Today’s news from PoliticsNJ.com

Menendez investigation said to focus on aide, former Ocean Township mayor sentenced to lengthy prison term, tragedy brings on Booker’s defining moment, Wesley Lance dies, McGettigan comes under fire for racial term, BCDO lawyer Dennis Oury complains about pay-to-play bans.

MENENDEZ INVESTIGATION SHIFTS TO HIS RUMORED GIRLFRIEND/PARAMOUR/COMPANION

“A federal investigation of Senator Robert Menendez over potential conflicts of interests with recipients of government financing has shifted focus to the lobbying work of his former chief of staff and confidante, according to lawyers and others familiar with the case.

A grand jury in Newark has subpoenaed hundreds of pages of financial documents from Jersey City Medical Center, which received a variety of public financing when Kay LiCausi, who was an aide to Mr. Menendez while he was in the House of Representatives, lobbied for the hospital. Last week, the grand jury heard testimony from Jonathan Metsch, a former Menendez fund-raiser who was president and chief executive of the hospital when it hired Ms. LiCausi, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported on Sunday.

Neither Mr. Menendez nor Ms. LiCausi would comment on the matter. But Marc E. Elias, a lawyer who represents Mr. Menendez, said that he expected the United States attorney leading the investigation to find that Mr. Menendez had acted appropriately.

The investigation became public last summer, when The Star-Ledger reported that Mr. Menendez had collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent for a building he owned from the North Hudson Community Action Corporation, an antipoverty group. Mr. Menendez had helped the group, which was run by a political ally and campaign contributor, win millions of dollars in federal funding. When federal agents seized records from North Hudson last September, Mr. Menendez, a Democrat, was locked in a heated campaign against State Senator Thomas H. Kean Jr., a Republican.

Mr. Menendez and other Democrats accused the United States attorney, Christopher J. Christie, of improperly leaking information to help a fellow Republican. Mr. Christie has declined to speak about the case, but his aides have insisted that the office investigated Republicans and Democrats alike and merely followed the evidence.

Larry Lustberg, a lawyer for North Hudson, said investigators had not been in contact with anyone from the group in months. In recent weeks, investigators have been examining Ms. LiCausi’s work as a lobbyist, trying to determine whether her influence with Mr. Menendez might have improperly helped her win contracts or helped her clients win public funding.

Mr. Menendez’s relationship with Ms. LiCausi, who worked in his Congressional office from 1998 to 2002, has been the subject of sustained criticism. Neither has commented on reports that they were romantically involved.” (Kocieniewski, New York Times)

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/28/washington/28menendez.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&ref=nyregion&adxnnlx=1188295595-nMzTqfR4/qD1dFBG5Cam0Q

“I CAUSED ALL OF THIS”

“If former Ocean Township Mayor Terrance D. Weldon was looking for mercy at his sentencing Monday for taking $64,000 in bribes from developers, he didn’t find it.

Instead, he was ordered to spend 58 months in federal prison, and he got no credit for the belated assistance he gave the government to help prosecute four others.

U.S. District Judge William H. Walls all but chastised the U.S. Attorney’s Office for asking for a reduced sentence.

Walls said the former mayor’s delay in helping investigators hampered their inquiry, and that Weldon’s cooperation was “unimpressive” and not unlike an Al Capone turning in his own chauffeur………….

The silver lining for Weldon on Monday was that he won’t have to turn himself in to federal prison authorities until Jan. 21 — after his expected testimony at the December trial of former Ocean Township Engineer Howard M. Schoor, who is accused of paying Weldon and another township official $16,000 in bribes…………

But he told the judge: “I caused all of this. For that, I will always be sorry. I am sure I will never have a waking moment without thinking about it, because for the last five years, I haven’t.” (Prado Roberts, Asbury Park Press)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070828/NEWS/708280309

 

BOOKER’S DEFINING MOMENT

“Six days after the triple slayings behind the Mount Vernon School in Newark, Mayor Cory Booker was at a prayer vigil when he realized he needed help if he was going to turn the state’s largest city around.

“I’ve come to a point of greater knowledge, greater respect and greater awareness of my own weaknesses,” Booker said recently. “But in that weakness, I discovered a greater strength … connecting with other individuals in the community and drawing on their strength.”

