Home Rule Run Amok

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The Record’s Charles Stile profiles Senator Gerald Cardinale, Republican from Demerest, whose remarks on the Senator floor this week constituted “a racially tinged attack” which is now “mainstream, GOP orthodoxy.”

According to Stile, when the Senate Democrats tried to override one of Gov. Christie’s vetoes –the one slashing funding for NJ After 3, which provides afterschool programming for poor urban kids — Cardinale went off:

“If it is so beneficial, why don’t you tax your own people to help your own children?” Cardinale protested on the Senate floor, his comments targeting Essex County Democrats who represent Newark. “Why are you taxing people from the 39th District (in Bergen County) and sending that money to other places?”

Home rule has its charms: quaint villages with distinctive personalities, a sense of belonging. Senator Cardinale demonstrates the ugly side of home rule: its provincialism, its xenophobia, and, yes, its racism. Hard to go from there to Stile’s more general condemnation of Senate Republicans, but at least one of them should hand Cardinale a muzzle.

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