Caliguire apologizes, Corzine's pal might buy casino, Healy will head HCDO, McGreevey and Codey signed off on EnCap loan despite warnings, Levin is officially a double-dipper, shoplifting charges dismissed against Coogan, Booker faces opposition from city council, NJ polling places not very handicap accessible, bill will test pregnant women for HIV
CALIGUIRE’S MEA CULPA
“State Senate candidate Todd Caliguire said Thursday he regrets that his losing campaign sent out a mailer comparing his opponent to the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Assemblyman Kevin O'Toole of Cedar Grove easily defeated Ridgewood's Caliguire for the Republican nomination in Tuesday's primary, but only after a bitter contest that culminated with an uproar over the mailer emphasizing O'Toole's Asian descent.
In a written statement, Caliguire suggested the mailer was a mistake but stopped short of an overt apology. He also said in an interview that he planned to discuss it with O'Toole.
"As the candidate, I and no one else bear ultimate responsibility for the things that are said and done on my behalf," Caliguire said in the statement. "After reviewing the facts, it is clear that the desire to win resulted in very poor judgment in the presentation of the Al Sharpton and Kevin O'Toole comparison."
O'Toole did not seem mollified.
"For them to use the words they did, and the pictures, it just tells you that in the lining of their hearts there's this racial prejudice," O'Toole said. "There's a terrific apology due to all the people who were subjected to this." (Gohlke, Bergen Record)
CONFLICT OF INTEREST?
“A private equity firm headed by a good friend of Gov. Jon Corzine is one of two investment groups interested in buying Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, one of the largest Atlantic City casino operators.
Dune Capital Management, a multibillion-dollar investment fund led by three former partners in Goldman Sachs — the Wall Street firm Corzine once ran — is vying for Donald Trump's casino company, three sources familiar with the talks said. The other group, as reported by The Star-Ledger on Tuesday, is a team of investors headed by Dennis Gomes, a prominent former Atlantic City casino executive who ran the Trump Taj Mahal in the 1990s………….
Daniel Neidich, Dune's co-chief executive and one of the governor's best friends, declined to comment. A woman who answered the phone at the New York office of Steven Mnuchin, the other co-CEO, said he would have no comment………….
Any Trump Resorts sale would have to be approved by New Jersey regulators, and the buyer would have to be cleared for licensing. New Jersey's governor appoints all members of the Casino Control Commission, the key licensing agency for all casino companies. Just yesterday, Corzine reappointed Commission Chairwoman Linda Kassekert.
The governor is also responsible for appointing the head of the Divi sion of Gaming Enforcement, which investigates all casino license applicants, including key employees
Reached last night, Corzine spokesman Anthony Coley said Corzine had been unaware of Nei dich's interest in the casino company.
"The governor did not know about it and they (Corzine and Nei dich) have no investments together," Coley said.” (Dehaven and Margolin, Star-Ledger)
STILL HEALY, PROBABLY
“Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy is positioned to don another title by the middle of next week: chairman of the powerful Hudson County Democratic Organization.
Already the head of the political party in his hometown, Healy is expected to step up in stature given the number HCDO loyalists elected as party committee people in Tuesday's election, party officials said……….
Being chairman of the Democratic party is a big deal. State Sen. Bernard Kenny, the outgoing chairman, said the chairman determines who runs on the HCDO ballot line, which in heavily Democratic Hudson County is often tantamount to victory.” (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)
THE RECORD KEEPS DIGGING
“Senior officials in the McGreevey and Codey administrations signed off on a $212 million loan for the troubled EnCap golf project, even though subordinates warned that the cut-rate financing was a risk for New Jersey taxpayers and bad policy for the environment.
Documents reviewed by The Record show that lawyers from the politically connected DeCotiis firm of Teaneck scored the massive loan for EnCap Golf Holdings in December 2005 despite concerns about the developer's shaky credit and long history of missing payments and breaking promises to state agencies………….