In some of the most candid comments of his 13 months as mayor, Booker spoke during a 45-minute phone interview about how the tragedy changed him personally, how it caused him to reflect on how he can improve as mayor, and how it reminded him and others of their priorities.

“It’s easy to get distracted by smaller issues and petty divisions,” Booker said. “This seems to be getting everyone thinking about the bigger issues again … It’s snapped us all back into focus.”

There certainly were plenty of difficulties before the murders.

Booker’s first year as Newark’s chief executive included the triple whammy of an unpopular tax hike, a massive budget deficit and a stubborn murder rate knocking the glow off whatever honeymoon he had. A recall movement, however unlikely, was gaining momentum. City council members — most of whom were on his ticket a year ago — were starting to distance themselves.

Booker had spent the week before the killings apologizing for insensitive comments to a suburban audience about Judith Diggs, a deceased African-American constituent, in a video that appeared on YouTube. And his youth jobs program — supposed to be the highlight of the summer — had turned into a symbol of City Hall incompetence, as thousands of young people were not paid on time…………….

Then came the shootings. Booker’s handling of the tragedy has, in the eyes of many, become the defining moment of his time as mayor.” (Wang and Mays, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-12/1188275855177510.xml&coll=1

 

GOODBYE WESLEY LANCE

“Former Senate President Wesley Lance, the father of Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance, died on Saturday. He was 99.

The Hunterdon County Republican was elected to the State Assembly in 1937 and to the Senate in 1941. He resigned from the Senate in 1943 to go on active duty in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and returned to the Senate in 1953. Lance, who did not run for re-election in 1962, may be the last surviving delegate to New Jersey’s 1947 Constitutional Convention.

“Wesley Lance was a legislative titan who transcended party affiliation and parochial interests to make a lasting positive imprint upon this state and generations of its citizens,” said Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts. “All of New Jersey owes a debt of gratitude to Wesley Lance and the role he played in helping to forge New Jersey’s acclaimed modern-day constitution over a half century ago.”” (Edge, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/wesley-lance-dies-11226

Former Gov. Brendan Byrne, who dealt with Mr. Lance as a top aide to Gov. Robert Meyner in the 1950s, called him “a leading light in the Senate” and said he was a pleasure to work with.

“He was as competent on the New Jersey Constitution as anybody I’ve every known and continued to be until very recently,” Byrne said.” (Hester, AP)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1188275486137050.xml&coll=1

 

THE NEW SONNY MCCULLOUGH?

Atlantic County Republicans are demanding an apology from Democratic county executive candidate James McGettigan, saying he smeared Hispanics and “individuals of Mexican heritage” by using the term “wetback” during a weekend candidates’ forum.

Republicans said McGettigan, Atlantic County’s sheriff, used the phrase during a discussion of immigration issues.

“For the sheriff to use that kind of language is unconscionable,” Atlantic County Republican Committee Chairman Keith Davis said. “If this is how he is willing to refer to people in public, one can only imagine what kind of language he uses to refer to ethnic minorities in private………………

McGettigan said no apology is forthcoming.

“I don’t even recall using the term, except to correct him as to what it was,” said McGettigan, referring to the audience member who used the expression.

On Saturday, McGettigan and Republican Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson attended a candidates’ forum held in Brigantine by the Brigantine Taxpayers Association . During the forum, an audience member asked McGettigan about making arrests at state Motor Vehicle Commission offices of illegal aliens – whom he referred to as “wetbacks” – when they don’t have drivers licenses.

McGettigan told the man that he understood the term “wetbacks,” as it was used years ago, to refer to all immigrants. McGettigan also told the man he didn’t know how the term is currently used.

McGettigan said the Republican charge is proof that Davis has a “desperate candidate who is destitute for ideas.”

“Voters are very savvy in this county,” he said. “They know better than to listen to these false accusations. There is no apology to be made.”” (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/atlantic/story/7498473p-7395057c.html

 

WHAT HARM DID PAY-TO-PLAY EVER DO?

“It has been the mantra of politicians throughout New Jersey as they scrambled onto the bandwagon of ethics reform these last few years: Pay-to-play is bad.

