Today’s news from

Illegal immigrant workers say Lonegan never asked them about working papers, Lonegan’s gubernatorial aspirations, Acting Atlantic City Mayor wants Democratic Party’s nomination for the position, where to go for Corzine dough.



“Two undocumented workers hired by Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan last week disputed his account of events Monday, saying he sought them out for work and never asked whether they were legal residents.

Lonegan, widely known as a staunch proponent of stricter policies on illegal immigration, acknowledged he recruited them the morning of Oct. 8 but insisted he asked them whether they had proper papers and received an affirmative answer before hiring them.

On Friday, Lonegan had said that the workers had come looking for work at the Bogota building where his office is located.

The Guatemalan men, 20-year-old Elder Chuta and 22-year-old Victor Evaristo, said Monday that two men — a driver and a passenger they later identified as Lonegan from a photograph — picked them up along the Route 46 ramp at Broad Avenue in Palisades Park, a popular spot for day laborers in search of jobs.

The two men were later questioned by police at a home Lonegan owns in Bogota after a resident called police and said there were two Hispanic men walking through the vacant residence, which is for sale.

When asked why his account on Friday differed, Lonegan first said he had been taken aback when told by a reporter that the police had been to the home. He went on to say that he considered the details irrelevant ."It doesn't matter to me," he said. "To me, it's irrelevant, whether they were standing inside or outside. I will hire anybody I want, and if they don't prove to be proper, they don't get paid.

Chuta said the car pulled over on the morning of Oct. 8, and the man on the passenger side said, "I need two guys." He said he and Evaristo were driven to the home, shown the signs and offered $80 each for eight hours of work. They were offered soda and promised lunch later in the day, he said.

Both workers said they were never asked to show documentation or questioned about their legal status by Lonegan. Although they said their English was poor, they said they understand enough to know whether such questions were asked." (Ax and Henry, Bergen Record)



“Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan has not announced plans to run for governor again in 2009, but if he does, he doesn’t think that the latest flap about him hiring illegal immigrants to assemble political signs hurts his chances.

Lonegan said that this weekend’s incident may give political opponents ammunition, but it won’t resonate with voters. But revelations of officials hiring illegal immigrants have been political poison before. It killed Zoe Baird’s nomination for Attorney General by President Bill Clinton in 1993, as it did the nomination of his next candidate, Kimba Wood. And the discovery that Bernie Kerik used an illegal immigrant nanny was the first of many issues to emerge that ended his nomination for Homeland Security Chief.

“Part of the test if you ever want to run for office is the ability to handle issues like this properly,” said Lonegan. “I challenge people to tell me that if I’m hiring a Latino that I have to have a different standard. If I had hired two of the Bogota High School white kids at 9am would the cops had done the same thing?.” (Friedman,



“Mayor Steven M. Lonegan of Bogota once demanded that McDonald’s remove a Spanish-language billboard, and tried to make English the official language of his small New Jersey town. Then he sought to deputize his police force to crack down on illegal immigrants.

But recently, the conservative Mr. Lonegan — who has gained national attention for his views — suffered an attack of the ironies when the police discovered two illegal immigrants working at a home he owns, prompting critics to heap scorn on him, a onetime candidate for governor and House of Representatives.

He now says the two workers were unfairly singled out, and he is calling for an investigation of his own Police Department for racial profiling — claims that the police chief, Frank Gurnari, called “absurd” yesterday.

But Mr. Lonegan stood his ground. “I’m not going to racially profile employees,” he said. “The real hypocrites are the liberals who are saying that I should have assumed that because they’re Spanish that they’re illegal. That we’re now going to socially stereotype people and assume they’re illegal.”

In fact, Mr. Lonegan said he had come to sympathize with the workers. “These guys need the money,” he said, noting that he agreed to pay them $10 an hour.

Mr. Lonegan — mayor of this town of 7,900 that is 21 percent Hispanic — said he had nothing to apologize for, and he blamed what he called a “racist neighbor” and the federal government for his current plight.

But his critics were not giving any ground.

