Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What Does the Rule of Law Mean in New Jersey? (It Means that Ms. Lopez Gets to Keep Her Public Office.)

As I understand it, according to New Jersey law, Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez can be a council member of Jersey City only if she was a resident of Jersey City when she was elected (and was a resident for some time before that). At the time Ms. Lopez was elected she had claimed Florida as her domicile and had thereby avoided paying taxes on her self-declared homestead there. In addition, she had not paid New Jersey income taxes (or business taxes) for some years. (Florida has no income taxes.) On her federal income tax return Ms. Lopez had declared that Florida was her residence. Nonetheless, an esteemed New Jersey trial judge ruled that Ms. Lopez was a resident of New Jersey. I guess the eminent trial judge peered into Ms. Lopez's soul and saw that no matter what Ms. Lopez might have said and done, New Jersey was, in Ms. Lopez's inner heart, her real residence, that that's where she intended to reside. You cynics you! Behold! Here you see a judge with ... er ... uh ... ah ... oh yes ... courage, no?

In the meantime Jersey City is governed by the Hon. Jerramiah Healy, Public Official 1 or 4 (so identified in indictments and criminal complaints), that fervent admirer of the presumption of innocence (for his appointed and indicted deputy mayor and former treasurer of his election campaign, in any event). Mr. Healy of course had utterly no idea that the fake bribes his deputy mayor took from the remarkable Mr. Solomon Dwek for the mayor's election campaign committee were illegal (even though Mr. Mayor was present on two occasions when Mr. Dwek offered the money to the deputy mayor in exchange for some help with a fake real estate development).

Oh yes, the indicted president of the Jersey City council also remains in office -- and votes on real estate tax abatement proposals for major developers and on other such unimportant matters. That's heartening too -- for it shows that he too believes in the presumption of innocence.

Well, let's see. I wonder how many unindicted Jersey City council members are left. One, two, ....

Mr. Putin should come to New Jersey and see how the rule of law works. He would find much to emulate here.


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