Bob Torricelli says he'll give leftover campaign funds to a charitable trust after the New York Times starts asking questions. Uncertainty on wall street could mean trouble for Corzine’s monetization plan, Moran says New Jersey illegal alien reports will be lost in ICE red tape, letter from Cresitello to Christie, Pennacchio still has to beat Khan in state Senate race.
WHEN DID WE BECOME SUCH AN UNFORGIVING PEOPLE?
"When he was last running for the United States Senate from New Jersey in 2002, Robert G. Torricelli collected donations from thousands of people who apparently wanted to see him re-elected. They might be surprised to see how he spent a portion of their money."
"Mr. Torricelli, a Democrat who was one of the Senate’s most flamboyant personalities and prodigious fund-raisers, abruptly quit the 2002 race amid allegations of ethical misconduct and became a lobbyist. Since then, he has given $4,000 from his campaign fund to Puerto Rico’s nonvoting member of Congress, $10,000 to Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois and more than $40,000 to Nevada Democratic Party organizations and candidates linked to the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid."
"All of those politicians had one thing in common: influence over Mr. Torricelli’s, or his clients’, business interests."
"In early 2006, for instance, Mr. Torricelli contributed $10,000 from his Senate account to the mayor of Trenton and his slate of City Council candidates, just as city agencies were reviewing an ultimately successful proposal by the former senator to develop retail and office space in the city."
"There is no evidence that Mr. Torricelli, who declined to be interviewed for this article, violated federal rules, which allow retired officials to give leftover campaign funds to charities, candidates and political parties. Sean Jackson, Mr. Torricelli’s campaign treasurer and a partner in his lobbying firm, said in an interview that any suggestion that the contributions were tied to his business interests was “ridiculous.” He said that Mr. Torricelli contributed to people he knew or with whom he shared policy goals."
MAYBE WALL STREET WILL BE MORE OF AN OBSTACLE TO MONETIZATION THAN REPUBLICANS
“Uncertainty on Wall Street about widening credit problems could mean uncertainty for New Jersey Gov. Corzine's hopes to solve state fiscal woes by borrowing billions to be paid back with increased highway tolls.
But Corzine remains confident his still-incomplete proposal – which a state senator said could involve issuing as much as $15 billion in bonds – will be welcomed by investors despite Wall Street turbulence.
"If I were financing today, I would be in a lot of trouble," said Corzine, former chairman of investment banking firm Goldman Sachs. "But I think we're a long ways away since we don't have a financial plan that I can take to Wall Street."
James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, said Corzine's plan could face trouble if worries about defaulting subprime loans bring an end to cheap borrowing and boost interest rates.
"More expensive capital reduces the value of assets," Hughes said. ” (Hester, AP)
“In her first big moment since taking over as attorney general, Anne Milgram got it just right.
She ordered all police agencies in New Jersey to report illegal aliens who are arrested on criminal charges. Here's the problem: That information will now sink into the fog of the federal immigration bureaucracy, where good policies go to die.
Here's the problem: That information will now sink into the fog of the federal immigration bureaucracy, where good policies go to die.
Don't take my word for it. Listen to Scott Weber, the regional boss of enforcement at the agency that is supposed to act on this new information, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"Everyone is overwhelmed," he says. "Our officers do the best they can. But it's hard."
That was Weber's assessment on Tuesday, before Milgram's announcement. Now that every police agency in the state is required to send ICE this flood of new names, his crew will face an impossible task.” (Moran, Star-Ledger)
CRESITELLO AND CHRIS CHRISTIE: PEN PALS
“Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello has asked federal authorities to help local police crack down on illegal immigrants and those who hire them.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney Chris Christie obtained Thursday by the Daily Record, the mayor said that if he doesn't get help from federal authorities, he's prepared to have town police go it alone. He said contractors who pick up day laborers soon would be stopped for routine traffic violations and asked questions that could lead to criminal investigations.
He said he expects police to start asking about the immigration status of everyone stopped for a traffic violation in town.
