Today’s news from PoliticsNJ.com

 

Rumors swirl about Atlantic City Mayor resigning; Republicans sue for monetization report; GOP once opposed supermajority for tax increases, but now make it a campaign issue; former Rockaway Township mayoral primary candidate fined for licking opponent’s face.

JUST ANOTHER DAY IN ATLANTIC CITY

“The pressure mounted today on embattled Atlantic City Mayor Robert Levy, and although his press spokesman steadily denied rumors of an impending resignation announcement, the Press of Atlantic City is reporting that Assemblyman Jim Whelan called on Levy to address rumors that he is the target of a federal law enforcement probe.

The mayor for months has been battling backlash from his campaign cycle comments about serving in the Green Berets. Now the rumor on the street in this seaside gambling city is that Levy improperly applied for and received certain military benefits. The mayor did not respond to a call from PoliticsNJ.com to quash those allegations.

"As far as I know, there is no factual basis to him stepping down or resigning," Nick Morici, Levy's press secretary, said early this afternoon.

Levy, who served in Vietnam, received an honorary cap from the elite fighting unit, but was never in the Berets, though he said he was when he ran for office.

Elected in 2005, Levy this year became the target of a recall effort, whose members charge that he's been mostly a no-show mayor. Worse for Levy: a majority of council members lent their signatures to the recall movement.

The Atlantic City native and former lifeguard has had physical problems that recently landed him in the hospital, but has not met much sympathy on the council.

"We had a president named Roosevelt who was in a wheelchair," said Atlantic City Councilman Bruce Ward, who has signed the recall petition. "You can have physical problems and you can surround yourself with competent people who will do a good job for you. The mayor has not done that, and Atlantic City needs so much more."” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/levy-stands-center-storm-12215

Assemblyman Jim Whelan on Thursday called on his longtime friend Bob Levy to clear his name or resign as Atlantic City mayor.

Whelan, D-Atlantic, said he was concerned that speculation about an ongoing federal investigation of Levy could leave city government paralyzed.

“I think he owes it to the community to tell us what he's done,” said Whelan, a former mayor of Atlantic City. “If he’s done something wrong, he needs to resign.”

Whelan and Levy, both Democrats, have been friends since their days serving as lifeguards together………

Speculation circulated all day in Atlantic City and in Trenton that Levy planned to step down, but by the end of the day Atlantic City Clerk Rosemary Adams said she had not received a resignation letter.

Rumors of a 1 p.m. resignation announcement Thursday led reporters to gather in the City Hall lobby, only to disperse 40 minutes later……….

“Clearly, something's going on,” said Diane LeGreide, director of Atlantic City projects for the State Office of Economic Growth. “We had heard Levy’s resignation was imminent. But nothing has been confirmed.”

In January, The Press of Atlantic City first reported on a federal investigation into Levy's military service record.

The investigation followed Levy's admission that appeared in The Press in November that he had never been a member of the elite Special Forces, despite years of claims that he had been a member of the Green Berets in Vietnam. Materials repeating that claim were part of Levy’s 2005 campaign for mayor.” (McAleer, Press of Atlantic City)

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/top_three/story/7505121p-7402822c.html

 

THIS CAMPAIGN ISSUE IS NOT GOING AWAY

“Republican lawmakers sued Thursday to get a copy of a consultant's report on the state's toll roads that is part of the Corzine administration's study of whether to financially leverage state assets.

The Treasury Department last month denied a request made under the state's Open Public Records Act to see a report made by transportation consultant Steer Davies Gleave that lists traffic and toll revenue data and projections, saying it was incomplete and was "advisory, consultative and deliberative."

The lawsuit contends the report was finished last spring because the consultant has collected all $887,838 it was due from the state. It also argues that if the report contains deliberative material, those portions could be redacted without shielding the whole report.

It suggests the Treasury Department is withholding the report because it could embarrass the administration.

"Its embarrassment or concerns about how some people may use the information, data and scientific-based projections contained in the denied report does not amount to a lawful reason to deny the public an opportunity to review it, nor does it give rise to heightened protections under the deliberative process privilege," the suit reads…………

"Time is of the essence," said Assemblyman Sean Kean, R-Monmouth, who fears Corzine and the Democrat-controlled Legislature will approve a plan during the lame-duck session without public debate.

Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth, added, "This data should be vetted with the state Legislature and the public before this proposal to sell the (New Jersey) Turnpike or (Garden State) Parkway moves forward."

