“Codey’s an idiot,” et. al.

August 19, 2008

“Codey’s an idiot, and you can print that,” said Zoffinger. That’s the best line in this write-up about Zofflinger, by Mulcahy III publicist (oops, apparently he claims to be a journalist) Rick Malwitz. Certainly, we think Three Ring Codey is a flaming idiot as well as a poster boy for the Trenton culture of thuggery and theft that has transformed the Garden State into one big patronage pit. Codey is garbage with legs and, yes, Mr. Zofflinger, an idiot in the bargain.

Meantime, the GOP in Piscataway is pointing blaming fingers at the town’s Democratic mayor, claiming that passes he got that allowed entry into the Presidential box at Rutgers football games constitute a kind of payola. Our take on this: get real. We cannot imagine there exists a soul that desires to sup with Slick McCormick. The mayor may be bent, but his Presidential passes are no evidence of anything other than a willingness to waste autumn Saturdays with dreary company.

And then there is Fran Wood’s piece from 8-17, “Rutgers Shows Disrespect for the Public” (not online). Amen. Wood laments: “a lack of transparency has permeated the stadium project and the football
program in general.”

Wood adds: “In a recent oped in this paper, Rutgers athletic director Robert Mulcahy insisted stadium expansion is going just as planned. Others say that it is running behind, that they are rethinking future phases, and that a projected $30 million in public donations seems a pipe dream. Could it be that some of the prime movers still think we taxpayers can’t handle the truth?”

Indeed, because Mulcahy III also claims a chimerical $5 million profit earned by football in 2007 which is an outright lie. Let us see an audited p & l statement for Rutgers football. One that takes into account such things as a use fee for the stadium, grounds maintenance, gameday security — charge them all appropriately to football and what happens to the “profit?” Losses are the norm in Division I football and claiming Rutgers is in the black presupposes a very stupid audience (and, yes, we know the boosters have jumped on this and run it up their wobbly flag pole…but didn’t we say something about stupid?).

And there are closing thoughts from onetime Rutgers administrator Norman McNatt. Here is his letter to the New York Times:

To the Editor:

As a Rutgers alumnus and former administrator, I found your editorial both sad and enraging.

You correctly identify a failure of leadership at Rutgers and the shared responsibility of the State Legislature. But the failure reaches further than the president’s office, and the Legislature’s complicity has been compounded by its long-term neglect of the academic needs of Rutgers.

Two Rutgers presidents have essentially abdicated direction of athletics to athletics boosters on the boards of trustees and governors and to an athletic director obsessed by a chimera. Four of the nine members of the new athletics review committee set up by the university’s president, Richard L. McCormick, are current or former members of the Rutgers governing boards. The committee’s findings are all too predictable.

Rutgers, once a proud private university, was co-opted by the State of New Jersey in 1956 to become the state university. But the once-substantial public support promised for Rutgers has steadily fallen.

Big-time athletics, touted to offset financing cuts, has cost Rutgers its academic stature. Twenty years ago, six graduate programs were ranked in the top 10 nationally. Today, only one is in that distinguished company.

Norman McNatt
Princeton Junction, N.J.

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“A Media Wasteland”

August 13, 2008

You look at the Schianogate circus –the hidden payments, the nepotism, the construction mismanagement and you know there is worse, much worse, but you wonder why despite recent valiant efforts, particularly in the Star Ledger and the Bergen Record, so much goes unreported.

For an answer, read this week’s New York Observer, which documents the demise of journalistic resources in New Jersey. Bureaus closed, reporters laid off, investigations that cannot be funded. The state could be stolen and there might be no one left standing to report on the heist.

Even Three Ring Codey expresses dismay about the collapse of journalism in the Garden State. (He reads! Who knew?)

All of which puts us in mind of this paragraph from The Soprano State:

“Sometimes people joke that New Jersey’s sky-high taxes are almost justified by pointing to the legislature — a collection of misfits, self-serving loons, and boss-created puppets — and asking, ‘Where else could you have so much entertainment in one place?'”

That book, incidentally, has page after page documenting how UMDNJ was little more than a trough for swilling political hacks. Of course the Rutgers community long reassured itself, not us, we are no UMDNJ.

Are you still confident saying that? With the political featherbedding in the upper reaches of the McCormick Administration? The fuzzy math accounting beloved by Mulcahy III? The truck-loads of secret cash for Greedy Greg Schiano?

We know we will no longer insist Rutgers is any different at all. It is well on its way to becoming just another New Jersey public institution. In fact that is not true. There is no becoming about it. Rutgers now is home to “misfits, self-serving loons, and boss-created puppets” — and right there is a New Jersey tragedy.