Rabner will be nominated for Chief Justice, Corzine taps Milgram for AG, Wilson sues Corzine over Katz emails, SEC investigates New Jersey pension fund, Democrats say they won’t block bill to cut tax boards, NJ Transit hikes fares.
FOR A GENERATION, IT’LL BE STU’S COURT
“Gov. Jon Corzine plans to nominate Attorney General Stuart Rabner for chief justice of the state Supreme Court, a move that could leave a lasting imprint on New Jersey’s judiciary, according to four people with direct knowledge of the governor’s plans.
If confirmed by the Senate, Rabner, 46, would be the youngest of the seven justices on the high court and could lead the state’s judicial system for a generation before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70……….
Rabner “is an excellent choice. I think he’s fair,” said Codey, who represents Rabner’s hometown of Caldwell. “I don’t necessarily think he tilts either way, ideologically. He’s a man of integrity and a voice of reason.” (Margolin, Star-Ledger)
BILL CLINTON WAS ATTORNEY GENERAL AROUND THE SAME AGE
She’s been known to live out of a suitcase, manage multiple crises at the same time and spend long, lonely hours in pursuit of bad guys. For Anne Milgram, it doesn’t get any easier from here. Milgram, a former federal prosecutor who has served as the No. 2 official in the state Attorney General’s Office since last year, is Gov. Jon Corzine’s pick to succeed Attorney General Stuart Rabner, according to four people with direct knowledge of the decision. (Hepp and Mueller, Star-Ledger)
WILSON: YOU’VE GOT MAIL
“Making good on an earlier threat, Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson sued Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday to force him to disclose any e-mails between his office and union leader Carla Katz, his former girlfriend……..
Wilson said the public needs to see the e-mails between Katz and Corzine to judge whether their prior relationship “is inappropriately influencing him as governor,” particularly in regard to recently completed contract negotiations with the Communications Workers of America. Katz is president of CWA Local 1034.
The Democratic state chairman, Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union), called the Republicans’ latest move “nothing more than an act of political voyeurism wrapped up in a meaningless lawsuit.” (Shwaneberg, Star-Ledger).
NEVER FUN WHEN THE FEDS GET INVOLVED
“The Securities and Exchange Commission has begun an inquiry into New Jersey’s handling of its pension fund for public employees, a move that suggests federal regulators are concerned that the state did not properly disclose its contributions to the fund.………..
The inquiry was reported yesterday in The Star-Ledger of Newark.
State officials acknowledge that the pension fund has a serious deficit of billions of dollars and needs big contributions that will require cuts in other programs, higher taxes or another source. But dealing with thorny accounting questions to the satisfaction of regulators could take years and require even more contributions than officials now expect. It could also affect New Jersey’s creditworthiness. With reported assets of about $80 billion, the fund is the nation’s ninth-largest public fund.
Shortly after The Times reported on the state’s pension accounting maneuvers, Gov. Jon S. Corzine said he wanted to investigate the matter because he believed the state had been letting the pension fund lapse “for the better part of a decade” and needed to address the resulting shortfall.…………
But now the state appears to be letting federal regulators lead the investigation. A spokesman for the attorney general said it had hired a former S.E.C. official, Carmen J. Lawrence, to represent the state before the S.E.C. Ms. Lawrence, who was the director of the S.E.C.’s Northeast regional office from 1996 to 2000, is now a leader of the securities regulation and enforcement practice at the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. (Walsh, New York Times)
FUN, FUN, FUN ‘TIL UNION COUNTY TOOK THE SUV AWAY
“A Linden councilman employed by Union County has been stripped of his county-owned vehicle after using the Ford Explorer while campaigning for re-election earlier this month. “It was a mistake and I apologize. I own up to it. It’s my responsibility,” said 7th Ward Councilman Ralph Strano, who had been driving the green SUV in connection with his job as chief of Union County’s Mosquito Control Bureau.” (Murray, Star-Ledger).
HOW DO YOU DRIVE MORE SLOWLY? ADD COPS
“The head of the state police said yesterday that he planned to assign more troopers to the elite unit that drives and protects the governor and to step up their training after Gov. Corzine’s near-fatal auto accident last month………..
On the day of the accident, Corzine’s driver had been on the road with the governor for about 12 hours, according to state police. Trooper Robert Rasinski logged more than 300 miles while driving the governor to Pennsylvania for an FBI agent’s funeral and to Atlantic City for a speech.
