PolitickerNJ News Digest: March 21st

Christie in Elizabeth.

Christie in Elizabeth.

Good morning. It’s Monday, time to take a look at the winners and losers in state politics last week. Is your name on our list?

NJ Dems: Sanders Will Be an Asset to Hillary, But Booker Brings More to the Table
With President Barack Obama telling a group of Democratic donors that the time has come for the party to unite behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last Friday, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) received another blow to his campaign after a string of primary losses. Though Clinton has the lead, the two have often been neck-and-neck in states like Missouri and Iowa.
JT Aregood, PolitickerNJ Read more

GOP Puts Up Attorney Sonnek-Schmeltz in CD6
Republicans nominated Bent Sonnek-Schmeltz of Atlantic Highlands to run for Congress in the 6th District.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

CD3 Candidate Keady Sinks LaVergne at Ocean Dems Convention
Both vying to be the Democrats’ choice in CD3, Hurricane Sandy activist Jim Keady of Belmar swamped Frederick John Lavergne of Delanco, 104 to 7 votes at this morning’s Ocean County Democratic Convention.
Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more

Gov Rolls Out Plan to Determine Non-Profit Property-Tax Exemptions
In June, Governor Chris Christie pocket vetoed legislation that would have had non-profits make certain payments to their host municipalities in order to compensate for tax exemptions. Today, the governor stood behind a podium at Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth to share a new plan to address the issue: the creation of a two-year commission that will study tax exemptions and a temporary freeze of property tax rates for non-profit hospitals.
Alyana Alfaro, PolitickerNJ Read more

It Is Time to Unify Around the Health and Education of Newark’s Children
Newark, the city I love, is in the midst of a significant environmental crisis that directly effects each of our children.
Kim Gaddy, PolitickerNJ Read more

Voters in dark on key details of casino expansion referendum
When New Jerseyans decide in November whether to approve two new casinos in the northern part of the state, they’ll likely have only a vague notion of what they’re voting on.
Wayne Parry, Associated Press Read more

Pressing problems await action in N.J.; solutions elusive as lawmakers, Christie can’t seem to agree
From pensions to transportation, education to oil trains, the list of problems facing New Jersey is extensive. Throw in the Atlantic City financial crisis, the heroin epidemic and a debate over whether hospitals should pay property taxes, and it gets downright daunting.
Salvador Rizzo, The Record Read more
Christie is now a sidekick and the butt of jokes
Seventeen days ago, Chris Christie held a press conference in Trenton and made two promises. He insisted he said he would not be a “full-time surrogate” for Donald Trump. He also said he would get back to the job of being governor after spending 70 percent of 2015 out of state, mostly campaigning to be president.
Mike Kelly, The Record Read more

1960s controversy an example of how GOP quieted backlash in N.J.
The Rat Finks, a brash and staunchly right-wing faction of the New Jersey Young Republicans, livened up their parties in the spring of 1965 with song parodies set to popular tunes.
Charles Stile, The Record Read more

For Hackensack mayor, coincidences galore
In a striking coincidence, both daughters-in-law of Mayor John LaBrosse gave birth Friday at Hackensack University Medical Center – where LaBrosse has worked for more than a decade.
John Seasly, The Record Read more

A victory for police oversight in Newark
People in Newark don’t trust the cops. No need to wonder why: A recent Department of Justice investigation found all kinds of civil rights abuses, particularly against blacks. Too often, police officers aren’t punished for excessive force, improper searches and wrongful arrests.
Star-Ledger Editorial Board Read more

Are the days of wining and dining over at N.J. Statehouse?
The Auditor noticed that lobbyists last year spent about $70 million to sway public officials and public opinion – the second highest amount in state history.
But precious little of that money went toward wining, dining and entertaining state bigwigs. Lobbyists paid only $2,439 in 2015 on meals, trips and entertainment in 2015. And officials wrote a check and paid lobbyists back for nearly $500 of these funds.
The Auditor, NJ.com Read more

Christie: Lead in Newark schools ‘nowhere near crisis’
Resisting comparisons to the disastrous mismanagement of Flint, Michigan’s water quality, Gov. Chris Christie said Friday that the elevated lead levels found in Newark schools water were “nowhere near crisis or dangerous levels.”
Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ.com Read more

Republican ‘county chair of chairs’ seeking unity in backing presidential hopeful
Hudson County Republican Chairman Jose Arango is in a quandary. The leader of the state’s GOP is Gov. Chris Christie, and he endorsed the enigmatic Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. Watching Christie and Trump together on TV, Arango must have been thinking it would be embarrassing to have the party go against the governor.
Agustin C. Torres, The Jersey Journal Read more

OC GOP not ready to endorse Trump
The Ocean County Republican Organization is not ready to anoint Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee of its party and is not expected to endorse any presidential candidate at their March 30 convention, according to county GOP chairman George R. Gilmore.
Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press Read more

New Jersey a big winner in presidential primaries
Circle June 7 on your calendar. New Jersey’s presidential primary on that date has suddenly taken on real significance.
Bob Jordan, Asbury Park Press Read more

Atlantic County Democrats pick Cole for Congress, Brathwaite for freeholder-at-large
Atlantic County Democrats nominated their candidates for this November’s election on Saturday.
Christian Hetrick, The Press of Atlantic City Read more

Hamilton Mayor Yaede, most Mercer GOP brass support Trump for president
Republican Mayor Kelly Yaede endorses Donald Trump for president, and most of the Mercer County GOP brass is with her in supporting the billionaire celebrity’s run for the White House.
Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, Trentonian Read more

Dissolving water and sewer authorities generates support and cause for concern
Water may be the most important and essential resource on the planet, but some municipalities also see opportunity.
Todd McHale, Burlington County Times Read more

PolitickerNJ News Digest: March 21st