Today’s news from PoliticsNJ.com

 

Wilson attacks Corzine over cash gift to Katz’s brother-in-law, Cryan defends Corzine, Corzine not so popular on campaign trail, Corzine signs dual office holding ban, Moran says Corzine has not fulfilled his campaign promise, Riley leaves job as law clerk, Stack/HCDO spat heats up over federally funded social service agency.

“I DID NOT THINK OF THIS AS A TIE TO CARLA – PERIOD”

“In response to the Star-Ledger story this weekend that Gov. Jon Corzine gave $15,000 to the brother-in-law of his ex-girlfriend after he said he’d severed financial ties with her, Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson says Corzine is involved in a cover-up of “Watergate” proportions.

“At virtually every turn, Jon Corzine has been dishonest about his ties to Carla Katz,” said the state Republican chairman.

In March, Corzine had told the newspaper that he didn’t have any financial ties with Carla Katz, head of the state Communications Workers of America (CWA), or her family.

But after Katz brother-in-law Rocco Riccio resigned from the state Turnpike Authority at the bequest of Corzine’s then-chief of staff, according to the Ledger, Corzine in the spring gave Riccio $10,000, in addition to $5,000 his business manager gave Riccio on Corzine’s behalf, according to the article. Katz, whom Corzine has paid thousands of dollars’ worth in gifts, controls the largest government union in the state, which negotiated a contract during Corzine’s first year as governor. Corzine has said he ended his relationship with Katz prior to taking office. Last week he told the Ledger that his gifts to Riccio don’t constitute a Katz-connection.

But Wilson’s not buying it.

“He lied to his own ethics advisors, he lied to the people and he even tried to lie to the Star-Ledger until he was confronted with evidence of payments to her family this year,” Wilson said. “Governor Corzine has been caught in the web of lies that he and his handlers created to try to conceal the extent of his entanglement with Carla Katz.”
Wilson also questioned the brother-in-law’s work at the state, as described by the Ledger…………..

State Democratic Chair Joseph Cryan took a ho-hum approach to the news about Corzine’s $15,000 gift.

“It’s going to have zero impact on the legislative races,” said Cryan. “This whole story is not an issue. We’ve been there and we’ve done that. I read it over the weekend and my impression is that it’s just going to fall on deaf ears.”” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/wilson-goes-offensive-over-corzine-gift-11361

“During a brief, testy exchange with reporters at the Marlboro Township public library yesterday morning, Corzine defended the gifts as a personal matter. Dismissing the GOP criticism, he repeated his contention that the payments didn’t contradict his claims that he ended all ties to Katz.

“I don’t think I have ongoing financial entanglements that compromise public policy — period,” he said after signing an ethics bill and before his staff cut off questions from the press. “No web of lies.”

Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Morris) released a letter to Attorney General Anne Milgram calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the governor’s gifts. And Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon) demanded that Milgram review the anonymous allegations that first prompted questions about Riccio last fall — that he accessed state taxpayer records to find information about potential political enemies.

“The public’s confidence in the privacy of their tax returns cannot be compromised,” Lance said. “These allegations cannot be allowed to fester.” (Margolin and Martin, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/118896790090500.xml&coll=1

Gov. Corzine on Tuesday defended his $15,000 in cash gifts to the brother-in-law of labor union leader Carla Katz, whose financial ties to the governor have raised ongoing questions about their personal and public relationship………………

“It’s not a relationship with Carla Katz, it’s a relationship that I had with Mr. Riccio, and it was personal,” Corzine said. “(He’s) been a supporter. I think I have a history of responding in similar ways in similar situations that I don’t feel it is out of my context or how I would respond to personal needs.

He answered “no” when asked if he had a financial relationship with anyone else in Katz’s family.

Corzine said Riccio was in “deep financial stress” and emphasized that he made the gift with his own money. Riccio, an accountant, was reportedly forced out of state government amid allegations that he was accessing taxpayer records to find information about political enemies. Republican legislative leaders Tuesday called on state Attorney General Anne Milgram to investigate those claims.” (Tamari and Volpe, Gannett)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/NEWS03/709050334/1007

 

CRYAN JUMPS TO CORZINE’S AID

“State Democratic Chairman Joseph Cryan amplified his defense of Gov. Jon Corzine this afternoon after learning that his rival state party chairman likened the Corzine-Katz-Riccio twist to Watergate.

