Today’s news from PoliticsNJ.com

James says he can’t afford legal bills, Republicans say they’ll sue Corzine to release monetization study, Abelow on monetization, letters to the editor masquerade as posts on Republican anti-property tax site, LoBiondo praises Iraq surge.

WHAT HAPPENED TO HIS NEST EGG?

“Federal prosecutors have accused former Newark Mayor Sharpe James of bilking the city to subsidize a lavish lifestyle, including trips to Martha’s Vineyard when he allegedly shipped his Rolls-Royce along at taxpayers’ expense.

Now James claims he doesn’t have the cash to pay a law firm representing him to fight those charges and the criminal defense attorneys are seeking to be removed from the case, according to court papers filed yesterday.

Raymond M. Brown of Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis represented James in court in July after the former mayor was indicted on corruption charges alleging that he charged the city for thousands of dollars in personal travel and vacation expenses and steered lucrative city land deals to a female companion.

But Brown filed a motion to U.S. District Judge William Martini yesterday asking for his firm to be removed from the case.

“Sharpe James has advised me … that his personal funds will not be able to meet the projected budget for the hiring of this law firm,” Brown stated in an affidavit. “Continued discussions of this matter have the capacity to erode the lawyer-client relationship and to interfere with providing effective assistance of counsel.”…………….

Federal prosecutors have filed a motion to knock James’ other lawyer, prominent criminal defense attorney Thomas Ashley, out of the case.………………

James has spent most of his life in public service, but also accumulated valuable assets during his career, including properties in three states, a 54-foot yacht and a Rolls Royce.

Days before his indictment, James withdrew close to half of a $1.1 million nest egg built up in his retirement account at Essex County College. He also draws an annual pension of $124,654 from the city of Newark and will earn $49,000 a year as a state senator through his term in January. He is not running for re-election.

James also has $1.2 million remaining in his mayoral election fund and in June paid Brown’s law firm $16,814.14 from that account. It is unclear what that payment was for and Brown did not return messages for comment, nor did Ashley. ” (Whelan and Shearn, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-12/1187758821247970.xml&coll=1

 

ALL MONETIZATION, ALL THE TIME

“Republican lawmakers said yesterday they will sue to force Gov. Jon Corzine to release a key study related to his plan to borrow billions of dollars that would be repaid with higher state highway tolls.

Three GOP members of the Assembly Transportation Committee demanded Corzine release an $800,000 study — conducted by Steer Davies Gleave of London — of the revenue-raising potential and traffic on four state roadways.

“In the spirit of transparency, you must trust members of the Legislature and the public to review the consultant’s final reports and recommendations, which we have all paid $800,000 to produce,” Assemblymen Kevin O’Toole (R-Essex) and Sean Kean (R-Monmouth) and Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) wrote in a letter to the Democratic governor.

They said unless they obtain the consultant’s “uncensored” study, not a final version rewritten by administration officials, they plan to file a lawsuit……………

Corzine’s plan to “monetize” state assets already has cost the public $4.6 million in consulting fees. He has said he will release the full details when the complex plan is ready. Few expect it to be unveiled before the Nov. 6 election.

While the governor has been stingy on details, he has ruled out turning control of state highways over to private operators. Instead, he intends to form a nonprofit public corporation to issue billions of dollars in bonds that will be repaid with higher tolls on the highways.” (Donohue, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1187758502199720.xml&coll=1

 

ABELOW: “WE’D BE CRAZY” TO UNVEIL MONETIZATION PLAN RIGHT BEFORE THE ELECTION

“Gov. Corzine’s plan to leverage toll roads to cover state needs such as transportation costs and reducing state debt likely won’t be unveiled until after the Nov. 6 election, according to his incoming chief of staff.

Bradley Abelow, the state treasurer who is to become chief of staff Sept. 1, said of the “asset monetization” plan: “I think we’re way better than halfway home in terms of” understanding what officials want to achieve, but they still have to work on “operational details.”

“We’re not working to an artificial deadline, and I don’t understand why anyone thinks we should,” he said in an interview after meeting with the Asbury Park Press editorial board………………….

