Today’s news from PoliticsNJ.com

Sarlo testifies in front of Coniglio grand jury, labor loses one of its own after Coniglio announces retirement, Paramus may play role in Coniglio replacement choice, four candidates up for consideration to replace Steele in district 35, district 27 candidate will be chosen Wednesday night.

 

CONIGLIO FALLOUT

“One day after state Sen. Joseph Coniglio dropped his re-election campaign, one of his fellow senators testified before a grand jury hearing evidence about Coniglio's dealings with Hackensack University Medical Center.

Sen. Paul Sarlo was one of three lawmakers who received a subpoena from federal investigators seeking documents regarding the hospital in April. Sarlo and Coniglio are both Democrats who represent districts in Bergen County.

Sarlo said he appeared before the grand jury in Newark voluntarily and was not compelled to do so by a subpoena. He said he is fully cooperating with prosecutors and has been assured by the U.S. Attorney's Office that he is only a witness in the Coniglio matter and not a target of the investigation.

"I was there voluntarily to explain documents that I had provided earlier in the summer and answer any other questions they had," Sarlo said.

He declined to elaborate on his testimony, other than to say that he believed he'd been questioned because his legislative district borders Coniglio's and they've worked together on matters regarding the hospital.

Sarlo's appearance is the latest indication that the investigation into Coniglio, which stems from an inquiry into possible corruption involving legislative grants doled out in Trenton, continues in earnest……………….

"Senator Coniglio has been a great senator," Sarlo said. "Unfortunately for him, this process has been played out on a public level instead of by a grand jury. It makes it difficult for him to overcome even though they're only allegations."

Coniglio's former running mates, Assembly members Robert Gordon and Joan Voss, were also subpoenaed in April. Voss said last night that neither she nor Gordon has been asked to testify before the grand jury and that both have been assured they are not targets of the investigation.” (Whelan, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1189744685273180.xml&coll=1

 

UH-OH CONIGLIO’S DEPARTURE PRODUCES INTERIM LABOR PAINS

“Conventional wisdom says the 38th should stay in the Democratic Party column as long as the party props up a warm, scandal-free body in the 2-1 Democratic district, but the replacement for Sen. Joseph Coniglio will likely have ironclad labor ties, which are important up here in Coniglio country.

It’s hard to imagine anyone more ironclad than the plumber turned senator, who announced Wednesday that he would not pursue re-election this November. Having him in Trenton was big for the AFL-CIO, one million members strong in New Jersey, which found a champ from among their own, according to organization President Charles Wowkanech.

"He is the prodigal son of all the construction trades because he’s a plumber," Wowkanech said of Coniglio. "All of these construction workers knew they had a spokesman who sat at the table. Joe to me is a dear friend and a brother."” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/coniglio-departure-produces-interim-labor-pains-11693

 

PARAMUS – MORE THAN JUST AN IKEA

“It might not be a coincidence that the last three state Senators from district 38 have been from Paramus.

There was Paul Contillo, then Louis Kosco, and finally Joseph Coniglio.

Now, two of the four contenders for the position are from Paramus – Mayor James Tedesco and Bergen County Freeholder Connie Wagner (who, unlike the other three, has not yet declared an intention to run for seat).

“Kosco, Contillo and Coniglio. It’s more than a coincidence. It’s Paramus being a swing town. It’s a very powerful town,” said Contillo, who represented the District 38 in the State Assembly from 1974 to 1980 and in the Senate from 1984 to 1992.

In Contillo’s day, the 38th could have been considered a swing district. Now, in the absence of any ethical clouds hanging over candidates’ heads, Democrats are likely to coast through this election. Still, multiple sources say that even if someone from Paramus isn’t chosen for state Senator, it’s likely the town have a representative on the ticket.

Tedesco has been considered the front runner to replace Coniglio for some time. But in the event that the BCDO chooses Assemblypersons Bob Gordon or Joan Voss for the state Senate seat, the county committee could choose to elevate Wagner to an Assembly seat.” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/paramus-viewed-key-district-38-senate-race-11692

“Tedesco's entry came as a bit of a surprise, because his wife, Renee, had been battling a long-term illness. But the mayor said that she is doing much better, and that his entire family encouraged him to seek the nomination……….

