against losing their right to vote. Even an AC councilman who backed the deal last Dec. testified that voters, not politicians, should have the final say.
K. I also testified. I intended to read a prepared statement that was published as a column in the Current-Gazette newspapers, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/news.php?id=7078 or http://www.libertyandprosperity.org/…id=539#comment. But I never did. Here is the front page story in the Press of AC on Feb. 2:
Former [AC] Councilman Seth Grossman, representing the group LibertyandProsperity.org, advocated “rules that treat everybody equally and fairly and don’t give special deals to some people at the expense of somebody else.”
“In a way, our local Senator Whelan was honest when he said, this bill, I guess you could call it the ‘Payoff Protection Act’. Because what Senator Whelan honestly admitted is a deal has been made,” Grossman said. “Certain people hired the right lawyer, the right lobbyist, gave the contracts to the right people, and now they’re entitled to get the benefit of all these deals they made.”
“Time out, time out, time out!” yelled Senator Raymond Lesniak, banging his gavel. “I am not going to allow you to make unfounded allegations about Senator Whelan – it’s nonsense.”
Grossman was then escorted from the podium and through the back of the hall, past rows of jeering (building) trade union members. . .
?L. With almost no discussion, nor further study, Lesniak?s cmte unanimously recommended the bill to the full Senate. Republican Sens. Joe Kyrillos & Steve Oroho voted with the Democrats. If approved by the full Senate & the Assembly (where Atlantic County Republican Assemblyman John Amodeo is a union crane operator working on the Morgan Stanley project) it would then go to Republican Governor Chris Christie. Would Christie go against his dear friend Senator Joe Kyrillos?
3. Where do we go from here? It will be the same old thing unless we change the game. It is up to you to contact your Republican & Democrat Senate & Assembly people, to write a letter to the editor of your local paper, & call in to your local talk show. Here are some things you might say:
A. We had a belly full of Wall Street bailouts. They are NOT creating any new jobs, & are bankrupting the country! For details, see: http://www.nomorganstanleybailout.org/.
B. Tax & zoning laws must be fair, simple, & equally applied to everyone! Special deals for insiders makes government expensive, corrupt, & impossible to understand. This is #3 of our eight basic principles.
C. We need lower taxes for everyone?not special deal for a favored few. That means less government spending & borrowing. This is #4 of our eight basic principles.
D. We must repudiate?refuse to pay?any debt not approved by voters as required by our state Constitution. The NJ Economic Development Authority has no right to use 20 years of future tax receipts to borrow $300 million for Morgan Stanley without a vote of the people. This is #7 of our eight basic principles.
E. We must defend the right of AC citizens to vote on this issue of public importance. This is #8 of our eight basic principles.
4. Liberty at the Movies: Street Fight will be our movie for Feb. 10th from 6 to 9 pm at the Mays Landing Library. For more info see http://www.StreetFightFilm.com
5. SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS: Tue, April 20, 2010. Deadline for filing petitions: March 1, 2010. You need only 10 signatures to get on the ballot. More info at: http://www.njsba.org/candidacy/importantdatesW.pdf.
6. STRAW POLL: THURS, MARCH 4? Maybe not. A Tea Party/912/Conservative/Libertarian straw poll can only work when a few dozen qualified citizens in each county are willing to either be (a) candidates or active supporters of candidates, & (b) have a good faith commitment to support the best qualified & strongest candidates for each office. So far, none of that is happening in Atl. County. Linda Biamonte of EHT, Pete Boyce of Millville, and Michael Conte, of Ventnor are each announced candidates for Congress. I am not aware of any announced candidates for any other office, with the exception of a few party county committee seats. It appears to me at this point that none of the candidates for Congress has yet organized a credible campaign organization, or made a serious commitment to support an effective straw poll. So far, I have not been contacted by enough volunteers to organize an effective straw poll without candidate backing. If nothing changes between now & Monday?s meeting, I will recommend that we abandon this project.
8. Why not write a 200 word letter to the editor every month discussing these issues? Don?t say it all in 1 letter?just make a single point. Send your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Or call a 1400AM talk radio program at 609-927-1100 (The number for Pinky?s Corner from 4PM to 6 PM weekdays is 609-344-1211). Or call a 1020AM talk radio program at 609-398-1020. Or Call NJ 101.5 FM at 800-283-1015. Be prepared before you call! Limit yourself to 2 or 3 ?talking points,? have them written in front of you, politely end the conversation as soon as you make your points & thank the host for letting you have your say.