NBC lies in "hit job" by Bergen Democrat

Sarah Wallace is a Bergen County Democrat.  She is what’s called a “hard” Democrat – totally loyal to her party, never missing an election, always supporting whatever Clinton or Murphy that appears on the ballot.  And she is proud of it.

Given the public information available about her, we were surprised when we learned that NBC – the parent company of Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC – chose her to do a segment on the primary campaign between Sheriff Mike Strada and Jail Guard Andy Boden.  Especially as Boden had previously bragged to a member of the local, Sussex County media, that the interview was going to be a “hit job” on Sheriff Strada.

Further complicating matters is Sheriff Strada’s central role in opposing Democrat Governor Phil Murphy’s Sanctuary State scheme.  In the past, Sarah Wallace has done interviews that were very favorable to illegals and against members of law enforcement.  In fact, Sarah Wallace is currently being sued by a police officer for her conduct and behavior.  

Last November, a New York judge accused someone championed by Sarah Wallace – named Manny Gomez – of “coercing a witness to a gang slaying not to testify.” According to the New York Daily News (November 3, 2018), police have suggested that Sarah Wallace and Manny Gomez have “an apparent relationship” and that Wallace does stories that favor Gomez.  

Why did Boden go to Wallace, a Democrat, and why was he so sure she would do a “hit job” for him on Sheriff Strada?

In any case, the resulting story did more to harm Andy Boden than it did to help him.  On camera, Boden was induced by Wallace to lie about two important aspects of his story.

The first is that his psychological examination was the result of him picking up petitions to run for office.  The County Clerk, Jeff Parrott, disputes Boden’s contention that he came to his office to obtain the nominating petitions.  It appears that Andy Boden is lying about this and that he lied in testimony given at his fitness hearing.  As this statement by his attorney shows:

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According to the County Clerk and his office, Boden did not come into the office to pick up the nominating petitions – he accessed them on line, so that nobody could have known that he was running.

In fact, Boden’s psychological evaluation came after a series of incidents including some that left female employees intimidated and fearful of having him over them.  After a police psychologist found him “unfit for duty” and he was placed on leave, Boden went to Sheriff Strada and asked him to restore him to duty – which meant giving him back his power over people, a firearm, handcuffs, and badge.  The Sheriff’s office told Boden that he needed to get well first and re-evaluated by a mental health professional, before he could be re-instated. 

Boden’s claim that he was ruled “unfit for duty” because he was running for office, repeated again in the Wallace interview, is clearly a lie.  The public testimony of the police psychologist who ruled Boden “unfit for duty” makes it very clear that Boden is not being honest:

 

 A.     The whole point of the

fitness-for-duty evaluation in many cases is to

avoid things getting to that point.  We are --

you know, as the IACP, we're looking for

conditions that are going to impact someone's

ability to safely and effectively do their work.

We want to keep that environment safe.  We also

want to treat people compassionately.  And if we

see that someone is under duress, to try to

intervene and help them.

 

            Fitness-for-duty evaluations are

often seen as punitive in nature, but they don't

necessarily have to be or need to be.  The idea

is to intervene much in the same way as an EAP

and get someone help before there's an incident,

before someone does get injured or before

something becomes career ending.

 

      Q.     Based upon the information that

you had received and gathered during the course

of this assessment, could you rule out that

Lt. Bannon (sic) wouldn't hurt somebody

prospectively if allowed to work while getting

therapy?

      A.     I could not rule that out.

      Q.     At any point did you tell

Lt. Bannon (sic) that he had passed the

assessment?  Boden.  I'm sorry.

      A.     No. We don't give anyone results,

pass or fail, at the end of the evaluation.

      Q.     Does somebody pass?

      A.     They are found fit to return to

their duty.

      Q.     Right. Or unfit.

      A.     Or unfit. And then when unfit,

they are given conditions with the goal of

restoring fitness.

      Q.     And your case -- and in this case,

what were those conditions to restore fitness?

      A.     Lt. Boden was to engage in

individual treatment outside of the treatment

that he had already been receiving with his wife

with the sole purpose on managing his stress

level, identifying coping mechanisms that work

for him so that he could return to his position.

      Q.     And in the meantime, as an

individual who was unfit for duty, he should not

be working while receiving that initial

treatment, correct?

      A.     You cannot return to duty if you

are found unfit.

 

Boden’s case mirrors the current national debate concerning mental health and gun laws.  Should employers act when they observe traumatic stress in employees (in this case, confirmed by a mental health professional) or should they wait until after something actually happens?  It is a complex issue.