There is little time for any of the four to campaign for the nomination. Under state law, Coniglio has to be taken off the ballot by Monday, and a successor must be chosen by Wednesday.

About 270 committee members in the 38th District are eligible to vote at a meeting that will begin at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Bergen County Democratic Organization headquarters in Hackensack.

If Gordon or Voss receive the nomination, a second vote will have to be held to select a nominee for the Senate candidate's vacated Assembly seat.

Democrats said Coniglio's troubles with federal prosecutors should not carry over to his successor.” (Fallon, Bergen Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2MDcmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcxOTQ4MjkmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXky

 

TO GET ON FERRIERO’S GOOD SIDE, CANDIDATES MAY NOT WANT TO MENTION THIS ONE

“State Sen. Loretta Weinberg today praised the integrity of two potential Senate candidates in the neighboring 38th district, and said that Democratic Party leaders should let the elected county committee members should make the decision.

"Senator Joseph Coniglio made a very tough decision. The legal system will now run its course, and I wish him well," said Weinberg. "I also certainly hope that none of our own democratic party leaders, nor any Republican will insinuate that my colleagues, Assembly members Bob Gordon or Joan Voss, are somehow implicated in this investigation because they received subpoenas.” (Editor, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/weinberg-says-gordon-and-voss-have-great-integrity-11691

THE PATERSON SCAMBLE

“A social worker, a hospital official, a lawyer and a preacher – these are the choices facing Democrats in the 35th Legislative District to replace state Assemblyman Alfred Steele, D-Paterson, the Passaic County Democratic chairman said Thursday.

Freeholder Director Elease Evans, Paterson Councilman Kenneth Morris, Haledon Mayor Domenick Stampone and the Rev. David Thornton, pastor at United Presbyterian Church in Paterson, will vie for the nod from the six municipal chairs that make up the Passaic County 35th Legislative District executive committee at a meeting Saturday morning.

County Democratic Chairman John Currie will recommend one of those individuals, and the executive committee will vote for its choice. Then, the full county committee from each of the six towns will vote to approve the choice……………

The person chosen Saturday will fill Steele's seat until November, when he or she will run against Republican and Paterson firefighter Chauncey I. Brown III.

Currie said Evans, Morris and Stampone could finish their terms in their current elected positions, but that he would not support them if they chose to run for those offices again. Evans faces re-election in 2008, Morris is up for council in 2010 and Stampone is up for mayor in 2010.

"I'm not a fan of dual office-holding," Currie said.” (Kindergan, Herald News)

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzNTcmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcxOTUwNDkmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkz

 

YET ANOTHER REPLACEMENT

“Essex County Democratic leaders plan next Wednesday night to vote on at least one substitute candidate to replace former state Assemblyman Mims Hackett Jr., who resigned his state post Saturday, two days after being ar rested on federal bribery charges.

The Essex County Democratic Committee has scheduled a 6:30 p.m. meeting in the auditorium of West Orange High School, Philip Thigpen, the party's chairman, said yesterday.

Either an interim candidate will be chosen to serve in the vacant 27th Legislative District seat, covering parts of Essex County, through December, with a separate candidate to go on the November general election ballot, or a single person will be picked for both.

Whomever is chosen must be certified at that meeting, "and certain documents must be filled out, signed, notarized and sent to the state Attorney General's Office by midnight" that night, Thigpen said.

Midnight Wednesday is the deadline to have a candidate's name in place, he said.

"I still have people (candidates) coming in," Thigpen said of the se lection process. "I'm looking at all the résumés and talking to people. And I will be consulting with the incumbent (Hackett) in that legislative district. The goal is to come together with some consensus, and make a selection on Wednesday." ” (Dilworth, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/essex/index.ssf?/base/news-4/1189745187273180.xml&coll=1

 

PENNACCHIO IN A CONVENIENT PLACE TO RAISE CASH

“Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio, R-Montville, needs to raise at least $1 million if he's going to challenge U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg in 2008, his campaign chairman said Thursday.

John Sette, the Morris County Republican chairman in charge of Pennacchio's fund raising, said it would cost that much just to win the Republican primary — and maybe 20 times that much to beat the Democrat Lautenberg in the general election. Sette predicted he could raise a good portion of the $1 million in Morris County, which has one of the strongest GOP organizations in the state.