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, chairman of the transportation committee and an opponent of the monetization plan, has a posting on his campaign Web site demanding an open process for the plan.

"Keeping secrets is not the way to develop good public policy," Wisniewski writes.” (Volpe, Gannett)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070928/NEWS/709280427

 

NO BRITNEY SPEARS ANALOGY FROM CODEY?

“When Republican Gov. Christie Whitman wanted to require supermajority votes to increase taxes, her biggest critics in 1997 were Republicans who controlled the Legislature and questioned whether it was sound public policy.

Now in the minority, Republicans are more than rethinking their objections. They're making the supermajority idea the centerpiece of efforts to try to retake the Legislature, where all 120 seats are up for election in November.

Tom Wilson, the state Republican Party chairman, said there's a big difference between Republicans now those from 1997.

"Those people aren't here anymore," he said.

But Democratic Senate President Richard J. Codey doesn't buy the change in attitude.

"The Republican Party proposed it but never did it," Codey said. "It's so silly on their part and hypocritical to propose it, because they didn't want it when they were in power."” (AP)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070928/NEWS03/709280462/1007

 

TASTES LIKE CHICKEN

Tucker Kelley of Rockaway Township, accused of licking the face of Rockaway Township Councilman Michael Dachisen during a dispute last winter, was found guilty of harassment and fined $500 on Wednesday, Harding Municipal Court Admin-istrator Barbara Schwab said.

The case against Kelley, who was defeated in the Rockaway Township Republican mayoral primary in June, was transferred out of Rockaway Township because it involved a local official.

following a hearing, Municipal Court Judge Robert Schaul gave his verdict and imposed a $500 fine, Schwab said.

Dachisen filed a complaint against Kelley stemming from an incident in February at the municipal building. Dachisen, in an interview afterward, charged that Kelley was trying to provoke a confrontation.

Kelley, in response, denied the allegation. Kelley, a lifelong Rockaway Township resident, had feuded previously with Dachisen and other town officials on various issues.

Rockaway Township Mayor Louis Sceusi, challenged by Kelley in the primary, questioned his motives in running and mentioned Dachisen's accusation in campaign literature.

Sceusi defeated Kelley by nearly a 3-1 margin.” (Daily Record)

 

http://www.dailyrecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070928/COMMUNITIES43/709280337/1203/NEWS01

 

HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE: CORZINE’S ASPIRATIONS

“At his press conference yesterday, Gov. Jon S. Corzine made an especially interesting remark: “If I stand for reelection, I certainly will be held very specifically accountable,” he said, emphasizing the “if.”

When you’re the most powerful politician in the state, every word you utter gets picked apart and examined for any hint of greater meaning.

So, is Corzine’s non-commitment to run for another term in two years’ time merely careful language? Or does the Governor, facing a legislature not as pliable as he had hoped and a potentially serious challenge in 2009 see another possible position in his future — perhaps in President Hillary Clinton’s cabinet?

Quite possibly, say political analysts………..

Today, as the man who’s leading the charge for Hillary Clinton in New Jersey, the Governor downplays the idea of ever being president, telling the Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran that it would be “ridiculous.” Moreover, (Stuart) Rothenberg said, don’t expect to see Corzine tapped to run for Vice President, since having such a northeastern, metropolitan New York City ticket would be geographically, if not ideologically, undesirable.

Taking such an active role in the Clinton campaign, and helping raise millions for it, will certainly make him a contender for a cabinet post or an ambassadorship. And with Corzine’s background as a Goldman Sachs executive, one position in particular sticks out: Secretary of the Treasury.

But it’s unclear which job the Governor would prefer.” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/hold-me-accountable-corzine-s-aspirations-12221

 

IF GIULIANI IS A PITBULL, THEN WHAT IS CORZINE, A POODLE?

“Republicans today basked in the afterglow of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the candidate they like to point to as Mr. Accountability, who raised money in New Jersey yesterday for his presidential campaign.

"The mayor doesn’t just say ‘I was tough on crime over my eight years in office,’" says Giuliani campaign spokesman Jeff Barker. "He’s out there with the record. Crime was reduced by 56%; murder reduced by 66%. He doesn’t just say, ‘I’m tough on taxes.’ He reduced or eliminated taxes by 23 times."

If Gov. Jon Corzine is a manager with a heart who’s depicted by Republicans as ultimately too crumble-prone in the presence of old hands Senate President Richard Codey and Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, Giuliani, says the GOP, comes across as a results-oriented tough guy who doesn’t get pushed around.

