Entries in Alison McHose (3)


The sad fates of those who trusted Freeholder Boss Graham

Around the County Courthouse in Newton they have a saying... George Graham makes a lot of friends, but doesn't keep any for long. 

Graham rose in Sussex County politics from a local Democrat official to the Republican boss of county government.  His political consulting business -- York Strategies -- was once closely associated with the campaigns of a number of Democrat candidates in Hudson County.  Remember Assembly Speaker Joe Doria?  The Hudson County Democrat was Governor Jim Florio's legislative point man in the passage of the most restrictive firearms ban in our nation's history.

George Graham and his political consulting business, York Strategies, worked for Joe Doria in Hudson County.  Graham was a registered Democrat when he worked for Doria. 

George Graham was a lifelong Democrat until switching to Republican to vote in the primary against conservatives Alison McHose and Gary Chiusano.  In the General Election that year, Graham donated to their liberal Democrat opponents and switched back from Republican to Democrat in order to vote in the 2008 Democrat presidential primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. 

Afraid of losing his seat on Stanhope council, a desperate Graham switched again to Republican, his current party today.  In a matter of a few years time, George Graham flipped from Democrat to Republican, back to Democrat, and then to Republican again. Graham has been a Democrat for most of his adult life and affiliated with liberals for much of that time.

Graham's political consulting business, York Strategies, which included partner James Barracato, came up with slogans like "Joe Doria is full time Bayonne" and "I'm with Joe," according to the Hudson Reporter newspaper.  Although no longer a member of the Legislature, Joe Doria is still on the campaign trail with Jim Florio, only now they campaign for gun control and against the NRA (National Rifle Association).  At a recent gathering the two called for new constraints on the Second Amendment, with Joe Doria calling the NRA "dirty".  Not to be outdone, Florio added that the manufacturers and sellers of guns were, in his words, "Merchants of Death." 

As a Republican, George Graham closely aligned himself with former Freeholder Glen Vetrano.  In 2012, Vetrano and Graham engineered the victory of Dennis Mudrick, who was elected to the Freeholder Board. 

But it didn't take long for Graham to deep six his former friends.  After securing election to the Freeholder Board himself in 2013, the following year Graham instigated the ethics investigation that brought down Vetrano, and in 2015 he ran Jonathan Rose and Carl Lazzaro against incumbent Freeholder Mudrick, who was defeated in the primary.

In 2016, Graham became the boss of the Freeholder Board -- controlling a majority made up of him, Rose, and Lazzaro.  After winning the primary that year, he successfully talked Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus into challenging Senator Steve Oroho for his seat in 2017.  This move essentially ended Phoebus' political career as well.  

Not content with ruining Assemblywoman Phoebus, Graham moved on to Republican candidate for Freeholder Herb Yardley, who Graham deliberately sought to hobble so that Democrat Dan Perez might win and the join Graham, Rose, and Lazzaro on the Freeholder Board.  Worse still was the fact that Graham involved Freeholders Jonathan Rose and Carl Lazzaro in supporting the Democrat. 

And that is why we are where we are today. 


All this so Phoebus can sign-off on a liberal judge?

As a young married man, just starting a family, Steve Oroho got involved in public policy by going to March for Life walks and as a numbers-cruncher for W. R. Grace and Company -- who fed those numbers into something called the Grace Commission, set up President Ronald Reagan to find ways to make government run efficiently.  Steve's son was Senator Bob Littell's paper boy, and it was through him that he met Bob and became the Senator's campaign treasurer.

Alison Littell McHose urged Steve to get involved in local government in Franklin Borough.  He started with the economic development committee and then was elected to borough council.  He helped the town manage its debt and brought in new procedures to monitor spending.  Steve was elected to the freeholder board in 2004, where he worked with Hal Wirths and Gary Chiusano to overhaul Sussex County's budget process and establish fiscal restraint.

In 2007, he stood for State Senate after Senator Bob Littell became too ill to run for re-election.   Steve was the underdog.  Nobody in Trenton thought he could win and none of the usual sources of fundraising were open to him.  But Steve had been asked by leaders in the Sussex County community to run anyway, to try to keep the Senate seat in Sussex County.  His opponent was a Morris County resident and Morris County was crowded with Senate seats. Sussex County only had one. 

So Steve put his own money up.  It was a hardship for him and his growing family, but he did it anyway, because he listened and understood that Sussex County needed its own Senator.  That counties without proper representation become orphans in Trenton and got short shrift.  Running with an all-Sussex team of Alison Littell McHose, Gary Chiusano, Hal Wirths, and Jeff Parrott -- Steve and the whole team won. 

Since then, Steve has served Sussex County, Northwest New Jersey, and the 24th Legislative District.  Whenever a Republican candidate has needed resources, Steve has been there, putting his hand in his pocket or raising it.  Whenever the county GOP was broke and needed money, Steve has seen them through.  When the state party and Republican legislative candidates needed money, Steve has given it or raised it for them.  Conservative organizations have turned to Steve and he has never let them down.  Christian charities, places where young women can have their babies instead of being financially pressed into abortion, have turned to Steve -- and he has never turned them away. 

