Lonegan: Ferriero conviction is a reason to vote against open space bond issue

Former Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan says that today’s conviction of former Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero is another reason to defeat a $400 million open space bond issue up for voter approval in November.

“This is just another example of how liberal big government programs like the open space scam are breeding grounds for political corruption,” Lonegan said.

The referendum seeks authorization to issue bonds for Green Acres, water supply and floodplain protection, and for farmland and historic preservation projects.

According to federal prosecutors, Ferriero used his political clout to help Bergenfield win grants and loans worth about $2.8 million that came from state Green Acres and historic preservation bond issues. A grants writing firm owned partly by Ferriero received $128,625 in fees for securing those funds.

A Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll released this week has the ballot initiative leading by 23 percentage points among likely voters. Gov. Jon Corzine and independent Christopher Daggett back the public question, while Republican Christopher Christie says taxpayers can’t afford it this year.

In 2007, Lonegan led the statewide effort to reject three ballot initiatives backed by Corzine.