Wall Street lawyer says commuters could pay $2,400 annually in tolls with monetization; given the opportunity, booker won’t yet endorse Lautenberg; Atlantic City councilmen sign petition calling for mayor’s ouster.
IT WILL BE A TOUGH SELL
“The average New Jersey Turnpike commuter may pay $2,400 in tolls annually under Gov. Corzine's plan to try to resolve state fiscal problems by increasing highway tolls, according to a Wall Street lawyer.
Corzine has refused to say how much tolls may increase as part of his plan to earn more money from state properties to pay debt and free money for unmet needs, but the attorney who analyzed his concept said a 150 percent toll increase is plausible.
"We just wanted to give an example of what it would be so people would get an idea," said the attorney, Peter Humphreys, a partner in the McDermott Will & Emery law firm in New York who is working with a coalition formed to monitor Corzine's plan called Save Our Assets NJ………….
Humphreys has worked on Wall Street for more than 25 years, focusing on securitization and structured financial deals. He was recognized by Euromoney, a business and investment magazine, as one of the leading securitization lawyers in the world.
He said a $15 billion proposal, with interest and other expenses, would cost up to $25 billion if paid back over 20 years.
To pay that back, Humphreys said turnpike tolls would have to increase 150 percent.
Drivers could face $1,440 annual increase in tolls……………
"We're just trying to provide an illustration that we think is fair," Humphreys said. "The problem is we don't really have a plan."
Treasury Department spokesman Tom Vincz didn't answer whether the estimate is realistic, saying doing so served no purpose and arguing the estimate was "intended only to inflame, not to educate.” (Hester, AP)
“Given the opportunity yesterday, Mayor Cory Booker wouldn’t endorse Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s re-election in 2008.
On the 44th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech, the 83-year old Lautenberg was scheduled to attend an anti-violence rally in Ivy Hill Park with Booker, but he didn’t make it. His office reported a scheduling conflict.
Booker did go to the event, which was sparsely attended.
"I haven’t even thought about that right now," a fatigued mayor told PoliticsNJ.com in response to whether he would support a Lautenberg re-election bid. That was his only comment on the subject at an event where he remained focused on making Newark safer, outlining new crime fighting laws at the state and local level in addition to calling on volunteer support from the community.
Along with U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, U.S. Rep. Bob Andrews and U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman, Booker, a proven fund-raiser and electrifying speaker, is sometimes mentioned as a potential U.S. Senate candidate……………….
Whether Booker runs or not, the endorsement of Newark’s mayor has traditionally been a helpful battle component for any Democrat running a statewide campaign.” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)
“LETTING EVIL RULE HIS LIFE”
Robinson said he did it because Levy "has turned the city administration over to (Business Administrator) Domenic Cappella, who is letting evil rule his life."
"I like Mayor Levy," Robinson concluded. "I could say I love him like a brother," but Robinson said he objects to the administration.
Small said he signed the petition because he does not approve of how the Levy administration is running the city. He said the city is hurting residents by cutting services for the elderly and raising rental fees.
Small, Mason and Robinson were part of the majority of council members that formally endorsed Levy for election Oct. 19, 2005.
"This is not the Bob Levy I supported for mayor," Small said Wednesday. "The Bob Levy I knew, the Bob Levy I supported I thought would be a standup guy and run the show his way."” (Haper, Press of Atlantic City)
ATLANTIC CITY BLACKMAIL BUST FALLOUT
Levy "was the one that hired these individuals that have been indicted," recall committeeman Charles B. Turner said. "He and Schultz, they supported each other politically and there is no getting around this."
He added people are shocked that Schultz, an independently wealthy philanthropist, had anything to do with the Callaways. "I just hope (Schultz) can take the heat and do the right thing, do the dignified thing and step down."…………….
The 28-count indictment handed up by an Atlantic County grand jury Tuesday charged former City Council President Craig Callaway and his brothers David Callaway and Jihad Q. Abdullah as well as Schultz and former employee Floyd Tally.