"Giuliani’s got a type A-personality," says Morris County GOP Chairman John Sette. "He’s like that pitbull that keeps pursuing something until he gets what he wants. He’s more intense than Corzine."

They aren’t entirely different, Corzine and Giuliani, and clearly their northeastern associations make them closer than Giuliani is to Bible-belting Republican GOP candidates. Public representatives of ethnically diverse constituencies, Corzine and Giuliani are both pro-choice, and support gay rights. ” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)

http://www.politicsnj.com/hold-me-accountable-giuliani-v-corzine-12219

 

TOUGH POLLING PLACES FOR THE DISABLED

“Fifteen years after the federal government required polling sites be accessible to voters with disabilities, spot checks across the state revealed the vast majority of locations examined violate the law, according to a report released yesterday by the state Public Advocate.

Equally as troubling is the conclusion that the majority of county officials responsible for ensuring compliance missed or overlooked violations, Public Advocate Ronald Chen said.

"It's simply unacceptable that while 15 years have elapsed, poor design and physical obstacles like flights of stairs or narrow doorways still create barriers," Chen said. "With the November elections less than two months away, it is time for the county boards of elections to fix these problems."

The report is based on examinations of 121 of the state's 3,500 polling places in nine counties on Primary Election Day, June 5. Inspectors found 24 of 121 sites met the law's requirements by having properly pitched ramps, wide doorways, accessible parking and proper signs.

Of the 97 polling sites the advocate's inspectors deemed deficient, 71 posed physical barriers that could prevent a disabled person from gaining access to a polling site, such as a narrow doorway, a heavy door, or a steep ramp…………..

The report frustrated county board of elections officials, who questioned the accuracy and fairness of some of the findings. They also wondered why Chen's inspectors simply didn't report shortcomings when they found them.

"If they don't call us on Election Day, how is the next voter going to get in?" said Linda Von Nessi, clerk of the Essex County Board of Elections, where 12 of 13 sites flunked the advocate's test. ” (Livio, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/119095501845080.xml&coll=1

 

JUST DOESN’T SEEMA RIGHT

“A former state employee hired as a consultant just days after her retirement has been ordered to repay more than $86,000 in pension benefits.

Leora Mosston was hired as a consultant by then-Ratepayer Advocate Seema Singh six days after her retirement as Singh's chief of staff.

State pension officials have determined Mosston should have been considered an employee, not a contractor, and was not entitled to collect her pension during her three-year stint as consultant.

"In July, the Division of Pensions sent her a letter saying they had ruled that she really is an employee and not a consultant and determined pension benefits she received during that period should be returned," said state Treasury Department spokesman Mark Perkiss.

In addition to the $86,000 in pension payments, state officials have ordered Mosston to pay $12,900 to cover payments she would have been required to make to the state pension system had she been correctly classified as an employee. ” (Isherwood, Trenton Times)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/119095472145080.xml&coll=1

 

BUT WHAT’S HIS APPROVAL RATING IN NEWARK?

“After 14 months in office, Newark Mayor Cory Booker is still well known and well liked, according to a poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind.

But the challenges of governing the state's largest city have also made him a little more unpopular.

Among people who have heard of Booker, 58 percent have a positive view of him and 20 percent have an unfavorable opinion. In a March poll, only 8 percent of people had an unfavorable opinion of the mayor.

"It's one thing being a candidate and everyone having high expectations. It's another to get into the job and run into dead ends and confront the mountain of problems he is clearly confronting," said Peter Woolley, poll director. "In that process people's expectations are going to change."

During an early rough tenure, Booker has grappled with having to lay off 200 employees and an unrelenting murder rate. The shooting deaths of three college students behind Mount Vernon Elementary School garnered international attention. Booker also had some very embarrassing public gaffes where he apologized for speaking negatively of a beloved deceased community activist and his administration's failure to pay hundreds of city youth summer workers on time……….

Woolley said Booker's popularity can be partially attributed to the unpopularity of former Mayor Sharpe James, now under indictment for land deals and charging city credit cards for lavish personal trips.

"He stands in such sharp contrast to Sharpe James. He took James on and James is a very unpopular politician. He promised to be the un-James," said Woolley.

Despite the increase in those who have unfavorable feelings about him, Booker still has poll numbers that most politicians would envy, said Woolley.