Abelow’s comments are the latest on a controversial topic — Corzine’s developing plan to possibly establish a not-for-profit entity that would operate toll roads such as the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway to generate revenue.

The new entity would borrow billions of dollars that would be repaid with toll increase proceeds.

“I would like nothing better” than to get the plan completed, Abelow said.

But he thinks “we’d be crazy” to unveil the plan on Oct. 15, for example, during the election season.” (Bates, Asbury Park Press)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070822/NEWS/708220333

 

“PROPERTY TAX PLAGIARISM”

“Kenneth Albrecht is no Republican.

“I wouldn’t vote for a Republican dogcatcher,” the Ocean City resident said.

Yet there he was, among those complaining about property taxes on a new Republican Web site promoting property tax “horror stories” as Garden State Republicans try to convince voters that Democratic efforts to cut property taxes have failed. It’s not that Albrecht, an independent voter, likes property taxes.

It’s that he never posted any comments on the Web site. Instead, he said the Web site quoted — with neither his approval nor attribution — from a letter to the editor he wrote which was recently published by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Instead, he said the Web site quoted — with neither his approval nor attribution — from a letter to the editor he wrote which was recently published by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Assembly Republicans have touted the Web site as a place where New Jersey homeowners can share property tax “horror stories” and discuss whether Democratic reform efforts are working.

But Assembly Republican spokesman Bill Guhl said four postings were taken from letters to newspapers, not posted by taxpayers. The Web site has been up for about a week and had about 85 postings Tuesday afternoon…………….”

“This is a place for people to tell their horror stories and if they were published in the newspapers, they were public anyway,” Guhl said. “The whole idea is to post stories from people who are upset about property taxes.”

At least one Democrat disagreed.

“This is property tax plagiarism by the Republicans,” said Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, D-Union, the state Democratic Party chairman. “It’s one more chapter in the real horror story of the GOP’s failure and dishonesty on property taxes.” (AP)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070822/NEWS03/708220348/1007

 

NEWARK SHOULD NOT INVADE PERU

“It is clear now that Jose Carranza, the chief suspect in the Newark schoolyard murders, should have been in jail on the night of the killings, a fact that only deepens the tragedy this city is enduring.

We had him on child rape charges earlier this year, and we could have held him. But he walked out of Essex County jail a free man because no one discovered in time that he was in the country illegally.

That hard fact has now set off a flurry of finger-pointing. That’s okay, because we need to understand the mistakes to make repairs.

But let’s be careful. Because we saw after Sept. 11 that overreacting to one trauma can lead directly to another……………

Tancredo stood in front of city hall and said Mayor Cory Booker and other political leaders were complicit in these murders because they had declared Newark a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants.

“Their actions have directly contributed to the deaths of three promising young American kids,” Tancredo said.

Too bad this vulgar little fellow didn’t read the resolution before he jetted in to score a few points on the graves of these murdered youths……………..

In Morristown, Mayor Don Cresitello is pushing another get-tough approach that doesn’t aim its fire carefully.

He wants to give his police power to enforce federal immigration laws. Most police chiefs say they don’t want that job, and for good reason.

They see the world divided into good guys and bad guys, not immigrants and natives. And to keep order in their cities, they need illegal immigrants to report crimes, to act as informants, and to testify at trial. None of that will happen if the local beat cop becomes the federal enforcer.” (Moran, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/columns/ledger/moran/index.ssf?/base/columns-0/1187758370199720.xml&coll=1

 

WOULD HAVE, COULD HAVE, SHOULD HAVE

“UNION CITY – The man charged with stabbing a city man to death earlier this month is not only an illegal immigrant but at the time of the crime he was serving five years probation for a burglary conviction and was never deported for the crime, officials said.

The missed opportunity to deport Edwardo Castillo Hernandez, 21, on a much lesser charge than murder underscores the complexities local law enforcement officials around the nation face in fighting crime and handing off convicted felons to immigration officials.

Hernandez was first caught trying to enter the United States illegally along the Texas-Mexico border in March 2003 before he was voluntarily returned to Mexico, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Michael Gilhooly.

Then, in August of last year, Hernandez was charged with burglary by West New York police and was sentenced in April to five years probation, according to Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio.