“The Republicans are trying to redefine and malign the personal generosity of the governor for helping someone who was threatened with financial problems and the foreclosure of his home,” said Cryan in a statement. “This is personal, but they are desperately trying to make it political.”

Cryan made the statement in response to GOP State Chairman Tom Wilson’s characterization of what Wilson sees as Corzine’s bumbling, Watergate-sized evasions of the truth.

“The most recent diatribe by the GOP is an over-the-top statement of political histrionics complete with conspiracy theories,” Cryan added. “Only a Republican Party that has lost touch with the issues of importance to the people of New Jersey and has become fixated on the personal lives of others would compare an individual act of charity to Watergate.” ” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/cryan-sticks-corzine-11390

 

DEM CANDIDATES SAY THEY LOVE CORZINE, BUT PERHAPS FROM A DISTANCE

“The last time all 120 legislative seats were in play, back in 2003, Gov. James E. McGreevey, who was suffering from low poll numbers, made himself scarce on the campaign trail.

Although Gov. Jon S. Corzine doesn’t suffer from the same upside-down poll numbers as McGreevey did, he doesn’t appear to be a hot commodity with Democratic legislative candidates running in the fall mid-term elections. While Democrats aren’t running away from Corzine, they’re not exactly tripping over themselves to get him on their campaigns.

While Democrats aren’t running away from Corzine, they’re not exactly tripping over themselves to get him on their campaigns. As of right now, aside from a couple bill signings, none of the Democrats who are in competitive races — districts one, two, seven, eight, 12, 14, 38 or 39 — have any rallies or fundraisers planned with Corzine.

What this means is up for debate. Public sentiment against Corzine’s asset monetization plan has become the Republican centerpiece in their campaigns to get control of the legislature – most specifically in districts 1 and 2 — and most Democrats have already sworn to defend the state’s highway system from any hint of privatization. Now, the revelation that he gave $15,000 to the brother-in-law of his ex-Girlfriend/paramour/companion Carla Katz may have opened fresh political wounds.

But the governor’s office said that he has received several requests to attend bill signings and fundraisers, although not in especially competitive districts. His schedule is also complicated by follow-up leg surgery that he’s set to undergo in mid-September, making it difficult to commit to appearances during a peak campaign time.

“I’ll tell you that we were up in Bergen County yesterday and everyone was falling over themselves to get a picture with the governor,” said Corzine spokeswoman Lilo Stainton. “I don’t think it’s a question of them not wanting his assistance on some level.” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/dem-candidates-say-they-love-corzine-perhaps-distance-11395

 

“BETTER THAN NOTHING”

“Conceding that they could have been tougher, Gov. Jon Corzine signed four ethics bills into law yesterday, including a measure banning the longtime practice of legislators holding two elected offices at the same time.

“It’s not the bill I wanted,” Corzine said of the dual office holding ban, which allows 17 current legislators to keep their local offices. Still, he said, “It gets us down the road.”

Corzine has sought to make ethics reform and open government a hallmark of his first term. He publicly threatened to withhold his signature on the state budget unless the Legislature moved ahead on the stalled dual office holding ban. Lawmakers broke the logjam by agreeing to “grandfather” current office holders like Assemblyman Brian Stack, the Union City mayor who is running in November for election to the Senate.

A dozen lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, attended yesterday’s bill signings in Marlboro. All who spoke praised the intent of the legislation, even if a few took exception to the force with which it will be implemented.

Sen. John Adler (D-Camden) called it a “good day as we tinker with democracy.”” (Howlett, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/118896756290500.xml&coll=1

“We’re reduced to saying it’s better than nothing,” said Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck (R., Monmouth).

Beck represents the 12th District and is running for Senate there this year against incumbent Democrat Ellen Karcher, who sponsored the ban. Karcher is a Marlboro resident who resigned from that community’s town council before joining the Senate in January 2004……………..

Karcher said a flawed ban on holding dual offices was better than nothing. She said she wanted an immediate ban, but noted that a proposed immediate ban introduced in 2004 received no consideration.

“It’s been a long, tough fight,” Karcher said.

Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D., Middlesex), another sponsor of the bill, dubbed the ban “a quantum leap forward.”

“The days of unmitigated dual office-holding are numbered,” said Assemblyman Michael Panter (D., Monmouth), another sponsor.” (Hester, AP)

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20070905_N_J__officials_elected_after_Feb__1_can_no_longer_hold_dual_offices.html

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/NEWS/709050473

MORAN ON CORZINE

“Gov. Jon Corzine signed four ethics reforms into law yesterday, then held each bill over his head in triumph, as if he had just hit a home run.

This was painful to watch. Because the reforms started out strong, and were beaten to within an inch of their lives as they moved through the Legislature. What emerged is not something a grown man should brag about.

The biggest of the four reforms bans legislators from holding second elective offices. Sounds good.

But the bosses got an amendment inserted that exempts all sitting legislators who are doing that now. True story. The chutzpah behind that stunt is the stuff that Jersey jokes are made of.

“Compromise just isn’t good enough sometimes,” said Republican Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole, playing the role of the skunk at this little garden party.

Yesterday’s show, at the Marlboro Public Library, was painful for another reason — because everyone knew that Corzine had just tangled himself up in another little scandal, one that points back to his conflict-filled romance with Carla Katz, a union leader for state workers………………

The spin on the cash payment is even more gutsy. The governor’s spokeswoman said it was an act of “philanthropy.”

But we’ve seen that there is a method to this man’s kindness. He uses cash to make problems disappear, or to win friends during his election campaigns with charitable donations.

Corzine yesterday was reduced to fleeing through the library stacks after refusing to answer more questions from reporters. His little party turned out to be an embarrassment.

So here we are — nearly halfway through his term, and we’re still stuck in the muck he promised to pull us out of. ” (Moran, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/columns/ledger/moran/index.ssf?/base/columns-0/118896799890500.xml&coll=1

 

 

MORE SURGERY FOR CORZINE

Gov. Corzine is tentatively scheduled for follow-up surgery on the leg he shattered in the car crash that nearly took his life earlier this year, his spokeswoman said yesterday.

Corzine, 60, is scheduled for blood tests on Friday as a preliminary measure while doctors try to determine whether to perform more surgery on the governor’s left femur, which was badly hurt in the April 12 crash, said his press secretary, Lilo Stainton.

Stainton said the governor expects to have another operation to remove excess bone growth from his leg, “possibly as early as mid-September.” She said that no firm decision to undergo surgery would be made before Friday’s blood test analysis.

“We do anticipate there will be an acting governor for some time, if just for the time he’s under anesthesia,” Stainton said.” (Panataris, Philadelphia Inquirer)

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20070905_Gov__Corzine_may_require_further_surgery.html

 

“A WHIFF OF IMPROPRIETY”… OR MAYBE THAT’S SOMETHING ELSE

“In his bid for reelection as Bergen County’s sheriff, Leo McGuire has found support from an unlikely place: a local fitness center and massage spa where police had made several prostitution arrests.

Heaven Is a Spa Inc. made two contributions to the Democratic sheriff’s reelection campaign totaling $600 in the last year, according to campaign finance records.

The business on Route 46 in Little Ferry was the scene of at least three prostitution arrests in 2002 and 2003, after undercover investigators reported being offered sexual services from massage therapists who worked there, court records show.

In January, federal prosecutors arrested the spa’s former owner, James Avallone, on charges he tried to bribe an immigration official in an effort to procure green cards for spa employees.

The prostitution charges against the arrested massage workers have all been reduced, and the federal charges against Avallone could be dropped after the successful completion of six months’ probation, his attorney said.

But McGuire’s GOP opponents say that a political donation from an establishment that has been on the other side of the law certainly raises an eyebrow.

“There’s a whiff of impropriety around it,” said Paul Duggan, a Republican candidate for freeholder.” (Carmiel, Bergen Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MTkwODg1JnlyaXJ5N2Y3MTdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5Mw==

 

STUPID CONSTITUTION, ALWAYS GETTING IN THE WAY

“Eighth district Republicans got Constitutionally banged up when they tried to confront the Democrats over the issue of Tracy Riley’s husband representing a man charged in a terror plot. But now the GOP is crowing over Riley’s departure from her job as a clerk and office manager at her husband’s law firm to focus on her campaign for the Assembly.

