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Archive for September 25th, 2008

By Jeff M. Wilson

Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson along with Federal Reserve Board Chariman Ben Bernanke offered to solve all of the current Wall Street credit problems. Their solution, Congress remits to them a blank check payable for $700 Billion. That’s slightly less than $2,300 from every man, woman and child in the United States. To paraphrase a member of Congress, “it’s like a paying an arsonist to put out the fire.”

Maybe it’s time we fire the arsonists.

Secretary Paulson, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth with a Harvard M.B.A., is brilliant. Having started at Goldman Sachs in 1974, he rose through the ranks to become Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs from the firm’s initial public offering in 1999 until his swearing in as Treasury Secretary in July 2006. It is more than ironic that he has amassed much of his personal of fortune of $500 million by creating and selling the very “toxic waste” investments that he is proposing that we, the U.S. taxpayers buy.

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NEWARK – A paralegal for a New Jersey attorney who conducted real estate closings in connection with a fraudulent scheme involving NJ Affordable Homes, Corp. (NJAH), a purported real estate investment company, pleaded guilty Tuesday to falsifying loan documents which were submitted to a mortgage company for a loan insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

Sydney Raposo, 41, of Rahway, who served as a paralegal for a lawyer identified by the initials A.N., whose law firm was located in Cranford, pleaded guilty to a one-count Information, charging her with making false statements to HUD relating to a federally insured mortgage loan issued by a mortgage lender.

In a hearing before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares, Raposo admitted to preparing materially false and fraudulent HUD-1 Universal Settlement Statements that falsely showed that A.N.’s clients – who were merely “nominee buyers” – had paid money to purchase the properties, and thus had equity in the properties, when she, and A.N., knew they had not.

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by Arthur Londensky

Unprotected high-rise buildings in New Jersey pose serious risks of loss of life, injury and economic strain for thousands of New Jersey residents and firefighters. Recently, the Department of Community Affairs passed on proposed high-rise fire sprinkler retrofit regulations that would address this significant public safety issue, citing costs to New Jersey families in the current economic climate. While the Department chose not to act on these regulations now, the fire service community strongly urges the state, the Department and Commissioner Doria to keep his promise and address high-rise fire protection as quickly as possible before a tragedy strikes. If our state acts now, it can make proper high-rise fire protection a reality and avoid the risk, the devastation, the loss of life, and the financial hardships on local municipalities and fire services of high-rise fires.

High-rise fires take an unbearable life-safety and economic toll on communities. Firefighters are forced to fight high-rise fires head on, carrying hoses and equipment as they go and endangering their chances to reach the fire at hand and evacuate residents. The cost of a fire sprinkler head present in apartments to help keep a fire suppressed ultimately pales in comparison to the potential loss of resident and firefighter lives in addition to the necessary 100+ firefighters and multiple hours of service involved to contain and suppress a raging high-rise fire. Moreover, throughout New Jersey, many fire departments staff volunteer firefighters, who face greater challenges and available resources to respond to fires of this magnitude. In the end, New Jersey’s communities can’t afford the monetary and manpower resources necessary to face a high-rise fire, and so can’t afford to have unprotected high-rise buildings.

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by Diane Norek Harrison

ELIZABETH-Here are some great memories from Elizabeth resident Barbara Bebert Evers:

 “Dear Diane, Here are a few of my memories of growing up on Elmora Avenue. The avenue has changed a lot since the 1950s. The cars drove much slower and there was no tractor trailer traffic.

“Saturday afternoon was spent at the Elmora movie with a double feature matinee for 25 cents. Little Mary, the candy lady, would lose her patience with the crowd of kids who attacked her counter all at once. Wednesday was “dish night” when the moms saw a movie and got a dish or cup to add to their growing set. At this time the whole neighborhood would be eating off the same set of dishes.

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