Monday, April 28, 2014

The Cost of $200

By Vincent Walker
On the face of Earth, Northvale, New Jersey is a very small section. This Bergen County town is just about one square mile.  Within that mile are families who raise their children and thousands of people who love their life, however humble or elaborate they may be. The small town has gone through some big changes in recent years. People have come and gone. Since the 1990s the average new-home size has increased along with the number of stores in the area.

Not all, but most of the people who have lived in this town for decades stayed true to themselves. One of the iconic people in the town is the former Mayor, Paul Bazela.  He is the former mayor, not because he was beat in a re-election race, but because he is now a convicted felon and will most likely be serving around two years of his life in jail.

Many people who achieve a spot in office have to try really hard to get people to like them. These kinds of people often make promises they cannot keep and only do good for the community when it’s going to be noticed by many people and or put in the newspaper. This, however, is not the case of Mr. Benzela and his larger-than-life personality. He is the kind of person you hear before you see, and he is also the kind of man who would give away the shirt off his back if it would benefit someone else.

This situation happens in many towns-–a corrupt mayor who gets caught and has to go away. This case, however, is very different. Paul does not have a lifestyle which includes BMWs and Mercedes in the driveway of a large new brick home. Rather, he has a modest ranch, the same home he has owned since moving into town. His wife drives a minivan, and he drives a Nissan car.  This man does not appear to have made any big financial gain at all.

Paul Bazela worked for the Passaic Valley Sewage Authority, and he was not the boss. He did as he was told. When he was told by his supervisor to work overtime fixing things for his supervisor’s family, he had no choice. He could have said no, but then how would he feed his wife and three children? He spent around half a work day doing odd jobs at his supervisor’s mother’s home, and the total he earned for this was about two hundred dollars. This is why the town’s mayor will be going away. His overtime added up to approximately two hundred dollars, which is about a week’s worth of food.

Why is it that Paul Bazela will be going to jail and other more corrupt people who are living the high life off embezzlement or selling drugs only get house arrest to spend time in their lavish homes? A possible answer to this is that politics and his role as a mayor played a part in his arrest. Perhaps he is an easy target to use as an example; maybe his political enemies do not want to see him have any power. No matter the reasons for his arrest and conviction, it is hard to argue that sending a man to jail for two hundred dollars of overtime pay is justice in any form .

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Vincent Walker a young and proud American and New Jersey native. He is currently a student at St Thomas Aquinas Collage and his main studies include graphic design and journalism. He is currently employed in the pharmaceutical industry and is also beginning the process of obtaining a real estate sales persons license. Some of his main goals are to become a journalist and work for a television station; this has to do with his obsession with the finding of truth in public situations. Vincent, whose mother is a town politician, also hopes to obtain  political power and have his name known for bettering society in some form. His passion in life is to become a father of three. Vincent’s favorite author is Andrew Morton and favorite journalist is Greta Van Susteren.

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