The bottom line: The biggest loan the DEP has ever made to a private developer is backed only with $13 million in borrowed cash and the promise of future tax revenues that may never materialize as the massive landfill-to-links project teeters on the brink of collapse.” (Pillets, Herald News)
THANK YOU, JON, FOR NOT MAKING ME CHIEF COUNSEL
“Susan Bass Levin has received two gubernatorial appointments in two months — and two salaries.
The Corzine aide's nomination to the Local Finance Board on Thursday would pay her about $12,000 a year, but means she would continue to accrue credit toward her state pension, state officials said. State retirement benefits are based on a formula that includes a worker's maximum salary during employment and years of service……………
Brendan Gilfillan, a Corzine spokesman, said Levin was chosen for the board for her experience with local government. Levin, 54, served as Cherry Hill's mayor before becoming Community Affairs commissioner in 2002.
"There is quite frankly no one in the state as qualified to deal with these matters," Gilfillan said. "Her quality and capabilities were the only consideration." (Michaels, Herald News)
STOP & SHOP LETS COOGAN OFF THE HOOK
“A complaint that accused Morris Plains Councilman George J. Coogan of walking out of the Route 202 Stop & Shop store without paying for $30.95 worth of food has been dismissed by a judge at the request of a store manager.
A Stop & Shop representative on Wednesday asked Morristown Municipal Judge Gary Troxell to dismiss a theft complaint that was filed May 15 against the 62-year-old councilman. The case was transferred to Morristown from the borough to avoid a conflict and Troxell dismissed the charge, town Court Administrator Mary Ann Dillon said Thursday.
"Hopefully that puts this behind me," said Coogan, who learned of the dismissal from a message the court left on his home answering machine Thursday.” (Wright, Daily Record)
SO MUCH FOR THE MANDATE
“When they took office about a year ago, the nine Newark City Council members and Mayor Cory Booker pledged to use teamwork in reforming the city.
But that unity is starting to fray, exposing a growing frustration and tension between the council and administration. Last Friday, the Booker administration pushed through a contract saying four yes votes were sufficient to increase a legal contract to $1.8 million, be cause the vote represented a majority of the six members who were at the meeting……………..
"The administration acknowledged in their zeal to try to clean up some of the legal matters by hiring this particular law firm that they disrespected us," said (Council President Mildred) Crump. "(Booker) acknowledged they were perhaps a little overzealous in moving forward."” (Wang, Star-Ledger)
HARD TO VOTE
“Many New Jersey polling places are difficult for disabled people to access, with problems ranging from inadequate parking and restrooms to hard-to-navigate paths to the voting booth for those in wheelchairs, a study released yesterday found.
The People for the American Way Foundation examined 41 polling places in nine counties that previously failed state inspection. Among the problems they found were:
55 percent lacked adequate parking for the disabled.
73 percent lacked a clear path to a voting booth.
60 percent lacked accessible restroom facilities.
36 percent lacked a ramp to allow a voter in a wheelchair to access the polling place without help.” (Hester, AP)
“New Jersey yesterday moved toward becoming the first state to require pregnant women and some newborns to be tested for HIV, despite opposition from groups who say doing so violates a woman's civil rights………….
Senate President Richard J. Codey, a bill sponsor, cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that found medical treatment during pregnancy can slash the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission from 25 percent to 2 percent.
"The sooner pregnant women can be tested for the HIV infection, the sooner they can be treated," said state Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred Jacobs, who endorsed the bill during a hearing by a Senate health committee……….
But Deborah Jacobs, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey executive director, said the bill "needlessly sacrifices the rights of women and parents" and "deprives women of their moral authority to make decisions for themselves and for children."
"HIV testing must be informed, voluntary and free from coercion," she said.” (Hester, AP)
YOU THINK SANDRA CUNNINGHAM WOULD VOTE FOR THIS?
“A bill to make sure New Jersey can continue the satellite monitoring of high-risk sex offenders beyond the current two-year pilot program that expires in August was approved unanimously yesterday by a key Senate committee.