Riley announced today that she is leaving the firm, and Republicans say it’s because she can’t bear the association.

“She must have been hearing it during her travels on the campaign trail,” said Burlington County Republican Spokesman Chris Russell.

Riley counters no way, she had already postponed taking the bar exam so she could “devote more time listening to and speaking with the taxpayers of Burlington County.”

“She’s been planning to do this all along after Labor Day as the campaign intensifies,” said Democratic Campaign Spokesman Peter Clerkin. “She’s putting her career on hold to focus exclusively on the campaign.”” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/riley-leaves-job-planned-say-democrats-11388

 

CINDERELLA MAN

“Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy’s appeals court hearing on his disorderly persons convictions in Bradley Beach has been pushed back three weeks – at the request of Healy’s attorney.

Originally scheduled for Friday, the hearing is now on tap for Sept. 28, a court official said yesterday.

The mayor’s attorney, James Fagen of Freehold, “needed a bit more time to do research and preparation for the case,” said city spokesman Stan H. Eason, explaining the reason for the delay.

Fagen didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.

The appeal will be heard by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci at 9 a.m., at Monmouth County Superior Court in Freehold, said the court official who didn’t want to be identified.

On June 27, Monmouth County Judge John Colannino found Healy guilty of resisting arrest and obstruction of administrative law and slapped him with $828 in fines. ” (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)

http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-4/1188972647276050.xml&coll=3

 

HCDO/DCHF SPAT

“When you’re a mayor in a heavily Latino district it helps to have someone around who speaks Spanish, and if you’re looking to offer favors in exchange for hogtying political rivals it is also helpful to have someone in a service organization who can help deliver those favors.

Union City Mayor Brian Stack has both in the form of Christopher Irizarry, according to mayors allied with the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO), which continues to battle Stack for control of the politically-charged county, and which refuses to cede any ground to the 33rd district insurgent and presumptive state senator who ran against the organization and won the Democratic Primary in June.

This latest stanza in the Stack saga has its roots that primary, in fact, when a roomful of skeptical reporters listened as Assemblyman ( and West New York Mayor Sal Vega) played a tape he said was his opponent in the race for senate.

“If I can help her with her first month’s rent and PSE&G bill, I would be happy to do that,” a voice reputed to be Stack tells translator Irizarry, who relays the information to Delcia Rodriguez, a candidate for county committee running against Stack’s candidate to represent Union City……………..

But the HCDO questions why Irizarry, who is CEO of the mostly federally funded North Hudson Community Action Corporation (NHCAC), was at that meeting with Rodriguez in the first place.

“It’s peculiar that when Stack promised to pay that county committee candidate’s rent and PSE&G bill in exchange for her to drop out of the race, Chris Irizarry left her his NHCAC business card,” said Jack Bohrer, speaking on behalf of North Hudson mayors aligned with the HCDO. “Aren’t those the kinds of services NHCAC uses federal money to help with? Who was going to make good on Stack’s political deal? His civic association with the non-profit status or Irizarry’s federally-funded organization?”” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/irizarry-midst-political-infighting-11396

 

WHO’S LEADING THE CHARGE?

“Saturday’s column revealed that North Bergen Mayor and state Sen. Nicholas Sacco, he of the 32nd District and Hudson County Democratic Organization, was planning to take another shot at Union City Mayor and 33rd District Assemblyman Brian P. Stack’s ally, Union City Commissioner Chris Irizarry.

Sacco wants to make life tough for Irizarry, who is executive director of the North Hudson Community Action Corporation, an umbrella organization for various anti-poverty and health agencies. The North Bergen pol is doing this to pinch Stack, and he also wants to diminish Stack’s influence on the NHCAC Board of Directors.

Don’t fall asleep because there’s a Sixth Degree of Separation sort of thing here where many in the county are pulled into this mess.

All this is an extension of the Democratic Party civil war and the recent primary battle that did nothing except elevate personal animosities, even with Senate Majority Leader Bernard Kenny out of commission. Sacco has come out from behind the throne and has been leading the charge with an almost fanatical fervor.

