Morning News Digest: April 25, 2013



Morning News Digest: Thursday, April 25, 2013

By Matthew Arco

Boston bombings won’t deter New Jerseyans from attending large events, poll finds


The bombings at the Boston Marathon have not deterred New Jersey residents from attending large events in the future, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.


A majority of New Jersey voters – 73 percent to 24 percent – say they will continue to attend large events despite the Boston bombings, according to the poll. (Arco/PolitickerNJ)



Poll: Voters disapprove of payouts in the wake of Rutgers basketball controversy


A majority of New Jersey voters say they oppose large payouts for former Rutgers University officials who left the college following the scandal involving former basketball coach Mike Rice, according to a new poll.


According to a Quinnipiac University poll, Garden State voters disapprove 64 percent to 7 percent to the large payouts to Rutgers officials, which included $475,000 for former coach Rice. (Arco/PolitickerNJ)



Connors dismisses Healy Team’s ‘divide and conquer’ strategy 


JERSEY CITY – Things ended in typically heartbreaking fashion between Det. Sean Connors of the Jersey City Heights and the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) allies of Mayor Jerry Healy.


When Connors, a lame duck LD 33 assemblyman, got the heave-ho from the establishment, he repackaged himself as a city council candidate on the Fulop ticket and now presents a favorite target for the mayor’s backchattering allies still steaming over whatever went wrong between themselves and the up and comer HCDO County Executive Tom DeGIse once celebrated as “the future.” (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Walker on rec director rumor: ‘I don’t want that job’


JERSEY CITY – Mayoral candidate Jerry Walker wants to be mayor – not city recreation director.


“I don’t want that job,” insisted the former Seton Hall University basketball star. “I have a job already.” (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Standing with hospital workers, Buono blasts Christie at JC Medical Center rally


JERSEY CITY – Joining rallying labor workers here outside Jersey City Medical Center, state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18) forged a narrative arc straight from these Hudson streets to Drumthwacket.


“When did it become fashionable to bash unions?” Buono yelled above the crowd of AFSCME workers in search of a contract with the hospital.” (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Healy front and center for AFSCME workers on JC Medical Center contract issue


JERSEY CITY – The medical center towers over the city, professional home to health service workers in search of a contract and the latest dramatic set-piece for the mayor’s race.


Incumbent Mayor Jerry Healy has the backing of AFSCME, the green-shirted throng on the pavement outside the hospital, infuriated by what the union says is the hospital brass’ union busting ways. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



With Zimmer’s full support, Bhalla to hire full campaign staff in LD 33


Hoboken City Councilman Ravi Bhalla said he intends to stay in the race for State Assembly in the 33rd Legislative District, with the full support of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.


Zapped with a successful challenge, Hudson County Democratic Organization candidate Carmelo Garcia is appealing a judge’s decision  that as an employee of the federally funded Hoboken Housing Authority he can’t hold office in the General Assembly. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Workers rally at Jersey City hospital; Buono bashes ‘assault against workers’ rights”


Hundreds of union workers protested outside the Jersey City Medical Center this afternoon, saying they are being mistreated by hospital officials and urging JCMC to get rid of an attorney the hospital has hired to aid contract negotiations.


The rally, coming less than three weeks before the city’s May 14 election and about a month before the June 4 primary, was packed with local and state officials, including gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Barbara Buono. (McDonald/Jersey Journal)



Gov. Christie and Sen. Codey reignite feud  


Gov. Chris Christie and state Sen. Richard Codey rekindled a simmering feud today by trading barbs over who was to blame for the judicial logjam in Essex County, home to the New Jersey’s busiest courthouse.


Next month the county’s benches will be 15 judges short of the full complement of 56 because of the political standoff. (Renshaw/Star-Ledger)



New Estimates of New Jersey Gambling Revenue Indicate Lower Revenues


Online poker in New Jersey could generate lower than expected gross gambling yield (GGY) of $113m during its first year, according to a new report from a firm that analyzes gambling trends. This figure is much lower than official state estimates.


Governor Chris Christie’s administration is hoping for $180m in total gambling revenues in the first year. At a 15% tax rate, GamblingData’s figures suggest first year tax receipts will be less than $40m. (Pokerfuse)



FEMA match for Sandy costs likely to rise to 90 percent, N.J. official says


Potential good news for local governments and taxpayers: The head of post-Sandy recovery efforts in Gov. Chris Christie’s office says he’s “fairly confident” that the federal government will wind up picking up 90 percent of costs from the superstorm’s aftermath.


