September 20, 2005

It's George Bush's fault stupid

The county launched it's yearly taxpayer funded campaign kick-off commercial this week. They will defend this spending as "needing to inform the public about services." Please ask yourself why the public only needs to be informed at election time.

Another ploy, which was also used in last year's election, is to get people angry at George W. Bush. The all-Democrat ruled county bashes the president several times in their taxpayer funded press release which was written by the office of public information for which the county claims they can't tell what their budget is or what the paid days off were for the head of this department. Imagine what the New York Times would do to Bush over that sloppy records keeping.

If the county can blame the federal government for all of your misfortunes it takes your mind off of the county raising your taxes 50 percent in the past 5 years and also subliminally bashes their competition in the November election. It's nothing more than political spin from a campaign consultant. Why are they spending our taxes on this? They have plenty of pay-to-play money in their war chest for campaigns.

Why don't people get angry about this? Because they don't have a clue about it. These commercials and mailers have no 'paid for by you' written on them and the Union County Media can't seem to bring themselves to inform people about this scam.

The below link is a press release from the county website. The release doesn't mention how much the commercial cost.

excerpts:....Proctor also used the opportunity to announce the Freeholder Board will soon be adding another new health initiative and making available $150,000 out of the County’s Family First funding available for health care efforts. Human Services officials are currently in the process of identifying where gaps in programs exist throughout the County, and will announce more details within the next month....
hmmmm more taxpayer funded propaganda on the way no doubt.

They could have plugged some gaps with the $187,000 they spent on this commercial. If they stick to the plot they used the past two years they will also be sending out a mailer with the same theme to every Union County household. Cost to taxpayers for postage and printing: $55,627.81. They will rudely not include a thank you note from the campaign.

And that's not all........
The company Message and Media produces these pieces. They have a $6,000 monthly no bid contract for unspecified consulting work. They also work on the freeholders' political campaigns. They charge the Union County Democratic Committee $5,000 a month. One has to wonder if they are getting their campaign pieces at a reduced price because the taxpayers are paying them $72,000 for consulting work that the county has no documentation to show for it.

I'll keep track of these taxpayer funded campaign pieces through the election season. I've been 'round that block before. The county spent approximately $607,939.66 in 2003 and $379,062.80 in 2004. I don't have all the bills; the county claims there are no bills for printing and copying done in-house.

The million dollar question is how much of these 'questionable' programs mentioned in the ad are funded with federal grant money? The 2003 commercial featured the federally funded Star Opportunity Center. An article in The Star-Ledger a few weeks after the election appeared about someone who was in the program when the money ran out. The county had to 'hobble' together the funds to send this guy out of state to complete the program.The article didn't mention the $187,000 commerical or the $55,627.81 mailer.

$242,627.81 could have put a lot of people down on their luck through this 'federally funded' program.

Imagine if it were George Bush spending our property tax dollars on his campaign. I wonder what the Union County taxpayer funded commercial featuring campaigning freeholders would have to say about that.

2005 mailings to date: Freeholders Proctor, Estrada and Ward are up for reelection as well as Clerk Rojappi

Letter dated July 2005 sent to several municipalities (the ones that lean Republican) extolling what the freeholders "have done for you!". An OPRA request was placed followed by a Government Records Council OPRA denial of access complaint which was filed on 9/20/05. County claims they don't know what I'm asking for. (Seriously, that's what they put in writing.)

Union County Directions Newspaper - Published by the Union County Alliance - Cost to the county: approximately $50,000

Senior Newsletter mailed during primary week featuring campaigning freeholders. 'Meet freeholder Nancy Ward and Adrian Mapp' on back cover and a message from freeholder Rick Proctor.
Cost: Postage $6,501.57. Copies are done in house so the county claims there is no cost (4 pages).