Earlier this month, Hernandez was accused of stabbing a 45-year-old Union City man outside a city bar.

Currently, local law enforcement officials are not required to notify ICE when they come across an undocumented criminal, and towns across the country say they are still searching for clearer federal guidelines on the issue.” (Conte, Jersey Journal)

http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-0/118776214522330.xml&coll=3

CRESITELLO WANTS TO ADVISE CHRISTIE ON IMMIGRATION LAW

“MORRISTOWN — U.S. Attorney Chris Christie said Tuesday that he has not yet received the letter that Mayor Donald Cresitello said he sent requesting the creation of a task force created from town police and Christie’s office to address illegal immigration.

Cresitello said he sent the letter on Friday, and that in it he also cited a series of federal laws Christie could enforce.

“I would give it all due consideration when I see it,” Christie said in a telephone interview. “I don’t want to speculate.”………………

The mayor said he sent a four-page letter to Christie on Friday. That letter, Cresitello said, defines existing federal laws that Christie could prosecute right now — outside of the 287G program, which can authorize municipal police to go after immigration violations. Cresitello said he wants the federal prosecutor’s office to form a task force with the town police department and town administration to enforce all immigration violation laws. Those laws include prohibitions against contractors hiring illegal aliens, and against landlords permitting overcrowding or stacking.” (Hassan, Daily Record)

http://www.dailyrecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070822/COMMUNITIES32/708220360/1203/NEWS01

LOBIONDO PRAISES SURGE, PUTS HIMSELF MORE IN DCCC SIGHTS

“The U.S. military surge in Iraq has curbed the armed insurgency in two regions that were previously wracked by violence, a New Jersey congressman said Monday after visiting the country.

President Bush’s decision in January to deploy an additional 21,000 combat soldiers has reduced attacks in the city of Fallujah and in Anbar province, said Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., who traveled to Iraq last week as part of a congressional delegation.

Though the lawmakers traveled to Baghdad to meet with Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander, LoBiondo said he was disappointed that he couldn’t get out into the capital city, where violence continues despite the surge.

In Fallujah, he said he met with 20 Marines, some from Central and North Jersey, and Iraqi leaders for “unscripted” conversations. Under armed escort, the lawmakers were taken into Fallujah.

“The surge has made all the difference in the world,” LoBiondo said. “The military success is very strong. It’s tangible and it’s beyond what I was expecting to see. . . . Morale was sky-high.”” (Chebium, Gannett)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070822/NEWS03/708220332/1007

 

MAGAZZU WILL NOT CHALLENGE LOBIONDO

VINELAND — Freeholder Lou Magazzu, president of the New Jersey Association of Counties, wants to take his act to the national stage.

A Web site touts Magazzu’s candidacy for second vice president of the National Association of Counties at http://www.lou4naco.com, and Magazzu verified Tuesday that he was interested in the post, for which an election will be held at the NAC’s national convention in July 2008.

Magazzu said becoming second vice president of the NAC, which meets in Washington, D.C., would allow him to “elevate the voice of county government nationally.”

“I hope to have the opportunity to bring out some of Cumberland County’s perspective to the national stage,” said the Democratic freeholder.

Announcement of Magazzu’s NAC candidacy eliminates Magazzu as a possible challenger to the 2nd congressional district post held by Republican U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, which will be up for grabs next year.

The 2nd congressional district is made up of 7 counties in South Jersey, including Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.

“I had to make a decision that I would not run for Congress next year or the Legislature this year,” Magazzu said. “As much as I would love an opportunity for a rematch with LoBiondo … my view is that I can be most effective in county government. Local government is the closest to the people.”” (Dunn, Bridgeton News)

http://www.nj.com/news/bridgeton/local/index.ssf?/base/news-10/1187761335309740.xml&coll=10

 

SOMERSET PARKS COMMISSION STAYS FOR NOW

“Facing a crowd by turns combative and pleading, the Somerset County freeholders last night backed off on a plan to dissolve the embattled park commission.

The freeholders voted 3-2 to table any action until after a December meeting with the nine- member commission, just reconstituted with six freeholder appointees.

