In my last article on New Jersey’s 39th Legislative District, I discussed how Republican State Senator Gerald "Gerry" Cardinale has become entangled in the "culture of corruption" (to borrow a national term) that plagues New Jersey. To recap, in 2000 Cardinale introduced four pieces of legislation to improve profits for the banking industry; over the next two months, he received nearly $6,000 in vacation money from the same industries he was proposing to streamline. Coincidence? I don’t think so, Gerry. Luckily, Democrat Joe Ariyan, his opponent has been taking it to Gerry on the stump and in their debates. You can learn more about him at Voice for the 39th - Ariyan, Fletcher and Manna
Now, I could go on and on about the various reasons to fire Cardinale – from his staunch opposition on every progressive issue (Stem-Cell research, gay rights, a women’s right to choose, you name it) to his ethics problems (he’s taken more lobbyist money than any other legislator in Trenton) to his reputation as a bully (more on that in the next article). But why should I, when a simple YouTube advertisement can do the trick?
I don’t know who created it, but whoever it was did a damn good job at making Gerry’s ethics an issue. For when it comes down to it, as you can see for yourself, Gerry Cardinale doesn’t believe in ethics reform. His declaration of "I can’t be bought with a trip" is laughable when one considers his unconditional support for the banking and pharmaceutical industries in New Jersey; after all, if you got a free vacation every time you did a favor for a "friend", you’d be pretty supportive of that friend yourself.
Now, to the tape:
Just so it’s clear, Cardinale didn’t take $1,000 vacations each year – they occurred in fits and starts, usually occurring when important legislation came up in his committees (from 1992-2002, the Republicans held a majority in the State Senate, and until 2004 had equal status). And I for one would like to know why Gerry Cardinale keeps a Caribbean vacation home. Isn’t the Jersey Shore enough for us common folk? It’s obviously not enough for Gerry Cardinale, and it’s something his constituents probably don’t know. I think that if NJ-39 residents knew that their State Senator was taking free vacations to warm beaches and secluded resorts while they were struggling to pay their property taxes and hold their communities together from eminent domain abuse, they’d throw his derrière out of Trenton.
Hopefully they’ll do just that, and elect Joe Ariyan instead. Joe currently serves as Bergen County’s Public Land Advocate, so his job is to go to the people and help them fight bad development and improve their own financial positions. Joe’s not a wealthy retired dentist like Cardinale, so he also works as an attorney. He’s a progressive on social issues, fiscally responsible and eager to help pass reforms to our state government if elected. He’ll be a reliable vote for change in Trenton – Gerry Cardinale is a reliable vote against it.
For your information, the 39th District is located in the northern part of Bergen County, consisting of 28 towns. You can find a map at Map of the 39th If you or someone you know lives in one of those towns, then let them know that November 6th is Election Day. This race is going to be close, so every vote counts. And stay tuned for my next column, about Gerry Cardinale’s nasty side...