Fuentes emphasized the importance of continuing to allow the motorcade driver to determine the appropriate speed of the vehicle.
“Speed of the motorcade is a tool that can be used for risk avoidance, distancing the vehicle from perceived threats, or to position the motorcade on the highway in such a way that maximizes the ability to maneuver amid traffic,” he said.” (Delli Santi, Philadelphia Inquirer)
“Colonel Fuentes said that when the governor traveled by car, it would be “counterproductive” to order drivers not to speed, since troopers are responsible for protecting him from dangerous and unexpected situations, matters as various as traffic accidents and potential assassinations.” (Kocieniewski, New York Times).
ANYONE WANT TO BET $1 THIS WON’T ACTUALLY HAPPEN
“The Democratic chair of an Assembly committee says he is not blocking a bill to cut the size of politically bloated county tax boards to 2004 levels, putting blame on Republican sponsors for not aggressively pursuing it.
Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Union) said the bill that would save an estimated $1 million annually was not heard this month by his Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee because he did not get calls or letters from Republican sponsors.
“I don’t want anyone to think I’m holding this bill up,” Green said. “The sponsors have to call me and ask me to post the bill, take some action to let me know they want it to be heard. Then I speak to leadership about it.”………….
Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R-Warren) and Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) said they were surprised by Green’s comments, but called and sent letters to Green’s office to reaffirm their commitment to the bill.” (Ragonese, Star-Ledger)
IN CASE YOUR FORGET IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT NEW JERSEY, A LITTLE JOHN FARMER
The 2008 presidential election will be the most important one since the close of the Cold War almost two decades ago.………………
The larger context for all this is a world that, in the seven years of Bush’s presidency, has come to fear and despise us as the greatest threat to global peace. (Witness the booing of Miss USA by Mexicans, of all people, at the Miss Universe contest in Mexico City.) The next president’s most important task may be — through a combination of policy and personality — somehow to restore America’s reputation for compassion and compe tence that Bush has trashed.
With so much at stake, it’s no wonder neither Republicans nor Democrats seem entirely satisfied with their roster of candidates. (Farmer, Star-Ledger).
“New Jersey commuters will need to dig a bit deeper into their pockets to take an NJ Transit train, bus or light-rail line starting today. Rates are rising 9.6 percent on average, with some riders seeing slightly higher or lower increases.” (Star-Ledger).
KUDSOS TO ANYONE WHO CAN SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATE THE ELEC SITE
“The local Democratic officials have promised to file complaints against the GOP council ticket, alleging violation of campaign finance reporting laws. In a statement issued yesterday, Hamilton Township Democratic Committee Chairman Dan Benson accused Republicans Kelly Yaede and Kevin Meara of violating state law by failing to file fundraising reports with the state and with the township clerk.” (Isherwood, Trenton Times).
MANZO’S DAY JOB
“Assemblyman Lou Manzo and Union City Mayor and Assemblyman Brian Stack are joined in a fight for two state Senate seats against the Hudson County Democratic Organization, but Manzo’s connections to Stack and Union City are not just political. They are also financial………
As president of Metro Insurance Agency, Manzo, 52, has served as the group health insurance broker for the Union City Board of Education since 2005. The company also has the group dental insurance broker contract with the Hudson County Schools of Technology and a number of private businesses.
The roughly $200,000 of annual income generated from the Union City contract – his most lucrative – has helped Manzo fund his own Senate campaign and support mortgages on three houses, according to interviews and public records.” (Renshaw, Jersey Journal).
A COINCIDENCE THAT ANTI-ORGANIZATION ASSEMBLY CANDIDATE GETS AUDITED JUST BEFORE THE PRIMARY?
“On the heels of a scathing state audit – the second in three years – the Jersey City Board of Education has halted all payments to an early childhood education provider owned by state Assembly candidate Sheila Newton-Moses….. The audit, completed last month, states that Sunnyside Academy, the company Newton-Moses founded in the early 1990s, “underspent” its 2005-2006 Abbott early childhood education budget by $222,083 – meaning the money was spent, but not for the purposes it was allotted for under the court-mandated, state-funded program.” (Thorboune, Jersey Journal)
WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW?
“The stakes are high. The candidates in Tuesday’s race for the Democratic nomination for the 33rd District Senate seat are mayors of neighboring towns who have shared the district as assemblymen for just a few months………..