The decision had little practical impact because the freeholders previously said any transformation of the semi-autonomous commis sion into a county department would not take place until January.

But the delay eliminated an opportunity to put the question be fore Somerset voters, who established the commission by referendum in 1956. The freeholders would have had to approve a referendum this week to get it on the November ballot………….

“We have taken immediate action” in response to residents’ calls to clean up the commission, Freeholder Director Robert Zaborowski said last night. The delay “gives the new park commissioners a few months to see what they can do.”

The outcome pleased an overwhelming majority of the 50-person audience of present and past parks officials, employees and supporters.

“If it were me, I would never abolish the park commission,” Ray mond Bateman, a former state senator, said pointedly. “I feel very strongly on the subject, very strongly.”” (Tyrell, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/somerset/index.ssf?/base/news-2/1187758170199720.xml&coll=1

 

CORY AND ARIANNA?

“Tough-minded pundit Arianna Huffington may have found a politician she approves of.

Word is that the Huffington Post founder has been quietly dating Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Huffington didn’t respond to several e-mails. Hizzoner’s spokeswoman told us, “We don’t comment on his personal life.” Huffington was an early supporter of Booker in the Rhodes scholar’s battle to unseat longtime Newark boss Sharpe James. Booker has contributed several posts to her blog.

One person bound to take an interest in the talk is TV reporter (and Oprah pal) Gayle King, who has regularly turned up on Booker’s arm at events where Huffington is also a guest.” (Rush and Molloy, New York Daily News)

http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/r_m/2007/08/21/2007-08-21_in_sm_video_jlo_cant_be_beat.html

 

AT RUTGERS

”Rutgers University has reached a tentative contract agreement with the union representing faculty and graduate assistants that would require the school to hire more full-time tenured and tenure-track professors, union officials said.

Under the proposed four-year contract, some union members would get an average 18 percent salary increase over the length of the contract. Also, a special $12 million fund would be created to hire 150 new faculty members.

The fund is a way to rebuild the tenured faculty at the university, which we think is a big benefit for the university and the students,” said Patrick Nowlan, a union representative.

About 2,500 full-time faculty members, graduate and teaching assistants at Rutgers campuses in New Brunswick, Newark and Camden will vote on the contract next month. The old contract expired in June.

The new contract calls for a 25 percent increase in the amount of money the university spends on salaries for faculty, teaching assistants and graduate assistants, which is currently about $250 million.” (Alaya, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-12/1187758835247970.xml&coll=1

 

PALMER WEIGHS IN ON TRENTON SPAT FROM BEAUTIFUL HAWAII

“TRENTON — The city resident who was threatened with a lawsuit by a city administrator has established a legal defense fund.

Zachary Chester, who was threatened with a lawsuit unless he apologized for questions he raised about the involvement of Dennis Gonzalez regarding development and redevelopment projects in the city, has established the fund in case the high-ranking cabinet official makes good on his threat.

Gonzalez, assistant business administrator and former acting di rector of housing and economic development, is threatening to sue Stuyvesant Avenue resident Chester over statements he claims Chester made verbally and in a letter to the city council that Gonza lez contends are slanderous and libelous…………….

In an e-mail statement, Mayor Douglas H. Palmer, in Hawaii on U.S. Conference of Mayors business, seemed to support Gonza lez’s decision. He said no one can afford to take lightly insinuations of wrongdoing made without any fac tual basis or specifics.

It’s not clear whether Palmer was aware of Gonzalez’s intentions before the letter was sent.

Palmer, who did not mention Gonzalez or Chester in his statement, also said, “there appears to be a trend developing by people who are willing to say anything in pursuit of their own political aspirations, including attacking the integrity of others under the guise of civic activism. That sort of thing should concern us all.”” (Loayza, Trenton Times)

http://www.nj.com/news/times/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-10/118775556198750.xml&coll=5

 

NEW JERSEY GETS ITS OWN ATF OFFICE

“In a move expected to bolster New Jersey’s ability to track illegal firearms, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has agreed to establish its first field office in the state this year, federal officials confirmed yesterday.

The new office will put all gun-tracing and other requests from New Jersey law enforcement investigators into a single ATF office dedicated to the Garden State. It will be in Newark and a director will be named Oct. 1, officials said.