In the Wallace interview, Boden also claimed to have had no knowledge of the doctored video that was sent around in an attempt to damage Sheriff Mike Strada’s family.  The video also attempted to destroy the reputation of an innocent young firefighter. It was found to be a FAKE and totally false by the media and law enforcement.  Despite Boden’s lies in the Wallace interview, a statement from Sussex County Republican Chairman Jerry Scanlan makes it very clear that it was the Boden campaign behind the release of the doctored FAKE video:

Screen Shot 2019-05-29 at 9.35.50 AM.png

The above is the direct testimony of the Republican Party Chairman regarding the attempted shakedown that occurred before the FAKE doctored video was released.  Clearly Boden’s campaign knew all about the video that later nobody wanted to take credit for.

So why did Boden tell Sarah Wallace that he knew nothing?  Why did he lie?

Parker Space backs Sheriff Strada, rips Murphy on “Sanctuary State b.s.”

Assemblyman Parker Space wanted there to be no doubt as to how he and his legislative colleagues feel about Governor Phil Murphy’s attempt to strip Sussex County citizens of the right to vote on the important issue of Sanctuary State status for Sussex County. “It is left-wing b.s. pure and simple.”

“Sheriff Mike Strada is right to stand up to Governor Murphy and the leftists who run his administration.  We support him 100%.”

A plain-spoken farmer and family businessman, Assemblyman Space said to forget what the all the smooth-talking lawyers have to say about this.  “It is a matter of American principles,” Space said.  “The property taxpayers of Sussex County pay for the operations of the Sheriff’s office… they pay for the Sheriff and all his officers… they have the absolute right to instruct him on how they want him to deal with Murphy’s Sanctuary State b.s.”

“The county’s taxpayers have the right to tell the county Sheriff to follow federal law because they pay the county Sheriff.  If Governor Murphy wants to dictate to the Sheriff then let’s send him the bill for the Sheriff and we’ll all enjoy a property tax cut.”

Assemblyman Space noted some important facts about the debate over illegal immigration:

(1) In its most recent report on illegal immigration, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates that illegal immigration costs New Jersey taxpayers over $3 billion every year, which is close to 10% of our state’s entire budget.

(2) The State budget which was recently enacted spends $2.1 million for an “Office of Immigrant Protection.”  Assemblyman Space and his colleagues opposed the budget and introduced legislation prohibiting public funding for it (A4033). 

(3) Going even further, Governor Murphy and State Democrat leadership also passed legislation, which we opposed, to give illegals financial aid for college (S699).  And most recently, the Murphy Administration announced that they were looking into providing driver’s licenses to illegal residents.

Assemblyman Space noted that he and his colleagues have introduced the following legislation:

S-305/A-949   Bars companies which hire illegal aliens from public contracts, grants, loans, or tax incentives for seven years.   

S-528/A-172   "New Jersey Jobs Protection Act;" requires E-verification of employment.

S-168/A-497   Requires proof of lawful presence in the United States to obtain certain benefits.

S-2506/A-233    Requires certain contractors to verify work authorization of newly hired employees.   

S-541/A-2640    Prohibits municipal ordinance to create sanctuary city; Establishes State and local employee ethics violation upon noncompliance with federal immigration enforcement request.  

“Clearly, if we are ever to get things back on the right track, we must pass these types of reform measures. It’s important that local, state, and federal law enforcement work together to strictly enforce the immigration laws that are already in place.  If we do not address the problem of illegal immigration, New Jersey will never succeed in getting government spending under control.”

“Finally, we oppose all forms of amnesty for illegal immigrants as well as supporting measures to prevent our state from becoming a destination for terrorists posing as refugees looking to harm our families and neighbors. This is a critical issue and we will not waiver in our beliefs.”

Assemblyman Space shares an office with District 24 colleagues Assemblyman Hal Wirths and Senator Steve Oroho. Space is the Republican State Committeeman for Sussex County.  His wife, Jill Space, was a Delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention supporting Donald Trump.

Memorial Day Remembrance

Courtesy of Sussex County Watchdog

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for "Decoration Day" to be observed annually and nationwide; he was commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an organization of and for Union Civil War veterans.  His proclamation, Logan adopted the Memorial Day practice that had begun in the Southern states three years earlier.

The first Northern Memorial Day was observed on May 30, 1868. The northern states quickly adopted the holiday. In 1868, memorial events were held in 183 cemeteries in 27 states, and 336 in 1869. In 1871, Michigan made "Decoration Day" an official state holiday and by 1890, every northern state had followed suit. By 1870, the remains of nearly 300,000 Union dead had been reinterred in 73 national cemeteries, located near major battlefields and thus mainly in the South. The most famous are Gettysburg National Cemetery in Pennsylvania and Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

Since 1868 Doylestown, the county seat of Bucks County, in Pennsylvania, has held annual Memorial Day parades which it claims to be the nation's oldest continuously running.