"For any politician to have a 3 to 1 favorable rating is good, but for someone who has to govern an urban city it's terrific," said Woolley. ” (Mays, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/essex/index.ssf?/base/news-4/119095519745080.xml&coll=1

 

IN DISTRICT 1

“Republican legislative candidate Nicholas Asselta reiterated his commitment to the Abbott districts in Cumberland County, as well as the commitment of his running mate, Norris Clark, Thursday after it was questioned by a political rival.

"There is no greater advocate for Vineland and Millville than me," said Sen. Asselta, R-1. "I stand on these issues and the people running with me stand on these issues."

Cumberland County Freeholder Lou Magazzu, who also chairs the county's Democratic Party, and Millville Board of Education President Bill Herman hosted a press conference Thursday questioning an e-mail sent on Clark's campaign mailer.

The Aug. 21 e-mail, with the subject heading "Here's a Bi-Partisan Money Saving Idea," featured a blurb discussing a proposal by William Liberera, the state commissioner of Education under Gov. James E. McGreevey, to eliminate Abbott status in 13 school districts…………….

Asselta is running against Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew, D-1, for the senate seat. Magazzu said he told Van Drew about the press conference and advised him not to come. Magazzu said as a county freeholder, he wanted to be the one to speak out.

Asselta called the press conference a "half-baked" attempt to "bring up a negative campaign."” (Landau, Daily Journal)

http://www.thedailyjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070928/NEWS01/709280319/1002/NEWS01

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/cumberland/story/7505399p-7402988c.html

 

GET YOUR MONEY

“New Jersey officials can't seem to give money away when it comes to the nation's highest property taxes.

About 200,000 people have failed to apply for their property tax rebates, costing themselves $200 million total, Democratic leaders said yesterday.

About 1.1 million rebate checks were mailed to homeowners last week, but Senate President Richard J. Codey and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr. urged those who haven't applied to do so before the Oct. 31 application deadline.

For most homeowners, the rebates amount to 20 percent of the property taxes they paid last year. New Jersey property taxes are twice the national average, at $6,330 per homeowner.

The rebates average $1,051, up from $285 last year, under a program approved by legislators and Gov. Corzine.

"These unprecedented levels of property tax relief are real, but only if you apply for it," said Codey (D., Essex). "Anyone who has not received a check in the mail yet, likely hasn't applied and they should go online or contact Treasury immediately to file an application." ” (Hester, AP)

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20070928_Thousands_neglect_tax_rebate_request.html

 

HE WON’T LET IT DIE

“The throw-down between Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy and the Bradley Beach cops who threw him to the ground over a year ago continues today in Monmouth County Superior Court.

Healy is appealing his conviction in June of obstruction of administrative law and resisting arrest after an incident that took place in the wee hours of June 17, 2006, outside a Bradley Beach tavern owned by Healy's sister and brother-in-law.

Healy is not expected to appear at the appeal hearing, which will consist of his attorney, James Fagen of Freehold, making a presentation, followed by a rebuttal from a representative of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, a court official said.

"I am pursuing this appeal because I am innocent of the charges and did nothing wrong," Healy said in a statement. "I have told the truth since day one, up to and during the trial."

Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci is hearing the appeal and could make a decision today or wait a few days before issuing a verdict, the official said.

Monmouth County Judge John Colannino found Healy guilty of the disorderly person charges on June 27.” (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)

http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-4/1190967473144880.xml&coll=3

 

FORMER ANDOVER MAYOR GUILTY IN SNOW MOBILE HIT-AND-RUN

“A former Andover Township mayor and committeeman was found guilty yesterday by a jury of a hit-and-run snowmobile collision that left a pedestrian in the road with a broken leg.

The jury determined that David Mosner, while riding his snowmobile on March 6, 2003, struck 17-year-old David McInnis as he walked his dog. Mosner then left him in the road with a broken leg, his shin bone sticking through the skin.

Mosner, 45, declined to comment. His attorney, Donald Rinaldi, said Mosner will file an appeal.

"We're terribly disappointed in the verdict," Rinaldi said. "I thought that the evidence was not there for a conviction, especially in light of their (the jury's) questions" to the judge that arose during deliberations.

