Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Christie win tops the political year in review

Looking back on Jersey politics in 2009, the top stories are (no surprise here) Chris Christie's big win and corruption.

Christie win tops the political year in review


Looking back on Jersey politics in 2009, the top stories are (no surprise here) Chris Christie's big win and corruption.

So say Gannett's Michael Symons and the Record's Charlie Stile, each of whom has written a 10-part review of the past year. Both list Christie's victory in November as the year's top story. Symons cites the fact that he gave Republicans their first statewide win since 1997. Stile points out that Christie's moderate message won out over the more conservative wings of the GOP in a fight that has long divided the party.

From there the two lists differ on some specifics, but strike largely similar themes.

The rest of Symons' top 10:

2. The 44-person corruption sting that "startled even jaded local observers." The arrests included 29 public officials, mostly Democrats, just before the governor's race was set to heat up.

3. Sen. Stephen Sweeney, of Gloucester County, wins the Senate presidency, building South Jersey's political might with the help of his close ally, power broker George Norcross.

4. The state budget problems deepen as the recession pummels state revenues.

5. The economy continued to shed jobs.

6. Gov. Corzine's school funding formula is upheld, ending the controversial "Abbott" designations for 31 mostly poor, urban districts and unifying the state's education aid.

7. Property taxes top $7,000 while rebates are cut.

8. A bill to legalize same-sex marriage, which once seemed assured of passage, stumbles. As the year ends, it appears to be a long-shot, at best.

9. H1N1 kills 39 New Jerseyans.

10. A winter storm in the year's closing years batters the state, particularly the shore.

As for Stile's list:

2. Multiple job-holders face public rebuke.

3. Sweeney.

4. Corruption stings hit "political braggarts" caught on tape boasting of their ill-gotten clout.

5. Rebates cut.

6. The Democratic machine is hammered by corruption convictions.

7. Wealthy candidates "lose their luster." See: Corzine, Jon. Bloomberg, Michael.

8. "Flimsy" ethics laws exposed in a North Jersey corruption trial.

9. The "New Jersey Party Democracy" Act attempts to open up the political process in county committees.

10. Pay-to-play databases are updated to better track the flow of money in local politics.

Tough for me to argue with either list - but did they miss anything?

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Garden State Grapevine covers news in South Jersey and Trenton.

The Grapevine is put together by the 20 journalists on the Inquirer's award-winning South Jersey team.

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