Tara M. Sharp, a Democratic councilwoman, shrugged off the mayor’s annoyance. “If anyone should not be picking up a day laborer anywhere, it is Mayor Steven Lonegan,” she said in an interview yesterday. “Things have come full circle.”” (Miller, New York Times)




William Marsh is ready to stop acting.

On Monday, Marsh, the City Council president who is serving as Atlantic City's acting mayor, said he would go to Wednesday's meeting of the Atlantic City Democratic Committee to seek the nomination.

Marsh, 53, denied mayoral ambitions as recently as Friday. But midday Monday, Marsh said he wanted in, saying, "I just thought about it and whether it's an opportunity to move the city forward."

The 52 members of the Atlantic City Democratic Committee will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the United Auto Workers Union Hall, 470 N. Albany Ave., to pick possible replacement candidates for former Mayor Bob Levy, 60………..

City Council has until Nov. 9 to approve a pick, who will serve until being replaced following next year's elections. Council conceivably could reject all nominees. If that happens, it seems the city Democratic committee will be able to unilaterally pick a replacement Democrat. If it subsequently does not, it appears council can make a selection. If it doesn't, then special elections would apparently be called.

Councilman Bruce Ward questioned the Democratic committee's role. Ward, an attorney, said the law seems to indicate the party helps pick councilmen, but mayors require special elections. He has not yet decided if he, or anyone, will argue this interpretation in court.

Marsh declared his intentions a little before noon Monday, shortly after ministers from the Fellowship of Churches of Atlantic City and Vicinity held a brief prayer vigil in front of City Hall.” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)


“At least they shook hands at the end.

The charges and counter-charges, which have been contained in news releases and campaign literature, took human form Monday as state Sen. Ellen Karcher and her Republican opponent in the 12th District, Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck, delivered their accusations in person in front of the Asbury Park Press editorial board.

Beck characterized Karcher as an ethical hypocrite for getting a farmland assessment on the bulk of her Marlboro property, and for forgetting to indicate the revenue made from the sale of 10 to 12 Christmas trees annually on her financial disclosure forms.

Karcher accused Beck of a conflict of interest by working for Qualcare, a health management company that has contracts with the Monmouth County Joint Insurance Fund. She faulted Beck for advocating increases in state spending when Beck worked as a lobbyist and then calling for budget cuts as a legislator.

The two candidates agreed on one thing: Both support a proposal being explored by the state Department of Education to revamp the current school funding formula, so that a base amount of $14,000 is allocated to educate each child and more money added on to deal with an individual child's specific needs.” (Higgs, Asbury Park Press)



“No one knows Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s checkbook like Nancy Dunlap.

When a friend or an employee of Mr. Corzine needs a hand financially, Ms. Dunlap is usually the intermediary. When campaign expenses come due, she writes the checks. Sometimes she even digs into her own bank account.

Most of the time, these are nothing more than mundane transactions. Other times, they can be the stuff of statewide controversy.

Ever since Mr. Corzine became governor of New Jersey in 2006, he has surrounded himself with several former colleagues from Goldman Sachs to try to help stabilize the state’s perilous finances. But when it comes to the most personal and often problematic issue marking his tenure — his open-wallet policy in sharing his considerable wealth, estimated at several hundred millions of dollars — he has relied heavily on Ms. Dunlap, 55, a longtime friend, confidante, adviser and lawyer who is an officer of JSC Investments L.L.C., a company owned by Mr. Corzine.

Among many current and former Corzine aides, she is known simply as “the gatekeeper.”

“There’s nobody close to her who has the institutional knowledge of Jon Corzine Inc.,” said Steven Goldstein, a former spokesman for Mr. Corzine who is now chairman of Garden State Equality, a gay rights organization. “She’s the person with the most direct pipeline to Jon who also knows him best.”” (Chen, New York Times)



Eric Maskin already has a wicked backhand slice and plays a mean clarinet. Now, the man described as the nicest guy in economics has a Nobel Prize.

Maskin, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, was one of three men awarded the Nobel Prize in economics yesterday. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences gave the award to Maskin, Leonid Hurwicz and Roger Myerson for "having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory.