It alleged they tried to use a surreptitiously recorded sex tape to embarrass Robinson, a councilman and political rival, into resigning.” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)
“THE ULTIMATE POLITICAL EXTRAVAGANZA”
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the ultimate political extravaganza – for the first time in our nation's history, wall-to-wall presidential primary elections on the same day.
The primaries get under way in January, but it's a date in February that everyone has circled on their calendars…………….
The Feb. 5 contests could virtually become a national primary day. The party candidates may not actually be nominated, but the front-runners, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani could build insurmountable convention delegate strength.
Democrat Clinton and Republican Giuliani are running strong in New Jersey.
With Montana's primary still in June, party enthusiasm could be enlivened by the Democratic National Convention in Denver in July and the Republican convention in September in St. Paul.
Thousands of faithful in both parties can hardly wait, but New Jersey is still locked in a legislative election Nov. 6 – a mere sideshow. ” (Albright, Jersey Journal)
ANTI-WAR ACTIVISTS WON’T LEAVE SMITH ALONE
“HAMILTON — Nearly 30 people from the New Jersey Occupation Project, a group of anti-war activists from around the state, came together outside U.S. Rep. Chris Smith's office yesterday afternoon to conduct a "Citizen's Eviction" of the congressman and to protest his "unwavering support for President Bush's war in Iraq," according to group member Ed Dunphy.
At the protest, members presented an "eviction" notice containing grounds for Smith to vacate his office, and re-evaluate his position on the war, the Military Commission Act, and lack of willingness to conduct oversight hearings on the billions of dollars being spent in Iraq.
Smith spokesman Patrick Creamer said that in contrast to a meeting held a week ago, where "open dialogue and a frank ideas were exchanged," between Smith and members of the anti-war protest group, yesterday's event seemed like an attempt to get more media attention.
On Aug. 17, 12 anti-war activists sat down with Smith to discuss issues surrounding the war in Iraq. During the meeting, Smith reiterated position regarding the war in Iraq, but did listen to residents with opposing views, a representative from his office said.” (Trenton Times)
TAXES, TAXES, TAXES
“HOWELL — Residents of two age-restricted communities turned out in high numbers for a town hall-style meeting with state Sen. Robert W. Singer and Assemblymen Joseph R. Malone III and Ronald S. Dancer Tuesday night.
"Our last evaluation was in 1991, when our homes were worth $83,000 to $93,000," said Jackie Garfunkel, Surrey Downs board vice president. "This year, we saw a 33 percent increase in taxes, with most residents paying $1,000 to $1,500 more out of pocket." Hosted by the 443-home Surrey Downs community, seniors wanted answers as to why they were now finding themselves with steep property tax increases.
The 30th Legislative District lawmakers agreed, all three pointing to the high tax appropriation reserved for funding Abbott school district needs.
Born from a 1997 Supreme Court ruling, Abbott districts were created to reduce academic and funding inequities in low-income districts and those with large minority populations.
"It's been an abominable situation," Malone said. "Your taxes have gone up for one reason: You have been told in suburban areas you will have to fund the greed, corruption and fraud occurring in the urban school districts. In the state of New Jersey, 31 school districts get over one half — $6 billion of the (state's) $10 billion school budget."” (Gladden, Asbury Park Press)
SIGN SAGA CONTINUES
“A Marlboro developer is waging a battle — in the courts and in his own front yard — for what he says is his right to free speech.
Developer Edward Kay this week posted new, smaller signs in front of his Robertsville Road home, after the township in the spring ordered he remove a larger sign criticizing local officials.
The new signs, which Kay says are less than 25 square feet, are blank. But Kay said he plans to post "new messages consistent with (his) right to free speech."
Zoning officials said the original sign violated an ordinance that prohibits billboards.
That sign carried several messages critical of township officials, including one asking the public not to vote for Mayor Robert Kleinberg. The sign said the township has "wasted" more than $1.6 million on "lousy attorneys" and named Township Attorney Andrew Bayer…………………..