Now along comes Dennis Oury, the lawyer for the all-powerful Bergen County Democratic Organization. His message: Attempts to ban it are worse.

And he’s getting ready to go to court to make his point.

Oury says he will soon ask a judge — on behalf of the BCDO — to strike down the state’s landmark pay-to-play restrictions on campaign contributions from state, county and local contractors.

Most critics of the law say it doesn’t go far enough to effectively stop the practice of rewarding donors with lucrative government spoils — which in turn inflates costs and drives up property taxes.

But Oury says the law already has gone too far — and that it’s unconstitutional.

In fact, Oury, a pugnacious and unrepentant defender of the old guard that thrived in the heyday of pay-to-play, believes the much-heralded reforms are a menace to Democracy with a capital “D,” a heavy-handed government intrusion into politics.” (Stile, Bergen Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2MDcmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcxODczMjYmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXky

 

IF CHERTOFF IS NOMINATED FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL…..

“The resignation of embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday caused intense speculation about New Jersey’s Michael Chertoff as a possible successor.

President Bush has turned to Chertoff before, pulling the Elizabeth native from the federal appeals court bench in 2005 for the high-pressure job of Homeland Security secretary, and making him an administration point man this year on immigration reform.

Democrats and Republicans in New Jersey said Chertoff has the legal experience and expertise to be attorney general, but the question remained open as to whether Democrats would accept him as the person to heal the political damage they say Gonzales caused to the Justice Department.

Also, Bush would have to decide whether naming Chertoff was worth exposing his administration to what could be two grueling Senate confirmation battles, for attorney general and for homeland security secretary, where Chertoff would have to be replaced………….

Published reports said other candidates under consideration included Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox, White House Homeland Security aide Frances Townsend and former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson.” (Jackson, Bergen Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2MDcmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcxODcyODAmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXky

 

THE JERSEY CITY SCHOOL BOARD: WHERE MAYORS RETIRE

“At odds with prevailing legal opinion inside the Jersey City Board of Education, former mayor and current school board member Anthony Cucci put his objections on the record yesterday – loudly – to the board paying legal bills for recently elected school board member Gerald McCann.

During one closed-door session, Cucci could be heard through the walls bellowing at district staff and fellow board members.

Pointing to an indemnification clause in state law for school board members, McCann, also a former mayor, hit the board with a $56,000 legal tab last month. The money represents what McCann says he’s been charged to defend his election in April when his victory was challenged in court by fourth-place finisher Jenny Garcia, who eventually dropped the case.

Cucci contends McCann’s court case concerns actions he engaged in before he became a board member even though he had already been sworn in when the court case was filed.

“We (the board) did nothing to violate any law,” Cucci said yesterday. “Why should we be left holding the bag?” (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)

http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-4/118828072770200.xml&coll=3

 

NICE PAD

“A self-storage facility in Liberty State Park – for five years the voting address of a Jersey City employee who investigated former Jersey City Mayor Gerald McCann for allegedly committing voter irregularities – has been slapped with a violation for maintaining an illegal apartment.

Zoning Official Anthony J. Lambiase said the illegal apartment was discovered during an inspection conducted Aug. 15, after inquiries from The Jersey Journal.

Located at 302 Morris Pesin Drive, Liberty Self-Storage is located in a redevelopment zone that only permits industrial uses, Lambiase said.

The company has 20 days to appeal the violation to the city’s Board of Adjustment or 30 days to abate the violation, Lambiase said.

Company officials, who could be fined up to $1,250 a day, didn’t return phone calls asking for comment. ” (Thourbourne, Jersey Journal)

http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-4/118828077170200.xml&coll=3

 

SIGHS OF RELIEF EMANATE FROM COLLEGE CAMPUSES ACROSS THE COUNTY

“The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office will ask a judge today to dismiss the indictments of two Rider University administrators, charged just three weeks ago in the drinking death of a freshman fraternity pledge.

Assistant Prosecutor Angelo Onofri declined yesterday to explain why his office wants to drop hazing charges against the pair, indicted Aug. 3 along with three others in the March 30 death of 18-year-old Gary DeVercelly.

But the move appears to be a retreat from the position Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini took when he announced the first-ever indictments of university officials in a hazing case.