"I will soon be signing an executive order requiring that Morristown's law enforcement officers ask immigration questions on all traffic stops to avoid allegations of racial profiling," Cresitello said in the letter, which was sent last week.
Christie said on Thursday afternoon that he had not yet seen the letter. He did not return phone calls later in the day after receiving a copy of the letter from the Daily Record. Cresitello, who sent copies of the letter to an official with the federal Immigration Customs Enforcement, also did not return phone calls seeking comment………..
Christie previously had been critical of Cresitello's outspokenness on illegal immigration, saying the mayor was "grandstanding" when he spoke at rally held in Morristown last month.” (Koloff, Daily Record)
HOMELAND SECURITY FUNDING
“New Jersey's 21 counties will receive $19.3 million in federal grants this year to bolster local departments' efforts to prevent and respond to terrorism incidents, officials said yesterday.
The money will allow the counties to buy equipment, send local police and emergency workers to training programs and bolster security measures around critical facilities believed to be potential terrorist targets, said state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Richard L. Cañas.
A portion will also be used to conduct regional and county emergency exercises.
The $19.3 million in federal funds was awarded according to a risk-based formula that looks at how likely a county is to be tar geted by terrorists, how vulnerable the county is and how badly an attack would ravage the coun ty's population, infrastructure and economy.
Hudson County will receive the largest share of the funds, $2,041,193, while Essex County will get the second most, $1,831,377. Bergen, Middlesex and Passaic counties rounded out the top five, with each getting at least $1.2 million.” (Hepp, Star-Ledger)
THE WRATH OF KHAN
“With all the buzz around Assemblyman Joe Pennacchio’s potential run for U.S. Senate, it’s easy to forget that he still has a State Senate race to run against Dr. Wasim Khan in the 26th District.
While Pennacchio is eyeing winning the Republican nomination against Anne Estabrook and ultimately taking down Frank Lautenberg, the 51-year-old Montville dentist still has to face off against the Khan, a 52-year-old medical doctor from Parsippany.
Khan said he’s not offended that Pennacchio feels confident enough about winning the district lay the groundwork for a U.S. Senate campaign. Rather, he says, it’s the voters who should be bothered.
“I guess it’s for all to see that Pennacchio’s campaign is not interested in the state issues,” said Khan, who ran unsuccessfully for Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council in 2005. “He’s also telling the electorate that he’s taking it for granted that he’s going to win, which I think is an insult to the voting public…………….
Pennacchio said that he takes all his races seriously, and took issue with the idea that he has been anything but sincere to his district’s voters.
“There is nobody more outspoken on the issues, nobody battling Trenton any harder than I have,” said Pennacchio. “He didn’t criticize Joe Lieberman when he ran for Vice President and U.S. Senator at the same time. There was no criticism from anybody on the other side of the isle when that was done.” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)
Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio may be waging two campaigns this fall: one to win a seat in the state Senate, the other to raise money to run against U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg in 2008.
Pennacchio, a Republican from Montville, said Thursday he is "leaning toward" making a run at Lautenberg, the 83-year-old Democrat. The Montville dentist, who represents the 26th District, which covers parts of Passaic and Morris counties, says he'll decide by the end of the summer whether to form an exploratory committee that would raise funds for such a campaign.
"I'm making phone calls and visiting with party leaders around the state," Pennacchio said.
Pennacchio is among the early-bird Republicans thinking about a run against Lautenberg. Anne Evans Estabrook of Summit is the only Republican to form an exploratory committee so far; she's a businesswoman who has never sought political office.” (Cowen, Bergen Record)
BON JOVI DOESN’T SING ABOUT ASSET MONETIZATION
“New Jersey doesn't have a state song. That came as a surprise to me. I figured Jersey had to have something. Consider all the elected officials who end up singing for federal prosecutors. Who knew they were ad-libbing?