Mosner, now convicted of both fourth-degree charges of assault by auto and leaving the scene of a motor accident resulting in serious bodily injury, faces up to three years in jail and $20,000 in fines when he is sentenced on Nov. 16. He was ordered to surrender his driver's license immediately. ” (Lockwood, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/sussex/index.ssf?/base/news-1/119095532545080.xml&coll=1

 

“THE EPA LET THE RINGWOOD COMMUNITY DOWN”

“A federal agency that let a major polluter set the limits of its 1980s toxic-waste cleanup. That's the picture that has emerged in an internal report on the Environmental Protection Agency's performance in Upper Ringwood.

The EPA took Ford Motor Co.'s word on the extent of the waste, ignored its own consultant's report on far-flung disturbances in the wooded area and didn't follow procedure in failing to consult neighborhood residents, the report says.

And left behind were more than 24,000 tons of paint waste and tainted soil, found during a new, ongoing cleanup. The initial incomplete work also has led to a lawsuit against Ford and Ringwood by a Ramapough Mountain Indian community beset by unexplained illness.

Why the EPA didn't do a better job is not addressed in the conclusion of the yearlong, $544,000 investigation by the Office of Inspector General, an oversight agency within the EPA. Instead, the report, disclosed Thursday, only recommends ways the EPA can tweak its current procedures.

The OIG conducted the investigation at the request of three members of Congress in 2006 to find out why EPA declared the Superfund site clean in 1994 and delisted it, despite leftover waste.

"This report makes clear that EPA let the Ringwood community down," said U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. "Long after the site was declared clean, chunks of sludge still appeared because EPA failed to properly identify the contamination from the start and to communicate with Ringwood residents about the problem. If EPA had done its job, this site would've been cleaned up long ago."” (Barry, Williams and Fletcher, Bergen Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2MDcmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcyMDA4MjImeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXky

 

IN TRENTON

“The former and current employees of the Mercer County Superintendent of Elections office who filed a civil suit against the superintendent last year are now claiming they are facing retaliation because of it.

Their attorneys filed an order yesterday in Superior Court asking that Superintendent Bettye Monroe refrain from her alleged actions, which include threatening to fire those workers who are out on medical leave if they don't return to work.

Steve Cook, Lorie Linico, Vera Ward, Theresa West and Monica Daddio are the plaintiffs in the original civil suit filed in October. The county and the state of New Jersey also are defendants in the suit. Attorney Philip Whitcomb said Ward, West and Daddio are still employed by the county office of elections. Linico was terminated in July and Cook resigned as deputy superintendent in March to become executive director of the Arc Mercer.

The lawsuit made a number of claims against Monroe, including that Monroe, who is black, discriminated against white employees, and that she denied medical requests to employees dealing with injuries and disabilities.

The attorneys representing the plaintiffs issued a press release following yesterday's filing.

Monroe referred comment to county counsel.

"I don't know what they are talking about retaliation. They are out on disability," Monroe said………….

Attorney Philip Cohen claims in the release Linico was terminated because she failed to return to work after a medical leave even though the leave had been extended and approved by the physician treating her.

Cohen claimed West is being threatened with termination if she doesn't report to work, although she has not been cleared to return. ” (Loayza, Trenton Times)

http://www.nj.com/news/times/index.ssf?/base/news-3/1190952522223790.xml&coll=5

 

IN TRENTON

“Attorney General Anne Milgram continued her attack on sexual predators who troll social networking Web sites for possible victims, announcing a program to make it easier for targets to report inappropriate activities.

The need for such a program became clear after the state found the sites routinely failed to investigate complaints that minors were being solicited online for sex and that pages on the sites contained pornographic and violent images, Milgram said.

"This is a real problem because we know there are dangers that lurk on the Internet and we know we need to allow users … to have a way to make a report and that they are taken seriously," Milgram said. "We also found there were major difficulties in making those reports."

Two companies, including the New Jersey firm myYearbook.com, have agreed to place a button on every page that users can click to report questionable activities. The companies have also agreed to follow guidelines created by the state on how to follow up on those complaints, including the notification of authorities when appropriate.

So far, however, most social networking sites have rejected requests to join the program, including MySpace, Facebook and Friendster, which have about 200 million members combined. The companies did not return calls.

Milgram hopes the sites reconsider, saying "It's critical that we work together to reach our goal." ” (Hepp, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/119095486645080.xml&coll=1

 

DOBLIN ON HATE

“Two years ago, some idiot or idiots carved a 15-foot swastika in the snow in a Clifton park.

The people I talked with at the time, while concerned, viewed it as nothing more than a prank.