Yet some say that this is not Sacco, but rather his adviser, Corporation Counsel Herb Klitzner, who has a longtime big dislike for much that is Union City – from U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and attorney Donald Scarinci to Stack.” (Torres, Jersey Journal)

http://www.nj.com/columns/jjournal/insider/index.ssf?/base/columns-0/1188972763276050.xml&coll=3

 

LET’S HEAR THEM TELL SOME JOKES

Vince Polistina is the 36-year-old, fresh-faced engineer of the county’s fastest-growing municipality. John Amodeo is a 57-year-old union crane operator from Margate with the build and the tan to show from his days working outdoors on construction projects.

They are two guys that have been involved in local politics for years, but never in the spotlight of a campaign for district-wide office. That changed April 4 when, after five rounds of voting, Polistina and Amodeo won a special election to run for state Assembly in the 2nd District on a ticket headed by State Sen. James “Sonny” McCullough. The campaign – against another pair of first-time district-wide candidates, Democrats Joe Wilkins and Blondell Spellman – is expected to be among the most competitive and expensive in the state.

“Johnny and Vince are the new faces of the Republican Party,” McCullough said. “It’s like a new day in Atlantic County.”

The old day ended when state Sen. Bill Gormley, R-Atlantic, retired and McCullough defeated Assemblyman Frank Blee, R-Atlantic, in a special election to fill Gormley’s seat. Blee opted not to seek re-election to the Assembly……….

Both men have known McCullough for years and say he is the best choice to represent the 2nd District at the Statehouse.

“I watched him deal with growth issues. I watched him hold the line on taxes and go into a budget and make the tough cuts that were necessary,” Polistina said.

“I think Sonny’s with the people,” Amodeo said. “That’s what Vince and I both believe in, bringing the government back to the people.”

It will get a lot more complicated than that in the weeks ahead as the campaign kicks up in intensity and the television ads start running. Both guys say they’re ready. Polistina, father to 2-year-old son Vincent and 1ne-year old twins, Dominic and Cole, said his family keeps him grounded.” (McAleer, Press of Atlantic City)

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/campaign/story/7499666p-7396532c.html

 

FULOP PISSES OFF CITY COUNCIL, AS USUAL

“On the same day Gov. Jon Corzine signed a law banning dual office-holding for state legislators, Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop yesterday announced he’s seeking to up the ante locally by making it against ethics rules to hold both a county and city post.

That proposal – one of a plethora of standards Fulop wants the city’s Ethical Standard Board to adopt – would apply to five of his colleagues on the nine-member City Council.

Another provision barring employees working for a “city-linked autonomous agency” from serving on the council would knock a sixth colleague, Ward B Councilwoman Mary Spinello, out of the box. Spinello is a supervisor at the Jersey City Incinerator Authority.

Not shy about highlighting what he considers conflicts of interests among his fellow council members, Fulop said he planned to have his resolution introduced at next week’s City Council meeting.

Having had a pay-to-play bill swatted down by a 6-2-1 vote in January, Fulop, a Citigroup trader, knows he’s in for a fight. But it’s worth it, he said.

“I’m committed and I’m fairly certain we’ll have this accomplished by the end of my first term (May, 2009),” Fulop said during an editorial board meeting at The Jersey Journal. “This would be the strictest standards in the state.”

Council members Viola Richardson, Bill Gaughan, Peter Brennan, Willie Flood and Mariano Vega all hold county jobs.

For his colleagues, the ban would kick in when they next run for re-election, Fulop said.

And “one salary, one pension” on the council isn’t the only goal. Fulop wants stricter rules preventing the personal use of city cars, the hiring of relatives, and city officials becoming lobbyists when they leave office.

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy and at least two of Fulop’s colleagues weren’t impressed.

“The nine members of the Jersey City municipal council work on a part-time basis and make less than $30,000 a year,” said Healy. “This requires they work an additional job.”

Gaughan, who doubles as chief of staff for Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise, called Fulop “a guy who wants to run for mayor, grandstanding by way of the City Council,” and pointed out the late Jersey City mayor Glenn D. Cunningham failed in court when he tried to bar Gaughan from the council for exactly the same issues Fulop is raising.” (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)

http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-4/1188972838276050.xml&coll=3

 

STUDENT LOANS

“A state agency broke federal regulations when it received millions of dollars in improper payments from companies that make student loans and offered colleges enticements to promote those lenders, according to a national report released yesterday.