Coming to our rescue is none other than state Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union. Not content with giving us former Gov. James E. McGreevey, Lesniak now wants to champion Jon Bon Jovi. The New Jersey tunesmith's band recorded "Who Says You Can't Go Home" and that is Lesniak's choice for official state song.
I've listened to it. Ray, the song isn't about New Jersey. It doesn't say "New Jersey." It doesn't even mention asset monetization! Ray, what are you thinking?
Having a state song that doesn't mention the state would be as stupid as having state officials support footing the bill for the debt of an existing sports stadium that will be destroyed to accommodate a new stadium for not one, but two, multimillion-dollar NFL franchises that will not put the words New Jersey on their teams' uniforms, helmets or merchandise. Oh, wait. That's exactly what elected officials in New Jersey have done.
Maybe that's the problem. Too many elected officials are star-struck by pop and sports celebrities. The celestial encounter leaves a large void in their heads where their gray matter should reside.” (Doblin, Bergen Record)
“LIKE A CASH-STRAPPED SHOPAHOLIC”
“Like a cash-strapped shopaholic reaching for a credit card before payday, New Jersey is planning to borrow $2 billion to cover expenses over the next few months – including those record-high property tax rebates.
But given the state's financial situation, some wonder if it's a wise move.
The state already owes an estimated $29.7 billion to creditors. Debt service alone is costing taxpayers upward of $2.5 billion a year. And employee pension funds are at least $25 billion behind where they should be to cover projected future costs………..
Like many states at the beginning of a fiscal year, New Jersey is short on cash to pay its bills. But New Jersey has a $2.2 billion expense coming up this year that is unusual: property tax rebate checks.
The checks – which average $1,200 for most homeowners – are timed to be in mailboxes this fall before the upcoming legislative elections.” (Lu, Bergen Record)
CRESITELLO MIGHT WANT TO TAKE NOTE
“RIVERSIDE — The township took the first step Thursday toward rescinding a controversial immigration ordinance that has attracted widespread media attention and sparked two lawsuits.
The township committee voted 4-1 at special meeting to introduce an ordinance to rescind the Immigration Relief Act, which made it illegal to rent to or hire illegal immigrants. Committee member Marcus Carroll voted against the measure.
"The committee considered many opinions, thoughts and feelings from a variety of sources," township solicitor George Sapanaro told the group of about 50 residents who attended the meeting at the elementary school's cafeteria. "I can assure you that the needs of Riverside residents, whether they be social, economic or ethical, were fully considered."
Township officials cited the rising cost of ongoing legal battles over the measure as a main factor in the committee's decision to consider rescinding the ordinance.
"We're a 1-square-mile town fighting the whole United States," Mayor George Conard Sr. said. "We don't have the money for it."
Another factor was a recent decision by a federal district judge in Pennsylvania to strike down similar ordinances adopted by Hazelton, Pa. Hazleton's Republican mayor proposed the ordinances last summer after two illegal immigrants were charged in a fatal shooting, but the measure was voided by U.S. District Judge James Munley in March following a nine-day trial.” (DeCastro, Courier-Post)
“Julio Cesar Largo is surprised by the legal assaults against immigrants taking place throughout the country.
For this reason, he is not so surprised that a few recent local measures approved against immigrants have started to end. This was Largo's analysis of what is happening in Hazleton, Pa., and Riverside.
This was Largo's analysis of what is happening in Hazleton, Pa., and Riverside.
Largo owns a money-wiring store specializing in Latin America. He is also an immigration expert through more than 20 years of involvement with immigrant organizations in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey.
Largo is president of Accion Colombiana.
"These laws promote xenophobic sentiment, so they did not think of the consequences," Largo said.” (Heredia, Courier-Post)
IF DORIA DOES JOIN CORZINE’S CABINET….
“If Bayonne Mayor Joseph V. Doria Jr. vacates his seat in favor of a job with the administration of Gov. Jon Corzine, then First Ward Councilman Ted Connolly is ready to step in.