When Americans for Prosperity (AFP) put up a candidate for Governor, Steve Oroho incurred the wrath of Chris Christie but Steve would not go against AFP's candidate.  And when that man said that he would be a candidate for the United States Senate against Cory Booker, Steve was among the first to rally to his side.

As Senator, Steve has worked with conservative think tanks to fashion model conservative legislation.  Steve serves as chairman of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and he's carried legislation for the NRA and other Second Amendment groups.  He is the prime sponsor of the Pro-Life community's most important piece of legislation.  He has championed the cause of religious liberty and traditional values. 

The business community -- small and large -- has relied on Steve Oroho to protect them from big government and over-regulation.  And he has protected both the job creators and the taxpayers.  Against great odds and with both chambers controlled by the Democrats, Steve has the best record of passing tax cuts in Trenton.  In fact, the Star-Ledger tracked the legislative success of legislators and found that of the top ten, only one was a Republican -- Steve Oroho.

It's true that Steve Oroho doesn't sound like Donald Trump.  He doesn't talk trash about those he disagrees with.  Instead, Steve engages in a policy discussion with them.  He comes armed with facts not curse words.  He is patient, courteous, and kind to those with whom he disagrees.  And that's why he gets other legislators, even Democrats, to see his way.

In 2011, the Tea Party got mad at Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose because she wouldn't support a liberal for the Republican nomination for United States Senate.  That liberal was Dick LaRossa, a former State Senator who the NRA had walked away from in 1996.  The Tea Party had been sweet-talked by Dick.  They liked Dick and thought he was the next big thing.  That all came to nothing.  So, seeking revenge, the Tea Party ran two candidates in District 24 against McHose and Gary Chiusano.  One Tea Party candidate got 5 percent of the vote.  The other got 2 percent.

Now they want to do it again.  And it's all over the appointment of a liberal judge to the Superior Court.  Senator Steve Oroho won't do it.  But a Senator Gail Phoebus would. 

The Tea Party has chosen as its issue the gas tax portion of the tax restructuring package.  The one tax in a five-tax-cuts package.  They have been attacking Steve Oroho for weeks using the most graphic, violent and pornographic language.  The vicious rumors have been spread by people who once turned to him in their need.  Why do some people feel the need to damage someone they called "friend" and spread filth just because they disagree over a single policy?  These are people who claim to believe in God -- but what Creator would license this type of behavior towards that which is His?

We don't believe that the Tea Party will be any more successful this time than it was in 2011.  But one day, Steve Oroho will leave the scene.  And who will fill his shoes?  Then the Tea Party will be singing a different tune:


NJ Herald continues its attack on reality

Let's be clear, the New Jersey Herald is not a non-profit entity representing Sussex County.  It is owned by the for-profit Quincy Media corporation of Quincy, Illinois.  It is mainly a broadcast company, owning radio and television stations throughout the mid-west.  The corporation's only holding on the east coast, one of two newspapers it owns, is the New Jersey Herald. 


This corporation makes its millions in profit off advertising revenues.  It is not the words written by the reporters or the news shows on radio or television that matter -- they simply get eyes on the page -- it is all those advertisements for vinyl siding, used cars, socks, and suppositories.  That is where the money is, let's be clear on that.  Let's also be clear that the Herald isn't published for the benefit of the community, it is published to make a profit by a for-profit corporation over 1,000 miles away.  The day it doesn't make money and they see no hope of it making money, it will be gone. 


The Herald is still pissed off at Senator Oroho for suggesting that property taxes could be reduced by not requiring state, county, and local governments to pay media corporations to place all those public legal notices and advertisements in the back of newspapers.  Governmental entities have their own websites on which they could publish all those notices and advertisements for free.  Forcing them to pay newspapers to do so appears redundant and it costs taxpayers millions in property tax revenues.  It's like a mandated direct government subsidy to the newspaper/advertising industry.


Has the Herald ever covered this subject?  Have they ever written about it?  This is millions in property tax revenue that could be saved.  Doesn't that at least warrant a discussion?  But instead of a mature, honest, above-board discussion about a way to save taxpayers' money and maybe use that money to cut property taxes, what we have instead is a hissy fit followed by the big hate.


So now the Herald is in hate mode.  Big hate.  They want to screw somebody, and to do so they will blatantly ignore the facts about an issue, and will fashion a narrative by selectively using the voices of others, while preventing some from being heard.  This is accomplished by publishing letters to the editor from people who are attacking the object of the newspaper's hatred, while not publishing others.  On the comments page, they permit some to post comments but not others.  Both the Herald staff and its attorney admit to doing this by applying selective "criteria" in determining who gets to post -- something unique to the Herald.


Sunday's Herald was a case in point.  The New Jersey Herald published the letters of three Oroho haters (Nathan Orr, Troy Orr, and Bob Klymaz) who often publish in the Herald.