Under the pilot program, the state Parole Board uses a global positioning satellite system to monitor the real-time movements of 156 offenders whom prosecutors have deemed the most likely to commit another sex crime. The board also uses GPS bracelets to track the movements of offenders who have violated terms of their parole.” (Hepp, Star-Ledger)
"I think it's a worthwhile program," said Capt. Sean Asay, deputy director of the Parole Division, who testified at yesterday's Senate Law and Public Safety hearing. "If you're going to have any kind of handle on this population – where they're going, what they're doing – this is the closest you can get without them physically being watched all the time." (Delli Santi, AP)
ADD JOHN INGLESINO TO THE LIST OF SUPPORTERS
“Seeking to avoid voting scandals like those experienced in Florida and Ohio in the past two presidential elections, a coalition of good government and lobbying groups yesterday proposed six bills to improve New Jersey's election process……………
The key measure (S-507) proposed by the coalition — and the only one presently embodied in legislation, sponsored by Sen. Nia H. Gill (D-Essex) and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) — would outline a procedure for the mandatory audit of election results…………..
Aides to Senate President Richard J. Codey (D-Essex) and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) disputed the accusation the Legislature has been slow to act on election reform. They noted Roberts was a key sponsor in a bipartisan package of 12 election-related bills passed by the Legislature and approved by then-Acting Gov. Codey in July 2005.
The package of bills, dubbed "Every Voter Counts," was described by Roberts as "the most ambitious set of changes to our election system since it was overhauled by Governor Woodrow Wilson nearly a century ago." (Hester, Star-Ledger)
ELIZABETH EDWARDS IN NEW JERSEY
“Before Elizabeth Edwards walked into the Morristown Deli, owner Marc Marowitz took down an autographed photo of Rudy Giuliani.
"We don't need to take chances," Marowitz said with a chuckle after hiding his framed photo of the Republican presidential candidate under the counter.
Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, visited Morris County on Thursday for a fundraiser and agreed to a 15-minute interview with the Daily Record………….
John Edwards' personal wealth will not undercut his appeal to voters grappling with poverty, she said.
"It is nonsensical to suggest that people living in poverty … have time to advocate for themselves," Edwards said.” (Jennings, Daily Record)
IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN
“Despite facing an uphill battle in Congress, two prominent Democratic lawmakers vowed Thursday to push for the full $50 billion in federal funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
At stake is slightly more than $1 billion in additional funding over five years for New Jersey's health-care program for uninsured children, known as NJ FamilyCare.
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-Hoboken, said inaction would amount to "dereliction in duty" if Congress were to cut funding for health care for those who need it most.
"In my mind, we have a responsibility that no child goes to bed without proper health care and treatment they need and that's what SCHIP is about. We cannot rest until every single child is covered," Menendez said……….
Providing less than the full amount would reduce access to comprehensive health coverage that would include preventive care, said U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-Long Branch.” (Shamlin, Courier-Post)
SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION CORP WILL NOW WASTE MONEY UNDER NEW NAME
“The embattled New Jersey Schools Construction Corp. would be abolished and reconstituted as an agency in the state Treasury Department under a bill introduced in the state Senate yesterday.
The corporation, which has been criticized for wasting millions of the $8.6 billion lawmakers authorized it to spend seven years ago, would be replaced with a new panel called the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.
Besides having a larger board of directors and standing as an independent authority, the new organization would be empowered to place a 180-day hold on property earmarked for future school projects, delegate construction jobs to qualified school districts and establish a system for ranking future school projects as additional state funding becomes available.
The new bill aims to correct a host of management and operational problems identified in a series of critical reviews launched after corporation officials announced two years ago they had run out of funds for a court-ordered overhaul of public schools in New Jersey's poorest communities. Hundreds of schools remained overcrowded or in disrepair.” (McNichol, Star-Ledger)
ISN’T THAT THE OBVIOUS THING TO DO?
“The state board which oversees teaching licenses is seeking to revoke or suspend the certificates of four administrators who are at the center of a grades tampering scandal in Trenton.