While mind-numbing in its intricacies, the theory basically explores what happens in markets when different parties have different information they each hope to use to their advantage. Their work allows economists to distinguish situations in which markets work well from those where they don't……….

For the 56-year-old Maskin, a married father of two who grew up in New Jersey, the Nobel Prize is the cap of what has been a distinguished career in economics. But Maskin, who lives in the Princeton home once occupied by Albert Einstein, also is an accomplished clarinetist and pianist, as well as a solid squash and tennis player.

John Riley, an economics professor at UCLA and friend of Maskin's for nearly 30 years, said Maskin is self-effacing and modest despite his stature in the field.

"Most academics are good at one thing," said Riley. "He's good at life."” (Saitz, Star-Ledger)



“Some of them decided it was time to step down after long careers in office.

Others were forced out — or at least urged not to run for reelection because of corruption allegations. Battles with party leaders cost some their spots.

In all, 26 state legislators who were in office at the beginning of 2007 aren't running for reelection in November.

That means Trenton will witness at least a 20 percent turnover in the beginning of 2008, something that has not been seen since voters revolted against former Gov. Jim Florio's tax increases in the 1993 election.

The state Senate will welcome 14 new faces come January, although many of the candidates running for seats in the upper house are veteran lawmakers attempting to move up from the Assembly.

The Assembly will see more than a dozen newcomers in 2008, partly because of the current members vying for Senate seats.” (Reitmeyer, Bergen Record)



“HOBOKEN — A man filed a complaint yesterday in municipal court alleging that a camera-shy Dawn Zimmer, who is running for the Fourth Ward City Council seat she briefly held, tried to grab his camera on Friday.

According to the complaint, the man decided to take a picture of her near First and Madison streets at around 5:15 p.m., when, using foul language, she asked who he was and why he was taking pictures.

The complainant reported that Zimmer then grabbed him by the wrist and tried to grab the camera. He then said he was able to break free and "walk away."

Reached yesterday, Zimmer said she was out walking her dog Julia when a 6-foot man started taking pictures of her. She said that he ran in front of her, blocking her path, while he continued taking photos.

She said she asked him who he worked for and where he lived.

"I asked him why he was taking my picture, and had to laugh as I told him I'm just out walking my dog," Zimmer said. "I did eventually get annoyed, and when he wouldn't stop sprinting in front of me to take my photograph I finally asked him for his camera. He then ran away." ” (Hack, Jersey Journal)



“Rep. Frank Pallone has more campaign cash than any other New Jersey congressman — $3.1 million.

The Long Branch Democrat could have a bigger campaign war chest than any other House incumbent in the country, but that's not clear. The Federal Election Commission is waiting for all incumbents to file the reports. Pallone led all House incumbents nationwide in campaign cash available as of June 30, with $2.9 million. He has no declared opponent in next year's elections.

Pallone led all House incumbents nationwide in campaign cash available as of June 30, with $2.9 million. He has no declared opponent in next year's elections.

The latest campaign records, whose filing deadline is midnight, also show Pallone raised nearly $352,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30 of this year, the most of any other New Jersey congressman.

Here are the campaign-finance totals as of Sept. 30 for selected New Jersey House members. The first number is how much cash each had on hand as of Sept. 30, and the second is the total raised from July 1 through Sept. 30:

Republican Jim Saxton, of Mount Holly: $1.4 million; $106,000.

Republican Chris Smith, of Hamilton, Mercer County: $204,000; $14,200.

Republican Mike Ferguson of Warren, Somerset County: $758,000; $245,000.

Republican Frank LoBiondo of Ventnor: $1.5 million; $155,000.

Democrat Rob Andrews of Haddon Heights: $2.4 million; $331,000.

Democrat Rush Holt of Hopewell, Mercer County: $623,000; $104,000.

Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen of Morristown: $594,000; $76,000.” (Chebium, Gannett)

House lawmakers in New Jersey have been raking in cash for their reelection battles next year and jockeying for a bruising Democratic primary should four-term U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg decide to retire.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. collected more than $351,000 in the past three months, while U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews took in more than $310,000 for his reelection fund in the third quarter, traditionally a slow fund-raising period because it includes the summer months of July and August and the Labor Day holiday as well……..