As proof, Sette pointed out that George W. Bush received more than 800 donations of $2,000 each in Morris County in 2000. "I don't think raising money will be a problem," he said.

Pennacchio, 52, announced Monday that he was setting up an exploratory committee with Sette in charge — a necessary first step to gauge how much interest there is statewide in his candidacy. So far, only one other Republican has taken the same step: Anne Evans Estabrook, a wealthy real estate developer from Summit who has never held elective office.” (Cowen, Bergen Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk1JmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MTk0ODc4JnlyaXJ5N2Y3MTdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5Mw==

 

CORZINE’S MISSING PIECE

“The experts tell us that New Jersey has the most powerful governorship in the nation. And maybe that seems true when you read our state constitution.

But it's not working out that way for Gov. Jon Corzine. As we approach the midway point in his first term, he is still searching for a signature achievement.

During a half-hour interview yesterday, the governor talked about his difficulty getting ethics reform through the Democratic Legislature, his frustration at the growing resistance to "monetizing" state highways, and his hope that the new state comptroller will "change the landscape" by cutting government spending.

He said he has not decided whether to run for a second term, but that if he does, he will likely dip into his personal fortune again to fi nance the campaign.

And he tried to squash persistent rumors that he wants someday to run for president.

"That's ridiculous," he said. "I'm 60 years old and Hillary is going to be president for the next eight years. I'm going to be too old."

Corzine would not give himself a grade on his performance so far. And it probably is too early to judge him. But we can draw some conclusions.

The worst is that he doesn't like to challenge fellow Democrats, and that is crippling. We saw that when he got rolled after the first budget fight and agreed to add $300 million in Christmas tree spending. And we're seeing it now with his failure to pressure them on ethics reform.

The tough Corzine who once shut down state government has left the house.

The best of it is that he's halted the insanity on state finances. The outlook remains frightening when you look at the huge pension and health costs we face. ” (Moran, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/columns/ledger/moran/index.ssf?/base/columns-0/1189744190245540.xml&coll=1

 

ALFRED DOBLIN SHAKESPEARE

“ACT I, Scene 1. A hallway.

(Enter two pages.)

Front page: There is much ado.

Back page: About nothing.

The stories are false.

Front page: Tis not true. I hear he took $5,000.

Back page: And what of it? What is $5,000? The Regent Corzine gives away that sum to anyone. I heard when he goes for coffee he leaves $5,000 as a tip. So what of it?

Front page: But this was not the regent. This came from the Duke of Hackensacky.

Back page: From Hackensacky? But did not Hackensacky receive $1 million from the Treasury?

Front page: Yea, verily. Back page: Quiet, the rugs have ears.

Front page: Behind every tapestry is a wire.

Back page: Yea, verily.

Front page: Stop calling me Verily.

(They exit.)” (Doblin, Bergen Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzOTEmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcxOTQ4MTMmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5

 

ETHICS BECOMES A REAL CAMPAIGN ISSUE

“The recent bribery arrests of 11 public officials have shed a harsh light on New Jersey's political culture, just as legislative races enter their final quarter.

Both parties are hitting opponents with more-ethical-than-thou campaigns, often built around the state's new partial ban on dual officeholding.

Gov. Corzine signed the ban on Labor Day weekend, when the general election season kicked off, to show that Trenton was doing something to clean up government. But critics argue it's too weak because it applies only to people elected after February 2008 – giving this year's candidates a free pass.

More than 20 legislative candidates from both parties – including newcomers – also hold another elected office. Many more hold government jobs along with their elected offices.

Some say they'll hold onto both jobs, while others say that if elected to the Legislature, they'll quit their other offices.

One expert this week said voters may be turned off by the finger pointing and waffling.”

As voters watch each party play this issue as it suits them, "it makes [voters] pretty cynical about campaigning in general and the true intent of the parties," said Rider University political scientist David P. Rebovich, a close observer of state politics. (Burton, Philadelphia Inquirer)

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20070914_N_J__candidates_clash_over_dual_officeholding.html

 

NOT SO FAST

Gov. Corzine held firm yesterday against quick anti-corruption action a day after a Democratic senator dropped his bid for reelection amid a federal investigation.

