There's Something About New Jersey
The New York Times
August 7, 2005
Elected officials have a right to keep their personal lives private. But there's something about New Jersey that seems to impel politicians to mix their love lives with the taxpayers' business.
When former Gov. James McGreevey revealed he was gay, it was impossible to support him on that count without pointing out that a public official, no matter what his sexual orientation, does not have a right to appoint the object of his affection to a post as security adviser. Now we have Senator Jon Corzine, who is currently running for governor, and his affair with Carla Katz, the president of a union that represents 9,000 state workers.
New Jersey voters tend to live and let live. In 2002, the news that Senator Corzine was ending his 33-year marriage caused hardly a ripple. And the discovery in the same year that he and Ms. Katz were a couple created only a modest stir. Given Mr. Corzine's wealth, the fact that he provided her with a $470,000 mortgage and forgave the debt after they ended their relationship might simply suggest that he was an extremely desirable boyfriend. The fact that he paid the gift tax gives him points for prudence.
But Ms. Katz's position as the president of Communications Workers of America Local 1034 puts another light on things entirely. There are few things the next governor of New Jersey will do that are more important than maintaining labor peace and keeping a lid on labor costs. The voters have a right to know exactly what sorts of debts Ms. Katz and Mr. Corzine have to one another.
Political opponents say Mr. Corzine should disclose any other loans, gifts or financial dealings between himself and Ms. Katz, and they are absolutely right. The fact that Mr. Corzine isn't willing to comply is disturbing. The state of New Jersey has a right to demand assurances that the next governor is not going to turn his private life into a public conflict of interest somewhere down the line.
I believe there are only two gubernatorial elections in the whole of the United States this year, and New Jersey's got one of them. (Naturally, New Jersey's is also the more important, due to population size and corresponding political weight.)
Of course, as a state that has been solidly Democratic for years now, Corzine is in the lead...but why do I feel like Corzine is a total schmuck? (As a person. In general, I like his platform.) And, of course, Forrester is too conservative to really have a chance in the state of Christie Whitman. >_< The entire nation will be watching the outcome of this election. Lucky us.
(Heck, I think the world was watching McGreevey when he resigned. New Jersey politics = cronyism. What a lovely thought.)
Oh, and yes
, I will be voting in this election. No need to ask.