The opening of a New Jersey field office marks the end of a split bureaucratic system in which requests for investigative assistance have been handled by ATF field offices in Philadelphia and New York. New Jersey officials have been dissatisfied with the current system because their requests – roughly 3,000 last year – are juggled by offices already dealing with investigations in two of the 10 largest cities in the nation.” (Panaritis, Star-Ledger)

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20070822_ATF_to_open_field_office_in_Newark.html

 

SCHIP

“Thousands of middle-income children enrolled in New Jersey’s FamilyCare health insurance program will not be forced out when the federal government begins enforcing new rules limiting eligibility next year, a top Medicaid official said yesterday.

But the federal government will expect New Jersey and other states to enroll only the poorest children who apply next summer, the federal official said, clarifying an e-mail he sent to all state Medicaid directors late Friday night.

New Jersey officials said Monday they were concerned the new rules would jeopardize health coverage for at least 10,500 children and as many as 28,000 children at the higher end of the FamilyCare program’s income scale.

“We don’t expect (the rules) to have any effect on current enrollees, just new applicants a year from now,” Dennis Smith, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in an interview yesterday.

Still, the change was denounced yesterday by Democrats who see it as part of a Bush administration effort to clamp down on expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. SCHIP provides federal subsidies to state-run programs that offer health coverage to working families not covered by their employers and unable to afford private policies.

Gov. Jon Corzine vowed to “do all we can to fight this wrong-headed step and ensure that those states that are seeking innovative ways to provide health insurance to their citizens are not undermined by this administration.” ” (Livio, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1187757998199720.xml&coll=1

 

NJ BRIDGES

“Every agency, authority or company that owns a bridge in New Jersey has been given 30 days by the state Department of Transportation to make sure the spans comply with national standards and to take action if they don’t.

The directive was issued Friday by the state’s chief engineer, Brian Strizki.

Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri said it was not issued in response to concerns about the safety of specific bridges but rather as a precaution at a time when concerns have been heightened by the collapse of the bridge on Interstate 35 in Minnesota.

“We have no reason to doubt that they are not up to date,” Kolluri said of the New Jersey spans outside the DOT’s jurisdiction. “We just need to make sure that any actions that need to be taken are being taken.”………….

There are 6,434 bridges in New Jersey more than 20 feet long. The DOT is responsible for 2,576 of them. Individual counties are responsible for 2,549. The rest are owned and maintained by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and other toll authorities (1,164), NJ Transit (107), bistate bridge agencies (24) and private companies (14).” (Feeney, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1187758439199720.xml&coll=1

 

THIS WILL SURELY MEET RESISTANCE FROM THE SEX OFFENDER SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS

“New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram launched a state initiative Tuesday in South Jersey to teach educators about the dangers lurking online.

The all-day training session held for 40 Salem County teachers and administrators on cyber-bullying, the behaviors of sexual predators, and the methods predators use to lure children will serve as the pilot for five regional training programs aimed at reaching 1,000 educators statewide.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine asked Milgram and Department of Education Commissioner Lucille Davy to develop a program to help protect children from Internet predators, which will be passed on to parents, students and community organizations.

“We’re sort of dealing with the problems once they’ve occurred,” Milgram said. “The governor wants to give teachers the tools to prevent it.”

The governor’s initiative followed the discovery of 269 convicted New Jersey sex offenders on the social networking site MySpace.com, resulting from subpoenas by the attorney general’s office.

Milgram recently requested similar checks by a dozen other sites, including Facebook, the largest social networking site behind MySpace, Xanga.com, Friendster and LiveJournal.” (Graber, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/expresstimes/nj/index.ssf?/base/news-5/118775568598690.xml&coll=2

 

MATTRESS SAFETY

“A mattress safety bill prompted by a 1990 Roxbury fire in which a toddler was killed was signed into law yesterday by Gov. Jon Corzine.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Morris), requires mattresses and box springs sold in New Jersey to meet federal cigarette-ignition and open- flame standards. It was especially important to Bucco since his chief of staff, Barbara Kinback, lost her grandson in that blaze.