Here is a clip from a movie about the famous 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the “bravest of the brave” preparing for the storming of the Confederate Fort Wagner, in 1863.

Sussex County boosts one current and one former infantryman serving or having recently served in elected office.  Sheriff Mike Strada was a platoon leader (SGT) in Iraq during Desert Storm.  Former Freeholder Rich Vohden served in the Korean War in the U.S. Army Infantry.

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Mike+Military+pic.jpg

Phil Murphy tries to suppress voting in Sussex County

In a move that is rich in hypocrisy, the Murphy administration has “ordered” the Sussex County Clerk, Jeff Parrott, not to place on the ballot a public question that allows voters in that county to instruct their Sheriff on the Sanctuary State directive issued by Governor Murphy’s attorney general.  The ballot question gives voters a choice to instruct their county Sheriff to (1) obey the state directive or (2) follow the laws passed by the Congress of the United States of America, signed by successive Presidents of both parties, and upheld by the United States Supreme Court. 

So Phil Murphy is telling Sussex County that they must obey him – and join him in disobeying the laws of the United States of America.  And he is attempting to suppress the rights of voters to have a say in the matter.

The “order” was issued by Murphy ally Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who Murphy appointed in January of 2018.  The Attorney General is the scion of a very wealthy but controversial family of developers.  And it is no secret that Grewal is angling for a spot in some future Democrat administration in Washington, DC, if he can get past the confirmation hearings (which are a whole lot tougher in Washington than they are in Trenton).  That controversial family of developers thing again (it’ll get you every time).

The “order” to deprive the voters of their right to voice their opinions on a ballot question pits Murphy and Grewal against Sussex County’s Sheriff, Mike Strada, who has strongly supported the ballot question and opposed Murphy’s Sanctuary State plan every step of the way. Strada, a career law enforcement officer who led a U.S. Army platoon in Iraq (Desert Storm), has no time for federal law breakers like Murphy and Grewal.

murphy grewal.jpg

Murphy & Grewal vs. Sheriff Mike Strada

 
StradaPortrait+2019.jpg
 

New Jersey Herald reporter Bruce Scruton did a good job of covering this breaking story, which appeared on that newspaper’s website late last night.  It can be accessed here:

https://www.njherald.com/20190524/attorney-general-nixes-countys-anti-sanctuary-ballot-question

Reactions from the Freeholders have been mixed, with some clearly in the mood to stand up for the rights of voters and others a bit tepid.  Four of the five member freeholder board cast votes in support of the ballot question earlier this year, but there is a long history in Sussex County of elected officials taking the advice of “go-along-to-get-along” establishment types.  This is what lured them into the solar debacle that cost taxpayers $26 million but has yet to identify a guilty party (despite nearly $600,000 in “studies” to find out what went wrong and who done it).

You can’t put a cost on doing the right thing – and the right thing is standing up for the right to vote and the primacy of the Constitution of the United States of America.  Too often doing the right thing is dismissed on grounds of cost (unless it can be monetized, as with the $600,000 in “studies” into the solar debacle). 

This is a moment of truth for Sussex County Republicans.  We’ve heard a lot about the “walk away” movement among the Democrats.  Republicans should understand the frustrations of their own base – at least enough to prevent a “walk away” movement of their own.

Candidate brags to local media about NBC “hit job” on Sheriff

By: Sussex County Watchdog

Since its founding in 2012, the contributors here at Watchdog have generally been just ordinary citizens, not professional journalists.  Nevertheless, we have got the ball rolling on a number of big stories in Sussex County – including the illegal negotiations to sell the county solid waste facility (caught in time and prevented), the solar program that ended up going bust (which ultimately cost taxpayers $26 million), the corruption at the county college (leading to the resignation of several trustees), and environmental issues impacting the health of county workers (CWA members) in Newton (which was addressed after our report).  Whether via tips or submitted columns, we publish stories that address the bad behavior of the government and corporate establishment.  

Generally we work with for-profit corporate media, which is advertising based. As we do not run ads, we do not have a need for click-bait, as they do.  Nevertheless, we respect them for the work that they do.  So we were shocked when a local media person had a story concerning a media organization outside the county – in New York City, in fact – that was using Sussex County to attract viewers.  

Apparently, a candidate for Sheriff in the upcoming GOP primary – Andy Boden – bragged to local media that he had arranged for a “hit job” on his opponent, Sussex County Sheriff Mike Strada.  It seems that Boden said the “hit job” would be about how Strada has suspended him for running, and that now he must work construction and that his wife had to take a job.  Boden claimed that the “hit job” was being done on his behalf by a friend of a friend who has a show on NBC out of New York City.  