Amid the massive student loan scandal, U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy made public a committee report criticizing a deal between two lenders, Sallie Mae and Nelnet, and the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority. The report also unveiled more marketing misconduct among colleges, lenders and alumni associations across the country………….

On the same day the Senate committee report came out, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram announced a code of conduct barring state colleges and universities from having financial relation ships with student loan providers.

Unknown to borrowers, lenders were making donations to colleges and offering special private loan funds for certain students as a way to get schools to steer loan appli cants to them. Critics have said those practices may have prevented students from getting the best deal on their loans.

Loan industry watchdogs also have said rules prohibiting induce ments and revenue-sharing arrangements are clear and the federal Department of Education should take responsibility, investigate and sanction offenders.

“This is another example of how the department has failed to regulate the student loan industry,” Steve Burd of the New America Foundation said yesterday. In addi tion to the New Jersey contracts, Kennedy’s report unveiled “evidence of bribes offered by banks and shakedowns by colleges” in other parts of the country, he said.” (Alaya, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/118896750890500.xml&coll=1

 

IN ATLANTIC CITY

“Police said well-known Atlantic City real estate broker Frank A. Barbera apparently shot himself in the chest Tuesday at a popular fishing spot in the resort’s Northeast Inlet.

Police responded to the seawall in the 900 block of North New Hampshire Avenue at about 11:20 a.m., after receiving reports of a man found shot inside a vehicle, Lt. Richard Roff said. Barbera, 52, of Absecon, was found in the driver’s seat of the black sedan with vanity license plates; he had a single gunshot wound to the chest, police said.

Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Lisa D’Amato said she spoke with County Prosecutor Ted Housel but declined comment and refused to say what involvement, if any, that office would have.

Barbera has worked in real estate since 1980. He is president of F.A. Barbera Co. Inc., which he founded in 1998. The firm sells and leases millions of dollars worth of commercial and industrial real estate throughout Atlantic County……………..

Barbera had also long been active in Republican politics, serving as a committeeman and county party treasurer for years.

But he took a lesser role by the end of 2005, when he declined to take over for resigning Chairman Kenneth LeFevre and was replaced by Northfield attorney Michael Goloff.

Current Chairman Keith Davis said Barbera has been less active during his 19 months in the office. “I wish him and his family well in what must be a trying time for him,” Davis said.

Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, a longtime friend of Barbera’s, said the news shocked him.

“I didn’t believe it because of his upbeat nature,” Levinson said. “I don’t really know what occurred. There’s a moment of despair where you make a split decision. I’m just hoping he’ll be all right.”

Levinson hadn’t noticed anything troubling his friend.

“He seemed very upbeat,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and his children.”” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/atlantic_city/story/7499652p-7396546c.html

 

GUARD YOUR PICNIC BASKETS

“The state’s method of controlling the black-bear population was debated in a New Jersey appellate court Tuesday, as a pair of lawsuits brought against the state by hunting advocates and animal-rights advocates were heard by a three-judge panel.

Both lawsuits center on a 2005 policy enacted by then-Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley Campbell to go ahead with a hunt, and its subsequent cancellation the following year by current DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson.

The canceling of the hunt was met by disapproval from hunting and sportsmen groups, who favor a hunt as the only proven method to manage the bear population.

These groups contend Jackson overstepped her boundaries and did not solely have the power to cancel the hunt, which was recommended by the state Fish and Game Council in 2005.

James Lister, representing the U.S. Sportsmen Alliance Foundation, said Jackson had tried to change policy on her own accord without the consent from the council.

“In 2005, it was the council and the commissioner acting together to put a policy in place,” Lister said. “In November in 2006, it was just the commissioner acting alone.”” (Rispoli, Gannett)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/NEWS03/709050344/1007

 

ALONG THE SADDLE RIVER

“Homeowners who experienced severe water damage from April’s nor’easter pleaded with federal officials Tuesday to move ahead with a decades-old plan to reduce flooding along the lower Saddle River.

Representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers toured affected homes in Saddle Brook and Lodi — towns that have been hit hard by flooding — to meet with residents and get a firsthand look at the devastation.