“To the colleges in this state, and colleges nationally, (the indictment) sends a clear message: There is a culpability factor in allowing drinking on campus,” Bocchini said at the time. He noted that it was the first time anywhere a university official had been criminally charged in a hazing…………..

Earlier this month, Rider president Mordechai Rozanski defended his administrators, saying, “We know that neither Tony nor Ada was present at the fraternity house, nor did they engage in any of the activities” alleged. Yesterday, university spokesman Dan Higgins said the college had no immediate comment on Bocchini’s decision to drop the charges.

But state Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), an associate director of career services at Rider, said it was welcome news.

“I’m sure a sigh of relief could be heard around college campuses across the country,” she said. “It was unbelievable they would charge the administrators with this kind of indictment.” (Patterson and Livio, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1188275408137050.xml&coll=1

 

IN THE 11TH DISTRICT

“There’s a big dividing line in the 11th district, and it’s not just where the breakers catch the brunt of the ocean in Asbury under the Paramount Theater, or where the old Long Branch Boardwalk crumbled, leaving behind an eminent domain-purged stretch of high rises and attendant fufu shops.

It’s a line even older still, even more entrenched, that separates one town from another, rich from poor, where the median household income in Asbury Park is $23,081, and 30% of the16,546 population live below the poverty line, while in Rumson, population 7,137, the median household stands at $120,865…………….

Then there are the 11th district’s blue collar towns in between the extremes, most of them Republican-leaning, but some of them independent, anchored by Ocean and Wall – 25 towns in all, all clinging to the sea in some way if not to one another.

This is a district served by Assemblyman Sean Kean, a 43-year old Republican who wants to move up to the Senate to replace the retiring Sen. Joseph Palaia.

In the 1980s, he worked on a barge out on the Earle Navy Pier, building a platform under a bridge for chippers to come in and restore the structure’s underbelly, and now he represents cops, grocery store workers and construction workers in the courtroom. Son of the late WW II and Korean War veteran and AFL-CIO lobbyist Tom Kean (pronounced Keen and no relation to the former governor), Kean was elected to the Assembly in a special election in 2002………………

Kean says he wants to be in the Senate to help rein in a state budget has grown from $22 billion to $33 billion in the five years he has served in the Assembly.

But he’s not the only one in this district who wants to be up there.

A little farther north of Allenhurst, just off Ocean Avenue in Long Branch, a 55-year old man in a straw cowboy hat and Army-issue shirt with the name “Villapiano” printed on the breast pocket stands in the middle of a war-zone. He drops an aging football player’s shoulder as a handful of green jell-O sails through the air, just missing him. He blows a starter’s whistle into a megaphone, signaling the beginning of a tug-of-war between boys and girls on a boxing ring-sized slab of mats covered with jell-O……………….

“I want to see property taxes controlled,” says the lifelong Democrat. “I support the half penny dedicated to property relief,” and merging government services such as the Department of Transportation into the Highway Authority, which could save in the ballpark of $500 million, he says.” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/kean-looking-move-against-underdog-villapiano-11245

 

FORT LEE LOSES A MAYOR

“In Fort Lee, Jack Alter will be remembered as a devoted mayor to this two and a half square mile town just across the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan.

During his term, he convinced Leona Helmsley to sell a tract of land for Centuria, what officials have said is the biggest development project in the town’s history. He ushered in new police station, a community center, park restoration, and stood up to the Port Authority about the impact the bridge was having on his little town.

But as local officials and politicians reflected on Alter’s term as mayor after his unexpected death this morning, not far from everyone’s minds was that inevitable question: who will take his place?

Alter had just squeaked by Councilman Michael Villano in a primary fight to keep his seat. He was about to face Republican Judith Fisher in November’s general election – a race with good odds in a high rise town where Democrats dominate Republicans in registration by a nearly 3-1 margin.

The decision of who will replace Alter is left to Fort Lee Municipal Chairwoman Kay Nest, as well as the nearly 40 other members of the Fort Lee delegation to the Bergen County Democratic Organization. They’ll have to choose a person to put on the ballot by September 17th.

