George Amick, long-time editorial writer for the Times of Trenton and now a political columnist, always makes a lot of sense. Monday’s column on “perp walks” and political corruption in New Jersey not only made sense, it made me feel better about the Garden State. Of the several reasons he offered on why New Jersey has a reputation for corruption, the one that makes thevery
most sense “is that New Jersey has more dishonest public officeholders because we have more public office holders, period.”
Where I grew up, Baltimore County
, is no stranger to corruption. The county’s most famous bribery villain, Spiro Agnew
, resigned as Nixon’s vice president because of bribery charges dating back when he was Baltimore County Executive. He was the only U.S. vice president to resign because of a criminal charge.
But even Baltimore County can’t match New Jersey, because it has no sub-fiefdoms. Its school systems has 22 high schools.
Mercer County, in contrast, has 13 municipalities, each with just one or two high schools. Amick points out are that these municipalities are “governed by part-time officials…whose only guide is a woefully inadequate and erratically administered state ethics code.”
I can’t link this blog to Amick’s column
until tomorrow, so support newspapers and go buy today’s edition. But I must quote his quote of Mark Twain.
“It was Pudd’nhead Wilson who recommended, contrary to the old proverb, that you put all your eggs in one basket — ‘and then watch that basket.’ New Jersey has far too many baskets. “