Sen. Joseph Coniglio dropped his bid for reelection after being told by federal prosecutors that he was being targeted in a corruption inquiry.

Coniglio's decision came after two assemblymen had resigned Monday following their arrests last week by the FBI on allegations of bribe-taking. Earlier this year, two senators were indicted on federal corruption charges.

Republicans have demanded that Corzine use his authority to force the Legislature into session to enact ethics overhauls, but the governor, a Democrat, has refused.

Corzine noted yesterday that Coniglio, of Paramus, had not been charged with wrongdoing, but he praised the senator's decision not to seek reelection.

"I think it will allow debate on issues that matter in people's lives," Corzine said.

Coniglio and the two senators indicted earlier this year – Democrats Wayne Bryant and Sharpe James – will serve in the Legislature until their terms expire in January.

Corzine asked the assemblymen to resign, but he has not made the same demands of the senators.

"I think the situation with the Assembly folks who were caught on tape taking bribes is a slightly different set of facts," Corzine said. ” (Hester, AP)

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20070914_Corzine_still_against_quick_ethics_move.html

 

WINKLE PAW? IS THAT A CAT?

“A national Democratic fund-raising scandal sent more ripples through New Jersey yesterday as two members of Congress became the latest to rid themselves of campaign cash from associates of controversial businessman Norman Hsu.

Matthew Montekio, campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.), said the campaign is donating $2,000 to Community Food Bank of New Jersey to offset donations of $1,000 each from Winkle Paw of Daly City, Calif., and Danny Lee of Forest Hills, N.Y. The two men made donations to Pallone's campaign fund in September 2005 and they often sent checks to candidates at the same time as Hsu through a practice known as "bundling."

Pallone received no money directly from Hsu, a fugitive who is under guard in a Colorado hospital after failing to show up for a California bail hearing. Hsu was wanted for missing his sentencing on a 1991 grand theft case to which he pleaded no contest.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who also received no money directly from Hsu, will donate to a charity a $1,000 check he received from Lee in May 2006, according to spokesman Afshin Mohamadi. He has not yet chosen the charity, he added.” (Donohue, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1189744925273180.xml&coll=1

 

NOT READY

“A week ago, the state said it expected to meet a January deadline for adding printers to New Jersey's electronic voting machines.

Yesterday, Attorney General Anne Milgram said she will ask the Legislature for an extension — setting up a potential showdown Monday with a judge who has been telling the state for months to have backup plans ready.

"It is more important to get this done right than to get it done quickly," Milgram said in a statement yesterday.

An extension would mean the 10,000 electronic voting machines now used by all 21 counties would be rolled out again for the state's presidential primary Feb. 5 — still without the paper printers intended to reassure voters that their ballots are correctly counted.

"The key here is that by postponing this, we're ensuring that in the February 2008 primary, there won't be any voter confusion," said David Wald, a Milgram spokesman.

Milgram said she has power to impose the extension if lawmakers cannot act swiftly, though an appellate court decision published last week appears to give Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg leeway to choose a remedy.

The move angered voting rights activists who since October 2004 have been trying to persuade Feinberg to order the state to scrap the electronic voting machines.

"Enough is enough," said Rutgers law professor Penny Venetis, representing the activists. She accused the Attorney General's Office of an "abdication of duties" to voters.

"The court has given them every possible opportunity to fix the broken system. Other states have gotten it right, in a much shorter time period. They continue to ignore overwhelming scientific evidence that (electronic voting machines) are unreliable, unsecure and hackable."” (Coughlin, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1189744830273180.xml&coll=1

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20070914_N_J__to_miss_deadline_on_changing_e-voting.html

 

ACTUALLY, PASSAIC WILL BE FIRST – THEY’RE HOLDING A CONVENTION ON SATURDAY

“MORRIS COUNTY: County Republicans are going to hold their own presidential convention on Monday, complete with speeches, political dignitaries and a vote on the current roster of GOP candidates.

It's a Republican political rally to kick off the campaign season and have a bit of fun, said county Republican Party Chairman John Sette.