The educators in danger of being stripped of their ability to work in New Jersey include former Superintendent James Lytle. He and three other administrators, one of whom no longer works in the district, are accused by the state of allowing the transcripts of 126 students to be altered……………
"Any time the state Board of Examiners issues you an order to 'show cause' as to why your license to work in public education in New Jersey should not be revoked, it's a very serious matter," said Kathryn Forsyth, the DOE's director of media relations.” (Colon, Trenton Times)
SENATE HEALTH COMMITTEE
“Lawmakers publicized a bill yesterday that would require New Jersey hospitals to make infection rates public and available on the Internet.
The proposal, which unanimously passed the Senate Health Committee yesterday, calls for collecting the sensitive data, currently kept secret by hospitals, and letting consumers use the information to make comparisons.
State health officials, the head of the state hospital trade group, experts and consumer groups lined up at the Statehouse hearing to support the bill, saying publicizing the data can reduce infections and save lives.
"What a wonderful day this is," said David Knowlton, chairman of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. "This bill is measured. It's responsible and it insists on improvement.” (Campbell, Star-Ledger)
TOM MORAN GIVES IT TO US STRAIGHT
“Republicans tend to get defensive when they are accused of favoring the rich over the poor. That's class warfare, we are told. And it's just not American.
Which makes it difficult to be polite while discussing the latest Republican moves on the state budget. Because the GOP plan is crowded with efforts to take money from poor cities and shift it to wealthier suburbs.” (Moran, Star-Ledger)
TOO BAD PARIS HILTON ISN’T FROM NEW JERSEY
“New Jersey moved toward toughening its drunk-driving laws Thursday, as a Senate committee advanced measures to triple the minimum jail time for driving with a DUI-suspended license and erase a good-behavior window between violations………..
One measure increases from 10 to 30 days the minimum time in jail an offender spends for driving when one's license has been revoked for DWI.
The second bill voids current law that enables defendants facing a second DWI charge to be treated as first offenders if the prior offense had taken placed more than 10 years earlier. Lawyers call that a "step-down."
"It creates a fiction. It changes reality," said Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan.” (Baldwin, Gannett)
IF YOU’VE GOT ‘EM, DON’T SMOKE ‘EM
“A proposal to ban smoking in cars with children inside advanced easily in the state Senate yesterday after its sponsor told colleagues that few things were more dangerous than exposing children to smoke in confined spaces…………
"I cannot understand those who say, 'I have the right . . . to endanger my children and other people's children in such a clear and direct way,' " said Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D., Union), the measure's sponsor.
The bill dovetails with a national movement to limit children's exposure to smoke. New Jersey, Maine, Vermont, Texas, Oregon and Washington have banned smoking in cars containing foster children, said Regina Carlson, executive director of NJ GASP, or Group Against Smoking Pollution. Louisiana, Arkansas and Puerto Rico have banned smoking in cars with any child inside.” (Delli Santi, AP)
“Dr. John Banzhaf, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health, a 40-year-old national anti-smoking group, said that quality-of-life measures, like smoking bans when children are present, were an outgrowth of recent moves to ban smoking by foster parents, caring for children who are ultimately a state responsibility.
“Six or eight months ago it would have been impossible to get such a bill through a state legislature,” Dr. Banzhaf said. “But the ban on foster parents has made it more likely.” (Smothers, New York Times)
CAN CONIGLIO GET THE PLUMBING CONTRACT?
“Democratic lawmakers plan to boost charity care aid to hospitals by about $170 million over the amount Gov. Jon S. Corzine first proposed as they put the finishing touches on their plan for the state budget, according to three legislative officials familiar with the discussions.
Meanwhile, the costs for lawmakers' pet projects are expected to be kept below $50 million in the fiscal year 2008 spending plan, the sources said. That represents a significant cut from last June, when more than $300 million in last-minute spending was approved with little public review.” (Tamari, Gannett)
PLEASE SIR, I WANT SOME MORE
“A year after the elite summer programs were saved by an unprecedented private fundraising campaign, the Governor's Schools are again short of cash.