Nest helped begin Alter’s political in the early 1980s, when she selected him to run for a council seat in the early 1980s.” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/after-death-mayor-fort-lee-considers-what-s-next-11242

 

ROTARIAN-AMERICAN PAUL ARONSOHN

“Lagging in fundraising and saying he cannot “afford” to quit his job again to make another run for Congress, a Democratic challenger to New Jersey’s most-conservative representative has dropped out of the race for the 2008 election.

Democrat Paul Aronsohn, 41, of Ridgewood in Bergen County, ran a tough — though unsuccessful — race against U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett, (R-5) in the Nov. 2006 election, and had already been running against the incumbent for 2008.

In the 2006 race, Aronsohn quit his job with Pfizer and raised $570,000 for the campaign with the help of Democratic heavy hitters, including ex-U.N. ambassadors Richard Holbrooke and Bill Richardson, now governor of New Mexico and a Democratic candidate for president.

Aronsohn — a former U.S. State Department staffer in the Clinton administration who also worked as a spokesman for former Gov. James E. McGreevey — fought the most-aggressive battle Garrett had faced against a Democrat in the solidly-GOP district.

Garrett, 48, of Wantage in Sus sex County, took Aronsohn’s chal lenge seriously, raised $1 million and defeated Aronsohn by 10 percentage points, 55 percent to 45 percent.

For the 2008 election, Garrett already has amassed $300,000 in campaign funds, while Aronsohn has only $14,000, according to their most-recent quarterly finance reports filed in July. However, Aronsohn said he had purposely not raised campaign funds after the last election, because he was waiting to finally make up his mind about taking another shot at Garrett. ” (Lockwood, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/sussex/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1188275956177510.xml&coll=1

 

NEWARK PEACE MARCH

Larry Hamm isn’t depressed. He looked out from atop a stage in Newark’s Lincoln Park Saturday and saw hundreds of people representing groups from around the state joined in protest of the Iraq War.

Hamm, who leads the People’s Organization for Progress in Newark, has been on this march against the war from the beginning, and has withstood the criticism that without a draft and in an era of ringtones and ipods there is no traction for an effective anti-war movement.

He just keeps marching.

“Saturday was one of biggest marches held in Newark for a long time,” said Hamm. “I thought it sent two strong messages. The first is it said to the Bush administration that we want a change in spending priorities in this country, from the war in Iraq to the needs of people here at home. And we want the war to end. We want the troops to come home.”” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/anti-war-movement-persists-streets-newark-11230

 

SEPARATE BUT EQUAL

“The dispute over whether a Methodist group must allow same- sex couples to hold civil unions at its seaside pavilion in Ocean Grove does not belong in federal court, New Jersey officials said yesterday.

The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association is asking a federal judge to block the state Division on Civil Rights from enforcing anti-discrimination laws against the religious organization. A hearing is scheduled today before U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano.”

Lawyers for the state filed a motion yesterday asking Pisano to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the federal court should not intervene while the state is in the middle of an investigation.

“It is unquestionable that New Jersey has an important interest in preventing discrimination in places of public accommodation. … Under these circumstances a federal court should abstain from entertaining a suit to enjoin the proceedings of the state agency,” according to the brief filed by Frank Vespa-Papaleo, head of the civil rights office.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal advocacy group that is aiding the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, said the filing would not stop the case.

“This should have no effect on our case moving forward. A viola tion of federal rights deserves a hearing in federal court,” said Dale Schowengerdt, legal counsel to the fund. (Coscarelli, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1188275432137050.xml&coll=1

 

STATEHOUSE GETS A SMALL FACELIFT

“The historic New Jersey Statehouse is getting more than $250,000 in repairs this summer, including work in the Senate, where a chunk of plaster crashed from the ceiling and a decorative skylight sprang a leak.

Still left undone is nearly $100 million in needed repairs to the building.

This summer’s work includes $235,000 to fix loose stucco on the exterior, much of it along the Assembly chamber.

Tom Vincz, spokesman for the state Treasury Department, which oversees state properties, said the work should be completed by late October………….

The New Jersey Statehouse is the second-oldest Statehouse in continuous use in the nation, behind only Maryland’s state capitol in Annapolis.

Its grayish-white paint is peeling and cracked. Window frames are decaying. Rust is apparent along exterior walls. A section of roof has standing puddles and weeds.