This month, anti-Semitic signs and fliers were posted in Passaic. Three men have been arrested. Two are from Clifton, one from Lincoln Park. Further south in Mercer County, a football-field-sized swastika was cut into a cornfield. The timing around the Jewish Holy Days seems more than coincidental.

Contrast the public reaction to swastikas to the growing national movement around the Jena Six. A noose hanging from a tree symbolized more than hate: it was a searing reminder of the lynching of blacks in America………….

Given the controversy surrounding Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia University, it strikes me as odd that the spate of anti-Semitism in New Jersey and New York has gone largely unnoticed. Ahmadinejad preaches the Holocaust was a myth. For all the faults of America, the nation acknowledges that slavery and continued discrimination against blacks is very much a part of our heritage.

Political leaders in New Jersey and across the nation have been falling over themselves to show support to the Jena Six. Were they treated fairly by the justice system? I'm not a legal expert who can determine what prosecutors should have done in Louisiana. But I am disturbed that the noose incident is conflated with the alleged beating of a white male by the Jena Six.

There is no justification for either act. And there is more political correctness afoot than common sense. Hanging a noose is not the same as beating a person, regardless of symbolism.” (Doblin, Bergen Record)” http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzOTEmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcyMDA2OTkmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5

 

MORAN ON EDUCATION

“Superintendent Nathan Parker is feeling proud this week, as if he's part of something big, almost miraculous.

"We've done something unique in New Jersey," he says. "We are on the cusp of overcoming some of the long-term effects of racism."

That's a big statement. But Parker has probably earned the right to be that bold.

In the last four years, he's turned around the schools in Orange, making this poor, largely African-American district a model. Before that he worked on the other side of the planet — as superintendent in Upper Saddle River, a wealthy white enclave in Bergen County.

So he is the kind of guy we should listen to carefully when the discussion turns to education and race.

And he believes the news this week, from the latest round of national tests, is something special.

The tests show that New Jersey is making huge strides in closing the racial gap in school performance. In the last two years, reading scores for African-American fourth-graders jumped from 21st place in the nation to fourth place. Latinos have moved up from 15th to fifth. Those are the most impressive gains in America.” (Moran, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/columns/ledger/moran/index.ssf?/base/columns-0/119095548145080.xml&coll=1

 

SECURE YOUR HAMMOCKS AND HIDE YOUR PICNIC BASKETS

“Giving a boost to opponents of a black bear hunt, a state appeals court yesterday invalidated the state's 2005 plan to manage the bear population and said that with no plan in place, no new hunts can be held.

The unsigned decision did not get into the pros and cons of hunting. But the judges found that the New Jersey Fish and Game Council did not follow requirements when it created the policy, which included a controversial hunt.

The Appellate Division panel said the state must follow a strict process allowing the public to examine and comment on New Jersey's policy for managing the bears, which sometimes find their way from the woods into downtowns, and even homes.

"Bear management is a topic that sparks widespread disagreement and strong public sentiments," the court said. "The need to give the public sufficient notice of the terms of a proposed bear management policy, and to respond fully to comments received from citizen objectors and advocates alike, is particularly salient here."

Animal rights groups — which back the state's current position of managing the bear population with nonlethal methods, like securing garbage and educating the public — cheered the decision.

"We are very thrilled," said Janet Piszar, director of the Bear Education and Resource Group in West Milford. "But our job is not done until the black bears realize full protection under the law. This is only one year's victory." ” (Coscarelli, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/119095556245080.xml&coll=1

 

NEW PBA PRESIDENT

“Belleville Police Officer Tony Wieners was sworn in yesterday as president of the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association, the state's largest law enforcement organization.

Wieners, who has served as the union's executive vice president for 10 years, promised during his campaign to fight for all police officers and to enhance the union's internal operations.

"We are facing unprecedented risks on the streets from gangs and terrorism," Wieners said. "I will not let the sacrifices we make be minimized or compromised in anyway."

One of his first jobs as union president will be to convince members and others in the law enforcement community that dividing state law enforcement officers into two bargaining units is a good idea. Bargaining is currently collectively being done by PBA Local 105.

The State PBA wants one unit to represent officers at the Department of Corrections, Juvenile Justice Commission and state Parole Board. It would create another bargaining unit to represent officers employed by the State Park Police, Fish and Wildlife, Campus Police, Weights and Measures, the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police and Division of Taxation. ” (Hepp, Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-8/119095482345080.xml&coll=1

 

TWO WELL-KNOWN PATERSONIANS WANT TO A NATIONAL PARK IN THEIR HOMETOWN

“A Senate panel heard testimony Thursday for and against a proposal to designate Paterson's Great Falls Historic District a national park.