One letter, by Assembly candidate Nathan Orr, takes aim at Watchdog itself and calls us "an anonymous blogger".  Now as every reader of this website knows, we are a collective and we print whatever is sent to us and withhold names only upon request.  We do so in keeping with the longstanding American tradition of anonymous speech.  Benjamin Franklin published his attacks against the establishment of the day, anonymously, and one of the central documents in our founding are the Federalist Papers, also written anonymously.  Indeed, no less than the United States Supreme Court has defended the right to publish anonymously.  In its 1995 decision in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, the Court ruled:


"Anonymity is a shield... It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular:  to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation."


Ask yourself this question:  What would have happened to the county worker who tipped us off about the unsafe work environment in its offices a couple years back?  We published, the Herald and others followed, and the situation was corrected.  If we had published the name, that employee would have been retaliated against and when the Herald reporter called, too scared to tell the truth.  The same goes for the scheme to sell the county dump and a dozen others.   


When citizens had information regarding the solar scam, it was Watchdog -- NOT the NJ Herald -- who brought their information to the FBI, the United States Justice Department, and Attorney General's office.  It was Watchdog -- NOT the NJ Herald -- that arranged those meetings. Where was the Herald? This website has protected the anonymity of dozens of whistleblowers.  Would candidate Orr have us turn whistleblowers over to be punished? 


Just last week, the NJ Herald was ignoring the upcoming solar presentation until we published and they followed in the nick of time to help make sure citizens turned out.  But where is the Herald's editorial about the NO-BID CONTRACT handed to the law firm that both George Graham and Gail Phoebus said should have been fired for their handling of the bailout?  There is none. 


It was left to Watchdog to point out this turnabout by Freeholder Director Graham, who is now the biggest cheerleader for the firm he wanted fired last year.  The Herald doesn't rock the boat with advertisers.


In his letter, candidate Nathan Orr makes much of the 11 percent he picked up in the 2015 Republican primary for Assembly, in which he edged out Marie Bilik for third place (Parker Space and Gail Phoebus won easily).  What candidate Orr doesn't realize, and any political scientist will tell him, is that in a highly contested, negative-filled primary like that was; one in which every candidate was being attacked -- except for Orr, who was being entirely ignored -- he served as a kind of "none-of-the-above" opt-out for voters.  People weren't so much voting for him, because he did nothing to communicate his message, as they were voting against everyone else.  In fact, Nathan Orr has tested so poorly in subsequent polling, that he is no longer tested at all.  It is a waste of a question because nobody knows him.  Sorry.


But that hasn't stopped Nathan Orr from giving us all the benefit of his "wisdom" on some very complicated issues.  Orr is fond of stating the obvious, such as "our Legislature should be decreasing taxes" and even more so of putting down others with snarky, juvenile comments.  Nathan Orr is Sussex County's Rachel Maddow.


Here are some questions for this candidate and public figure:  Have you worked out a detailed plan to solve any problem, even a little one?  Can you come up with even a minor reform and then follow it through:  Meet with your legislators, ask them to set up a meeting with the Department of Transportation, and show them your better way?  Have you ever gone down to Trenton to testify for or against a piece of legislation?  Any legislation?  Anything at all?  Do you get involved in the local government of your town?  On an economic development committee even?  Have you ever worked with a democratic body of any kind to learn how difficult it is to find agreement?


And while we're at it, let's pose those questions to the other letter writers who seem to have all the answers, but who somehow never show up to do any of the hard work to actually make it happen.  Frankly, the NJ Herald letters page is beginning to sound like a stream-of-consciousness play set in a bar. Everything is simpler looking through the bottom of beer glass.  "Come on Joe, let's have another, if we keep drinking like this we'll solve all of America's problems and the world's too!"


Nathan Orr is a particularly young version of an Ann Smulewicz type.  The comment pages of the Herald are full of this type:  People who are in politics but who lack the honesty to own up to it.  Instead, they push the idea that elected officials are some alien life form -- "bad", to their "good".  And corporations like Quincy Media exploit this to sell newspapers. 


They dehumanize fellow human beings so they can more easily urge others to destroy them.  So Steve Oroho, a neighbor, the football coach at Pope John, active in community organizations and charities, is portrayed as this evil alien being.  And they've done the same thing to farmer Parker Space, and military mom Alison Littell McHose, and businesswoman Gail Phoebus, and high school sports hero Gary Chiusano, and platoon leader Mike Strada, and businessman Jeff Parrott, and the list goes on and on.  All our neighbors, all people we know, all people who we can walk up and talk to anytime. 


The Nathan Orrs of the world don't talk to people, they talk at them.  They dehumanize them, turn them into "things" that need to be destroyed.  And corporations like Quincy Media exploit this to sell newspapers.  Maybe it's time we've learned more about the person behind the corporate label -- Mr. Ralph Oakley of Quincy, Illinois -- before allowing him to manipulate us into hating our neighbors?