The six month long programs for nearly 600 select high school students will open as planned later this month on college campuses statewide, officials said. But those officials are asking state lawmakers, who eliminated their funding last year, for an infusion of money………..
"Without some state money, I think we will be really hard-pressed," said Jane Oates, executive director of the state's Commission on Higher Education, which serves as the schools' administrative staff.
Now in their 25th year, the programs have become a summer stalwart for hundreds of the state's brightest high schoolers, with students in their junior year applying for the summer before their senior year.” (Mooney, Star-Ledger)
JUST IN CASE…
“A state lawmaker took the extraordinary step Thursday of proposing a constitutional amendment to protect Atlantic City's casinos from another government shutdown.
Sen. James “Sonny” McCullough, R-Atlantic, introduced legislation that would amend New Jersey's constitution to allow the casinos to continue operating even if the Legislature fails to enact a new budget at the start of each fiscal year on July 1………….
“I want to do this right,” McCullough said. “I do not want any loopholes that some Trenton bureaucrat in the future can slip through.”” (Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City)
NEW BALLOTS ALSO TO BE MADE IN CHINA
“Voting-rights advocates are lobbying state legislators to translate voting materials and ballots into Asian languages such as Korean, Chinese and Gujarati for voters who primarily speak those languages, though critics say the idea is impractical and insulting to the very concept of citizenship…………..
"We have United States citizens in New Jersey who want to vote, and we're trying to create opportunities for access," said Glenn Magpantay, a staff attorney with the New York-based Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Under the proposal, any election district where any Asian-language group makes up 10 percent or more of registered voters would see ballots, sample ballots and voter registration materials in that language………..
However, the possibility of a proliferation of multilingual ballots draws the ire of some like Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, who sees them eroding English as an essential part of civic life and national identity.
"The law is that if you become a citizen you should have to be able to vote in English," said Lonegan, who last year led a well-publicized campaign against Spanish-language billboards in his town. "The whole concept of having one language is to bind the country together so people can communicate on the same plateau. You cannot balkanize a country this way." (Hsu, Bergen Record)
IT’S ALL FUN AND GAMES UNTIL PENNSYLVANIA LOSES AN EYE
“New Jersey wants Pennsylvania to help take the bang out of firework.
New Jersey is among nine states that bans all consumer fireworks, but residents can easily scoot over a Delaware River bridge to purchase their Roman candles, bottle rockets, sparklers, firecrackers and the like.
"We're asking Pennsylvania to be a good neighbor," said Baroni, one of the bill sponsors whose district is a short drive from Pennsylvania.
Nick Troutman, a former aide to Sen. Roger A. Madigan, who sponsored Pennsylvania's fireworks law, said sales to out-of-state residents are allowed to help protect Pennsylvania fireworks companies.
"If the law was changed, these companies that have invested million of dollars in their fireworks factories would be going out of business," he said.
Troutman said Pennsylvania's not to blame for others coming there to buy fireworks.
"That's not Pennsylvania's responsibility," he said.” (Hester, AP)
“Voters in three wards will be going back to the polls Tuesday to select from six remaining candidates in the nonpartisan City Council runoff elections. In each of the wards, no candidate managed in the May 8 municipal elections to receive the 50 percent-plus-one vote needed to avoid a second round.” (Hack, Jersey Journal)
“Fourth Ward City Councilman Christopher Campos has filed a complaint with the U.S. Attorney's Office, claiming two of his opponents mishandled absentee ballots. At the same time, his opponent in Tuesday's runoff election is questioning Campos' relationship with developers and pointing to his election finance reports.” (Hack, Jersey Journal)
WHO’S GOING TO FOOT THE BILL?
“It all started when a Galloway Township Council candidate's name was left off sample and absentee ballots before this week's primary.
Now, the Atlantic County clerk says it's the fault of the Galloway Township clerk, who contends it isn't really all her fault.
Three Republicans running for the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders want the board to investigate what happened.
And Atlantic County Democrats are complaining they can't get anybody to investigate anything they think needs investigating.