"No other natural wonder in America has played such an important role in our nation's historic quest for freedom and prosperity," Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson, told the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks, which is considering legislation introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., to make the Great Falls a national park.” (Travers, Herald News)

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk1JmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MjAwOTE0JnlyaXJ5N2Y3MTdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5Mw==

 

IN JERSEY CITY

“The administrative turntable made another revolution yesterday when Carl Czaplicki, former chief of staff to Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, was named head of the city's Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce.

Czaplicki's appointment became official with an all but unanimous vote from the Jersey City City Council.

But, there's new wrinkle. Healy has created a new position, naming Rosemary McFadden to the post of deputy mayor to serve as an "economic czar" for the city.

A statement released by the Mayor's Office said McFadden will have full authority to ensure that all the HEDC entities are coordinating their efforts appropriately and that the city is doing all that it can to make itself attractive to new businesses and development.

Prior to the McFadden appointment, that mission was supposedly the brief of the HEDC director. Sources said McFadden, who is a lawyer, is taking the job for $1 a year.” (Morgan and Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)

http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-4/1190960975302550.xml&coll=3

 

IN GLOUCESTER COUNTY

“The two Democratic candidates for the Gloucester County Board of Freeholders want to continue to expand shared services initiatives as a way to offer property tax relief, they said at a Courier-Post editorial board meeting Wednesday morning.

Incumbent Joseph Brigandi Jr. of Glassboro and longtime county treasurer Jean DuBois of Mantua said expanding countywide programs — including police dispatch services and an emergency medical services network expected to launch Sunday — are the key to battling rising taxes.” (Huelsman, Courier-Post)

http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070928/NEWS01/709280382/1006/NEWS01

IN CAMDEN

“Camden officials and city activist Frank Fulbrook reached an agreement in a Camden courtroom Thursday, resolving a dispute over wording accompanying a referendum asking voters to change the city's charter.

City council had adopted an ordinance in mid-August asking voters to set up partisan municipal elections that would be scheduled in November.” (Winkler, Courier-Post)

http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070928/NEWS01/709280381/1006/NEWS01

 

IN FREEHOLD

“Resident Ted Miller, 48, of Henry Street this week announced he has replaced Joseph Liguori on the Republican ticket for a three-year seat on the Borough Council.

Miller said his name will appear on the ballot on Election Day, Nov. 6. There will be two three-year council terms on the ballot. No other Republicans filed to run.

Democratic councilmen Jaye Sims and Kevin Kane are seeking re-election.” (Petrunico, Asbury Park Press)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070928/NEWS01/709280454/1004/NEWS01

 

IN PITMAN

“PITMAN – The Pitman Borough Council approved Fred Swartz to temporarily replace former Councilman Steve Brogan, who resigned earlier this month because of family issues.

The borough's Democratic committee nominated three candidates for the position, including Swartz, Mayor Alice Polocz said Thursday.” (Courier-Post)

http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070928/NEWS01/709280344/1006/NEWS01

 

IN VINELAND

VINELAND — City Councilwoman Sheena Santiago will support local businessman Adam Goldstein in the race for an unexpired council seat.

Goldstein, 40, is running against Anthony J. Gioielli, a former Vineland Police captain who is now Cumberland County's public safety director.” (Zatzariny, Daily Journal)

http://www.thedailyjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070928/NEWS01/709280321/1002/NEWS01

 

IN SALEM COUNTY

“PENNSAUKEN — Members of the Southern New Jersey Central Labor Council's Committee on Political Education met last week to discuss endorsements for the upcoming general election in the counties of Camden, Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland. Locally, the group is endorsing the following local candidates:

For freeholder, Lee Ware and Peter Voros; for Pennsville Township Committee, Mayor John Crawford and John Jackson; for Penns Grove Borough Council, Mayor John Washington, Clifford Poindexter and Tami Baytops; for Pittsgrove Township Committee, H. Kirk Craver; and for Woodstown Borough Council, Robin Weinstein, Brian Demarest and Keith Johnson.” (Today’s Sunbeam)

http://www.nj.com/news/sunbeam/local/index.ssf?/base/news-3/1190967646193580.xml&coll=9

 

Today’s news from PoliticsNJ.com