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Politics & Government

Common Sense: Interesting times

It certainly seems that New Jersey Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez — who has been accused of soliciting and accepting bribes for political favors — is in very serious legal trouble. At least on paper, it appears that the federal government has a strong case. The trial, which started last week, is expected to take six to eight weeks.

If Menendez were to be convicted of any one of the charges, he would resign from the Senate, allowing Republican Governor Chris Christie to name a replacement.  I wonder if the outgoing governor would appoint himself. He has the authority and it has happened before.

The public outrage would be quick, loud and vicious. Of course, Christie has in the past turned a deaf ear to public opinion. Worse yet, public outrage seems to feed him.  

I feel bad for the citizens of New Jersey. They may be faced with an extraordinarily unpopular governor designating himself to be the replacement for a corrupt U.S. senator.  It has not happened yet, but it is well within the realm of possibility.

Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis aired her first TV commercial last week. The spot, which is running with great frequency on a number of cable stations, highlights her record and takes a shot (a punch, actually) at Mayor de Blasio’s documented need to take a nap in the afternoon.

Malliotakis is high energy. The spot perfectly reflects her style. It shows her in a gym wearing boxing gloves, hitting a punching bag with her record on issues streaming underneath.

As it turns out, she owns the gloves and boxing is a favorite exercise for Nicole. When some legislators are looking to see who they can join for dinner after session in Albany, Nicole often can be found at a gym taking boxing lessons from trainers who work with women.  

The commercial is good. It has received a great deal of attention both for its quality and its message. It is a recent development in a campaign that has surprised many of the political pundits who thought it would be difficult for a Republican to get the attention of the mayor and, more importantly, the electorate. She has done both.

In May when this all began, many of us were saying she would surprise people. Her exceptional progress is no longer a surprise. It is a steady march to what will be a winning outcome in November against an increasingly unpopular mayor.

Disgraced Staten Island attorney Richard Luthmann did not like my column last week which suggested he should be suspended or disbarred from the practice of law for creating fake Facebook accounts with fabricated information designed to discredit and defame mostly female politicians.

Presently, an investigation is being conducted by a special prosecutor to see if a charge of identity theft is appropriate. The bar association has a lower standard for action when there is evidence that an attorney is involved in unethical activities.

I assume the Reform Party state counsel is actually concerned about having been caught and being forced to defend himself. Incredibly, the basis of his defense is that the U.S. Constitution gives him the right under free speech to make up things anonymously about people who are public figures.

I cannot wait for him to use this defense at a formal hearing.

The guy is a bully that many people consider a buffoon and simply wish would go away. But, bullies only go away when people stand up to them. I believe this is beginning to be understood.  

I hope he can become an example that will result in others thinking twice before they use a social media outlet to defame people anonymously.

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Dorothy Carroll, the mother of Democratic Leader Kevin Peter Carroll. I knew Dorothy well. I would see and chat with her several times a week. In fact, the day before she went into the hospital, we had a chance to talk.

Dorothy was a very nice lady, always smiling, humorous, never a bad thing to say about anyone. She was not all that interested in politics, but she was interested in anything and everything about Kevin Peter. May she rest In peace and may her family find solace in knowing that she will be missed by many.

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