Andy Boden is a rather sad case.  Earlier this year, a police psychologist found him “unfit for duty” and he was placed on leave.  Boden went to Sheriff Strada and asked him to restore him to duty – which meant giving him back his power over people, a firearm, handcuffs, and badge.  The Sheriff’s office told Boden that he needed to get well first and re-evaluated by a mental health professional, before he could be re-instated. 

Boden’s case mirrors the current national debate concerning mental health and gun laws.  Should employers act when they observe traumatic stress in employees (in this case, confirmed by a mental health professional) or should they wait until after something actually happens?  It is a complex issue.

Boden’s case has been further complicated by his candidacy, which was not his idea, but rather that of a local union fighting to preserve the jobs of corrections officers at the Sussex County jail (the Keogh-Dwyer Correctional Facility).  The jobs of many who work at the jail were put in jeopardy by the passage of Bail Reform, a bi-partisan bill aimed at reducing the number of people incarcerated while waiting for trial.  Before bail reform, many innocent people were locked up for weeks or months simply because they couldn’t afford the cost of bail.  They often lost jobs, homes, and relationships while they were locked up – only later to be found “not guilty” or have the case against them dismissed.

After bail reform became law in New Jersey, jail populations began to diminish drastically and elected officials started to consider shared services agreements that would allow them to close or scale-down some facilities and save money for taxpayers.  The August 2014 “needs assessment” on the Sussex jail (Keogh-Dwyer Correctional Facility), conducted by Pulitzer/Bogard Associates LLC, clearly outlined the devastating impact keeping the jail open would have on county taxpayers.  Making the jail compliant with basic standards would cost $11 million in short term and $64 million in long term expenditures. 

At the insistence of county Freeholders, Sheriff Strada has been working to scale-down the jail and enter into shared services agreements with Morris County. An agreement to house Sussex County’s female inmate population has recently been reached (and the quality of life for female inmates markedly improved, according to media reports).  

A working group that includes county bureaucrats, elected officials, and union leaders has been working to place every corrections officer likely to be displaced by the plans for the jail.  It is our understanding that County Administrator Greg Poff will shortly announce that positions have been found for every officer likely to be displaced.  Unfortunately, some union people have continued to oppose any changes to the jail.  They’ve complained about the length of the commutes to other facilities and such.  And it is this group who recruited Andy Boden as their candidate and spokesperson.  

They have been using their media contacts to shop around “dirt” on Sheriff Strada and even used a fake Facebook account to distribute a fake video of an “incident” between the Sheriff and a female firefighter, which was later found to have been doctored by the media (including the Star-Ledger/ NJ.com and the New Jersey Herald).  After the media spoke with the female firefighter, who confirmed that the incident never happened, Andy Boden claimed to have had no knowledge of it – despite the fact that Boden’s campaign managers had met with the local party chairman and threatened him with the release of the video some 48 hours before it was released.  This according to a legal statement given by the party chairman.

Boden’s managers went to a well-known statehouse blog in Trenton with their “dirt” – but after the reporter reviewed the transcript of the public hearing Boden asked for regarding his “unfit for duty” status – the story that was written was not to Boden’s liking:  

Incumbent Sheriff Mike Strada faces a challenge from corrections officer Andy Boden, who suspended earlier this year after a police psychologist ruled he was unfit for duty.

Following his suspension, Boden has mounted an offensive against the three-term sheriff, accusing him of endangering his deputies and misusing public funds.

“My decision to run is to end the culture of harassment and mental abuse that Strada has created and fostered. His actions, along with his posse’s, will come out in the upcoming weeks,” Boden said. 

Boden has been suspended since early March. The New Jersey Herald first reported his suspension.

In testimony provided to the New Jersey Globe by Strada’s campaign, a police psychologist said he or she could not rule out the possibility of Boden harming someone if he was allowed to continue working while receiving therapy.

The psychologist recommended the corrections officer receive additional treatment to restore fitness for duty.

“Lt. Boden was to engage in individual treatment outside of the treatment that he had already been receiving with his wife with the sole purpose on managing his stress level, identifying coping mechanisms that work for him so that he could return to his position,” the psychologist said.

For further reading, visit New Jersey Globe at…

https://newjerseyglobe.com/local/sussex/mud-flies-in-sussex-sheriffs-race/

Watchdog is attempting to find out just who the NBC person is who Andy Boden was speaking about when he told local media that a “hit job” was being done on Sheriff Strada.  Stay tuned…