NJ Politics Digest: What’s Really Behind NJ Transit’s Ongoing Problems?

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). Alex Wong/Getty Images

Commuters are seething, politicians are posturing and the folks at NJ Transit are pointing the finger at Amtrak after this week’s derailment adds to the long list of problems for the struggling state agency, which recently raised fares but has done little to improve service or reliability.

A new state report casts a spotlight on teacher attendance while Don Bosco Prep is dodging rumors that it hired controversial football star Ray Rice.
U.S. Rep. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen met with a small group of constituents who travelled to his office in Washington because he refuses to hold a town hall meeting in his district and Politico reports on Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno‘s balancing act as she tries to keep the powerful head of the Ocean County GOP close, but not too close, as he is the target of a federal investigation.

Quote of the Day: “He said, ‘I’ll think about it.'” – Debra Caplan of Montclair, on U.S. Rep Rodney Frelinghuysen’s response to a request he hold a town hall meeting with constituents, which he has not done since 2013.

Why does NJ Transit keep having one screw-up after another?
This week’s derailment of a New Jersey Transit train is but the latest in series of problems the agency has had for the past several years.
David Matthau, NJ101.5 Read more

NJ Transit demands Amtrak take ‘corrective actions now’ in wake of derailment
After facing days of mounting public pressure following a derailment at New York Penn Station, New Jersey’s troubled commuter transit agency deflected blame on Wednesday, saying in a highly-unusual press conference that Amtrak must issue “corrective actions now.”
Politico Read more

NJ Transit boss takes Amtrak to task, while commuters cram Hoboken and Newark
NJ Transit’s boss went on the offensive Wednesday, calling on Amtrak to fix the broken tracks in Penn Station New York which have caused commuting chaos since a train derailed on Monday.
Larry Higgs, NJ.com Read more

Why Booker opposed Trump’s transportation nominee
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker used the nomination of a deputy transportation secretary as the forum to rebuke President Donald Trump for backing off a federal commitment to help fund the Gateway Tunnel.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

NJ Transit pans Amtrak on derailments
The heads of the two major commuter rail lines that use New York’s Penn Station took turns criticizing Amtrak on Wednesday for two recent derailments that continued to cause headaches for commuters in the nation’s busiest rail hub.
Associated Press Read more

A fruit of small government: Decrepit transit systems
Frank Fleming, New Jersey feels your pain, and shares your fury.
You may not know him, but Fleming this week became the voice of New Jersey after a simple derailment at Penn Station knocked our fragile rail system on its butt for the entire week.
Tom Moran, NJ.com Read more

Editorial: Two derailments and a lack of answers
What’s going on with NJ Transit? And, for that matter, inside the labyrinth of tracks and switches known as New York Pennsylvania Station? Within a two-week span, NJ Transit trains derailed twice inside Penn. The latest, on Monday, has resulted in massive delays affecting riders using NJ Transit, Amtrak and the Long Island Rail Road. Enough.
The Record Read more

Is Deal Near On Gender Pay?
State lawmakers seeking to establish the nation’s toughest protections against gender-pay discrimination in the workplace ran into a roadblock last year when Gov. Chris Christie rejected their legislation on grounds that it went too far.
John Reitmeyer, NJSpotlight Read more

In sign spat, Haddon Heights sees the writing on the lawn
Haddon Heights officials say a “confusing hodgepodge” of borough sign regulations likely will be revised or replaced after a controversy about a Hate Has no Home Here placard that Danielle Linaris has placed on her front lawn.
Kevin Riordan , Inquirer Read more

New reports reveal how often teachers skip school
The average teacher was absent one of out every 20 school days in Passaic County last year, while their peers in Bergen County were absent on average one out of every 33 days.
The Record Read more

Support from embattled GOP chair creates balancing act for Guadagno
When Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno held a conference call last April to launch a non-profit “think tank” widely seen as a preview to her campaign for governor, Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore spoke up and apologized for interrupting.
Politico Read more

Meet Your Next NJ Governor: 5 things about John Wisniewski
He has experience. He has detailed plans. But is that enough for Assemblyman John Wisniewski to become New Jersey’s next governor?
Mike Davis, Asbury Park Press Read more

All 5 GOP candidates for governor at ‘Lincoln Day’ brunch but media barred
The media is being kept out of the Sussex County Republicans’ annual “Lincoln Day” brunch on Sunday, with all five GOP candidates for governor scheduled to attend.
Rob Jennings, NJ.com Read more