Marc Ferzan, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, said at a New Jersey Chamber of Commerce breakfast roundtable today that disaster-related costs eligible for reimbursement in New Jersey have reached $808 million to date. If those costs get near $1.15 billion, he said, the reimbursement rate can increase. (Symons/APP)



Mantoloking considers eminent domain to turn land into dunes


Having gotten only so far with “friendly persuasion,” the Jersey shore community that was hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy is ready to take out the stick.


Mantoloking is preparing to use eminent domain to take control of small strips of land from oceanfront homeowners who are holding up a critically needed beach replenishment project. (AP)



Department of Community Affairs awards over $1 million in grants to Cumberland County municipalities


 Gov. Chris Christie’s administration announced $6.5 million in small cities grants to municipalities and counties throughout New Jersey to help senior citizens and people with disabilities.


Out of the 20 grants, four are going to Cumberland County municipalities. (South Jersey Times)



Cost of Storm-Debris Removal in City Is at Least Twice the U.S. Average


WASHINGTON — The cleanup of New York after Hurricane Sandy has cost taxpayers at least twice as much as the national post-disaster average, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, which city officials selected to help handle the huge job.


Federal officials defended the exceptionally high cost — so far about $177 million for the nearly one million cubic yards of debris handled by the Army Corps — saying it was justified by the complicated assignment of quickly disposing of debris in the midst of a major urban area. (Lipton/New York Times)



N.J.’s Sandy Recovery Chief Has ‘Aggressive’ Strategy


MONROE, N.J.—New Jersey could begin distributing federal grant funding to homeowners and businesses impacted by superstorm Sandy as early as May, with the state laying the foundation now to begin allocating the funds as soon as they are made available, New Jersey’s top recovery official said Wednesday.


The executive director of New Jersey’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, Marc-Philip Ferzan, said in one of his first public appearances since his appointment in November that officials have an “aggressive strategy” in working with the federal government to get funds flowing as quickly as possible. (Haddon/Wall Street Journal)



NJ pro-Israel PAC raises funds for Cory Booker


A pro-Israel PAC fund-raiser for Newark Mayor Cory Booker brought in $100,000, even though Booker has not yet made his intentions to run for United States senator in 2014 official.


The April 21 fund-raiser at a private home in Englewood was hosted by NORPAC, a nonpartisan PAC that backs pro-Israel congressional candidates. (New Jersey Jewish News)



From the Back Room 



Let ’em eat steak


Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo is in the campaign of his life.


He’s working the phones, meeting with his campaign staff at all hours for strategy sessions and sending out mailers to county voters looking for support. (Isherwood/PolitickerNJ)



One NJ releases second anti-Christie commercial


Liberal advocacy group One NJ has released its second commercial attacking the record of Gov. Chris Christie.


The ad, which will air on cable television over the next two weeks, focuses on social issues, smacking the governor over his veto of $7.5 million in funding for Planned Parenthood and his support of anti-abortion candidates. (Isherwood/PolitickerNJ)



Latest from State Street Wire 



User-fee bill pros, cons weighed in Assembly


TRENTON – It’s been nearly a year since the user fee bill last came up for a vote.


Last May, the Senate approved S1914 by a 32-0 vote. The bill, sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), of West Deptford, would bar towns from assessing fees on some services as a way to avoid the 2 percent property tax cap. (Hassan/State Street Wire)



Poll finds support for right-to-die bill


A new poll shows a majority of New Jerseyans support right to die legislation.


The survey, conducted by Momentum Analysis, a research firm in Washington, D.C., found that 63 percent of respondents support allowing mentally competent terminally ill patients the right to end to their lives. (State Street Wire)



Post-Sandy bills on Energy Comm. agenda


TRENTON – Lawmakers will take time out Thursday from budget hearings to deal with some post-Sandy legislation.


The Senate Environment and Energy Committee will deal with six bills and a resolution, most of which are directly related to the destruction from Superstorm Sandy last year. (Mooney/State Street Wire)






N.J. should take another whack at tobacco: Editorial


When New York City banned smoking in bars and restaurants, folks on this side of the Hudson River thought it was crazy. Then New York’s smoking rate dropped, and New Jersey struck its own ban. (Star-Ledger)




SSW trial


Morning News Digest: April 25, 2013