A report five years ago found that $90 million in repairs were needed, an estimate that treasury officials said doesn’t account for inflation since then.” (Hester, AP)

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20070828_N_J__Statehouse_gets_repairs__but_not_a_makeover.html

 

MENENDEZ WRITES A LETTER

“U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez has a question for a local Jersey City health clinic: Why no doctors?

Reacting to a story in Friday’s editions of The Jersey Journal, the Hoboken Democrat dashed off a letter the next day to Catherine Cuomo-Cecere, the chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Family Health Network in Jersey City, a federally funded health clinic.

“I read with great concern and disappointment reports in yesterday’s Jersey Journal that the Metropolitan Family Health Network has turned away patients this week because there were no doctors available to see them,” Menendez wrote.

“This is simply unacceptable,” Menendez added. ” (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)

http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-4/118828087770200.xml&coll=3

 

EDUCATION

“In an early barometer of teacher contract talks and school spending as a whole, new pacts so far include salary hikes averaging more than 4.5 percent for this year, according to groups on both sides of the bargaining table.

At least half of the state’s 200-plus districts with expired contracts remain in talks to work out new agreements, a typical number for late summer. No impending strikes or severe job actions are expected for the start of school next week.

Of those that have been settled, the newest contracts show raises stabilizing in the mid-to-high 4 percent range, if not creeping slightly higher.

Even though this is well down from the raises that neared double-digits in the late 1980s and 1990s, it’s certain to run up against the state’s new 4 percent spending cap on districts, not to mention the political rhetoric out of Trenton that’s pressing for tighter controls on school spending to help contain property taxes. ” (Mooney, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1188275973177510.xml&coll=1

 

HILARIOUS LINE OF THE DAY: “POLITICS USED TO BE A COMPETITION AMONGST GENTLEMEN”

“TOMS RIVER — When Carmine C. Inteso Jr., the independent candidate for mayor, walked out of his home about 11 a.m. Monday, he saw that all four tires on his SUV and two on his pickup truck were flat, he told police.

The punctured tires — four on a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer and two on the driver’s side of a 2003 Toyota Tundra pickup — and a note left in his mailbox led Inteso to figuratively point his finger at the local Republican Party from which he broke to run for mayor.

Republican leaders vehemently denied any association with the incident.

The message left in the mailbox at his home on Sherwood Lane simply read, “It smells like a duck,” Inteso said.

Inteso said the note was a reference to a letter to the editor that appeared in the Sunday Ocean County Observer. That letter attempts to link Inteso to the Democratic Party.

As a wise man once said, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s the Democrats trying to steal an election in Toms River once again,” the note states.

Inteso said, “From the letter in the mailbox, the potential is that it is someone within the Republican Party . . . someone telling me I am a traitor for running as an independent candidate.”

The letter to the editor was signed by Arthur J. Blank, who said he stands by it but hopes Inteso does not link him to the punctured tires.

“I really feel bad if someone intentionally did that to Carmine,” said Blank, who has lived here 33 years.

Rick Clement, chairman of the Toms River Republican Club, which is backing Township Council President Gregory P. McGuckin for mayor, said he “would have no idea who would stoop that low.”……………..

“Politics used to be a competition amongst gentleman,” Inteso said. “Whoever committed this crime against me and my family is nothing more than a thug and most certainly doesn’t belong representing the people’s interests.”Inteso said” (Kidd, Asbury Park Press)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070828/NEWS02/708280369/1070

 

IN NEWFIELD

A former Newfield Borough councilman pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct and will receive probation when he is sentenced Oct. 26 under a plea agreement accepted Friday by Superior Court Judge M. Christine Allen-Jackson.

Alfred F. Buono III, 44, of Homosassa, Fla., faces a probation term of one to three years at the discretion of the judge, according to Bernie Weisenfeld, a spokesman for the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office.

Buono also would be barred from holding public office or employment in New Jersey under the agreement, but his probation term would be transferred to the state of Florida, Weisenfeld said. He could have faced a maximum of five years in prison.

Buono, the borough’s former public safety director, was arrested in May 2006 and indicted three months later for using homemade Newfield Department of Public Safety letterhead to write a letter to the Gloucester County Adult Probation Division.

