FACT CHECK: First Rose-Lazzaro ad full of untruths
The first re-election ad put out by Freeholders Jonathan Rose and Carl Lazzaro is a doozy. It appeared in some of the weekly newspapers and is noteworthy for the litany of untruths and outright lies it contains.
Here is a copy of the actual text...
We checked the FACTS and it isn't pretty:
(1) Transparency. The Freeholder Board majority of Boss George Graham, Jonathan Rose, and Carl Lazzaro put together a so-called transparency committee made up of them and other county politicians... that's right, to judge the ethical problems of them and other county politicians. Ridiculous!
(2) Predictable Taxes. Yes, they are predictable in that county property taxes go up EVERY year. They outright lie when they claimed to keep tax increases "at or below the rate of inflation." Compare the annual inflation rates and the resulting tax increases for yourself...
YEAR Annual Inflation Rate Property Tax Increase
2015 0.1% 4.2%
2016 1.3% 3.5%
2017 2.1% 2.9%
(3) Efficient Government. Empire Building by Freeholder Boss George Graham has resulted in a lawsuit by Sussex County's Sheriff Mike Strada -- an attempt at keeping the Freeholders' from turning the Sheriff's department into a political patronage playpen for Graham and the boys. And while Sheriff Strada is fighting for the integrity of his department and protecting his employees from harassment and molestation by county insiders, Graham and the boys handed out sweetheart-deal pay raises to 50 white-collar cronies. They did this while telling every other county employee that they couldn't even have a cost-of-living adjustment -- and they did it in the middle of contract negotiations. The Freeholders have destroyed the morale and efficiency of county government.
(4) Solar Litigation. Rose and Lazzaro joined Freeholder Graham in hiring back the lawyers responsible for the solar fiasco and the resulting debt and property tax hikes. One lawyer they hired back as bond counsel after he gave a $2,000 campaign contribution to Graham. The other they gave a no-bid contract to for a study of the solar mess -- which, of course, whitewashed his role and the role of the bond counsel. Under Rose and Lazzaro and Graham the solar mess has only gotten more messy -- and there is still no plan to get our money back!
(5) Fix the Transportation Network. At public appearances, Freeholder Rose has called for scrapping the planned rail line into Sussex County that legislators like Steve Oroho, Gail Phoebus, Parker Space, and Hal Wirths have long fought for. Rose claims that the era of "driverless vehicles" is almost here and that we should wait for the future to arrive. This is as pie-in-the-sky as is Freeholder Rose's support for legalizing marijuana sales in New Jersey in the middle of an opioid epidemic that is killing thousands. Irresponsible.
(6) Promote Tourism. "Trails and bicycle lanes" won't bring people to Sussex County -- jobs and lower taxes will. Why can Warren County cut its county property taxes but Sussex County can't? Maybe it's because Warren County's Freeholders don't borrow unless the voters say so... Maybe it's because Warren County has two less Freeholders than Sussex County does?
Maybe it's time for Sussex County to make do with two less Freeholders?