Morning News Digest: January 2, 2013



Morning News Digest: January 2, 2013

By Matthew Arco



SSW trial



Former Assemblywoman Betty Cox has died


Former state Assemblywoman Elizabeth “Betty” Cox has died at the age of 85.


Cox, a founding member of the Women’s Political Caucus, served in the Assembly from November 1971 to December 1972 after winning a special election to fill the unexpired term of Herbert Heilmann who resigned to become Assistant Commissioner of Labor in the cabinet of Governor William Cahill.  She served 13 years as the chairwoman of the Summit Republican Party. (Isherwood/PolitickerNJ)



Buono says she exceeds fundraising goals


Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono today announced that her campaign has exceeded their fundraising goals for the shortened quarter, approaching nearly a quarter of a million dollars, most of which was raised in the last ten days, and released the following statement detailing next steps for the campaign. (PolitickerNJ)



House pulls plug on Sandy aid bill


House Republicans abruptly pulled the plug Tuesday night on their promise to take up this week an emergency supplemental disaster aid bill for Northeast states damaged by Hurricane Sandy.


The decision is a stunning reversal since just hours before New Jersey lawmakers were preparing for floor debate Wednesday as outlined under a strategy promoted by no less than Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). (Rogers/Politico)



Hurricane Sandy aid: House rolls out smaller bill


House Republicans rolled out their scaled-back $27 billion Hurricane Sandy disaster aid bill Tuesday setting up a floor debate in which Northeast lawmakers have been promised a crack this week at adding $33 billion more to meet the Senate-passed spending level.


New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a close ally of that state’s Gov. Chris Christie, is charged with managing the amendment, and the whole rapid-fire scenario is one that reflects the strong influence of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). (Rogers/Politico)


Lack of vote on Sandy aid angers lawmakers from N.J., N.Y.


Republicans and Democrats from New Jersey and New York railed against House Speaker John Boehner late Tuesday for not bringing a bill for superstorm Sandy relief funding to the floor.


Members said they felt betrayed because they believed the vote would come after the House approved a measure to prevent fiscal cliff tax increases and spending cuts, which happened around 11 p.m. (Jackson/The Record)



Sandy aid frustration rising as many in Moonachie realize funding won’t be enough


Two months and $454 million later, the federal government’s role in post-Sandy New Jersey has progressed, at least in official terms, from “response” to “recovery.”


But for many in Moonachie, that progress is illusory. As costs mount and bank accounts dwindle, these families confront a difficult truth: FEMA is unlikely to close the gap between what insurance will cover and the cost of repairing their homes. In that space between expectations and reality, rumors and resentments are mounting. (O’Brien/The Record)



Trial of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack pushed back to June, at least


TRENTON — The start date for Mayor Tony Mack’s trial on corruption charges has been pushed back to at least this summer with a continuance order issued by a federal judge.


Initially scheduled to begin Feb. 19, the trial date was moved back to no earlier than June 17, according to the order signed by U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp, who will preside over the case. Mack has said he has no intention of resigning and so would likely remain in office through that time and into the trial itself, which Shipp estimated would take four to five weeks. (Zdan/The Times)



Codey says he is still undecided about running for governor


TRENTON — State Sen. Richard Codey said today that he needs more time to decide whether he will run for governor.


Last month, Codey (D-Essex) said he planned to make a decision by Jan. 1, but he now says that artificial deadline is “unrealistic.” (Renshaw/Sar-Ledger)



Jim McGreevey, N.J. jail program land spot at Sundance Film Festival


TRENTON — The jailhouse treatment program where former Gov. Jim McGreevey counsels inmates has earned a spot at the Sundance Film Festival and accolades from the U.S. Justice Department.


McGreevey is spiritual counselor to as many as 40 women who are taking part in a pilot program at Hudson County Correctional Center to reduce recidivism — and therefore lessen crime. The program aims to address the problems that keep them returning to jail: drug dependence, difficulty finding jobs, lack of decent housing, inadequate education and absence of counseling. (AP)



Trenton Council again tries to cut mayor’s pay


TRENTON – The City Council is making another attempt to cut the salary of the city’s embattled mayor.


Council President Phyllis Holly-Ward is submitting a measure that would reduce Tony Mack’s salary from $126,460 to $65,000. In December, Mack was indicted on corruption charges. (AP)



Christie’s 7 most shocking comments of 2012


Last January, the governor of New Jersey told me he would improve the way he communicates with the public, acknowledging that his “spontaneity” sometimes gets him trouble.


Well, a year later, judge for yourself whether that spontaneity has been curbed — and whether it has hurt or helped the free-talking gov. Here are Christie’s seven most shocking comments of 2012. (And there were plenty more, by the way). (Katz/Inquirer)



Budgetary pain is at hand for N.J. legislators


New Jersey lawmakers expect to hear more uncomfortable talk about the state’s finances as they gather in the new year.


The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee is to meet Thursday to discuss lagging revenues and the possibility of midyear budget cuts. (It was the only panel on the post-holiday legislative schedule as of Monday.) (Farrell/Inquirer)



Boardwalks are Job 1 as Shore towns rebuild


For some, a boardwalk conjures up memories of summer afternoons running from beach to arcade and back again; for others, it brings to mind the chaotic nightlife chronicled in the reality show Jersey Shore.


But for the summer towns that dot New Jersey’s coast, boardwalks are an economic lifeline that they are rushing to rebuild before the summer season starts in just under six months. (Osborne/Inquirer)



Newly Consolidated Princeton Greets New Year


And then there were 565. Municipalities in New Jersey, that is. One fewer than on December 31.


As of January 1, 2013, Princeton borough and township became one Princeton, using the borough form of government. The new mayor and council were sworn in as part of a celebration that included a “Consoli-Cake” and tours of the former township municipal building, which now houses most government offices for the combined Princeton. (O’Dea/NJSpotlight)



For Energy Sector, 2013 Brings Another Chance to Grapple With Unresolved Issues


Will the state push its much-touted offshore wind projects forward? Can New Jersey’s once flourishing solar sector avert a crash? Is there a coherent policy to promote vehicles fueled by alternatives to gasoline?


Those questions likely will dominate the debate among state policymakers in the new year, a time when the state’s aggressive goals to promote renewable energy will come under increasing scrutiny. (Johnson/NJSpotlight)





Stile: A big year ahead for Jersey politics


New Jersey voters are not the only ones tuning into the 2013 political contests this year. This time, the nation will be watching.


The governor’s race — already the super bowl of New Jersey politics — has an added dimension of hype this year. Governor Christie, who has never shied from the national spotlight, will find himself under the microscope from voters, journalists and political operatives around the country, who will be watching whether the conservative Republican will maintain his star power or whether he will fade under a grueling reelection contest in a Democratic-leaning state. (Stile/The Record)



Progress on ‘fiscal cliff’ nothing to cheer: Editorial


The agreement taking shape on the fiscal cliff is nothing to celebrate. The pact to raise $600 billion in new revenue over the next decade is a grudging tactical retreat by Republicans that will cover only a fraction of the roughly $3 trillion needed to stabilize the national debt. And because it defers tougher measures, it ensures that Congress will remain locked in this pointless stalemate for months to come.


Yes, even a puny agreement is better than none at all. Without a cease-fire of some sort, huge spending cuts and tax hikes would kick in automatically, risking a new recession over the next few months that would cost millions of jobs. (Star-Ledger)