Activists meet Frelinghuysen, but they still want town hall
Activists who have been showing up weekly at Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s offices in North Jersey to pressure him to reject President Donald Trump’s agenda filled three buses in North Jersey Wednesday to bring their concerns to Washington.
Herb Jackson, The Record Read more

NJ lottery could cut pension liabilities
New details are emerging on Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal to transfer New Jersey’s lottery to the state’s underfunded pension.
Associated Press Read more

Will you be audited? NJ Treasury boosts enforcement to collect more taxes
After years of cutbacks, New Jersey is hiring new auditors in a bid to increase tax collections.
Michael Symons, NJ101.5 Read more

Jersey City woman files tax appeal against mayor
Mayor Steve Fulop’s Ogden Avenue home is at the center of a new tax fight between the mayor and a local activist.
Terrence T. McDonald, The Jersey Journal Read more

Boggiano won’t join Fulop slate for re-election bid
The unlikely pairing of Mayor Steve Fulop and Councilman Rich Boggiano on this November’s ballot has been scuttled, with Boggiano saying today he will seek re-election independent of any mayoral ticket.
Terrence T. McDonald, The Jersey Journal Read more

Sharpe James due in court again, this time as a witness
Sharpe James was mayor of Newark for 20 years and a New Jersey state senator for nine.
Mark Di Ionno, The Star-Ledger Read more

Wealthy Jersey Shore town revives beach access battle with parking limits
For the third time in almost two years, this wealthy Jersey Shore borough of nearly 1,000 full-time residents will attempt to restrict parking near the beachfront.
Alex Napoliello, NJ.com Read more

Don Bosco letter refutes hiring of Ray Rice
Don Bosco Prep Director/President Jim Heuser sent out a letter dated April 4 flatly denying any report that former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice had been hired by the school.
Darren Cooper, The Record Read more

Suspect in ‘sick of fancy white people’ hammer attack caught in NJ
The woman who said she was “sick of fancy white people” when she attacked a man in Virginia on Saturday has been arrested by the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and will now wait to be sent back to Virginia to face the charges.
Adam Hochron, NJ101.5 Read more

Little Steven (and Gov. Christie) usher in Hard Rock to Atlantic City
They had “Little Steven” Van Zandt as the celebrity rock star, Gov. Christie for the swoop-in-and-out politician cameo, and five members of the Seminole Tribe that owns Hard Rock International for a Trump shout-out.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Read more

LGBTQ center gets injunction as discrimination suit proceeds
– QSpot LGBT Community Center, embroiled in a discrimination lawsuit against its landlord, the Jersey Shore Arts Center, may remain in its Main Street location while its lawsuit proceeds, a New Jersey judge has ruled.
Austin Bogues, Asbury Park Press Read more

Lakewood rabbi: Yeshiva shopping center plan on hold
The leader of the town’s top yeshiva said Wednesday that a plan for a 187,000-square-foot shopping center, to be built by the yeshiva, was on hold indefinitely.
Payton Guion, Asbury Park Press Read more

Addressing Needs of First Responders With Addictions
First responders are known to share uncommon traits: the willingness to run toward danger; a first-hand relationship with violence and often death; and a profession that is inherently risky, but not necessarily well paid.
Lilo Stainton, NJSpotlight Read more

Kinnelon BOE trustees ‘placeholders’ for council race
Marianne DeAlessi and Jason DeAlessi submitted a joint petition to appear on the ballot as Democratic candidates for the Kinnelon Borough Council’s June 6 Primary Election. The two, however, don’t plan on running.
Matt Fagan, The Record Read more

NJ wants court to again block newspaper
New Jersey wants an appeals court to again block a newspaper from reporting on a child services complaint involving a kindergarten student who brought drugs to school twice.
Associated Press Read more

River councilman suing his town costs taxpayers $10K
A councilman’s legal battle with a local church and the township’s Board of Adjustment has cost taxpayers more than $10,000 and counting.
Jean Mikle, Asbury Park Press Read more

Loch Arbour votes to leave Ocean Twp. schools
Village voters have decided by an overwhelming margin to leave the Ocean Township School District and forge a (cheaper) different path.
Dan Radel, Asbury Park Press Read more

Immigrant advocates plan a vigil for Afghanistan man held in detention
An Afghanistan man who was issued a special visa for his work with American troops and who has been held in immigration detention since last month will get a parole hearing on Friday.
Monsy Alvarado, The Record Read more