“Hopefully, this can help save some lives,” Bucco said. “This is a bill that should have been fast- tracked instead of taking three years to become law. But I’m pleased it’s finally happened.”” (Ragonese, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1187758419199720.xml&coll=1

 

IN PATERSON

“PATERSON — Both candidates in the running for the 6th Ward City Council seat said Thomas Rooney Jr., the man they hope to replace, is an institution whose shoes cannot be filled.

For the last 27 years, Rooney has represented the area that covers South Paterson, Lakeview and People’s Park, but he announced earlier this month he would not seek re-election, ending a public service career that lasted 40 years.

Board of Education President Andre Sayegh and Ilia Villanueva, director of a local nonprofit, will face off in May for a shot at replacing Rooney on the City Council. Villanueva will try for a third time, having lost to Rooney in 2001 and 2004. For Sayegh, who was recently hired as executive director for the Paterson Alliance, it’s his first run for a city office.

Whoever wins will represent one of the more stable areas in Paterson, one where median household income outstrips the city’s average, but where residents continue to complain of quality of life issues, including litter, slow police response and noise complaints. Residents say the taxes they pay should provide cleaner and safer streets.” (MacInnes, Herald News)

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzNTcmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcxODQ5MTgmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkz

 

TAXING THE RICH

“A law Gov. Jon Corzine enacted late yesterday casts new uncertainty on whether an exclusive private club for Princeton University students and alumni merits special historic status to gain exemption from property taxes retroactive to 2001.

The law’s architects — Assemblyman Reed Gusciora and state Sen. Shirley Turner — hailed the measure as a win for Princeton Borough taxpayers, who stood to lose almost $321,000 in back taxes to the University Cottage Club under a May ruling in the club’s favor by the state Supreme Court. ………….

But Cottage Club attorney Thomas Olson last night downplayed the new law as irrelevant to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the club’s fight to gain historic-based tax exemption.

“Our feeling is it doesn’t have any impact on what the Supreme Court decided,” Olson said.

He implied that new legal skirmishes may be needed to resolve the matter if the state and advo cates for the borough interpret the new law as trumping the Supreme Court’s decision……………….

The measure clarifies a 2004 law that Gusciora and Turner spon sored, which required private historic sites run by nonprofit organizations to be open to the public for at least 96 days each year as a condition for receiving historic-based tax exemption through the state Department of Environmental Protection.” (Stern, Trenton Times)

http://www.nj.com/news/times/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-10/118775565198750.xml&coll=5

 

IN ONE OF THE WASHINGTON TOWNSHIPS

“WASHINGTON TWP. | Township Committeeman Samir Elbassiouny publicly apologized Tuesday for voting to hire his private employee for a township position.

Elbassiouny blamed the vote on his lack of committee experience. He started on the committee in January.

“I’m a rookie, I made a mistake,” he said at Tuesday’s committee meeting. “I should have abstained.”

Last month, Elbassiouny and the rest of the five-member committee voted to hire Elbassiouny’s bookkeeper as the township’s part-time construction code clerk without interviewing any of the applicants. The position pays $15 an hour…………

The hiring was raised by former Committeeman R.J. Strunk, who is running again this November. He asked that the committee interview for the position.

“This smacks of patronage,” Strunk said.” (Olanoff, Express-Times)

http://www.nj.com/news/expresstimes/nj/index.ssf?/base/news-5/118775552698690.xml&coll=2

 

IN MARLBORO

“MARLBORO — A sign insulting local officials — put up earlier this year on the front lawn of the home of indicted developer Edward Kay’s wife — will be the subject of a hearing in Lake Como Municipal Court on Sept. 18.

The sign carried several messages critical of township officials, including one asking the public not to vote for Mayor Robert Kleinberg in November. The sign said the township has “wasted” more than $1.6 million on “lousy attorneys,” and names Township Attorney Andrew Bayer.

Township zoning and building officials issued Barrie Kay, Edward Kay’s wife, a summons regarding the sign in April. She is listed as owner of the Robertsville Road home, but Edward Kay is listed in voting records as also living there, and he has claimed responsibility for the sign. Zoning officials said the roughly 20-foot-wide wooden sign violated a township ordinance outlawing billboards in a residential zone…………

The sign also asked the public to join Kleinberg’s “Money Lo$$ Challenge,” a gibe referring to a weight-loss program the mayor initiated in the township.

