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

Brindle's PolitickerNJ Op-Ed a Must-Read

We are privileged to run today an opinion piece by Jeff Brindle, executive director of the state Election Law Enforcement Commision (ELEC). In the piece, Brindle lays out a blueprint for how to make party organizations stronger in order "to stave off the ever-growing influence of outside groups."

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 21st

'We believe in redemption': Roque heads into 2015 with full backing of the HCDO WEST NEW YORK – When local pain specialist Dr. Felix Roque delivered U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) from discomfort and restored him to the golf course, the congressman in return indulged the political fancies of...

Op-Ed

Five ideas for strengthening the state's political parties

By Jeff Brindle An August 15, 2014 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Chesler reaffirmed the place of political parties in the State’s electoral system. By rejecting arguments that unaffiliated voters should have a right to vote in... Read More >

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