In the letter, Buono falsely indicated that his son, Alfred F. Buono IV, had completed community service for a disorderly person offense and a violation notice was due to a miscommunication.” (Quaranta, Daily Journal)

http://www.thedailyjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070828/NEWS01/708280317/1002L

 

THE ONES WHO ARE NOT IN IRAQ, AT LEAST

“Call in the National Guard.

That’s Assemblyman Lou Manzo’s proposal to help local law enforcement put the kibosh on gang activity in neighborhoods across the Garden State, including his hometown Jersey City.

Manzo directed the state Office of Legislative Services yesterday to draft a resolution to urge Gov. Jon Corzine to deploy the New Jersey National Guard, at the request of local governing bodies, to assist municipalities in combating violent criminal gang activity.

“In certain areas, even in Jersey City, gangs have taken over areas,” Manzo said. “They (the National Guard) are going to come in with heavy infantry and they are going to take the scum off the streets and put them in jail cells where they belong. (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)

http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-4/118828081270200.xml&coll=3

 

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

“Veteran Republican Morris County Tax Board Commissioner Anthony Crecco, who previously spent thousands in public funds for “tax education” travel, is on the go again.

Crecco checked in Sunday — two days early — to the beachfront Grand Hotel in Cape May for a five- day stay at the New Jersey Association of County Tax Boards conference that starts this afternoon. The pre-paid cost of his stay is $740, according to county documents, not including other expenses he may incur during the convention.

He joins fellow Morris County tax commissioners Michael DiFa zio, William Kersey and Bernard Tyson, plus county Tax Administrator Ralph Meloro and board staff members Kim Roggenkamp and Patricia Marsh at the Cape May event, at a total pre-paid cost of $4,292. Tax board member Thomas Zelante declined to attend.

Crecco’s term expired in May, when Morris County Republican Party Chairman John Sette recommended he be replaced by Denville attorney Joan Bedrin Murray. State Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Morris), who must pass on appointments, backed Sette’s choice.

Gov. Jon Corzine has yet to act on the appointment. So Crecco is a holdover who opted to spend this week in Cape May, at taxpayers’ expense. But Corzine yesterday frowned on Crecco’s latest travels and said he is looking to replace him.” (Ragonese, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/morris/index.ssf?/base/news-3/1188275335137050.xml&coll=1

 

IN KINNELON

“Borough Council members will continue to receive the same benefits as full-time municipal employees, at least until the end of the year.

Mayor Glenn Sisco broke a tie vote at a meeting Monday night, preserving health coverage for elected officials. However, he said he voted that way only to give the council more time to discuss the issue.

“I think we fell short,” he said after the meeting. “But the main thing [is], we’ve got to start talking, we’ve got to start dialogue.” Council members agreed with Sisco’s desire for further discussion.

The council adopted one of two competing ordinances, which extends taxpayer-funded health coverage to elected officials. Council members have received coverage in the past, but the issue came to a head when the borough changed insurers.” (Yoo, Bergen Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk0MjQmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcxODczNTUmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkz

 

IN ATLANTIC CITY

ATLANTIC CITY – A City Council candidate criticized a City Councilman on Monday for filing his election reports late.

Candidate Michael Toland said it was hypocritical that Councilman George Tibbitt voted with the majority against a July council ordinance that would have tightened restrictions on local campaign funding, while missing the late June filing deadline.” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/atlantic_city/story/7498469p-7395051c.html

 

IN BRIDGEON

“City police notified Immigrations and Customs Enforcement of an illegal immigrant in the city for the first time under a new directive Saturday, after they arrested a man for going after another man with a machete.

Bonifacio Alquezda, 41, of Cohansey Street, was charged with aggravated assault, possession of weapons for unlawful purposes, unlawful possession of weapons, criminal mischief, obstructing the administration of law, violation of probation and two failure to appear warrants following the incident……….

Last week, state Attorney General Anne Milgram issued a mandate requiring law enforcement to contact federal authorities when illegal immigrants are arrested for major crimes.” (Hamm, Bridgeton News)

http://www.nj.com/news/bridgeton/local/index.ssf?/base/news-10/118827429189190.xml&coll=10

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