“Join the fun, and together we’ll lose a ton of money and go bankrupt!!!” the sign read…………..

The Meitermans and Kay were arrested in December on federal charges that they bribed two public officials in exchange for approvals for housing developments and commercial projects. Jury selection for that federal trial is expected to begin in October.” (Boyd, Asbury Park Press)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070822/NEWS/708220336

 

IN BELVIDERE

“BELVIDERE | Mayor Charles Liegel Sr. and his family met Monday with the mayor of Norfolk, Va., to discuss the ongoing investigation of his son’s murder.

Charles Liegel Jr., a 28-year-old U.S. Army staff sergeant, was found dead in his Norfolk home after a May 1 fire that police say was intentionally set. Investigators are treating his death as a homicide and no arrests have been made.

“We feel better that our questions have been answered,” the Belvidere mayor said of his visit.

Citing a need to protect the investigation, Liegel would not say what was discussed. ” (Satullo, Express-Times)

http://www.nj.com/news/expresstimes/nj/index.ssf?/base/news-5/118775571298690.xml&coll=2

 

IN NEWARK

“The Newark Housing Authority laid off all six inspectors in its hous ing-choice voucher program yesterday, saying the employees allowed residents to live in substandard conditions.

Executive Director Keith Kinard said a random sampling of subsidized housing units revealed un safe homes that were not fit to be occupied. Records of inspections also were nonexistent and efforts to train the inspectors failed, Kinard said.

“The conditions were not just mild failures. There was no plumb ing, no electricity and no running water in occupied units,” Kinard said. “Either no inspection took place, or there was something much more insidious in play.”

In addition to the 23,000 residents living in public housing units, Newark distributes about 2,700 vouchers through the federally funded housing-choice program, formerly know as Section 8, that allows participants to obtain housing in the private sector. More than 7,000 people in Newark are housed through the $30 million program. Participants pay about 30 percent of their income in rent, and the federal government funds the balance. ” (Mays, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/essex/index.ssf?/base/news-4/1187758455199720.xml&coll=1

 

IN GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – The local Republican league once again has a complete candidate ticket for the Township Council election this fall after replacing an incumbent candidate with an area commercial developer with no political experience.

The township’s Republican campaign took a significant hit last month when its incumbent candidate, Mark Hanko, suddenly dropped out of the race to tend to an overload of work with his private businesses. The move left Republicans searching for a worthy replacement. They think they found one in James Cox, a real estate broker and prominent township developer……………..

Township Republican leaders played up Cox’s experience with land development; Galloway is a township that is growing with new residents and developments.” (Clark, Press of Atlantic City)

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/atlantic/story/7497385p-7393893c.html

 

IN ATLANTIC COUNTY

“Republican Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders candidate Rich Dase said Tuesday he wants increased efforts when it comes to sharing municipal and county services.

Dase, who is running for the 4th District freeholder seat, said that if elected he would convene a county-municipal government summit “to exchange ideas and suggestions to bring about greater cooperation in providing services and purchasing goods and services.”

“I am convinced there are considerable savings to be had,” Dase said. “Local governments would retain their autonomy but would be urged to consider joining others in joint purchases and negotiate more favorable costs.

“At the same time, serious discussions should be held to determine if sharing some government services is feasible. It is time to tap the creativity of people in public office to develop innovative methods to save money.”” (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/atlantic/story/7497376p-7393838c.html

 

IN MIDDLE TOWNSHIP

Petition organizers needed a Superior Court judge’s decision late Monday afternoon to receive the 226 names that were deemed invalid after review by the township Clerk’s Office.

But township Republican leader Robert “Budd” Springer said Tuesday it was too late to correct those names deemed invalid or to gather more before the deadline – a Township Committee meeting Monday night.

A referendum seeking to enlarge the size of the three-member Township Committee will not happen, he said.” (Inieri, Press of Atlantic City)

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/capemay/story/7497403p-7393885c.html

 

 

 

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