In his Star-Ledger article on Sunday August 7th, reporter Joe Ryan refers to me as "She makes journalists look lazy". I considered that to be one of the best compliments I've had in recent memory. I have a deep respect for the media and if I’m making them look lazy than I must be doing something right.
What are citizens to do about safeguarding their democracy when their journalists are lazy and we have a government that has a million dollar public information machine that exists to keep information from the public and churn out campaign press releases?
If the government had nothing to hide then they wouldn’t hide it. This department hides their budget and employees. The county won't tell me what the PI department budget is or even how many people work in that department. They won't tell me the paid day's off the head of this deparment, Sebastian D'Elia, took during the campaing season while getting paid $1,200 by the democrats to work on their campaign. They want to charge me $30 an hour to do forensic accounting and then it would only be the best guess of the Clerk of the Board and the head of the PI Department.
I wouldn't spend a cent on those two hacks best guesses, I can make my own guess for free and I’d guess the information would be a total fabrication of the truth, something like the county budget. Consider that both these department heads were paid $1,200 for get out the vote efforts last year by the Union County Democratic Machine. Can it be that Union County is the only government in Jersey with an in-house campaign team? There were other employees in this department seen on the campaign trail during working hours.
There are a dozen or so PI Department employees who work full time jobs to make sure every bit of information is controlled and suppressed by the one party ruled government. Their Public Information Officer, Seb D'Elia, is a talented liar. The county doesn't pay him $88,011.22 a year for nothing, he's worth every penny to the democrat machine, my complaint is that the taxpayers are paying his salary and not the democrats. He is worthless to the taxpayers. His job title and description are a deceit to the public; I've uncovered enough evidence to prove that Sebastian D'Elia’s job title should be Campaign Manager.
One of my first research studies focused on this department. I do believe I was successful at shutting down that campaign candy store; the local papers have stopped publishing the county propaganda: http://www.unioncountywatchdog.org/Reasearch/PIresearch.html,
Overall today’s article was a boxing match. D’Elia being a prolific liar with the morals of a slug, managed to land a few punches at trying to defame me. I landed a few punches back, and my friend, Martin O’Shea, who is a board member of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government, had my back. If there were a referee at this bout he would have taken points off of D’Elia because he was throwing lies at me; I was punching out the truth which was backed up with documentation.
I have found that the media lets the government slide when it comes to proof. If I say the paper is white, I will have to show the reporter the white paper. If government says the paper is black than black it is written in the article, while being flaming red in the filing cabinet. How many times can you have a government employee lie to you before you realize he’s a liar? Wouldn’t you feel foolish after a while? I’ve lost count with D’Elia’; he’s got lies in the hundreds if not thousands published and he still manages to play reporters like a piano.
I was disappointed in the Ledger article because it didn't mention what my requests uncovered, which is the most important aspect of OPRA. The mailings that the county has cut back on because of my exposing them have saved the taxpayers about $300,000; which is still not good enough. I will stay on this until county campaigns cost taxpayers nothing.
Studying the county going on three years now, I know from experience that it’s close to the time when the county launches a taxpayer-funded TV commercial to kick off the campaign season. They will also send out a mailer with the same theme. Total cost to taxpayers approximately $250,000. I asked what the theme would be this year at a FH meeting, I also asked for documentation to find out and there was no truth to be found. We’ll just have to wait and see. http://www.unioncountywatchdog.org/Articles/Mailingsdrawire.html
Why I’ve needed to place 82 OPRA requests is because the county doesn’t tell citizens basic information. They don’t answer questions, which leads to OPRA requests. i.e., In order to find out if the FH's are given cell phones I have to ask for the cell phone bills, and yes, they are given cell phones. Why the games? They act like criminals; so I treat them as such.
The county will desperately try to blame me for costing the taxpayers money. Their claims have no proof to back them up. I’m sure this will be the theme going forward. They can’t defend themselves so they will try to defame me. Not to worry, I can take a punch and kick ass afterward. They lied by saying they hired a clerk intern just to deal with me. Their arrogance is breathtaking.
They didn’t hire a clerk; what they did was create another patronage job. The deputy county manager used to handle the Clerk's duties. The position the county claims they created because of me, clerk intern @ $28,759, was there before I ever knew what OPRA was. The position they really created and didn’t mention to the media, is that in 2003 when I was only one or two requests into my OPRA career, a position was created for the Clerk of the Board @$74,999.86. The first Hack of the Board was Shardra Bahdri who came directly from Sen. Lesniak's legislative office. The current Hack of the Board, Nicole Tedeshi, is listed on the ELEC site getting paid $1,200 for GOTV efforts right before she was promoted. I always back up my statements with proof.
The Public Information Department is a great story for a journalist who isn't lazy. For now, keep reading County Watchers for county news that isn’t controlled by the government who is spending over &1 million of our property taxes a day. Believe me, I am not costing you a dime with my OPRA battles, I have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars. Which will probably be spent on more patronage jobs. But that’s another boxing match and I’m in tip top shape for the challenge.