Connolly said that he'd be willing to serve as a caretaker mayor to try and lead the city out of its current fiscal quagmire, even if that means selling off part of the former Military Ocean Terminal for use as a container port – a move Doria strongly opposes.
But to get into the mayor's chair, Connolly would need the support of at least two council members and, as of yesterday, none of three councilmen interviewed – John Halecky, Gary LaPelusa and Anthony Chiappone – volunteered an endorsement. Council president Vincent Lo Re Jr. couldn't be reached.
Doria, meanwhile, has pledged to complete his four-year mayoral term, but many city officials have expressed strong doubts after reports surfaced that he is under consideration for the post of Department of Community Affairs director.” (Leir, Jersey Journal)
DEGISE TO “KICK UP A FUSS” ABOUT HOMELAND SECURITY FUNDS
“Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise yesterday blasted the county's $2 million allotment in federal homeland security grants – even though it's tops in the state. "
We're not happy about it," said DeGise. "The allocation to the state went up $6 million, but Hudson County is the only county to receive less than we did in the past. They've cut the county that has the highest risk."
Ticking off several high-risk terrorist targets, including the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, PATH train lines, and financial centers on the Jersey City waterfront, DeGise said the allotment was down $200,000 from last year.
"One of the reasons New Jersey received more money in the first place is because they used Hudson County as the poster boy for the targets terrorists are after," DeGise added. "We are going to kick up a fuss about it." ” (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
“Elisa Griffin, one of the four Section 8 caseworkers arrested for allegedly taking bribes, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Newark.
She is the ninth person to plead guilty out of 14 public employees in Paterson and Passaic arrested in March on various corruption and bribery charges.
Griffin, 39 of Paterson, pleaded guilty to one count of soliciting and accepting corrupt payments from an unnamed cooperating witness who worked with federal investigators to build its case.
Griffin, who worked for Paterson's Department of Community Development, accepted $1,900 for placing Section 8 tenants in rental apartments that she believed to be owned or managed by the witness.” (MacInnes, Herald News)
IN DISTRICT 36
“There’s a new Assembly candidate in district 36.
Don Diorio, a businessman from Carlstadt, has joined state Senate candidate Mike Guarino and Assembly candidate Carmen Pio Costa on the district’s Republican ticket. They’ll take on three incumbent Democrats: state Senator Paul Sarlo, Assemblyman Gary Schaer and Assemblyman Frederick Scalera.
Diorio replaces Rutherford realtor Aileen Vitale, who recently dropped out of the race.” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)
VAN DREW AND ALBANO TELL SEX OFFENDERS “YOU’RE OURS”
“Assemblymen Jeff Van Drew and Nelson Albano are going after online sexual predators.
They announced Thursday they are introducing a new bill called, "One Strike, You're Ours."
The bill states that persons who have been convicted of a sex offense under Megan's Law, where the victim was under 18 years of age, and used the Internet in the commission of the offense, would be monitored for life under the "Sex Offender Monitoring Act." Under this act, sex offenders are subject to continuous 24-hour monitoring by global positioning system devices.
Under this act, sex offenders are subject to continuous 24-hour monitoring by global positioning system devices.
"We have a responsibility to keep our children safe and, at the very least, make sure that people who commit these awful crimes are punished to the fullest extent," Van Drew said Thursday. "Parents and children need to be made aware that these types of people are all around us." (Marine, Bridgeton News)
SOMETIMES IT JUST TAKES GYPSY MOTHS TO BRING OLD FOES TOGETHER
“EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Two state legislators and several Atlantic County towns are petitioning the state government to step up support for gypsy moth spraying after 16,287 acres of trees were damaged this year.
State Sen. James "Sonny" McCullough, R-Atlantic, and Assemblyman Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, said they are drafting a bill that would allow exemptions to the municipal budget and tax levy caps to fund the spraying……………
"If we do not do something this year, we could lose the battle completely," said McCullough, who is also Egg Harbor Township's mayor. McCullough said that on top of losing the beauty of the trees, the dead ones could pose a forest fire hazard.” (Lee, Press of Atlantic City)
STUDENTS CAN NOW LOCK TEACHERS OUT OF CLASSROOMS
“One New Jersey lawmaker is hoping to help prevent tragedies like the Virginia Tech massacre by requiring classroom door locks in every school and college in New Jersey.