Bill Caruso, chief of staff for Andrews, made a similar statement. "Congressman Andrews never takes any House race for granted and is actively raising money to run statewide should an opportunity present itself in the future," Caruso wrote in an e-mail.



“So far, Democrats haven’t seemed anxious to field and financially support a real challenger to Rep. E. Scott Garrett. But amongst Republicans, there’s discontent with Garrett brewing just beneath the surface of the fifth congressional district.

Some complain of Garrett’s steadfast conservative ideological commitment which has led to cast votes against bills considered no-brainers to Democrats and more moderate Republicans. Whether this is a strength or weakness is up for debate, however.

What’s certain is that Garrett has alienated at least some Republicans in the four counties that make up his district by backing the wrong people or staying neutral in some divisive primary races – even if few politicians and operatives will venture to say it on the record.

Moreover, his detractors say, he sticks to his conservative principles but doesn’t play for the team– leaving Republicans to fend for themselves in areas where the party desperately lacks leadership.

"That's because Scott has a brain and only someone without one could vote as Democrats do," said Michael Patrick Carroll, a GOP Assemblyman from Morris County.

But Republican political consultant Thom Ammirato, who works for GOP candidates in Bergen County, disagrees.

“In a party that is starved for leadership right now, Scott Garrett hasn’t exactly stepped up to the plate,” said Ammirato. “I think there’s a sense that he’s in sort of a self-preservation mode, and he’s unwilling to put himself out for the good of the party, and I think that’s not very smart politics right now.”” (Friedman,



“Republican Assembly candidate Vince Polistina disagrees with Gov. Jon S. Corzine on a lot of issues. But the 36-year-old political newcomer would have gone along with the governor on an issue that most are quick to criticize him for: last year's budget crisis.

"He wanted to raise the sales tax. He recognized we needed to raise revenue," Polistina said alongside his running mate John Amodeo during a question-and-answer session before The Press of Atlantic City Editorial Board on Monday. "We still need to raise revenue, but before we do we have to look at cuts."

Modifying funding for the state's 31 Abbott districts would be Polistina's first target if he's elected next month, he said, calling the funding unfair.

"The amount of money going to the Abbott districts is so disproportionate (compared to) other districts that it just does not make any sense," he said. "You can save a lot of money there."

Amodeo, who said he would have voted against the governor's budget while doing anything to avoid a state shutdown, wants to save money, too. And while he agrees with "revamping" the Abbott district funding, he thinks abolishing pensions for part-time public officials is a starting point.” (Clark, Press of Atlantic City)


EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – New Jersey Sierra Club President Jeff Tittel endorsed Assemblyman Jim Whelan for state Senate on Monday, saying his opponent made Egg Harbor City "the poster child for sprawl in southern New Jersey."

Whelan's opponent, state Sen. James "Sonny" McCullough, is the longtime mayor of Egg Harbor Township, located 14 miles south of Egg Harbor City.

Tittel, who never recognized his gaffe, has nonetheless been a longtime critic of McCullough's handling of development. He staged a press conference with Whelan, D-Atlantic, and Democratic Assembly candidates Blondell Spellman (who also won the Sierra Club's endorsement) and Joe Wilkins at one of Egg Harbor Township's most crowded intersections, Mill and Fire roads………

Tittel praised Whelan for taking a lead on global warming and open-space issues and accused McCullough of complaining about overdevelopment problems but not working to alleviate them.

"As he complains, he keeps going along with the special interests," Tittel said, pointing to contributions McCullough has received from local developers.

McCullough, who has long placed the blame for overdevelopment in his township on the Pinelands Commission, said Tittel lied about his record.

"It's probably the first time he's been in Egg Harbor Township," McCullough said. "He never came down to help us. He comes down for press conferences to bang me around."” (McAleer, Press of Atlantic City)



“Who is further from the taint of corruption that has been swirling around elected Democrats in the last year?