Kay said his constitutional arguments have since been removed to federal court.
"The (township's) attorney rejected my offer to dismiss the counts of my complaint that raised federal questions and preferred the matter continue in federal court, even though the federal issues expose the township and its residents to money damages and possibly having to pay my legal fees, where the state court claims would not allow same," Kay said.
Thomas Cafferty of Lyndhurst-based Scarinci & Hollenbeck, the township's special counsel, said he removed the case to federal court "because of the constitutional issue." He added that "any response (the township has) will be in a brief.” (Williams Boyd, Asbury Park Press)
HIS CAR MAY HAVE FLAT TIRES, BUTAT LEAST HE’S ON THE BALLOT
“TOMS RIVER — The name of Carmine C. Inteso Jr., independent candidate for Toms River mayor, will appear on the November general election ballot, state Superior Court Judge Joseph L. Foster ruled Wednesday.
But Inteso will be the lone candidate on his People Before Politics slate unless the joint petition of candidates John F. Curran, John J. Meehan and Daniel Fiore is fixed and submitted to Ocean County Clerk Carl W. Block by 4 p.m. Tuesday, Foster ruled……………
The ruling means Inteso will face Council President Gregory P. McGuckin, the Republican nominee, and Richard P. Strada, the Democrats' nominee, in a three-way race for mayor.
"There are 70 days until Election Day, and I am looking forward to the campaign no matter who the candidates are. And I hope we will have discussions about issues," McGuckin said Wednesday………………
In June, Toms River resident Charles Valvano filed a challenge to the petitions of the independent candidates. Valvano was screened by Republicans to run for a council seat, but was not chosen.” (Kidd, Asbury Park Press)
ESTABROOK PLUGS NJN PROGRAMMING… AND HERSELF
“GOP U.S. Senate candidate Anne Evans Estabrook’s free ad on the New Jersey Network may be poorly timed, but it doesn’t appear that anything sinister is going on. NJN allowed the Republican U.S. Senate candidate to tape a 60-second public service announcement in April plugging three NJN documentaries. Estabrook is on the NJN Foundation Board of Directors, and hosted a fundraiser for a Jerry Herman documentary which she plugged in a promotional spot.
The ad starts with Estabrook, surrounded by family photos, looking into the camera and saying:
“Hi, I’m Anne Evans Estabrook. I’ve lived most of my life in New Jersey. I raised my children here, and I run my business here in the Garden State. I always felt that we here in NJ have a diverse and fascinating state.”
NJN says that board members and other community leaders are often asked to do similar spots for the network. “These are called VIP spots, and we bring community leaders to talk about the public value of NJN and to promote NJN. That’s the whole intention,” Ronnie Weyl, an NJN spokeswoman, told PoliticsNJ.com.” (Edge, PoliticsNJ.com)
NEW JERSEY – NOW WITH I INTERMITTENTLY DANGEROUS SCHOOLS
“For the first time in five years, New Jersey has no "persistently dangerous" schools — at least as defined by the state.
The controversial tag comes out of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, with each state setting the definition. New Jersey for the last four years was among the few states to have any at all.
But in releasing statistics on school violence and substance abuse in 2005-06, state officials yesterday said the two remaining "persistently dangerous" schools from last year — Trenton Central High School and Eastside High School in Paterson — each saw their numbers drop enough to come off the list.
"The schools have shown improvement and we felt good we don't have to identify any this year," said Susan Martz, director of educational support services in the state Department of Education. ………….
But the announcement only added to questions about the process nationwide of identifying unsafe schools, which even federal officials have said needs an overhaul.
The U.S. Department of Education's inspector general this month said the varying definitions by states has led to few if any schools ever being identified. At the end of last year, only 46 schools nationwide had been tagged, it reported……………..
State officials yesterday also released the state's annual report on violence, vandalism and substance abuse, compiling districts' reported incidents from 2005-06. The report said incidents were up slightly that year, but remained relatively uncommon in a majority of schools.
