NOTE: Among its priorities the Alliance lists the following on its website - Continue to Publish Countywide Newspaper. The newspaper is distributed to more than 200,000 Union County homes and businesses. It serves as a keepsake tool of valuable information, which contains various service and program directories, a calendar of events, and important municipal and county news. The Alliance will continue to provide advertising opportunities from organizations in various sectors in Union County.
Reviewing the latest edition of the Directions it is clear that it has veered far from the original intent.
The first and third pages have been hijacked by State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak sharing his spiritual beliefs and how they aided him in seemingly single handedly getting the death penalty abolished in New Jersey. But what is more annoying is that for the second consecutive year Lesniak has used the newspaper to bash the Elizabeth Board of Education. Not only did he bash the Board of Ed as a whole but he singled out its officials by name which was totally tasteless.
The Union County Alliance receives approximately 80% of its funding from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders which means that it is paid for with tax payer dollars. Though there is some advertising in the paper, it must be noted that those ads are mostly from public entities therefore these ads would be paid for with tax dollars as well. If this newspaper is to be a useful tool of information for the residents and paid for with their hard earned monies than Ray Lesniak’s opinion of the Elizabeth BOE has no place in the publication. Senator Lesniak can certainly well afford to self fund a mailing to every house in Union County as there are many county residents who would prefer to not be a part of his attacks paid for with their tax dollars.
What was once a worthy publication, years ago, has now transgressed into a publicly funded birdcage liner loaded with platitudes for the wonderful ways that the freeholders have developed to spend the taxpayers money without their approval. The front page article about the new Countywide Performing Arts High School at the Vo-Tech is proof positive that the freeholders could care less what the voters think. It would seem to be common sense that a borrowing scheme putting the county $20 million further in debt should really be subject to voter approval and not left to the total discretion of the gang of nine who are able to just quietly take what they want whenever they want passing the costs on to the taxpayers. Something is wrong with this picture especially since we learn about this additional debt by reading about how we all got screwed in this taxpayer funded political newspaper.
And where are the other members of the UC Alliance?
Conspicuously absent in this latest edition is the list of the Board of Directors as well as what companies comprise the coalition. Have they backed away and taken their funding with them preferring not to participate. And if they have good for them as it would certainly be long overdue.