New York radio host Curtis Sliwa will open the event at the Westin Governor Morris hotel in Morris Township. Also on hand will be State Republican Party Chairman Tom Wilson and national Republican figure Randy Bumps, said Sette.

"I thought, why not. Let's be the first in the state, maybe the nation, to have a presidential convention," Sette said with a laugh. ” (Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/morris/index.ssf?/base/news-3/1189745282273180.xml&coll=1

 

REBATE CHECKS

“The check is almost in the mail.

State officials announced yesterday that 1.1 million non-senior homeowners will next week begin getting homestead rebate checks that average $966. Tenants and elderly and disabled homeowners got their checks last month.

"With this second round, more than 2 million households will have received rebate checks to reduce their property tax burden this year," Gov. Jon Corzine said in a Department of Treasury press re lease.

The new rebates will be about three times larger than the $285 checks mailed out to the same group last year. But the cost of the rebate program also jumped more than $1 billion to $2.2 billion this year. It costs about $2 million to $3 million to print and mail out the checks, which will start going out tomorrow, according to Treasury Department officials.

On Wednesday, the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research group based in Washington, D.C., announced that New Jersey continued to have the nation's worst property tax burden. It calculated the median bill at $5,773 and said the burden consumed 7.03 percent of the taxpayer's income. ” (Donohue, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1189745394273180.xml&coll=1

 

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST

Stephen Appolonia, the former co-owner of a Howell truck dealership, pleaded guilty Thursday to paying a $2,000 bribe to a former Monmouth County government official for help in gaining county contracts.

Appolonia, 54, of Colts Neck, admitted before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini to paying the bribe in 2004 to Raymond O'Grady, who was the director of the Monmouth County Motor Pool at the time.

O'Grady, 57, who is also a former Middletown committeeman, was convicted in June 2006 of accepting more than $8,000 in bribes, including the $2,000 from Appolonia. He is now serving a 43-month prison sentence at Fort Dix.

Both men were snared in the FBI's Operation Bid Rig, an undercover probe that resulted in charges against more than 20 public officials and numerous businessmen with government contracts.” (Cullinane, Asbury Park Press)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070914/NEWS/709140410

 

IN OCEAN GROVE

“Sunday will be a "dream come true" for an Ocean Grove couple when they hold their civil union ceremony on the fishing pier.

Janice Moore, 70, and Emily Sonnessa, 77, will hold their ceremony at 3 p.m. Sunday in front of about 60 relatives and friends, Moore said. The ceremony will be officiated by Neptune Deputy Mayor Randy Bishop.

The couple is one of two battling the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association over its refusal to allow same-sex civil unions in the boardwalk pavilion. The association maintains that the pavilion is a religious structure, while Ocean Grove's gay community and its supporters say it is a public area.”

"I am so excited," Moore said. "I can't believe that we ever lived to see this come into effect, these (civil union) laws. And I'm so grateful to God that if we have any young ones in the family who grow up, and they happen to be gay, they don't face these problems. Maybe we can make their path easier in life."

Moore and Sonnessa have been together for nearly 38 years, Moore said.”

Moore said that unlike the pavilion, they did not need permission to hold the ceremony on the pier.

After they were denied the use of the pavilion, the two planned on having their ceremony in Bradley Beach's gazebo. But that plan was trashed by construction work near the gazebo.

"So we said, "OK, life dictates,' so we went back to Ocean Grove, like we wanted to in the first place," she said.

The Rev. Scott Hoffman, the camp meeting association's chief executive officer, could not be reached for comment. (Bowman, Asbury Park Press)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070914/NEWS01/709140437/1004

 

IN EVESHAM

“The children talked among themselves about their parents — children of interracial families, children of divorce, children who had been adopted — and that did not seem to cause a ripple…………

But at another point in a state-approved educational video shown to third graders here, Daniel introduces his parents: “These are my two dads.”………….

That was enough to entangle this wealthy suburb of 45,000, about 15 miles east of Philadelphia, in a heated debate among parents and educators. As the issue simmered, the district decided to shelve the film, provoking the threat of a lawsuit by gay rights activists who said the district’s refusal to show the video was a violation of state antidiscrimination laws.