That was the question at the core of the District 37 debate Monday night between Democratic state Sen. Loretta Weinberg and Republican challenger Clara Nibot, and their respective slate of Assembly candidates.

Is it Weinberg, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, who have publicly distanced themselves from the leaders of Bergen's Democratic Party, or their Republican challengers?

The Hackensack debate, sponsored by New Jersey Citizen Action, was the first of two mandatory encounters under the Clean Elections project, an experimental public financing program for which the 37th District was chosen this year.

Weinberg and her slate qualified for the program and have received a combined $300,000 in public funding. Their GOP opponents, Nibot and Assembly candidates Frank Cifarelli and Wojciech Siemaszkiewicz, did not gather enough seed money to qualify.

Both slates said they support the idea of public financing in the future, agreeing that it is key to curing the influence of special interests on state and local politics. The polite, two-hour debate centered on who would be more committed to ethical reform: Democrats who have been leaders in Trenton during the last year of arrests and resignations or Republicans who haven't.

"Do you want to continue on the road to disaster, to embarrassment?" Nibot asked.

"When you support this team," Johnson said, "You are supporting reformers from within the Democratic Party."” (Carmiel, Bergen Record)



“HAMILTON — Council members' quest to gain access to the township's annual financial statement hit a snag yesterday as the consultant that completed the document in August has refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the council last week.

In refusing the council's demand, Bowman and Co. cited a recent opinion by Township Attorney Paul Adezio that the document is not public because it has not been signed by the township's chief financial officer.

"In light of the fact that the financial statements that are the subject of the subpoena remain in draft form and are as yet not signed or verified as to the accuracy of their content, the question arises as to whether these documents may be disseminated to requesters consistent with the Open Public Records Act …," the letter from Bowman attorney Jonathan Ziss said.

Last week, Council President Dave Kenny issued a subpoena to Bowman, demanding the company turn over all documents submitted to the township as part of its work on the AFS. Kenny resorted to a subpoena after his request to the township under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) was denied by Adezio, who said the documents were only a draft and so did not fall under OPRA.

The Times also requested the document under OPRA and was denied access for the same reason. In response to the denial, The Times has filed a complaint with the Government Records Council, the agency that oversees OPRA. ” (Isherwood, Trenton Times)



“The state's top judge denied a report yesterday in the New Jersey Law Journal that Guttenberg's municipal court is a target of the state's ticket-fixing probe, which has resulted in five Jersey City judges stepping down.

According to the article, written by reporter Lisa Brennan, "court sources" confirmed that the state Attorney General Office's investigation into improperly dismissed tickets has been expanded to Guttenberg and East Orange.

But Tammy Kendig, a spokeswoman for New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, denied that the four-block-wide town is part of the probe.

"There is an investigation in East Orange being done at the request of the chief justice," Kendig said. "There is nothing in Guttenberg."

But the Law Journal isn't taking back its words.

"We stand by our reporting," said Ronald Fleury, editor of the legal community's widely read weekly. "Obviously the investigation will evolve and we will cover it as it does."

Judge Frank Leanza, Guttenberg's part-time, $21,000-a-year judge, didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

"I have the utmost confidence in Judge Leanza," said Municipal Attorney Charles Daglin. "He has been the judge for Guttenberg for 20 years and we've never had any problems." ” (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)



“ATLANTIC CITY – Less than a week after taking office, the new mayor met privately Monday with casino executives to assure them that he intends to stabilize city government and recognizes the importance of the $5.2 billion gaming industry.

The hourlong meeting between acting Mayor William Marsh and members of the Casino Association of New Jersey was billed as a vote of confidence in the city's future despite the political scandals gripping City Hall in recent months.

The casinos wanted to hear they have Marsh's support at a time when the industry is investing billions of dollars to transform the city into a Las Vegas-style tourist destination to beat back extra competition from newly opened slot parlors in Pennsylvania and New York.

"Mayor Marsh's message to the Casino Association was positive," said Joseph A. Corbo Jr., the president of the trade association that represents the city's 11 casinos. "He assured us that his number one priority is to continue to restore stability to the Mayor's Office. Beyond that, he let us know that he recognizes the importance of the casino industry to the city, the region and the entire state."” (Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City)



“Three days after voting down a proposed contract settlement, nearly 2,000 state corrections and police officers conducted a boisterous demonstration in front of the Statehouse in Trenton yesterday.