The situation is also causing some debate about who should pay the approximately $10,000 it cost to print corrected ballots.” (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)
IN WEST WINDSOR
“Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh and other township officials are concerned the incoming council majority may have made at least one decision in private over lunch.
A leading state open-meeting advocate also is questioning why Councilmen Charles Morgan and William Anklowitz and Councilman-elect George Borek met to discuss the appointment of the township attorney without informing the public.
Morgan, Anklowitz and Borek said they have kept the mayor informed and the lunch meeting wasn't improper because Borek hasn't joined the board.”
CRIME DOWN IN JERSEY CITY – MAYOR HEALEY MUST BE BEHAVING
“Jersey City police say crime in the city has dropped dramatically during the first four months of the year as compared to the first four months of 2006. "How can you not be pleased with the success our Police Department has had this year, and last year as well in 2006, when crime also dropped significantly?" Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy said in a statement.” (Conte, Jersey Journal)
IN JERSEY CITY
“Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy has appointed a new press secretary. Jennifer Morrill, who most recently served as public information officer for the city Division of Cultural Affairs, replaces Maria Pignataro, who resigned last week.” (Fink, Jersey Journal)
IN CUMBERLAND COUNTY
“Down in rural Cumberland County, where state prisons hold one of every four incarcerated New Jerseyans, people say they're weary of feeling like the state's dumping ground. Now they fear they're about to be dumped on again.” (Wood, Star-Ledger)
IN OCEAN COUNTY
“Gov. Corzine on Thursday nominated state Superior Court Judge Marlene Lynch Ford to a five-year term as Ocean County prosecutor, ending months of speculation on who would succeed Thomas F. Kelaher in the job.” (Hopkins, Asbury Park Press)
IN UNION COUNTY
“In a few weeks, Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow will find out whether he gets to keep his job. Barring some major slip-up, the 66-year-old is expected to keep the position he has held for five years. His term ends July 26.” (Lucas, Star-Ledger)
IN GLOUCESTER COUNTY
“The re-nomination of a Gloucester County Superior Court judge sailed through a Senate committee Thursday after questions over her performance stalled its advancement on the Senate floor last month.” (Graber, Gloucester County Times)
“Ellen Sandman conceded the Republican mayoral primary to Ted Hussa on Thursday after a review of provisional ballots gave Hussa a nine-vote lead.” (Jennings, Daily Record)
IN BURLINGTON COUNTY
“Less than three weeks remain until the June 25 deadline for FEMA aid applications. As of Tuesday, 726 families from Burlington County had registered with the agency to receive aid, eighth highest among the 12 counties that qualified for disaster assistance, according to FEMA.” (Levinsky, Burlington County Times)
IN NORTH HANOVER
” Four candidates will vie for two Township Committee seats in the November election. Democrat John Kocubinski was not on the ballot for Tuesday's primary, but received 31 write-in votes.” (Hayes, Burlington County Times)
”Former Mayor Joe Marts has filed as an Independent to run for the borough council. He will face Republican incumbents James Collander and Cordelia Fuller in the November general election.” (
“Few thought Carmela Colosimo would remain on the political sidelines for long following a stunning defeat last November. Not at age 49, and not after serving 12 years on the Kenilworth Borough Council…………. However, the elementary school teacher at Orange Avenue School in neighboring Cranford has re- emerged on the political scene. On Wednesday, she became the Democratic municipal chairwoman, in charge of getting others in the party elected after passing on bids for a return to office herself.” (Jett, Star-Ledger)
“Township Democratic Municipal Chairman Dan Benson has stepped down from his post in order to concentrate on a new job.” (Isherwood, Trenton Times)
AND SHAFTAN SAYS NEW JERSEY SHOULD BE MORE LIKE ALABAMA
Simmering tensions in the Alabama Senate boiled over Thursday when a Republican lawmaker punched a Democratic colleague in the head before they were pulled apart.
Republican Sen. Charles Bishop said Democratic Sen. Lowell Barron called him a "son of a [expletive]."
"I responded to his comment with my right hand," Bishop said. Alabama Public Television tape captured the punch.