The issue first arose in December after a class of third graders at the J. Harold Van Zant School here was shown “That’s a Family!,” a documentary created by an Academy Award-winning filmmaker intended to show students the different forms that families can take, as part of the curriculum required in New Jersey. But the district temporarily stopped showing the video after some parents complained that they should be able to decide whether their third-grade children should learn about same-sex couples in the classroom.

School district officials then sought to allay their concerns by providing a special screening for the parents of third graders, although only about a fifth of them attended. A poll conducted for the district found the town divided almost evenly: 50.4 percent were in favor of showing the video, and 49.5 percent were opposed.

After eight months of deliberations, a 27-member committee appointed by the school board and made up of parents, teachers and administrators recommended that the district continue to show the video. But on Aug. 30, the district rejected the proposal and stood by its decision to ban the film.

“I didn’t expect it to come out of Evesham,” Trish Everhart, a member of the parent teacher association at Richard L. Rice Elementary School here, said of the dispute. “I felt like we were living in the ’50s.”” (Jones, New York Times)

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/14/nyregion/14sex.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin

 

TIME FOR A CHANGE

PLEASANTVILLE – A local resident filed a petition Thursday to change the Pleasantville Board of Education from an elected board to a board appointed by city officials.

Frank Oatman submitted the petition to Pleasantville School District Business Administrator Dennis Mulvihill at 10 a.m. Thursday at the district offices on West Leeds Avenue. The 93-page document had more than 600 signatures, Oatman said.

Oatman, president of United Workers Union Local 700, which represents some city workers, wants a question placed on the ballot for voters to decide between elected and appointed school board members in response to the continued problems that have plagued the school district in recent years.

"I believe it's time for the situation to change," Oatman said. "And I believe that the public is ready for the change because of the arrogance of certain people on the board."

Numerous audits, administrative instability and speculation over how absentee ballots swayed school board elections are some of the troubles that have plagued Pleasantville over the years. ” (Hardie, Press of Atlantic City)

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/atlantic/story/7501902p-7399009c.html

 

LOCAL VETS WEIGH IN ON BUSH WAR POLICY

“If Iraq war vet Tony Harris could say one thing to President Bush, it would be this:

"I'd tell President Bush, man, you're crazy as hell. You lied to the people, Bush. You lied to the people."

Harris, of Trenton, is frustrated by changing war rationale. He's frustrated by a war that seems to have no end in sight. And — as debate drags on in Washington over troop levels and Bush offers another plea for patience — Harris hopes for nothing more than an ending………….

Which is exactly what Master Sgt. Amado Jimenez Jr. doesn't want the United States to do…………………

."The worst thing they could do is cut troops," he said. "It will be chaos. It will bring the country into civil war."

Two soldiers, two views.

There have been more than 100,000 soldiers mobilized out of Fort Dix since Sept. 11, 2001. Most are sent to Afghanistan or Iraq. Close to 9,000 troops have been sent from Fort Dix to Iraq this year, public affairs officer Carolee Nisbet said.” (Trently, Trenton Times)

http://www.nj.com/news/times/index.ssf?/base/news-3/1189742702133200.xml&coll=5

 

IN TRENTON

“County college officials are thrilled at the prospect of a seamless transition for students transferring to four-year institutions thanks to a new law that recognizes their academic equivalence.

Under the law signed Thursday by Gov. Jon S. Corzine, all public colleges and universities in the state will have to accept credits earned at New Jersey's 19 county colleges.

Many students must repeat courses they already completed at a county college, costing them time and money, said Corzine, who signed the bill at Camden County College in Cherry Hill.

"I'm only sorry it didn't happen sooner," said Gloucester County College Acting President Dr. Russell Davis, who attended the signing. ” (Driscoll, Gloucester County Times)

http://www.nj.com/news/gloucester/index.ssf?/base/news-2/118975204982230.xml&coll=8

 

FIRST FIREWORKS, NOW GUNS

“Prosecutors from across New Jersey gathered at the Pennsylvania border Thursday and called on Garden State neighbors to combat violent crime with tougher gun laws.

New Jersey laws discourage criminal-minded gun shoppers by requiring a police background check and a minimum two-week waiting period, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said from a park overlooking the Delaware River.

Other states, notably Pennsylvania, make few demands on gun shoppers, allowing them to purchase weapons in a matter of minutes, he said.