Nearly three in four districts reported fewer than five incidents, and a third reported none at all, officials said. ” (Mooney, Star-Ledger)
“Across New Jersey, which has 1.4 million public school students, schools reported a total of 18,796 incidents of violence, vandalism and substance use for 2005-6, a 2 percent increase from the year before. Of those, the most frequently cited offenses were fights (4,464), assaults (3,390), substance use (1,999), property damage (1,787) and theft (1,584).
One of the more significant increases was in harassment, intimidation and bullying, which rose to 1,409 from 1,134 the year before, or 24 percent. Reports of threats also rose 11 percent to 1,430, while threats specifically invoking terrorism rose 9 percent to 195, and those mentioning bombs rose 7 percent to 136.” (Hu, New York Times)
EVEN DISORDERLY CONDUCT?
“Two decades after a Florida rapist became the first American convicted in a case built on DNA evidence, investigators are routinely turning to a national database that now holds more than 5 million genetic "fingerprints."
Some lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping it can hold even more. They're considering legislation to further expand DNA collection in the state to include anyone convicted of disorderly conduct and those arrested for murder, manslaughter, kidnapping and sex offenses.
"I think this would be a great tool for law enforcement to solve many unsolved crimes and make the streets of this country a lot safer," said state Sen. Nicholas J. Sacco of North Bergen, a sponsor of the measure. "And if by chance there is no conviction or no match, the DNA would be destroyed."
Englewood Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson, also a sponsor, said the proposed law would speed up the investigative process and possibly avert additional crimes by immediately screening a suspect's DNA instead of waiting up to a year for a conviction.” (Sampson, Bergen Record)
NICE DEAL IF YOU CAN GET IT
“The superintendent of a North Jersey school district is stepping down after contaminated soil was found at one of the district's schools.
But the terms under which Janice Dime is leaving the Paramus district, including receiving her full salary until June 2008, are also creating controversy.
Dime came under fire after the public learned that pesticide-laden soil had been found at the West Brook Middle School in January but that parents and staff weren't notified until four months later.
The pesticides found on the school property, which sits on a former celery field, include high levels of aldrin, dieldrin and DDE………………
The agreement between Dime and the school district, announced Monday, allows her to receive her annual salary of $212,000 until her contract expires in June 2008, although she won't be working; she'll also receive medical benefits.
The district is also required to provide Dime with a letter of reference.
According to the agreement, neither the district nor the superintendent can comment to the press about its terms…………..
Aspects of the agreement raised the hackles of many parents who'd pushed for Dime to be replaced.
"She's done a bad job, so we're going to give her a recommendation," Charles Willis told The Record of Bergen County for Wednesday's newspapers. "I've never heard of such a thing.” (AP)
NEW LEADERSHIP AT APP
“Thomas M. Donovan, a newspaper executive with a background in advertising, has succeeded Robert T. Collins as president and publisher of the Asbury Park Press, Sue Clark-Johnson, president of Gannett Co. Inc.'s Newspaper Division, announced here Wednesday.
Donovan, 43, has been president and publisher of The Journal News in Westchester County, N.Y., since May 2005. He won Gannett's Publisher of the Year award for 2006. He started work Wednesday at the Press' headquarters here.
In addition to his role at the Press, Donovan will serve as a vice president of Gannett's East Newspaper Group. In that capacity, he will oversee operations of the company's seven daily newspapers in New Jersey — the Home News Tribune, East Brunswick; the Courier News, Bridgewater; the Courier-Post, Cherry Hill; the Daily Record, Morristown; The Daily Journal, Vineland; the Ocean County Observer, Toms River; and the Press, as well as the weekly Times-Beacon newspapers in Stafford.
"I'm very excited to be in New Jersey, and I'm looking forward to getting to know all the New Jersey newspapers, especially (the Press), obviously,"” (Mullen, Asbury Park Press)
IN LAKE COMO
“A new Borough Council member is expected to be appointed Tuesday to succeed former Councilman Ryan M. Kelly, a Democrat, who resigned earlier this month after seven months in office.