Sen. Barbara Buono said classroom doors that lock from the inside would help keep students and teachers safe if an armed intruder was inside a school or college building. Most classrooms doors can be locked from the outside, but not from inside, school officials said.
"With the escalation of guns and violence in our schools, we need to be proactive and rethink our strategies to keep our children safe and secure," said Buono, a Middlesex County Democrat. "No strategy is foolproof. This adds a layer of protection that security cameras and metal protectors do not provide.
An internal report on the April 16 Virginia Tech campus shootings that left 33 people dead recommended that the university install interior locks on classroom doors and removing "drop bar" door handles that can be chained, among other security improvements.
Buono's proposal, which she said will be introduced when the Legislature reconvenes after the November election, does not address door handles.” (AP)
IN ONE OF THE WASHINGTON TOWNSHIPS
“Greg Jones, a township resident and former planning board member, has triggered a major scramble among township officials over their e-mails.
Jones has filed a formal request for copies of all e-mail correspondence authored by Committeeman Kevin Nedd via his township e-mail account since Nedd took office in January 2006.
The Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request was filed on Aug. 16.
As a result, township officials now are considering creating an archive system for its electronic mail and holding a workshop for municipal employees on understanding and complying with the law…………..
"I would prefer not to comment extensively on this until the OPRA request is answered," Jones replied when asked what specifically he's searching for in the e-mails.
"Suffice it to say, I have several very compelling reasons to seek this information," he added, "and I do so only reluctantly due to Committeeman Nedd's continuing behavior."
Jones declined to specify what behaviors are of concern.” (Mendez, Daily Record)
IN ATLANTIC CITY
“Slot technicians at Caesars Atlantic City voted 20-11 for representation by the United Auto Workers on Thursday, granting the union its second victory there in five months.
The UAW began contract negotiations with Caesars on Aug. 9 for dealers and keno and simulcast employees, who voted in the union by 82 percent in March.
The UAW until now focused its unionization efforts mainly on dealers at Atlantic City's 11 casinos – so far, those at three have voted for the UAW and two against it – but its victory Thursday marks the beginning of a broader organizing drive.
"We're going to continue to move across the city and in various classifications," said Jim Moore, a regional UAW representative.
He added that the slot technicians' vote "sends a message that men and women across Atlantic City are empowering themselves, and I think it's great for negotiations."
"The management team at Caesars Atlantic City has always recognized the quality and value of our slot technicians," Caesars said in a statement. "As the front-line providers of the best customer service in Atlantic City, Caesars slot technicians are an integral part of our operation. ” (Rao, Press of Atlantic City)
IN ATLANTIC CITY
“Atlantic City's Business Administrator will stand trial in October on charges he harassed a politically-active Egg Harbor Township resident in June.
Attorney John Donnelly, who represents Domenic Cappella, said he waived the probable cause hearing scheduled Wednesday.
In a probable cause hearing a judge hears just the complainant's evidence and decides if the incident more likely than not occurred.
"It's one of those kinds of things a court will find probable cause on, so there's no sense in having it," Donnelly said. "It doesn't mean anything."” (Press of Atlantic City)
“EDGEWATER — The Borough Council has asked the state's Local Finance Board to look into allegations that Councilwoman Beatrice Robbio allowed a personal relationship to interfere with her governmental duties.
But Robbio said the allegations are a smear by council Democrats who have no genuine issues in the upcoming election.
Robbio, an independent, is accused of voting numerous times to authorize payments to former Borough Planner Joseph Burgis, with whom she has a personal relationship.
