By Max Pizarro | July 15th, 2008 - 2:54pm
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Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan said he is finalizing the lawsuit he intends to file in Bergen County Superior Court against the State of New Jersey next week, attacking Gov. Jon Corzine’s decision to borrow $3.9 billion to build new schools.

"We’re going into court and we’re attacking the facts," said the Republican. "First, the schools are not crumbling. The Oliver School (in the Ironbound, where Corzine signed the borrowing bill) is a beautiful building.

"Second," he said, "we’re going after the assertion that these towns can't afford to pay anything for schools. They can afford taxes."

The lawsuit would be Lonegan’s fourth against the State of New Jersey since 2000.

"We haven't seen the lawsuit, but Governor Corzine has been consistent in his belief that there is a legal and moral obligation to ensure every child in New Jersey has a safe, clean, healthy environment to learn in without any further delay," said governor’s spokesman Sean Darcy. "We also believe it is imperative to begin to get shovels in the ground as quickly as possible to create jobs in New Jersey in the face of this national recession."

But Lonegan claims the plan is an error of first principle.

"The whole schools construction program they put together is a disaster," he said of the New Jersey Supreme Court. "The court is leading the state down a path of fiscal disaster."

A possible challenger for governor in 2009, the hard right Lonegan, moreover, said the new Schools Development Authority represents no significant change from the discredited and now-defunct Schools Construction Corporation.

"There’s definitely union pressure, that’s definitely part of it," he said of the governor’s decision to green light schools construction statewide. "The other part of it is a general philosophical belief in the centralized control of everything."

One of the authors of the bill signed last week ago by Corzine, Assemblywoman Grace Spencer (D-Newark) predicted then that criticism of the $3.9 billion borrowing measure would provoke harsh criticism, but argued that the measure is justified. Specifically, she addressed the Oliver Street School.

"On the outside, yes, it is a beautiful building, but on the inside, it’s not viable for our kids to thrive in this community," said Spencer. "No matter how glamorous it is on the outside, it’s overcrowded on the inside. We’re talking about paint peeling off the wall and classrooms in closets."

The Back Room

The Politics of Monkey Business

The New York Times had an interesting thumbsucker over the weekend that presents the implosion of former U.S. Senator Gary Hart - a 1988 presidential contender - as a significant event in American politics.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 22nd

Winners and Losers: Week of September 15th WINNERS Chris Christie NBC News reported Thursday evening that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has determined after a nine-month investigation that there is 'no evidence" so far that the governor had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures...

Op-Ed

Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

Contributors

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 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"In many ways, Fulop has embraced McGreevey’s granular-level approach to retail politics, racing around the state to raise money for congressional candidates in South Jersey one night, showing up at a Morris County Democratic Party function the next. His administration has also awarded legal work to Weiner Lesniak, the Parsippany-based firm run by state Sen. Ray Lesniak, the Union County Democratic Party power broker." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

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