But a fight over who will represent nearly 6,000 rank-and-file state corrections officers and other state law enforcement officers is expected to further delay reaching a deal with the Corzine administration.

The struggle between Policemen's Benevolent Association Local 105 and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 200 came to light after yesterday's demonstration, protesting an administration demand the officers contribute to their health coverage.

The rally was not directly connected to the PBA and FOP face-off, but was held without the knowledge of PBA leaders. It was organized by the Superior Officers Association.

On Friday, corrections officers and officers from other agencies voted by a ratio of 17 to 1 in opposition to a tentative settlement agreed to by PBA Local 105 leaders and the administration. ” (Hester and Donohue, Star-Ledger)



“Language translators would be made available in all state departments and the state would recruit teachers from Spain and Puerto Rico, under recommendations delivered yesterday to Gov. Corzine.

The report by Corzine's Working Group on Latino Affairs found that most state departments do not translate information from English. It recommends hiring language experts to provide accurate translations.

Corzine said he welcomed the recommendations to help better direct resources to Latino families and individuals.

"My administration will also be reaching out to the community for its feedback and strategy for effective implementation in addressing the economic, educational and social needs of Latinos in New Jersey," Corzine said.

New Jersey has about 8.7 million residents, about 15 percent of whom are Latino, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. ” (Hester, AP)



“Calling it a permanent form of property tax relief, the state Assembly speaker, leaders of AARP-New Jersey and the New Jersey League of Municipalities called yesterday for voters to approve a Nov. 6 ballot question to provide $700 million in tax relief.

Public Question No. 1 asks voters to approve amending the state constitution to dedicate one-half cent of sales tax revenue to property tax relief. Last November, voters overwhelmingly approved a half-cent dedication of sales tax revenue.

When combined, the total one-cent dedication would provide $1.4 billion for tax relief, according to Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden).

"Relief is essential," Roberts said during a Statehouse news conference in Trenton. "Property tax relief cannot be tied to the whim of a governor or a Legislature 10 years down the line."

This year, the Legislature and Gov. Jon Corzine allotted over $2 billion for property tax rebates, and Roberts said approval of the ballot question would mean officials would not have to scramble for $1.4 billion of the amount in future budgets. Although the Corzine administration faces a 2008-09 budget deficit of $3 billion, Roberts said he believes the deficit can be solved and the additional tax relief can be found.

"We are going to have to make a lot of tough decisions," Roberts said, "but the one thing we are hearing loud and clear from the people of New Jersey is that they want property tax relief to be the number one issue." ” (Hester, Star-Ledger)



“A plan by BP to build a huge liquefied natural gas storage and processing plant on the New Jersey shore of the Delaware River has the active support of New Jersey but is strongly opposed by its neighbor across the river, Delaware. The two states will face off over the matter in front of the Supreme Court justices on Nov. 27, according to a schedule announced on Monday.

New Jersey, which brought a Supreme Court case against Delaware over the issue in 2005, lost the first round when a special master appointed by the justices declared in April that Delaware was entitled to veto the project because it would encroach on Delaware’s underwater territory. The special master’s recommendation in such a case is nonbinding, and the Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear New Jersey’s challenge.

As a boundary dispute, the case, New Jersey v. Delaware, No. 134 Original, falls within the court’s “original jurisdiction” to hear disputes between states. Disagreement between these two original states over where their common boundary lies under the Delaware River goes back to the early days of the country. New Jersey first sued Delaware in the Supreme Court in 1877, and a compact that the two states signed in 1905 bought some decades of relative peace while leaving the basic issues unresolved.” (Greenhouse, New York Times)


“At least one new face is guaranteed on the Gloucester County freeholder board when it reorganizes in January.

The Democrats, who bring an incumbent and a newcomer to the November ballot, say county Treasurer Jean DuBois could easily make the transition to the freeholder board because of her knowledge of the budget and the county's many departments.