Borough Attorney Philip Boggia said he recommended the charge be sent to the state board because the issue has ramifications larger than council members pointing fingers at one another.” (Firschein, Bergen Record)
IN HUDSON COUNTY
“Community leaders and local law enforcement officials are entering the fray over undocumented immigrants.
New rules set by Attorney General Anne Milgram on Wednesday require any law enforcement officer who suspects that someone they have arrested on a felony or drunk driving offense is an illegal immigrant must check their immigration status.
And since there was previously no statewide policy on how to deal with immigration issues during arrests, officials and activists say Milgram's move comes with new sets of problems…………………
"I think any decision that helps us combat crime is a positive one," said North Bergen Mayor and state Sen. Nicholas Sacco……………
West New York Mayor Sal Vega, who also runs a city with a large Latino population, also expressed support for the new policy.
"This is a tool to fight crime and increase efficiency, and we welcome it," said Vega. "The issue is not immigration, it's crime." (Judd, Jersey Journal)
IN ANOTHER WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP
“WASHINGTON TWP. Hours before Thursday's meeting, Josh Aronovitch received a call from the township solicitor the council's long-awaited vote for the pay-to-play ban ordinance would be postponed.
The township council was to decide whether to approve the proposed ordinance after a petition to enact a stronger ban on pay-to-play' practices received enough signatures to be placed on the ballot in November.
If it is rejected by council, the residents will get to vote on it this fall.
"They could not vote because the public was not provided with adequate notice of the hearing," said Aronovitch
"I am under the impression that the plan is to pass the ordinance, which I hope is the case. There is also an interest in expanding the ban. I have met with Mayor Moriarty to discuss how the pay-to-play ban could extend to township employees' contributions." ” (Driscoll, Gloucester County Times)
“GLASSBORO — Borough officials say a letter sent to some 30 residents this week, notifying them that the developer of the Rowan Boulevard redevelopment project would be making an offer for their properties, was a mistake.
The letter was supposed to go to residents already in negotiations with Sora Holdings, LLC, also known as New Glassboro Development Co., LLC the master redevelopers for Rowan Boulevard, according to Borough Administrator Joseph Brigandi Jr.
Some residents of College Avenue who received the letter were up in arms about the thought of their homes being acquired for the redevelopment project.
"There's too many memories in this house," said Rebecca Saul, of College Avenue. "If I want to move out, I want to move out on my own terms."” (Brown, Gloucester County Times)
MAKE THEM GO DOOR TO DOOR AS CAMPAIGN WORKERS
“WESTVILLE — Local officials are looking to heed the call of concerned residents and craft an ordinance to restrict how close sex offenders may live to places where children congregate a task that is especially challenging since the town comprises roughly one square mile.
According to Borough Administrator William Bittner Jr., an ordinance with even liberal measurements would restrict registered sex offenders to either the middle of an industrial park or the shoulder of Interstate 295.
"If you tell a sex offender he can't live within 1,000 feet of a school or a park, then he can't live anywhere in Westville," said Bittner, who served as the borough's chief of police for 18 years before retiring from his post in 1997. "That's where we're stuck. There's only one square mile, we're densely populated, and there's bus stops, schools and parks everywhere."
For Frank Ferrara, a resident who is circulating a petition urging the mayor and council to impose some sort of restrictions, that high volume of spots where children congregate is all the more reason to enact restrictions for sex offenders.
"I don't want to eliminate them from living here," said Ferrara, who has a teenage daughter. "That's not my agenda. My agenda is to eliminate the temptation that they may have to reoffend." ” (Counihan, Gloucester County Times)
“Three weeks before the filing deadline, only one person has picked up nominating petitions for a municipal election in November to decide who fills an unexpired City Council seat.
That person, Anthony J. Gioielli, was appointed in June to fill the seat until the election.
City Clerk Keith Petrosky this week encouraged anyone interested in running for the seat to make an appointment with him to pick up petitions.
Petrosky has prepared a guide, also available in his office, containing filing information and important dates for the election.
The filing deadline is 4 p.m. Sept. 13.” (Zatzariny, Daily Journal)