October 11, 2005

'Union County Directions' - Fall 2005 Campaign Issue

Every household and business in Union County received a copy of the Union County Directions Newsletter last week. You receive two every year, one right before the primary and one right before the general election.

This newsletter states that it's published by the "Union County Alliance," a nonprofit organization.

What taxpayers don't realize is that they (the taxpayers) are paying for this $50,000 campaign piece which features Democrat freeholders, who are up for reelection, throughout its 24 pages of propaganda.

Not only are you paying for the printing and mailing of this piece, you are also paying the employees' salaries for the county's Office of Public Information to produce it.

I placed an OPRA request today to the Union County Alliance asking for all costs as well ad payments in association with their Spring and Fall issues. The Fall issue is in direct violation of the ELEC rules. Both issues featured Campaigning Freeholder Rick Proctor on their front covers as well as 18 photos of campaigning freeholders throughout. Most of the press releases and photos featured are ones that have have been diligently left out of the local papers - kudos to the editors.

Some quick observations regarding this last issue:

It's a "family issue" featuring the State Sen. Raymond Lesniak's Family Friendly Success Story throughout.

There is a profile on Berkeley Heights on the front cover, where the county manager's wife Angie Devanney is the city administrator, although she is not mentioned.

This continues to page 22 where there is a story about changing the Berkeley Heights charter which George Devanney is sitting on two committee's pushing for this, although neither he nor his wife's involvement is mentioned.

Page 15 has an article regarding Berkeley Heights and open space. You have Stan Laurel posing as County Manager George Devanney on page 3 upper right hand corner (prime ad placement).

The back cover is paid for by George Devanney's brother's fiefdom, the Elizabeth Urban Enterprise Zone. And Uncle Lesniak himself is pictured on page 20. The family could use this newspaper as a holiday card.

There is an article regarding the Union County Detention Center on page 16 where campaiging freeholder Angel Estrada is quoted as saying "The construction of the new facility has been a top priority of the Freeholder Board".......The project has moved quickly and we have put a good team together to complete its construction in a timely manner.....

There is no mention in this article about the county having to appear in court on Oct. 17 to answer to the death of Edward Sinclair, Jr. whose civil rights they violated due to the deplorable conditions at the facility which dragged on for years under all-Democrat rule.

The Democrats out-voted the last remaining Republican freeholders thereby shelving a plan to build a new facility. The article also doesn't mention that besides the human tragedies that have occurred under their mismanagement and disregard for basic human rights, the project will now cost upwards of $10 million more than it would have. It also doen't list all the new buidlings for county employees which took presedence over a new detention center.

Campaigning Assemblywoman Linda Stender in on page 19. Not mentioned in this article is the fact that Stender is paid $66,000 a year by the county to supervise volunteers who are working for free at Runnells Specialized Hospital. All assembly candidates are on pages 20 and 21.

Campaigning Clerk of the Board Joanne Rajoppi has an article on page 10. Rajoppi had a total of eight press releases and no photo ops in 2004. As of Oct. 1 Rajoppi, who is now up for reelection, had 47 press releases and 21 photo ops listed on the county website. All produced by county public information department employees. As was this directions newsletter.

How they covered the cost (projected at $50,000) not including salaries for county employees:
Center spread 4 page pull out - State funded Kean University as well as three separate ads
Shop Rite
Elizabeth Urban Enterprise Zone (Lesinak's other newphew and county manager's brother)
United Way
Conoco Philips
Schoor Depalma (so much for no longer paying to play)
Trinitas Hospital
Hillside Urban Enterprise Zone (Union County Democrat Chair Charlotte DeFillipo is also the municipal chair of Hillside)
Friends of Amanda sponsored this ad (interesting)
County - GED Testing
County - Vo Tech Schools
County - Union County Collect
County - Runnells Hospital
County - Recycling Event

To be cont'd.......I'll report on my adventures of wrangling public records regarding this campaign rag out of the county and the Union County Alliance which is run by a former county Public Information Officer, Michael Murray, as well as Kean University, as soon as my OPRA requests are completed.

I doubt it will happen before election day on Nov. 8. The games have already begun:

From: "directions "
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 11:38 AM
Subject: Directions

> The Union County Alliance is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. OPRA is for government records.

-- 1:04 PM