The visit came in the wake of a June meeting in Washington, in which Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, Saddle Brook Mayor Lou D’Arminio and Lodi Mayor Karen Viscana urged the agency to make funding for the Lower Saddle River Flood Project a priority in the federal budget.

“It’s emotionally and financially draining,” said Brigida Bailey, who has lived on Washington Street in Saddle Brook for 34 years. She is a secretary at Saddle Brook High School.” (Fabiano, Bergen Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2MDcmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcxOTA4MDkmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXky

 

IN ONE OF THE WASHINGTON TOWNSHIPS

“WASHINGTON TWP. The township council is set to vote tonight on a local lawyer’s proposal to enact a tighter ban against the practice known as “pay to play,” but Mayor Paul Moriarty wants to take it one step further.

Moriarty, a Democrat who has held office since 2005, said he has worked with Josh Aronovitch to develop a more stringent policy that would limit township employees to donating no more than $300 to political campaigns.

The municipality could be the first in New Jersey to adopt such a restriction, the township solicitor John Eastlack said.

The mayor’s proposal could be in addition to the ordinance put forward by Aronovitch, which was signed by nearly 1,800 residents this summer.

The township has an ordinance stronger than state provisions on “pay to play” a process where businesses and professionals make campaign donations in exchange for municipal contracts.” (Beym, Gloucester County Times)

http://www.nj.com/news/gloucester/index.ssf?/base/news-2/1188971271211870.xml&coll=8

 

IN LAKE COMO

Patricia Tzibrouk has joined the Borough Council. Tzibrouk, 65, of 20th Avenue is Lake Como’s Community Development Block Grant director and a retired nurse case manager. She was administered the oath of office at a council meeting Tuesday night.

Tzibrouk succeeds Ryan M. Kelly, 24, who resigned three weeks ago after just seven months in office to pursue a law school degree.” (Larsen, Asbury Park Press)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/NEWS01/709050481/1004/NEWS01

 

IN BRIDGETON

“BRIDGETON — The Committee to Protest Ordinance 07-9 filed its petition with the city clerk Tuesday afternoon. Rick Dawson, the committee’s spokesman, and his wife, City Councilwoman Celeste Riley, turned the petition in at around 4 p.m., two days before the deadline to do so……………..

Ordinance 07-9, which was set to take effect on Thursday, would allow Mayor Jim Begley’s administration to keep Lanuel Ferguson, a retired state police major, on the city payroll as full-time public safety director.

Robert Litwack, the attorney Dawson hired to represent the committee, has submitted a public information request with Richmond to determine how much Ferguson has been paid so far.

That figure is being sought to help the committee ascertain whether the city has violated any laws with respect to what it has already paid Ferguson, according to Dawson. ” (McCullen, Bridgeton News)

http://www.nj.com/news/bridgeton/index.ssf?/base/news-2/11889654618630.xml&coll=10

 

IN KINNELON

“Three Kinnelon Borough Council members will continue receiving taxpayer-funded health benefits, at least until the new year.

At a special meeting, the six- member council split on the issue, with the three members who receive the coverage voting to keep it, and the three who do not op posed.

Mayor Glenn Sisco broke the tie, voting to allow elected officials to continue to receive the health coverage, which costs the borough about $53,000 annually, through the end of the year.

Currently, Councilmen Stephen Cobell, James Freda and Eric Nederfield receive health benefits through the borough.

“It was a way to give us the next four months to work something out,” Cobell said of Sisco’s vote. “We … hadn’t discussed the pros and cons of modifying the council’s benefits.” ” (Alloway, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/morris/index.ssf?/base/news-3/118896805690500.xml&coll=1

 

IN EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP

“The Democratic candidate running for a position on the Egg Harbor Township Committee will remain on the ballot, despite being found guilty of criminal trespassing.

Eric Kalet, a horse-racing fan, was sentenced to pay $208 in fines and fees last month by the Hamilton Township court for posting signs near the Atlantic City Race Course on the Black Horse Pike during the spring.

The signs referred to Kalet’s Web site, www.saveacrc.com, which he uses to raise interest in the racetrack, post photos and sell T-shirts. The ruling is being appealed.” (Lee, Press of Atlantic City)

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/atlantic/story/7499653p-7396480c.html

 

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