But now the former allies are locked in a bitter struggle that will leave one of them without a position in the state Legislature.
Assemblyman and Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack’s decision earlier this year to run for the state Senate sparked a ferocious campaign by the Hudson County Democratic Organization to paint him as a politician who puts his own ambitions above the interests of his party.
For his part, Stack has pointed out that his opponent, West New York Mayor Silverio A. Vega, once walked with him at parades and supported him at party rallies. Vega is backed by the HCDO, while Stack heads the Democrats for Hudson County slate.” (Hack, Jersey Journal).
IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT DEVELOPERS
As Edison’s hot Democratic council primary race heads into its final weekend, the latest state campaign finance reports show the three competing tickets have already spent more than $250,000 to attract voters.…….
The latest reports filed with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission showed the four candidates endorsed by Choi, AnnMa rie Griffin-Ussak, Wayne Mascola, Melissa Perilstein and Sudhanshu Prasad, raised more than $60,000 in the past three weeks and have spent nearly $118,000 on the race.
The incumbent council candi dates, Joan Kapitan, Robert Kara binchak, Salvatore Pizzi and Charles Tomaro, have spent $112,430 in a campaign to fend off the challengers in the 12-way race, according to ELEC records.” (Walsh, Star-Ledger).
AND NONE OF IT WAS SPENT SENDING BOB MARTIN TO SCHOOL
“Plenty of cash is powering the Republican campaign for Assembly in the 26th District, with combined war chests of more than $800,000 financing advertising campaigns that are inundating voters in the 15-town district. Former Kinnelon Councilman Larry Casha has twice the political war chest of Morris Plains attorney Jay Webber in their head-to-head battle for one of two Republican nominations, according to their latest campaign finance filings. As of May 24, Casha had raised $266,000 to $127,000 for Webber, according to state reports.” (Ragonese, Star-Ledger).
MAYBE LAUTENBERG SHOULD DO THIS?
“Just how old are Joan Quigley and Sandra Bolden Cunningham, candidates in different races in Tuesday’s Democratic primaries? Quigley, an assemblywoman running for re-election, and Bolden Cunningham, running for a state Senate seat, gave incorrect ages to The Jersey Journal this week………
When asked for her age Wednesday, Quigley reluctantly told a reporter she was 67….According to county Board of Election records, Quigley is in fact 72……..After being coy about giving her age to a Jersey Journal reporter, Bolden Cunningham said she was 50 years old – but another check with the county Board of Election revealed she is actually 56.” (Judd, Jersey Journal)
SERIOUSLY, THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PRIMARY
“In addition to choosing who will run for mayor on the GOP ticket this year, Toms River Republicans will go to the polls on Tuesday to pick three candidates for Township Council. Six Republican hopefuls filed paperwork to vie for the three at-large seats open on the seven-member council, currently all Republican. Councilmen Carmine C. Inteso Jr. and Michael J. Fiure are not seeking re-election, while Councilman John Sevastakis is opting to run again.” (Kidd, Asbury Park Press).
SEEKING A REVIEW
“The Perth Amboy council president called yesterday for a full review of the city police department and questioned the abilities of the city attorney after last week’s $1.9 million verdict in favor of a police officer who contended he was subjected to harassment by fellow officers because of his Mexican-American heritage……
Council President Peter Jime nez’s four-page letter to council members and Mayor Joseph Vas also suggested that the handling of the trial by Frank Capece, the city law director, should be reviewed by the council, though he stopped short of asking for Capece’s dismissal before trial transcripts could be obtained.
Jimenez, who is Hispanic, offered sharp criticism of the police department and Chief Michael Kohut based on the testimony of Officer Guadelupe Munoz, who be came the city’s first Mexican-American officer in 2000.
“The verdict rendered by the jury in the lawsuit filed by Guade lupe Munoz sounds an alarm which loudly and clearly indicates that there is a problem within our police department, a problem which needs to be addressed right now,” Jimenez wrote in the letter. (Haydon, Star-Ledger)
VEGA’S GREAT CONSPIRACY THEORY
“West New York Mayor Silverio “Sal” Vega kept up his offensive yesterday against the organizers of the Cuban Day Parade at a news conference in front of Town Hall….Vega says the organizers have been fraudulently representing themselves as a Kiwanis Club when they have not been a member for some time.” (Luna, Jersey Journal)………
David Williams, a spokesman for Kiwanis International, located in Indianapolis, Ind., said the Latin American Kiwanis Club’s charter was suspended in October of 2005 because dues were not paid……..