Republican candidates Andy Savicky of Glassboro and Paul Marino of Washington Township say they each bring a fresh set of eyes and a plan for "open government."

"What's critical is disclosure," said Savicky, who ran an unsuccessful campaign last year for county sheriff. "Unless you have a Republican there with a different set of eyes, how do you know what's going on in the club?"

DuBois is on the Democratic ticket with incumbent Freeholder Joseph Brigandi Jr., who is serving his 10th year on the board.

The two touted their records and vast knowledge of county government.

The all-Democrat freeholder board has worked hard to consolidate services, Brigandi said. ” (McCarthy, Gloucester County Times)



ATLANTIC CITY – Honesty in government, controlling taxes and development of Bader Field were the hot topics Monday night, as the three candidates for the at-large seat on City Council voiced their opinions for an audience of about 60 people at Atlantic City High School.

Incumbent George Tibbitt, a Democrat who was appointed to fill the seat vacated when Ramon Rosario pleaded guilty to bribery, faces challenges from Republican Michael Toland and former Councilman Ernest Coursey, a Democrat running as an independent. All three men promised to bring change to a city plagued with corruption scandals for the last two years.

The debate, sponsored by Atlantic City's civic associations, also included candidates for the at-large seat on the county Board of Chosen Freeholders, Atlantic County executive, state Assembly and state Senate. Local attorney Jeff Wilson served as moderator.

Coursey stressed his 11 years on City Council and four years as deputy mayor, saying, "What Atlantic City needs now is good government, honest government, clean government." He said the events of the last two years pained him deeply, and he will do his best to serve the city.

A recent poll found 69 percent of New Jersey residents considered politicians to be "less than honest," and Toland said he wondered what a survey of Atlantic City would reveal. If elected, Toland said he would not accept a city car or a cell phone, because "I don't need you folks to pay for my gas or to pay for my cell phone."

Tibbit said he has 21 years of experience working in the private sector, and the city needs to be run more like a business. He said he has accomplished a lot in the last year on council and asked voters to imagine what he could do with two more years……….

Despite what is considered a closely contested race, the debate remained civil and the candidates shook hands when it concluded.

In contrast, Atlantic County executive candidates Jim McGettigan and incumbent Dennis Levinson used much of their time to exchange barbs about budgets, pensions and other issues.” (Rose, Press of Atlantic City)



“Voters might not recognize Maria Vanderbilt's name on the ballot this November, but she is hardly a newcomer to Ocean Township politics.

Vanderbilt, 52, served nine years on the Township Committee as Maria Szczech until losing an election in 1998. Now remarried, the 52-year-old Democrat is hoping to return to township hall where she served as mayor in 1997 and 1998.

She will face off against Richard W. Reilly, 67, who was appointed to fill the committee seat vacated by Antonio Fonseca in June. Reilly, a Republican, is a past member of the township's Land Use and Planning boards.” (Pais, Asbury Park Press)



“Two Republicans and two Democrats are campaigning to fill two open seats on the Borough Council.

On the Republican side, 12-year Councilman Oscar L. Cradle Sr. is running for re-election, and former Mayor and Councilman George J. Greitz Jr. is vying to get back on the dais. Democratic political newcomers Gidalty Esparza and Larry Harris want to fill the two three-year terms themselves.” (Kidd, Asbury Park Press)



“Citing what he contends is a need for a change in the leadership of the school district, Mayor Al Cirulli Monday night asked that Superintendent of Schools Thomas C. McMahon resign his post.

"I think that it's time for a change," Cirulli said during a Township Committee meeting. "I think that he should resign and not be bought out."” (Hube, Asbury Park Press)



“Township council on Monday appointed James Keenan to completed the unexpired term of Virginia Devery, who resigned effective Oct 1. The vote was 3-0.

Tracy Riley, the lone Democrat on the council, abstained.

Keenan, 47, a Republican, is a Ramblewood resident and is chairman of the township planning board. Republicans control four of the five seats on the council.

Devery said she that was resigning because she wanted to retire. ” (Courier-Post) Today’s news from