"There's a reason why New Jersey has a much lower rate of gun violence than Pennsylvania," Ceasefire NJ Executive Director Bryan Miller said.

Lax gun laws encourage straw purchasing — an illegal practice in which one person buys firearms for another — and interstate gun trafficking, both of which contribute to gun violence nationwide, said Romankow, the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey president. ” (Petty, Express-Times)

http://www.nj.com/news/expresstimes/nj/index.ssf?/base/news-6/1189743091133130.xml&coll=2

 

IN TRENTON

“The New Jersey Supreme Court has ordered a health insurance plan for state workers to pay for therapy for an autistic 5-year-old boy, a decision advocates said could set a precedent and help other families raising children with autism.

The high court on Wednesday upheld two appeals court opinions mandating the State Health Benefits Commission pay for speech, occupational and behavioral therapies for Jacob Micheletti of Milford, whose father, a deputy attorney general for the state, waged a two- year fight on behalf of his son.

The law has never mandated insurance carriers cover the cost of therapy for autism before, causing many families to go into debt to provide treatment prescribed for their children, family advocacy groups say.

"It's too early to tell what the ramifications will be, but we think it's precedent-setting, ground- breaking," said Art Ball, governmental affairs director for the New Jersey Center for Outreach & Services for the Autism Community. "We'd like to figure out a way to expand this so everybody can benefit, but it's not going to be easy." ” (Livio and McNichol, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1189744536273180.xml&coll=1

 

IN JERSEY CITY

“Undaunted by the defeat of his ethics bill in the City Council earlier this week, Jersey City Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop now wants to take his case directly to the public.

Fulop announced yesterday plans to gather sufficient petition signatures to put two referendums on the ballot.

The first ballot item would bar a person who has a taxpayer-funded job from collecting a salary as a City Council member or receiving contributions to their pension plans based on their council salaries.

The second initiative revisits an issue Fulop had no success with in January, when he tried to pass a local pay-to-play ordinance that would have restricted when developers dealing with the city could make campaign donations to local politicians.

"I want to eliminate the conflicts of interests and at the same time create a council strictly to serve the public," Fulop said…………..

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, along with council members William Gaughan and Peter Brennan – both of whom hold county jobs – dismissed Fulop's announcement as more "grandstanding" by a candidate for mayor. Fulop, a Citigroup trader, denies that claim.

The three officials said Fulop's proposals also run contrary to state law and discriminate against poor and working-class people.

Healy stated: "The City Council made a decision for various reasons, the most important being the proposed resolution was beyond the powers of the City Council under the terms of the Faulkner Act, which governs Cities of the First Class, which Jersey City is."” (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)

http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-4/1189749945182550.xml&coll=3

 

IN MONMOUTH COUNTY

“Monmouth County Republican Freeholder Anna C. Little and county party Chairman Adam Puharic have not settled their differences, but Puharic said Thursday he will not block Little's bid to run as the GOP candidate for mayor in Highlands.

Little had pursued the party line in a re-election bid for freeholder, but said in March she could not overcome clashes with Puharic on "several ethical matters." Little went on to lose a write-in campaign for freeholder in the GOP primary in June.

The Highlands Republican Committee recently chose Little to fill the vacancy on the November ballot that occurred when Mayor Richard W. O'Neil withdrew from the race.

The county party leader must approve such a change, and Puharic said it's been his "practice to support the selections of the municipal committees."” (Jordan and Muessig, Asbury Park Press)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070914/NEWS01/709140429/1004

 

IN MILLVILLE

Three candidates will vie for an unexpired City Commission seat in Millville, and two will seek an unexpired City Council seat in Vineland.

The deadline for submitting nominating petitions for the Nov. 6 general election was 4 p.m. Thursday.

In Millville, Molly Hollingshead — appointed Aug. 7 to the seat of her late husband — submitted petitions, as did challengers Eric Soler and David Vanaman. In Vineland, Anthony J. Gioielli — appointed in May to fill a City Council seat vacated by Bob Smith — submitted petitions, as did local businessman Adam Goldstein. Gioielli is a former Vineland police captain.” (Zatzariny, Daily Journal)

http://www.thedailyjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070914/NEWS01/709140311/1002

 

 

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