Asked yesterday about the Latin American Kiwanis Club’s standing with Kiwanis International, Emilio Del Valle, co-founder of the Cuban Day Parade, said his phone was losing power and that he had to go.” (Luna, Jersey Journal)
“After months of speculation on who will succeed Thomas F. Kelaher as Ocean County prosecutor, Kelaher said Thursday it will be state Superior Court Judge Marlene Lynch Ford……..
“Nobody has anything untoward to say about her,” said Kelaher, a Republican, who until recently had still held out hope that he would be reappointed.” (Hopkins, Asbury Park Press)
WHO WILL IT BE?
“The Manalapan Republican Committee — not the Township Committee — will decide who will fill a Township Committee seat left vacant May 1, according to the party’s municipal chairman.………
The nominees are Susan Cohen, 49, of Bonnie Drive; Kalman “Butch” Budai of Notting Hill Court; and Susan Heckler, 48, of Notting Hill Court.” (Williams, Arbury Park Press)
LOOKING FOR THE NEW HARRY
“Two veteran Democratic council members want to replace Harry Zikas as the next borough mayor. Council President Ed Hanics and Klara Tarsi are both longtime residents and public servants for Alpha. They’ll basically try to flip spots with Zikas, who is running for borough council after two terms as mayor. With no Republican challenger, Tuesday’s primary election should determine the next mayor.” (Hausmann, Express Times).
“Which Republicans will make it to the big race in November? On Tuesday GOP voters will nominate for the Township Committee two of three candidates: incumbents Serena DiMaso and Terence Wall, and Gerald Allocco, who is Wall’s running mate.” (Thompson, Asbury Park Press).
IN GLOUCESTER COUNTY
“Three Republicans will face off in next week’s primary election for the chance to run for two Gloucester County freeholder seats in November.The county Republican Party endorsed Andrew Savicky, 57, of Glassboro and Paul Marino, a reinsurance broker, of Washington Township.” (Huelsman, Courier-Post).
FORMER FREEHOLDER AND SHERIFF HENRY METZGER
“Henry “Hank” Metzger, 76, a former Burlington County freeholder and sheriff, died Thursday at Medford Leas.” (Comengo, Courier-Post)………..
“Henry recognized the potential of a park system located in Smithville, preserving the Smithville Mansion as well as the factory, village and farm. It was the start of a park system,” said James Denworth, who succeeded Metzger as friends president. He said Metzger was “very passionate” about volunteering and serving the people.” (Comengo, Courier-Post)
Recreational activities and affordable housing are the most talked about issues in the Democratic primary for a seat to represent the 2nd Ward. Democrats will cast their votes Tuesday, deciding whether Councilwoman Raline Smith-Reid should remain and be the Democratic candidate in the November general election, or whether CarlusHarris should get a shot at the seat. (Hassan, Daily Record).
Two council members are seeking the Republican nomination for mayor, while three other GOP candidates are running for two council seats in Tuesday’s primary election. Council members John Armeno and Sylvia Petillo are running for mayor, and because no Democrats filed to run, Tuesday’s winner will likely win the post in November. (Manochio, Daily Record).
“With two longtime town officials competing for mayor, and six candidates vying for three council seats, the Denville Republican primary is bustling this year. Councilman Ted Hussa and township Administrator Ellen Sandman are running for mayor.” (Saha, Star-Ledger).
Three 9th District lawmakers announced Thursday that they plan to introduce legislation that would bar companies operating in the state that hire illegal immigrants from receiving public contracts, grants, loans or tax incentives for a 10-year period. (Press of Atlantic City).
The bill — which will be introduced by Sen. Leonard T. Connors Jr. and Assemblymen Christopher J. Connors and Brian E. Rumpf — would also establish a penalty of $10,000 for each illegal immigrant hired by a company that violates any provision of the bill. (Press of Atlantic City).
“A former county freeholder has announced he will resign from his seat on city council. Councilman Bob Smith, who announced previously he would not be seeking a second term after being elected to Vineland’s council in 2004, turned in his letter of resignation this week.” (Dunn, Bridgeton News).