In his resignation letter to his constituents, Kelly writes that he gave up his council seat in order to attend law school in Michigan, though his ultimate goal is to earn a commission in the Marine Corps.
"It has been both a great honor and a distinctive pleasure to serve the residents of the Borough of Lake Como," Kelly, 24, said in the letter earlier this month. "I am a very able young man. Did you know that only one percent of the country defends the other 99 percent? While it is true that I am leaving office to pursue a legal education it is more important to me to explain to you that I have decided to pledge my life to the protection of our great nation. I will be competing for a commission in the United States Marine Corps."” (Larsen, Asbury Park Press)
“BRIDGETON — Displeased by Mayor Jim Begley's early July appointment of a full-time public safety director, a resident group is circulating a petition in an attempt to strike down an ordinance allowing for an annual salary of $70,000 to $80,000 for the new director.
Under state law, the ordinance would be voided if the group submits a petition including 390-plus signatures, or signatures from at least 5 percent of the city's 7,800 or so registered voters, to the city clerk by Sept. 6.
Such an action would "stop the progress of the city in its tracks," according to Begley, who derided the petition as a politically motivated ploy to hamper his administration's progress.
City council approved ordinance 07-9, which includes salary ranges for several high-ranking city officials, on final reading by a 3 to 2 vote at its Aug. 14 meeting.
Without the ordinance, the city could only pay Public Safety Director Lanuel Ferguson up to $7,500 per year, which was the maximum salary for the city's previous part-time directors.” (McCullen, Bridgeton News)
EXTREME MAYOR CANOE CHALLENGE
“PATERSON — You know that water cascading over the Great Falls? Well, that's the Passaic River, and it's not just for looking at.
This year's Great Falls Festival, which starts on Saturday with Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres' first canoe challenge to other mayors on the Passaic, will highlight the river and its potential for recreational uses. Festival organizers hope the race, which starts at 10 a.m., will generate more attention to boating on a river rarely touched…………….
Torres said the canoe race will be the first such event on the river and that he has reached out to the mayors of Passaic County and other municipalities abutting the river. The mile-long race will also highlight a proposed 32-mile river trail which would allow paddlers to navigate the Passaic from Lincoln Park to the Newark Bay.” (MacInnes, Herald News)
IN ATLANTIC CITY
“Former Atlantic City Councilman Ernest D. Coursey formally declared his City Council candidacy Wednesday. Coursey, 44, represented the 3rd Ward on council from his appointment in October 1991 to January 2002.
“BRIDGETON – This city's largest municipal workers union filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the state last week after a breakdown in negotiations with city officials in June.
Mark E. Belland, a Northfield attorney who has been representing New Jersey Civil Service Association Council 18 throughout the bargaining process, said on Wednesday that the city is not negotiating in good faith.” (Martins, Press of Atlantic City)
“At 104, Lillian Cherup is a living piece of North Jersey history.
The musician, teacher and great-grandmother of 19 has watched North Jersey transform from a rural outpost studded with farmland to an industrial powerhouse home to more than 1 million people. In that time, her brown bob turned into a white coif, and her skin grew translucent over her gnarled hands.
"I still don't know how I done it all," Cherup said as she drank tea and reclined in her favorite chair at the home of her daughter, Phyllis Haitmanek, on Old Rifle Camp Road. She pauses for a moment, appearing to be deep in thought. "There's so much."
The family initially rented a room from a family friend in Passaic and then moved to Garfield when Cherup was 4. It was there, on Schley Street, that she remained until she turned 100. Now, she lives with Phyllis.
Daily life back then is a world away from today's North Jersey, Cherup said. Growing up, she spent time climbing trees, eating long bread rolls slathered in butter, and dodging a group of aggressive geese that would try to bite her as she cut through her neighbor's yard to get to the corner store.” (Cunningham, Herald News)